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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Wanted: Poker Players

The games that I've been in have kind of dried up lately. The roll call at the Warehouse has dwindled down to a single table, Monday nights have turned into a six or seven handed cash game instead of fourteen person tournaments and I'm tired of beating the same old players night in and night out. That last one was for you, Don.

So it seems I'm going to have to step up and take my game to some new locations, Vulmer and Garland. Apparently the Vulmer games are a seven nights a week extravaganza of poker, featuring $1/2 No Limit, $5/10 Limit, and $5/10 SHOE. I may also be taking on an interesting task of trying to bring some of my friends up to speed on the game. Right now I'm calling it the Poker Developmental League, we'll see if I can make this work.

I've really been trying to work on a few of my female friends to take up poker because of what I feel is the inherent advantage that women have over men with this game. Beyond generally advanced intuition, men just cannot take losing to a woman. Or, better yet, do not want to beat a beautiful woman. As I've been following the WSOP coverage I became convinced of this certainty as there is no way I could concentrate on my cards or tells or anything else for that matter if I were sitting across from, say, Jennifer Tilly. Dealer: "Sir, the action is on you..." Me: "Mmmmm, boobs....errr, uh-". Sidetracking for a moment, if that's the kind of action that pro poker players are getting these days, it definitely encourages me to keep going with this. If Phil Laak can get someone like Jen Tilly, there's something to this mystique, 'cause he is one crazy sonuvabitch.

It's been fairly interesting lately as I've met a slew of new people in the area outside of pokerdom to answer the following question, "So, what do you do for a living?", with, "I play poker." Depending on the person I either get, "Oh, cool," and then they quickly move on or it leads into a thirty minute conversation on everything poker. My parents would certainly not be thrilled that this is where I'm heading but the occasional interview in banking keeps them satisfied for the moment. It's all cash related anyways, right? I'm putting in my eight hours a day, they just happen to be between 8pm and 4am.

Hmmm, 7:30pm.... time to get ready for work...

Friday, June 24, 2005

A $350 Lesson in Poker...

Don't play when you're tired and your emotions aren't in check.

Cost of that lesson: $350

If I got good cards last night, one of two things happened: someone paired their inferior kicker or got their playing their bullshit cards.

At least three times I flopped a straight with bottom side of the cards and someone got there on the river after calling a preflop raise with K8 offsuit out of the blinds. I definitely cost myself some money as well, though. There were at least three hands that I played that I pushed on the river even though it had flashed in my mind what they were probably holding, and everytime I had been correct, I was beat.

Trip aces with king kicker and the guy spiked his boat on the river. Guy flopped the straight with Big Lick and I thought I had the nut flush draw as well as a piece of the board... I was wrong. That was my biggest mistake of the night and chalk that one up to being exhausted and not in check with where I should have been in order to play No Limit poker. That was $140 gone. Lost another $140 at the end of the night after rebuying (when I should have just gone home) and unfortunately just took a tough one on the chin when my pocket queens ran into pocket aces.

I was much more frustrated last night about how I had played, but after thinking about it a little bit more today I'm not as upset. I made one donkey play, but other than that the donkies at the table just got lucky last night for the most part. I had been reading SuperSystem 2 yesterday afternoon and in a bit of foreshadowing was going over Todd Brunson's into to the Stud section.

He basically boiled it down to the following bit of advice: If you go to a pet shop and buy a dog then bring him home and get upset when he barks, you're the one with the problem. Dogs bark, it's what they do, you can't teach them to meow or moo, so you just have to live with the fact that they will bark. Bad poker players will play bad poker. They will call out of position, play bad cards and yes, they will sometimes get the better of you. You don't yell at them for playing bad poker because that's what you want them to do and if you can't take it, sit at a different game. One that will most likely be less profitable for you.

Okay. Time to get back to rebuilding the bankroll...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Greatest Laydown in the History of Poker

Before I get to the most ridiculous poker story ever, just wanted to comment quickly on the conspicuous absence of the blog for the last month or so. Quite simply, I wasn't playing a whole lot of poker until the last two weeks. But the game is back on track and we're having a profitable week here at RossiCo, so the bankroll is making a recovery.

Last night I played at the Warehouse with some of the regular crew and a few new guys in and out throughout the evening. In trying to skip straight to the meat of this tale, I will summarize by saying everyone had their foot in Uncle Rob's ass last night except for me. The guy lost four or five all-ins and was down about $400-500 for the night. The last time he lost he doubled up a friend of his who just started playing with us, Eric, to around $350.

So Rob bought another $300 in chips for his stack because there was a lot of money on the table last night. That all happened around 2:30am and play ends at 3am. At 2:45am we start one of the last orbits of the night. I'm in the big blind and Uncle Rob limps from under the gun. Eric raises to $5 from the next seat and we fold back around to Rob, who thinks for a moment before making it $105 to go. No, that's not a typo. In our .25/.50 NL game he limp-reraised to $105.

Action's back on Eric and he's locked up. Cannot decide what to do. He's thinking. And thinking. And thinking. And thinking. He's sitting there and it almost looks like he's gonna come back over the top, and then it happened. Our dealer Bill pulled out the hamster. There's a hamster kept at the Warehouse that sings "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers. It's usually broken out when someone has sat over a hand entirely too long.

So as the familiar refrain of "you've got to know when to hold'em... know when to fold'em..." pipes out of the hamster, Eric looks up and says, "I've got a bad feeling, I fold this..." and throws his hand into the muck face up. I want you to imagine for a second what hand you think would cause you this much consternation in a sometimes very loose game. Pocket eights? nines? Jacks? Ace-King?

Au contraire, bon jour. Our hero, Eric, folded black Aces face up. Pocket rockets. Eke and Ike. American Airlines. The best starting hand in motherfucking poker, and he folded it preflop when he got raised into knowing all the money could have gone into the middle.

Here's what would have happened:

Flop- 2 5 8 rainbow
Turn- 10
River- 8

Uncle Rob had pocket tens and would have crushed Eric's Aces to the tune of $642 in the pot.

Greatest laydown in the history of poker.

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