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Sunday, September 24, 2006


Well, I'm still processing the comeback in the last five minutes of the game Saturday night. On the interception that sealed the game, I'm pretty sure the ball made contact with six different places on both players before it was finally hauled in. That is what I like to call the luck of the Irish!

My dad went to bed at halftime grumbling about how it was going to be another long game for ND. I really enjoyed being able to tell him that he missed an incredible comeback for the "W". Then the Redskins decided to play like a professional football team and I ended the weekend as a very happy camper.

Friday night involved black light bowling and my friends getting mostly retarded drunk while I sat out still recovering from this stupid cold. There's really not much funnier than drunk rednecks, drunk girls, black lights and random 80's, hip-hop and country music. I had talked so much crap to my friend Stacy the night before about her UVA football team that she had promised to mop up the lanes with me. Like any self-respecting male, I scoffed at her, right up until she rolled spare, spare, strike, 9, spare, strike.

Ummmmmm.... uh-oh.

In a performance that I'm sure would have made Dick Weber, or at least Big Ern, proud... I was able to come back strong and win by 12 pins. This led to a subsequent bet where I picked up several free drinks for next weekend and was able to give the full Ric Flair "whooo!" and strut after striking in the final frame of the 10th to seal the deal. There was just something in the air as I bowled next to what appeared to be three former members of Alabama in the dark while "Ms. New Booty" by Bubba Sparxxx played. Ahh, the wonders of living in a redneck paradise.

Fantasy sports decidedly suck this week as I'm going to come up short in both my fantasy baseball leagues since I haven't been able to record a W since the beginning of August apparently. Football is a mixed bag, but there's still time to make up for any lost ground there. I think a few more days of no poker and I should have rejuvenated the brain enough to start looking at cards again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sin City: The Poker

Well, I caught a nice cold on the airplane ride home, which basically sums up how poker went while I was out there. The play was definitely tighter out there, at least in the limit games, but overall I didn't come away too impressed with poker in Vegas. I basically played five sessions while I was out there: 15-30 hold'em (2-3 handed), 15-30 hold'em, 10-20 Omaha 8 with a half kill, 2-5 NL hold'em and 8-16 hold'em.

The 15-30 and the Omaha 8 I played at the Wynn, which was a decent poker room, but didn't seem to have a whole lot going on any of the times I was there. I got seated on a must move the first time which was only 6 six handed and within minutes me and this guy were heads up. Playing heads up doesn't bother me at all, and since there were a lot of empty seats with stacks, I figured we wouldn't be HU for long. Well, I ran into a guy on an absolute heater. In the first five hands he had Kings twice, Jacks, flopped quad threes and flopped two pair. We played HU for about 30 minutes or so before he got moved and I feel fortunate that I only lost around 15 BB's to him. Naturally, I had finally started winning some pots when he got called. I finally got seated in the main game after a long wait and the cards didn't improve much, just couldn't make anything happen when I caught a piece and missed a few draws. The 15-30 was right next to the Omaha 8, and the Omaha table looked pretty good.

I love Omaha 8, and have never played it live in a casino, so I figured it would be a good learning experience at the worst. I got sick, absolutely sick, starting hands for about the first twenty minutes. Aces double suited with a deuce four times, Ace-deuce with broadway cards and suited, and on and on... flopped the nut-nut draw three times... and it all missed. I made a couple mistakes and was lucky to get bailed out, and then right before the table broke I picked up half or three quarters of four monster pots and turned the Omaha into a positive session and made back some of my hold'em losses.

Went back the next day and played some more 15-30 and sat through about five more hours of dead hands before going on a mini-rush and basically making back my heads up losses from the day before, bringing me decently close to even for the trip. Took some time out and went to the sportsbook to watch some MNF where the Redskins promptly sucked balls (though the refs definitely whored over Sean Taylor). Beers, a good burger, hot blonde cocktail waitresses and a screen the size of a house to watch football on is always +EV, though.

Played 2-5 NL at the MGM (where we were staying) the next day, and from what I saw there and watching my friends play on the NL tables, people are still just awful at NL. And everytime all the money went in, the donkey got bailed out. At one point there was about six-seven thousand dollars on my table (max $500 buy-in), and it seems like about one out of every five pots was over a grand. It was insane.

One particularly ridiculous hand saw 10 of the 13 clubs in the deck in play. I had raised in EP, trading off a tight image, with 78 of clubs. I got called in four places and the flop came down Kd Jc 10c. I lead out for about 2/3 of the pot, got smooth called, then raised $200 on top, then the guy to my right smooth calls. I had planned on being agressive with it, but I knew there was disaster looming and got out the way along with the first caller. Turn was a brick, the raiser moved in and the guy to my right called. Queen of clubs on the river, and the raiser turns over AQ for the flopped Broadway and the guy on my right turns over the stone cold nuts with AK clubs. The caller who bailed with me had 56 of clubs. The were more shenanigans at that table, but I left down about half a buy-in after bleeding off a lot of money with middle pairs that never connected and one hand where I had overpair versus bigger overpair.

The last session was at the Bellagio, and there just wasn't a lot going on. I wasn't terribly impressed with their room at all, and the poker just didn't turn around for me either. Couldn't make anything happen with overcards, couldn't make big pairs hold up and twice flopped a set only to have the board run out a straight and chop the pot.

I know I'm bleeding off at least 7-8 BB's a session betting when I shouldn't or being too aggressive where I don't need to be. But I think I've noted a few of those types of leaks and hopefully am improving on them for future play. I definitely feel like I'm moving in the right direction with my overall play again, no matter whether I've been up or down. All in all, Vegas was great (which I'll cover in a second post), but the poker left a lot to be desired.

Friday, September 08, 2006

You Crazy Monkey!

Apparently when I wrote in my last post that I was looking forward to playing the 20-40 game at the Borgata later this year, I meant about four days.

Went up there and produced another great result in the 10-20 game, which is absolutely and conpletely wild for anyone who hasn't played it yet. I highly recommend it but variance could be high. Anyways, Duke and PokerDon were upstairs sleeping before the start of the $500 tourney and I was trying to make it through the night so I could sleep while they tourney'ed it up during the day. JT finally made it up after work and walked into the poker room about 5am and found me at the 10-20 table. We caught up for a minute and ended up next to the 20-40 game and it looked crazy. He made a comment about me sitting in but I brushed it off at that moment and after he sat in at another table I went back to the 10-20. But I couldn't shake the thought and decided to just go for it.

For the next three days I promptly ran about as hot as I have ever and was killing the 20-40. In my second session, no exaggeration, of the first twelve times I had a pair, I hit a set nine of them. I ended up making about 14 sets in the entire run, and it got to the point where people just expected me to turn up three of a kind of a full house on the river. It was absurd in a wonderful, show me the money, kind of way. I also had my biggest single day loss in my fourth shot at 20-40, when my luck reversed and everytime we got to the river someone hit a draw on me.

I was really just happy with how I handled that session. I think among the hardest things for non-poker players to understand (and even some poker players) is that losing is just a reality of the game. Sometimes it's losing big or losing for an extended period of time, and even though it sucks something terrible, you just have to be able to put it in perspective. For that day when everything was horribly wrong, I was able to keep my concentration and keep playing as well as I could.

The one thing I noticed was the level at which the good players were better than me. Thankfully though, there really weren't that many good players, which surprised me. I expected to find a bit more resistance at that blind level, but I wasn't impressed with too many of the players. But I learned more about limit and poker in general over the last two weeks than I have probably over the last year. The challenge of the game and being up against better players in new situations I think really started my overall ability on the way to a new level.

So hopefully I can keep grinding out at 10-20 with occasional shots at 20-40 for the rest of this year and keep improving my overall understanding of the game. I'd write more about this trip but I only have 24 hours till I leave for Vegas so time to wrap this up and go get to some laundry and whatnot.

Perhaps some live trip reports from Vegas next week.

Friday, September 01, 2006

48 Hours

"Sir, that's not very friendly. You just sat in and you're already raising my blinds... I don't even know you." '-- PokerDon

"Oh, I'm going to introduce myself." -- Old guy that owned PokerDon

That was just one of the gems that Shep got Don with as the last hours at the Borgata dwindled down. He was very entertaining... the middle aged women that I had to play with throughout the day were not. I've for a long time thought that listening to poker stories was among the least entertaining things going on, particularly while sitting at a poker table, though I unfortunately do occasionally still do it myself.

But during this trip I discovered a new, more grating and unpleasurable experience: listening to poker stories in one ear while listening to old women complain about people telling poker stories in the other. Ma'am, I don't particularly give a shit that you suck at poker and aren't intelligent enough to glean the good information that is being discussed at the table while simply ignoring the stupid or the bad. I don't particularly care that you don't like these young kids that have played poker on the computer for two years and couldn't possibly know everything about poker that you have learned over the past forty years. And no, I really don't care whatsoever that the advent of the ATM machine was apparently a black mark in your overall opinion of American society.

Thank god for the i-pod.

The poker, however, was a good net result. The path to the result was a pretty ridiculous rollercoaster but I am loving this 10-20 game at the Borgata and looking forward to eventually hitting up the 20-40 later this year. Sometimes the guys and I discuss how it's difficult to get people to relate to your poker success that aren't poker players. One of my boys has tried breaking it down to an hourly rate with his fiancee but that still doesn't impress. After a few conversations with another friend of mine, she devised her own system: relate poker winnings as to purchasing power of shoes.

"How'd the trip go?" I made 11 pair of Manolos. "Good job."

I don't think that PokerTracker has the adjustment for BB's to Manolos just yet, though.

In other randomness as I was walking out of the poker room for some lunch I passed by a table with one of my high school math teachers in the three seat, which was a little surreal. Even more so by the fact that it made me realize that my 10 year reunion is this fall. That sure happened fast.

So for now it's three days off, then back to AC for the start of the Borgata Fall Open. Up there for three or four days, then back home to pack and then off to Vegas for a week. I have a distinct feeling that I will have lost all measure of time and date by the time the middle of September rolls around.

Perhaps more on this trip report before the end of the weekend.

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