Thursday, June 30, 2005

Howard Lederer Is My Uncle

Eli: Dude, don't mess this up.
Matthew: Mess what up?
Eli: Matt, she's a porn star! Okay? Take her to a motel room and bang her like a beast!
Matthew: Eli, I like this girl.
Eli: And you can still like her with your penis inside her. Matthew, I tell you that you're going to regret this. What would JFK do? You know he'd tap that ass.
”The Girl Next Door”

Ok, so Howard Lederer isn’t really my uncle, but he is a splitting image of one of my uncles. I sent a picture of Howard to my uncle to see what he thought, and because I know he doesn’t play poker I explained who he was and let him know that Howard Lederer was a millionaire a few times over thanks to poker. My uncle responded with disgust – saying first he learns that he was born on the same day as Michael Jordan, so he missed on his chance at being rich and black and now he finds out his look alike is making millions. Bit unlucky really.

Saw War of the Worlds last night – has some pretty awesome moments in it. You definitely need to see this movie at the cinema; DVD just won’t do it justice.

And on to one more bad beat – although not directly based on poker, as I did not play a single hand last night. I was kindly informed just last night about the full extent of our financial situation leading up to the wedding. As an added bonus, our lease runs out just before the wedding, meaning we will be moving the week leading up to the wedding – naturally, with that comes assorted costs and pains which are synonymous with the moving experience. Basically to cover the wedding, honeymoon and moving we need about $10K more than we got. Talk about getting kicked in the junk.

What can you do? Saying “I told you so” ten thousand times would do little to make me feel better, and I won’t be rewarded with $1 each time I do it. I hardly think I can get my poker bankroll from $600 to $10K in that time with my skills at the limits I am comfortable at. Maybe I need to step outside of that comfort zone? Maybe I just need a really good MTT win – ha, don’t we all? I have a few other irons in the fire so to speak, and maybe they just need a good kick a long.

That news put me in such a down mood last night, it was wise not to hit the tables straight away. At least I have learned something.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Down Side

Lloyd Christmas: When I met Mary, I got that old fashioned romantic feeling, where I'd do anything to bone her.
Harry Dunne: That's a special feeling.
”Dumb & Dumber”

Feeling a bit down today, as I dropped about $100 at the tables last night and I have nobody to blame but me.

Mistake number 1: I was extremely tired all day, and thought it would be best if I didn’t play tonight and had an early one. But then I thought that tomorrow night would be my Distraction’s 25th birthday, and then I’ve got no chance of playing then. Just out of interest, this would be her very last birthday with her current name, as next year she will have my surname. Interesting thought for me anyway.

Mistake number 2: I was playing a form of game I am not experienced in – Pot Limit Omaha. I have only had one session in the game before, and I posted about that last time where I tripled my starting stack in two hands. I do not know enough about pot limit to make this game profitable just yet.

Mistake number 3: I was distracted; I mean Distracted. My usual rule is to play before she gets home or after she goes to bed. I decided to keep playing because I wanted to clear the raked hand requirements and make a small profit too of course.

Mistake number 4: I busted my buy-in once when I was absolutely card dead and then went all-in with second best hand. I knew I wasn’t playing anywhere near my best, and then thought I should re-buy and not make anymore stupid mistakes. I knew I was playing badly, I knew I was making the most simple of mistakes, but I kept playing.

I think that last mistake was the biggest one – I knew I should not have been playing, yet I continued to do so. I tried 2 SNG’s as well, finishing 4th and 7th. The bubble finish was disappointing, as I raised it to $400 (4x BB) when I was 3rd in chips, and 2nd in chips called from the small blind (he had me covered by $200). I had AKs, and the flop was 9T6 rainbow, one spade. I raised it $600, and he went all-in in what I thought was a pure bluff, but I really had no reason to call. Naturally, I did and he showed Q9o for middle pair, which was good enough. I could criticise him for calling ¼ of his stack pre-flop with Q9o, but in the end winners are grinners and I deserved what I got.

Yeah, I believe I deserved what I got. It was a $100 lesson to be smart about my game. Don’t play just because the games are there, if I know I am not going to play at 100% then I don’t play from now on.

I’m going to introduce a new feature here at Poker On Film – I call it
“Know Your Australians”. Each Wednesday (ish) I will attempt to educate the public about differences in language and culture between our North American friends and the land down under. I’m not just talking about “G’Day”, “Dinkum” and the other crappy Australian terms that get stereotyped with our language. Truth be known, we hardly use any of them. “Slap another shrimp on the barbie” for instance. I can prove that this term has never been uttered by an Australian in the history of the world, because we don’t call them “shrimp”, we call them “prawns”, and 99.95% of the population wouldn’t cook them at all. Those that do would rarely use a barbeque to do it. See, we’re learning already.

But that was just a prelude. My first lesson in
Know Your Australian” is the word “pissed”. In the American version of English, being “pissed” usually means the person is very angry with someone or something. In The land I call home, being "pissed" is a rather joyous occasion. The act of being “pissed” refers to a certain level of inebriation. Here are some practical examples:

“Mate, I was so
pissed last night I don’t even remember where this damn letterbox came from. I mean, I know it’s number 47, but what street?”

This was an example from my university days, which illustrates that
“pissed” doesn’t just mean drunk, it means drunk enough to do silly things like start a mailbox collection. Heres hoping that when you next encounter an Australian in the wild, you can understand the strange words coming out of their mouth.

You know, I can’t think of a derogatory name for an Australian. Every other nation and race has at least one, what do we have? What is there for the average caucasian Australian male that could be considered a derogatory term? I know some people call us “skippy’s” after Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, but that is hardly mean enough when compared to other names for another nationalities. Can any of you Sepo’s help your antipodeans friends?

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Up Side

Susan: I want to spend the night with you.
Josh: Do you mean sleep over?
Susan: Well... yeah.
Josh: Well, okay... but I get to be on top.

I have had a pretty good weekend poker wise. The ups were bigger than the downs, and I even made another final table appearance in a MTT, which is always nice.

In the MTT, I finished forth again for the $10 freezeout with 160 or so of my closest friends. When at the final table, I was the shortest stack and was actually able to steal a pot. On the small blind, I had $2300 and the blinds were $500/1000. I called the big blind, who raised it to $2000. I went all-in (like I should have in the first place) and he folded instead of calling the remaining $300. I had KJ, but I guess the call-raise made it look like I wanted him in the hand and he was just on a steal. Anyways, I managed to get a decent sized stack and then double up a moment later with KK – I even spent some time as the leader when we were down to four. I lost a race when calling the short stack and then lost another with AK going down to 66 I think. $53 was forth place, which was a nice little return for a bank roll my size.

On to my Paradise Poker bonus, I have decided that I don’t like some things about the site – mainly, the stats. It records stats for all sessions on the one sheet, regardless of the games. So if you play Omaha Hi/Lo and NL Holdem, they both get on the same stat sheet even thought he stats don’t really correspond to each other. A minor problem, but it annoyed me over the weekend.

Oh my, Paradise has 5 card draw poker! No doubt the majority of people learned poker via this form of the game, myself included. I thought I would give it a go at the $1/$2 level, just to see. What is it with me and all this new games of poker? I can’t just sit down and play Holdem, I have to try every different game out there. The swings in this game are surprisingly big, mainly because the tables are limited to 5 people and the hands per hour rate is 120+. Very good for clearing the raked hand requirement I thought.

Man, was I having some bad luck. I don’t think you can really call it a suck out when someone out draws you – I mean, that’s basically the name of the game, right? I had a set of jacks and a set of twos go down to a set of Aces twice. Any time I had two pair, somebody else had a better two pair. Any time I had a monster, nobody would come for the ride. When I was dealt a flush and stood pat, so did another player who was dealt a full house – hell yes I paid him off! Despite all this, I broke basically even while clearing $50 worth of raked hands. I consider this a win, but I won’ be relying on 5 card draw to grow my bank roll just now.

I did have some fun with some jackass at one draw table. I raised from the small blind with a pair of queens, and he called. I drew three cards, he drew 1. I hit another queen, so I bet again, and again he calls. He showed 2 pair and I took the pot. Well, he started blaming me and Paradise poker, saying “How can you raise with a pair against my two pair and get rewarded – unbelievable”. Mate, the game is called “draw”. You’d think I just hit a 2 outer or something. I suggested he try 5 card stud, and he took this as a personal insult. When he asked how long I had been playing at this site, in another attempt to belittle my play, I lied and said “A few months, how long have you been playing here?” To which he replied a year. Wow, a full year and he’s still on the lowest possible level trying to give out free advice. Well, here’s my free advice – pick a new hobby, your emotions aren’t cut out for poker.

Tried Omaha Hi pot limit, because I hate playing for the low. I was getting dealt crap and found it really hard to adjust to not going for the low and seeing what a decent starting hand would be. From my initial buy in of $40, I was down to just below $20 when a rivered Ace put my King high straight in jeopardy. I suspected the other player was on flush draw, but when he typed in the chat “I started with a Ace high flush…” I had to think about it. Either he was wanting to finish with “And ended with an ace high straight” or was wanting to thrown that out there as a bluff so I thought he had the straight. He bet the pot, which was more than I had left. I folded, and he didn’t show but said he had a pair of aces only. My pride won’t let me believe him.

Not long after this, I won an all-in when my turned straight won out over a flush draw. I was back to where I started. Then, holding pocket Queens and some suited rags to go with them, I saw a Queen high flop with two diamonds, 2 other players get to act before me.

EP bets the pot, MP raises the pot – ok, what the hell is going on here? Someone with a diamond draw, someone with a bluff or someone with a lower set? I decide to sort the men from the boys and once again I am able to raise the pot limit and be all-in. I have EP covered and MP is about $3 over my $40.

Both call. The turn and river puts out a straight possibility but no pairs on the board and no flush. I am immediately pissed off because you just know somebody has got a back door straight out of this. But how couldn’t I go all-in with top set on the flop? Damn, would have been nice too since the pot was now $96, probably the second largest pot I have ever been involved in (besides tournament wise). Lo and behold, the pot is pushed over to me (with excellent graphics too from Paradise poker) and my Queens hold up. I was too delierious to even look at what th eother players had. I went from just about broke to nearly triple my buy-in in two hands. Sometimes it’s great when suckouts don’t happen.

I did have an excellent run in the $10 SNG at Paradise, as these used to be my specialty at Party. I placed in the money in 4 of the first 5 – with finishes in order: 2, 2, 3, 4, 1. At this stage my total investment was $55 for a return of $130, or ROI of 160%. Yeah, I was feeling pretty confident. After the next 4 games though it evened out a little with finishes of 7,3,9,8.

Total SNG investment= $99
Returns= $150
ROI= 51%
ITM= 55%

Not a bad start for there. I was up $100 each on Friday and Saturday, and came crashing down to Earth on Sunday giving back a little bit with some horrendous luck. It was a weird weekend, even though I ended it up nearly $200, I was extremely unlucky. I don’t think I had many suckouts on my behalf (although I did crack Aces with QTo in one SNG – but I was the small stack all-in on a Queen high flop. Slow play aces = deserve what you get). Whenever it was a 60%-40% race, I lost 95%-100% of the time. No less than 6 occasions did I have the best hand one the flop, get the other player all in and then have the board show 4 of the same suit to go with one of their inferior pair.

One bad beat which made me laugh – in one of the SNG’s, heads up I have A4o and raise, he calls. Flop comes Ah4s6s. I raise, and he re-raises me all in. I have to call, and it turns out he was bluffing with two little black ducks (2s2c for the uninitiated). Turn is 5s, river 3s. Runner-runner straight flush to send me packing in second place. What can you do?

I can’t complain, the bank roll creep dangerously close to $1000 Australian again, before ducking back to just over US$700. I have nearly completed the 750 raked hands for the poker source online bonus, which will be done by the end of the week. I had a good upswing, which as soon as I acknowledged it became a down swing on Sunday. There, now I acknowledged the down swing, it can fuck off too.

Pauly continues his good work, but I can’t help noticing some immerging trends…Conversations about Evy’s underwear, numerous pics of Isabelle’s rear end, spotting random lovely looking ladies at the tables (womens event aside), is Pauly feeling the effects of being in Vegas for more than a few weeks without visiting a strip club? Hey, not that we’re complaining or anything…

Thursday, June 23, 2005

More Trouble

Terry Thorne: What are you guys celebrating?
Dino: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of the clitoris.
”Proof of Life”

It would seem that the old PC is not free of harmful effects just yet. Last night it would not work at all, so it looks like she will be going back into the shop for more repairs. I’m a bit disappointed to say the least, and certainly hope the costs don’t run too high as money is exceptionally tight at the moment as we have already started to pay the bills for the wedding – and more seem to pop up each day.

Turns out there are a few books on the market like the ones I spoke of in my last post, and when I have the time and inclination I will have to pursue more of them. I read the first chapter of the Chris Moneymaker one at the publishers website, and it wasn’t really that impressive. Having said that, it was only a page or two of the first chapter, so not really all that much to go on.

Poker On Film’s one year anniversary is slowly approaching, and I may be looking to do something to celebrate the achievement. I was thinking about running a blogger tournament some time soon after the completion of the World Series, as everybody is obviously a little pre-occupied with that. My other reasoning is that all the blogger tournaments in the past have been run on a Sunday night American time, which means Monday morning here in the land of Oz. Naturally that is not a good time for me and I miss out on all the shenanigans. I figure it’s best if I was proactive about this, and instead organise a tournament to my suiting and perhaps throw in a little extra into the prize pool to make it interesting (and bribe more people to play). My final reasoning was to hopefully forge even just 2 sign ups through this blog, as a helper to the October honeymoon we are planning. I have been looking into this with a few different sites and will have more news as this story develops.

Finally, my condolences go to everybody connected to Charlie. I never met him, but felt like he was an old friend thanks to the kind words that every body has said about him. It sounds like he enjoyed his last few days as much as possible, and those responsible should be very proud indeed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Writing Game

Natalie: Hello, David. I mean "sir". Shit, I can't believe I've just said that. Oh and now I've gone and said "shit" - twice. I'm so sorry, sir.
Prime Minister: It's fine, it's fine. You could've said "fuck", and then we'd have been in real trouble.
Natalie: Thank you, sir. I did have an awful premonition that I was going to fuck up the first day. Oh piss-it!
”Love Actually”

Here’s a quick tip for all you Alpha Males out there – if you are required to watch a “chick flick” for either payment of past sins or as a down payment on future ones, take “Love Actually”. It’s hard to come by a romance movie with some decent laughs in it. You’ll love Colin the English boy with a hankering for some American loving, even if his total screen time is about 4 minutes. And if you get through right to the end, you get to see a quick cameo by the most beautiful woman in Hollywood, Shannon Elizabeth, doing one of the worst accents of all time.

I also won a bet with that movie, as our flat mate is in love with Elisha Cuthbert, and I said she was in this movie. She is, again for all of two seconds, but there none the less. I’m a big fan of cameos, as I have said before.

While on the film front, there has been some movement with the script we have finished. I’m sure everybody can understand it’s not easy getting started in any industry, let alone the writing one. Especially so in Australia, where it is mainly a Government funded industry and commercial viability of films is extremely limited. The commercial viability of individuals isn’t, but films themselves are. Anyway, we may have some very promising news coming through soon, so stay tuned.

Got the old PC back last night, and I think the IT guy fixed about 90% of the problems. There are still some pop ups and shit floating on there, but most of the nastiest stuff has been removed. Which means I must dive back into poker ASAP, and continue on my bonus whoring ways…

I have started a new bonus at Paradise Poker, which most people would be familiar with. Again, this is through Poker Source Online and I have to clear 750 raked hands. The good news they define a raked hand the same as Party, meaning you don’t have to contribute to the pot to have it count (but it does have to be raked 25c, meaning a $5 minimum pot. No big deal.).

I started out well and took a nice pot when my two pair was bigger than somebody elses, but then saw no cards for the rest of the night and ended up down just a few dollars. I’m not sure about the layout yet, it has it’s good points and it’s bad.

I’d like to increase my poker DVD collection, as due to not having cable TV in the house at the moment, there is zero poker on our set. I have a copy of the 2003 WSOP Main Event, where Moneymaker won, but you really can’t watch the same tournament too many times before it gets boring. I’m thinking about sending this one off to eBay in the very near future. Through Poker Source Online, I see that you can get the WPT series one, which seems like a good little bonus to pick up on, and one that I will probably take here. I wonder why they don’t have series 2 or 3 up there yet? The PSO store is looking a little light these days, some of Duggle’s card protectors would be awesome there. Can’t remember if he said they were working on that or not.

It’s a good business they have going there – I guess they get about $100 per sign up (which seems pretty standard for this kind of thing) and then they give out $60 plus postage worth of stuff. Hey, I’m happy with that, and good to see they are/should be making a half decent profit margin from all this.

Free stuff rocks. Yeah, free stuff and Quads: they both rock.

I was also fortunate enough to be loaned a copy of Doyle Brunson’s book of poker articles that was re-published in the last few years – but the name of it escapes me for the moment, “According to Doyle” or something like that. I think it was re-named in the reprint. Anyways, cut to the chase: It’s a book basically of poker stories from the man himself. Very informative, interesting and funny stuff – highly recommend it. I’ve even found myself re-telling the stories to my non-poker friends who get a laugh out of it. It makes me wonder why there aren’t more of this style of poker book out on the market – I mean how many poker blogs are there? Granted, hand histories and “I made/loss this much last night” stories are abound and would suck as a book, but surely the illegal card rooms, the late night rampages, the SoCo fuelled blind raising antics and the rise and rise of poker professionals would make an interesting read. I remember when Mick Foley, former professional wrestler, wrote his auto-biography (still the best one I’ve ever read). There had been wrestler books before his, but not many and none anywhere near as successful. After the book made number one on the New York Times bestseller list, every second wrestler was releasing a book (for better or worse – usually much, much worse).

I wonder how long it will be before poker pros get onto this idea. I’m sure there must be a few out there that I am unaware of – but none that have really captured a wide audience beyond the already poker minded punters. Am I over-estimating the value of their stories? Are the poker pro’s now days just casino hopping, playing hand after hand against nameless tourists and business men until they win a bracelet?

Sure, there are plenty of them who will put their name to a strategy book or DVD. Some good, some bad. But why haven’t they gone down the biography line? Maybe as the profile of poker and their champions life, the urge will become greater for the characters (and the dollars too I guess.). I mean, out of everyone reading here, who wouldn’t fork over some hard earned to read Armarillo Slim’s life story, or Johnny Chan’s book entilled “Getting bluffed by Mickey McDermott”. And you have to believe that Phil Hellmuth would love to write his book.

Ok, so maybe some of the pros would be better of leaving their life stories in the past. As much as I admire him as a player, Howard Lederer can be pretty dry at times. I’m sure other players story of “Made shit loads in business, now I play poker” would be equally uninteresting. I’m sure it is just a matter of time though before all this comes to fruition.

To finish off this rambling post, I have to say that I now read Pauly’s WSOP blog at least 3 times a day. Seriously, this is becoming a highlight of my working week and I look forward to finding out how he fares at his “Redneck Riviera” and in the WSOP itself. I see something really big coming out of this for the good Doctor, and be sure that he deserves everything that is coming his way.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Look Before You Le...

David Mills: I've been trying to figure something in my head, and maybe you can help me out, yeah? When a person is insane, as you clearly are, do you know that you're insane? Maybe you're just sitting around, reading "Guns and Ammo", masturbating in your own faeces, do you just stop and go, "Wow! It is amazing how fucking crazy I really am!"? Yeah. Do you guys do that?

As they say, there is no such thing as a “sure thing”. Sure enough, after the last post I looked into putting the $300 wager on for the bonus, and not only couldn’t I do it at Bodog because they don’t cover the cricket, but the sites that do cover the cricket wouldn’t take a bet on the match. What happened? I kept my money anyway, I would have put it on in a heart beat if I could at Bodog just to get the bonus, but I couldn’t.

What happened next was the biggest upset in cricketing history. Half of the Australian team went out and got drunk the night before, with one player still trying to coax more team mates out at four in the morning. He has been in the news here since then and has been suspended from the team. Bangladesh, more playing in the tournament for a free trip to England than to actually compete, so far an underdog that you couldn’t even put a bet on the result, beat the world champions. I would have lost the $300, the “sure thing” just didn’t come through.

I guess you could say that sent a message.

Maybe this is a bigger message though – and I was thinking that perhaps this year will be the year that a woman wins the poker world series main event. I’m not going to put any money down though; I’ll stick to the cards for now.

I know many people claim that the female of the species will never win a world series of poker – how many have even made a final table over the years? I think the best finish ever is 10th, right? This could be the year of upsets. Having said all that, I think Phil Ivey is in for a big showing this year. Lets wait and see hey.

You can tell that I didn’t get to play much poker over the weekend by my incessant rambling. I have been forced to put the machine into the shop to get some more nasties taken care of. There was a few programs running on the PC that shouldn’t have been, and making themselves a right pain, as most of us have experienced at one time or another. Hopefully it will be back and functioning within a few days.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sports Book

Carmine Falcone: No gun? I'm insulted! You could have just sent a thank-you note.
Bruce Wayne: I didn't come here to thank you. I came here to show you that not everyone in Gotham is afraid of you.
Carmine Falcone: Only those who know me, kid.
”Batman Begins”

Trying to finish off the last of some of the bonus at Noble poker last night, but wouldn’t you know it either the PC or the poker room was having problems. I sat down for one hand and then it would freeze. I went out and then back in, and it did the same thing again. Such a shame too, because I found an Omaha table that looked really good.

I think I have a few more nasty things on my machine that shouldn’t be there…besides the poker programs, that is.

I had a bit of an idea just the other day. I’m always looking at Poker Source Online to see if there are any more bonus’ I can take advantage of. When you hardly play limit poker, or if you hardly get off the penny tables, it’s hard to clear many of these raked hand requirements – especially with a small bankroll like mine. But there is one room that has a bit of a different edge to it – at bodog. Bodog also has the option that the bonus is cleared if you wager $300 on their sports book. While betting on things that can talk is a big no-no to some people, generally I don’t mind betting on sports. You can do it at any TAB here in Australia. TAB stands for “Totes and Betting” I think – it’s basically off-track bookies run by the Government.

My thoughts for Bodog were to bet the $300 on a “sure thing” – I know, the dying words of many degenerate gamblers. But I do believe in such a thing – and there is a game on right now that is perfect for such a wager. In England right now, the Australian cricket team is in a series of matches against England. These two teams are ranked 1 and 2 in the world at the moment. That sounds close doesn’t it? And it is – but you see this is a Triangle series – there are three teams in it and the third is Bangladesh. Bangladesh are about 12th in the world (and there are only 12 teams that get ranked). In over 100 years of cricket history, Bangladesh has never beaten either Australia or England – they have never even got close. The English beat them by 10 wickets just yesterday (which is the greatest margin possible when batting second) and there are still 5 or so games to go.

Sure the price would be something like $1.04 (bet $1, get $1.04 back), pretty horrible and the $300 wager would net you a profit of $12 plus $60 worth of stuff from Poker Source Online. So essentially you are risking $300 to win $72, but I think the risk is rather small. Cricket is a game designed to avoid upsets – the game goes for so long that eventually the better team will get back on top. Sure, upsets do happen, but you need more than a fluke for it to come about, you need several flukes. I thought this was worth the gamble.

Sadly, after debating it back and forth and looking at it from every angle, I then decided to find out what the price actually is – it’s 330-1 that Bangladesh win the Tri-series comp, $1.33 for Australia and $2.40 for England. But that’s the local TAB, not Bodog.

Bodog doesn’t cover the cricket. Or the Rugby union, where Australia beat Somoa 74-7 the other day, paying $1.11.

All that thought and glory means nothing. Did you have fun reading it?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

To The Outsider

Cheeseburger Eddy: I got the shakes that'll make you quake. I got the fries that will cross your eyes. I got the burgers that... will... I just got burgers.
”The Longest Yard”

Saw “The Longest Yard” a few days ago. I have seen the original and the British re-make with Vinnie Jones a few years back. If you haven’t seen those two, then the new one will be an excellent movie. While it is probably the worst of the three, I still loved it. Long time readers would know I am a massive Adam Sandler fan – stupid comedy at it’s greatest. I don’t really care if he plays basically the same character in each movie (which is about 90% true). They set out to make stupid jokes, easy comedy and succeed each time. Anyway, what I really wanted to say about “The Longest Yard” 2005 is about the support cast. The support cast was un-freaking-believable, even better when you consider a lot of them were professional athletes. In particular, Bob Sapp and Kevin Nash put in some great comedy moments. Suffice to say I was impressed – and my opinion of Kevin Nash’s acting abilities before the movie were very low indeed. I’m not saying they had challenging roles, but you could say they played the hand they were dealt perfectly. And Tracy Morgan? Don’t get me started – champagne comedy!

Bonus points to anybody who got the champagne comedy reference.

On to poker, and I have a few quick points to go through before a home game report.

Still sticking it out at Noble. I like to dabble on the penny tables in both forms of Omaha, and they have all been empty for the past week. I did sit down at a $1/$2 limit table (shock, horror) to see if I could get something out of it and clear more of the bonus. I found that the biggest stack at the table, about 50% above the maximum buy in, would call to the river on anything. I did pay to see if he made his flush once, and watched another 2 players do the same and pay him off. Right – now if I could only hit a hand. A big blind special was coming up.

T8o, and I limp to see a TT7 flop. I’m not slow playing this, lets go. 2 bets to 3 players to see the turn. The turn fills me up with an 8, and I get another 2 bets out of the other 2 players. The river is a blessing and a curse – it’s the case T. I had the nuts before the river, and the stone cold Nutty McNutts after it which I thought might scare the action away a little. The small Blind in front of me comes out betting, and I figure I have to raise here – I don’t think a call will get me a re-raise from the chip leader. Fortunately, the chip leader calls the 2-bet again and so does the small blind. Chip leader had a 7 with a nice kicker I think, and the SB only had overs. That hand turned me a profit, and when one player stood up I took my leave too. Quads are nice. I’ve always liked quads.

Onto the home game – and this time I was not host, which has it’s good and bad points. Good, because I don’t have to organise anything, don’t have to disturb the Distraction and don’t have to invite a lot of strangers into my home. Bad, because I can’t drink.

This would be a very different game though, because not only were we running two tables for the first time, with 12 runners, but I was bringing along a friend for his first every money game. He has played for free at my place before, against other rank beginners, and actually came out on top. Today would be his baptism by fire, a $20 freeze-out paying the top 4.

I was seated next to the biggest loud mouth the game has ever seen. Truth be known, the games would be extremely boring and half as much fun without him, not that I would ever say that to his face. It was great fun, trading barbs back and forth.

“What would this game be without you – besides enjoyable.”

“This might not be the first time he’s been here, but it is the first time he’s been invited.”

Unfortunately, he became the short stack very early on and was the first to go all-in at our table. The bet was $1K, raised on the SB by the chip leader. The short stack goes all-in for an extra $3K, and the chip leader thinks about it and folds. I informed him that I would make that call with the instruction cards.

True to my word, the very next hand when the short stack goes all-in I call with K2h. He shows A6c, and we have a race. The flop brings two hearts and a club, and the tension builds. The turn, another club, the river brings his runner-runner flush (he was ahead after the turn anyway, but what does it matter.). I’ve given the voice some more chips.

At the next orbit, myself on the BB again, we have one caller in middle position and the short stack goes all-in for about $6K, blinds being $300/$600. I re-raise to $20K, which I think sent a loud enough message. Fuck off, I want him. This is probably not the best poker play, but this game is more for fun anyway. He shows TT, by far the best hand he has had all night (he was cold decked something shocking). I show my best hand all night, Cowboys. And one more joined me on the flop, which was good enough to float through to the river. It did little to quiet him down, but at least I had one up on him from now on.

I managed to knock one other player out, with a little pre-raising and on a ten high flop, I put out a bet UTG. He thought about it, and then pushed. I had him covered, and if I won we would be down to the final table of six. I held KT, top pair with an ok kicker. I think he has AK-AJ, I doubt he hit anything and I don’t believe that he would be going this strong with an over-pair in the hole. The player is from a new group who I have never played against before and seems pretty decent. I call, and show my cards. I could see the disappointment on his face but he manages to applaud my call as he flips over 88, which didn’t match anything on the board. The turn and river come without incident and we are down to the final table. It was a big call, and even though my read was wrong, it was still for the right reasons I think. He showed class in getting knocked out too, which was good to see and makes these friendly games all the better.

The final table is very aggressive, and no hands goes un-raised pre flop. I loose a chunk on one hand when I tried to scare off a medium stack with 2 diamonds showing – I had Adx and he pushed. I couldn’t call, even though I think he was on a draw too. I had to wait for a decent hand.

We get down to the bubble, and from middle position I raise with QT, the best hand I’ve seen in the last hour. Folded around to the BB, the host, who says he hasn’t played a pot with me yet and is looking forward to it.

Flop comes 46T. I make a bet, he calls.

Turn comes a 3 (from memory, it is a little fuzzy). He puts out a bet, and I think about what he could have and then made a silly move – I pushed. I don’t know why I thought top pair would be good, maybe he had crap and his two pair or maybe he had an over-pair and was trapping me? I don’t know why I did push, but it took him 0.48 milli-seconds to call. He showed 57o for the nut straight, and I was drawing dead to the river – which was another ten. Silly, silly move and I paid for it. My friend who came along sat at the other table to me, and he was the first one knocked out at his table, second overall.

While the final money places were being sorted out (very slowly), the rest of us losers decided to start up a 7 man game for $10 buy in, pay top 3. My friend said he would be happy to watch – even though I offered to pony up the buy in for him. The loud mouth though wouldn’t take no for an answer – he paid for him and demanded he sit down, saying he doesn’t care about the money, he’s just here to have fun and play cards. I’ll come back to this after I talk about the game.

The loud mouth was first one out, which I consoled him for – “At least you weren’t the first one out in the other game too. Oh, hang on…”. Kick ‘em while their down I say.

My reluctant-to-play friend was a bit of a calling station, but I believe was correct in doing so. There were obvious attempts to buy the pot from him a few times, and he called with top of middle pair to beat out busted straights or Ace high. One player even said he’s like herpes – you just can’t get rid of him. He won about 6 pots in a row and built a healthy lead up.

One major hand I remember. With an all-in in front of me, I raised to my all-in as well with ATh, as I had been blinded down from the get go. The person to my left thinks and folds, then my friend the chip leader also calls. He shows AKo, and the other all-in has…AKo. Hey, if I’m going to be up against Big Slick, it’s better that there is two of them.

What sucked was the player to my left who decided to show his cards now that there was no more betting to go – KT. Damn, there goes one of my outs.

Flop, no hearts or picture cards, so there goes my straight or flush chance. Turn, pairs the 6 on the board. I say loudly “Fuck – I got two outs. Only a ten will help me”.

Thank you Gambling Gods.

A ten hit the river, and you could here the noise from my place. I tripled up and never looked back, taking first and making a $10 profit for the night.

Back to when the loud mouth paid the buy in for my friend – I felt a weird sense of pride. You see, nobody in my close circle of friends like poker, and it was a bit of a risk taking one of them to these games. Even though the money isn’t big, it is still money. And we all know how hard it is to explain playing poker for money to the un-initiated that think it will be patronised by mafia and underground criminal types. But here was this guy, knew my friend for all of 5 minutes and was willing to pay for him just so he could get a decent game going. That is what home game poker is all about. I tell you, I was very proud.

I spoke to my friend on the way home, see how he liked it and what he thought and if he would go again. It was funny, he said he had a great time and would come again, but it was a massive eye opener for him.

“All these people, for seven hours all they talked about was poker. The topic never changed once. It was like this underground cult thing”.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

I only know all these people through poker. I have never seen any of them except when cards were at the table. In my life, in my circle of friends like I have already said, none are interested in poker. It is hard to talk to them about the World Series and the recent raid’s in Adelaide when they know nothing about them and have even less interest. When I go to the poker games, it’s like a big purge. I imagine most of the other players are the same too, they can’t share the passion with anybody else and it is an obvious common ground amongst the group. But it was funny seeing it from an outsiders point of view. He said he could only understand half of what was being said, but I’m glad he wasn’t scared off.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

My Lady

Napoleon Dynamite: Stay home and eat all the freakin' chips, Kip.
Kip: Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.
”Napoleon Dynamite”

You know, I fail to see what the big deal was about this movie. I thought it was just ok, nothing spectacular – which was probably what it was going for. Our flatmate got all pissy too when I told him this, because he still can’t believe that we didn’t like Hitchhiker’s as much as he did. Moving on…

I have hardly played much poker over the last weekend, maybe due to a severe bout of jealousy at all my fellow bloggers hitting up Vegas. I did have an excellent exchange at the tables a few night ago though.

Early on I limp with cards I can not recall now, and then manage to hit a flush on the turn or river, taking down a medium sized pot – nothing to write home about. Then some ass starts talking. Actually, all he did was type “poofter” in the chat box. For the uninitiated, this is an Australian (and British) word for a homosexual. So this means not only am I being insulted at the table, it is coming from a fellow country men. I choose not to respond, which makes him say “You probably don’t even know what it means”. His stack is at $6 and I plan on taking it.

Unfortuantly, I put him all in when I had A8s, and he had KQs which was good for two pair. He is back up to a healthy sized stack thanks to another small stack who came for the ride. A little back and forth action, and then I am dealt pocket Queens.

My relationship with the pocket Queens goes way back. It first started when I thought I made the move of my life in a live game by laying them down pre-flop against two all-ins. One player had 66, the other had 99 and there was a Queen on that flop. In these live games, I seem to get knocked out by a Queen in someone’s hand or by a Queen hitting the flop more often than not. Even my lovely distraction knocked me out with pocket Queens in one tournament. I have lost countless pots with them, but still I play them like nothing has ever happened. Maybe this is the result of a seasoned poker veteran, or the resolve of a young punk willing to get kicked in the junk by two bitches who will leave him broken and battered without batting an eyelid.

I managed to give myself enough strength to raise 4xBB pre-flop. He re-raises me and I take a deep breathe as I push my chips into the middle. I just know this jack ass is going to call.

After all the cards are dealt, nothing above a ten is on the board and no flush possibilities. I show my Queens, and he shows AQ for ace high nothing. I managed to clean him out and then some, which prompted him to re-type his original insult, only this time in capital letters. He did not re-buy, much to my dismay, and left immediately. I addressed the rest of the table: “Shame he’s gone. I liked him.” I play for another hour without loosing any ground and cash out.

It’s always fun to leave the table at a profit, but it feels even better when it is at the hands of some nimrod like that.

The distraction and I started honeymoon shopping on the weekend, which really means we just grabbed a bunch of brochures. It’s still too early to get in on all the good deals, but when her maid of honour starts working at the travel agents next month, you can bet we’ll be cashing in a few favours.

I’ve always said that if we ran into a bunch of money somehow, we would have our honeymoon in Vegas. I don’t know why she agrees, but that is now our number 1 holiday destination. Sure, we have no plans to go there because it would costs us upwards of $10K to do it, which is about $8K more than we have budgeted for. But you know, if I should maybe get $10K delivered to my hone in unmarked small bills, we’d be in Vegas before the die bomb went off.

Looks like the Pacific Islands are a much more viable option for the time being.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

101 Things About Heafy

General Grievous: The Negotiator, General Kenobi a pleasure. And young Skywalker, I would have expected someone of your reputation to have been... older.
Anakin Skywalker: General Grievous, you're shorter that I imagined.
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith”

Without much poker to speak of, I have decided to include my 101 things about Heafy. Why 101? Because it just worked out that way.

1. Heafy prefers the colour blue.
2. Heafy excelled in maths at primary school. In the sixth grade, he was literally put into a class by himself.
3. Heafy and his older brother were once dating sisters.
4. Heafy has always wanted to own a bulldog named Linford.
5. Heafy can’t stand current affairs shows.
6. Heafy’s favourite movie of all time is “The Crow”.
7. Heafy’s career in Brazilian Ju Jitsu fights: 0-2. One loss on points, one loss due to referee stoppage (blood).
8. Heafy has a commerce degree, but his University “forgot” he was enrolled and he left 2 years short of a law degree. He wants neither of them.
9. Heafy got his first kiss at a school dance – he had been dating the girl for over a year at that stage.
10. Heafy’s first album he paid for was Poison – “Open up and say ah”. The first album he ever owned was Bananarama – “Wow”.
11. Heafy’s childhood hero was Michael Jordan.
12. Heafy has never smoked a cigarette, but has tried cigars.
13. Heafy’s first time drunk was on cheap vodka when he was 15. He has been drinking bourbon and beer since then.
14. Heafy had a foam mannequin’s head, named “Head”, with him for two consecutive New Year’s Eve parties at a caravan park near his hometown.
15. Heafy was once kicked out of that caravan park for allegedly pissing on the van of the guy who runs it. It was a false accusation; he was pissing on the tree next to it.
16. Heafy’s little brother pissed on the BBQ of the guy who runs the caravan park daily for the week after this.
17. Heafy can’t play any musical instruments, but has always wanted to play the drums.
18. Heafy’s first car was a 1979 Ford Escort that cost $400.
19. Heafy got his left ear pierced when he was 14. The earring stayed with him until he was 21.
20. Heafy went to a catholic school for the first 7 years of his education.
21. Heafy is a qualified barman, but has never had a full time job behind the bar.
22. Heafy also has a licence to operate a Bobcat (skid steer loader).
23. Heafy has never played cards at a casino.
24. Heafy’s favourite soft drink is Mountain Due.
25. Heafy is a middle child.
26. Heafy never finished one book he studied in High School English.
27. Heafy has never tried any illegal drugs – not because he is anti-drugs but because he is too cheap.
28. Heafy favourite cable TV channel is “The Comedy Channel”.
29. Heafy represented his state in basketball.
30. Heafy cannot surf or skateboard or roller blade.
31. Heafy believed the story about the guy waking up in the bathtub full of ice without his kidneys the first time he heard it.
32. Heafy is extremely competitive.
33. Heafy’s favourite movie trilogy is “Back to the Future”.
34. Heafy scored 7 out of 25 (28%) on his first Law exam at university.
35. Heafy is a massive fan of the Grand Theft Auto series of games.
36. Heafy won’t eat spaghetti unless he is drunk.
37. Heafy had a barmaid buy him a drink when he was only 15.
38. Heafy has only ever broken one bone – a rib.
39. Heafy has never had any stiches.
40. Heafy failed his driver’s license theory test twice and his practical test once.
41. Heafy currently does not wear any jewellery.
42. Heafy’s favourite comedians are Dave Gorman and Arj Barker.
43. Heafy’s favourite Muppets are Statler and Waldorf, the balcony watchers.
44. Heafy has a passport but has never been overseas.
45. Heafy has only ever lived in one state, New South Wales.
46. Heafy’s teenage bedroom was covered from floor to ceiling in posters, mostly basketball posters. The roof had glow in the dark stars on it.
47. Heafy can sing all the words to the theme from “The Golden Girls”.
48. Heafy’s favourite cartoon growing up was “Astro Boy”.
49. Heafy always has a pair of black Nike shorts in his wardrobe. When one pair gets too many holes, he buys another pair.
50. Heafy can only speak English, even though he studied French and Italian for a year each at school.
51. Heafy has an amazing memory for small insignificant facts.
52. Heafy has read out his poetry in front of 150 drunken patrons at a football club.
53. Heafy owns all five Adam Sandler albums.
54. Heafy used to collect key rings and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles trading cards. Both hobbies didn’t last long.
55. Heafy was the Master of Ceremonies at his Year 12 Formal Ball, which was handy because he didn’t bother to find a date for it.
56. Heafy has always had a very steady supply of “female friends” who were not girlfriends, if you know what I mean.
57. Heafy has dated two girls with the initials SS. He is marrying the second one later this year.
58. Heafy’s shoe size is 13.
59. Heafy has owned 4 cars in his life time, and no two have been the same colour. In chronological order: White, red, blue and silver.
60. Heafy doesn’t drink wine. He just doesn’t like the taste of any he has tried yet.
61. Heafy had been to 6 Hawthorn AFL games before he got to see his favourite team win. To date his record is 1-7.
62. Heafy has bought only one vinyl record in his life – a single of “We didn’t start the fire” by Billy Joel.
63. Heafy wrote, directed and starred in his first play when he was 10.
64. Heafy hates stupid people.
65. Heafy likes his bourbon best when it is mixed with Pepsi Max.
66. Heafy has only ever walked out on a movie once – it was an Imax movie about skiing.
67. Heafy once kicked a football over the Darling River. The width was only about 30 metres, but it sounds impressive.
68. Heafy bought a Nintendo 64 with prize money he won through an academic scholarship when he was 17.
69. Heafy had a fancy dress party for his 18th way back in 1998. He was dressed as “The Crow” and spent a good portion of the night with Magenta from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”.
70. Heafy knows all the words to “Sweet Transvestite” and most of the other songs out of Rocky Horror.
71. Heafy was the 11th member of his family to play football for North Broken Hill Bulldogs in the A league. He was also the youngest at 15 – the youngest before that was his dad at 16.
72. Heafy does a kick ass impersonation of Kermit the Frog singing “Rainbow Connection”.
73. Heafy prefers Futurama over the Simpsons, but probably only because it has less of a following.
74. Heafy has only ever fired a gun twice – a shotgun at moving clay pigeon targets. He hit the first one and missed the second.
75. Heafy hates competitive swimming because he was forced to do it when he was younger.
76. Heafy takes voting very seriously, but takes little interest in politics.
77. Heafy worked in telesales for 3 days before he decided to quit. He did not make one sale in that time.
78. Heafy has never seen the first three Star Wars movies (episodes 4-6) from start to finish.
79. Heafy prefers his beer in a bottle.
80. Heafy doesn’t drink tea or coffee; he prefers Milo or hot chocolate.
81. Heafy tried to get a Chocolate and Banana flavoured mud cake for his wedding, but was denied.
82. Heafy reads a lot of biographies and auto-biographies. The best ones include Richard Branson, David Foster and Mick Foley.
83. Heafy owns only one music DVD – The complete masterworks of Tenacious D.
84. Heafy won a prize for his artwork when he was 6.
85. Heafy had a perfect score in a standardised reading comprehension test when he was in the second grade. The test was supposed to measure the sixth grade.
86. Heafy was given a Mad magazine subscription for his 22nd birthday.
87. Heafy owns every episode of Red Dwarf on either DVD or video.
88. Heafy is a sucker for Jamie Oliver TV shows.
89. Heafy doesn’t drink alcohol at live sporting events.
90. Heafy delivered pizza for Pizza Hut as a summer job once, then realised he was getting about $3 an hour for it and quit.
91. Heafy doesn’t touch South Australian beer. It’s better that you don’t either.
92. Heafy can’t walk past a sink with suds in it. He has to wash them down before he can move on.
93. Heafy has never hit a “Hole in one”, but has got close a couple of times.
94. Heafy is the only “full” right-handed person in his family. Both parents are left handed, and his two brothers swing left-handed but write with their right.
95. Heafy works in an office environment, but refuses to wear a tie.
96. Heafy threw his older brother through a plate glass window when he was 5. He ended up on the front lawn without a scratch on him.
97. Heafy cannot see what is so special about soccer.
98. Heafy is destined to win the lottery one day, even though he rarely buys a ticket.
99. Heafy once had four interviews for a large IT company, and still didn’t get the job.
100. Heafy has met Dave Gorman and got him to sign his book, but Dave addressed it to his fiancé who was in another city at the time.
101. Heafy never used to like the nickname Heafy – it was only when it was used as an insult towards him that he decided to adopt it and make it his own. Hardly anyone other than himself uses it now which is fine.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Are Those The Nuts In Your Pocket...

Mama Ragetti: I find you disgusting.
Grandpa Gustafson: Well, just as long as you find me.
”Grumpier Old Mean”

One of my favourite movie quotes of all time.

I have been happy with my poker play of late. I dropped about $100 last week, and have now got a little over half of it back. I stopped making donkey calls and started putting people on hands. I have noticed the last few days that I am learning more about betting patterns and seeing when a bluff is just that – although I still find it very hard to put 50% of my stack in the middle with nothing but bottom pair.

I guess I am of a slightly different mould to most. What attracts most people to poker is the notion that the cards don’t matter. The ever magical “Bluff” that exists in the dreams of every Rounders-wannabe. I differ slightly, in that I am not a risk taker. Most poker players I believe would prefer to pull off a big bluff than to win with the nuts, and I can understand that. To win with the nuts, all it takes is cards. To win with nothing, that takes skill in reading your opponents, knowing your own table image, controlling your emotions and signals and so on and so forth. There is a lot of method to the madness of bluffing – and everybody has to admit that they feel a sense of pride and strength when flipping over 72o on a board full of paint.

I do too, I love it when a bluff comes off. It is taking a pot that doesn’t belong to me. But I love nothing more than someone else betting into me when I have the nuts. It is those moments that I play for. Sure, this is probably why I play too tight and can be accused as being a Squirrel (just gathering nuts). But when you check your quads on the river, and two people try to bluff you out of the pot, that’s when the fun starts for me. Sure, it’s a safe bet really. It isn’t if I’m going to win, it is only how much.

I think this is a weakness in my game, not a strength though. If I only ever win when I have the best cards, I am giving up a huge advantage. It’s hard to rely on winning the hand at showdown every time. Perhaps this is a by-product of playing at the low limits for so long. Why is it that I am still at the low limits after nearly a year? I think I make more frequent withdrawals than most part time poker players. Again, this is to reduce risk. And to pay for a bloody wedding.

Is it all a confidence game? Of course that plays a part in it. I now don’t flinch when I shove $50 into a pot. I don’t do it more than once a night either though. I’m happy grinding out the penny tables and the small SNG’s for now.

Made the final table of a MTT last night, and it has been a while since I have done that. Unfortunately it was only 67 players at a $2 entry fee. I walked out in 7th pocketing a few dollars for my troubles. I spent a little time at the top spot when we were down to 8 but made a bad call when I had a bet in front of me heads up on the river. I thought my TPTK may be good and perhaps this was just a steal attempt, but it turned out to be the nuts trying to squeeze some more juice from me. I was overall happy with my game though.

Time for some linkage, and for a MTT final table finish last night, it would be grand to include
Part Time Poker in my blogroll. I always love reading about different tournaments and results, and this blog is worth a read.