Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I was going deep in The Mookie, then this ...
Shit - 14th freaking place.
Big Day in Chicago Sports

Headline: Bears bench Grossman in favor of Griese

It is about time, don't ya think? Last year was maddening (excuse the pun!). You never knew if Good Rex or Bad Rex was going to show up. There was such hope from his excellent games. He just doesn't seem to have what it takes to make adjustments. Unfortunately, this was highlighted in a very public way against Dallas. Romo -- damn him -- is what Rex should be.

Of course, Rex is just another of the many Bear QB failures in my lifetime. Jack Concannon, Bobby Douglas, Virgil Carter, Bob Avellini, and on ... and on ... and on ...

Headline: Blackhawks owner Wirtz dies of cancer at 77

It's about time, don't ya think? "Dollar Bill" Wirtz has controlled and ruined what was my favorite sports team. For the past 40 years, Wirtz took a once-proud franchise, ran it into the ground, and chased away the entire fan base. Thanks to Wirtz, home games were never televised locally (even when the entire damn season was sold out), and even the radio broadcasts didn't begin until after the first period was over. Talk about the opposite of a fan-friendly owner ...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Nasty beats continued this week as I donked off a few buy ins at Bodog and Full Tilt. The carnage included losing to flopped quads and having some guy call my pot-sized bets all the way to the river to catch his gutshot draw.

Things got even worse at The Mookie. I was in the small blind with Q-9 diamonds and called. When swimmom95, the big blind, raised, I called. The flop was Queen high, so I checked to trap. I was guessing that I had her beat unless she raised with A-Q, in which case I was doomed anyway. Swimmom raised and I went all in. She called with A-K. Two cards away from an almost double up, and then ... you guessed it. Need I say more?

Short stacked, I was in the big blind one orbit later with J-8 os. The button raised and I called. The flop was 6-5-J. I insta-pushed all in and was called by jimdniacc, who had 5-4. The turn? A 5!

What can you do? Sometimes I hate this freakin' game.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Just Another Day at the Poker Tables

Played in a b&m charity tournament today. In the opening event (a real donk-a-thon called the "5 Dolla Holla"), the rapidly-increasing blinds made it almost an all in or fold tourney. I made it halfway through and was all in in a four-way pot preflop with Q-Q. The flop: K-K-7. The turn:A. Talk about bad cards for Q-Q! Needless to say, I was out.

I then played in a $30 Warm Up tournament and was doing okay before the first break. Then, three consecutive great starting hands proved to be my undoing:

Hand 1: Dealt K-K. I put in a good raise and everyone bailed.

Hand 2: Dealt Q-Q. A short stack wagers half his stack, and I put him on A-rag or a lower pocket pair. Figuring that he was drawing to two or three outs, I put him all in and he calls. His cards: A-7 hearts. The flop, of course, brings an Ace, and the turn -- another Ace!

Hand 3: Dealt A-A. I went all in and was called by the big blind, who had 10-8 spades. The flop: 7-9-J! Was this Full Tilt Poker in real life, or what?

I decided that I would not stick around for the upcoming satellitle or the main event. I just didn't feel lucky today...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Grabbed first place in a blogger tournament at Bodog Tuesday evening. The field, although small, had some good players in it who played tough, like second-place finisher smokkee and fourth-place finisher Irongirl01. Combined with an early-morning victory at, I am now shooting for three in a row. I even found some easy pickings at the $50 max NL tables at Bodog, so maybe the poker gods are giving me some of the cards they withheld in Las Vegas ...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Las Vegas Trip Report: Part II

I only played one session at Harrahs. I feel kind of claustrophobic in that room so I don't usually play there.

Raised A-Q in early position and got some callers. The flop: A-Q-Q! I decided to slow play the sucker for all that is was worth. I was hoping to take two to the river, but one bailed out just short. Made a nice profit on this hand and a few others.

The table started to break up when a late-night tournament was starting. We played short handed for some time, but then one of the Ballys rounders sat down. I haven't seen this gal play before, but she came to the table with that high-on-speed nervousness that I hate. She bought in short and immediately tried to drive people out with raises. I just wasn't in the mood and decided to leave with a nice stack.


Believe it or not, Flamingo was one really hopping place! The room has come a long way in the past year or so. There were always several tables going, even long into the night.

My first session at Flamingo was a disaster. I was getting all kind of great cards, but missed the flops almost completely. One guy was playing all crap cards and was lucking out in catching almost every flop. Then a new guy came to the table and caught fire, and unfortunately, I went up against him. After splitting a pot when we both flopped a kings over aces full house (we both had A-K), I flopped a baby flush. I decided to go all in against him (it was just the two of us), and he decided to call. He had also flopped a flush, but his was a middle flush. End of session.

I played a second session and once again A-Q was gold. The flop was 10-J-K. Unfortunately, the flop chased almost everyone out and I didn't make nearly as much as I could have. An emergency (which I will cover later) made me exit the table before I could get a solid session established.


I spent more time at Ballys than any other room this trip. Ballys had been a favorite of mine last year until I started playing The Venetian and The Wynn. However, Ballys seemed to be the most active room I was in this time. There were several tables going and a healthy waiting list at times.

Ballys used to be almost all tourists, but the Ballys rounders have been taking over the tables at Ballys (and maybe Paris and Harrahs) more than I would like. There was still plenty of easy money to be had, but I just never hit the motherload hand with the crazy players in the hand. Still, Ballys is a fun place to play -- close to the bar, and most people seemed to be having fun.


Stayed at New York-New York for two nights and Flamingo for two nights, all nights comped to my brother. I liked the room at New York and the easy access to MGM. With several other poker rooms within walking distance, this was not a bad place to stay. I heard that New York-New York once had a poker room, but it closed right before the boom.

At Flamingo, we got one of the crappy old rooms. The worst part was the carpet, which look liked it needed to be replaced ten years ago. The Flamingo was also the scene of our first really bad event in Las Vegas in a combined 60+ trips. My brother had an ID card, debit card, cell phone, and a few bucks stolen while he was at the pool. He was fortunate that he brought his debit card by mistake instead of his credit card and didn't have more cash on him.

Strangely enough, Flamingo security actually found his stuff (minus the cash) the next day and got in touch with me. Unfortunately, we were already at the airport. They made me pay for shipping the items home, which seemed awfully chinchy to me.


Food is usually an afterthought on our trips to Las Vegas, but we did decide to go to Pampas Churrascaria for lunch for my brother's birthday. Pampas is located at the far south end of the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. If you've never been to a rodizio-style restaurant before, Pampas would not be a bad choice. We certainly ate our fill of the steak, chicken, sausage, pork, and other items delivered to the table. I had a coupon from the restaurant and our lunch cost only $40 - tip included. We would go back.

We also decided to try the Ellis Island Cafe $4.95 steak special. We had never been in Ellis Island before (it is just a few blocks east of Paris), and were not surprised that it appeared to be a locals grinder joint. Although we received poor service from our waiter, the food came ultra-fast. We got a decent sized steak, a mound of mashed potatoes and gravy, tasty green beans, and an excellent salad for $4.95. Who can complain?

The Flamingo breakfast buffet (only $9.99 with a coupon) was actually not bad. The buffet included cooked-to-order omelettes and regular breakfast items. It may not be the fanciest place in the world, but it was good, fresh food at a cheap price.

Final Comments

I got in a tremendous amount of $1/2 NL action on the trip. Unfortunately, I ended up a little in the red. Considering I never came close to getting on a rush, I guess I can live with losing a little. Since I will be returning in six weeks, I wasn't too concerned with getting into tournaments. Next month, however, I will probably get back to entering at least one Caesar's tournament and maybe get to The Venetian, which I was not able to do this trip. Las Vegas has so many poker choices ...

It's funny -- even though I played so many hands of Hold Em, I just don't seem to get the same buzz that I do when I go deep in a tournament. Of course, maybe if I had come out $2000 ahead ...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Las Vegas Trip Report: Part I

How to put down everything that happened in Las Vegas over a five-day span from September 2-6 ... that is a task. I'll start with my experiences at the different poker rooms, then conclude with non-poker information. All my ring table poker was either $1/2 or $1/3 NL.


MGM was the first room I visited after getting into Las Vegas last Sunday morning (Sept 2). Nothing like starting the trip off in a bad way as I was dealt horrible cards. In the first 75 minutes, I got no pocket pairs and my best cards were A-10 suited. I finally got a pocket pair (snowmen) and hit my set on the flop. Unfortunately, only one other person was in the hand and I wasn't able to make a killing on it. After a few more hours of poor starting cards, I finally gave up and decided to move on.

My second session at MGM started much the same way. The players in seats 7, 8, 9 and 10 had decent stacks and appeared to be catching hands while the other half of the table got in occasionally. However, my big break came when I was dealt 6-6. The board was dangerous -- spade flush draw and the possibility of flopping a straight. Seat 9 led out with a $50 bet. Since the starting maximum was $200 and I had just been mostly contributing blinds, I (Seat 1)decided to push and went all in for about $185. Seat 2 went in the tank and finally decided to fold. Seat 9, however, called. The turn was absolutely one of the most lovely things I had ever seen -- a 6! I can't even remember what the river was.
It turns out that Seat 2 had a King-high flush draw. Too bad he didn't call. Seat 1 flopped a straight. How many times have we seen a flopped straight lose?
I won a few more hands, then decided to move on since I was once again getting virtually no cards. Too bad the only time I got quads the entire trip was at a place with no high hand jackpots.
The Wynn
I was only at The Wynn for an hour or two. It seems to me that there is more variance in the type of players and tables at The Wynn than any other place on the strip.
My first table had a few players who had decent stacks -- $400+. A few of the players appeared to only be playing with about $100 in front of them. The play was extremely tight. Players were heavily debating whether or not to make $9 calls. Geez.
The first table disbanded at dinner time, so a new one reformed. I made the mistake of sitting between two aggressive players with lots of chips and stacks of hundred dollar bills behind. They were raising up pre-flop no matter what and were making big raises throughout. I decided this wasn't the table for me and moved on.
Planet Hollywood
I actually like the new room at Planet Hollywood. Unfortunately, I was only able to play two sessions since the other times I attempted there were too few players.
In the first session, I was doing well until I got an idiot sitting on my left. As soon as he came to the table, he started making big raises and re-raises with a minimal stack -- an obvious donkey. He lost chips and then donked out a few hands, so the better players at the table were looking to bust him. Then my opportunity came. I got K-K and raised. The villain called and was my only caller. The flop was an excellent flop for me: 3-7-J. I checked, knowing what would happen next. Yep -- the villain went all in. I called only to find that this guy called my pre-flop raise with 7-3os. I got no help on the turn or river, and doubled him up. Unfortunately, someone else busted him before I got my chips back. I tilted just a little and lost a pot I should have won. I was hesitant to put in a big raise that I should have and was beaten on the river by a guy who was on a semi-bluff. Never would have happened if I wasn't skittish after getting wounded by the donkey.
Second session was another good one. I played all my hands correctly and came out with a nice profit. However, I was not involved in the most fun hand. One guy was ready to leave and had even racked his chips. He was in a hand and had bottom two pair after the flop. He led out for $50 and was put all in by a big stack. He tanked until someone called time, then waited until the absolute last second to call -- about an additional $200-300. He was right on with his prediction -- that the other player had top pair and a flush draw. Unfortunately, the turn completed the flush and he lost all his chips. He came back ten minutes later and bought in for another $200. He lost that in about ten minutes. That amounted to almost a $1000 turnaround in bankroll in 20 minutes if the flush doesn't hit.
I had only one session at Paris since there were few people there most of the times I looked. I ended up with a nice profit, but unfortunately that was dented somewhat by this drunk biotch who had a big stack and was calling everything. I was in the big blind and flopped a low straight. I bet it big to get rid of chasers, but she stayed in. As you might guess, she hit her four-outer on the turn -- a gutshot draw for a higher straight. I had seen her play with some crap to the end, so I decided to pay her off to see it. In retrospect, I should have bailed. My instincts were correct, but the stubborn Irishman part of me wouldn't let go of my hand.
A couple of guys pushed all in on questionable plays and I couldn't figure what was going on. After one guy got busted, I heard the other guy slam him. Curious, I asked, "Excuse me, but why were you so angry at him when you just sat down at the table?" He replied, "I've played with him before. He's a weasel and I hate his fucking guts." Guess that explains it.
Treasure Island
Okay - here is where I really screwed up. After my unfulfilling session at The Wynn, I decided to give Treasure Island a try. It is a favorite of several members of All Vegas Poker, an excellent forum to which I have belonged and written trip reports for a few years. TI had a tournament starting in ten minutes (7pm), so I jumped in.
The poker gods seemed to be with me as I got some excellent starting hands and grabbed several thousand chips, putting myself as the chip leader in this small (two table) tournament. Unfortunately, TI allows people to enter late (and rebuy), and that was when the trouble started. A new player came to the table, and I was pretty sure I had played in tournaments with him before. He started raising and chasing people out of hands, so I thought I would teach him a little lesson. I got pocket 10s and merely called, knowing that he would, of course, raise to get people out. As expected, he raised (about 500 - blinds were maybe 50/100), and I re-raised over the top -- about 2,500. Much to my surprise, he went all in. With so much in the pot I felt I had to call, and was hoping that he was drawing on A-K . Nope: A-A! Boy, did I feel stupid. I went from chip leader to one of the guys who would be pushing before too long.
During the break, I met Las Vegas Michael, the moderator of the AVP forums. He told me that my nemesis was none other than AVP all star Yappy Dave. Yeah -- it looked like I figured out his plan -- intimidate and chip up early -- but I sure had rotten timing, didn't I? I eventually doubled up on 9-9 vs 8-8 in a battle of short stacks, then went out while trying to steal blinds with Ad-7d. I knew no one except maybe Yappy Dave would call, but unfortunately, the poker gods gave him A-Q. Needless to say, I might think twice the next time I am cruising in a tournament and decide to "teach someone a lesson."
Las Vegas Trip Report: Part II will include Harrahs, Bally's, Flamingo, and other items.
While I am collecting my thoughts on my recent Las Vegas trip, I thought I would first write about some other things, both current and past, as I am experiencing some severe pangs of nostalgia.

A Tale of Two Homecomings: Part I

It is homecoming at my daughter's high school this weekend. Heather, who is a sophomore, plans on going to the dance with a few of her female friends -- which is certainly alright with me. However, one of her acquaintances, Samantha, is going with a boy a few years older.

Samantha and Heather used to be friends, but just grew apart. However, Sam is still part of a car pool arrangement, and occasionally I take her home from school. Today, it was just Sam and light.

I asked her if she was going to the homecoming dance, and she said yes. She had worked this past summer with a guy who is a few years older than her. He sent her a dozen roses and then asked her to the dance. Sam said that she really wasn't interested in the guy but accepted the invitation since he bought her roses. She said that he understood that they were going "as friends."

Sam is a nice girl and recently has been blossoming into an attractive young lady. She lives with her mom (I think that Sam's dad died of cancer some years ago), who is barely making it. I've always felt this fatherly feeling toward Sam since she has, as far as I can see, no positive male figures in her life.

Anyway, when Sam was telling me that she was going with this guy because he bought her the flowers and she felt like she owed him something, alarms went off in my head.

I told her that she should never feel like she owes a guy anything no matter what he gets for her, and filled her in on some of the ways guys think and act -- a topic on which I'm pretty sure she has little knowledge. I probably went a little overboard, and now am wondering if I should have just kept my mouth shut. Was I out of line?
A Tale of Two Homecomings: Part II
It was August, 1975. I was at the beginning of my senior year in high school and was the Student Government president. I was active in sports, was having fun working at McDonald's, and was looking forward to an excellent last year in high school. Life was good.
I went to my high school for senior picture day and met Karin, an exchange student from Germany. Karin had just come to the USA and was still struggling with English. She was quite attractive -- tall with a thin, tapered body, and a huge chest. She appeared to be friendly and intelligent, so I filed all this information away as I prepared for my pictures.
A local celebration/carnival was being held in September, and I decided to ask Karin out. I guess I didn't realize what a big deal that would be -- her first "American date." We went to the carnival, but one thing bothered me: her lack of understanding of English. Although we seemed to get along quite well, I had this feeling that she wasn't really able to understand my personality -- which largely revolved around making lame puns and "clever" jokes. Also, I was wondering why I would want to start a relationship with someone who would be going back to her home in another country in less than a year anyway. Geez -- was I seriously an idiot, or what?
Although I was extremely busy that fall with Cross Country, Student Government, my FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) club, of which I was president, and work, I still had a little time to get to know Karin. As I first suspected, she was really nice and very intelligent. Karin would come to my lunch table almost every day to fawn all over me -- which, of course, made me a god in the eyes of the socially backwards male crowd with whom I ate. I have to say, I ate up the attention and the admiration. But ... there was still that little detail -- Karin really didn't understand who I really was.
As homecoming grew closer, Karin fawned even more, wearing the most attractive outfits possible. My geekish friends were astounded that I hadn't asked her to the dance, and I told them that I just didn't think that I was too interested in going with her. I then started thinking that perhaps I was being really foolish, but alas -- it was too late. There was no way that the foreign exchange sponsors were going to let this girl go to the dance without an escort, so apparently a guy (a dweeb and most likely gay) was persuaded to ask her. She accepted, and I kicked myself for being so stupid.
I went to the dance alone (felt I had to go as StuGo president), and saw that Karin's date was the ONLY guy to not be wearing a suit or a sport coat with nice slacks. Geeeeez.
Later that fall I tried sidling up to Karin, but it was too late. I had already screwed up. Why did I have to be so freaking serious?
I try to live my life without regrets. We learn by making mistakes and then finding the right way to do things. However, botching this relationship with Karin makes my all-time Top Ten Mistakes in Life list. Some memories are happy, some are painful, and some just make you shake your head and wonder what the hell you were thinking.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Off to Las Vegas in less than 12 hours! We'll be staying at New York-New York and the Flamingo gratis courtesy of my brother, the King of Komps. We might be trying out a few new places to eat, including Ellis Island. Heck, we might even take a trip downtown -- something we have not done for years.

I hope to get in few tournaments at Caesar's, The Venetian, and Planet Hollywood. For ring games -- maybe MGM, Wynn, and Ballys. Ahhh ... there are SO many choices!

I hope to return with a few tales of tournament success and total ring table domination -- or donkitude!

Catch ya on the other side ...