Sunday, July 22, 2012

Theivery Onboard The Boat

Drove up to AC friday night after work.  Donked slots and video poker until 4:00am, slept, got up at noon and walked over to the Showboat for the 2:00 tournament.  It was the strangest tournament I've ever played.

By way of background, the bad beat jackpot at Harrah's is up to $680,000.  As a result, all of the Caesars casinos are packed with nits playing 15 hour sessions of $2/4 limit.  The Showboat, rather than having 6 tables in action on a Saturday afternoon, was filled near capacity.  Also as a result, the room is stretched for competent dealers who know how to manage the game . . .   With this backdrop, 78 runners entered the afternoon event.

$68 entry. $20,000 chips.  20 minute levels.  No antes.  Donkalicious.

By the end of the second level, I had chipped up to $30,000.  Gentlement to my left, a Jersey local (sweet accent and all), had chipped up to over $40,000 when he turned quad AAAA's and doubled up against a rivered straight.  The two of us then went heads up on a hand where we both turned a K high straight.  The river action went like this.  I bet $5,000 (one grey chip).  He raises to $10,000 and tosses out two grey chips.  I call and flip out another grey.  We both table the straight.  Dealer "pushes back" our bets and starts dividing the chips.  When the stacks are returned, I look down and count my chips - $26,000.  I'm short a grey chip.  I say to the dealer, "sir, I started the hand with $30,000.  I got back $26,000.  I'm missing a grey.  His response:  "I pushed back the bets."  It's clear that Jersey scooped one of my greys.  Frankly, I'm confident he did it accidentally.  I say to him, "hey, did you get back $5,000 too much?"  Dealer is already pitching next hand.  Jersey says, "I have no idea what I started with."  Awesome.  I again tell the dealer "I'm $5,000 short."  He ignores me and looks to UTG for action on the hand.  Awesome.

Not sure what my option was at that point, aside from calling the floor, who I assume would be able to check the camera.  But, I'm not holding up action on a $65 donkament over this.  I decide to let it go, and simply internalize my tilt.  And yes, I'm on mega tilt.

Several hands later, same dealer, I'm in the 2 seat and on the hijack.  The 1 seat folds and I open with a raise to $2,400 with J8, making a move.  I flip out my chips and dealer says, "It's $5,500."  Huh?  There's not a single chip on the table aside from the blinds.  Dealer says, "I announced a raise," as the 10 seat slides out a stack of chips.  HUH!?!  The thief from Jersey next to me says, "I heard nothing."  Of course, no one heard anything, except perhaps for the 10 seat who somehow must have wispered a gigantic opening bet.  What now?  Already on tilt to start the hand, I call, miss the flop, 10 seat over bets the pot and I muck.  OK.  Now I'm REALLY on tilt.  I decide to get up and take a walk until the break, because I'm going to tilt off the rest of my stack if I don't.

Post break, I sit back down to $20,000 - the starting stacks.  Which sucks, considering I was playing well and chipping up and, in my mind, had $10,000 chips taken from me because of a shitty dealer.  But, it's the Showboat, and the game is being played ABC.  With a series of C-Bets, check raises, and value bets on the hands I actually hit, I chip up to $75,000.  Then it happened.

Sitting in the big blind, I check my option blind and go heads up against the cutoff.  Flop comes out 8 T K  rainbow.  I check dark.  Not sure why, other than I'm board.  Villain bets $3,500.  I check the hole and see Q9.  Jackpot!  Flopped the joint.  I flat.  Turn blanks. I check.  Villain bets $5,000.  I raise to $12,000.  He calls.  River blanks.  I check.  Villain bets $8,000.  I raise to $20,000.  Villain calls.  I flip my Q9.  It's only then that it hits me.  I have Q high.  There's no J on the board.  I just lose half my stack with a misread.   OK.  This one's my fault.

I never recovered.  Ended up shipping my last $9,000 shortly thereafter with AK spades, got called by QJ, who, of course, spiked a J and sent me home.

Today - Sunday - I stopped by Del Park on the way home for the nooner.  $100 buy-in, $7,500 chips, 20 minute levels.  113 runners.  I chipped up well, built my stack to $35,000 by the second break, and was feeling good.  Raising and re-raising.  Playing good TAG poker.  I hadn't even had to show down a hand for more than a level.  Then the wheels fell off.  Guy opens to $1,800, one caller, and I three bet to $5,000 with QQ.  Original raiser folds, and caller flats.  Flop comes out K 7 2.  Old man donk bets $5,000.  Hhhhmmmm.  What could he have....  Muck.  Old man triumphantly shows his AK.  Yep, he got max value out of that hand.

Several hands later I again three bet to $5,000 with JJ.  Again, orignal raiser folds.  Again, old man calls.  Flop comes down A Q 5.  Again, old man donks out.  Muck.  Old man shows AJ.  Simply brillaint. 

Shortly thereafter, I open from the cutoff with AK, and get called from the button.  Flop comes out K J  9 (two hearts).  I C-Bet $4,000.  Button raises to $10,000.  I fold.  Button claims he had QT and was afraid of the flush. 

Things did not get any better, and I eventually busted 26th.  Not a bad run.  I feel like my tournament game is improving.  Might be time to read up on late game strategy.  I feel very comfortable playing until the latter stages.  Not sure I'm playing well, though, when things get critical.

One more week of work; then off to the West Coast - San Fran for the Mets-Giants series, then  Vegas... Delightful.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Post for the One Person who Pretends to Care

WARNING --  This post is not about poker.  Nor is it about degeneracy.  Sadly, it's about the law.  Hence, I'll keep it brief...


It's not even 3:00 pm.  I'm shot.  Ready to call it a day.  I was forced to get up this morning at 4:00 am to get into work in time for a 5:45am conference call with an insurance broker in London and a client in Israel.  A merger is going through this evening, and client needs to make sure its got sufficient D&O cover in place (in the event the deal sucks, stock price plummets, and shareholders sue . . .).  Of course, just as I'm pulling into the office garage at 5:30, I get an email from the broker advising that he is yet to finalize the coverage tower and has to push the call back until 8:45.  Awesome.  Who needs more than 3 hours sleep?

Anyway, as I sit here now, tying to be productive and bill a few more hours, I realize I never gave an update on our trial that took place in May (for the one person who may pretend to care).  If I did not mention it previously, the case was an insurance coverage dispute.  We represented the policyholder -- a big company that got fucked over by another big company.  Policy limits at issue were $5 million.  We had breach of contract claims and bad faith claims.  We hit.  Court awarded compensatory damages and extra contractual / punitive damages, for a total of just less than 3x policy limits (yes, villain got what it deserved for not settling!!!).  I actually got the Court's decision by email while sitting in the sports book at Aria, watching the Nationals / Rockies game a few weeks back....  I would not have predicted the biggest win during eight days in Vegas would be work-related. 

Anyway, now we're dealing with post-trial motions and, soon, the inevitable appeal... I guess even when you win, you lose . . .     


Monday, July 16, 2012

A Del Park Cash

My plan was to abstain from poker this weekend.  The Tigers were in Baltimore, and the plan was to catch the games Saturday and Sunday.  My prized fantasy possession - Justin Verlander -- was throwing Sunday, and I had to show fantasy support.  Alas, as the weekend approached, the weather looked ominous.  Not a great weekend for bases.  At least that's what I told myself.

So, Friday afternoon, I decided to play some poker.  I had yet to overcome the poor cash sessions from the Chuck; so, I decided to spend the weekend playing tournaments at Del Park.  I got up in time for the 10:00 deepstack turbo Friday night.  $20,000 in chips, 15 minute levels, and usually lots of fun.  I chipped up nicely the first 2 hours.  But then, my tournament Achilles heel stuck.  Impatience.  I made an ill-timed play for a pot with A high, which cost me about half my chips.  A couple of missed flops with big aces.  Then I decided to end the misery with an open shove for my last $9,000 with A9 off.  Got called by AQ and it was over.

On the drive back to the hotel, I swore I would play with patience the following day during the noon megastack.  And I did.

The noon $150 buy-in got you $15,000 in chips, and 20 minute levels.  173 runners, with 17 paid.  I busted 13th.  The tournament started out on a down note as I drew an absolutely awful table.  At least four loud-mouth regulars.  They played uber agro, and talked non-stop; mainly criticizing everyone else's play.  It got old, fast.  Of course, as is often the case, they each, one by one, busted early, complaining about their shitty luck as they left the table.  See ya!

A couple of notable hands:

(1)  HAND ONE:

Hand one took place relatively early on.  Blinds were probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 / $800.  I was sitting on about $40,000.  Guy next to me open shoves $7,000.  I look down at AQ off and consider raising to isolate.  Instead, I flat from early position.  Probably not the best idea.  Two more callers:  the guy in MP (decent regular) has me covered.  Guy to his left (agro) has about $35,000. 

Flop comes down Ah7c7h.  Pot is about $30,000.  Action is on me.  I shove for $33,000.  Get snap called in both spots.  WOW.  Big pot!

Open shover flips 97 . . . Nice flop!  No one cares.  It's all about the side pot.

MP flips . . . AQ . . . Agro shows KJ heart draw.  Turn and river dodge the heart, and MP and I chop.

As the chips are being divided, I hear him say something about playing the hand horribly.  Not sure if he said I played it horribly, or HE played it horrible.  I thought about it fo a few minutes.  Perhaps I should have tried to isolate.  But, with AQ, I did not necessarily want to build a HUGE pot in that spot.  As for the flop shove . . .  They pot is $30,000.  Two hearts are on the board.  a $10,000 bet seemed too small, and a $20,000 bet leaves me $10,000 behind.  I figured I'd shove and pray. Anyway, it worked out OK.

(2)  HAND TWO:

I'm shortstacked heading into level 12.  Down to $40,000 and still about 17 from the money.  Blinds are $500/$2,000/$4,000.  I need to make a move, quick!  I look down at JJ on the button.  Guy opens for $25,000.  Middle position shoves.  I figure I'm behind the shover.   I also figure the original raiser is going to call if i shove.  Also, I haven't had a hand in an hour, and I'd rather gamble on a triple up that be blinded out.  I shove. 

Open raiser has TT amd MP has AA.  I'm out of my seat, ready to walk, when the J hits the river.   Just like that, I'm over $110,000, and have some chips to play with.

And, play with them I did . . . Ten minutes later, I get caught with my hand in the cookie jar.  I limp $10,000 in middle position with AT off (questionable play...).  It folds to the small blind, who completes, and BB checks his option.  Flop is 8 high rags.  Small blind bets $10,000.  I min raise to $20,000.   He three bets to $50,000.  I muck, he shows A8.   Oops.   Just like that, I'm stack-challenged again...

A few minutes later, we near the bubble, and I'm barely holding on.  Around $50,000 in chips with blinds are $1000/$4,000/$8,000.  I get KK utg and open shove.  Folds around and i take $21,000 chips, which buys me some time.

Bubble pops.  We're in the money.


With 13 left, and Blinds at $2,000/$6,000/$12,000, I look down at JJ . . . again.  I have $70,000.  Decent player with big stack open raises to $30,000 in middle position.  If the bubble had not popped, i may actually fold my jacks.  But, i'm guaranteed money.  And first place is A LOT of money.  A double up and I can play some poker again and make a deep run.  I shove.  Guy calls and tables KQ.... I'm ahead... Until the K hits the turn... Donzo.

After dinner, I played the 10:00 pm deepstack turbo again.  But, I found it hard to play $100/$200 blinds after playing $2,000/$6,000/$12,000 where every hand is critical.   I pissed off $10,000 chips the first three levels before winning them back.  I started level 5, after the break, with $23,000 in chips.  And then lost $23,000 of my chips with AK . . . I three bet . . . dude shoves . . . chick shoves  . . . I'm tired and decide, "fuck it," and shove.  My AK against his AA and her KK.  Um.  Not a good spot.   No tournament streak.

 Sunday, after breakfast, I made the drive to The Yard.  It was hot.  One of those days where it's almost too hot to drink beer.  Yes, it was THAT hot.   I decided there is only one way to see Verlander live for the first time -- behind the net:

My number one fantasy prize possession and likely "keeper" did not disappoint.  8 innings, 3 hits, 8 K's.  Watching the break on his curve from this perspective was insane.  A 4-0 Detroit win and 23.9 fantasy points.  Not a bad day . . .


Monday, July 9, 2012

The Leveler is Leveled

There are moves . . . and then there are moves.
Here's a hand that took place at The Chuck Saturday afternoon.  I had just recently sat down at the table and had no reads on anyone (of course, I could have been sitting there for 10 hours and still not had reads on anyone.  Yes, I'm that good....).

I'm sitting on $300 and look down at 44.  I limp in early position.  Three more limpers and the button pops to $12.  I fold.  The button gets one caller (middle position) and they see a flop:

J(d) 7(d) 4(c).     (Pot $30)

Both button and MP are sitting on $400+.

MP checks to the raiser who bets $20.  MP calls.   (Pot $70)

Turn is a 2(h).

Check.  Check.

River is 8(d). 

MP checks.  Button bets $65.

MP tanks.  He then turns over one card:  The J of clubs.  He stares down the button . . . tanks . . . and then RAISES . . . $100 on top.

Button is dumbfounded.  Dealer is laughing.  Yes, actually laughing.  He can't hold it in.

Button says, "What the fuck.  I'm obviously representing the flush.  What the hell are you doing?"

Finally, after a minute, button says, "I'm so confused I have to call . . ."  Button turns over 78 off (two pair) . . . . MP flips over the K of hearts (pair of Jacks, King kicker).  Button scoops a big pot.

This play was just beyond weird.  True, middle position briefly confused the button.  But, in the end, his attempt to level was poorly conceived and backfired brilliantly.  I mean, what hand is he representing?  A set of Jacks?  Is he check-calling the flop and checking the turn with a set of jacks (and two diamonds on the board)? 

Button was sitting next to me, and I asked him once the table settled down, "you calling if he doesn't show the jack?"  Button said, "How can I with the diamonds out there?"   Indeed.

Of course, I was kicking myself for folding my set of fours and missing out on this huge pot.  But, then again, the hand would likely have gone down differently had I called preflop.  I'm checking to the raiser, and then re-popping to $70, and we likely don't even see the turn. 

Anyway, this was clearly one of the strangest hands I've ever seen live.  There is prolly a lesson to be drawn, and I think it's this:  Don't be a dick at the poker table!     

Sunday, July 8, 2012

. . . And Then He Flashed Me His Nutz !!!!

Capped a frustrating week of poker today.  Played four days this week.  Felt like I played well given the cards I drew.  I had hardly any decent hands and just couldn't hit a hand.  For instance, I had pocket 44 four times the past two days, each time facing a preflop raise to $10 or more.  Twice, the raise got 5 or 6 callers and I set mined and failed.  The other two times, the raise drew only a call or two, and I folded.  And, of course, both times the four hit the flop.

Today was more of the same.  Dragged two decent pots, both with a whiffed AK.  Both times, my $10 to $12 preflop raise drew 5 to 7 callers.  Both times I was in position.  Both times, it checked around and I fired a $35 C-bet and took down the pot.  That was as good as it got for me.

Today, I had two straight flush draws.  Yes, two.  I chased both and missed both.  I also had the nut flush draw twice and called flop bets on both before giving up to healthy turn bets.

Then, I finally got lucky and caught my draw . . . I was in the car headed home three minutes later.  Here's the hand:

Sitting on $190, in the cutoff, with KQ diamonds.  It limps 4 ways to me, and I raise to $12.  Two callers.  Flop comes down J(d)  4(d)  A(c).

UTG leads for $20 and middle position calls $20.  I call on the diamond draw. 

Turn is a beautiful Jack of diamonds.  Check, check . . . I cut out $65 and push across the line.

UTG folds.  Middle position tanks . . .  He's a solid regular..... He raises $100 on top.  There's about $250 in the pot.  I have just less than $100 left.

Is this EVER NOT the nut flush?  Is this ever a semi bluff with top pair, nut flush draw?

Well, it didn't really matter.  After four sessions of missed flops and draws, the hook was solidly lodged in my jaw . . . this fish snap called... Regular kindly flashes me his nutz (please, behave . . .).   I'm done for the week.

Very frustrating.  15 hours of solid, relatively mistake-free grinding this week, and it's all gone in one hand . . . one bad decision. 

I hate poker.  Again.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Hand for the 4th of July

Went to Charles Town on the Fourth to check out the new poker room.  It was . . . a new poker room . . . Yes, they added 20+ new tables which should eliviate the typical massive waitlist.  Although, when I arrived at noon, I still had to wait over an hour.  You see, in addition to new tables, you need dealers.  A fact apparently lost on the poker room staff at The Chuck.  Indeed, there were at least 7 tables empty in the new room, and 20 or so emply tables in the old room.    Yet, there were 52 on the $1/2 list, 22 on the $2/5 list, and another 20 or so on the $3/6 limit list.  Frustrating to say the least.

As for the room itself . . . it's a poker room.  I mean, after seeing the room the Golden Nugget built at the Marina in AC, and after playing at Revel, it's hard to get excited about what Charles Town did.  The new[er] room at Del Park is far, far nicer . . . Hell, even the poker "space" at Sands Bethlehem feels nicer.  But, if the room eventually results in a reasonable wait time, I'll start heading back to WVA for cash games.

Had an interesting hand during the session.  By way of background, there were two massive stacks at the table when I sat down.  Both around a grand.  And, both players were absolute maniacs, who had apparently been trading chips for hours.  On one hand, Maniac 1 called Maniac 2's preflop three bet to $30.  He then called a $50 flop bet on a dry board.  The turn was an apparent blank, but put up a second heart.  Maniac 2 bets $125 and Maniac 1 calls.  River is a heart.  Maniac 2 bets $200 and Maniac 1 min-raises to $400.  Maniac 2 calls.  Maniac 1 tables AT hearts.  Yeah, he had Ace high - and was in on the hand for $205 -- until he caught runner runner for nut flush.  Um.  OK.

So, about an hour into the session, I'm sitting on about $305 and in early position.  I look down at 99 and make a standard Charles Town raise to $10.  Maniac 1 calls in middle position along with the Button. 

Flop is J 7 2 rainbow.  I lead for $17 and get called in both spots.

Turn is a 2.  I lead for $65.  Maniac calls and Button folds.

River blanks.  I have just over $200 behind. 

Now, frankly, I have no idea where maniac is.  He could have a J . . . he could have 7 . . . he could have A-high.  I have no idea.  What I am fairly certain of, however, is that if I check and give up the lead, maniac is going to fire a HUGE bet here.  I decide the best approach is to put up a "blocker" and I bet out $75.  If I'm repopped, I'll fold and still be sitting on $125.  I mean, I don't want to get stacked with pocket 99's for f*cks sake . . .

I bet out $75 . . . Maniac calls . . . I table . . . he mucks . . .  I breathe again . . .

I'd love to hear how others play this hand against this type of villain.

P.S. I overheard Maniac telling his end of the table after the hand: "I put him on AQ . . ."



Monday, July 2, 2012

From Five Star to Third World

The Poker Barrister is back from the desert.  After 9 days at Aria, I landed at DCA at 9:30 pm last night, drove the GW Parkway to the Beltway, and got off at my exit.  No working traffic lights.  No street lights.  No power.  At all.  Apparently, there were storms Friday night.  Yes, Friday.  And predictions are that power may not be restored until next weekend.  Nice to be home.

Anyway. Vegas was a blast.  As always.  And the trip got off to a particularly fast start.  After checking in to Aria at Midnight, I walked over to The PH, mainly to get something to eat.  Of course, a little video poker (or "VP" or "the Devils Game") was first in order.  I sat down at the hundred hand machine, $6 a pull, and snapped off the hand of the year:

Not a bad start to the trip.

On the flip side, for the second year in a row, I was a loser at the poker tables over the course of the nine days.  I played a mere 20 hours of poker, and was card dead 98% of the time.  In the end, my week was marked by four big hands: (1)  Trip AAA w/ J kicker beaten by Aces Full Tens (got stacked for $300 on the hand); (2) a set of 222's which I laid down (to a higher set); and (3) a set of 888 which I laid down (think I actually mucked the winner here).  I already discussed each in prior posts.

Hand 4 took place at The PH Saturday afternoon.  Same table as the Trip A v. AA-full hand ... an omen, perhaps.  I had been playing for nearly an hour and was sitting on a full buy-in.  The guy to my left was a total rock, sitting on $500+ and reading the Hunger Games on his Ipad.  I had not been active at all to this point.  I'm in the big blind.  Hunger Games opens to $10 UTG and gets 1 caller.  I look down at AA and repop to $27.  Hunger Games calls and MP folds.  Flop comes A J 7 rainbow.  Fairly safe board to take a card.  I check.  Hunger Games checks.  Turn is a T.  Board getting str8ty, but I'm not worried.  No way Hunger Games called $19 preflop with KQ.  I bet $40.  HG calls.  Interesting.  River bricks.  I bet $85.  Hunger Games tanks . . . and min-raises.  REALLY?  KQ?  I call.  Hunger Games flips broadway.  

Down to $50, I add on $100.  I end up getting AK three times over the next 40 minutes, raise to $10 each time, and miss the flop three straight.  Add in $22 C-Bets on two of the hands, and I'm back under $100.  And, I'm steaming. 

A few hands later, I look down at KK in early position and raise to $10.  This time, it folds around and I toss the $3 in blinds I just "stole" to the dealer in disgust. 

I steam for twenty minutes more before I smarten up enough to realize that if I continue to sit at this table, I'm, going to piss away my remaining $90 or so . . . So I walked and tried to make peace with my second losing Vegas poker trip in a row....   

With my last few remaining hours in the desert I hit Koi for dinner, and then decided to make it or break it at the black jack table.   I walked to Flamingo, bought in deep, and promptly went broke.  it was a sureal run.  Three of us at the table -- two older guys in first and second, and me batting cleanup.  While my friends at the other end were pulling 19's and 20's, my hands looked like this:


 . . . over, and over and over.  And, of course, with the dealer pulling faces . . .  And, this was not one of those sessions were I was pulling the miracle 6's to make hands.  I was busting.  Every hand.  AND, to rub salt in the wound, the dealer was pulling hands like K4 . . .J and repeatedly busting . . . AFTER I HAD ALREADY BUSTED OUT.

Finally, after losing 18 out of 20 hands at $25 a pop, and being nearly busto, I lost my shit when I hit soft 18 on a dealer Ten and took verbal crap not only from the two gentlemen at the other end of the table, but also from the dealer.  The two men shake their heads and give me "the look."  And, the dealer says, "you sure you want to hit that?"  I say, "A7 on your face card?  Yes, I'm sure I do . . ."  I hit . . . take an 8 . . . hit again, and bust with a T . . . dealer flips an 8 and says, "see, you would have pushed...."   OK.  Thank you ma'am....  When you want to punch the female dealer in the throat, it's prolly time to end your stay in the desert . . . And so I did . . .