Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back in the [NCAA] Saddle

It's been six or seven years since I filled out a tournament bracket.  Back in the day, I bet the individual games on-line or flew out to Vegas for the opening rounds.  I had no need for "second-rate wagering."  Brackets were for p*ssies.  Then, when my offshore account got cut-off, I simply stopped paying attention to the tournament altogether. 

This year, I had once again planned on ignoring the festivities, although I had some interest specifically in following GW.  Then, this morning, while sipping coffee, watching ESPN report on Chapman's cracked noggin, and reading my favorite poker hero's hand histories, I decided, on a lark, to fill out a bracket on ESPN.  It took 5 minutes.

When I got to the office, I decided to make it a bit interesting, and challenged MK to a little heads up contest.  Whoever finished with more points owes the other a bottle of Stag's Leap Artemis 2010.  MK quickly accepted. 

I may not be playing for Buffett's Billion, but a nice bottle of Cabernet will be a respectable consolation. 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tilting Away a Sunday

I drove out to Maryland Live! this morning, and immediately got seated at a new $1/2 table.  The action was insane from the first hand.  Within 30 minutes, three people had busted and re-bought.  I added a quick $200 to my stack when I turned a flush with my JT diamonds.  I called $10 pre flop after 5 callers and caught the flush draw when two diamonds hit the flop.  Dude lead for $15 (into $60) and got a caller.  I commit my chips.  Turn is the Queen of Diamonds giving me the third nuts.  After initial better checks, dude shoves his last $80.  I call.  The river blanks and dude sits there refusing to show.  Um. OK.  After a few seconds, I show my J-high flush and he mucks.  Whatever, dude.

A few hands later, Villain from the hand above opens to $5.  Um.  OK.  After three callers, action gets to me on the button. I look down at AK and raise to $28.  Action back to villain and he RE-RAISES to $98.  It folds to me.  Weird action.  I fold.

After two hours, I was still sitting on about $500 when this hand went down:

There people limp and action is on me.  I look down at A(s) 6(s).  I limp.  Crazy Asian to my left raises to $15.  Everyone calls, so I call.  Flop is a delightful 2(s) 4(s) 3(d).  I have a straight draw and a nut flush draw.   Dude leads for $35.  There's over $100 in the pot.  I call.  Crazy Asian calls.  The three of us see the turn, which is a red 5 giving me the straight and redraw to the nuts.  Dude shoves his last $60.  Crazy Asian has about $100 left.  I shove.  Crazy Asian snap calls.  River is the 6 of clubs.  Initial shover tables AJ off . . . I show the straight.  Crazy Asian slow rolls 67 for the rivered better straight.  Fuck you, sir.

The very next hand I look down at A7 spades.  I limp in and crazy asian raises to $15.  Again.  I call.  Along with one other guy.  Tilting a bit.  Flop comes down T high with two spades.  I decide to lead for $35.  Crazy Asian calls.  Turn blanks.  I lead again, this time for $55.  Crazy Asian calls.  I miss the river, and triple barrel for $85.  Crazy Asian thinks about it, but calls, and tables 99.   Crazy Asian had been raising EVERYTHING to $15.  Admittedly, I did not read him as that strong.  But, at the same time, I'm the idiot for even trying to barrel against a crazy Asian.

I sat another hour, and saw nothing playable.  Left down a bill or so.  So close to a good session . . . I mean, if the 6 doesn't fall on the river on that hand, I'm up $400+++ and, I don't triple barrel the following hand...  But, as it turns out, yet another losing session.

Down $650 at $1/2 on the young year . . . . Need to turn it around.    

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Seals Hilarity

Sitting at home playing some microstakes on Seals while watching conference tournaments.  I can't hit a hand for 2 hours and leak down from my buy-in at $10 to $7.  Then KK.  Finally.  Dude opens to .3 and gets a caller.  I raise to $1.2.  Initial raiser, sitting on $2.85, shoves.  I call.  He tables AA and the board runs out clean.  Nice set up.

The very next hand it's P3 who's dealt AA.  I open to .3, dude raises, I shove, he calls.  He tables KK. Flop clean . . . turn King . . . river blanks . . . rebuy . . .

Friday, March 14, 2014

Raise High (Hail to the Buff & Blue)

I've always been a sports fan.  In case you couldn't tell.  College sports, as well.  So, it was a bitter pill when I went to college at a State school in New York with (at the time) no Div-1 sports program.

Fast forward four years, and I was at law school at George Washington.  Still far more of an academic institution than a sports factory; but at least we had a legitimate basketball team.  At the time, G-Dub was a member of the Atlantic 10, along with programs like UMASS, Xavier, Rhody, Dayton, and Temple.  Mike Jarvis was coach my first year in D.C., and the team, lead by guys like Alexander Koul and Shawnta Rogers, was a tournament-caliber team.  That first year in Foggy Bottom, GW made the tournament and had a first-round match-up against Iowa.  I'll never forget that game.  GW blew a 17 point lead with just around 5 minutes left.  As a Jets/Mets fan, I was use to that level of disappointment.  Now, I had another team to throw on my list of heartache. 

When I graduated, I bought season tickets.  Many of the friends I went to law school with, who had done undergrad at places like Michigan, UCLA, UVA, thought it was hilarious.  I sat in the stands for some decent years while Tom Penders was coach . . . and when Carl Hobbs (former Calhoun assistant at UCONN) took over.  But, then the wins got lean; and I got old; and I grew tired of driving over to campus after work to watch shitty A-10 hoops.  I dropped my season tickets and, ultimately, stopped following the team.

Fast forward to 2013.  Late November, GW knocks off the Miami Hurricanes.  Three days later, they beat then-20th-ranked Creighton.  Three days later, they drop 93 points on Rutgers for an easy victory.  4 days later, they beat local rival Maryland.  I start paying attention.  The bandwagon rolls into town, and I hope on.  I was back.  Hooked once again on G Dub hoops.

The Colonials ended the regular season 23-7, with an RPI of 30.  Seemingly a lock for the "Big Dance."  Tonight, they face off against UMASS in Brooklyn in the semi finals of the A-10 tournament (after two bye-rounds).  No, GW basketball is not the Big Time.  But, for me it's what I've got.

Raise High!    

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Weekend Update

I've had a few days to recover from last weekend's trip to AC.  And a few days of recovery was definitely needed.

MK and I bailed out of the office Friday at 6:00 pm, and began the drive up 95 towards the Jersey shore.  The benefit of leaving on the late[r] side is that traffic has usually died down a bit.  We ended up making the trek in 4 hours, and were checked in to the Waterfront Tower at Harrah's shortly after 10:00.

First things first - a stop by Bill's Burger for a pair of 32-ounce drafts.  We walked over to the poker room, where there were three reg-infested $1/2 games going.  Pass.  We decided to hit the black jack tables for a few hours before re-evaluating the poker scene.  "A few hours," however, turned into 6 hours and, before we knew it, it was 4:00 am . . . we were approximately 10 beers in the hole . . . and had yet to even eat dinner.   My session was somewhat frustrating.  I was playing a base of $20 a hand, and increasing my bets as I got on a roll, maxing out, generally, at $50 or so.  I have no idea whether or not this is an ideal method of bet-sizing.  But, it's what I  typically do.  I was able to build up a sizable stack on a few occasions, but twice got hammered by bad luck.  The first time it happened, I had worked my bet up to $40 and was dealt 77 on a dealer 5.  I split.  A 3 falls on the first spot and I doubled down . . . another 3.  Perfect.  I pulled a 6 on the second hand.  Great.  The dealer, of course, pulls some Gary Loveman magic and ends up with 19.  Basically a $240 swing.  The same basic scenario happened to me an hour or so later while betting $50.  I split, doubled, ended up with two hands of shit, and watched as the dealer pulled an insane 4-card 21 out of her tits.  Some nights just seem to go that way, and it's hard to make money when it does.  In the end, I walked away exactly even.  At least I earned some sweet, sweet tier points during the evening.

After leaving the table, we hit Bills Burger for a healthy 5:00 am meal involving grilled red meat, onion rings and (for MK) a milk shake.

A mere 4 hours later, at 9:00 am, I was awake.  And, feeling wonderful (I suppose I should be use to it by now).  MK was still asleep (it seems that people with small kids are not quick to wake up on those rare days they get a reprieve from parenting).  I grabbed coffee and decided to grind some 100-hand VP.  I slip a crisp $100 into the machine and fire up some bonus poker at $5 a rip.  I immediately get some decent hands and work my $100 up to $150.  The entire time, the kid next to me is commenting on his hands . . . on my hands . . . on gambling in general . . . on and on and on.  He won't shut the fuck up.  Nor does he seem to appreciate how hung-over I am.  Nor does he take subtle social cues.  After 30 minutes, my buy-in is nearly doubled . . . the machine is hot . . . yet, I need to get the fuck away from this guy.  I call it quits and get some fresh air out by the harbor behind the poker room. 

Eventually, MK emerges and we decide to donk off a buy-in at the Showboat 2:00 pm tournament.  I get dealt quad 4's early on and win some chips.  It's the highlight of my tournament.  Nothing else worked for me and, I busted out unremarkably, 28th out of 45.  MK on the other hand made a deep run.  In fact, when the bubble broke with 5 remaining at the final table, he was the big stack.  He made it down to the last 3 when variance kicked his ass.  First hand, a short stack shoves and mistakenly thinks MK has called.  He hasn't.  But short stack had already flipped over his Poker Grump: 2(h) 4(h).  MK has 89 suited and calls.  He doubles up short stack when a 4 hits the turn.  A few hands later he gets his money in good again against the same short stack.  Again, he loses.  Finally, 5 minutes later, the small blind, who has MK covered, open-shoves.  MK snap calls from the big blind.  Small flips 8 T spades.  MK flips big slick.  Flop comes 78T . . . good game.

By the way, while MK was making his run, I spent some time tilting off some hundies in some of dem bad machines.  I mean, what else do you expect? 

It's 8:30 by the time MK busts out.  And, we haven't eaten since burgers at 5:00 am.  We have, however, already had a sixer, each.  Healthy living.  Food is a priority; but, not before a celebratory glass of Cabernet at Amada next door at Revel.

We then cab over to The Palm at Tropicana to throw down.  We start with seared ahi, calamari, and a bottle of Stags Leap Artemis (2010).   By the time my 16 ounce bone-in filet arrives an hour later, I'm goddamned ripped.   We eat while watching the Duke-NC game, and then decide to head back over to Harrah's for some more late-night black jack.

Now, to be honest, I have little recollection of Saturday night's session.  I remember buying-in for $200 and drinking a bunch of corona lights.  I don't remember heading back to the room.  I don't remember the various texts I apparently sent at 4:30 am before heading back to the room.   I did, however, wake up feeling OK, and found a shiny purple chip in my pants pocket.  I guess it turned out to be a solid evening all around.

In the end, it was another great trip to AC.  I ended up down $200 gambling (and down $250 at The Palm . . . OUCH!).  After a long weekend in Vegas and a trip to AC 5 days later, the cigar box roll took only a mild hit.  Hard to complaint!

Now, this weekend, it's time to catch up on some sweet, sweet sleep....


Friday, March 7, 2014

What a Good Day

Even though I just got back from a long and tiring trip to Vegas last weekend, I'm heading out to the City by the Atlantic after work tonight.  While I'd love to spend a low-key weekend at home Swiffering my new hardwood floors, my buddy MK (from the MLK Weekend Vegas trip) received a hard-fought weekend reprieve from family life, so I feel compelled to take advantage of the opportunity.  Our current plan is to rocket down I-95 in the G around 6:00 tonight, assuming nothing blows up on either of our offices the rest of the afternoon.  I'm looking forward to playing the 11:00 am $25,000 guarantee at the new Wild West poker room at Bally's tomorrow . . . assuming I can drag my ass up for the early start tomorrow morning.  Otherwise, it should be a fun little weekend of debauchery -- beers, tequila, VP and black jack.  Some decent college hoops tomorrow as well.  I may also smash some glasses and otherwise cause a destructive shit-storm if I loose $500 and get myself perma-banned from the place I love if someone does something to annoy me. But then again, I won't because I'm not a nitwit.

Finally, as for yesterday's post regarding a blogger fantasy league . . . well, the result thus far has been, um, underwhelming....  It's looking like a no-go, I suppose.

Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Continued thoughts and prays to Vegas Vince -- keep keeping on, sir.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Blogger Fantasy Bases

Just kicking around the idea of starting a blogger fantasy baseball league this year.  A 12 team, head-to-head, weekly league.  We could play for cash or for pride.  Just testing to the waters to see if there is interest.  Let me know.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Life on Hold

I'm currently at the airport in Charlotte.  It's 8:00 am.  No flights back to DC until tomorrow afternoon.  Fucken weather...

Rewind 72 hours....

I rolled into a rainy Vegas Friday at 11:00 am and checked into the Jubilee Tower at Bally's.  While I prefer the MGM properties, Jim Murren refused to comp me this trip, so I settled for Caesars.  Besides, it's a new year and I needed to work on my 15,000 tier credits for 2014.  After a quick lunch, I spent the afternoon grinding some sweet, sweet video poker. Then it was off to Harrah's for dinner at Ruths' Chris.  And after a filet and several glasses of  Franciscan 2010, it was back to Bally's to play some black jack.  It's 6/5.  But it's a party pit.  And the dealer is a 60 year old lady.  And I don't even get a set of beads for black jack any more.  But it's Vegas, so I guess I should just be happy.  Fuck you, Gary Loveman.  I called it quits around midnight, down about $300 on the day.

Saturday morning. P3 awakes at 5:00am.  Perfect.  Time to grind some hundred hand VP.  I grab a shitty coffee from the deli at Bally's by the poker room and slip a crisp $100 into the machine.  An hour later, I hit gin.  Playing 100 hand Bonus Poker at $5 a rip, the flop comes down 3...3...T...3...3.  Um.  Cool. Quad 3's for 100 hands, and just like that, I'm black for the trip.

I decide it's time to take care of business.  I hop a cab for the LVH with a pocket full of hundreds to place some MLB futures.  The lines have moved from the open, but at least the vig is -110 on all games.  I take the Nats (over 89), the Reds (over 84), the Royals (over 81), and the Rangers (over 86.5).  I also drop a bill on the Rays at 12/1 for the World Series.  P3 is ready for bases 2014...

 I spend a few more hours grinding the Devil's Game back at Bally's, before placing some NCAA hoops action.  I then head over to the Linq to watch the games.

Now, as for the Linq.  This project may have restored my faith in the North end of the strip.  An avenue of shops, restaurants and bars in between Flamingo and The Quad.  Palm trees.... Outdoor bars... Delightful.  I even enjoyed the Quad.  The casino floor is modern and well stocked with all the latest games.  And the new O'Sheas is a decent (albeit, loud) spot to watch the games.   I end up going  4 and 1, including some Vegas magic on the OVER 139 on the Creighton/Xavier game.  With a minute left, and the total at 128, the game looked hopeless.  And, at 135 with 8 seconds left, I was ready to rip up my ticket.  Then Creighton turns the ball over on the inbounds pass and fouls immediately.  Ok.  This is interesting.  X hits both shots.  Creighton drives the floor, launches a meaningless 3 with a few ticks left.  Clank.  Off the rim.  But Creighton pulls the rebound, kicks it back out and, with a second left.... Drains a 3 for the 69 - 75 loss!!! 140 points.  Magic.  Vegas,baby...

After the games ended, it was off to Planet Hollywood and dinner at Koi.  Delightful.

Sunday started with more VP.  Then, at 11:00 I made a run to the book to fade my GW Colonials.  $100 on Mason +9.5.  G-Dub wins by 8.  Delightful.  I also cash plays on Purdue +14.5 and Nova -9.5, and Clemson -2.5.  My prowess at the book is even more remarkable given I know shit about hoops.  But I have a system.  I swear.  And it works.... I finish the afternoon with a play on Indiana +2.5 and the OVER.  Once again, a clean sweep.  10-1 on hoops.  $800 in the black.  Vegas, baby!

I decide to push my luck, and play the last game on the board: UCLA minus the points and the over 150.  I do, however, pull back my bet to $50 and $50.   Not even close.... It was bound to happen.

Sunday evening I head over to Gordon Ramsey Steak to leak some of my hoops winnings.  On the way, I get a text message that my Monday morning flight from Charlotte to DC has been cancelled.  Fuck.  Me.  I try to reschedule, but after 1.5 hours on hold, I give up.

After dinner, I head to the airport and grab one last glass of cab.  I then pour myself into seat 2D on the redeye east.  First class is nice.  But a flight back to DC would be nicer.

I land in Charlotte at 7:00 am.  The woman at the USAIR counter tells me no flights are getting out to DC until 2:00 pm.  Ok.  That works.  Of course, she then tells me all flights are sold out until 4:00 tomorrow afternoon.  Um, you prolly should have lead with that.   A Tuesday flight will not work.  I rent a car and plan to drive the 6 or 7 hours back to DC.  But, I need to try and wait out this storm, which is apparently smashing the Capital with 10 inches of snow at the moment.

So, now P3 sits in the airport.  Blogging.