Monday, December 1, 2008

Bases Bay & CCPL Circuit Event #2

The Thanksgiving weekend provided me with the chance to play live poker not just once, but twice as a friend of mine, Bass, had his annual Blackjack & Poker tournaments, and then on the following evening I was hosting the second Cream City Poker League circuit event at my place. Bass likes to refer to his "casino" as the Bases Bay Casino. I have yet to come up with a name of my "casino/poker room", so if anyone has suggestions please leave it in your comments...and yes, I'm serious.

I haven't played live poker in over a month. With the way my work schedule has had me shuffling I just haven't had time or the opportunity, so I was really looking forward to some action. Bass had his blackjack tournament first, and of the 30+ players I took 9th. Unfortunately, Bass was paying 8 players in the blackjack tournament...Doh! We ended up having about 40 players for the Texas Hold 'em portion of the evening. The tournament started at 8:30pm. I did very well early in the tournament, catching some big hands and getting paid for them, too. I made the final table, and I was probably 3rd in chips when we started the final table. I didn't get very many hands at the final table, though. I had enough chips and got just enough hands to keep me floating until we got to 4-handed play, and then I started to get short stacked. I managed to pick up a couple of pots, and eventually I was able to get heads up with Tim. Tim had a fantastic run at the final table, and even though we played 4-handed for what seemed like an hour, Tim propmptly knocked out Tesch (4th), Adam (3rd), and myself (2nd) all in about 10 minutes. The tournament wrapped up around 2:40am, so it was very long tournament, but it was a good time. Tim's final hand (A6) of two pair, Aces and Sixes, beat my hand, pocket Fives, in a classic race situation. Nice job, Tim!

The following evening I was participating in the second event of the Cream City Poker League (CCPL). I missed the first event while I was in London, so I was itching to play. I was almost too eager as I found myself down 750 chips out of the 2000 chips with which we started when I got a little over involved with 4th pair on a board of 5-6-8-3-K. Oops! I was able to double up a little later though when I the following hand played out between myself and Anne:

Me: 2-2 Anne: A-7 blinds 25/50 (3rd level) Me: approx 1450 chips Anne: approx 1600

I limped with my 2s, Anne limped along with me, and the blinds both called. The flop was: 7d-6c-2c, giving me the bottom set. The blinds checked, and so did I. Anne bet 150, the blinds folded, and I decided to call. Even though there was a potential flush draw out there, I don't always mind giving a card when I've got a set since there are so many outs to a full house or better, too. Well, the turn was almost a perfect card for me: 7c! This gave me the full house (2-2-2-7-7), and if Anne was playing the flush draw she just hit it on the turn. I checked again, and Anne bet 250. I would only have about 1000 left if I just called, so I decided to move all in for the remainder of my stack. Anne called with her trip 7s-Ace kicker, and I was fortunate to dodge any Aces, Sixes, or the remaining Seven to win the hand.

Play would continue through the evening. I wasn't doing a good job of keeping track of hands like I normally do since I was doing shots of cold Southern Comfort more often than needed when Adam decided that I should be doing them every time I voluntarily played a hand. We were all having a good time. I do remember the Pizza Delivery phone call prank that we played on Jim, the father of one of the players at the game. That was awesome! Very well done! I also remember seeing quad Kings during play (sorry, Igs) that was pretty impressive. Eventually, play got down to heads up play between myself and Ken. Ken got pocket Jacks when I got pocket 6s to double him up once, and then right after that I got pocket 6s again when Ken got Ace-King, and he hit the necessary card to eliminate me in second place...again! Two second place finishes in two days isn't bad.

There was one hand I did want to go over that I thought was kind of interesting. It took place between Jeff and one of the newcomers to the CCPL, Melissa. It was interesting in the way it played out and I had the opportunity to talk with Jeff about it during a break.

Jeff: KK Melissa: JJ blinds 10/15 (1st level) Jeff: approx 2000 chips Melissa: about same

These are two very big hands for seven-handed play. We started the tournament with 7 players at our table and that hadn't change here yet. Jeff raised preflop, and if I remember correctly, Melissa just called. The flop hit the board 9-x-y (I remember it was 9-high). Jeff bet, and Melissa called. The turn was either a 7 or 8. Jeff bet again, and Melissa called. The river put a T (10) out there, and now Jeff checked. Melissa bet, but her bet was only 150. With all the action up to this point the pot was about 700 or 800 chips. Jeff called, and showed his pair of Kings to Melissa's pair of Jacks. I commented at the time that the river check was interesting by Jeff. After discussing it with Jeff and thinking about it some more, I guess it wasn't the river check that was interesting as much as it was that the pot didn't get a lot larger earlier than it did. Had it been me with a 9-high flop, I probably would have done some more raising with the Jacks at the flop, which I think would have led to both players getting it all in on the flop or turn. However, once the whole board was put out, I guess the thing to keep in mind (and Jeff mentioned this, too) is that he only had a pair of Kings. The board did have at least one potential straight, and depending on what you put your opponent on for a hand, if they were playing connectors and had hit the flop, there was a decent chance that two pair could have been in play there, too. By checking you give yourself the opportunity to throw it away if the river bet is too much, but you can still call if your opponent value bets the river like what ended up happening. The other thing to keep in mind was that this was the first level of the tournament, and with the blinds as small as they are in relation to the starting stacks you've got room to maneuver and it's not necessary to get over involved in a pot where the whole board is showing if you only have a pair. One pair with the whole board showing isn't exactly a monster hand. Preflop, obviously it's a lot different, but that wasn't the case here. Anyway, I thought the hand was interesting and thought it merited some discussion here.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bath and Trowbridge

After having difficulty getting to Stonehenge in daylight hours I realized that I would have very little time to get to anywhere during daylight hours. I was here for work, and was usually finishing up somewhere between 4 and 5 o'clock PM. The people I was working with (Tony, Andy, Pete, and Vicki) all recommended that I should go to Bath and so that is exactly what I did the first evening. What a town! Fortunately they have the really neat buildings very well lit. The whole city has some very interesting architecture. There is the Royal Crescent and the Circus. When viewed from overhead they form the shape of a question mark. The Bath Abbey and the Roman Baths are a classic example of buildings having stood the test of time. The only thing I didn't like was that I was seeing all of this at dark!! I made sure to stop at a couple of pubs, including the "Saracen's Head" and the "Rat and Parrot".

On Wednesday, Tony and Andy took me to a local pub during lunch called the Royal Oak. I sampled another bitter and was encouraged to try one of the local ciders. The two have a very sharp contrast in taste!! I actually enjoyed the cider very much, it just wasn't exactly what my taste buds were ready for after having sampled a bitter. Good stuff, though. That evening, I returned to Bath, and being a little more familiar with the city's layout I did a significant amount of walking around. I went down the steps near the Pulteney Bridge and took a walk along the River Anon. I was able to visit a couple more pubs, stopping in at "Grapes" and the "Pig and Fiddle". The signs that are hanging outside the shops and pubs are pretty cool.

For lunch on Thursday Tony and Andy took me to another local establishment called "The Kicking Donkey". I had some fish and chips there along with some more bitters. I just can't get enough of that stuff! There are numerous Indian restaurants all over the UK, and that evening, a colleague of Tony and Andy's was taking a large group out to eat to one such restaurant in Trowbridge called "Tale of Spice". It was a group of about 10 of us. The food, drink, and conversation were all fantastic. I got to meet some other people (who could forget the Welsh, Paul?). There were definitely some characters there. I was "the American" for the evening. We stopped at a local Trowbridge pub called the Courthouse and took in some football (not American, mind you) while sampling some of the local bitters and ales. All in all it was a very good evening. Thanks again to Tony and Andy for asking and to Colin for picking up the tab!

Friday I wrapped things up with my group a little early and I had wanted to make an attempt to see Wells Cathedral, so I drove to Wells. Along the way to Wells I could see in the distance Glastonbury Tor, and the remains of St. Michael's church at the summit of the hill silhouetted against the setting sun. It was a really neat visual of which I wish I could have snapped a picture. I made it to Wells and found the cathedral and grounds. After walking around a little and snapping some pictures I headed in to Bath for the evening again. I managed to check off the last thing I had on my list of things to do while I was in Bath, too, which was to see the new James Bond movie "Quantum of Solace". Awesome movie!! It doesn't get released until November 14th in the U.S., and being a big Bond fan I wanted to see it while in the U.K. I had already made the determination that I would return to Bath Saturday morning before heading home so that I could see some of Bath during daylight hours. That morning I also was able to purchase a ticket to see the Roman Baths. I didn't have a lot of time to spend in Bath though, so I made quick work of the Roman Baths and then began the drive back to Heathrow. No incidents with the vehicle, and I got to Heathrow in plenty of time to catch a bite to eat before the 8+ hour flight back to Chicago. The flight home went well, and overall it was a good trip. I could have done without the car incident from last Saturday, but it was still a good trip.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

On to Trowbridge!

I had a long drive from London to Trowbridge to meet with my customers on Monday. Because of the hotel's location on the far east end of London I had to drive pretty much entirely across London, and on Monday morning it was real busy. Once I was outside of London the drive was pretty easy, and I was definitely getting more comfortable driving on the left side of the road with the driver's seat on the right side of the car.

I got things set up at my customer, Virgin Media, and afterwards I checked in at the hotel I was staying at, the Old Manor Hotel. The Old Manor Hotel is a Bed and Breakfast that also has packages that serve dinner, too. It's a very old converted farmhouse. It was originally built about 500 years ago, and was altered extensively around 1700. It's really neat. There are multiple buildings that have all the rooms, and it has a nice restaurant and small bar with a parlour/waiting room in the main building.

I thought I still had about an hour of light left so I thought I would try to get to Stonehenge and see it since it was only about 40 minutes away. The overcast sky, and the fact that there was less light left in the day than I thought meant that when I drove near to Stonehenge I could only see the large stones as dark silhouettes from the road. I was wiped from all the driving so I went back to the hotel for a late dinner that evening. I was looking forward to getting in to the town of Bath over the next couple of days.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Sun-day in London

After what had happened Friday night and all day Saturday I woke up Sunday morning expecting it to be pouring buckets outside and unable to really enjoy walking around London. I was pleasantly surprised to find it sunny outside. After grabbing an early bite to eat I made my way towards the river and towards Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. Since I was on the far east side of London my plan of seeing the city pretty much involved starting at Tower Bridge on the east side and making my way towards Harrod's on the west end of London.

After getting some nice pictures of Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, and some other nearby buildings (see above), my next stop was St. Paul's Cathedral. On the way I stopped by the Monument that commemorates the Great Fire of 1666. Normally, you can go to the top, and I had done that the last time I was in London, but it was being refurbished and was closed to visitors. I went through Paternoster Square, and the cathedral is just outside that square. With it being Sunday, the cathedral was closed to tours, but you could walk in the back of the cathedral and look around if you weren't disturbing the worship services. Unfortunately, they don't want you taking pictures inside the cathedral, so my only pictures are of the outside and surrounding area.

Next, it was off to Trafalgar Square. I hadn't been to the National Gallery before, so I thought I would visit there and take in some of the paintings they have there. The Gallery is separated by time periods, and it was very interesting to see how artists in general changed the overall appearance of people in their paintings as it got nearer to our time. Some of the artwork dated back to the 1200's, and let me tell you, when artists painted people back then people ended up looking creepy. Anyway, lots of good stuff there, but once again, you cannot take pictures inside the Gallery.

After taking in the Gallery, I headed towards Parliament, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey. I was able to get some nice pictures there. From there I headed towards Harrod's and the Hard Rock Cafe. I've been to the Hard Rock in London before, but it's the original, so I had to go back. After eating there, I made one more trip over to King's Cross Train Station to get a picture of "Platform 9 3/4". If you've seen the Harry Potter movies then you'll know that's the platform that the students use to board the Hogwarts Express. I thought my niece would appreciate seeing that pic. Finally, I headed back towards Piccadilly Circus and then back to the hotel. I was pretty satisfied with all I got done today, especially since I lost a day because of the car incident on Saturday. I did walk near the Thames to get a nice evening picture of Tower Bridge, too. Then it was time to get some rest for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Trowbridge Monday morning.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Tale of Two Days (in London)

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. OK, it wasn't either of those, but it certainly wasn't fun. I had a work trip planned that was taking me to the United Kingdom, and I was leaving on Halloween. The flight from O'Hare airport to London Heathrow was just over 7 1/2 hours long. That flight was actually the best part of the two days. I landed, picked up my luggage, and started to make my way to the hotel that was supposed to be connected to the airport. I managed to discover that it was located near a different terminal so I headed to the train and took that towards Terminal 4. As I was getting off the train someone knocked my laptop bag off of my suitcase, and as I made an effort to save it from hitting the ground something happened to two of the wheels on the suitcase that basically made the suitcase un-wheelable. So now I had to carry/drag this bag to the hotel. The hotel, where it is connected to Terminal 4, really isn't all that close. They have a long walkway that connects the two together. Anyway, eventually I was able to get to the hotel, check in, and get up to my room.

Once I arrived in my room I discovered that I didn't have any mobile phone service. To be real honest I wasn't too worried about this except for the fact that I had to contact the customer (ironically, a mobile phone provider) on Monday via phone, and I also had a 2 1/2 hour drive to Trowbridge where who knows what could happen. I called my cell phone service provider to see if they could help and of course they couldn't. Oh well, time to pick up a mobile "pay-as-you-go" phone for the week. Not a problem. I wish that had been the end of the issues, since it really wasn't too bad so far. Not great, but not absoultely horrible, either.

The next morning I went to pick up my car at the car rental. Lucky for me, they still had an automatic available. Most vehicles in the UK are manual transmission, and with the steering wheel on the right, I don't think I would've gotten comfortable trying to shift with my left hand. Unfortunately for me, Heathrow is west of London, and my hotel was on the far east side of London near Tower Bridge so I had to drive across all of London to get there. The driving was going OK, even though it felt awkward to be on the left side of the road. The real problem I was having driving in London was all the scooters and motorcycles weaving in and out of traffic. It was this that caused my next dilemma. As I was making a right turn near Piccadilly Circus, a scooter was weaving between me and another vehicle in the lane next to me when he suddenly cut over in front of me. I thought I was going to hit him so I swerved to my left, striking the curb hard and bursting the front left tire. Because I was on one of the busier streets in London, I turned as soon as I could and just parked where I could find a spot for the vehicle.

This vehicle didn't come with a spare, it only came with a repair kit, which wasn't going to fix the blown sidewall I had (see picture). Without a working cell phone I was going to be forced to leave the car and find a way to get assistance. I used one of the phone booths (Thank goodness for those old red booths!!) and was able to get a hold of the rental agency's road assistance personnel, who said they'd send somebody out and that they'd be there within the hour. I waited at the nearest intersection per their instructions, and once I saw their vehicle I flagged him down and pointed out where my vehicle was parked. As I approached the vehicle I found another person staring at it. I didn't recognize the person at first, but it turns out it was a police officer that was writing out a ticket for my vehicle! Are you kidding me!?! I tried to convince the officer about my issue, but he informed me there was nothing he could do because the ticket was "written" out in his hand-held computer thing already. Awesome!!

...and now the piano falls out of the sky and lands on me...

Just kidding, but you can probably see how I felt. Just one thing after another. The road assistance gentleman tells me he can't do anything about the tire and will need to call for a tow, and because Budget's only rental facilities near London are at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, the vehicle will need to be towed back to the rental agency, which is completely the wrong direction for me. The tow eventually shows up about 3 hours later, and after the 1 hour tow ride back to Heathrow and filling out new paperwork for a new vehicle, I was able to do the drive all over again, now only it's dark and raining out, too!

...and now I get in accident number two, right?

Nope, no incidents on the second drive through London, but it was pretty much a wasted day for me. Instead of getting out in London for all day Saturday I didn't even get checked in until almost 8pm. My body was still getting adjusted to the 5-hour time difference, too. I took a short walk near Tower Bridge, found a nice pub nearby the hotel, sat down for some bitters and some fish & chips, and just called it a night. Not a fun day, but I planned to be well rested for spending all of Sunday out and about in London!

It's all OK now, the trip got better on Sunday, and I've still got the week in Trowbridge and Bath to go. More pictures to come...

Monday, October 20, 2008

D.C. and New York City in September

During these crazy economic times I got the opportunity to go to two of the busier spots in the country as far as the topic of economics is concerned: Washington, D.C. and New York City. I was working in the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., and while I was working in New York I was working just a block away from the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District. Very interesting!!

This is the third time I've gotten to D.C. in the past 1+ years, so I knew where to head to see some of the stuff I had missed the first time around. Unfortunately, there is still a lot more I wish I could see. Before I left for D.C. I was able to get online and get a reservation ticket to go to the top of the Washington Monument. It's a neat view from up there, and I've posted some pics here showing some of what you can see from the top of the monument.

On the way down the elevator inside the monument, you get to see some pretty neat rock carvings donated by each state as part of the monument. Some are very impressive!

While in D.C., one of the people I was working with was kind enough to give me a tour of the Federal Reserve Building. I was fortunate enough to get in to the Board of Governors room just after they had completed a meeting and got to sit in the chair at the head of the table there. In New York, I mentioned already that I was working very near to the New York Stock Exchange. I was about 2 blocks south of the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway where Trinity Church is located. I was even able to spend some time to go to Liberty Island and Ellis Island to see the Statue of Liberty and the building that was used for immigrants arriving in New York. The statue was neat to see, and I was able to spend some time on Ellis Island trying to track down my great-grandfather, who came to the U.S. in the early 1900's through Ellis Island.

I had a great time in both cities. It was fun getting around on foot and using the subway systems that both cities have. You get to experience so much more of the cities that way. I'm looking forward to going back again!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vegas with the Squirrel (and Vegas Jimmy), Pt. 3

With the Squirrel at her conference I thought it would be a good time for me to try and make back some of what I lost yesterday. With my bankroll somewhat diminished I thought the smart play would be to go over to the MGM and play on the $1/$2 No Limit tables there, and so I did. That decision worked out great for me, as I managed to win about $275 while playing on the tables there. Not bad for a $100 buy in! There was one hand that stuck out for me. I was dealt pocket Aces (AA) when I happened to be in first position. I decided to limp for the $2, hoping that someone would raise and then I would reraise when it got back to me. The table had been fairly active so I felt that this would be effective. Well, I couldn't have been more wrong! One by one, every player at the table just called the $2 and no one raised! We now had 9 players getting to see the flop. Against a single opponent, pocket Aces are about an 80-87% favorite to win. Against two opponents, Aces drop to about 70-75%. Against three opponents, it goes down to about 60%, and with four opponents it is less than 50%. So here I am, holding Aces, and I'm not even the favorite to win against the whole table, and I'm out of position after the flop hits, too! Awesome! (note the sarcasm).

So to the flop we go. I've already made the decision that I'm not going to go broke with Aces here since I decided to play coy before the flop and got caught by my own cleverness, but maybe the flop will help. Well, the flop comes: 6-6-4. The blinds check, in staying conservative here I check, and everyone else checks. This actually gets a small chuckle from the table when the last player checks. The turn is a 7. Once again everyone checks until we get to the end, where one player decides to bet $15, slightly less than the pot. The action folds to me, and since it wasn't too much I decide to stay conservative and just call. Everyone else folds. The river puts a Jack out there, so now the board reads: 6-6-4-7-J. I check, being content to show this down cheaply. My opponent decides that a $45 bet is warranted. Well, it's still not that much considering the way things have gone for this hand, so I decide to make the "crying call". As soon as I do, my opponent mucked his cards! He was on a stone cold bluff! I never even had to show my Aces to win! I was happy to take down the pot, but a lesson was reinforced here...Don't limp with Aces! If you do, be prepared to throw 'em away. Now I didn't throw them away, but the pot was kept small enough to stay in the hand. Had he thrown out $75, $100, or more, I think I may have been forced to accept my preflop mistake and fold. Oh, well. I got lucky that time. It sort of makes up for a little of what happened at the Wynn, or at least that's what I was telling myself.

After wrapping that session up I met with the Squirrel back at the Excalibur. We both wanted to play a poker tournament, and I had found some tournaments with decent structures that I thought we should consider. One of those was at the Hard Rock Casino. They were opening a new poker room, correction, a poker "lounge", and we decided to cab it over there to check things out. All I can say about it is "Wow! Gotta like that eye candy!" It turns out the room hadn't "officially" opened yet, and they only had one cash game going. The tournament was only expected to have a handful of entrants so the Squirrel and I opted for a different tournament. We decided to head downtown to Binion's, where I thought I remembered that they had a nightly tournament with a good structure. The Squirrel hadn't seen the Fremont Street Experience either so this would give us something to do while we waited for the tourney to start.

Well, we checked out Fremont Street, grabbed a bite to eat at Binion's diner, and when we got back to the poker room we found that there were only 10 entrants for the tournament! The tourney would still take entrants through the first three levels, but that wasn't the turnout we were expecting. We started as two tables of five, and luckily we weren't at the same table to start. That would have sucked. Levels were half an hour each, we started with 6000 chips, and blinds started at 25/50, so there was plenty of time to be patient. One more player did sign up during the second level, and with one player's elimination we all got to go to the final table! Woo hoo! Ok, I'm sort of kidding, of course we made the final table.

Because of the structure and the small number of players we had plenty of time to chat with everyone at the table, and when we combined at the table I drew the seat to the Squirrel's immediate left. Often times when talking to her I would call her by her nickname, "the Squirrel", and before long the entire table was calling her the Squirrel. The Squirrel also has a heavy weight to protect her cards, and, of course, it's a little squirrel. She likes pointing the squirrel at her opponents and the table was getting a kick out of the use of the squirrel. So much so, that one of her opponents, who the Squirrel eventually eliminated, gave the marker the name "Vegas Jimmy". The Squirrel was doing a good job of amassing chips, too, having doubled through someone with AK when the board hit her for two pair, and also when getting someone to get it all in with her when she had pocket Aces. For a brief period of time I think that the Squirrel and I were the two chip leaders. Because of the small number of players only the top three places were getting paid. When we were down to five players I was the chip leader, and had a comfortable lead over everyone else at the table. When we hit the break a couple of us started discussing possible "chop" options. We had been playing for over 4 hours at this point, and we were thinking that we felt it would be good if everyone came away with something. We decided to put to a vote the following: Taking $100 off of the 1st place money and paying 4th and 5th $50 each. The entry to the tournament was $125, so although it would be a loss, everyone would still get something. The table agreed, and play proceeded.

I was fortunate enough to find myself in first position, Under the Gun, with pocket Queens (QQ). I raised, and the player behind me immediately went all in for his remaining chips. Everyone else folded back to me, and I called and tabled my Queens. He turned over Ace-King, also known as Big Slick, and off to the races we were! The flop produced a King, and I was down to two outs to knock this player out of the tournament. I didn't get there on the turn or the river, and I suddenly found myself in 4th place in chips out of the five of us. Since 4th and 5th were paying the same thing it didn't matter to me what spot I ended up in if that was to be my fate, so I knew that aggressive play was the way to play. About a dozen hands later, everyone folded to me in the small blind (SB), and I looked down to find pocket 6s. I moved in, and the big blind (BB) woke up with Big Slick...again!! He called, and I was off to the races one more time with this guy. This time the river was the King, and I was now eliminated from the tournament. Now it was time to be a cheerleader/observer from the rail. The Squirrel was still alive.

The position I had on the rail was allowing me to observe the player who knocked me out and the hands he was playing/folding. He was an older gentleman, and he was playing very tight, folding his blinds to almost every raise. The other three players hadn't really picked up on that yet, and I was hoping that the Squirrel would as I knew she was going to need some chips soon. Eventually, the short stack and the player that was 2nd in chips at the time got it all in, and I got the opportunity to tell the Squirrel that I thought she should be stealing more. I wasn't going to tell her what the older gentleman was folding, but I was hoping that she would be able to chip up a little bit. They were now down to three players, and each of their games had to be opened up a little bit more.

It was only a short time later when Dave, the player on the Squirrel's right, raised from the button the minimum amount. From the rail I had guessed this was a steal, since it appeared that Dave had also picked up on the fact that the older guy was folding everything. The Squirrel was next to act in the small blind and she just called. She was also the short stack in chips. I didn't know what she had yet, but I probably would have pushed all in..."if it's good enough to call, it's good enough to raise". If it wasn't that good, then folding was the play. It didn't matter, as the older guy moved all in after the Squirrel's call. I knew that had to be a huge hand. In that spot facing a raise and a call in front of me, and as tight as he was playing I was expecting him to turn over AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, or AQ. Dave immediately folded, sort of confirming that I thought he was stealing, and now the Squirrel had a decision to make for all her chips. She eventually called and tabled: AJ. The older guy turned over JJ, which is almost as bad as it could get there since that left the Squirrel with only the 3 Aces to catch or to make a straight or flush. None of that hit the board, and the Squirrel and Vegas Jimmy were out in 3rd. The only thing I would have done differently was probably shoving preflop after Dave's raise, and I'm sure the old guy calls anyway and the result would have been the same. She did get $220 for her efforts. I was happy for her considering the lost wallet and cards thing had happened I did want something to go well for her after that.

Not too much to tell after that. We played some craps at Binion's, and the next morning The Squirrel (and Vegas Jimmy) headed off to the airport early because of the lack of ID. I had another brief session at the Wynn because I needed to hit the Hooter's casino to get my stamp for a contest that Hooter's is running this year, and I headed home that afternoon. It was a very entertaining trip.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Vegas with the Squirrel, Pt. 2

That next morning the Squirrel headed to her conference. I was going to hit the pool for a little while so I headed down a little before 9am, but the pool at the Excalibur doesn’t open until 10am. I really didn’t want to just wait an hour up in the room to go to the pool, so I cleaned up and headed down for a late breakfast and a leisurely stroll over to the Wynn for an early session of poker.

I got a seat at a $2/$5 No-Limit table and bought in for $300. As I got to my seat I was witnessing someone’s pocket Aces being cracked by the player who was going to be on my right’s hand of 2-6. I don’t know all the details of that hand, but it was a huge pot, and my first impression of the player on my right was that he was loose. This was confirmed during my first half hour at the table. He was a foreign gentleman, and had a friend sitting behind him. He was also playing almost every hand. Often times he would show his friend his cards at the end of the hand, and because of my position at the table he was exposing his cards to me as well. Since it wasn’t during the middle of play I decided to just make mental notes about what he was showing. More often than not he was usually bluffing on the river by just placing a large bet out there. No one would call and he would take down the pot. Using that information I was planning to try and get involved with him in a big pot when I was holding a huge hand.

Things appeared to be going my way when, after this guy raised to $25 to open the pot, I looked down and found pocket Kings (KK). I just called the $25, hoping that he would follow up on the flop with a bet. Well, both the blinds called after I call. The flop came: Jack-8-3. Both blinds check, and my “mark” bet $125. I was up a little since I sat down, but I only had $350 or so, and I decided that now was the time to try to take this pot down in case he had a piece of it already I didn’t want to allow him to draw to a better hand for free. I moved all in. The first blind folded, but the other blind moved all in for less than what I had. THAT wasn’t good. I was almost certain that I was beat when that happened. About the only hand I would be beating there would be AJ, but I was guessing that the blind had either 8-8 or 3-3. Then it got back to the initial raiser on my right. I was initially hoping he would call since he had enough chips to cover me, and I could still win a side pot (although the side pot would be about $200 and I’d still lose on the hand overall). Well, he’s thinking about it when he asks the dealer if he can show me his hand. Since all the other action was complete the dealer informed him he could and then he showed me…pocket Aces!! He still hadn’t called yet, and now I was praying he’d fold since I basically had no shot at either pot. After a couple minutes he came to the conclusion that he couldn’t fold for the $200 or so it would cost him and he called. My instincts were correct about the other guy, too, unfortunately, as he turned over 8-8 for a set of 8s. No King arrived, and it was time to rebuy.

The decision to rebuy was easy with the action that table was generating. I felt I just got real unlucky that both Aces and Kings happened to be dealt at the same time (with me getting the Kings). So I bought back in for $300, and started working my stack up, slowly, but I had managed to get it up to $540. The foreign guy on my right had left about 1½ hours ago, but he had been replaced by a player who was just as aggressive, but wasn’t playing as many hands, although he was playing more than most players at the table. It was at this point when I was dealt KJsuited and this player raises to $25. I decided to call and see what the flop would bring. Everyone else got out of the way, and the flop was: K-J-4. Wow! Top two pair! My opponent led out and bet $50, and with my two pair I thought I’d lay a trap and call. The turn card was a Jack! This now gave me a full house, Jacks full of Kings. My opponent led out and bet again, this time $75. I decided to make the minimum raise to $150. I’m really hoping he’s either got a King or a Jack. I was hoping it was the Jack since it would be very hard to get away from trip Jacks here. Well, he thinks for a minute and decides to raise to $400. To call that it would only leave me with $100, so I knew he would call my reraise of all in and that’s what I did almost immediately. He called just as quickly and turned over…pocket Kings! ARE YOU F---ING KIDDING ME?!? Obviously, his pocket Kings gave him a better full house, and since the last Jack in the deck didn’t hit the river (why the hell should I get lucky?) to give me four of a kind I lost that pot. Yes, I’m bitter. That one hurt. If I had been thinking a little earlier, I would have gone and grabbed something to eat as it would have given me the opportunity to pull chips off the table; something you cannot do during play. It was getting close to time for me to leave so I could be back at the Excalibur by 5 o’clock, so I decided NOT to rebuy again and I headed back to the Excalibur to meet up with the Squirrel for dinner.

I got back to the Excalibur, and while I was in the room waiting for the Squirrel, the room phone rings, and it’s the Squirrel asking me to meet her at the elevator to let her up. I agreed and headed down. I assumed that she had left her room key in the room, and the guard at the bottom by the elevators won’t let you up without showing a room key. How I wished that were the case! I found out when I got down there that the Squirrel had dropped her wallet in the cab and had lost her cash, ID, room key, and credit cards! We tried to see if the cab was out front, but no such luck.

Here I thought I was having a bad day because of poker! My day sounds pretty good compared to that! We got back up to the room and called all the cab companies to report the lost items, but we weren’t getting anywhere as far as tracking the items down. Then she called to cancel her credit cards. There was also a new problem. I had cash on me, but when I go to Vegas I typically leave my credit card and debit card at home to not be “tempted” to use them, so I didn’t have an easy way to access cash. The Squirrel had no way of getting any, and I just lost $600 playing poker earlier. I was slightly worried that we might have to get by on what I had left for cash. I had plenty for gambling for myself, but to cover both of us along with meals and hotel, that would have been another story. After canceling the cards and after she had called home to apprise her hubby of the situation we got a late supper and turned in early for the night.

As it turned out, the next morning, the Squirrel was able to hit a bank in Las Vegas that also has branches back home that she banks at, explain her situation, and cash a check, so that part of the problem was now resolved. I did find out during the course of this that this wasn't the first, or even the second time that this has happened to the Squirrel, but actually this was the THIRD time this happened to her while out of town. Note to self: pick up a wallet with a chain for the Squirrel for Christmas, unless she's going out of town before Christmas, then get it sooner. :) We never heard back from any of the cab companies, and the wallet and credit cards were never recovered. That really sucked. Our trip wasn’t over yet, though…

Vegas with the Squirrel, Pt. 1

I had an opportunity to go to Vegas in early September and decided to go. A friend of mine, the Squirrel (a nickname, obviously), was attending a work-related conference there. Her husband, with whom I bowl with and also play poker, was unable to go to Vegas, and she didn’t really want to go to Vegas by herself, so the opportunity for me to go with a room all set was there as long as I could come up with the flight. I used some of my frequent flier miles, and lo and behold, I had a very cheap Vegas trip!

The trip occurred during the opening week of the football season, and the Packers were playing that Monday night against the Vikings. We couldn’t miss that, so after I had my first poker session in the books and after the Squirrel had arrived we headed to the ESPNZone at the NY, NY casino to eat and take in the game. Of course, we got some wagers in on the game and some other games, too. I even was able to bet on the U.S. Tennis Open Championship thanks to the Sunday rainout in New York. I was fortunate to win on most of the sports bets. Packers win: check. Raiders get blown out by Denver: check. Federer wins U.S. Open: check. Packers cover prop bet: oops. Brewers win to give me my 3-team parlay: oops. Oh, well. Can’t win ‘em all.

After the game the Squirrel and I played some craps at NY, NY, and at the Excalibur. The Squirrel hadn’t played a whole lot of craps before so I played the role of instructor and guide while we were playing. For those of you that don’t know I also have served the function of a craps “dealer” at parties over the years. I used to work about 15-20 parties a year, with most occurring during the holiday season, but now I probably work only a handful during a year, if that. Now that I think about it, I think the last party I worked was this past January. It’s been a while. Anyway, I know the game rather well, and can follow pretty much every bet that’s on the table at any given time so not only can I help a person play craps to reduce the house’s edge as much as possible, I also make sure all the bets are placed properly and paid so that my friends don’t get overlooked. At a busy craps table a bet can sometimes be missed by one of the dealers, and if you don’t point it out you could very easily miss out getting paid. The Squirrel and I had a good time playing craps, and with the Squirrel’s conference starting early, we called it a night at a reasonable hour.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I know, I know...I've been busy.

I know I haven't posted anything new in the last couple weeks. I'll try to take care of that this week and weekend. I've been real busy since the second week of September. I've been to Vegas and have a couple good stories from there, had a pair of work trips in Washington, D.C., and NY, NY, went to the Packers-Cowboys game, went to the second to last game of the regular season for the Brewers in conjunction with a very long bachelor party, and went to the Brewers first playoff game at home. I do have some pictures from most of the stuff and I'll be posting those, too. I need to get this stuff posted because at the end of the month I'll be traveling to the United Kingdom for work, and I don't want to be too far behind before I go! I'm so excited about that trip!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tournament of Champions - Part 2

Sorry about the delay between posts for the Tournament of Champions. There’s been a lot going on lately. I believe we left off where I had just won a significant pot because I got extremely lucky when I was trying to steal the blinds…

Because I had the chip lead I felt no real need to push too hard against my opponents as I wanted them to start chipping away at each other. This strategy was working well as I watched a couple of the other players take each other out. I picked up the occasional strong hand and was able to play back at some people as well. On one such occasion Dan, aka “Highway A”, had raised a pot where I picked up a pair of Queens and my reraise was able to force Dan to lay his hand down.

While this was going on Mark, who also is the league’s director, was starting to pick up some chips and had about half as many as I did. I looked around to see where all my opponents were at, and the approximate chip positions were:

Myself, 11000

Mark, ~5500

everyone else, <3000

With the chip positions as they were the only player that could hurt me significantly was Mark. He also happened to be seated on my immediate left, which is a bad spot for me to have him at the table. It was this fact that started my decline. We were at six players, and I found myself holding Ace-Ten. I was in early position so I raised. At a six-handed table Ace-Ten has a slightly better than 50% chance to be the best hand dealt. After I raised Mark reraised. Everyone else folded, and the action was back to me. Mark’s reraise had put in about 40% of his stack so I really didn’t think he’d be able to fold his hand. Also, I’m sure Mark was aware of the chip stacks and the fact that I was the only one who could knock him out at the moment so I decided that his hand had to be pretty strong if he was going to risk getting knocked out at this stage of the tournament. I decided to fold. That obviously put Mark and I a little closer to each other in chips.

This incident wouldn’t have made the blog except for the fact that this scenario happened two more times within about a 40 minute span. I raise, Mark reraises, and then I fold. The two times it happened after that I had Ace-Nine, which I folded for very much the same reasons as I explained earlier, and then it happened again when I was stealing with Ace-Three. That time I was banking on the fact that Mark just couldn’t keep catching hands when I was. Well, I guess I was wrong. It was that, or he just realized that he was able to steal from me in that position. Either way, it was working for him and it was killing my chip stack. After those hands took place we had basically flip flopped chip positions.

Mark was also scooping some pots by eliminating opponents. He managed to eliminate Rock when Mark got it all in preflop with 7-7 against Rock’s Q-Q. The action had gone: Mark raised, Rock reraised all in, and Mark called. Given the action I was very surprised to see what Mark was holding, but he must have known something I didn’t since the river (last card) was a 7, giving Mark a set of 7s and sending Rock to the rail. I was eliminated shortly after that when I got it all in with AQ against Don’s pair of 3s and I didn’t win the coin flip. That crippled me and I went out in 4th place a couple of hands after that.

The final three were set, and it was at this point that Don decided to get a little creative with his raising of the pot. To fully understand what happened here you have to know that in poker, if you announce your action your statement is binding. If you don’t say anything and perform an action then that action is binding, but it must be done all at once. Well, Don announced that he as going to raise to 2400, but when he put his chips out he only put out 1400. No problem, we pointed out the “accidental” mistake and it was corrected because he announced his bet. On the very next hand, Don decided to raise again, but this time he put out 400 less than what he announced. Once again, we had him correct it, but now it was time to definitely give him a hard time about his ability to count chips. A couple hands go by, and then Don wanted to raise again. This time he grabbed his chips ahead of time, was made sure to look at me as he announced in a mocking tone, “I’m raising to 2400. Does that look right this time?” To which Adam replied, “Well, you only put 1400 out there again, so you owe another 1000!” Now, I know Don wasn’t doing this intentionally, but it was too hard to pass up ripping him for the mistakes. By the way, did I mention he’s a teacher of children? I’m guessing that those children are not our future. I sure hope those poor kids can pass their math tests!! Just kidding ya, Don.

Shortly after that Mark, now known as the “River King”, got involved in a pot with Pete. In an unraised pot, the flop had shown up with the following three cards: Ad-8d-something non diamond. Pete moved all in, and Mark decided to call. Pete turned over Kd-9d giving him the nut flush draw, and Mark turned over 7d-3d. Mark was down to only six outs, and he also had to dodge any diamond in the process! Well, the turn card missed both players, and the river was a 3, giving Mark the win and eliminating Pete.

The heads-up battle between Mark and Don didn’t last too long. The hand that crowned the champion played out like this:

In an unraised pot, the flop came Kx-8x-X. Both players check the flop. The turn was a 4. After a bet by Don and a raise by Mark, Don shoved all in. Mark thought about it and called. Don table a King for top pair, and Mark showed J4 for bottom pair. Mark needed to catch either a Jack or 4 on the river to win, and as Adam dealt the last card it was a…4!! Mark won again on the river! Mark was very gracious in his win as I think even he realized how lucky he got on those three hands…three rivers!! Wow! This, friends, is the “class of the CCPL”. Make a note of Mark's pose here as I think I can sum it up as "F.U.! Look at these hands and your new CCPL Champ!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tournament of Champions - Part 1

Last weekend the final tournament of the second season of the Cream City Poker League (CCPL) took place. Adam was kind enough to host the championship, and the five returning champions of the seven events along with the next two highest players from the point’s standings and the two winners from the play-in event came together to form the Championship Table. As a wrinkle to the tournament structure, every player received an amount of bonus chips that was determined based on the number of points earned throughout the season, so the stacks were not even to begin the tournament.

I started with the lead in chips based on my season results, but I found myself not really able to use that advantage since I was almost getting no decent hands to start the tournament. Even when I would find myself with a borderline starting hand the players acting in front of me were raising and reraising often, eliminating any advantage I might have by getting in to the pot. So I waited…and waited…and waited.

Meanwhile one of the players, Pete S., was either getting a lot of good hands or changed his style of play significantly for this event, as it was he who seemed to be doing the most raising preflop. Other players were even pointing this out when he had raised from the first position, known as Under the Gun, several times in a row.

Also, Dan seemed to be having a good time at the tournament, seeing as he was in conversations with other players often times when it was his turn to act. It was just after he had raked a pot and was informing the rest of us that a “new groove was being formed on the table where all the chips would funnel to” him, just like “Highway A leaving Lake Delton” in the Dells when he gave himself the nickname “Highway A”. It had also been Dan’s turn to act for almost a minute while this proclamation took place. It had to be pointed out to Dan regularly that it was his turn to act. Eventually he picked up the pace on his turn.

I was still waiting to get some good hands. I managed to pick up the blinds once when a got a medium pair to raise with preflop, and had picked up a small pot when I bet a flush draw in another pot where everyone had missed the board. Because I had been playing so few hands, and it had been noticed by a couple players that I had been playing so few hands, I thought I would try to pull a steal from the cutoff position, which is one before the dealer, regardless of what I was holding the next time I was in the cutoff. When that position came up I found myself holding: Js – 2s. Not a great holding, but I was hoping that my tight image would hold up for the steal. I raised, the button folded, and Adam and Adam, who were in the blinds, both decided to call. As soon as that happened I had planned to give up the hand, but the flop produced something that I wasn’t expecting when it hit:

Jc – 7c – 2x

giving me two pair! Adam led out with about a 2/3 pot bet, and the other Adam thought about it and moved all in behind him! That brought the action to me. I really didn’t think that all three of us could have hit the board so well, and I believed one of the Adams was on a flush draw. I moved all in, hoping that if the first Adam was on the flush draw it would not give him the proper pot odds to call and he’d lay it down. Adam thought about it for a while, and after thinking he had the pot odds to call decided to also call, so now two of us were at risk to be knocked out of the tournament because of this hand (the Adam hosting, and myself). Adam turned over QJoff and knew he was behind because of my moving in, and then the other Adam turned over AJ, which really hurt the other Adam. I showed my two pair, to which everyone was surprised to see that hand. Adam called for the board to pair, which would have been fine for me as long as it wasn’t a 7 or running pair of cards. My hand held up, and I nearly tripled up in the hand. I was very surprised to see the AJ in that situation, especially since he had led out with a bet, was raised, and then reraised again by the initial raiser. I would have thought that third raise would indicated the overpair, the set, or two pair (two pair being the most unlikely with that flop). At the very least I would have thought that top pair could be thrown away there. Oh well.

After I had amassed that stack of chips, I started getting some hands, too. It was with that stack that got me to the later stages of the tournament, but I’ll save some of that action for the next post…

Monday, August 25, 2008

Tournament of Champions Preview

This post is just a teaser for the next couple of posts for this blog. This past weekend the Tournament of Champions II was held for the Cream City Poker League. The game featured a whole lot of hands and action. During the course of play there was the usual discussion of playing poker “by the book”, and I think it was decided that the following chapters will be added to the book when the CCPL decides to author it:

Chapter 1: How to Steal the Blinds from Under the Gun – by Pete S.
Step 1. Play tight for three years, then raise the hell out of everyone when out of position

Chapter 2: Stealing the Blinds from Late Position and Tripling Up – by Jason F.
Step 1. Pick a poor starting hand to raise with and pump up the pot
Step 2. After blinds both call, make sure you hit two-pair or better and get them to bet in front of you.

Chapter 3: Knowing When It’s Your Turn to Act – by Dan N.
Step 1. Start up a conversation with someone right after the person on your right makes decision with cards.
Step 2. Give yourself a nickname
Step 3. Wait for the table to get irritated with the delay and have them insist you perform an action

Chapter 4: Knowing the Right Amount to Bet – by Don L.
Step 1. Verbally announce your bet, then put out a thousand less. See if anyone notices
Step 2. After everyone notices, try again on the next hand, but only short the pot by 400 instead of a thousand.
Step 3. Grab chips ahead of time, prepare for the raise, announce it and prepare to make sure everyone knows you did it right, but actually short the pot by 1000…AGAIN.

Chapter 5: Late Stages of the Tournament: Closing the Deal – by Mark S.
Step 1. Get your chips in as a 80%+ underdog at least 3 times
Step 2. On the river, get the card you need to eliminate opponents

I'm telling ya, if you follow these chapters in the book, you too, can become a great poker player...

I'll give a little more detail about each of these in the next few posts!!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Brewers vs. Cubs and the Bob & Brian Open

I was really looking forward to this past Thursday and Friday. Mike was coming in to town, and Mike, Todd, Dan, and myself were heading to the finale of the four-game series taking place between the Brewers and the Cubs. The four of us only get the opportunity to get together a couple times a year (at most), and we usually golf the Bob and Brian Open on the first Friday in August, so it was pretty nice that we were able to hang out a couple days together. Dan provided the tickets (Thanks again!). The tickets were for excellent seats in the lower level between home plate and first base. Unfortunately, the Brewers didn't have their A-game with them on Thursday (or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday) and the Cubs ended up winning the game and sweeping the series. We did leave in the bottom of the 8th inning, so we missed most of the Brewers scoring as they scored 3 of their 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th. They only needed 7 more runs to tie, though...

Friday started out bright and early, as we all met at Dan's house at 6:00am to head over to the Bob and Brian Open. If you aren't familiar with "Bob and Brian", they are a pair of local DJs that run a morning show in the Milwaukee area. Each year, on the first Friday in August, they have a golf outing they run as a fund raiser for the MACC fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer). It's a great time as they have 36 holes and at least two foursomes starting on each hole. They even have enough golfers to run two shifts, one at 7:30am and one at 1:30pm. We were in the early start.

After arriving at the golf course we dropped our clubs at the club drop, checked in, and then went looking for our carts so that we could snag a couple clubs to go practice at the range. Mike's and Todd's clubs were at their carts, but Dan's and mine had been mysteriously "misplaced". After searching all over we discovered that our clubs were never making it on to the carts to be delivered to the golfer's carts. So much for practice! There seemed to be some long lines at the check-in area, too. Overall, I didn't think it was run as well as it has been in the past. Hopefully, they'll improve on that for next year.

The weather started out great, and we never had to worry about rain or getting enough sunshine because it was sunny all day. It was REALLY humid though, so about 11:00 or so it started to get real warm out there on the fairways and greens. We didn't have the greatest of golf scores as we only posted a 3-under 68, but we always know going in to the outing that we aren't going to post the best score, as usually some group comes in with some ridiculous score of 20-under par or something like that. We had a good time though. I did manage a pretty nice chip in for an eagle on a par 5, but that was my only highlight of the day.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Coolers...get your coolers here!

One evening while it was raining in Albany I had the opportunity to play a little bit of online poker. I was just trying to kill some time before heading over to see the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight". I would really recommend that movie if you haven't seen it yet as it is one of the better movies I have seen in the last couple of years. Anyway, I digress. I was playing at the $.25/$.50 No Limit table when the following hand came up. For those of you that don't know my name at the Full Tilt tables is "Phantom Aces". As usual, I will try to interject my thoughts as the hand plays out:

Full Tilt Poker Game #7335581850: Table Huxley Cross - $0.25/$0.50 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:31:10 ET - 2008/07/22
Seat 1: FTP paramedic ($6.30)
Seat 2: Bockcara ($50)
Seat 3: bobontilt ($99.75)
Seat 4: Phantom Aces ($22.85)
Seat 5: Farodealer ($46.50)
Seat 6: riffraff999 ($34.85)
Seat 7: karway ($81.55)
Seat 8: major penalty ($50)
Seat 9: CORNpoo ($34.55)
Farodealer posts the small blind of $0.25
riffraff999 posts the big blind of $0.50
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Phantom Aces [Ks Kd], I'm always happy to see this hand dealt to me. Now I just need another player and have to avoid the dreaded Ace on the flop!
karway folds
CORNpoo calls $0.50 - Hello other player!
FTP paramedic folds
Bockcara folds
bobontilt folds
Phantom Aces raises to $1.75 - you have to put in a raise with Kings, but I don't want CORNpoo to give up yet so I'll keep the raise small
Farodealer adds $3.75
Farodealer folds
riffraff999 folds
CORNpoo calls $1.25 - Sweet! Now, no Ace on that flop
*** FLOP *** [2s Kh 2c] - This is a GREAT flop! I've flopped the nut full house. In fact, There's almost no hand my opponent can have that the flop will have helped him, so I'm going to have to let him "catch up" by not betting and giving him a card that may help his hand.
CORNpoo checks
Phantom Aces checks
*** TURN *** [2s Kh 2c] [7d] - With that card, I'll still let him take any initiative here
CORNpoo checks
Phantom Aces checks - OK. I'm guessing that he doesn't have much. Let's give him one more free card.
*** RIVER *** [2s Kh 2c 7d] [Td] - I hope he bets SOMETHING here, or I'll have to do that.
CORNpoo bets $3.50 - Nice! Hopefully he hit something with the board! Time to raise!
Phantom Aces raises to $8.50
CORNpoo raises to $32.80, and is all in - Wow! This is an automatic call here.
Phantom Aces calls $12.60, and is all in
Uncalled bet of $11.70 returned to CORNpoo
*** SHOW DOWN ***
CORNpoo shows [2d 2h] four of a kind, Twos - Holy coolers, Batman! That really sucks. What are the chances of him flopping quads when I flop a full house?!?
Phantom Aces mucks
CORNpoo wins the pot ($44.15) with four of a kind, Twos
Phantom Aces is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $46.45 | Rake $2.30
Board: [2s Kh 2c 7d Td]
Seat 1: FTP paramedic didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: Bockcara didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: bobontilt didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: Phantom Aces (button) mucked [Ks Kd] - a full house, Kings full of Twos
Seat 5: Farodealer (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 6: riffraff999 (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 7: karway didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: major penalty is sitting out
Seat 9: CORNpoo showed [2d 2h] and won ($44.15) with four of a kind, Twos

That, friends and readers, is about as much of a cooler as you'll ever see in poker. For those of you unfamiliar with poker jargon a "cooler" is when you hold a very strong hand, usually the 2nd best possible at the time all the money goes in, and your opponent has the one possible hand that can beat you.

Once this flop hit the board there was no way anything but getting all the money in was going to happen. My opponent was clearly going through the same thought process I was when that flop hit, it's just that his hand was the stone cold nuts! I actually had one of my friends ask me what I thought he had when he raised at the river. My only answer to him was, "Does it matter? I'm not folding to that remote of a possibility!" I'm not going to fold a Kings full full house in this situation. I'm just glad that the stakes at this table were so small when it happened because I'd have paid off anything at any level with the hand I held and the board that hit. For those of you that are curious the odds of flopping a full house when you hold a pocket pair are about 0.7% (about 136 to 1). The odds of flopping four of a kind, quads, when you hold a pocket pair are 0.25% (about 407 to 1). I don't know what the odds are of having both of those occur at the same time are, but it can't too high!

...Coolers, get your coolers here!! Only $22.85...

Sunday, July 27, 2008


A friend of mine had this blog "tag" in her recent postings, and when I read it I sort of deduced from her answers that I was supposed to also do this if I had read her blog. Her blog can be found here. As it so happens, on the day I initially read it I happened to wake up at noon thanks to some hard drinking the night before and when I saw question #1 I decided that maybe that day wasn't the best day to answer the questions. After all, I rarely get up at noon and I wasn't feeling well that day.

I had to work in Albany this past week and forgot about it, but now I'm home and was going to do a post when I realized I hadn't done this, so here goes:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 7:00am
2. Diamond or Pearls? not big in to either, but diamonds I guess
3. What was the last film you saw? The Dark Knight (excellent movie! Thumbs Up!)
4. Who always supports you? my family
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? a bowl of cereal, two pieces of toast, and two slices of turkey bacon during the week; eggs, bacon, and toast on the weekends
6. What is your middle name? Richard
7. What food do you dislike? Zucchini and Squash
8. What is your favorite CD? most CDs by Collective Soul
9. What type of car do you drive? Hyundai Sante Fe
10. Favorite sandwich? If you're referring to homemade sandwiches, I guess a tuna sandwich with honey dijon mustard; otherwise, from a restaurant/sandwich joint it would be a grilled chicken sandwich of some sort.
11. What characteristics do you despise? Aloofness / big ego / arrogance
12. Favorite item of clothing? shorts and a comfortable polo
13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? Australia or Hawaii
14. What color is your bathroom? one is light blue, the other is a dark yellow
15. Favorite brand of clothing? Not big on shopping particular brands
16. Where will you retire? I like the people I know in Wisconsin, so it'll be here
17. What was your most memorable birthday? I guess my 18th or my 2nd; I got a baby brother for my 2nd birthday!
18. Favorite sport to watch? Football or Stanley Cup Playoff Hockey
19. Furthest place you are sending this? Not really sending this, but hopefully someone far away will read it!
20. Who do you expect to send this back to you? Not expecting a response because this is a blog post
21. Person you expect to send it back first? see #20
22. Favorite sayings? Most people would expect me to state "I raise" or "All in" here, but I think it would have to be "I'm picking up what you're putting down."
23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Night person
24. Pets? none right now. Traveling for work prevents that (among other things)
25. What did you want to be when you were little? An astronaut (what boy didn't?)
26. What are you today? Software Instructor / Consultant
27. What is your favorite candy? Peanut Butter M&Ms
28. What is your favorite flower? You do realize you "sent" this to a straight guy, right? I don't think I can name 5 flowers
29. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Well, it was this past June 1, but now it's going to have to be next June
30. What are you listening to right now? music through my iPod on my stereo system
31. What was the last thing you ate? salmon
32. Do you wish on stars? Yes
33. Do you believe in Angels? Yes
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? purple
35. Pet peeves? Constant dragging of feet (literally), and poor driving skills
36. Favorite Television show? Tossup between Lost and Smallville
37. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Dan
38. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes
39. Favorite soft drink? Diet Snapple Half Iced Tea/Half Lemonade
40. Favorite restaurant? South Woods because of the service; The Brat Stop because of a good experience there
41. Hair Color? Brown
42. Siblings? 1 brother
43. What do you like most about yourself? I'm pretty laid back
44. What was your favorite toy as a child? Matchbox cars
45. Summer or Winter? Summer
46. Hugs or kisses? Kisses
47. Chocolate or vanilla? If it's just those two, chocolate, although I'm a sucker for vanilla bean
48. When was the last time you cried? It's been a while
49. What is under your bed? nothing, it's pretty low to the ground
50. What did you do last night for dinner? grilled some chicked
51. Favorite smell? Iroincally, coffee, although I'm not a big fan of drinking it
52. How many keys on your key ring? 2
53. How many years at your current job? 4
54. Favorite day of the week? Friday or Saturday, they're both pretty good, although during football season it's got to be Packer Sunday!
55. Do you make friends easily? Yes

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Top Ten list of Cochenbalz 2008

I've seen several "Top 10" lists about the 2008 Cochenbalz Invitational along with other people's highlights. I'd like to post mine here along with other pictures from the weekend. My Top 10 highlights of the 2008 Cochenbalz Invitational (in no particular order):
  1. David nearly acing the elevated par 3 that had the fans surrounding it (Great Birdie!)
  2. Constantly being amazed by Thimmesch's length and accuracy off the tee.
  3. Getting accustomed to calling the first 18 "the front" and the second 18 "the back" and still trying to call the first nine of 18 "the front" and the second nine of 18 "the back".
  4. John's 40 on the "back of the front" on Saturday in the two-man best ball matches which pretty much slaughtered David and myself.
  5. As usual, feeling like I'm a midget whenever I'm around Pru. I just haven't seen you in a while.
  6. Our foursome making an incredible putt for birdie in the scramble with Vallee playing the "Humpty Hump" from his cell phone, and then needing to have that playing for all our shots the rest of the round.
  7. Making an 8 on Canyon #1 on Sunday. This may not seem good, but you likely didn’t see me play Canyon #1 on Friday or Saturday, did you? If you did you know why this is a highlight.
  8. Watching Adam try and use the cart girls as his "beard" (see picture of Trav and Adam in blog)
  9. Fitting 6 of us in a BMW to ride to Marley’s. This seems more improbable when you realize that in the backseat was a 6’8” person (Curt), his only slightly shorter brother (Keith), myself, and another 6’+ person (Trav) sitting on Keith’s lap. Saj and John appeared to be quite comfortable up front, while I’m sure anybody watching us get out of the car at Marley’s were waiting to see the clowns get out after us.
  10. Getting a ride back to the Ramada from Marley's from the Kalahari shuttle, who drove four of us on his bus that seats 20 from Marley's and never went to Kalahari. This also included a stop at some guy's house along the way.
  11. and of course, having a great time with some good competition and lots of drinking and camaraderie. there's 11 instead of 10. I had more fun than I thought.

20 Dudes. 3 Days. Zero Class.

OK. We don't really have Zero Class (at least not all of us), but the shirts we got for the 2008 golf outing had that phrase on there, and it was pretty funny. I got an invite to participate in this year's outing because some people had moved/dropped out/couldn't make it/etc., and had a great time golfing at Trapper's Turn. We played 36 holes on Friday, 36 holes on Saturday, and 18 holes on Sunday. That is a lot of golf! I had never played 36 holes in a day before, so I wasn't sure how I'd do over the 5 rounds of golf.

The outing was organized primarily by Trav, and many kudos to him for getting it all done! Kurt provided everyone with the great shirts for the outing. I'll have to post a picture of one of the shirts up here at some point. Thanks to Kurt and
SmokeStacks, Inc., for providing the shirts for all of us. Please check out his site to see the work he does. Also, Saj provided everyone with some Miller products (cooler, golf balls, golf towel, beer). Thank you very much for that!! Because we had an 8:30am start on Friday we had to leave extremely early that morning. Adam, Bass, Marty, Trav, Vallee, and myself were on the road by about 5:30 or so. Bass has got a sweet conversion van that had a huge flat screen TV along with plenty of space for the 6 of us. It was a nice ride.

We arrived at the course, and found out that we were going to start a little late because of some rain that came through that morning. The rain delay allowed us to run to the hotel and check in, saving some time later on that evening.
When we finally got started, I had one of the worst holes I've ever had on the very first hole (Canyon #1). In fact, the first 9 happened to be the worst 9 holes of golf I've had in about 5 years or so. I picked things up on the back (Arbor), and was golfing OK by the time we started our second 18 holes. The second 18 (Canyon/Lake) was significantly easier especially since it was a scramble. I started hitting drives solidly and making golf shots and was feeling good about my golf game. Because of the late start we didn't finish our last hole of golf until about 9:15pm. We had a little bit of fun on the last hole, with our foursome hitting shots simultaneously on the hole.

There was a lot of drinking to be done that night, and when it was time to golf on Saturday I was in rough shape. With the help of some Alleve I was feeling OK by about the 6th hole or so. For the rounds on Saturday we were playing two 2-man best ball matches for the first 18 holes (one match per nine), and the second 18 holes were to be a scramble. The two best golfers in the group of twenty were the team captains, and based on their knowledge of everyone's golf game and the scores shot on Friday morning two teams of ten were formed for the match play. Our matches were split 1 each, with us taking the front nine (Canyon) 2 and 1, and John and Tim taking the back nine (Arbor) 3 and 2. John shot an absolutely incredible 40 on the Arbor nine which pretty much crushed David and me.

The second 18 of the day was the scramble, and I was grouped with Thimmesch, Bucki, and Vallee. We came out of the gate hot, but bogeyed the 9th hole of the Arbor nine to make the turn at 4 under. We started the turn with a couple of birdies on the first three holes, and after making a spectacular putt for birdie with Vallee playing the "Humpty Hump" on his cell phone. We started playing that for all of our shots from that point forward. Because we were the last foursome we were able to find out that the leaders in the clubhouse were at 9 under par. We were at 8 under heading in to the par 5 18th (Lake #9), but after we all chipped a little long from 50 yards none of us were able to bring the birdie home (it would have been an outstanding putt from the back of the fringe if we had), and we finished at 8 under par, tying for second place.

We found out while eating dinner that the match play had ended with my team, Team USA, leading over Team International 6 1/2 to 3 1/2. Sunday's 18 was to be individual matches, with each nine consisting of a match, so 20 points were up for grabs. I was matched up against Dan. We started on the Canyon nine, which I wasn't too excited about since I had scored my poorest nines on the Canyon nine. For the third straight day I played very poorly on Canyon #1, although the 8 I posted on Sunday was the best of the three days. I found myself down 1, but managed to put together a very solid stretch of golf and was able to win the nine 3 and 2. Dan got me on the second nine (Arbor) 2 and 1. Dan made a great up and down on #7 to steal a hole that I thought I would win and then he tried real hard on #8 to let me back in the match, but I couldn't get the job done and was only able to halve the hole. As it turned out, the matches were split 10 points apiece on Sunday giving Team USA the win 16 1/2 to 13 1/2. It was a really good time, and I met a lot of really great guys that I look forward to doing some more golfing with soon!