Thursday, December 18, 2003
Bright light city gonna set my soul + Grubette's lucky chip

It is time. Vegas and Yellow Cab (which is not yellow but red) beckon a scant few minutes from now.

I hope to hunt down an Internet cafe to update now and again, but otherwise will be taking a hiatus until I return on the redeye Dec. 31st... sadder, wider (that was an intentional typo, hehe), but hopefully not poorer.

And if time permits, I'll sneak out to Baghdad over the holiday and shake hands with the boys.

Don't forget -- for being such a faithful reader, I'd like to send you a postcard welcoming in the new year. Email me with your name and snail mail address and I'll pop one in the mail to you. I'll even send one to your Aunt Mildred, if you have an Aunt Mildred.

To tide you over for the next couple weeks, here's a sweet post from grubette, a.k.a. my sis. No grub details but some cig details (I'm telling Mom!):

I was driving home last night and had a choice of going to the gym or Hawaiian Gardens.. I picked the latter. Plus, I had a lucky $1 blue chip Doug had given me the last time we played. Figuring I had about an hour til Doug got home from work, I only planned to be there an hour. But when I got there, I did not win one hand for 1 whole hour, after switching seats, and then finally switching tables. I was down over $200 and it was mainly because of some crazy raisers that one guy had admitted had already lost $1000 and he needed to play rather desperately to win it back. So at this new table, I immediately won a small pot, which was nice. Then I got a 23h and decided to play. The flop is 3 3 10. I was feeling pretty good about that, except two cards were clubs, and one was a spade. The turn is another spade. The pot is already swelling. Two spades and two clubs and people are betting crazily, either for their two pair, or their runner runner flushes two ways. My poor trip threes looked so good on the flop! The pot is so big that when the dealer is about to deal the river, I turn my head and look at the guy to my right, telling him I couldn't look. I just watch the expression on the guy's face next to me and he looks disappointed for me, saying, "Aw it's a 3." In disbelief, I turn my head and see that popping red 3 in a sea of 4 black cards.. my first quads. Now, two people have made full houses. I was first to bet and probably should have check-raised but my heart was bursting out my chest I was certain I was exposed so I just bet. I think there were 4 more callers, so when I had to flip my cards over first, the dealer said, "I know you have good cards" and I said that this was my first four of a kind and flipped it up. Though there were a couple of moans (the guy next to me had pocket Js).. they were happy for me. The pot was over $200. I only tipped the dealer $5. The next hand I made an inside straight on the river. Won that and tipped him $5 more. Then I got a 92 and a 74 on the next two hole cards so I went out to smoke a cigarette with the guy to my right. It made me a little high. Maybe I should have tipped the dealer more.

Obviously I should have left at that point, having won back my $200+ and being $200 up. I had so many racks and stacks of chips that they obscured my view of my cards.. so I traded them in for white chips. Safer that way, so I don't spend it all. I was $300 up a hand or two later and I called Doug and told him I'd leave in 15 minutes but didn't say how I was doing. In that 15 minutes, I lost $60, then won that back and more, leaving + $365. I told the guy on my right to sit in my seat. At the cashier, I gave her 5 white $100 chips and my blue ones, and she said, "Is that it?" Looking at the one white chip still in my purse, I said, "Yeah that's it". I went home and gave Doug the chip, saying his lucky blue chip had changed color.

Be good everyone, play well, and happy holidays!

Ho ho ho,
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
The ol' Party/Empire switcheroo

Received a 25 percent (max $50) comeback bonus from Empire, and I'm more than happy now to pull out of Party and set up shop at Empire. At least till Party offers another comeback bonus.

Even though I just played at Empire a couple weeks ago, if you withdraw (or lose) all your money from Empire or Party, a couple weeks later you'll likely get a comeback bonus. I used to feel guilty taking advantage of these offers, but hey they're offering, and who am I to turn down free money? Besides, they're essentially rake rebates for the raked hands required to play before actually getting the bonus (which for $50 is 250 raked hands).

The bonuses used to be bigger when they offered redeposit bonuses, but at least it's something. I'm playing on Party anyway, and Empire is the same as Party, so I may as well earn something in the meantime.

I've received at least six of these comeback bonuses ($300) this year. You can conceviably switch between Party and Empire for quite awhile, returning to one or the other for the bonus. They say come back, come back, li'l grubba, but I've never really left.

The other Party skins -- Multipoker, Intertops, Eurobet -- don't have comeback bonuses. But they do have signup bonuses. If you haven't signed up and you currently play on Party, you're missing out. Except for the multi tourneys (which is up to the individual skin to administer), it's all still the same great Party with all the same great (bad) players, and you'll get a free $50-100 to boot. If you're superstitious, you can always return to your Party skin of choice after working off the bonus.

In addition to getting your deposit bonus, you can even help out the ol' grubster by signing up via one of the referral links to the right.

Hmm... that just sounded like a big advertisement. Perhaps. But really, if you're playing online, you shouldn't be playing anywhere but Party. With all the advertising Party's planning again, it's only going to get bigger. Once it does, say bye-bye to the bonuses!

Update: Well. As I was writing this, iggy just posted about receiving a $100 bonus from Party, so your mileage may vary. $100. Humph. When I spent that night with Shana, she said all the big bonuses would be going to me. Waitasec, Shana doesn't have a mustache, does she?


Harvest Mornings Raspberry Danish oatmeal
3 BIG chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

3 Diet Cokes
1 Red Bull
orange juice

chicken with mixed vegetables (no cabbage)
steamed rice
fortune cookie: "Family is more valuable than money" ... until both sit at the poker table

beef jerky (peppered)
half a bag of Chips Ahoy chunky chocolate chip cookies (jeez, let Christmas be over)

My last day of work before vacation. We had our annual gift game (a white elephant kinda deal when person 1 opens a gift, person 2 steals that gift or opens another, etc.), and I threw in an extra gift to throw things off. Hehe. I always go overboard on these things, spending more than the $15 maximum, but I like seeing people fight over my gifts. Our gift game is pretty tame and not as cutthroat as others. Not many World Series of Gift Game pros in our office.

Ever thinking poker, there's some strategy to this -- if you spot a gift you really like, you don't necessarily want to go for it directly; instead, slowplay and pick a gift that someone else wants, putting them on the fact they'll steal it from you in later rounds. You'd rather have someone take your gift preflop than on the river, when you don't have as many stealing opportunities. Heads-up is best because once you steal a gift, they can't steal back. There's bluffing, too -- show you either hate the gift you like or love the gift you hate. In the end, I stole the gift I wanted and am happy with it, even though I have no specific use for it (it's a rotating picture frame cube from Home Decco, with picture holder wallet slot thingamabobs at the top). But I got it intending to regift it to my friend with the big penis baby.

Went to get Chinese take-out (pick-up) and bought lunch for a couple coworkers. Not that I was bribing for some good karma the next few days in Vegas, but hey, it's Christmas! (Hear that, poker gods? Let my good hands stand up!) I'll also be missing our potluck tomorrow (Christmas parties were too costly), so figured I'd do something nice. For a change.

Because my flight leaves before banks open tomorrow, I cashed out my paycheck this afternoon. We no longer have direct deposit (another cost-saving maneuver), so a swarm of people heads to bank row every other Wednesday at 2:35 p.m. I joined the party and wound up at the company's bank, Bank of America. I don't have an account there, so they charged me a freakin' $5 to cash the check! It's their check! Made me mad. I could've just gone to my own bank a block away. Or one of those seedy check cashing establishments. Then on top of that, when I thumbprinted the front of the check, they didn't have any wet-naps or napkins or tissues for me to wipe off the ink. Plus their free lollipops were stale.

grub: 70 (incl. groceries)
poker: 37
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Avenge ye the 5/10 player who throweth not the towel

One day I'll have my bankroll built up enough to withstand the tremendous swings of 5/10 6max at Party.

I dearly love the game, but with my limited funds I'm more playing with scared money (particularly since sitting at two tables of $250 each pretty much covers my entire 'roll minus milk, beer, and toilet paper money), and that's not a good way to think. I need to detach myself from the value and think of them as chips. Well, what I really need to do is grind it out in 3/6 or lower to build up, but that's already a moot point.

My big leak in tilting is revenge-seeking.

Tonight I played at a fairly loose table and a fairly tight table.

On the loose table, one guy was constantly winning pots. I noticed he would often raise the turn. And usually people folded to him then and there or on the river. He would also raise preflop and then check the flop (sometimes folding, sometimes raising the turn). He played terrible cards preflop but could outplay post. Sometimes with cards, sometimes without. Combine that with him being tricky and constantly adjusting to players against him, I could never put him on anything. Someone to avoid, you would think.

We ended up battling it out heads-up a number of times, and every single time I lost. Every single time. I don't even want to pull up PokerTracker to see exactly how many. But I'm not exaggerating when I say it was at least a dozen.

One hand I bet out with top pair, top kicker. He called. I bet the turn. Like clockwork, he raised. I reraised him, and he capped. He had low pair and made two pair on the river.

I tried adjusting. I let him lead the betting, with my raising the turn. Again he reraised. I capped. The river gave him a gutshot straight.

Not that the beats went this way all the time. Other hands he had the nuts on the flop, and I called him down with second pair.

I also folded the winner a couple times against him (I only folded if someone else was still in, so I could see his cards).

It got to be irritating. It got to be expensive. I rebought $200 twice. I was up $250 on my second table and had closed it out to focus on this one player.

The mistakes are clear. Some Q&A:

1) Why didn't I just leave? (He had my money.)
2) Why did I close out of a good game, with a winning image, where I was up twice my buy-in? (He had my money, I had to concentrate.)
3) Why did I rebuy twice? (He had my money, I had to get it back no matter how long it took.)
4) Why did I call him down on bad hands? (He had my money, he can't keep getting good hands.)
5) Why is there a hole in the bedroom door?

I'm not sure what it is that makes me this way -- pride, vengeance, competitiveness... all of the above.

Let's say I knew he was a professional. A Phil Ivey, say. Would I play him? Absolutely not. But get someone hidden behind a random screen name, and I think I'm better.

Unfortunately, he left before I could get my money back. No, make that fortunate. I lost what I'd won on the other table, and I was down almost $500. Who knows how much more down to the felt I would've gone against this player. (Here's the answer: $200 more, because that's all I had left.)

When the focus of my revenge was gone, I was able to play better, clearer, and over the next hour I gained the $500 back plus $95.

I can't seek revenge like this in SnGs. Once the tourney is over, it's over. Unless I'm adding someone to my buddy list and searching for them one by one through the tables like some crazed stalker, which I've... uh... been known to do.

Vendettas are worthless in poker. Just play the cards the best you can.

I must remember that.

If you look around the table and can't spot the sucker, you're the sucker.

I was the sucker.


Wendy's taco supremo salad (they always leave one ingredient out... this time it was the chips)
4 Peppermint Patties
6 Hershey's Kisses
2 scoops of Haagen-Dazs vanilla

3 Diet Cokes
orange juice

Wendy's chicken mandarin salad
Cucumber sushi

Lots of people hackin' & wheezin' in the office. I hope I can somehow avoid the infestation. I won't mind being sick when I'm in Vegas (well...) but the experience of being sick on the plane is very close to the experience of being mauled by a tiger.

Dropped off a Xmas gift to my friend with the baby. The kid constantly has this look of fear spread across his face, it's eerie. I can imagine being comfy-cozy in the womb, everything provided to you like you're Paris Hilton, and then BAM! You're pushed into the cold cruel world.

Holding him, he not only refuses to make eye contact, he stares above and over you, as if he's one with the spiritual world and sees your dead grandmother scolding your aura.

But in all actuality, he's probably just avoidant because he's thinking, "I don't need to look at you, I'm only 7 weeks old and I already have a bigger penis."

grub: 17 (incl. 3 office raffle tickets for a possible day off or garage parking for a month!)
poker: 95
Monday, December 15, 2003
Congratulations! You're a Winner!!!

Haven't seen one of these emails from Party in awhile, and considering my performance the past few nights, it felt particularly congratulatory tonight.

Placed 1st in a 50+5 NL SnG. This time my good cards weren't getting run down, mostly from raising all-in preflop, to avoid any possibility of a two pair or draw flopping for someone.

I felt very good about my play, although I don't feel it's any different from previous play.

I should reconsider my strategy. I rarely bluff. I won't even semi-bluff. If I go all-in, I have something. Oftentimes I see people playing nothing but position, particularly in the early stages. Even all-in with AK is not a good early strategy because all you'll get is the blinds and a few callers. I should go all-in from the blinds every so often and steal some bets.

Aw, who am I kidding? That's a bad way to play and you know it. Yet that's how most of these SnGs begin.

Humming the theme from Titanic (I was King of the World, you see), I proceeded to squander my hard-earned 1st place with another 50+5 (5th), a 30+3 (5th, QKs all-in and chip leader called me with 44), and one more 30+3 (3rd). Third is better than 4th, so I'll take it.

Here's an interesting hand from the 50+5.

I get KJ and flop KK8. Nice.

First to bet, I throw out T125. My hope is someone will put me on an 8, because if I had a King, I would've slowplayed (that's me thinking what they're thinking I might be thinking).

One person calls. A warning buzzer goes off, as I had just played him in the previous 50+5 and he came in second. He's a Very Good Player.

Before I had the chance to wonder why he called my bet, another person suddenly goes all-in with the remainder of his chips.

No hesitation from me, so I reraise all-in, hoping to get the Very Good Player to fold. This was more for show; he didn't have enough chips to call me anyway and his all-in would've just matched the first all-in guy.

Okay. We have a gigantimuntic pot.

Because the suspense is better knowing the hole cards up front, here they are:

your hero: KJ
VGP: KQ (ouch! dominated already)
all-in: 99 (what the heck?)

I did not put VGP on a bigger King. I thought a big pair but never suspected a K.

But that's not the worst of it.

Because I'm posting this hand, y'all know what was coming. Yep, a 9. All-in guy takes it all, wipes out VGP, and leaves my moldy remains crippled with T400.

An overboard bluff from someone who suspected I had an 8. But with another caller in the pot, a bad move.

Bad play gets rewarded, but then that's nothing new. That's poker.

Checking twodimes, 9-9 had a 10.30 percent chance of winning from the flop. I didn't have much more of a shot: 12.29 percent (which would include the Ace falling to tie with KQ). VGP was 59.80 percent favored.

So now here's a similar hand from the same tourney, but it's the very first hand. Back up, rewind. We're all at T1000.

I get Ac Qc in the big blind. One caller, and the SB completes. I check. I'll sometimes make this move in the blinds. Especially early in the tourney when I don't have any reads on the players. It's a good slowplay, with the main risk being the other blind.

Flop is Kh As Kc.

SB bets T45. I call. Other guy folds.

Turn is 9d.

SB bets T125. Not a lot, and I still think I'm ahead, so I call intending to raise on the river.

River is Ah. Oh drat. We're chopping.

Now SB checks. I bet T125, and SB calls.

I thought we were chopping until the check, then I put him on a pair. Could he possibly have quad Kings? But that would be monsters under my bed, wouldn't it grubby?

SB did have a King. A King of spades. With a 2 of hearts to go with it.

He flopped trips and underbet them enabling me to river a bigger boat -- which twodimes says I was an 86.24 percent underdog to get.

Bad betting gets unrewarded.

My bad play (preflop) gets rewarded.

I sucked out.

But coupled with a similar situation several hands later, you could also say I got my comeuppance.


McDonald's sausage & egg McGriddle

2 Diet Cokes
Red Bull

McDonald's steak & egg bagel (good, except there're white onions in it, and onions make grubby's tongue swell up)
7 Peppermint Patties, which tastes like dirt when combined with Diet Coke... I guess that's why I had seven

Papa John's pizza -- large mushroom and tomato thin 'n crispy (free because of my complaint! and just a little spittle)

Redskins vs. Cowboys. 0 to 27. I would burn and bury all my Redskins jerseys, only I don't have any. What's worse about the 'Skins horrendous and embarrassing play is that Papa John's offers an $8 large cheese pizza with one topping and one 20 oz. soda for every touchdown the Redskins made the previous day. One time they made three touchdowns. That was a good lunch.

Too much going on, had to miss a free preview screening of The Cooler with William H. Macy. Heard he plays the typical Macy role (Mamet-ish), but I like him playing that role.

grub: 10
poker: 134
Sunday, December 14, 2003
Saddam as poker player

This first thing that came to mind when hearing of Saddam Hussein's capture along with $750,000 in $100 US bills was: that'd be a good bankroll for the 3000/6000 game at Bellagio.

Another terrific post from davidross on twoplustwo. This is his 33rd week of playing online poker for a living. I've been following his saga from week one and it's quite a success story. This past week he posted his best week at over $4,000 -- all playing four tables at the Party 5/10 6max.

It occurred to me that between us poker bloggers, we cover the major cities.

A sampling:
Felicia's in Vegas. mcgrupp's in NYC. hdouble's in LA. Intrepid's in Chicago. Decker's in Tampa Bay. BoyGenius is in Detroit. iggy and Chris cover the midwest. grubby's in DC.

Coincidence? I think not. We're primed to take over the world with legalized poker in each city, so watch out!

from iggy: "One of these days we'll need to get a private table and have a poker bloggers only game. Or can we arrange a private SNG? That could be purty fun, imho."

from hdouble: "The Great Blogger Hold 'Em Experiment"

from grubby: "Let's do it!"

It's extremely easy to set up a private table at Party. Once we're all sitting, we can reveal the password to anyone who wants to watch.

I recommend a limit SnG -- it'll keep us there longer since I, the maniac who raises with anything, will apparently go all-in on the first hand (see below).

With the new Party update (live hand histories!) I noticed I had a note on myself. There must've been some mixup, because it's impossible to add notes to yourself, the only option is to get stats.

Curious, I clicked on the note and here's what it says:
"maniac, stays in and raises with anything"


I'll be sure to always play with myself.

Wait, that didn't come out right...


Perdue Short Cuts Italian Herb chicken
can o' corn

3 Diet Cokes
orange juice

Healthy Choice Chicken Marinara (the new flavorful flavors are about as flavorful as a bar of soap)

I rent DVDs by the month (about 25-30 at a time), which ends up being a costly proposition because somehow a month just isn't enough time. Tried catching up on a few:

The Matrix: Reloaded. I'm at hour two of this borefest and still can't get through it. I'm hoping to catch the third one on Luxor's Imax screen in Vegas, so I'd better hurry. But I can't get into it. I don't know what's going on. If Hugo Weaving keeps replicating like that, why bother fighting? As Ron & Fez would say, "It stinks on ice."

The Element of Crime. An early Lars von Trier. An imagination reminiscent of the Brothers Quay, but too much of the orange and green color palette put me to sleep. I fast-forwarded through most of it... paused at the unexpected naked parts... and forwarded through to the end.

Afterglow. Lovely, quirky Alan Rudolph character-driven story. Skinny Lara Flynn Boyle nekkid, too.

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Loved this, don't know why it didn't do better at the box office. Sam Rockwell is completely convincing as Chuck Barris. Watch his dance audition tape in the bonus extras. Bryan Singer was onboard to direct but it fell apart, so George Clooney stepped in. Seemed like a bad choice on paper, but he turned out a marvelously inventive movie. He has a fondness for '70s flicks (Mike Nichols especially) as well as live TV, and it's all evident here with the smooth time transitions and classic camera pans with scenery changes and turntables. My favorite scene was a deleted one. As Chuck Barris is imagining his shows being cancelled, he envisions literal killings. For one, a woman is onstage with her little dog. She's singing opera and a piano comes crashing down on her. A beat. The dog looks around. Beat. A toy piano falls and flattens the dog. Hilarious.

I'm envious of someone multi-talented as well as good-looking. Doesn't quite seem fair. A friend has a play currently premiering in DC. She's an in-demand actress, has several well-received plays that she's written under her belt, is happily married with two kids... and is jaw-droppingly attractive. Ah, but can she play poker...?

grub: 106 (another wedding gift, a couple more Xmas gifts and I am DONE)
poker: -156 (a pox on SnGs -- more 4th and 5th places)
Saturday, December 13, 2003
Don't let 'em flop

I see people slowplay pocket Aces beautifully sometimes. They smooth call preflop, smooth call on the flop, then go wild on the turn. It's a great play, but how do they hold up?

I'm convinced this only works live and on sites outside of Party.

For here is my tale of woe.

It's a 20+2 NL multi tourney. 888 people have entered.

A new bottle of Captain Morgan has been opened, my purple fuzzy throw blanket is wrapped around me, and I'm just settling in for a few hours of play.

It's early still (although fifth hand in I've already been moved to a new table), and blinds are 15/30.

I look down and see Aces. Here's my chance to build chips, methinks. I'll smooth call preflop and flop, raise on the turn, and take down a monster pot that will catapult me to winning the whole multi. BWAHAHAHA.

All our stacks are about equal. UTG calls. I'm UTG+1 and hope someone raises ahead of me so I can trap. I call. Two more callers after me, and SB completes.

The flop: 6h 4c 9c

UTG bets T15. I raise T60. I'm reraised T105. Everyone then folds to me.

69 concerns me. I didn't think of a set possibility because I think he would've called to get more callers. I put him on a flush draw.

I reraise all-in, figuring to get all my money in there and force a decision from him.

Party still doesn't reveal hole cards until after the board, but you already know mine, so I'll reveal my opponent's: 8c 5c.

I was correct in the flush draw, but he also had a gutshot straight draw. But worth calling an all-in for? He didn't have the nut flush draw, as one of my pocket pair was Ac.

Well, he does. He goes all-in.

Turn is 3h. River is 7c.

And I'm outta there at a humiliating 846th place.

Later, I checked where he placed and was pleased that he wound up at 343rd. Yeah, it's the little things that satisfy me. If he makes those kinds of calls, he deserves it.

And I deserve what I got for slowplaying rockets.


Played a bunch of SnGs with similar sad results.

In all, played fourteen 50+5, six 30+3, and a 50+5 multi.

Ran into another possible all-in abuser. Three people at the table were chiding him, even though I was the one affected. He was chip leader with almost half the table's chips -- T3500. And he couldn't call my raise on the river of T125. The very next hand he was back (how conveeeenient). He lost his lead and later came in third. I came in second. Karma, boys.

A few frustrating fourth place finishes. You might wonder why I don't just fold to get into the money. I play to win, not to fold. Here're some of the fourth-place showdowns:

* all-in preflop QQ lost to A9s, when he makes his flush. I don't understand how people can call an all-in with a small Ace (even suited).

* all-in AK went down in flames to 22 and no help from the board.

* two tables I went all-in with KK and lost against AA.

A weird hand where I went all-in with AA. Called by another guy who had AA and a guy who had KK. A King on the board took us both down. Would've been a tad suspicious if a fifth Ace appeared. I was then severely short at T25. Then something amazing happened -- two people went all-in and lost. That left four. UTG bets, chip leader calls. UTG bets the flop, chip leader raises, and UTG folds! This left the guy with T65 and the BB swept him up, landing me in third place from sixth and T25. (I did build up my T25 to T165 before being out.)

An embarrassing 10th place finish, where I called a guy's all-in on the flop. I flopped top two pair, he flopped an open-ended straight draw and got it on the river. I would make the play again if the cards were face up and I saw he was on a draw. I very rarely will go all-in on a Doyle draw. With a draw like that, wouldn't you want callers in to build the pot? Maybe I need to start being the bully.

All-in with KQ diamonds caused chip leader to think with A3 spades. He calls. Guess who got the flush? Not the diamonds. (And despite not being able to see the hole cards till the end, toying with us still pleases the poker gods: the flop gave a K, the turn gave an A, and river gave the flush.)


Wendy's taco supremo salad

3 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with lemon (how'd that get in there?)
2 Capt&Cokes

Wendy's mandarin chicken salad
Perdue Short Cuts Italian herb chicken

Koko, who cuts my hair, visited Vegas in October and warned me against it. Gambling is bad. She played blackjack at the Bellagio and lost her shirt. (I didn't tell her that Bellagio's blackjack is a losing proposition, with their autoshufflers between each hand.) She doesn't plan on going again. Every other time she's gone, she's won.

I wonder why I always look forward to going, despite losing every time. Oh yeah. Free drinks.

grub: 35 (incl. haircut)
poker: -134
Friday, December 12, 2003
Back to basics

How can you doubt The Farmer's Almanac? Vegas got snow yesterday!

(photos from Las Vegas Sun, 12/12/03)

Tonight I waited out the last of my coworkers in order to fire up the one computer able to run The Gaming Club software.

I'm participating in the OIC again (start with $50 in .50/1, move up a level when you reach 50BB, with the hopeful goal to parlay it into $2000... the last OIC, I busted out, started again, then topped out at $120). This is only the second time I've been able to steal time away to play. Darn coworkers, working overtime and making money the honest way.

If you think surviving 5/10 6max is difficult, try a full table of .50/1! People play any and everything. Gutshots will take down big hands. If there's a pair on board, someone probably has trips. If there's a straight or flush draw on board, someone probably has it. 'Cuz it's only $1 to call.

Playing .50/1 is a good way to reinforce ABC poker. It's also a good exercise in patience. If I can't beat .50/1, I shouldn't be playing higher.

Fortunately, after 2 1/2 hours I ended $31 up, or 12BB per hour. Why can't my normal rate at 5/10 be 12BB/hour?

Here's what I also like about TGC.

Simultaneously I played their 20+2 tourney, which they offer daily at 9 p.m. This is the best deal anywhere, and it still seems to be flying under the radar of most players. They offer a guaranteed $7000 prize pool. They usually get under 250 people entering, and tonight was the most I've seen at 271.

271 times 20 = 5420. Their juice is only $542. TGC is throwing in their fee plus an extra $1038! They're losing money every time they run this tournament. Free money for all!

They also have a $3000 freeroll every day at 1 a.m. The only requirement is to play 25 raked hands within 24 hours of the tourney start.

Both tourneys are terrific ways to work on your multi skills with overlays that can't be beat. If TGC worked on my home machine, I'd be playing every day.

(Oh... I was knocked out at 59 of the 271... forced to go all-in on 9 10 with no help from the board.)


Papa John's pizza (mushroom & tomato, mushroom & pepperoni)
Coke float -- cookies & creme ice cream & Coke (real Coke)
guacamole Lay's potato chips

3 Diet Cokes
2 Cokes

mo' pizza
vanilla fudge swirl ice cream

Visited a friend and her six-week-old baby. He had to be changed and I couldn't help notice how, um, large he was... you know, down there. She said the baby gets an erection when he needs to pee.

And I'm thinking... it gets bigger?

grub: 10
poker: 9
Thursday, December 11, 2003
One week till Vegas...

... and I still haven't done laundry!

But it's also two weeks till Christmas, and because 'tis the season, I would like to send you a holiday greeting. Well, technically a New Year's greeting as after then is when you'll probably get it. (Notice how I also conveniently avoid all manner of religious holidays prior.)

If you'd like to receive a grubby card and trust me enough to reveal your secret identity, please send your snail mail address to I will then disavow all knowledge and promise no further use will be made of it, under penalty of a long cold deck.

A friend and I were IMing while playing. We usually play and watch each other's tables, commenting on plays and providing moral support.

He turned a boat and IMed me: "YESSSSSSSSSS."

Only he accidentally typed it into the chat instead, hit RETURN, and his table saw the comment.

I was cracking up.

Yet they called his bets on the turn and river regardless.

See, people on Party always think you're bluffing. Probably because they do it all the time. If you have the best hand, bet it. You don't need to check-raise, slowplay, or anything fancy. In fact, those could end up being detrimental (a "catastrophe," a la Sklansky) as it could check through. If you bet with the nuts, particularly in the shorthanded games, some nutball might just make second best and raise you. And that might be more beautiful than the first snowfall.

(This doesn't always work -- I was BB, had a free ride with A5o, and flopped quad Aces. I bet out. Everyone folded. C'est la vie. A small pot is a won pot.)


Wendy's taco supremo salad
Twix peanut butter (I do not recommend this horrid excuse for a candy bar)

3 Diet Cokes
1 Vanilla Coke

Wendy's mandarin chicken salad
cookies & creme ice cream

grub: 478 (incl. cell phone bill, Vegas/CA flights)
poker: 30
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Grubette in Palm Springs

As I take the day off from playing (the horror!), we turn today's entry over to my sister, who's a crackerjack poker player herself.

Last I played her was in Vegas in September. She won a monster pot against a rammin'-jammin' Texas cowboy who raised everything and everyone. I couldn't have been more proud watching her take down the pot (despite my hard-earned bucks being part of it) and construct a wall of chips so tall even Superman couldn't see through them. She later claimed she was drunk.

In the grub clan, she represents the live poker rooms of the left coast. And oboy, it even contains grub details!

Thanks, baby sis! Hope to see more adventures from you. Look out Howard, Annie, and Katy.


Wanted to seek some warmer weather, so off I went to Palm Springs (Rancho Mirage actually) to the appropriately named “Agua Caliente Casino.” Maybe this isn’t so appropriately named for the would-be loser that finds himself in actual “hot water.” The casino is in the middle of real desert with sand and everything!

I had to wait 20 minutes for a poker seat. When I got one, I had exactly 40 minutes to make some money before I had to catch the tram to the “Spa Casino” over in Palm Springs. Nothing exciting happened in my $4/8 game, and I won $30 and drank two beers before I had to leave.

The Spa Casino had just expanded into an Italian-themed Venetian/Bellagio knockoff, with lots of restaurants including its star of the week, the Seafood Buffet. That was our goal for the evening. No poker room, the bastads! I looked around, played a few nickel slots and lost, and then ended up on a Blackjack table and played briefly. Doug was already there.. when he sat down he said, “I’d like four buffets and a free room” to the unsmiling pit boss. About ½ hour later, I got comp’ed two seafood buffets and Rich got one! My mouth was watering. We had previewed the goods beforehand, with the stacks of crab legs and lobster tails surely as good as Vegas. Even more so because free is a always good condiment.

But it absolutely wasn’t. It sucked. The crab legs were watery and the lobster tails were overcooked and tasted like they had freezer-burn. The coffee was ok. They had real linens. My mother took one of the real linen napkins, wrapped 25 cookies in it and shoved it in her purse. That’ll show them and their bad seafood.

On the tram ride back, she took out her stolen loot, which included a pocketful of pretentious looking foil wrapped candies, and gave them to Doug, who smartly opted to skip to buffet. He started on a macaroon and then offered one to a lady that had just boarded the tram, and she took one and started eating it! From a stranger with obviously stolen cookies that had been handled by two people now and stored in a purse that had wadded used tissues, lint and other things moms carry. The germy lady also accepted a piece of candy. At least those were wrapped.

The tram took forever.. now - down to business. I’m in hot water at about 10pm, when I see the poker board 50 names deep. I sign up for every limit table, with the $6/12 being the shortest. After an hour wait, I get a $6/12 table and sit down with $200. The chip lady brings over my chips whose denominations are normally a standard color. But not these, they’re bright pastel pink $2 chips. It’s amusing to see geriatric men (Palm Springs’ staple) and some sunglassed serious poker players rifling and stacking girly pink chips. Which would soon be mine.

After 20 short minutes I’m up $200 and begin to get an uneasy, familiar feeling.. oh yes, this is just a fleeting moment.

Down $300 an hour and a half later, my name gets called for $3/6. Now I have to stay at $6/12 to win back my money.

I’m reaching into my wallet for another $100 when I see Doug sit down at the $3/6 seat that could have been mine. I get up there and go over and check out his first hand’s hole cards, KJh. Nice start. The flop is AQhx. I said, “What were your cards again?” And he slyly shows them to me while looking at me instead of looking at the turn card, which I see, a 10h! He says, “Er, I’ll bet.” with two callers. I whispered to him, “Do you know you have a Royal Flush?” and he nodded. For the reveal, only one caller, a lady with Aces and 10’s. Doug turns over his and says, “I’ve got a Royal Flush,” and I slapped him on the back and said, “What’s the bonus here, $500??” The dealer yells to the poker boss, “Jacket on 9!” and says consolingly to us, “The jacket is very nice.” Yep, Doug won not just a jacket, but one emblazoned “Agua Caliente Poker Room.” $500 would have been more useful, especially when Palm Springs is a freakin’ desert, no jackets necessary.

Fast forward 5 hours later and I’m nearly falling asleep on my borrowed chips from Doug. He’s hungry, and so is everyone else. So we get comp’ed again at the midnight buffet appropriately called the “Agua Caliente Buffet” because they didn’t have much more than water. They had some greasy potatoes, which I smothered with coagulated country gravy. They gave warm handi-wipes. The coffee was good. My mother was overjoyed to find the sugar substitute Splendor free for the taking, which she sure did.

We got to our golf course view hotel room and went to bed at 5.30am. It was nearly tee-time. Luckily we had a 4pm late checkout.

We got up and left around 1pm, a little dejected from all of us losing except Doug, who was even. My mother commented on the ride home, “I’ve got a pocketful of Splendor.” Yes, indeed!

Poker: 450
Beer and Stoli Vanil: 52
Food: 0


McDonald's California Cobb salad
Happy Meal (nuggets and fries with Haunted Mansion toy -- the mirror with a scary ghost)

3 Diet Cokes
1 Red Bull

Baja Fresh chicken burrito

grub: 170 (more Xmas gifts)
poker: n/a
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Luck be a grubby

I believe in luck. Or rather, I believe I'm devoid of luck.

Poker is a game of skill, but it's also largely based on luck. If you're the best skilled at a table with everyone else seeing the flop, multiply the number of outs they're drawing to, and your hand doesn't stand a chance. Unless you have luck. Luck works very well at low limit tables.

But I also believe you can play well (say, just Group I hands), grind it out, and eventually bring the luck factor down. Sure, people will outdraw you with lesser hands. In the long run -- and poker is all about the long run -- you will win.

I firmly believe this.

Tonight started well, posting a $181 profit on 2/4 with kill on UB in two hours. I fulfilled my bonus whoring requirements, so I cashed out and moved back to Party full-time, as really anyone should be doing. (I'm impressed with UB's players, though -- they will actually fold to a raise/reraise, unlike Party's call call call luck strategy.)

Played a 50+5 SnG. Four people left, I was about even in number of chips with 2nd through 4th. I look down at QQ. There're two callers, and I mean business and go all-in.

One caller.

Flop comes KJQ. I don't have a moment to fear a possible broadway, because the turn is the beautiful K. And just as I'm about to celebrate, the river comes the awful J.

Hide the cats.

The caller of course had AK and I busted out at 4th.

Is that luck?

The second 50+5 didn't fare much better, but no real bad beats.

Chipped $110 away from that $181.

Then off to the fun 5/10 6max tables. One guy raised preflop every single time. And always bet out or raised. The table tightened considerably and all focus was on him. You had no idea what he held. One time I felt silly for calling him down with Ace high, but it beat his 73 diamonds (no diamonds on the board). The trick was to get everyone but him to fold.

Surprisingly, came out about even here despite this hand:

ChipLeader behind me raises preflop. I'm BB, see AQo, and call. Maniac calls two cold. Three to the flop of A66. I go ahead and bet to trap the maniac. Maniac calls. ChipLeader reraises, I call, Maniac calls.

I don't think I'm behind at this point. People were either playing very good hands or any Ace, all because of Maniac. ChipLeader could likely have AK.

Turn is an Ace.

AK is moot! I bet. Maniac (whose location was "Lake Bluff") knows enough to fold. ChipLeader calls.

We're chopping.

River is a Jack.

I have a funny feeling about this, and I check. If we're chopping, it doesn't really matter. ChipLeader bets. I knew he had an Ace all along, so I'm hoping he's betting that. I call. Sure enough, he flips over AJ and takes the big pot. He didn't want to share after all.

Now that's luck.

Or the lack thereof.

Isn't it?


Wendy's mandarin chicken salad
peanut butter pretzels

2 Diet Cokes
1 Coke
5 glasses of wine (wine tasting)

2 slices of bread
apple sausage and mashed potatoes
cajun jumbo shrimp, heads on (disgusting! make sure all the black beady eyes are accounted for)
mashed potatoes
creamed spinach
creme brulee

Had dinner plans with a friend, she suggested a wine tasting with coordinated appetizers. We got there and they were sold out, but the host recognized me (my name even) from my nonpoker life and placed where exactly we had met before. I'm terrible with faces, so just nodded as if I remembered.

We get on the waiting list and walk around outside petting smelly dogs and peering into houses, return, and they're full. All the people who signed up showed up. The host said he could squeeze us in for the wine tasting but we wouldn't be able to eat.

Now grubby's gotta eat, so we went downstairs to the hopping (on a Tuesday night no less) restaurant section and had a pleasant meal. Then the manager of the restaurant (a fan of "The Simpsons" and looks like one of the characters) stops by with four glasses of wine, mentioning each brand, name, and location. Throughout our dinner he souses us quite thoroughly. Such customer service. Much better than being confined upstairs, when the free wine is brought to you personally.

Because I picked up the check last time, my friend took care of it, though I was able to pay the tip. She said she still owes me from the last time we went out (because "money is hard to come by"). I told her I could think of another way she could repay me.


grub: 18
poker: 71
Monday, December 08, 2003
It's in the air...

Some weird goings-on at work.

On Saturday there was an article in the paper about a local sheriff's wife being found in her home, dead of suspicious circumstances. I didn't place the name as being the sister of a coworker. Today we found out she was killed by gunshot.

Last month, another coworker was killed in a car accident. His wife had died a year before of cancer, and he had never gotten over her death.

Several years ago a coworker was on TWA Flight 800. Her husband was on business and she went along for the vacation. Though they never discovered how it happened, I do believe it was shot down.

Very sad.

What is this job, part of the Kennedy curse?

The stink of defeat still on me, I got absolutely trounced at the tables tonight. Both on UltimateBet, 4/8 and 2/4, both with kills.

The 4/8 table I get AA in the cutoff. I raise, and of course everyone calls. Flop is QQx. BB bets out, called to me, I raise to see if he actually bet out with trips. BB reraises. Either he's bluffing or he has two of those x cards or he has KK. But I'm more concerned with why there's a third caller still in the pot. I knew I was beaten and all I could hope for was a two-outer. It's hard letting go of AA, and I just check it down.

BB had Q 10. But! Another caller had QJ and took it.

I chose to stay in when I knew I was the underdog, so that one wasn't that painful.

This one was:

Same table, two hands later. AA again. I raise, MORON reraises, it's capped. Flop is AKx. I bet, MORON raises, it's called, I reraise. Turn is nothing. This time, I bet and am just called by MORON. Head's up and I'm good. River is J. I bet and MORON raises.

Now I know people go for these broadway gutshots. My Morton's Challenge friend does and he always seems to catch them. I put MORON on a set or a pair. I don't, however, reraise, choosing to call just in case...

He flips over Q 10 for the gutshot straight and takes down a huge pot.


Thank goodness both weren't kill pots.

But I was steaming enough to scare the neighbors. I quickly exited with a smaller loss than I thought, thankfully due to earlier play.


Wendy's Wild Mountain chicken sandwich (huge stripes of bacon)
biggie fries
8 Pepperidge Farm cookies

3 Diet Cokes

Healthy Choice roasted chicken

Received a check in the mail today stating: "You have been identified as a member of the class of Citibank and AT&T Universal Card customers who are eligible for a refund under the terms of a settlement agreement..." yada yada yada.

Hot dog! The check's attached, and dollar signs in my eyes, I peer down to see my Christmas windfall.


It's gonna be a Charlie Brown Christmas this year.

grub: 200 (including phone bill, wedding gift, Xmas presents)
poker: -50

Sunday, December 07, 2003
Gotta be the weather...

Seems Saturday was a down day not only for me but my blog brothers (coined by hdouble) hdouble and McGrupp. At least McGrupp managed to keep his losses in the family.

Only iggy posted a small win. Incidentally, iggy, I can't figure out how to email you. If you're still interested in setting up your own domain, lemme know. I know a place which will host the next three years for free.

Have you checked out the above blogs, by the way? They're all good stuff. Not only chockfull of poker content, but reading their entertaining daily entries will make you a better player. They're required reading.

I neglected to mention the World Poker Tour, which I'd previewed in a previous entry. I still have yet to see an episode, being cableless in the grubby household. The WPT put poker on the map and smack in the public eye, as far as I'm concerned. The World Series of Poker was already out there, but not in the flashy, glitzy, classy, fun atmosphere as the WPT. It's the Travel Channel's highest rated show, and even the reruns of the WPT had better ratings than the first airing.

Best of all, we gained a swarm of new online poker players. And by advertising relentlessly on WPT, Party soon singlehandedly nudged their way into the number one online site for poker, with currently over 21,000 people accessing it every day. The former leader was Paradise, which had to change their slogan from "World's Largest" to "World's Premier Online Poker Room."

Fear not for the cable-impaired: NBC will be airing a Champion of Champions WPT show right before Super Bowl Sunday. Winners from the past WPT season will be brought together to compete.

The taping is Dec. 19 at the Bellagio.

And here's the best news -- I'll be there! Yes, look for your intrepid grubster angling for food in the VIP room, giving backrubs to Shana, and sneaking a few Jokers into the deck just for fun.

So feel jealous of me while I gloat. Gloatgloatgloat.

Oh damn, I still lost $550 last night. Back to reality.


Healthy Choice country breaded chicken
guacamole Doritos

3 Diet Cokes
ginger lemon iced tea (heaven!)

panang perfect chicken -- Thai restaurant
steamed rice

A friend taunted me with her cable and invited me over to see Angels in America. Three hours and only part one? Please. 'Sides, I already saw the play versions of both parts. I lost $550, I need something upbeat. I convinced her to tape it (she has digital cable and can't figure out the VCR timer, so she called around to find a friend to tape) and we went for dinner at my favorite Thai restaurant and then to Love Actually, which I did love, actually. Terrific cast, very funny, and romantic too. Richard Curtis must've used every last scrap of notes he had in his movie ideas notebook that I wonder what he'll come up with next. Probably a slasher flick.

I'm now combining "food" and "other" into just "grub."

grub: 25
poker: 24
Saturday, December 06, 2003
Oh, the odds!

Within 200 hands at 5/10 6max, 15 boards had four suited cards. I noticed this because I was involved in all 15 with a better hand preflop, on the flop, and on the turn. But in none of those 15 instances did I have that one suited card.

This happened 5 times with four straight cards on the board. Same thing.

The table was very loose and very passive. Rarely any raising preflop. Most people staying to see the flop and turn.

But this was enough to stick me $500 and make me crawl back into the igloo I should've built.

I sat and watched a friend play the same game (I took his seat when he left). He was down $200 when I started watching. Within 15 minutes he made all four of his gutshot straights either on the turn or river. It was incredible. I don't know why he plays that way, but it sure seems to be working for him. And of course he raked in huge pots. He left $200 up after those hands, calling me his good luck charm.

Isn't that always the case? Lucky for others but not yourself.

Insult to injury, later played and lost all the tourneys I entered.

Down $700. And slowly I descend.

The only highlight to losing is that I won the dinner! I was so in the hole that when my friend asked if I wanted to play a 50+5 multi for the Morton's dinner, I decided why not. $700 down the drain would've been better put to use for a good dinner anyway. It'd only be penance to throw out a couple hundred more on dinner.

691 people entered. We made it past the first break. I had T1200 and he had T235. Then I called a shortstack's all-in with JJ. He had 99 and the board granted him a 9. That brought me down to T285, on keel with my friend.

Then my friend gets 99 and goes all-in. I wish him luck. I did want him to win, but on the other hand (with crossed fingers) I also wanted the steak dinner.

He's called by AQ. An Ace flopped and he's gone at 311th.

Of course, the caveat to the rules was that if the winner makes it to 5th place then he'd pay for the meal.

I decided to go all-in on AK. One caller with 66 and no help for big slick, and I was out at 297th.

Morton's steak dinner, GET IN MY BELLY!

I don't feel too terribly bad for my friend. His Morton's Challenge number is way past $3000. Mine is a lowly 10 percent of that.

Was able to turn some of the luck around at a 3/6 table, winning $150. But still a painful loss for the day, and I feel beaten and bruised by the Party gods.


apple bread
pumpkin bread
Healthy Choice chicken parmigiana

4 Diet Cokes
2 Capt'n & Cokes (but only during the multi -- yes, I lost $700 stone cold sober)

McDonald's California Cobb salad
Happy Meal (Chicken McNuggets, fries, Haunted Mansion toy)
guacamole Doritos

Watched Lipstick, an oldie but goodie with the Hemingway girls. When Margaux is beaten up and raped, that's exactly how I felt at the 5/10 table earlier today. Acting leaves some desire, but interesting rape justice movie, and you do feel incensed at how few rapists actually get convicted. I didn't agree with the final scene and thought it would've had more impact had it gone the other way, but some darn nice Kill Bill vengeance from Margaux!

food: 34 (including groceries)
other: 20 (pokergrub ad)
poker: -550
Friday, December 05, 2003
Back-to-back snow (and shorthanded tips!)

This snowstorm isn't as white or pleasant as yesterday's. This one is slushy and dirty like it came out of God's ass.

I can't stay away from the 5/10 6max tables! Similar to tourney tables, I feel like a real hootin'-hollerin' poker player at these games. The $10 bet or $20 raise is just expensive enough I think to get people to fold. And you sometimes can get people to fold with a bluff on the turn. Especially heads-up. Because more than likely they were bluffing on the flop anyway. But be careful -- if they reraise you or are capable of a bluff reraise, let that hand go and find another table.

I don't table hop as much as I should, particularly when one guy (and isn't it always one guy) has the best of me. It's either a) he's better than I am and I want to prove I can beat him or b) he sucked me out on a hand and I want to get my money back.

Not a good way to think. "Every hand is a new hand."

Played the 5/10 shorthanded at UB. They're just as aggressive as Party. And just as good. I do think the better players play these 5/10, 10/20, 15/30 shorthanded games. If you're playing in a full ring and you ever get down to five people, watch how people become much more aggressive with poorer hands.

Here now are grubby's 8 simple rules for winning shorthanded hold'em, coming soon from Simon & Schuster:

1. Fasten your seatbelt
2. Play tight but more hands in late position
3. Don't always call your blinds (particularly to a raise even if you suspect a steal)
4. An open raise is better than a limp (and a fold or reraise is better than calling a raise)
5. Don't play more than two tables particularly if you've had too much coffee
6. Fold on the flop if you don't have at least middle pair/top kicker -- and if you're first to bet, bet out with this
7. Keep arms inside the car at all times
8. Don't fish for draws past the turn unless the whole table and his mother are in the pot

In a nutshell. Table conditions change this constantly, but you get the idea.

Some big-stake poker going on this past Wednesday, high enough to make my piddly losses seem, well, piddly:

1. Doyle Brunson took down a $187,000 pot at Bellagio against players including Sammy Farha, Johnny Chan, and Lyle Berman. In a typical Brunson bully move, he won it on a total bluff.

2. A 10/25 NL full ring game on UltimateBet. 6seat raises to $160. Four callers. It's an action table. Flop is Kh 5s Ad. Checked to 6seat, who bets $835. Folded to 4seat, who raises to $1670. 6seat thinks, thinks, thinks. Not scared of the AK, A5, or a set, he goes all-in for the rest of his chips -- $1481. The cards are flipped over. 6seat has AJo. 4seat has A8h. Gutsy raise that backfired, eh? And a gutsy call that paid off. The pot is $3794.

Turn is Jh.

6seat is looking good with top two pair and is counting his chips.

River is 7h.

Whoops. 4seat wins with a runner-runner flush. Talk about a bad beat.

3. Phil Hellmuth.

Ah, Phil.

In the few times I've watched Phil Hellmuth play on UB, I've seen some horrendously bad plays, with him ultimately losing $8K at 80/160.

This time, Wednesday night, he made the same bad plays and was down down down. Then he made a comeback (people seem to know he overvalues every hand, not just 77) and surprisingly left $1K ahead.

I suspect he plays loose-aggressive like this because he can: UB pays him and his bankroll is so huge that a few grand is nothing to him. If you had a virtually unlimited bankroll, you could steamroll the table too.

He does play like his book, though. I had a theory that because writing a book reveals pros' strategies, a book like Phil's comes along to throw people off his true game. Then he plays the reverse of that and rakes in the cash.

Here are some entertaining comments from his chat, with Phil in fine whining form. UB doesn't allow copy & pasting, so I rekeyed the text exactly, in order, typos and all:

yall are so bad its scary
no understanding of holdem
Im over 1.2 million ahead at holdem this year
closer to 1.5
AND I never play high

holdem is the best game EVER

they get rewarded for the bad plays, and mnake me Rich

so cold blooooded they GIVE it to me
and then the river



Im never REALLY sad
just a l;ittle whine



snacks too numerous to mention from last night
well, okay, I'll mention: apple bread, pumpkin bread, brownies, chips & salsa, chocolate chip cookies, cookies & cream ice cream, honey roasted peanuts, pretzels filled with peanut butter, candy

(I fell asleep at my desk.)

3 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with lemon (I think it's the last one!)

Wendy's mandarin chicken salad

food: 5
other: 27 (newspaper)
poker: 50
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Let it snow, let it snow

There is nothing quite as beautiful and breathtaking as slivers of snowflakes engulfing your entire view like a shaken snowglobe, while you walk down the street, arms and tongue extended, experiencing the first snowfall of the season. Rosebud, indeed.

This is a very tired grubby coming to you in the 4 a.m. hour.

Organized a group of 75 people to see a play tonight. All by me lonesome. I need help, but no one but me seems to want to work for free. Catered the reception afterwards and schmoozed and boozed with the cast and crew. A good time by all. A liquored-up grubby is always a good time. I'll bring the leftover snacks to work tomorrow. Fortunately there was enough beer left from my last event that I didn't need to buy any more.

Then home James, through bad traffic and wonderful snow flurries, all to play a most difficult 5/10 6max table. Two tables, in fact. Went through three $250 buy-ins before being resigned that I would post a $400 loss. But persisted and slowly but surely by the 4.75 hour mark (remember I lose my connection at 5 hours), I won that back plus $5.

Now why can't I hit the ground running with a $400 gain?

My Morton's Challenge friend has surpassed my measly earnings many times (he is above the $3000 mark). But we shall see, my pretties.

So now it's bedtime.

But I shall sell the next entry, because it shall contain some exciting news about the World Poker Tour. But wait, there's more! It will also contain original, unedited, uncensored Phil Hellmuth quotes! I sat in on a couple of his tables at UltimateBet last night and he was his usual whiny self in chat. Poor Phil. If UB didn't pay him, I don't know where he'd go.

So y'all come back tomorrow, y'hear?



spicy shrimp sushi

3 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with lemon

spicy shrimp, california rolls, tuna, salmon, and other assorted sushi
too numerous snacks to mention but which did contain one (1) carrot

Oh yes, nothing but the best for my group. (Ahem, where're the sales when you need them?)

food: 100
poker: 5
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
The Morton's Challenge

Wanting to force myself to play better, I created The Morton's Challenge, which I inflicted upon a friend. From Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, we would have a friendly competition (please... no wagering) to see who won the most amount. And if by chance both of us were up $3000, we'd treat ourselves to a steak at Morton's.

he: +2100
grubby: +900

Bah for both of us! Bah for me! Unless you count a combined total, which when you factor in the smirking poker gods you begin to realize you virtually had no choice in the matter. Have you noticed when you gamble with friends in a casino, one usually wins and the other loses? The law of Libras.

I thus extended the Challenge by two weeks. Dec. 15 is now the cutoff. We're still headed for the magical $3000. I'll just need to catch up.

There's a caveat now, since clearly there was nothing at stake for me to overcome the poker gods.

At some point in the next two weeks, we will both enter a 50+5 multi tourney. The person who places lower will treat at Morton's (or any restaurant of the winner's choice)... unless... the winner makes the top 3. Then the meal's on Party!

Okay, so you might ask: since we're both dead money in these multis, why not just put the tourney fee toward the Morton's meal?

Well then. If you have to ask, you son ain't no gambler.


Bonus whored some on Ultimate Bet, which I only really play when they do offer a bonus. I don't know why I don't play there more; it's where I would go if I were excommunicated from Party. Many bluffers there but also many better players who are capable of folding. Good kill games, fast play, and the bonus just melts like butter (unlike Paradise which I finally cashed out with a $241 loss and a $10 unused bonus remaining).

For some reason, I kept getting KK, QQ, JJ, 10 10 multiple times. And all except one 10 10 crashed and burned. The way I kept raising preflop, I wonder if people thought I was tilting, because obviously I didn't get any respect and obviously they called me down to catch their two pair or flush.

But fortunately other cards held up and after an hour of play I was able to post a small win while chipping off $15 of the bonus to boot. A nice hourly wage.


Quizno's black angus steak sub
more chips
Snickers bar
Hershey's bar
Peppermint Pattie

2 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with lemon (delicious new taste)

Healthy Choice grilled chicken marinara

A friend's house flooded recently. A water main/pipe broke in her new house and the upstairs ceiling collapsed, watering most everything that didn't need watering. The insurance company declared a complete loss with a $5,000 deductible. Just horrible. I sent a care package, hoping to cheer her up. This would be the second time this has happened to her, the last time she was living with a roommate on the ground floor of an apartment building, there was a heavy rain, and the next day a couple inches of water sprinkled throughout her living room.

I wish I could give more, and if I were in a better financial situation I would. Here's to winning a multi!

food: 7
other: 102 (the water fund for the friend above, chipping in for office birthday)
poker: 113

Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Turnabout is fair all-in... not

So after that diatribe about someone going all-in on me yesterday, guess what happened to me today?

I was IMing a friend saying I was on the waitlist for a juicy 10/20 6max game. I was third in line for half an hour, then one person left and I sat down. I played a few, lost a few, lost a big pot with pocket KK to a flush on the turn that was also check-raised (WHEN will I be able to let this hand go?), and was quickly down $250. Then the guy who was making things juicy suddenly leaves. I tell my friend there was no point in staying because not only did the guy leave but my ISP was about to disconnect at any minute.

My ISP stays connected for 5 hours, give or take a few minutes.

I knew this. I continued to play. I was even playing a 5/10 6max game as well.

I didn't pay attention to the time. I was slowly recovering on the 10/20 table. I had $392 (buy-in was $500) and was almost there. I was up $100 or so on 5/10.

And then on the 10/20 I get AQ clubs. A raise behind me, which I call. Flop is AKx (two diamonds). Bet, I call, and I think there's one or two calls after me. Turn is a diamond. I'm waiting for the bettor to bet out. He's pausing just long enough that I think he doesn't have a flush and does have a big Ace or JJ or something. I'm waiting, waiting... and then CLICK.

And I suddenly realized he wasn't waiting. It was me who was doing the waiting.

Because my modem disconnected.

This was the most inopportune moment, because it appears as if I'm going all-in on purpose, not only because I'm fearing the diamonds on the board but also because of the King.

I had already checked "check/call" and was waiting for him to bet or check so I could throw out a bet/check immediately.

And then this happens.

In a word: shit.

I cannot describe how bad I feel. I tried reconnecting as soon as possible, but what I usually have to do is force close all programs. I can't just reconnect and automatically be back in Party. I have to close, dial up, then log back in. This process takes at least two minutes.

And I tried all this. I didn't care about the money at this point, I just wanted to prove I didn't disconnect on purpose. I wanted to apologize. I didn't want people to accuse me or think I cheated.

When I could finally log back in I was too ashamed to go back to the table. I requested a hand history (which, for some reason, did not include any of the 5/10 history, so I don't know what amount I left at) and logged back out. The history showed that we had split the pot -- he also had AQ and he did indeed bet into the 3flush with King onboard. There's no way I can prove I was planning on calling. Why did it have to disconnect right at that moment? Why couldn't I have had the nut flush when it disconnected?

And coming just a day after I emailed a complaint to Party, it might look as if I did it on purpose because it was done to me.

I'm not a cheater.

Maybe the guy from yesterday really did time out.


Things were better earlier. Here's what I began writing before this happened...

A friend who's played seven multis placed third in a Poker Stars $2 tourney. Though I've had a Stars account for awhile, I've never played. He was playing tonight and invited me, so I fired it up and joined in the fun with a $100 deposit.

Knocked out at 377 out of 1197 (he got out at 288). I misread one opponent on a bluff and I raised all-in with top pair almost top kicker. Guess what he had?

Simultaneously as I tend to do because I can't have enough distractions, I played a 10+1 NL SnG. I'm unfamiliar with playing 1500 chips and 9 people, but I ended up winning ($45) after a very slow 80 minutes. Also not used to SnGs lasting that long.

I then plunged the whole $132 into a 2/4 6max table. Early I get AA and already a raise to me. I 3bet and it's capped. The flop has an Ace. I'm again bet into, I raise, it's 3bet, I cap. A lot of money at this point. Turn gives a broadway straight possibility. Someone bets, it's raised, and I just call feeling defeated already. River is blank. Same guy bets, it's raised, and I know I should fold but just can't let go so I call two. Of course, the original bettor reraises, and I call that as well. Of course he had the broadway.

Very next hand JQs. Flop has JQ. Guy held onto K5s with no help until the river, when the K made him a straight.

Those two hands and I lost over half my buy-in. They played aggressively and very similar to the 5/10 6max at Party.

It wasn't long before I was out. Throughout I was wondering what I was doing in this game, but I figured I should be able to beat 2/4 6max. Not with that bankroll, though.

I close out of Stars and go back to Party (see above).


I still feel bad.


chicken with mixed vegetables (no cabbage)
steamed rice
Snickers bar
the last of the Fiddle Faddle

3 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with lemon (seemingly neverending supply)
1 Vanilla Coke (variety is the spice of soda)

Quizno's black angus steak sub (toasty)
Quizno original chips

Why do I always end up eating while watching the second segment from a taped "Fear Factor"? This time it involved maggots.

food: 30 (including groceries)
other: 1000 (rent, credit card payment)
poker: -100 (I think)

Monday, December 01, 2003
All-in abuse, all-in cheat

I sent an email to Party requesting an investigation into a possible all-in abuser.

It was down to the final three in a 50+5 SnG. All-in guy had the smallest stack. I didn't have much more than he did.

He's SB for T250, chip leader is BB for T500.

I raise all-in with AQ clubs.

All-in guy thinks for a long time, it counts down, then he times out. First time he did that in the whole tourney, and he was making immediate decisions the entire time.

Chip leader thinks, says he has a King, then folds.

Board gives a King (thank you chip leader) but no help for me.

All-in guy has 88 and takes it.

I ask him several things:
"was that an all-in?"
"are you going to go all-in again?"
"how many all-ins do you have left?"

Chip leader laughed and responded. Not a peep from all-in guy, who mysteriously came back to life after that hand and had no further lapses not to mention timeouts.

I struggle to get heads-up with him and then lose JJ to his A4 when an Ace flopped, and he takes first place.

I got the history and emailed Party with a request to check to see if he has a history of all-in abuse and if so, to award his winnings to me and the other guy.

There's not much hope that'll happen, but I had to do something. I also sent an invite to the other guy stating my intentions, and he agreed that it could possibly be all-in abuse.

Even if he didn't take first, I would've still complained. But it's even more dire since we can't have these people roaming around using their all-ins purposely.

TGC had a dash4cash freeroll, which I was entered into but I couldn't get to the computer at work in time to play. But toward the end, a guy said in chat, "Sorry guys, I have to use an all-in here." And he does. He blatantly stated he was cheating. Someone else in chat confirmed what he was doing, and he said everyone else does it. I don't know if he really knew the all-ins are not there as strategy, but he couldn't be that stupid.

That was an anamoly, as TGC normally does not allow all-ins in their tourneys or NL ring games. As well they shouldn't.

Party needs to wake up.


Wendy's mandarin chicken salad (in the fridge from yesterday)

3 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with lemon (new and refreshing)

fish & chips (all you can eat, I won't tell you how many refills I had)

A friend and I caught a sneak preview of the new Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt movie Cheaper By the Dozen. Hilarious! I laughed out loud several times. Yes, the kids were mugging and too intelligent and articulate for their age, but it all seemed to work. It'll be a huge movie whenever it's released.

We then headed to Mr. Smith's and were pleased to find out it was all-you-can-eat fish & chips night with $2 margaritas. Nice Monday. We chatted poker and listened to a piano man singing "Piano Man."

food: 15
poker: 91

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