Friday, February 27, 2004
Keg or

I'm headed to Vegas next Friday. This is the guys' trip that two years ago we decided to make an annual tradition around March Madness. To accommodate schedules, we're now going the first weekend of March where there's no March Madness but March NASCAR and March Britney Spears.

One of the group is getting married next month (in India!), so we'll be focusing more on bachelor festivities than gaming. Alas, not many of the guys are gamblers and none play poker, so it won't be as poker slots-intensified as last trip. I just hope I don't get sick again that caused my descent into slotland.

One grub family member is already representing in Vegas this weekend, as grubette JetBlued out this afternoon. She even arranged a realtor to pick her up from the airport and drop her at the hotel. Pretty crafty, that grubette! Hopefully she'll give a full report upon her return of terrorizing the touristy Luxor tourneys.

Ever the Scrabble player, she sent me some anagrams of Poker Grub:
And here're a couple grubette posts from this week (she must really want to play in the next blogger tourney!):

from Tuesday...

No poker for me this week, not til Fri.. I can't wait to go to Vegas!!

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I was on my way home and to avoid traffic I went down a side street and was following this huge GMC truck/SUV contraption. She went to parallel park, and in doing so sideswiped a car in back of her. The other car, which was parked, moved under the weight of her huge vehicle. I looked at her, and she was (of course) on the phone and didn't even notice she hit the guy so she parked anyway, right in front of the car she hit.

Trying to be a good samaritan, I looked at her license plate in the rear view mirror, but she didn't have one! So I drove home. On the way though, I was thinking that maybe I should have said something, or left a note on the other guy's car. What would I want someone to do for me? I made it all the way home to my driveway and the Buick was sitting there, with its hazard lights on! How weird is that, no one was home!! The door was locked too, so I took it as an eerie sign "danger! danger! must report the hit and park!" I drove back, wrote down the license, made a note of the time and date and conveniently left off my name and contact info and squished it through the window of the defenseless car.

from Wednesday...

I said I wasn’t going...but I did. I mean, I'm going to Vegas in a couple of days I should be able to wait! I wanted to have a couple hundred extra to bring with me so I got a little (a lot) greedy.

I've actually never played on a Tuesday, so I thought I might see some different people. Nope, same faces, same game. College boy was there playing NL, which I considered. But I'd have to win $100 in $4/8 before that would happen. I sat down at a table where all the players had racks and racks of chips. I won my first hand with a pair of Q’s which put me about $30 up. I should have (weak foreshadowing) left immediately. Five minutes, $30, that’s like $360 an hour!

I move to a different table shortly after because people there were just plain wacko. I'm in the 8s, with 9s being an old guy with cigarette-stained beard hair. He was also dressed in hospital garb, I’m thinking escapee from a local nut joint or orderly. He definitely was no M.D. with those dirty fingernails. Must've been cleaning too many bedpans. Ew. My friend is a nurse and told me she sometimes has to take stool samples and sniff them for possible infection or disease [momentarily pass out at the thought]. 1s was a middle aged guy wearing matching sweats – believe me, not Juicy™ Couture, more like dollah Target “hey the waistband is elastic!” types. And 7s was a financial advisor wearing a cufflinked, button-downed oxford with a sweater over top. Now that’s some style.

Juicy™-wannabe has pocket 4’s when two more 4’s roll out on the flop. Oohs follow. Then I’m in his pot when I have a QJ and the board is KK6K. I’m about to bet (bluff) and he shows me his other K with a wink. I thanked him for saving me money. Another hand or two later I have trips head’s up with him, and he shows me his made straight as I was thinking about betting. Thanked him again. Then we’re heads up yet again, this time at the rag-rag-rag flop, me with AK suited, him with two rags. He checks and smirks, I check the whole way on the rag turn and rag river. He checks behind me and shows me his little pair of rags. Orderly next to me comments on Juicy’s failure to bet when I’m in the pot, “It’s nice to have a pretty face.”

I had a wonderful conversation with Cufflinks guy, who tells me about a NL game he played, he had trip Jacks that he somewhat slow-played. The board was QJTxx, with the Ten on the river. At the river, the only player goes all in $400. Cufflinks has about $500 and thinks for awhile then calls, thinking, he only started with $100 anyway, and the guy probably had AK. He shows his trips, other guy made a pair of Tens on the river. Guess the story isn’t very exciting, but Cufflinks was so razzed telling it, saying it was the biggest pot of his life. And, at LEAST it wasn’t a bad beat story! In fact, the waiting board at HI-G for NL says, “No bad beat stories.”

While he’s telling this story I have nearly made up my loss from Juicy and need $20 more to be even, with 20 minutes until "American Idol." In a matter of minutes, I get trip Jacks on the flop when I’m outdrawn by a straight. I get pocket K’s and lose to a fisher for a baby flush. I get pocket Q’s the very next hand and lose to two pair. I get pocket 3’s the very next hand and lose to a larger pair. And there it is, down $200. And I missed pink-haired girl from Bakersfield sing on "Idol" by the time I got home.

I woke up this morning thinking about those pocket K’s. It wasn’t a particularly big hand, but it was for what was on the board, and I checked the turn (so did the caller) when betting may have gotten him to drop his 5 9 (no pair). I have a spinning class at 6.30 tonight after work, which gives me about 90 minutes to play until those pocket K’s are a faded memory.

from Thursday...

I'm not normally superstitious or really that in touch with supernatural forces, but this week has certainly been strange. Did you watch that final episode of "The Littlest Groom"? One of the bachelorettes saved a fortune cookie fortune that said, "A short stranger will come into your life." Sort of an in-your-face kind of omen, but one nonetheless.

So I had a spinning class at 6.30, off work at 4, so I had about 90 minutes to play. I'm getting off the exit to go to HI-G and the light is green, so I step on it a little to make the light. As I get closer to the guy in front of me and am nearly at the intersection, a Corvette tears through the opposite red light and whacks the guy in front of me in a dramatic plume of smoke. The Corvette is totaled and the other car sails through the intersection and stops. My first thought is not, should I call for help? or is anyone hurt? or even, good thing that wasn't me. The thought was "there goes my luck." My luck was all used up by missing that crash. And I had just been thinking that my car is unsafe because I don't have an airbag. I nearly turned around and went home. But I didn't. And when I got to HI-G, the notoriously crowded parking lot opened up a space for me in front. More luck out the window.

I sat briefly at a table with a bunch of crazy grinders and left, not winning a hand in 10 minutes. Then sat at an equally crazy table (but they had more money) and didn't win a hand in 30 more minutes so I left at the blind. Saw college boy there again, man he really does do this for a living!

And this morning, waking up about 20 minutes late, I went to the kitchen to check the clock with the "real" time (my alarm clock is always set fast) and the clock had stopped. At 1.20am. This is curious because I had just mentioned the previous night, which was rainy and stormy, that because the power went out on me one time I was super late to work, so I always use a battery operated alarm clock. Then today I still get up late and then can't even confirm the time because my battery-operated clock is dead.


I hope this is no indication how my Vegas trip this weekend will go.

All added up, the signs are:
  • Danger (phantom hazard lights turning on by themselves)
  • Luck used up (avoiding getting creamed in traffic)
  • Time has run out (dead clock) = Be careful, you can't be lucky all the time?
My poker days are numbered?

Hope not, grubette. G'luck in Vegas!

Wendy's mandarin chicken salad
plain M&Ms

2 Diet Cokes
Oreo Blast (Oreo milkshake from "Thank you for coming to Loews, sit back and relax, enjoy the show")

Wendy's spinach chicken salad

grub: 40 (incl. parking and expensive $9.50 tickets for The Passion of Christ... how can you enjoy popcorn while watching poor Jesus?)
poker: 200
Thursday, February 26, 2004
It's a babygrub!

grub manor has a new addition! Something I clearly can't afford but something that will (hopefully) pay for itself in the next couple months of poker playing: a new laptop!

Well, my first and only laptop. I'd had my eye on one for awhile and finally plunked down the cash credit arm-and-a-leg for a Dell Inspiron 8600. I added as many features that I think I'd eventually need (was 1GB of memory and a 128MB graphics card really necessary? Have you seen TruePoker's avatars?), though truth to tell, some of them I don't anticipate ever needing (ahem, Bluetooth). But when you're spending that much already, what's another $59?

(A hint for Dell's ever-changing free offers, discounts, rebates, and free shipping: go through their small business section. You'll likely get a better deal. I suspect it all evens out anyway, and the deadlines are just there to get you to buy now.)

I share Boy Genius's enthusiasm for this remarkable machine. After placing the order, it arrived a scant six days later in a convenient unmarked box. The best thing about my apartment complex is they sign for packages (even FedEx), so no traipsing to far-out post offices or worrying someone will steal it from my apartment doorstep like they do my Washington Post three times a week (if you're going to steal it, take the whole thing, don't just take the Weekend section, jeez). The bundle of joy was safe and dry at the front desk when picking it up in the wee hours past midnight that is the grub life.

Out of the box and into the empty space I'd reserved for it on my newly moved table. Plugged, booted, and I was online in seconds, courtesy of my mysterious wireless benefactor. An icon in the lower right blinked and said one or more wireless connections was available. Somewhere in my building is a guy with LinkSys, and I'm able to piggyback happily onto his connection, albeit at a slower speed (1 to 2 Mbps -- perfectly fine for me).

Thinking it was temporary, I immediately loaded up all the poker clients I play, plus the ones that would only run at work -- ChoicePoker and The Gaming Club.

All this took less than an hour, when on dialup it would've taken much more. Heck, with dialup TruePoker itself takes over an hour just to download all those female avatars with double-Ds. With Mr. LinkSys, it was mere minutes.

I don't have a cable modem, much less cable television. There's barely a hookup for it, short of a stumpy gnawed-off cable sticking out of my closet. I have no intention of getting wireless access, at least at this apartment.

But I got the wireless card envisioning myself at a bar drinking beer and playing SnGs just like Boy Genius.

And I confess that I was secretly hoping that someone in my building might already have a connection.

Though I'll load up other applications including Open Office, Sybot S&D, and Ad-Aware that I don't think I'll need (but BG mentioned them, and he's the genius, not I), this laptop is solely for poker. And mainly to be prepared for new poker clients or Party updates (what I was most afraid of, because they're planning some huge updates in the near future) that wouldn't work on my Flintstones desktop. Now with 1920 x 1200 resolution on a 15.4" screen and a magnifying glass to differentiate between a and a , I'm all set to play four tables and get that much closer to the WSOP.

Well, one of those statements is correct.


My first game on the laptop was my first game at TruePoker. It does indeed simulate the live experience pretty accurately, so much so that when someone to my left looked at their cards, I couldn't resist craning my head to take a peek.

And like live play, big breasts are distracting.

I'm not sure what to think of the True experience. You can only play one table at a time, chat text pops up in bubbles, it's difficult to read the cards, and hands are pretty slow. True also forces you through the pointless step of converting dollars into chips.

Yep, just like live poker.

I still think we've yet to see a new incarnation of online poker. It should not replicate exactly the live experience but be its own unique entity taking advantage of what online and computers can do. UltimateBet is in the right direction with their mini-View of a table. The online word game Literati is a version of Scrabble but randomizes letters you receive. Nice to see a variation on a classic that can only be played online.

My first True game was a NL ring. Down $50 and then I get a set that I sneakily slowplay. Right when I was about to check-raise the turn, the connection drops! What happened, linksys? I logged back in through dialup but didn't know whether I had won the hand or if it folded me.

And there's the rub. I can't trust this free wireless connection for poker playing, but very well can use it as a backup if I hit the 5-hour mark on my dialup (it disconnects, forcing you to dial in again).

The ironic thing is when the laptop is in the area where the computer table used to be before I moved it last week, the signal is stronger (11 Mbps). The signal seemed stronger still in the hallway. Like a geiger counter, I paced up and down the hall looking at the red and green bars. Mr. LinkSys must be within one or two apartments from me. Further down the hall near the laundry room is someone else's wireless connection called "davisnetworks."

Tomorrow we'll go on a field trip and check out the 9th floor. Or maybe some places around DC.

And silly me, all that talk of HotSpots made me think the wireless service at Starbucks (and Borders et al.) was free for coffee customers. No, they charge $30/month for those locations and many other T-Mobile spots (such as admiral clubs at airports). So I have to pay $30 plus $5 for a chai latte? Grrrr.


I played the 2+2 tourney to get more accustomed to True's layout. It's definitely not my preference -- I like a flat layout with names and bankroll values rather than 3D people (and aliens... what a weird mix of characters they have) who talk. I don't even care for pictures people put up like at PokerStars. I'm a pretty basic meat & potatoes online poker player who prefers no distractions or cutsey animations.

Busted out of the tourney fairly early by accidentally calling a raise (I meant to fold, really I did). I tapped the touchpad in order to move the pointer, but it clicked instead. And where it clicked happened to be the "call 400" button.

Then played a Paradise multi and was killed when my preflop all-in KK lost to 45s giving him a straight and me a newfound awe for a Paradise player who would call an all-in with 45s.

And did the test of four tables. I played four SnGs, one in each quadrant. The top half was 30+3s, the bottom half was 10+1s. And mercy, how does anyone play four tables at once? With a touchpad? Gonna have to get a mouse soon. Maybe a Bluetooth cordless mouse/keyboard combo.

I lost three and placed 2nd in the 10+1. One hand in the 30+3 I had 66 and flopped JJ6. I check-raised all-in. AJo called. He wasn't going anywhere, no matter what I did. Turn was a 3. And the river was a 3.


I was $200 down. Now that I have laptop power, I installed Yahoo Messenger without fear that the extra memory would crash the computer. I bemoaned to iggy about the tables eating me alive.

What to do but hop in the 5/10 6max games!

Played just two this time. Down $100 on one table before it broke up.

That's okay, just keep with it. Another rebuy and a new table.

Suddenly, I see an unpredictable maniac raising, 3betting, and capping preflop but then checking the flop. And then my other table also begins capping preflop.

It was like Christmas.

My strategy: only the best hands will work here. Even with a stellar pocket pair I'll limp in, hoping to hit the flop. AK was just no good in these games. The maniacs called you down with anything and might even throw in a reraise or two. You just have to play pot odds and not care how many times he wins with a bluff.

Because people noticed the maniacs stayed in with anything and getting lucky on the river, they got a lot of action. And fortunately, the maniacs in both cases were sitting on my left. I just had to check to them knowing they would bet, and I could easily check-raise.

A few check-raises with the nuts caused the maniacs to adjust their own strategy (they may be maniacs, but they know what they're doing). Soon they just checked behind me. This enabled me to play more hands for cheap, knowing I wouldn't get raised.

For the most part, it worked. The maniacs still made off with a huge profit, and so did I. I was down $300, recovered that, and ended the session up $300.

Which goes straight into the laptop payment plan.

egg drop soup
chicken with mixed vegetables (no cabbage)
steamed rice
fortune cookie: Now is the time to try something new (could this mean {shudder} 7-card-stud?)
numerous Otis cookies
chocolate cake

3 Diet Cokes

the rest of the Chinese food

grub: 2710 (incl. laptop)
poker: 300
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Sharks in disguise

Sat in on a heads-up freezeout between 2+2er Ulysses and some young punk who had the gall to challenge him.

Ulysses is a darn fine player. Last year I would seek him out to watch him play at the shorthanded tables. Not just because he was good, but because he made the table fun with his patter. He no longer does this, but it's a tactic that I've since adopted on occasion. Particularly when I feel I can get someone to tilt.

What people may not know is that last year, Ulysses (hiding under a screen name) employed a similar gall and bravado attitude in order to lure his opponents into heads-up play, something that U is very good at. He'd make some questionable calls in limit, draw out on an opponent, and the opponent then bristles and challenges U to a match. A classic hustle. The guy would never know what hit him.

Both began with $1000 at a 10/20 table. Half an hour later, Ulysses is down to less than $300 and he looks done for. But another half hour and the amounts have swapped. Ulysses wins. (Well, Party wins because of their outrageous rake... a better match might have been at a play money table -- which Party still rakes -- with the winner transferring the grand into the other's account. But then, that would entail both parties being honest enough to do so.)

In the meantime, I'm watching another 2+2er kill... absolutely kill a NL100 game.

He's been doing this for a few days now. His play is to go all-in on certain hands under certain conditions (BB particularly). Further, he'll announce to the table, "Next hand, I'm going all-in no matter what." And he does. Even if someone raises behind him.

Sure, he lost the first time he did it. But in no-limit, all it takes is one win to put you up. A hundred dollars is a small investment in exchange for advertising your supposed fishy plays where everyone will assuredly hand you subsequent action (some were calling him with a small unsuited Ace).

The freaky thing is, he hits his cards. The past few times I've seen him play, he's won a couple thousand. Watching him last night, he went all-in with The Hammer (he takes particular glee in showing the cards). But he does fold, prompting one player to ask, "If he goes all-in with that, what is he folding?"

(Me, I take the prime seat to his immediate left and easily avoided his all-in challenges. But I lost 10-10 to someone's QQ, TJs (BB) to someone's slowplayed AA when a T fell, and AKs to someone's KK.)

And in an hour, he's gone. He's smart enough to know he'll lose in the long run. So he gets out while he can, with enough profit to live and play again.

Whenever he sits down, the pot average skyrockets for that table.

Good players know what he's doing and adjust. Bad players think he's a bad player.

Like Ulysses, what people don't know is last year, this guy won a seat on the PartyPoker Million III Cruise that sets sail next week. And if memory serves, he won two of them. Party cashed the second one for him at a cool $11,000. You can't be a bad player and win two cruises.

Party may be full of fish, but it's also full of sharks in fish clothing.

The next time you think someone made a bad play and you're better than they are and you'll eventually get all their money, think again.

Wendy's mandarin chicken salad
Krackel bars
3 Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies
Girl Scout Cookies -- Samoas

2 Diet Cokes
orange juice


grub: 410 (incl. gas, car insurance)
poker: -100
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
The allure of shorthanded

I had a poker-filled weekend before The Grublog Poker Classic. Unfortunate, because there was work to do and when making a decision between the two and there isn't a girl involved: I choose poker.

Friday and Saturday were all tourneys, all the time. Throwing around money like it was Wendy's roasted almond packs (I hate the things, and they come with every mandarin chicken salad. I now have a collection amassing over 75... seriously. Just wait till Halloween, kiddies!), I played SnGs, two-table tourneys, multis, all a combination of limit and no-limit.

Action rivers and other people's bad calls when I had the best of it slowly had me steaming.

I don't mind when I'm all-in with AA and someone else calls with KK. That's to be expected. Then it's just a flip of the coin. So I can't complain if a King falls, and I don't. I would've done the same all-in call or all-in bet if I had KK or QQ. You can't get away from those premium pairs. That's just how the hand fell. That's poker. (Though if I were really a good player and watching the rocks closer, I should think about folding QQ.)

But what really gets my grub is the people on a draw. And heads-up, with minimal pot odds.

An example from a Paradise SnG: I have AKo. One caller to my raise. The flop is AKx with two s. I raise all-in. The guy thinks and thinks, then types in chat, "You probably have me beat." Pause. "But why not." His call puts him all-in. He has A 9 (thank you, Paradise, for revealing the cards first). He then types "gg." But it ain't over yet. Turn is blank. River gives him a and he doubles up. To his credit, he apologizes profusely in chat. T50 chips are returned to me because he didn't have me covered completely. I couldn't throw them at him, so I threw them at the pot when he wasn't in it. I was 8th out.

But at least I wasn't 4th.

Played a few multis at Paradise, which lately doesn't seem as tough as it used to -- not quite the Party level, but very weak-passive vs. Party's weak-aggressive play. I fought through over a thousand entrants in a $30K multi to get to 120th. 110th and up cashed.

Then a series of five 50+5 SnGs where I placed the dreaded fourth. Only top three cash.

Of all the SnGs, I only placed 1st once and had a scattering of 2nd and 3rds.

I was tilting.

When I tilt, I don't necessarily play worse. I'm still having fun and still enjoying the game. But I play higher than I should.

I added the 100+15 SnG to my repertoire, which I haven't played yet because of the high cost. When I'm tilting, I don't think about money.

I played two... the same time.

Didn't find them too different from the 50+5 games (no crazy all-in'ers on the first hand). But also didn't cash. Out in 5th and 6th.

Down, down, down.

I could no longer access Party because some jilted poker player has been gleefully holding them hostage on the weekends for extended periods of time through Denial of Service attacks.

Their multis are then cancelled and their table games slow to a crawl.

Aside: If some young whippersnapper online poker room were smart, they'd kick Party while they're down and start advertising now. And heavily. Party did that with Paradise and not only took their players but added even more. In the grand scheme of things, 38,000 players is not that huge. How many people have Internet access? How many people gamble? How many people worldwide? Offer a substantial deposit bonus and get those gamblers to the computer. And there you go. The new kid on the block is collecting all of Party's rake, and Party's looking around at their busted servers whose fans are only good for India's heat, saying, "Wha' hoppened?"

I switched to Paradise, wanting to deposit anyway for their 10 percent bonus Sunday. My luck and attitude sour from SnGs, I toss my road-to-the-WSOP-through-SnGs insanity and go with their 3/6 5max.

I could work the bonus off faster and play them like the 5/10 6max tables at Party. And again, the players aren't better, just more passive. They also won't raise on trips if I've raised. Trips!

Only one table this time, concentrating on that with a DVD in the background. I love Rowan Atkinson, but Johnny English is no more than one joke at best. Even the preview was overly long with that one joke. And what a waste of Natalie Imbruglia. Damn PG rating.

$200 is my beginning bankroll, and I'm down to $50 when the movie ends. It's still early. Early Sunday, that is. I pop in The Quiet American and build it back up during Michael Cain's acting lessons. I bring that back past $200 (somewhere between $236 and $286) and CRASH.

Paradise locks up.

Party's still locked up.

I have nowhere to go.

I go to sleep.

On Sunday, Paradise emails my balance at the time of the crash... $136. This was incorrect, as I specifically remember recovering my $200 loss and then some. I neglected to write down the exact amount, never anticipating a problem.

I retrieved my last 100 hand histories and the final one is dated 2004/02/22-01:57:28 (CST). This wasn't when the crash occurred. Too, I recall playing at least an hour past this hand and with different players.

Disturbed, I dashed off an email to Paradise. A few hours later they respond:

After last night's server problem, it appears a small number of players (including you) had their balances off by the total of the last hand. We've added $100 at this time as well as an additional $25 as a service gesture.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Please let us know if we can be of any further assistance.

Best Regards,

Paradise Poker Support

This puts me at $261, which I'm happy with. I'm relieved it was handled this quickly and without the runaround I know would've entailed at Party. (Another Party weakness, you entrepreneur poker site operator, you.)

I didn't get credit for the bonus worked off in that hour, but a minor quibble.


Further abandoning the SnGs (not hard to do, as Party scrapped all of their tournaments for most of today), I went back to the 5/10 6max.

Bumped heads against an incredibly tricky player. In an hour he went from $70 to $600. And he showed his hands whenever people folded. Many times he had nothing and was betting away into A high or K high. Sometimes he'd reraise/cap and sometimes he'd check-raise... and when everyone folded, he'd show his crap hand.

He certainly tilted other players into calling more and playing more hands than they should.

This screamed a player and a table to avoid.

Me, I saw him as a challenge.

I noticed he bet whenever checked to, so when I finally had a good hand in position, I check-raised him and other people in the hand. The turn came and I check-raised him and the others again.

And then I was killed on the river.

Him showing down his crap but winning hands soon didn't become enough, and he started telling everyone what he had on the flop. He would bet, then type what he had (even if it wasn't a pair). He had fun with it on one hand, saying: "If I didn't play this hand I'd be a j a." On the flop was a Jack. People still called him down, and his JAo took it.

Never once was he lying about what he had. And people still didn't believe him.

Two hours later he busted out and I was up $300.

Then lost it on my second table when a guy won eight pots in a row with some pretty stellar hands. I did a rebuy and told him I wanted to stick around and beat him just once.

I had A K. Lucky raises preflop (he's playing every hand now until his rush ends). I 3bet. The flop is a King with two s. Just me and Lucky. I check, he bets, I raise, he calls. Turn is a 7. I bet, he calls. River is a 7. I bet, he raises, I 3bet, he caps. I call and he shows K7o.

Three hands later of him winning, I leave.

The moral of the story:

1. There's no such thing as luck.
2. Except the people who are lucky.
3. Stay away from those lucky people.

Pizza Hut pepperoni, ham, pineapple, mushrooms; mushrooms, tomatoes, green peppers
2 Peeps

2 Diet Cokes
orange juice

more pizza (my spinach salad still in the fridge)

grub: 22
poker: ...
Monday, February 23, 2004
Hail to the chief!

Congrats to future President Mean Gene for winning The Grublog Poker Classic last night!

His final hand was 10-10 that took out The Fat Guy's Ace-something...

...which I don't recall exactly, because suddenly the tables and all our railbird chat powered down as if Mrs. O'Leary's cow was resurrected from dog urine (that's how Freddy Krueger came back to life... it can happen).

My first thought was: oh no, there'll be disgruntled bloggers by the dozens torching grub manor, demanding refunds and a rematch! (As an aside: why, whenever the villagers go torching after monsters do they always go at night? Monsters live for the night, bumpkins!)

But then I saw the winning hand and Mean Gene's name in lights, and a big smile emerged on my face (and not just because I may have secured a cabinet position on his staff).

In all the online tournaments I've played (even SnGs), the table remains open a bit for congratulations, kudos, and curses to be exchanged. Choice shut everyone out immediately, as if anxious Moneymakers were waiting in the wings to play the next tournament.

How rude. I stuck my head into the 1/2 ring game that was going, hoping some bloggers would pop in, but I only saw props through the tumbleweeds.

Next time, I'll have to arrange a destination for us to post-mortem and decompress. After two hours, it's nice to chat about hands, beats, and whether you can go to Disneyland on $256.

shftleft suggests a poker blogger IRC channel. Visit his site for details.


I went into work for the tournament (blame my wooden computer at home), but also because I had some things I needed to finish. Those things were shunned aside as I figured I could work on the leader board in advance and have it ready to post right after the tournament. That's my problem -- anything poker-related definitely hits the forefront.

(This would later come back to haunt me, as after the tourney I stayed at work until 5:30 a.m. ... and had to leave knowing people would begin arriving and spot me unkempt and in my usual poker state of dress -- my underwear.)

To challenge myself further, I'd entered a 150+12 multi that began at the same time as the blogger tourney. Quickly realizing the errors of my clays (as in chips), I opted out and focused my attention where it should be. Which was better: the remote chance of winning a few grand or the remote chance of winning the first blogger tourney? Ah, if you have to ask, you don't read these wonderful poker blogs! $162 could always be made up again at Party. $1000s will always be awaiting to be earned at Party. There was only one shot at bragging rights to the title of our first bloggers' tourney. It wasn't a hard decision. 'Sides, my post-and-fold strategy should have worked enough to get me to cash, right? Uh just checked: nope.

My leader board was set to 25 people, then it bumped to 26 and I had to redo the payout structures. I did so gladly, as it was nice to have more than the top three pay (any number below 26). With some last-minute signups, we were up to 32. This was more than everyone who showed up for Choice's $1000 freeroll last week.

Minus the placement order, I was ready with the leader board as the game began. Closed out everything and opened the four tables. Whoops, could only do three. Tried juggling between the third and fourth table to keep up with the chat and hands for blogging purposes, then realized I was straying from my own play.

Choice began a sprightly pace with turbo eight-minute blinds -- bound and determined to kick us out in two hours so everything could be vacuumed and resprayed with orange freshener. We each started with T1200 chips that quickly diminished as the blinds leapfrogged. Evelyn Ng's "make moves" was solid advice from early on, and while the tables were relatively tight, they weren't overly so.

I was afraid with 32 people the tourney would last three hours, so I was glad about the fast pace.

We were a chatty bunch (much more so than 2+2's tourneys), and two hours just flew by.

This was both grubette's and Doug's (grubette's beau) first time playing an online tournament. Doug later said he had pocket Kings and couldn't figure out how to raise. grubette didn't know how to chat until later on, so she didn't ignore iggy and Felicia on purpose.

Going into the tournament, I didn't pay particular attention to who was in a hand with me. I read everyone's blogs daily and know of their successes, but I hadn't played anyone before and didn't give anyone any more respect than anyone else. Except perhaps hdouble, who I would reraise with 34o.

Though requested a few times, I didn't receive a hand history so this recap is more from memory than exact. I remember more the cards than who I was in the hand with, too.

At my starting table, one person that stuck out as someone to be feared was Love and Casino War, who played a good aggressive game (even before calling Up for Poker's raise of AA with The Hammer -- and winning!). It was tough to put him on a hand, and I made sure to stay out of his way.

Whenever I was in a hand, I had something. I received some good hands early (QQ and a Q55 flop) and was chip leader very briefly.

A tricky play with JJ that I raised preflop. A King flopped and I was bet into. Sensing a small King or a medium pair, I raised. He called. He had 99, and JJ took it.

Another hand I raised AQo. The flop had a Jack and I was bet into. I did think a Jack, but decided to raise to see where I was. He called. If he had reraised I probably would've folded. Luckily, a Queen came on the turn and he folded to my bet. I flashed my cards, and I believed him when he said he had a Jack.

I had 66 that I folded to a shortstack's all-in of AJo. He had one caller and won with Ace high.

Considered calling an UTG's AQo all-in. I had AJo. But I folded. One caller. AJ on the flop/board giving him Aces with Queen kicker, and I would've had two pair. In this situation again without a read on someone, I would fold AJo or even AQo every time. If folded to me, I would raise all-in with AJo (as I did one from the button, which the blinds gave up despite thinking a steal).

If I'd limped in with another hand, I would've flopped a straight.

My final hand was an all-in raise from the button with QTo. I was the shortest stack and the blinds were a-comin'. I was mostly concerned about getting the BB (Mean Gene) out. But the SB and chip leader (The Fat Guy) paused and then called. When an Ace fell I knew I was toast. But he flips over KK and I was toast plus bacon even before the flop.

Out in 5th and I joined the railbirds.

Anisotropy put up a heck of a fight, but next to go was Poker Code with Ani following.

That left TFG and Mean Gene. And through the rail almost unanimously chanting for T-F-G, T-F-G, Gene managed to pull it off.

Way to go, Gene!

Reading through some of the other bloggers' accounts (if we pulled them all together in one big blog, we'd have our hand history), many criticize ChoicePoker quite unfairly. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have had a tournament. The other sites I contacted turned us down or were unresponsive. When I approached Choice, they were immediately positive and willing.

And at least Choice didn't slow down or crash, as Denial of Service attacks have recently been crippling Party (for hours all Saturday night/Sunday morning) and possibly Paradise (some of Sunday morning) and UltimateBet (Sunday) for extended periods of time. When a crash happens, the tournament is over; there's no returning to where it last left off. Over the weekend, Party and Paradise had to refund many an angry player their standard amount, whether chip lead or not at the time of the crash.

So three cheers to Choice for hosting. And to,, and The Gambler's Bookshop for adding on terrific prizes on top of the cash.

And to all y'all bloggers! Thanks for playing a great game, and can't wait for the next one at iggy's pad on March 10!

Wendy's grilled chicken sandwich (new chicken sandwiches coming soon!)
biggie fries
Girl Scout Cookies -- Thin Mints
Twix bar
Nestle Toll House Candy Bars

4 Diet Cokes
Kirin beer

(was to be a Wendy's spinach chicken salad but into the fridge it went as a friend sidetracked me and headed for sushi)
sweet shrimp
spicy tuna handroll
Japanese vegetarian lasagna roll

grub: 55 (good God is this place expensive! I picked up the tab because I found out it's my friend's birthday this weekend... poker paid for this... er... will pay for this!)
poker: 100
Sunday, February 22, 2004
The results...


Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004 at 2100 (9 p.m.) ET

$20+2 no-limit hold'em at ChoicePoker

32 entrants, $640 prize pool



($256, poker chips, book, magazines, $20+2 entry into next blogger tourney)
Mean Gene


The Fat Guy ($160, book, magazines) The Fat Guy

3 anisotropy ($96) anisotropy
4 PokerCode ($64) PokerCode
5 grubby ($38.40) Poker Grub
6 Penguin ($25.60) The Poker Penguin

Felicia Lee
(Mr. Bubble merchandise)
Felicia Lee


(his own Hammer t-shirt)
Love and Casino War

9 Chris Falco  Life of Falco
10 hdouble Cards Speak
11 The Daily Grind The Daily Grind
12 shftleft TightPocket
13 peteux Poker Flatulence
14 Paul T. Paulsburbon
15 grubette Poker Grub (a.k.a. nepotism central)
16 Ed Openers
17 Chigins Fish with a Pole
18 iggy Guinness and Poker
19 Mr. Decker Mr. Decker
20 Chris Chris Halverson
21 Royal Royal Poker
22 Dan PokerWatch
23 Pauly Tao of Poker
24 B Gal Promethius
25 BG Gambling Blues
26 Will Single Malt Poker
27 CJ Up for Poker
28 mikeg Promethius
29 John John's Jottings
30 Doug, grubette's beau Poker Grub (a.k.a. nepotism central)
31 Rick Ugarte's Poker Grovel

Liquid Swords
(a month's worth of poker lessons)
Liquid Swords

Friday, February 20, 2004
Countdown... 2 more days until...

The day of reckoning is almost upon us. Who will win the inaugural poker blog tourney on Sunday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. ET?

There's still time to enter; in fact, you can register as late as one minute before the tourney begins. But be sure to first sign up by emailing me your info and I'll send you the password.

And if you want to watch, just download the software and sign up with an account (you'll need an account to observe a table). Our tournament can be found under the multi-table tab.

Our mystery guest is the gentleman who originated the term Hammer and the inspiration for The Hammer Challenges. Once upon a time, he played 72o and won with it in a Northern Virginia home game. His name is Hammer, and ever since then 72o was dubbed The Hammer. Therefore, there's a bounty on him! If you knock The Hammer out of the tournament with The Hammer, you'll get $250 -- the full amount of one of The Hammer Challenges.

Last-minute word is he may not be able to attend after all. I'll keep you posted.


I rushed home last night to make it in time for the 2+2 tourney at PokerStars. When I booted my computer, the monitor display was all wavy lines and repetition. I have a 17" monitor and knew from past experience that it couldn't go past 1024 resolution. Well, I knew it could but the left edge of the screen would be cut off, even if I adjusted the right position button.

The previous night I'd decided to try again. I bumped it up to 1280 (the max on this monitor) and the left edge was still cut off. I played a few tables, moving them away from that left edge, the machine crashed, and I didn't turn it on again until just before 9 p.m. last night.

And then horrors! When I booted the machine and it went to Windows, all I could see was wavy lines and multiple images. I remained patient hearing the ever-louder ticking clock, and somehow I managed to blindly maneuver the mouse to the Control Panel and downgraded the resolution back to the happy 1024 -- all in time for the 2+2 tourney.

No more resolution experiments!

Eleventh place and up cashed, and I fared a respectable 16th out of 62 of the tightest tables and best players you'll ever find (at least until our own Grublog Poker Classic). As soon as someone was knocked out, someone would pipe up with "that guy won $20K in Connecticut" or somesuch. Made me feel a tad better outlasting these experts, many of whom used different aliases on Stars than on 2+2.

I did get lucky early on -- I raised with AK. I'm called with A6. The flop is A6o. I bet, and A6 raises all-in. I think and think, enlisting the 60-second time clock. Then decide, what the heck, and call. Lucky me gets a K on the turn, and I double up. My luck didn't hold out -- whenever I tried to steal the blinds (even from an early position), I was reraised.

Watched an extremely bad call from someone who busted out before I did. He had 88 and stayed till the river. The guy betting into him had A8. The flop had an Ace. Which meant the 88 guy could only win with a one-outer. And of course, that 8 comes on the river. Gotta love it.

Every time I play on PokerStars, I contact a friend and we play together. I was out early in a multi when an ultra-aggressive guy was raising and taking down every pot. This time I go all-in with 88 (risky, yes). He types in chat, "Hmm... to call?" and calls. Unlucky me, he had AA -- probably the one time he had a hand and I had to go heads-up. However, I'd much rather go out early than on the bubble.

We then played an 18-person 20+2 tourney. He went out on his table. I made it to the top 4, only to go all-in on a button bluff (3 6 if you must know). KJo who had been folding the whole time, calls me. A 6 flops and I'm hoping... but then a Jack rivers and I'm out. Happy to cash $36, but a whole lotta time (almost 90 minutes) for a whole lotta nothing.

I then played a $10+.50 heads-up tourney with my friend and won. After a good 20-minute battle, I had AQo, he had 69s. The flop has a Jack high. I bet, he goes all-in. I pause and then call. I knew he was bluffing!

I do feel my heads-up play is getting better. Play long enough, and you get a feel for how the other person plays. Unfortunately, with the SnGs (those would be the games I haven't been doing very well in lately) when you get heads-up it's only for a few hands. There isn't normally a prolonged heads-up session with time enough to be able to adjust to their play.

Found out he's now mostly playing on Party (smart man) and has been cleaning up under a girl's name. He does the limit games on Party and tournaments on Stars. Probably a good way to go, as Stars has the best run tourneys around. You do get better players, though, so pick your poison.

Dragged another friend into setting up a Stars account (made attractive by these heads-up tourneys). We played three -- I won two and he won one.

My overall for last night after playing 5 hours: $-6. Not bad if you're seeking an evening's entertainment.


Another grubette post (two in a row!) from Monday:

So our goal was win/lose 100. I left my ATM in the car. I contemplated the NL table, where I saw that 21-year-old college boy grinding it out.. not his boisterous self this time, so I suppose he was losing. The table wasn't all that animated so I stepped back and put my name on the very short list of $3/6 because the list for $4/8 was far too long.

I hate playing $3/6, so after waiting for 5 minutes I figured I may as well play my usual game and tried to add my name to the board for $4/8. There were at least 15 people on the board, the next being "NG". The board caller looked at me and said, "NG, you're seat is available." I said I wasn't NG, but he gave me a quick wink and told me to get my locked up seat. Guess he wanted a tip. I only had a hundred, sorry.

I get to the very somber table, and everyone is asian, which is a bad sign (because these guys do this for a living). I was at 1s, and 2s raised every pre-flop. Normally you like these kinds of players, but not with my limited funds. Plus, he was making me annoyed. I finally got AT diamonds after 5-6 hands of not playing anything and called the blind. 2s raised me per usual and everyone called. The flop had an Ace, but I just checked because I knew 2s would raise. He bet, I called. Nothing on the turn or river, but he kept betting. It was head's up at the river, where he bet, and I called with my wimpy Aces. And he just folded! Didn't even want to see what I had. He said he was trying to burn through his chips because they were unlucky. I told the dealer I was out, gave her $2 and stacked my $37 and left. The table groaned, but I didn't want to play with maniacs. And this was the best way to ensure he didn't get his money back from me at least.

I did end up going to $3/6, hoping for a friendlier crowd. The crowd was very friendly and a couple of old guys, who I like to play with. I won the first two hands and now needed about $40 more to reach my goal. I started getting nervous though because when I win, I start to get ultra conservative. Doug happened to be playing at the table next to me, and I saw he was up a rack so I went over to check on him. Would you believe, he was up $99? He said he needed to win $1 before we could go. Oh come on! I was ready to go whenever he said the word. Being up a little is better than being down a little (or a lot). He went down, way down, then back up, and finally left the full table at +131. The table was so irritated, it broke up about 10 minutes later. Of course, I was down by then, having lost my winnings and $20 of my own. So he'd just have to wait til I won it back.

Second Corona, and losing $, I start to play loosely now, which I know is my downfall. There was only one guy calling everything, raising everything, with 23o or T6o. But he was lucky. So I get KQ diamonds right after the BB. I just call, but it's re-raised and I call that. The flop is QT2, no diamonds. Check to me, and I bet. I'm raised, I re-raise. Turn's a 6. Round of betting. C'mon Queen! River's a 7. I bet, am raised, I call. One guy has pocket Ks, okay, but the winner, has T7o and wins with 2 pair. I get up from the table, not even wanting to give the rest of my money to these guys, net -71.

I blame Doug, because I was ready to go when he had +99 and I had +57.

Howard was there too, leaving work early to play because his wife worked til midnight. Doug called him but he had already been there and left within an hour, after winning $53. His goal was +50. At least we were only there an hour and a half, Doug bought me dinner, and we made it home in time for "The Littlest Groom" which is oddly difficult to watch.

Should've played NL.


Wendy's mandarin chicken salad

3 Diet Cokes
cabernet sauvignon

dinner (this was my steak dinner won from a bet a couple months ago. I chose The Palm, which I thought was upscale but seemed like a low-rent steakhouse with caricatures of local (and living) DC political figures on the walls and coatcheck girl picking her nose. The steak was excellent, though)
French bread
raisin bread
lobster bisque
garlic mashed potatoes
18 oz. filet mignon (medium rare)

grub: 8
poker: -107
WSOP/hours: -31/9


Wendy's spinach chicken salad (new!)
Chips Ahoy cookies
chocolate coconut cake and chocolate-covered strawberries

4 Diet Cokes
orange juice

Healthy Choice blackened chicken

grub: 7
poker: -6
WSOP/hours: -37/14


egg drop soup
chicken with mixed vegetables
fortune cookie: You will have no problems in your home... just your monitor

2 Diet Cokes


grub: ...
poker: ...
WSOP/hours: ...
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
Behind the affiliates + grubette's first NL sugar daddy

When you download and sign up to a poker site via a link or a signup code, that affiliate is usually getting something based on your deposit, play, or whatnot. I highly encourage doing this, because it's to the benefit of the blogger (let's say) you read and love who provided the link, and it doesn't cost you anything now or ever will in the future. It's a nice way of paying it forward for all the hard work they do and in fact, can even help you with various bonus offers (an extra percentage atop your initial deposit). I have a list of links with various signup bonuses, but you can also sign up through other bloggers who are also affiliates. Like iggy or hdouble who bust their humps day in, day out to provide quality, thoughtful, entertaining writing and linkups. The hours it takes to read through all the wonderful blogs... think how many more hours it takes to research, collect those links, and write 'em up coherently in the first place.

The point is: if you're planning to sign up to a site anyway, sign up through an affiliate.

(This is also the case with other links that may be on the site, whether it be books, CDs, etc. -- if you're going to buy, buy through them... you would pay the same amount anyway, and the affiliate gets a few pennies and is that much more encouraged to carry on blogging.)

My big regret is signing on to Party and their skins (Empire, Intertops, Multipoker, Eurobet) -- or really any online poker room -- without using an affiliate. If I were under an affiliate, at least that person would be getting something (usually a percentage of my rake) every time I play. Now, all of that rake is collected by the big nasty conglomerate cardroom. And with the volume I play collectively on Party & skins, it's quite a significant number that outweighs their measly $50 comeback and redeposit bonuses. Does Party really need more money? Well, their servers keep crashing so I guess they do.

When I was looking around for places for The Grublog Poker Classic, ChoicePoker was amenable and agreed to host. They struck me as very personable and open to ideas about the tournament as well as their site. I signed up as an affiliate and decided any money I received from people signing through me would go back into the tournament in the form of extra prizes (and hopefully cash).

Some stats so far:

22 people signed up through me (on their own or for the tourney, of which 17 are registered)
5 people played cash games
1 person (not including me) played over 300 raked hands

As I understand, to qualify for the referral bonus of $30, each referral must deposit a minimum of $50 and play a minimum of 300 raked hands within 30 days of depositing.

Assuming that the one person who played over 300 raked hands made a deposit of $50, I should have $30 coming to throw back into the prize pool (already done).

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like we'll qualify for Choice's competition of winning with most referrals (first place is $2000 -- wouldn't that have been a great add-on) because Choice defines referrals as qualified referrals, and hence, 300 raked hands per person and a $50 initial deposit.

Which I cry foul, because it's awfully difficult to play on their site when hardly anyone is there for us to play against. Several times I've logged on to see no one playing. If the pace stays the same, I don't see how anyone could qualify for, much less win this competition.

But ah well. We still have some great prizes offered from some great sponsors who were willing to support our tournament without any history behind us. I only queried companies I know and liked, and I'm happy they came through. Visit their stores and buy their products -- not only are they worthwhile, but they thought well enough of our tourney to toss in a thing or two to make the prize pool more than just about the cash... it's about the chips (ha). (And our latest is a t-shirt offer from Love and Casino War to the first person to win with The Hammer! Thanks, LCW!)

The blog tourneys will only get bigger from here.


In a bid to play with us in the tournament, grubette provides a fun report from this past Friday at Hawaiian Gardens (a week after she, hdouble, and I played), along with her first no-limit ring game:

Yep, it was nice hanging out with grubby in the Hawaiian Garden's poker room. But that weekend I drank too much, played poker too much and saw more acrobats than I usually do in LA. At the NL tourney grubby and I played, I met Joe, a 73-year-old widower who was giving me pointers about how to read people. He was in the 3s when he called all the way head's up to the 10s with a King high. When the cards were revealed, the 10s had 6 high! Crazy stuff. Joe says poker books are for kids, and the only real way to play is through experience.. lots of it. I got a strange but correct feeling that Joe was hitting on me, while he would say, "I'm old enough to be your grandfather!" he'd then creepily say, "Who do you live with?" and "I'm looking to remarry." But, he was loaded up with compliments for me and my play, so Joe, you can be my poker sugar daddy!

This week at work was so dull. So Friday is rolling around, the only night tournament that HI-G hosts, so I was looking forward to it. I get off work at 4, so I get over there and bought my ticket and then started playing live until the tournament started at 6.30. I pick my usual $4/8 game, but everyone was staying in on everything, and I didn't have time to fish (though I'm not above it occasionally to mix it up). So, down $40 in a mere 15 minutes, I hear the announcer call, "New No-Limit game $100 buy-in. Make your move!" I can't resist and go over there. I'm hesitant to sit down though, because the players look like they get their paychecks in poker chips. But as Joe says, I can't read people, so what the hell. NL there has a very unusual set up, or one I haven't seen. I guess the host of the table is employed by the casino, but he also plays and gives out chips. So, he's writing down your name to establish seniority at the table, playing with his own chips, has stacks of chips to give out change and calling people from the board when a new seat opens. Plus, everyone knows him at the table and calls him by name. I find it's always good to remember the host's name and call him that, preferably when a new player sits down so they think you're a professional. But this is my first time at a NL live game, and I was caught by another player who said, "Oh, I haven't seen you in a looong, loooong time," (good so far) "don't you normally play $4/8?" Gulp. 1s with too many gold teeth immediately starts flirting with me, "You are my girlfriend, sit next to meeee!"

$100 max buy-in and $2/3 blinds, so I felt this would be a slow game, at least slow enough for the hour I needed before the tournament started. And I was right, most people folded. Early on, I get AQo and raise to $15 right after the BB. Everyone folds. Hmm.. I think I made $2, because of the rake, which is taken out every hand. Then a few hands later, I pick up AA in middle position again. I just call the BB this time, Asian Mafia guy bets $10 more, followed by another $10 caller. The blinds fold, and it's up to me. I hesitate, then my heart starts beating loudly, deafeningly so. I peep, 'I'm all-in" and shove my chips to the middle. Damn I've never done this live before- it's so exhilarating. I expected to pick up the $31 pot pre-flop, but Asian Mafia guy tells the dealer to count my chips. It was $97. He has about the same amount. He calls. The other caller thinks. Calls time. Looks at me (he was the one that hadn't seen me in a long time). Stares me down, with a smile though, "What you got?" as my fingers go numb since the blood is rushing out of them to my feverishly beating heart. He folds.

Asian Mafia guy confidently turns up his cards. AKo! I flip up my AA and there's a collective, "oooh" at the table. They know I won. Me however, I didn't know this yet. The flop is rag-rag-rag, turn rag, river rag. Not a single face card, and I had it all the way. The dealer gives me all the chips and like $6 back to the caller. No "nice hand" from him. He re-buys.

What a rush. I could get hooked on this NL stuff.

But, not too much later, I get JJ and call a $45 raise and lose. Oh well, win some, lose some, I need to place in the tourney, which pays to 27 spots.

I go to the tournament after seeing Joe again, getting up from the live NL and wishing me luck. The tourney has already started, and I'm nearly 40 minutes late (I do this on purpose to avoid getting tempted into re-buying). I see an unbelievable pot, where 2s and 10s are battling it out. The board is AJJ32 and tons of money in the pot. 10s slams down pocket Aces for the boat, and 2s turns over his monster, pocket Js. Had this had been a live game, it was bonus time $25000 with a $700 or so table share. Gosh darn it.

I was chip leader at my table for awhile, sitting in between 2 new tournament players, one a woman. The other guy clung to his single T500 chip for 30 minutes, then finally lost it. Woman was out, then I was out, in 50th place.

I go back to NL live. There are three guys there that know each other, and all are 21! Good lord! One guy is exceptionally boisterous and talkative so I say, "What the hell do you do for a living that allows you to play with this kind of money?" and he calmly says, "I play poker for a living. And go to Golden West College." I saw him take down a great pot on the flop, KT4. He bets small, caller bets $150, college boy raises $400 all-in, then gets up from the table! Caller's thinking for an eon. And folds it. College boy's friends try to guess what he had. I said KT, his friends said pocket 4's. College boy was mum.. he probably had Ks.

Doug's still playing and losing at $3/6 when two of our friends arrive looking for some 13 card poker action. They settle for Pai Gow (Hawaiian Gardens is more than just Hold 'em, it's a way of life). In fact, one of them calls Doug on his cell phone to leave a message, but then forgets to turn off his phone. I picked up the 10 minute long voicemail that details him playing Pai Gow, saying "YES!" and "You got it!" with the "TZ for $4/8 hold'em!" announcer in the background.

I go check on Doug and saying I'm playing NL and he says ok and I leave. Then a minute later he calls me and says when I left, this woman at his table told him (about me), "That woman wants you bad, couldn't you tell??" She was 21. Doug asked why she had her name on her shirt, "Glenn." She said, "It says GUESS!" and he proceeded to call her Glenn the rest of the night. After her flirting with him (and probably him flirting with her too) she gets up to go play Pai Gow and whispers to him, "I'll be over on the side playing Pai Gow." Harlot.

Right after midnight Doug calls me to wish me a
Happy Valentine's day. I hear his table in the background giving him a hard time and groaning. Then I hang up and Gold Teeth guy from earlier comes over and wishes me a Happy Valentine's day, "I am so glad that I am the FIRST one to wish you a Happy Valentine's day." I told him he was the second, and he said, "Then I am the SECOND. Where are we going for dinner on Valentine's day?" The Joe comes over and brushes him away telling me that guy's no good for me, that he's a player (as if I didn't know). Good ol' sugar daddy, already looking out for me!

The "Wheel of Cards" winner is called, which means it's 2am. Gotta get out of there! With Doug and I both down more than the ATM usually allows, we go check on our friends playing Pai Gow. This is not your Vegas momma's Pai Gow and I don't really get it. You can play on anyone else's hand, so Doug and I, in a last ditch effort to win on some game, put $100 each on top of our friend's $100 wager. He gets a pair of Js behind, and KT for the top, a marginal hand, a push hand maybe in Pai Gow. The dealer, who is really a player, not the house, gets a pair of 7s and K9! Won $300 just like that. All four of us jump ship, happy to leave on a good note at last.

McDonald's steak and egg and cheese bagel

Chips Ahoy cookies
rice crackers
Breyer's peach ice cream

4 Diet Cokes
orange juice

garden salad with grilled chicken

grub: 35
poker: -68... 1@10+1 (1st), 4@30+3 (big fat zero -- JJ vs. 99 (9 flopped); AA vs. A8 (88 board)), 5@50+5 (two 2nds),
WSOP/hours: 76/5
Monday, February 16, 2004
200 hours to the WSOP

hdouble emailed an interesting challenge (well, I took it as a challenge):

Anyway, I came up with about 120 wins in the 90 days to the WSOP. Doable? Not for this poker player, but I suppose if you had 3 hours a day, you might be able to do it.

Some quick grub calculations...

The WSOP begins May 22. That gives 90 days plus change. Or, playing SnGs for 2.22 hours a day, approximately 200 hours (to make it a nice round number). You would need to win at least $60 per hour or $120 per day to reach the goal of the $10K seat plus airfare, Wendy's food, and a cheap downtown hotel for 7 days and 7 nights.

If I ignored all the other horrid losses this past week and tallied just the SnGs I played yesterday (five 30+3 SnGs in almost three hours), I had a ROI of $135.

This is about average for me. Where I lose the most (financially as well as in confidence) is the shorthanded games. If I stick with only SnGs for the next 90 days...

Sounds like a good challenge to me! I responded that I thought it was absolutely doable.

HD's point was that you have a much better +EV of grinding it out in the SnGs the next few months to buy yer own damn seat into the WSOP over winning one in a multi. He's probably correct, but on the other hand, if you won a seat you'd have no choice but to go. If you won over $10K, you'd have some hard decisions blowing it all on a poker entry fee vs. paying child support for the kid you barely know who hates you and is still not potty trained.

Or for me, versus buying a laptop. Which I want really really really badly. Because I want to be like Boy Genius and go wireless, playing online poker and impressing girls at the local dive.

So let's shoot for the moon and the bracelet, shall we? Win $10K in 90 days while also playing multis to win a WSOP seat. Then I can take the seat and blow $10K in craps.

Deal? Join me, why don't you. My bankroll is only $200. Let's start... now!


I love my new computer setup! I can't believe it took 12 years to come to my senses. Then again, I haven't been playing online poker for 12 years.

I got home in time to catch the last half hour of "Average Joe II." I haven't been following this one as much as the first, but from the bombardment of radio ads, tonight was the fatsuit episode. Like the first season, she dons a disguise (without bothering to affect her voice 'cause honey, that annoying warble is a dead giveaway) and laments how hard it is going through five minutes of life with people looking at her and not giving her directions to the movie theater because she's fat. Poor thing.

She then pretended to be her mother and interviewed the Average Joes, most of whom she chose based on looks and by them not being fat in the first place. Of course the Joes were taped saying dirty things behind her back (hello, it's a reality show with cameras everywhere, you should know what you say can and will be used against you) and the footage was produced to her to watch with nailbiting glee. Guys being guys, they naturally made comments about her mother. She got upset, and promptly booted the worst of the insultees off the island.

"Average Joe I" was more interesting, perhaps because I liked the guys and the girl more. She had more depth and eloquence and genuinely seemed to start falling for some of the Joes. This one is more aloof and a-model (I think she represented her state in a beauty pageant against fur), and it's hard to well up any solid tears for her. That's clearly based on seeing just the first episode, so I'm not in the least biased.

But watching the last half hour let me play two 30+3 SnGs from the comfort of my computer-that-faces-the-TV.

I placed 3rd and 1st for a $144 return. Heck, I'll pack my bags to the WSOP right now!

McDonald's bacon ranch salad
fruit 'n' yogurt parfait
Tostitos blue organic chips

3 Diet cokes

rice crackers
Dove chocolates
butter cookies

grub: 8
poker: 144
WSOP/hours: 144/1
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Reorganizing grub manor

UltimateBet had a last-minute 25 percent bonus through Neteller (and is still good through Monday evening). Like a little bonus lamb I put in another $400 to get $100 to lose $150. When will I learn?

Saturday night I played ChoicePoker's $1K freeroll tournament. As expected, many didn't show up because of Valentine's Day (and perhaps many simply didn't know they were automatically signed up from having played 50 hands earlier that week). Unlike other sites that allow you to post-and-fold until you show up or until you're blinded out, Choice boots everyone who isn't logged in by a certain time (which seemed to be 10 minutes into the tourney). So out of 147, only 30 people were playing. And 1st through 20th place cashed (1st place won $300).

I wanted to play this tourney in preparation for The Grublog Poker Classic next Sunday (sign up if you haven't already!). It seems as if they start everyone with T1200 chips. I noticed my computer slowing way down when having another Choice window open simultaneously.

And this was at work, too. I went into work because my home machine is too antiquated to even load the software. What I like so much about Party (in addition to the bad players and the big cartoony Muppet colors) is that two or three tables open are no problem. Barring their own server problems and disconnects, I've never experienced the memory problems that I have with Choice or Paradise.

I busted out in 7th for $30. The Daily Grind also made it into the money.

I then hopped to Paradise, where they have a nightly 9 p.m. $30K guaranteed multi for a $30 buy-in. I think this was the only night they lost money, getting 922 people to enter and eating $2340. This was what I'd anticipated for V-Day, and you know how I love the tournaments with extra cash where the poker room foots the bill.

Did well until I get A K. I'm medium stacked and there are just over 100 people that need to be eliminated before cashing. Someone in early position bets, a shortstack raises all-in, that all-in is raised, and it's to me. If I called, it would take me all-in. The pot was huge. What would you do?

If I had AQ, it would be an easier decision. JJ and below would be an easier decision. With that many people in the pot, surely the Aces and Kings were used up and someone with a pocket pair would end up taking it down.

Well, no guts no glory, and I called. The original bettor folded. Shortstack had KK and the raiser had AA. I was out in 200th or so.

I need to remember that this isn't Party. Players are better at Paradise and wouldn't go all-in on just a stone cold bluff. But so hard to lay down AKs.

Then played some 3/6 5max at Paradise before leaving in defeat $-120.

Switched to Empire, made a deposit (yep, I'm down to the felt), and was killed at 5/10 6max. Again. Some utterly amazing rivers. And too many 4flushes on the board. Then went to 1/2 6max and witnessed even worse play (expectedly) and even more incredible cards that people would stay with and win with. Is this Earth-2? The Bizarro World? What the heck is going on?

Made back some of my loss playing $10+1 SnGs, all of which I placed in the money or 4th. A little confidence booster (except for 4th, that is).

Empire was starting up their Sunday $50K game qualifier for $18+2, so I signed up. 49 players, top five won a seat in the big game (worth $150+12).

I did fairly well throughout, and I may prefer these limit tourneys to no-limit. It takes longer and people don't bust out early, but you also can't lose everything in one fell swoop.

Midway into it, I'm chip leader with T4400. That went down to T2700 when I raised preflop with K Q. A shortstack called. The rainbow flop gave a King. I bet, the shortstack raised. I reraised, he threw in the rest of his chips. I called. He had K 4. One on the flop. None on the turn. But a 4 on the river.

I gladly watched him make similar plays, only to complain to others that he was rivered.

At the final table I was in bad shape. But I got some decent cards that held up three times in a roll, and suddenly I was chip leader. I kept up the aggression, then realized I could back off and just fold into 5th place -- which is what we were going for.

Once sixth was knocked out, we all won seats. Damn but did this win feel good, even though my losses were equivalent to buying into the tourney at full price (and I could've saved all that time). After we were sure there were five of us left, it was a raisefest just to play it out. This was truly bingo at its finest, as we all raised and reraised to the river to get out. I somehow lasted to third raising and capping. I wonder if that affected my VIPoints.

Today, Sunday, the registration closed off at 185 players. This includes everyone who bought in regularly as well as all their single-table and multi-table qualifiers to win seats. That means Empire is putting up a whopping $20,030 to make up for the guarantee. This is bad news for Empire. Week after week, their Wednesday and Sunday guaranteed $$ tournaments are not attracting the people. Think they'll offer the $50K again next Sunday or revert to $30K? Or get rid of it altogether? Answer hazy, try again.

I kept track of the hands I played, thinking I'd list on the blog all the hands I played that would eventually cruise me into a multi win!! Alas, it wasn't meant to be. My last hurrah was JJ. Preflop was raised, it was reraised, and I 3bet. The original bettor folded, and the reraiser called with 66. The flop gave him a 6, and I was toast at 86th. It's a bummer to go out on a better hand.

More 5/10 6max on Empire and more 3/6 5max on Paradise (including their $30K tourney, which I lost with KK vs. A-10 and an Ace on the turn). The kicker: 88 and an 8 flops. Someone with 47o makes his runner gutshot straight. My head's shaking just thinking about it.

I then switched to five 30+3 SnGs and placed 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, and 1st -- in that order. On the last one I leap for joy when I call with 44 and seemingly the entire table calls to a flop of AA4 (and two of the same suit). I rubbed my hands at all the callers, thinking how I was going to slowplay this one to the max and for once PUNISH the flush draw who I know had to be there.

And then... my connection drops! I hadn't kept track that I was online for my allotted time before it'll disconnect. Needless to say, there were many questionable words expressed in the grub household. I reconnected as fast as I could, but the hand was over. I assume I won it, but my chip count was hardly bigger.

Fortunately, that hand didn't matter much, as that was the one I won.

I do much better in the SnGs than the shorthanded games, as this past week shows. I question my abilities for these SnGs, thinking the odds are too great to place at least 3rd, and I'm dead money. Checking my PokerTracker stats proves this untrue (unlike the ring games, I'm actually up in the SnGs), but somehow I can't shake the feeling that I'm not good enough to maintain the win rate.

I have an aggressive style in 6max. ZeeJustin has been posting some of davidross's questionable hands on 2+2, and I've responded how I would've played them. In every case, if I were playing the same hand, I would've raised each time David called.

I've played ZeeJustin and he's extremely aggressive -- until you bite back and he'll then back off (usually leaving to another table). Ulysses is also aggressive but not overly so (he was witness to my $-250 bad card run in half an hour). David rarely raises on a semi-bluff. I like playing the 2+2ers -- I know how they play, I know enough to stay out of their way, and vice versa. I'd much rather play a couple good people and one fish than all fish.

This aggressive style explains my huge swings -- it can be profitable (such as January was) and it can equally go the opposite (as all of February so far). Pots are built when I have the best of it or I'm semi-bluffing, and then I see all the chips shipped to someone else.

Completed flushes are most bothersome, because I know they're drawing for it. I just know it. I'll raise or 3bet to get that person out. I had KK and someone else had JJ. We raised/capped every street. Then someone with 35s gets his flush on the river. What can you do?

There seems to be no amount that someone on a flush draw will fold to. The correct play is to make it as expensive as possible. This only serves to make the pot odds better for the draw to call.

That's another vote for the no-limit SnGs. The suited hands may raise all-in for their draw (this frequently is the case early in the SnG), but I'm assuming they'll think hard calling an all-in.

And the beats bother me less in the SnGs. I don't dwell on the hands. The most I could ever lose on not just the hand but the whole tourney would be $10+1 or $30+3 or $50+5. I'd lose much more in one hand of 5/10.

So. This week I'm going to lay off on the shorthanded games and just do SnGs with the occasional multi (and WSOP/big game qualifier) thrown in and see how I do. I thoroughly enjoy the 6max and find them challenging and still think them profitable (ultimately), but my psyche and bankroll are too damaged to continue. Better to go with what PokerTracker says is my strength... at least until I can build up the roll for the 15/30 6max! Heh, just kidding.


For 12 years I've had my furniture arranged the same way. Computer and table facing the wall, TV behind. Made for difficult viewing in the reflection of the computer monitor. The two birds with one stone idea, I thought it'd be nice to play poker while watching "Fear Factor."

I also wanted to make more space available for the eventual laptop I'll be getting. More and more poker sites don't work on my Windows 78, and it'd be fun to play poker on the toilet.

This weekend I made the switch. I couldn't figure out how to move the long, conference-type table without dragging it. If I had roller skates, I would've put them under the legs. I'm sure there's some dolley invention like this at hardware stores, but using my grub ingenuity, I went under the table and lifted it, crawling with it on my back like a turtle.

It was quite the sight, one I'm glad no one will be able to use for future ransom.

The table replaces one of the two couches I have. That will take some more thinking, how to move the couch across the room. Both the back legs are gone, and it's a heavy sofabed monstrosity, with odd metal bits poking out that require tetanus shots whenever walking past. It seems to shoot out these staples at inopportune moments. I have hardwood floors, and I was only able to move the couch into the kitchen by sliding it on a swatch of carpet. And that would be 12-year-old carpet, the bottom of which has all but disintegrated. So I left a trail of dust/sand/asbestos, freely breathing in the spores that I now feel like the start of my sickness in the Vegas trip in December.

Ideally I'd throw the thing away, but I couldn't even get it through the door without help, and I made a vow never to ask friends to help me move. Another thought would be to hack it up and take it to the dumpster piece by piece, but the bed inside is more the problem. It would take awhile to burn.

So for now I'll be leaping over the couch (in a single bound) to get to the kitchen. Maybe I'll move the microwave onto the computer table.

But hey, some exercise.

lunches & dinners:
the usual junk

weekend grub: 40
weekend poker: -600 (the last of the losses, I hope)
Friday, February 13, 2004
HI-G, Varekai, and purple poop

Yo Ben Affleck! Stop hiding behind your publicist. What, are you scared to play against us bloggers? Why have you not responded to my emails?


Who's with me?

Where'd everyone go?

Suffice to say, Mr. Affleck is #2 to reject The Grublog Poker Classic. That doesn't mean you have to! We have 12 so far. Don't forget to sign up! Feb. 22 is just around the corner.


Found a couple photos from the zombie show I'd mentioned yesterday:

is he dead? poke him!

serves you right, playing with the undead!

smile for the camera!

The auditions were a blast. Too many of the same monologues from Jeffrey and many that went on too long, but one did a hilarious read of the opening to "The A-Team." He was cast instantly, but had to bow out due to other commitments.

In callbacks, the director had everyone on one side of the theater. Before he paired them up to read sides, he had each one come down and say the first line of the play with their best kung-fu pose: "I'm gonna kick some zombie ass!"

Some got quite into it. They had the benefit of watching how each one before performed, and each did a different take. So we had the gamut of emotions -- scared, angry, sexy... I liked sexy the best.

I was a bit embarrassed for the actors to have to be put through this (I suspect they were hoping to get cast in the Mamet piece), but in talking with some of them later on, I found they enjoyed the process.

Over the two-week run, I went to every one of the shows at a small 150-seater black box in Dupont Circle, and though the audience reaction was mixed (some sat in silence, some laughed at certain lines but not others, some were in shock and called me a misogynist -- quite handy to be on a bill with David Mamet, eh?), I had a terrific time.

And I got paid.


For those obsessed with that penguin game from yesterday, here's another one.


Last Friday I flew to California to surprise mamagrub on her 60th birthday. It was even more of a surprise because her birthday isn't until next week (when asked how long we're to celebrate her birthday, she said, "the whole month!"). California being the card barn capital of the world, grubette and I worked out a plan of action to take in a couple tournaments around mamagrub's visit. Plus we were going to meet the famous hdouble of Cards Speak.

To test my "luck," I stayed up all night Thursday playing on Empire. Bad idea. Lost $300. I should just eat my lucky gummy bears purchased from the airport snack bar rather than try for luck online. Already I was in a mood for Friday.

Left amidst a dreary morning of freezing rain and sleet, only to arrive at Dulles Airport a bit past the 30-minute arrival window that JetBlue enforces. This being my virgin JetBlue voyage, I pleaded ignorance and despite some heavy artillery tears and wails, flirts and hotel keys, not to mention the $20 trick, I was told to talk to the hand.

Fortunately, they put me on the next flight without charge.

Unfortunately, this meant I would miss the limit tournament at Hawaiian Gardens with hdouble and grubette. Surely I would have won had I made it on time.

During my four-hour "delay," I listened to Howard Stern that I had MP3ed from that morning. If only I had a laptop with a wireless connection, I could while away the time and make up that loss on Empire!

I could see why there's a half-hour cutoff. The security line looped twice around the length of the entire airport before entering the Disneylandesque zig-zag line -- and all to get in another line to the shuttle that takes you to the gates. If there's anything I hate more, it's an airport with a tram. I want to get there and board the plane, or deplane and get out. I don't want the airport to be a mini-trip of its own. Washington, D.C. has three area airports. Reagan National (Arlington) is the closest and most preferred. BWI (Baltimore) is further away but easy to get to and no tram. Dulles (Herndon) is a complete pain.

From someone 12 years cableless and with no television reception past NBC, the DirecTV on the back of everyone's airplane seat was only mildly diverting. But nothing was on, and iRiver saved me.

grubette picked me up from the tiny Long Beach Airport (which has it right -- the plane practically drops you off in front of your car), and off we went.

Hawaiian Gardens the city is home to Hawaiian Gardens the poker room, which is apparently so big that the city changed its name to the cardroom. Word has it California state will soon change their name to Hawaiian Gardens, according to Gov. Schwarzenegger.

It is indeed a cavernous, intimidating place, probably bigger than the card room at the Taj (in Atlantic City... though also a contender in biggest size with that other one sans poker room). They can accommodate a few hundred people in their regular tournaments, while having just as many playing cash games. Tables were doing a Janet Jackson (busting at the seams), even in the dining room. I expected to see a table or two in the restroom.

But HI-G was also pleasantly smokefree and brightly lit. Nonalcoholic drinks were free, and delicious-smelling food could be ordered at the table for half-price. I never eat at the table (bad table manners?) because I never really mastered the art of eating in front of people, and because I don't like to get the cards greasy. If you watched carefully, that piece of rice still on the back of one card was a marked Ace.

Setups were often called, despite two decks being used and an automatic shuffler built into the table.

Food and drink service had the impression of being fast, but only because there were so many of them, all with different functions. You only had to decode the colors of the runners' shirts. I asked for a P.O.G. juice (my first gamble of the night, thinking anything with an acronym can't be all that bad -- turned out I lost this bet, as it was a bad Hawaiian guava concoction) from the drink runner, but he was the wrong colored shirt. Blue shirts gave massages. They also had man hands. Strapless shirts... well, they weren't employed by the casino. I asked for a Diet Coke from the cocktail waitress but had to wait for the soda colored shirt.

I have to pause here to admonish not only HI-G and the state of California but the entire West Coast. Why is Diet Pepsi the standard diet drink of choice? Don't you know Diet Coke is ten times better? This forced substitution was prevalent everywhere I was served in CA as well as Vegas. How can I vacation someplace where there is no freedom of choice? This is America!

I drank my Diet Pepsi in silence. At least it was free.

The cafe contained the same food but at full price and slower service. The too-salty seared ahi salad was passable, but grubette's half-eaten eggs benedict was good (24-hour breakfast is served, something McDonald's should institute).

hdouble text messaged that he'd missed the tournament but was in a soft 6/12 game.

"Soft 6/12." Oooh. Almost sounds as good as "free beer" and "comped room" and "the baby's not yours" (oops, I mean "dismissed charges"). I had to wipe my Pavlovian drool from my chin, but I had butterflies about sitting down just yet. I'm okay once I pull up to the table, but I get nervous before.

And soft? Boy, was he right. It was looser than Party. Over half the players calling one or two bets to see the flop. And calling stations left and right like AT&T was having a sale. Some huge pots -- people up an entire rack on one hand, then down one on another. Some were already on their second or third buy-in. Purses and wallets kept flying open. It was Friday night at HI-G, they were here to have fun.

Spotted HD who was wearing a disguise of a tan cap and black shirt so as not to attract the chubby women from Buffalo Bill's. He clued me in to seat one who was a raising maniac, and I should do everything I could to get to that table.

Yelling fire and throwing my chips on the ground to create a diversion for someone's empty chair didn't work, so I put my name in for a table change.

I mistakenly walked out of my own table with my remaining chips, so waited about 20 minutes before getting called to table 12.

I'm called for table 12 and find myself walking past HD and the raising maniac, to two tables over. The brush mistook that table for another, and I was waiting 20 minutes for the wrong table.

No matter. I put in another table change to the correct table 10 and settled in. I didn't move for the next four hours.

AK and AQ quickly crumbled, with me raising and betting the whole way. Decided at that point not to raise preflop. People weren't folding anyway, and I thought I might be able to get more out of them postflop if I had the best of it and meanwhile save money otherwise.

Soon a tipsy grubette sat down, after being down a rack in 4/8. Then HD joined, looking like he was up a rack. He said he was losing some EV by leaving Monsieur le Maniac, but it was great to play with him. (And though I looked longingly at the raising maniac, I ignored my table change request and stayed put.) HD's blog details a killer back-to-back sets of Kings, one that he won, one that he would have won.

grubette's beau then sat down, and it was four of us in the 7, 8, 9, and 10 seats.

grubette likes action. When she drinks, she raises with questionable hands. She was on her fifth or sixth Corona and she 3bet me with pocket twos. She has an ultra-aggressive style preflop and admits it's an ego thing, that if someone reraises her she'll cap with a myriad of hands. But postflop she'll back down. And if she sees you with a few chips left, she'll be kind and check it down.

I don't have the reckless abandon that she does preflop. But I also don't have the heart that she does postflop. If I have the best of it, I have no problems taking someone's last chip.

But heads-up against grubette, I know enough to get out of her way unless I have something good.

That something good came with pocket Aces and me UTG. I raise. grubette's to my left and reraises. Seat one caps! In a bit of theatrics, I sigh heavily. But it was a real reaction, as I was more thinking this is another time AA will be cracked.

That fear dissipated as soon as a beautiful Ace flops. And a rainbow flop. I check, grubette bets, seat 2 calls, and I raise.

Yeah, that's right, I check-raised my sister.

We lose seat 2, but grubette stays to the end and slams down her cracked Kings. She was unafraid of that Ace on the flop (she later said she didn't think either of us had an Ace), but with me as an initial raiser and seat 2 capping, I would've been scared for my Kings.

I drag my big pot, still stacking when the BB comes around.

Another orbit and I'm BB with 73o. Not quite The Hammer, so I'm ready to fold to a raise instead of raising. But no raise, so I see the flop of 73T(r). I check, grubette bets, a couple more calls, and I raise. The turn is an Ace. I bet, grubette raises, and another guy calls. I feel my two pair is doomed here, but I stick it out. I check the blank river, grubette bets, and we two callers call.

She shows a pair of Aces. Other guy shows a pair of 10s. And I take down the pot.

This set her on a bit of a tilt, her unbelieving that she lost to a hand not even as good as The Hammer. But any fold and I would've been outta there. She had AJo and didn't raise that one, yet reraised with pocket 2s. Very hard to put her on a hand.

Suddenly, there was commotion behind us. The bad beat jackpot was up to $16,000 and we looked around excitedly. Turns out it was a Binion's kind of fight. Security broke them up, but not before one player managed to get his hands around the other player's neck. A comical sight.

I played my only Hammer hand as well as I could, which is a bit different than how hdouble remembered it (I did see him dozing off, so I'll forgive him). Raised my 27o preflop, had a couple callers to a flop with undercards and two s. I bet. Turn was a . One caller left. River was a . Still undercards. I go ahead and check-call and he tables a KJ with the J. I knew why I was still in the pot, who knew why he was, just on a King high. He called my preflop raise with that?

I show my fallen Hammer to grubette and HD, then muck as the two seat says to the dealer, "Can I see that?" The dealer retrieves and shows my 72o.

That set off a lot of groans. I looked at them incredulously and said, "What? I had a flush." Indeed, my 2 was a .

The very next hand I have KQo and I raise preflop. A King flops. Two callers the whole way (including the KJo guy who dared to go heads-up with The Hammer). I'm down to the felt and go all-in by the turn. They check it down, and my hand is good. If not for The Hammer advertising, perhaps they would've folded preflop.

I was back in business!

It was 3:40 a.m. and grubette said we should leave about 4 (the original plan was to leave at 2). hdouble agreed, looked at his chips, and said he had enough for the $100 buy-in limit tourney on Sunday (guaranteed $25K). But twenty minutes later he lost that and ended up leaving even.

The three of us stayed for another half hour or so. As long as one woman was at the table who kept short buying with $40 and called every hand, I would've stayed there forever. But she left and was replaced by one of the identical twin prop players (you can tell them apart by the hat).

Left +$105. grubette was -$200. grubette's beau was -$400.


mamagrub liked the laptop, but grubette and I liked it more. We loaded it up with poker sites, and the week leading up to Friday she played online every day, even going home for lunch to play a few hands.

I was also guilty of cranking it up (so easy with a cable modem) and playing into the night on grubette's account.

One night I played a couple NL SnGs with grubette watching. I made some stupid bluff moves early on and got booted immediately. I would never do this on my own, but I think I wanted to show how people would fold. Trouble is, they wouldn't fold if they had a good hand.


On Saturday, the fam went to a fun but pricey Hawaiian fusion-type restaurant in Newport Beach called Roy's. I thought they were unique, but they have some 40 restaurants (including one in Vegas, east of Flamingo Rd.). The chef, who was featured on Iron Chef, prepares a new menu every day.

mamagrub feared the diarrhea when she couldn't "work up poop," but fortunately it never came and the food agreed with all of us. The chocolate souffle that takes 30 minutes to prepare was wonderful.

We then headed to the Cirque du Soleil's Varekai. It was just in LA and it's slated to come to DC and every other major city this year, but if you find it in town, skip it. It may as well have been called Cirque du Soleil's Repeats or Best-of Compilation.

I was sorely disappointed, and it appears they're just hitting the marks of what a Cirque show should be, recycling acts they've used many times before.

The greatness of a Cirque du Soleil show is how they integrate acts with music and story, making it more a theatrical and dramatic experience. This one they made no effort at continuing the story of the fall of Icarus. We see him fall and we see him later on without his wings. Then he kinda disappears in favor of Chinese boys with strings and balls (??) and a juggler (??). Sure, these acts are impressive. But how is it in relation to flight? And why not show Icarus as he's struggling to relearn how to fly, and at the end fly off into the sunset? No, instead we get guys catapulting from swings as the final act.

They filled the show with two humor acts. While funny, they went on too long and kept reappearing. mamagrub said it was so everyone would have time changing costumes and sets, but the very next act would be a solo man in a net or a solo woman in a hoop. Objects would be brought on stage (someone holding two torches, just begging to be juggled) and then we wouldn't see them again. Performers climbed tall reeds and swung from them, but they didn't uproot them to use as stilts.

Varekai could have been a thrilling, compelling experience. But they ruined it and made it no better than a regular big top show minus the elephants and cotton candy.

And $3.25 for a Diet Coke is a mugging, no two ways about it.


We skipped the tournament on Sunday to hang out with mamagrub. Thought about going to Temecula or Palm Springs to feed mamagrub's pension for nickel slots, but both were nixed for delicious dim-sum in Torrence, shopping at Nordstrom, and returning home where mamagrub's beau cooked up some of the best shrimp scampi on angel hair pasta I've ever had. And all day the beets were cookin'.


grubette and I paid our last respects to HI-G on Monday, for the 12:30 p.m. no-limit tourney. Over 250 people played hookey from work to participate. I was surprised at how young many of the players were.

By the first break I was doing really well. Had two rebuys early on, and I was chip leader.

During the break, I chatted with grubette outside for a little longer than I should've; when I returned, the break was already over.

I looked around and for some reason everyone had two purple (T500) chips. I thought I was the only one with the purple.

Well, I missed the additional rebuy plus the T1000 add-on.

That was sufficient enough to put me back to equal with everyone.

I was slowly blinded off and I called an all-in with 99. Chip leader called, another guy called making him all-in. I still had T300. The flop was 8-J-10. I push in and am called by chip leader (who was bullying everyone with his T1000 chips).

Cards were turned over -- QK for the first all-in. A3o for chip leader. AK for the second all-in.

Turn was blank. River was a King! And the second all-in guy (who had won this tournament in the past) takes it.

Looked for grubette but didn't find her, then sat in a 4/8 table.

A couple hours later, grubette busts out at 38th. All she wanted was to be the only woman left, but there was one more.

We played 4/8 for the rest of my time there. All total for the day, I was down -$260. grubette was down -$400.

The redeye flight back was only four hours, and I got home in time to catch a few hours of sleep and take a shower before heading into work.

And yes, fresh beets does make your poop purple.

McDonald's California Cobb salad
fruit 'n' yogurt parfait
Milky Way
rice crackers and cheddah
Lindt Lindor chocolate balls
3 chocolate chip cookies
Breyer's peach and cherry chocolate chip ice cream
sugar cookies with jam in the center
Valentine's Day sugar cookies
(yes, it was grazing day at work with someone's birthday and an award ceremony)

Diet Coke

too sugared up to think straight

grub: 7
poker: 0
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Zombies and penguins and fish, oh my

A few years ago I signed over the rights of a one-act to an online publishing company. Samuel French and Dramatists weren't (and, uh, still aren't) exactly knocking on my door, so I decided to try them out.

Either the play was no good or people just weren't interested in a dark comedy about zombies and eating your best friend (ah, subtext), but I heard not a peep from them until today, when I received an email from a Seattle high school student interested in acquiring rights.

This made my day.

Apparently the kid's been going back and forth with his supervisor the past few months, and he finally convinced them to produce it.

I'm very fond of this play but wonder if it reads better than performs. Judging from the lack of laughter in the initial production, that would be more than circumstantial evidence. I'm glad it might have another chance at life, furthering my goal to have a play produced in every state. Washington state has not yet been ticked off my bedpost.

His only stickler was the one use of the f-word, which I'm happy to change to something more high school friendly.

The line was in reference to the main character's (seemingly) dead best friend: "You just have to poke him, you don't have to f* him."

The new line is... well, jeez... how do high schoolers talk these days? I'm so out of touch with the rap. My first thought was, "You just have to poke him, you don't have to marry him," but it might be too light. Though a little topical now with what George Bush is trying not to do. We'll see.

I have photos from the first, laughless production (it shared the bill with a piece by David Mamet, so I can blame it on him and his barrage of f-words). I'll try to dig up a couple and post them to pretty up this drab pokergrub site.


The Grublog Poker Classic now has a full table of 10 players! Let's double that at least.

We've also added a couple more prizes -- check it out.


grubette sent me this fun link: Club a Penguin

When that penguin (no relation) went a-flyin' to my recordbreaking 323.4 feet, I felt as good as flopping a set.


I tried entering Empire's Wednesday $10K guaranteed tourney last night, but it wouldn't let me in. I was all pumped for it and was forced to sit sadly on the sidelines with my nose pressed up against the glass.

Instead, I played multiple SnGs and the Vegas Dreams qualifier (only awarded to the top two -- I was 13th out of 68).

And then the dreaded 5/10 6max, for which I was severely underbankrolled.

Ultimately came away with a $350 spanking, which I'm tacking on to tonight's loss...

... because I got absolutely pummeled tonight. All in 5/10 6max. Lost over $400 on two tables. The kicker is that I was down $400 early on, then made it back up. I figured I'd end the session even-steven. But I'm not a fan of Prozac and prefer being up or down. Life's no fun otherwise, eh? I pressed on and, just like the girls I tend to be attracted to, got what I wanted: the down.

All of this spanned two hours. It's possible to regain that much pretty fast (if I did it once...). But after last night, I just don't have the bankroll to stick with it for a longer period of time, nor do I have the patience to drop down to the 1/2 6max to grind it up again.

I have to keep reminding myself that this is only temporary, that I'm still playing well. That in the long run, those gutshot straights and bottom pair won't continue beating me. That pocket twos won't stay in to river a 2. That I'll no longer be gunshy about raising my premium hands.

A change of pace was called for, and I hopped over to Choice. I'm again impressed at how good and aggressive their props are (and yes, they've gotta be props because it's always the same people). Playing there is a good lesson in how high stakes games play.

It's also a good place to exploit their skill -- a few choice preflop raises (particularly under the gun) will get the rocks to fold. And it's a good place to try out moves that you could never do at Party (because they'd always call you down). You'd be surprised how powerful a turn checkraise is... even if you have nothing. Bluffs and semibluffs work on Choice. As well as vice versa -- many times I laid down the best hand.

I figured I'd steam off my 5/10 loss in the 2/4 and 1/2 tables. And I did -- quickly down $150. One particularly bad hand/good flop (from the blinds) had a player comment, "grubby, I'm never surprised at the cards you have." I guess he has me in his notes.

If you can't beat 'em... I then rebought and played my best game. The 2/4 table contained four people. I always came in for a raise or reraise with any pocket pair or suited connector. Then tossed it (even AK) if the flop or turn didn't hit. And if I called a raise and ended heads-up, sometimes I would check-raise the flop when I had nothing -- more often than not, they'd fold.

And for the most part, it worked. Gained back that $150 plus an $80 profit. Also grabbed the high hand jackpot of quad fours (held up after 60 minutes) for another $25.

I then vamoosed outta there after my KK was cracked by AA (and a brave JJ guy raising us the whole way). Even missed a comment by The Daily Grinder, whom I didn't even see sit down. Obviously he has an alias, which we'll all find out in The Grublog Poker Classic. No hiding from us, Grinder!

But man, do I still feel the sting of the 5/10 loss. That makes three big losses in a row. Not to mention a loss in California over the weekend.

(Which I plan to post tomorrow, I promise!)

McDonald's flatbread grilled chicken
fruit 'n' yogurt parfait
Herr's Honey BBQ chips
Welch's Fruit Snacks (strawberry)
Snickers Bar

3 Diet Cokes

ahhh, poker was my meal

grub: 9
poker: -650 (don't look)
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
'Tis pity grubby's a whore

Per a request from The Penguin who promised he'd name his first born grubby, I invited Evelyn Ng to our humble Grublog Poker Classic. Alas, Evy's playing the final event at Commerce that night. So no baby grubs in the immediate future (that I know of, snark snark). But sayeth she:

tell the bloggers i say "MAKE MOVES!"

You heard her, folks. No tight tables on Feb. 22!

Officially, we have six registered -- visit ChoicePoker to see the signups thus far. But many more have emailed me. Hurry and get accounted for! Once we see you there, we can put bounties on your head to knock you out, we can wager who will last longer, and Pauly can put odds on you.

Just let me know and I'll update this page with your side bets and prizes. The latest: the winner will also get a free entry into iggy's tourney (a.k.a. World Poker Blogger Tour II) in March.

Want to play but don't have a blog? It's simple to start one (hint, hint). But we're easy. We'll also accept posts you have made on a poker forum. Things like trip reports, your poker progress, etc. Just make sure the posts are on a regular basis.

You have until Feb. 13 to take advantage of our host site ChoicePoker's 35 percent bonus on your first deposit. They're in the process of rolling out a big marketing campaign to get the word out about their still-new site. And there's a $1K freeroll for all new players on Saturday. Just play 50 hands before then to qualify. I'm counting on people being unable to play because of Valentine's Day, so I'll take a shot. I haven't played a Choice tournament yet, and want to be fully prepped and ready for The Grublog Poker Classic!


Speaking of bonuses, I may have to reconsider fishing for them. In the past, they've always backfired on me. I pull everything out of Party, set up shop at the new place, and get to work grinding out enough raked hands to release the bonus. Once I get the bonus, I realize I've lost not only the bonus but most of my deposit!

At least I'm consistent.

I did exactly that last week with Paradise. I'm down $300. This used to be negative $800, but I clawed my way up. Two 5/10 5max tables -- tricky, aggressive players. I'm out of my league. And there're still three more $50 bonus Sundays to go. I miss Party!

At UltimateBet, I'm down $100. Two 2/4 tables with kill. People go crazy on kill pots. I miss Party!

At ChoicePoker, I'm even. No one to play with, and those there appear to be props making for a particularly difficult 1/2 full ring. I miss Party!

At PokerStars today, I'm down $430. Two 3/6 6max tables. Played just like Party. A couple fish who got their gutshot on the river. But also a couple players (one who sat down with $1300) who are very good despite tendencies to go maniac. Though it plays like it, I miss Party!

None too pleasant, these losses be. At Paradise, $10 of the bonus is released every 100th raked hand so I could conceivably cut my losses with at least a portion of the bonus. At UB, I can barely see the trees toward clearing the $100 bonus. At Choice, I've cleared $20 of the $100. At Stars, I need 600 FPP to get the whole $120... and I'm less than halfway there. Spend another potential $430 to get $120? Sounds pretty -EVish to me (though Stars has some juicy tournaments coming up to celebrate their millionth tourney, so I'll be popping my head in now and then even if I have to redeposit).

And meanwhile I'm losing more by not swimming in the Party waters.

What is a bonus whore to do?

Go back to Empire (Party), that's what. Starting tonight with the Wednesday night $10K guaranteed. So desperate are they to attract players, Empire's throwing even more money at their Sunday multi. They were consistently losing over $10K by guaranteeing $25K for that Sunday game. Now they're doubling the prize pool to $50K for this Sunday. Incredible overlay, if the lack of players stays consistent. I can't think of a better way to blow $150+12.

Because I'd played in the previous Sunday game, I was automatically registered for last Friday's $5K freeroll. I was en route to California so I couldn't participate, but my post-and-fold strategy was good enough to place me 48th out of 92. One day I'll write a book on optimal post-and-fold starting hands, when to post-and-fold out of the blinds, and how to post-and-fold against an habitual bluffer.


Next... grubette and hdouble in sunny California. See hdouble's spiffy revamped blog where he tells you what I'm basically going to plagiarize tomorrow.

McDonald's sausage & egg McMuffin

egg drop soup
mixed vegetables with chicken (hold the cabbage)
fortune cookie: Time is precious, but 5/10 6max is more precious than time (substituted for "truth," but truth makes zero sense when players call a raise with 23o)

2 Diet Cokes

the rest of the Chinese food

grub: 15
poker: -430
Monday, February 02, 2004
The Grublog Poker Classic; the Penguin wings the Hammer

Do you have what it takes? Can you go the distance? Want to win one for the Grubber?

No? Well okay, how about playing some poker against your fellow bloggers?

If you run an online poker journal (or a blog containing some poker content), come join us for the first Grublog Poker Classic, with a prize pool of up to ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

Date:Sunday, Feb. 22, 2004
Time: 2100 ET (9 p.m.)
Tournament Format: No-limit Texas Hold'em
Buy-in: $20 + $2
Prize Pool: $1,000,000 (if 50,000 bloggers enter)

ChoicePoker is kind enough to host our first tournament (with more to come hopefully). If you don't already have an account with them, you'll need one to enter. You'll also need a PC (sorry, Macs). Click here to download their software and sign up. Your first deposit will get you a 35 percent bonus, up to $100. In other words, if you deposit $286, Choice will add an extra $100 -- more than enough to cover your buy-in! See their site for rules on working off the bonus.

If you use me ("grubby" is my screen name... "hotgirl" was already taken by iggy) as your referral, I’ll put what referral money there is back into the tourney in the form of bounties and other prizes (possibilities: the new 2+2 book Hold 'em Poker for Low Limit Players, the Rounders DVD, Wendy's gift certificates). If you have a prize you’d like to offer (to a certain place, a bounty for knocking someone out, a last longer bet, winning with The Hammer, etc.), please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

In addition to the cash, here's the list of growing prizes:
First place: a complete set of 650 poker chips from Old Vegas Chips. Start your own hold'em game with these casino-style, 11.5-gram clay chips, dealer and blind buttons, six racks, and two decks of cards -- all snugly fit in a handsome aluminum case. See a picture of it here. A $475 value.
Second place: your pick of any 2+2 book. Up to a $34.95 value.
On the bubble: Mr. Bubble merchandise. A $5 value.
Last place: a month's worth of poker lessons and smart schooling at PokerSchoolOnline. A $14.95 value.

We’ll also have a special mystery guest playing with us! And a substantial bounty if you knock him/her out. 'Cuz he/she sure ain't no slouch. What, you think you'll get a free ride to first? Not on my watch, mister.

You might want to mosey around Choice a bit to get a feel for the layout (and work off your bonus). It's rather empty right now, but they just launched and will likely pick up players in the months to come (remember that last year at this time, Paradise Poker was the largest online cardroom).

To sign up, please email me the following:

1. your email address
2. your ChoicePoker screen name
3. the URL of your blog
4. the name you'd like to go by when I post the rankings on the Leader Board (which will also include your blog)

I'll then email you the entry password, and you can buy-in immediately. I'll keep your email anonymous from anyone but my own prying eyes, and it will only be used to promote possible future tournaments in the World Poker Blogger Tour (next stop: iggy!).

Even if you don't run a blog and just want to watch, you're more than welcome to!

More info to come as the days approach.


Big congrats to international poker blogger and mountaineer The Poker Penguin for playing The Hammer on the hammer! He wins The Hammer Challenge III and picks up a cool $65 USD, a brand new leather wallet, and a brand new t-shirt from Terrible's in Las Vegas. Now to calculate shipping to New Zealand, hmm...

Here's the hand. Notice how he thumbed his wing at a possible flush. And see how he rubbed his feathers all over his opponents by squawking "HAMMER!" twice for good measure. They were stunned into silence.

Hand #124xxxx at table: Table TH2
Started: Sun Feb 01 17:40:20 2004

Player1 is at seat 1 with $20.00
Player2 is at seat 2 with $15.25
Player3 is at seat 3 with $28.50
Player4 is at seat 4 with $154.25
Player5 is at seat 5 with $46.75
Player6 is at seat 6 with $162.00
Penguin is at seat 7 with $29.00
Player8 is at seat 8 with $225.25
Player9 is at seat 9 with $10.50
Player10 is at seat 10 with $43.50

Player10 posts the large blind $1.00
Player9 posts the small blind $0.50

Player9: --, --
Player10: --, --
Player1: --, --
Player2: --, --
Player3: --, --
Player4: --, --
Player6: --, --
Penguin: 7, 2
Player8: --, --


Player1: Call $1.00
Player2: Fold
Player3: Fold
Player4: Fold
Player6: Call $1.00
Penguin: Call $1.00
Player8: Call $1.00
Player9: Call $1.00
Player10: Check

Flop (Board: 4, 7, 2):

Player9: Check
Player10: Bet $1.00
Player1: Call $1.00
Player6: Fold
Penguin: Raise $2.00
Player8: Raise $3.00
Player9: Fold
Player10: Call $3.00
Player1: Fold
Penguin: Raise $4.00
Player8: Call $4.00
Player10: Call $4.00

Turn (Board: 4, 7, 2, 10):

Player10: Check
Penguin: Bet $2.00
Player8: Call $2.00
Player10: Call $2.00

River (Board: 4, 7, 2, 10, A):

Player10: Check
Penguin: Bet $2.00
Player8: Fold
Player10: Call $2.00


Penguin shows: 7, 2 (two pair, Sevens and Deuces)

Penguin wins the pot of $28.00 with two pair, Sevens and Deuces

From the chat window
Penguin: HAMMER!
Penguin: HAMMER!


Saturday night, I decided to take another shot at the big $200K guaranteed game. Party holds these gems every Saturday and Sunday at no risk, because the prize pool is always well over $200K with over 1,000 participants.

The $200+15 is a bit much to throw down without any big Empire overlays to tempt me, so I played a few of the 24+2 SnG qualifiers. First place wins a seat, second place wins $25. Nothing for the rest. If I won, I'd play. If I lost, I'd go to bed.

This was my fourth attempt, and at this one table we're down to the final three. I thought I'd include here some chat from Maverick (a partial screen name), because I love big ol' Phil Hellmuth trash talk. Maverick was the table bully, preferring to raise people all-in when blinds were 15/30. A sound strategy when the blinds are higher, but one that can bite you if done too many times. Like when he ran into my pocket Aces and was knocked out in 3rd place. Oops. Sorry, Maverick.

maverick: you guys are luckier than f v ck
maverick: i have never seen such lucky f v ckers
maverick: cause you sure as he ll can't play poker

Then it was me and the second guy, and we played a good 10 minutes heads-up before I won. Little did I know Maverick was watching the whole time.

grubby: gg
second guy: kthanks
maverick: you wouldn't know a good game if it hit you in the a ss
Dealer: This tournament has finished, congratulations to the winners.
second guy: look whos talking

I love it. This kind of talk is pointless to tilt, because he's already out. These comments are usually the first sign of a bad player. And he's done it enough to know how to get around the words that Party censors.

I then sat in the big game. $200K prize pool, how can you pass that up? Turns out quite easily, as I busted out in the, well, let's say mid-700s (out of 1292). My shortstack all-in 99 went up against KK in the blinds.

Fortunately, I played enough 5/10 6max and 30+3 SnGs to make a break-even night.


Sunday, I took another shot at the Empire $25K guaranteed (150+12). Because of the Super Bowl, only 69 people entered (I think they were all Redskins fans). Which is the only reason I entered. With their $12 fee added in, Empire took a $13,822 bath on this one. This overlay is so good, I would continue to donate $162 every time even if I had to borrow the money. It's not inconceivable that you could fold into 10th place ($500).

My cards were appalling, and I blinded out to 28th after two breaks.

All my good cards were in the 5/10 6max game that I was playing simultaneously... and I wouldn't have minded that if I were able to earn back my entry fee. But though the cards were good, nothing held up. The river was saving everyone and drowning me. It felt like the Titanic and I was the boat vs. the old lady. AA vs. 66 and a 6 on the river ($250+ pot). AK vs. 10-6s and a runner flush on the river. AQ vs. J5, and a AQKxT board.

I felt woozy. A quick exit saved me from dumping more money into the river.

But I still maintain that if you're playing anywhere else, you should get thee arse to a 5/10 6max table on Party. You've never seen such fireworks and attempted bluffs. It can backfire on you, but in the long run you'll come out ahead.


Okay. Now a break. That stuff I posted in yesterday's blog? It still applies despite my actions this weekend (do as I say, not as I do?). I have a bunch of real work I need to get done, so no poker or blogging for the rest of the week.

On Thursday I'm organizing a group of 60 people (who've never met before) to see a play in DC. Catering pizza afterwards, the delivery of which is easier than lugging all the stuff from my car. It's fun, but requires much prep time. Not to mention I have to be social and can't take the deck of cards with me.

On Friday I leave to California as a surprise visit for mamagrub's birthday. Turns out, there just happens to be a cardroom nearby. grubette, hdouble, and I plan to take in a limit tourney (with rebuys, ugh) and a cash game afterwards. I'm very much looking forward to dropping The Hammer on the unsuspecting folks at Hawaiian Gardens. HD and grubette: first round of drinks on me!

I'll be back next Wednesday. Till then, see you in the funny pages!


Quizno's black angus steak sub (mmm... toasty)
Nestle's Crunch

3 Diet Cokes
2 Diet Vanilla Cokes

Healthy Choice blackened chicken

grub: 100 (incl. groceries, Hammer Challenge III prize)
poker: -449 (damn fish)


plain bagel with cream cheese
veggie and cream cheese sandwich (sprouts, peppers, cucumbers)
fruit & yogurt parfait (not from McDonald's for a change)
potato chips
pistachio nuts

2 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Vanilla Coke
1 Coke

fajita veggie pizza
lime-flavored Tostitos

grub: 1050 (incl. rent, newspaper, phone)
poker: -30 (couldn't resist a few hands -- unfortunately, the players are pretty good at Choice)

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