Friday, April 30, 2004
Good ol' Joe
by grubette

I went last night, which makes twice in one week. Bad girl. I was ready to blow $500 so I could swear off going to HI-G for the month of May. But that didn’t happen.

As soon as I sat down, the guy to my left told me the seat I just sat in was very cold and that he had lost $200 in 30 minutes. 30 minutes later and $140 down without winning a single hand, I believed him and switched tables (the final slap in the face was getting a 4 9 and flopping a flush, only to see it dashed with another on the turn. I folded). This is where loud Greek was playing. Boisterous and nearly heckling players, the table was steaming. I couldn’t wait to take his money. After another 30 minutes I still hadn’t won a single hand and finally got pocket 6’s. The flop is 5-5-5. To ensure no one bet with their Ace, I had to bet in early position. A few callers, including Greek. Turn is a 4 and I bet out, Greek is the only caller. River is a 7 and I bet out but Greek raises me.

A smart person would’ve thought Greek had either a 7 or a 5. I’m not that smart though, and thought he had an ace and he felt it was good after seeing small cards on the turn and river. The way he was playing, I figured he was trying to get me out of the pot. But he had 5-6s and won with his quads, chortling and slapping his knee.

Then he had two full houses in a row. The third full house he made with two eights showing on the turn and river. The guy next to me sighed at seeing the river. Complete theatrics, he had pocket 8’s for the second set of quads I saw in ½ hour! When Quad 8 guy beat Greek badly on another hand, Greek guy asked for an out button, said, “I can’t beat this guy, lost $60 on two hands” and sat there eating dim sum. I hate when players just sit there watching and taking up space – it seems so unfair. Greek got up shortly and went to a higher limit. I took his seat, still not having won a hand in 90 minutes.

Retiree/widower 75-year-old Joe comes over and says hello. He pulls up a chair and sits behind me, watching a couple of my plays. He is an absolute sweetie.

Three racks down and at my time limit of 3 hours, I leave (I ended up winning 3 hands in 3 hours- a new record). I went to see Joe playing no-limit. He told me he was losing, but for me to watch a couple of his hands. He also offered to buy me a beer which would’ve been nice since I’d only had one that night. First hand was a Q6s which he played, then folded when the flop was all red and didn’t make him a pair. Second hand was Q7o which he threw in. Third hand he has pocket 7’s and slaps them down, along with a bump up of the $3 blind to $6. Everyone calls. The flop is 5-6-8. Joe bets another $6, everyone calls. Turn is 8. Joe bets $11, only one caller who has $500 in chips in front of him. River is a 7, giving Joe a boat. Joe had about $100 and could’ve easily doubled up with this hand.

Caller taunts Joe, “I’ve won don’t bet.”
Joe says, “You sure about that?”
Caller says, “I’m sure.”

So Joe checks and the caller checks and shows his straight, really believing he’d won. I s’pose the caller thought they’d chop it, but why would Joe be so nice? When I asked him, he said because the caller had checked his straight on the turn.. but he didn’t have a straight on the turn, in fact, he should’ve gotten out with the $11 bet.

I patted Joe on the back, said he was a good man and went to leave. He offered to buy me a drink again so I’d sit down and play or to walk me to my car but I declined. He said he wouldn’t play poker if he had someone waiting at home for him, he just plays to pass the time. I left to go home to my someone, wondering who I could fix up with Joe.

(from yesterday...)

huge garden salad
Ruffles chips
Tostitos with roasted garlic salsa (Trader Joes)
3 chocolate chip cookies
2 chocolate macadamia nut cookies
7 sugared mini donuts (they're mini)

3 Diet Cokes
4 Diet Pepsis

Claritin pill

poker: 30+3 SnGs (1,0), 5/10 6max (+57, terrible beats; down whole buy-in on one table), 1h, +141/hr
bankroll: 1291 + 141 = 1432
Thursday, April 29, 2004
Just a coupla jokes
by grubette

How does Michael Jackson pick his nose? From a catalog!
I was hoping for some fast action so I could get home in time for "Fear Factor," and on top of that it was some record-breaking 100 degrees, way too hot to work out (never mind the gym is temperature controlled, but a good excuse anyway). I left work at the usual 4pm – it didn’t feel that hot outside – and got to HI-G around 4.40pm. I sat at a $3/6 table waiting for my $4/8, a table full of six women, including one with fingernails like stabbing weapons. Switched that table five hands later and -3 for a $4/8 table full of Asian men dying to take my money.

I had 9-9 in the BB and it was three bet to me, so I capped. The guy to my left, a big time loose caller, calls the cap. Flop is 6-3-8, betting all around, I call. Turn is J, bet’s to me, I call, loose guy raises and I fold. River’s a 6, same betting/raising but I’m already out so I don’t really care. Loose guy takes it down with a 4-6o. For some reason this really annoyed me. The guy was all-in not too long ago after buying in $120 and now he’s got like $400.

I walk around to not start to tilt, and see widower Joe talking to his friend-for-43-years. I explain the 4-6o story, and friend tells me he’ll cheer me up. I thought he meant with a bad beat story, but he had a joke instead:
Man walks into a cardiologist’s office and says, “Doc, I think I’m a moth. I need help.”
Doc says, “You need a psychiatrist, not a cardiologist.”
Man says, “But I really need help, I think I’m a moth.”
Doc says, “Why did you come in here anyway, when this is a cardiologist’s office?”
Man says, “Because your light was on.”
That sufficiently made me smile. Joe and his friend both said nearly in unison that you need a guy at your table to play 4-6o so you can make money off him in the long run. Yes, yes, they’re right.

After losing $200 to the loose guy’s table, I moved tables. At this new table, a lovely dealer sits down that gives me 2 3 which I play because I “have a feeling”. Flop is 2-3-3 and it’s bet to the river, where I flip over my flopped boat. A lady proudly turns over her Jack high flush, pointing maniacally to her spades as the dealer’s giving me the pot.. the dealer gave her the bad news that she’d actually lost. And that dealer also gave me J-8 and flopped me J-J-8. Better yet, the turn was a 6 and the river was a 6. That was a great win for me. As soon as the dealer left, it was cold man, ice cold. I really didn’t have any bad beats, just slowly chipped away at my racks with unmaterialized flops and turns.

By that time, I was nearly even but it never stays that way. At one point I was sandwiched between two dealers that were playing before they started working. They got their asses whupped. Joe walked by and told me he’d won a couple hundred on no limit. I was so glad for him. I was outta there at 9pm, -220. I had fun though, if I didn’t I’d never go there, because there are definitely better ways to make money. When I lose like this, in a non-vacation/Vegas atmosphere, I usually try to pretend I purchased something for that amount. And actually this week I did purchase a brand new $200 suitcase on ebay for only $39. So I’ll pretend I paid full price. It seems silly, yes, but it works for me so I don’t wake up the next morning, guilt-ridden and hung over. I met a guy the other night that said March last year he won $15k playing $15/30 and $20/40, his best ever month. He was on top of the world. Then in Aoril he lost $20k, his worst ever month. He vowed never to play again, but he did after re-establishing some rules for himself. He makes a time or a dollar amount limit before he starts playing and sticks with it. As long as he doesn’t pass those limits, he keeps control over the game. I said to myself last night, “I’ll leave at 6” then “I’ll leave at 7” ok finally, “I’m leaving at the wheel spin” (9pm). Some control I have. It’s hard for me to limit myself time-wise unless I absolutely have to be somewhere, because cards run hot and cold. No reason to leave when they’re running good.

When I got home, in time to watch the end of the acclaimed show "The Sopranos" "The Swan," I got a reimbursement check in the mail for $480. Ooh, should I go again this week??

(from yesterday...)

Wendy's mandarin chicken salad
leftover Chinese -- Four Jewels (broccoli, two kinds of mushrooms, some mystery vegetable)
honey roasted peanuts
Poppycock (chocolate, cashew)
Jelly Bellies
2 Rice Krispies Treats
Snickers bar
Quaker granola bar
veggie chips

6 Diet Cokes

Wendy's chicken nuggets

poker: 5/10 6max (+416), +208/hr
bankroll: 875 + 416 = 1291
Monday, April 26, 2004
Grubby's Hand of the Week #2

Some abnormally hot days this past week brought a torrent of winds and rain on Friday.

A coworker drew me over to his window, which overlooks the Potomac River. Normally we can see the other side (Maryland), but the rain grayed out everything. (A couple weeks ago, some rain left an extraordinary rainbow at dusk, with the Maryland strip of buildings brilliantly lit up like spotlights... a Kodak moment for sure.)

I asked him if it's supposed to rain this weekend and he said he didn't know. His sister was supposed to go to the beach on Saturday and there was the big anti-abortion march on Sunday.

Not normally quick with the quips, I was pleased I was able to muster a laugh out of him with: "Mother Nature isn't pro-choice."


Sometimes I think poker has it in for me. If it were personified in a past life, poker would've been an ex-wife.

Though I ended in the black for the weekend, it wasn't without much struggle. The nice run I had in the SnGs reversed itself with an ugly string of 4th places and below. The last 12 I placed only once. Pretty dismal.

Happily, I built up the bankroll enough to step into 1/2 6max and then 5/10 6max, which saved me from posting a loss. I don't seem to be able to win in both SnGs and ring games: it's one or the other.

When big tournaments are on the line, however, it makes it that much harder to accept and embrace chance. My last hand in the Empire $50K tourney was KK. My stack was average and I raised preflop. Folded to the BB, who thought and completed. The flop had a Jack (no flush or straight possibilities) and he check-raised me. If he had two pair or a set he would have raised the turn. I figured he wanted the pot as soon as possible and put him on a big Jack. I reraised. He called. Turn was blank and he check-called all-in since we were about equal stacks. His cards: AJo. I knew I beat him. Till the river: Ace.

Actually, that was the penultimate hand. I was left with under T400 chips, barely enough for the next round of blinds. When I saw K8s I tossed 'em in. Folded to BB, who had 29o. Just the blind covered me, so he automatically called. The end was like pulling off a Band-Aid -- quick and a tiny bit of pain as he gets his 9 and I'm bounced in 30th place (10 away from cashing) after a bit over three hours of work. First place paid $13,500. 20th place paid $375. As I write this, it's now down to 10 people ($1000) and the AJo guy is chip leader by a wide margin.

I want some luck, that's all I ask. The luck of AJo. The luck of 29o. The luck of any of the people in the SnGs who called my big raises with top pair/bad kicker and then paired up that kicker on the river.

Or the luck of table selection.

Saturday was Empire's $25K freeroll. It quickly became apparent that of the 500+ entrants, at least a third didn't show up. My guess is many people didn't know they were automatically registered (everyone who had over 6500 VIP points), as I never received an email from Empire.

There's a certain skill to playing empty seats with chips. At my table there were four ghost players... one to my left and three to my right. If everyone folded to me, I could raise and capture my invisible opponent's blind.

Unfortunately, other live players were aware of this and became hyper-aggressive simply to steal the blinds.

I checked the chip leader's table, who had the next best thing to winning the lottery. Turns out he was the only player at his table. After the first hour, the chip average was T1000. He had over T9000. All he did that hour was raise every hand to capture the blinds of his nine ghost players. As he would knock people out, they would be replaced by other ghost players.

Now that's luck.


Congrats to Alt, who correctly guessed Hand of the Week #1. Click here to see the results.

Here's Hand of the Week #2. Good luck!

Party 5/10 Limit Hold'em (6 max, 6 handed) converter

Preflop: grubby is CO with A A

UTG folds, MP folds, grubby raises, Button calls, SB calls, BB folds.

Flop: (7 SB) A 2 7 (3 players)

SB bets
, grubby calls, Button calls.

Turn: (5 BB) K (3 players)

SB bets
, grubby calls, Button calls.

River: (8 BB) 7 (3 players)

SB bets
, grubby raises, Button folds, SB 3-bets, grubby caps, SB calls.

Final Pot: 16 BB
Main Pot: 16 BB, between grubby and SB.

Click here to post your guess and view other guesses.

poker (Fri-Sun): 30+3 SnGs (0,0,1,1,0,0,0,2,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,2,0,0,0), 20+2 SnGs (0,0), 10+1 SnGs (0,2,3,2,0,1,2), 1/2 6max (+35), 5/10 6max (+548), 150+12 multi (0)
bankroll: 595 + 280 = 875
Friday, April 23, 2004
"Young lady, I don’t play crap cards"
by grubette

I have to start off with a little unpaid promo. Some friends and Doug and I decided to take a weekend trip to San Diego last weekend. I checked out the hotel rates in the “Gaslamp District” and they were all $250+ per night! Based on a tip from grubs, I researched a site that gives info for users, bid on a hotel and got the Grand Hyatt for $70. This hotel for that weekend was $259. Then I booked the 90 minute train ride, for $12 each way on Amtrak’s website, using a AAA discount and an online booking discount. The Surfrider train’s cool, HDouble, if you ever want to take your wifey on a romantic trip that allows you to start drinking as soon as you hit the train at 9am. However, the drinks were more than the train ticket.

Of course when we got there, we raided the plushly stocked mini-bar in the room and spent $200 each on cocktails going to 6+ bars around the area. But it was loads and loads of fun. One bar, called Dick’s Last Resort, was by far the best time. The staff are intentionally rude and chastise you, but provide jumbo jugs of beer you have to carry with two hands so you can’t fight back. And for juvenile entertainment, they give you stacks of napkins, which you are supposed to wad up and throw at people. Wha?? It didn’t take us much convincing to get with the program. We saw two people thrown out, one guy for stealing stacks of napkins from the host desk, and another for wetting the balls of napkins to give them more propulsion. Doug was licking the napkins before throwing them and I whacked my head on a chair stooping over to pick up already rolled napkins from the floor.

And on Tuesday Doug and I went to the Lakers playoff game against the Rockets. I love that Yao Ming! I had to quietly cheer for him lest I’m beat up in the parking lot. Celebrity sightings in the stands, besides the usual: Jim Belushi, Blair Underwood, Lauren from "Gilmore Girls" (yeah, I know all you guys watch this), Sly, Adam Sandler (sitting next to Sly), ooh Cindy Crawford (she’s so beautiful), Robert Duvall (they showed him on the “Kiss Cam”). I figured there would be more people there since it was the playoffs, but I suppose those agents don’t want to give up their seats. On usual games, people hang out in the parking lots trying to scalp tickets; during playoffs, they hold signs up saying “NEED TICKETS”. We left early because the Lakers were way ahead, only to not be able to find our car in the parking lot and got stuck in traffic anyway.

Yesterday I wasn’t even thinking about poker and then I read through Pauly’s trip to Vegas and it got me thinking.. but I had a 6.30 spin class. Got off work at 4 and headed down to HI-G. Waited 15 minutes and got a $4/8 seat just before 5pm. I hadn’t played in awhile, so I was actually a little nervous. Plus, I’m going to Reno next Fri (for the opening of Taho Wabo) and then a week cruise next Sun where they have all of two dusty poker tables in their casino. Oh they’ll get some use baby! I would be “playing scared” because I needed to save my money for the trips. I waited til my blind before I jumped in. Noticed everyone was playing very loosely, playing with T2o, 56o, etc. My first hand was KK on the button. The bet was capped. My hands began shaking uncontrollably as if I had the DTs from lack of alcohol. I couldn’t stop them! I tried to throw my chips in casually hoping no one would see. What’s the matter with me? I ended up winning because everyone folded, but not til the river (I bet the whole way) so I made a good-sized pot, damn where was that cocktail waitress? The last guy that folded to my KKs then said to me, “Young lady, I don’t play crap cards. If I call or raise, I have something good,” I didn’t say a word and just nodded. Who the hell cares?

I had AK with nothing through the turn, and then rivered a K. Beat “George”, the guy next to me, who had a pair of Js.

I had Q-8 in the SB, while George had J-4 in the BB. Flop is J-4-8, I check, George checks, another caller bets, George and I call. Turn is 2.. same betting pattern. River is a beautiful Q but I still check, George bets, caller calls, I call. I show my higher two pair than George’s and he slams his hand on the table. I get up to get my own damn Corona.

I come back and get a J 9, one on the flop and then I get two runner runner ’s to win. Rivered again (he had Aces), George is pissed by now.

I went out to smoke (snagged one off of a chip guy, who cutely wrapped it in Kleenex and put it on my table when I asked him for one) and George follows me, calling me “River girl”. He said he was mad at himself for not raising the flop when he made his two pair.. he said I would have folded my 8’s and he was right.

I liked two hands I folded.. one was KQo in BB, the bet was capped by the time it came back to me to act, and I folded it. I could just see someone had pocket 8s or something and I was right, wouldn’t have gotten anything on the board to match up my cards. The other was AK which I did not raise pre-flop (this was right after winning my KK so my hands were still shaking), but just called. The flop was J-Q-8, three-bet to me and I folded, but not before showing George my cards (to show I was playing tight).

I guess it was my night, all 25 minutes of it, +177 and I was outta there. As I got up, George followed me to the cashier and asked if he could “call me sometime, or are you married?” I turned him down nicely--guess he wasn’t too mad at me for rivering him three times.

(from Thursday...)

Breyers blueberry swirl yogurt
Monterey's pizza -- mushroom (they forgot the pepperoni); sausage & ham & pepperoni

Arizona Asia Plum Green Tea with Ginseng & plum juice
4 Diet Cokes

more pizza

poker: 6+1 qualifier (0), 30+3 SnGs (3,3,3,0,1,3,2,0,3,1,2,0,3,2,0,0,1), 8h, +64/hr
bankroll: 83 + 512 = 595
Wednesday, April 21, 2004
Walking the dog

Does anyone really believe Kevin Spacey was conned at 4:30 a.m. in a park in London? And that was why he withdrew his claim, because of embarrassment that he'd previously reported he was mugged? At 4:30 a.m. he's in a park walking his dog? Is that the new euphemism in Tinseltown west side?

Played some SnGs last night to moderate success. Fell asleep on the couch and awoke too early to want to go to bed proper only to turn around and get up again to rinse and repeat. My neon clock read 6:00, as it does every time I look at it. And every time I think it's 6:00. The batteries need changing, a small chore because I have to unscrew the clock in three places to open it. I was waiting for Daylight Savings Time so I wouldn't also have to change the time. Yes, for six months this clock has been an hour off. Then right before this Daylight Savings Time, the batteries died. At 6:00. Changing batteries and the time seemed more trouble than it was worth, so I left it alone.

This time I get up and I realize it really is 6:00. I didn't have a dog to walk, but I notice my dial-up still connected and Party still running... beckoning...

I don't usually play in the mornings. Nights and weekends are where all the action and dog-walking is. Days are where the rocks are.

Or so I thought.

Played two SnGs. Won one, lost one.

And I got cocky, though not in the dog-walking sense. See, I was well on my way to my $1K goal on Sunday. Not one for patient Knish grinding through SnGs, I'm the type who wants the big score immediately. So I put the rest of my severely under-bankrolled bankroll in two tables of 5/10 6max.

Yep, there's a reason for the 300BB rule of thumb. When variance strikes, you're still in okay shape to continue.

Four hours later I was not in okay shape to continue.

I'm not sure why people stay in with bottom pair (or why they cling to pocket pairs like life vests, despite overcards up and down and all around the flop). I suppose any piece of the flop is a good piece. That, and the possibility of rivering trips. That miracle must happen often enough for callers to continue calling their bottom pair, at least on one of my tables it was reinforced because it happened twice. Both times I unfortunately happened to have a hand and was involved. And I still begrudgingly call the river raise, when I just know they got the card to beat me.

I make those crying calls, yet the times when I do drop top pair, top kicker to scare cards and a river bet or raise, I find it would've held up had I called one more bet.

Frustrated and exasperated and tired, I shut down the computer without bothering to download the hand histories.

I have just enough remaining in my account to play two more SnGs before being forced to make a deposit.

No more 5/10 until I'm properly bankrolled. I've learned my lesson.

Though if you believe that, you believe Mr. Spacey really walked his dog at 4:30 a.m.

Monterey's Pizza -- southwestern chicken (with sour cream)
Cookies & Snickers bar (they really need a better name for this)

2 Diet Cokes
2 Diet Cokes with lemon
Dr Pepper
Nantucket Nectars -- Orange Mango

more pizza

poker: 30+3 SnGs (1,0), 5/10 6max (-750), 4h, -166.5/hr
bankroll: 749 - 666 (what an omen) = 83
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Down with allergies

If you haven't played at Party in awhile, try logging in. They've added $20, $50, or $100 into accounts that have been dormant as little as a few weeks ago. This on top of a 15-percent deposit bonus.

Alas, I've used my Party account plenty and cannot partake.

They do this every now and again, whether depositing free money into accounts or offering comeback bonuses. And aside from being the best online site out there, it's another reason to sign up to Party if you haven't already. (Their main skin Empire offers these bribes to a lesser extent, mostly in the form of a comeback deposit bonus after a month or two of not playing and a zero balance.)

Lest you think they're just giving this money away, you still need to play five or seven times the bonus amount in raked hands before you can cash out... and those raked hands pretty much equal the bonus dollars. That certainly adds up to a lot of rake, eh? Whether they see you as a fish or a whale rake generator determines your Jackson, Grant, or Franklin deposit.

While this appears Party neglects longtime players by offering them zilch, the reward for their loyalty is bringing back the hit-and-run fishies who are just itching to toss around that $20 to $100 they received for free.

For the next week or so, Party (and skins) is the place to be. Expect more variance and more fishy play.

And hopefully, expect higher profits.


In today's 90-degree heat and pollen up the wazoo, I was hit hard by allergies, which run in two-year cycles similar to the 17-year cycle of the cicada and the 7-year itch. I was fine last year, but the year before I was a mess. Last year I bought up all the Claritin available at Safeway, and I popped the first pill today. Didn't seem to work. Only Benadryl seems to have any effect, but only because it knocks me out.

I'm a useless sniffling, sneezing mound of mucus at the poker tables.


I've had the Down with Love DVD from NetFlix for a few weeks now and finally watched it while playing SnGs.

NetFlix makes money off me (and soon, more from you too -- they're upping their monthly fee); each DVD takes a couple weeks to watch, but it's still more convenient than Blockbuster's late fees plus lines plus $5 a pop (unless you use 99-cent coupons like the one above). I also rent DVDs in batches of 24 from a guy in Maine; he lets me keep them for two months, and even that isn't long enough, as I usually extend them an extra month or two.

It's usually much easier for me to just see the movie in the theater. Two hours in and out. I can then let go of searching every nook and cranny of the DVD for Easter Eggs, because I might miss something. I don't anticipate finishing Cabin Fever -- and its five commentaries -- until the end of 2017. Yet when I made a rare stop at Blockbuster (another 99-cent coupon), I was disappointed they didn't stock the special edition Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake.

Down with Love was one I'd wanted to see, thinking old-style musical. It's old style, but not a musical. I appreciated what they attempted (I love screwball comedies), but I had more fun listening to the commentary and watching the extras than the movie itself: I rewound and watched the musical number at least 20 times. I still can't get used to Ewan McGregor in anything but a Danny Boyle indie flick, and Renée Zellweger has got to stop eating lemons.

I'm a sucker for musicals. If they had made this movie in the style of a '50s musical, I would've been all over it like snot on tissue.

Wendy's spicy chicken sandwich
Mamma Says' chocolate macadamia biscotti (fortune: A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it -- put in poker terms, divorce yourself from the monetary value of your chips so you don't play scared)
Snickers bar
Rice Krispies Treat (rainbow sprinkles)
Pringles (sour cream & onion)

3 Diet Cokes
1 Diet Coke with Lemon
1 Dr Pepper

turkey & swiss hoagie
Breyers peach yogurt

poker: 30+3 SnGs (0,3,0,1,0,3,2), 2h, +64.5/hr
bankroll: 620+129 = 749
Monday, April 19, 2004
Grubby's Hand of the Week #1

Every Monday I'll be posting a hand that had me scratching my head, causing me to wonder, "Hmmm... what did this person have?"

Sometimes I was right, most times I was wrong.

Studying these hands after every session has helped my critical hand-reading skills; I hope they help yours as well.

If you're the first person to guess correctly, you'll get a pat on the back. If that's not enough, you'll also claim the cash prize which will be a minimum of $20.

The hand may be simple, it may be hard. I may have won the hand, I may have not. I may include helpful clues, I may include misleading clues.

But here's a strong hint: pay particular attention to the type of game and where it was played. If it was Party, all bets are off!

Onto the hand:

Party 30+3 No-Limit SnG, Big Blind is t100 (5 handed) converter

MP (t2960)
Button (t1190)
SB (t780)
grubby (t1480)
UTG (t1590)

Preflop: grubby is BB with Q 4
UTG calls t100, MP folds, Button folds, SB completes, grubby checks.

Flop: (t300) 4 K Q (3 players)
SB checks, grubby bets t100, UTG raises to t1200, SB folds, grubby raises to t1380 (All-In), UTG calls t180.

Turn: (t3060) 8 (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: (t3060) 4 (2 players, 1 all-in)

Final Pot: t3060
Main Pot: t3060 (t3060), between grubby and UTG.

Click here to post your guess and view other guesses.


What a weekend. In preparation for my poker downgrade (I'll be limited to no more than two hours per night), I played all Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with only breaks for McDonald's.

My neck hurt so much from craning down at the laptop that I propped it (the laptop, not my neck) on some dusty plastic file shelves. Now the monitor is eye-level but in danger of tipping over. Dell sells a docking station but it appears it's only for the Latitude laptops. The one that's for the Inspiron specifically comes bundled with a keyboard and cordless mouse, which I don't need. Dell hasn't responded to my email about buying the stand unbundled. And besides, I shouldn't be buying more toys. The plastic shelves will have to do.

With the exception of a couple excursions into 5/10 6max, all my play was in SnG and multi tourneys. I tried registering for Party's $1M but was shut out when they capped it the night before at 2000 entrants. This was just as well, as Party had quite a few problems toward the end, adding $83K to buy off their network crashes. I've marked my calendar for their next one -- May 29. Hopefully Party will have fixed their servers by then, but it's not likely.

On Sunday I played the quarter-million tourney. I hadn't intended to play but Party tempted me with a $100 deposit bonus for all participants, which effectively knocked the entry fee to 100+15 from 200+15. Total prize pool was $313K. I lasted 3 1/2 hours and busted out 70 places away from cashing. The tables were tight from the get-go, and my flops seen stat reflected this: 13 percent.

hdouble and I were chatting one night about bad beats, The Big Lebowski, and wanting to take a shot at the higher limit games but not being able to because of ailing bankrolls.

We then casually came up with a goal: $1K by Sunday. This would amount to winning $1000 in one week, which we would then use to buy in to the 15/30 game (separate tables -- no need in taking each other's money).

If we lose, it's only a week's work lost. If we win... there ain't no looking back!

So that's my goal this week, made a bit more challenging because of my cutback in poker hours plus I've had to pay some bills (damn laptop!) dropping my bankroll to $500. A 200 percent increase? I know I can do it. Particularly if I stop throwing away money on the big multis.

McDonald's Egg McMuffin
hash browns

Diet Coke (a new thin Flex Straw to suck in the junk slower, not the regular yellow-striped fat straw left over from the '50s... guess they ran out)

porkloin sandwich (too many pickles and onions)
Cookes & Snickers bar
Tostito Scoops chips & salsa
Terra Red Bliss potato chips

7 Diet Cokes (allergies)

Ritz Bitz s'mores
2 Rice Krispies Treats
Portable pudding
Wendy's chicken nuggets

poker: 30+3 SnGs (0,0,1,0,3,2,0,0,2,3), 2:15h, +53.33/hr
bankroll: 500+120 = 620
Friday, April 16, 2004

On Monday, come back to the five and grub and WITNESS the return of my bad diet (never left, just a break from posting preservatives), BEHOLD my new starting-from-scratch bankroll, and OUTWIT everyone else in a new Poker Grub game!

Till then, you'll have to be content with a dull recap of my Thursday night. The project at work has stalled a bit (the Government... 'nuff said) but will be in full force next week through mid-June, so I'm cramming in as much poker play as I can before I succumb to the Man. A day without poker makes grubby a dull boy. Or some mixed metaphor like that.

Played a 50+5 multi at Party last night with 671 people. Top 70 paid, and I was far from that number as I bounced out in the low 100s. My tendency to lay low before the break, then spring to action just after, worked until the beats came, proof positive that I must've kicked a puppy in a past life. Some highlights: QQ vs. AQ and a Queen on the flop (AQ runnered a one-card flush), AQ vs. 44 (an Ace on the flop... and a 4 on the river), 10-10 vs. AQ (a flop of 24x, turn a 3, river a 5). And another hand that I didn't mind as much, where three of us made sets on each street: me (bottom set) on the flop, someone else (medium set) on the turn, and a third (top set) on the river.

All of these hands except the setsX3 were preflop. I either open raised all-in or raised someone all-in. Sometimes it worked, the above times it didn't.

I prefer putting someone to a decision preflop. I get my money in when I have the best of it, and hope I double up to put me in fighting shape against bigger stacks. Simply calling will usually take a bite out of my stack and I'd rather go out and possibly double than be crippled for a future worse hand.

Lately though, I'm wondering if I should alter my strategy with the big pairs and simply call a raiser (yeah, yeah, calling is never good -- raise or fold). Too many times a raiser with AQ or AK will take a LP all-in raise as a bluff sign and will call. The 10-10 hand, for example. AQ guy raised, it got to me and I raised all-in. Had I just called and seen the ragged 2-4-x flop, I could then raise all-in. Perhaps then he would've folded (doubtful, though -- I fully suspect he would have bet all-in). Preflop, AQ was itching to call. Postflop, I could also be assured the flop was undercards before sacrificing the rest of my hard-earned chips.

Out of the multi, I then played two 30+3 SnGs and won both. My record for SnGs is erratic. I go long stretches without cashing, then cash in short bursts, then back to long streaks of nothing. The previous night I played 10 of them ($330) and placed 1st once ($150) and 2nd twice ($180) for a total of $330, the same as my buy-in.

Hot off the two SnGs, I was ready for another multi.

I'm loathe to mention this because I don't want y'all muddying my fishy waters, but Intertops is another Party skin that tries to attract more players to their multi-tables by adding money. Like MultiPoker, not many people enter. Unlike MultiPoker, I'm able to participate because they're not held during the day.

A 20+2 was starting up at 2 a.m. I entered against a pool of just 17 people, and Intertops added $250. 1st paid $295, 2nd paid $177, and 3rd paid $118. An attractive payout, considering 1st place for a regular 20+2 SnG is $100.

A two-table SnG, I can do this. And if the players are anything like Party's regulars, I should just be able to play tight and sneak into the money or get to the final table at least.

I played like it was a single-table SnG, but oops -- I missed the part that said it's limit. Not a good chance of many people going out early like no-limit. (Though certainly better than the stud SnG I'd accidently signed up for the night before.)

Played tight while also playing some 1/2 6max over on MultiPoker. If I thought 5/10 6max was fishy, the 1/2 6max was minnowy. Throwing in another buck or two to go all the way to the river was common. To me, this isn't playing poker but betting on a coin flip: let's all throw $6 into the pot and see who makes the best hand. Very rarely are you isolating anyone, and very commonly you have a couple callers trailing after you to the bitter end.

Not my idea of fun poker. Few people in 1/2 raise and few bluff. However, many call you down and can't be bluffed. And because they don't raise or bet their hand (or fold) until the river, they're difficult to read. 1/2 here would be better played live, where you could see your opponents' tells. Online, it's a lottery.

I dropped a quick $60 (30BB!) in 250 hands, but at least that was enough to qualify for the freeroll on Sunday.

But back to Intertops. A bad start, as my BUTTONS DISAPPEARED AGAIN (a continual problem multi-tabling at Party & skins) and I could do nothing but stare at my KQs, watch the timer count down, and fold me. Perhaps a good omen, as I would've lost to a pair of 5s.

No disconnect-protects in multis now, I was on my own. Fortunately, no more quirky timeouts or disappearing buttons.

I was almost out in 12th place when I doubled up with QQ. Next hand I had A-10s and raised an earlier raiser. He reraised, I went in for the rest of my chips. An Ace flopped, and we split the pot... he also had A-10s.

I made the final table and counted only two others with smaller stacks. I protected my blind, raised early, tried making hands when I didn't always have one.

Finally it was down to four of us. I was shortest stack again. BetDezNutz, who had been playing solidly the whole way, came in for a raise. I considered calling/raising with Q8s. But I was afraid of Mary9432, who had so many chips she could call everyone down. And she did. She was already tremendously lucky and had more chips than the three of us combined. Into the muck my hand went.

The flop: 8QQ. D'oh!

BetDezNutz had AQ. The turn and river were blanks. Or so I thought... they made a runner flush for Mary9432 (who held K5s) and she kicked BetDezNutz to the rail.

I snuck into third!

It took another break and another half hour before the other guy was even with Mary. Then Mary sucked out yet again, and he was back down to my neck of the woods.

Battling the best I could, I knocked him out with KQs vs. his Q9s and no help for either of us.

Mary and I were heads-up.

I love heads-up play. It's my favorite part of the SnGs. I'm no heads-up specialist, but I think I get a good feel for how the other person plays and I can change gears accordingly.

I used Mary's call-call-call tendency to my advantage by mostly opening with a preflop raise. Since she tended to call anything, I did more flop checking than usual, then bet out on the turn. She played straight, so any time she raised I was out. I played my cards more for what Mary didn't have than what I did have.

Going into heads-up, she had 3x the size of my stack. And somehow over the next 15 minutes I was able to chip it away from her and eventually win the thing.

Two and a half hours for $273, not counting the $60 loss in 1/2, the $50+5 loss in the other multi, and the SnG wins. Not a bad evening.

I'd love if I could keep these Intertops and MultiPoker multis a secret, but you really should check them out. If I can win one, you know they're pretty easy.

Here's the chat that transpired right before and after BetDezNutz was knocked out. I found it hilarious, particularly after his sudden return at the end.

BetDezNutz: OMG
BetDezNutz: WTF
BetDezNutz: so fawking gross mary
BetDezNutz: call a raise the a gut shot on the flop
BetDezNutz: Dumb ass
BetDezNutz: so gross
BetDezNutz: three times tonight that biotch caught XXXX out of her ass
Dealer: Player BetDezNutz finished in 4 place
MARY9432: seeya XXXXwad
BetDezNutz: You fawking whore
BetDezNutz: I hope you get raped tomm
BetDezNutz: by 10 mexicans
BetDezNutz: Fawking dirty pig whore
BetDezNutz: I hope your wifes cheats on you and gives you aids mary
BetDezNutz: Dirty pig Mary
BetDezNutz: Luckily I just made 300 1 hand 100 NL
MARY9432: lol does your cryin help ya much
BetDezNutz: I hate Mary and her Husband who is playing wish they would wreck their car tomm together
BetDezNutz: OK I am done GG Mary
BetDezNutz: GG you are the best
BetDezNutz: You will win this for sure almost no way you can lose with 9000 chips
MARY9432: if i was the best wouldnt be at intertops lol
BetDezNutz: You are a lock to get 1st place
BetDezNutz: the other guys are out of their league
BetDezNutz: automatic 1st place for mary..... How can she or he lose with 9000 in chips It cannot happen
BetDezNutz: mary 1-9 to win field 50-1
BetDezNutz: omg fawking grosss
BetDezNutz: tell me what made you call after the flop and then i go to bed

(final break)

MARY9432: its 3am here and whiskey kickin so call more than i normally wpould
grubby: jack and coke workin here at 4 a.m.
MARY9432: nice hands earlier for the ones i didnt tell ya lol
grubby: pls put me out of my misery fast :)
grubby: need to get up early
MARY9432: XXXX you'll prob win lol
grubby: gl
MARY9432: u2
MARY9432 wins 600 chips
MARY9432 wins 1600 chips from the main pot with high card king.
MARY9432 wins 600 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
MARY9432 wins 600 chips
grubby wins 2000 chips
MARY9432 wins 600 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
MARY9432 wins 4000 chips from the main pot with a pair of aces.
grubby wins 600 chips
grubby wins 1200 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
grubby wins 2000 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
grubby wins 3200 chips from the main pot with a straight, nine to king.
MARY9432 wins 1200 chips
grubby wins 4000 chips from the main pot with two pairs, sixes and fours.
MARY9432 wins 2000 chips
grubby wins 4800 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
grubby wins 3200 chips
MARY9432 wins 800 chips from the main pot with a pair of aces with seven kicker.
grubby wins 1600 chips from the main pot with high card king with queen kicker.

(knocked out 3rd place)

MARY9432 wins 1600 chips from the main pot with a pair of nines with king kicker.
grubby wins 1600 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
grubby wins 4000 chips from the main pot with two pairs, nines and fours with jack kicker.
grubby wins 600 chips
MARY9432 wins 2800 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
grubby wins 1600 chips
MARY9432 wins 1200 chips
MARY9432 wins 600 chips
MARY9432 wins 1200 chips
grubby wins 2000 chips
grubby wins 1200 chips
grubby wins 1600 chips
grubby wins 600 chips
MARY9432 wins 4000 chips from the main pot with two pairs, queens and jacks.
grubby wins 1200 chips
grubby wins 8400 chips from the main pot with two pairs, fives and fours.
BetDezNutz: 'hahahahahahahahahahahah Mary
BetDezNutz: hahahahahahahahahmary SUCKA
grubby wins 594 chips from side pot #1 with a pair of queens.
MARY9432 wins 2412 chips from the main pot with a pair of queens with ace kicker.
MARY9432 wins 4824 chips from the main pot with a straight, ten to ace.
grubby wins 4800 chips
Dealer: Congratulations to player grubby for winning tournament $250 Added
Dealer: Player MARY9432 finished in 2 place and received $177
Dealer: Player grubby finished in 1 place and received $295
grubby wins 6048 chips from the main pot with two pairs, kings and twos.
grubby: gg
MARY9432: your watchin asswipe
BetDezNutz: 2ND LOL
BetDezNutz: u STINK MARY

Thursday, April 15, 2004
Affiliate, be mine (or, Take my refund... please)

I'd only otherwise use my tax refund for evil, so...

Sign up to Empire Poker through this link and shoot me an email to let me know your Empire name. Then collect enough points to qualify for their Vegas Dreams freeroll on May 8. The top two places are awarded seats to the WSOP. Everyone else gets nothing.

But! If you make it to the final two tables (top 20), I'll give you my tax refund: $1048. If more than one person makes the top 20, each will get $1048 and I'll file bankruptcy. If it goes unclaimed, I'll put it to use in 15/30 or the next Party $1M tourney.

Through the loopholes

You can't advertise gambling anymore. In the eyes of the Federal Government and Sen. Kyl, poker is considered gambling.

But not if you use play money.

Party has launched, where you can download the Party software tweaked so it just shows you play money tables. Nowhere on the .net site do they state you can also play for real money. All references to .com is now .net, and they're promoting Party as a poker school (yeah, school of fish).

And voila. Now they can advertise again, because it's just play money.

Get ya hooked on the game, then email you the secret handshake to get started on real money.

Sneaky, brilliant bastids. What's next, Jack Daniels orange juice?


Meanwhile, the .com part of Party keeps getting better. They introduced a new lobby a few weeks ago which makes it much, much easier getting into the SnGs.

You can play four tables at once (previously it was three).

You can search for players, then double-click the table to bring it up.

Your play history now displays your past week's activity (previously the past 24 hours).

Hand histories revealing players' mucked hole cards (if in showdown) can now be seen online (previously only in the emailed history).

All-in (disconnect-protect) abuse is a thing of the past in multis. If you wait out your time or disconnect, you're now folded. It would be nice if they took this "protection" away completely, but it's a step in the right direction.

You can change your alias every six months, though you're not as incognito as you might expect: if people had added you to their buddy lists, your new name will now appear in their lists.

Party's also been testing tourneys over 1500 players with different starting chips. The past several nights they've hosted $1+0 multis capped at 3000 players. And they added $3000 to the pool each time. A terrific way to practice the multis at very little cost and no fee.

This is all in preparation for their first $1M tourney this Saturday, which I expect will be at least $1.5M.

It's only a matter of time before these $1M tourneys become monthly, rebuys are added, and more and more fish are added to the pool.

I sometimes play at other sites but I always look forward to coming home to Party.
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Dasani and Diet Coke

I had just seen George Bernard Shaw's On the Rocks, which isn't my favorite Shaw because it's all political and preachy (favorite line: "he married a cook on principle"). But extremely well done as usual by The Washington Stage Guild, a theater troupe that specializes in G.B. Shaw.

I'm out of Diet Cokes and decide to stop at the store.

It's in a rather bad part of town that they like to call urban. Not quite the sticks and not quite the suburbs. On the skirts of the city. It's being redeveloped. A Blockbuster is being built across the way.

I could've gone to another Giant, but this one is closest. And Diet Cokes were on sale -- 24 cans for $5.49.

The express lane is closed. Only two other lines open.

I hop in one and plunk my case of 24 down on the conveyor belt. And a chicken sub sandwich for good measure ($3.69).

Two people in front of me with a gaggle of groceries. And coupons.

The cashier is slow.

A guy enters the line behind me, says: "C'mon, c'mon, what's taking so long?"

The cashier immediately snaps back: "I don't gotta listen to you."

She has a lip.

Maybe they know each other? I hope they do.

The hairs on the back of my neck stand up, the closest thing to Spidey sense that I have.

Fight or flight.

I don't get this when someone's slowplaying a set.

I sneak a peek. Backwards baseball cap. Extremely fidgety. Lightweight Nike jacket, one hand in his pocket. Shifting from left to right. ADHD?

About 5'9", 160 pounds, Early/mid-20s. Scar above his left eyebrow. For the police report, just in case.

I don't make eye contact, I pretend I'm looking for more Diet Coke. I also look for store cameras. Hidden in those mirrors?

The guy says, "I'm gonna go to this other line."

"Yeah, you do that," the cashier says.

Some relief.

Thirty seconds pass. My line still hasn't moved.

The guy returns.

"C'mon, c'mon," he says. "Let's get a move on... Chaneese."

They know each other. Or did he just read her nametag?

Chaneese says, "What happened to you and the other line?"

I can feel his breath behind me.

"Too slow," he says, "too slow. Where's John at?"

"You got eyes, look around. Where you been?"

They know each other.

The guy nonchalantly says, "Been locked up two years, just got out last week."

Suddenly I want to be purchasing something more masculine than Diet Coke and a chicken sub.

I'm now second in line.


"C'mon, Chaneese, what's the hold up? What. Is. The. Hold. Up?"

Interesting that he mentioned a hold-up.

"C'mon, Chaneese, I got people waitin' in the car."

I sneak a glance at what he's buying. A Dasani bottled water for $1.99. I know it's $1.99 because Chaneese rang it up on my tab by accident.

I relax.

I tell Chaneese to scan it off my bill. She does.

The guy behind is still impatient, but now that's all he is.

After all, what kind of supermarket robber drinks Dasani?
Monday, April 12, 2004
Multi's multis

If your weekdays are free, MultiPoker offers soft no-limit tournaments with much calling and checking and little raising. The tournaments attract so few people (an average of 15 -- just a SnG and a half!) that Multi guarantees prize pools anywhere from $100 to $500.

For example, 14 people entered the 20+2 tournament with a $500 guarantee. Not the level of Empire's overlays, but if you're playing SnGs anyway, try Multi for an extra c-note or two.

If I could, I would be playing every single one of these games.

Multi is a skin of Party, so the regular cash games are the same as Party's, but the multi-tables are MultiPoker players from Skelleftea, Furulund, Goteborg, Alvsbyn, Mo i Rana, Jdmjv, Klippan, Nybro, Gothenburg, Orebro, Karlstad, Sundsvall, Lulea, Uppsala, Tocksfors, and Washington, DC.

They also have a $1K freeroll every Sunday for anyone who's played 200 raked hands the previous week. It only took a couple hours at 1/2 6max and I was qualified. If you're playing 200 raked hands in a week on Party, you might think about moving over just to enter this thing.

I played yesterday's freeroll and through the glaze of European cities, spotted The Poker Hermit playing amongst 114 people. I made it far enough to cash (top 20), when my UTG all-in of AK ran into a caller from Skara who covered me plus T15. He had KK. Oops. I had slightly above-average chips and probably should've just raised the pot. I'm too fiercely overprotective of my AK hands.

A bit over 2 1/2 hours for $10. Pretty pathetic. But enough for lunch and overdue fines for A Confederacy of Dunces, a week late and unrenewable because someone put a hold on it (iggy?).


A new project at work has me cutting back on poker somewhat, at least through mid-June. Alas, if I happen to win a WSOP seat, I won't be able to take the time off to go.

So I'm no longer playing the qualifiers because that would be too much of a heartbreak if I were to win. I'll continue with the multis, SnGs, and shorthanded rings.

Wanting to mix it up a bit, I went to BugsysClub and tried 5/10 6max (the only limit table open above .50/1). It never reached 6max; I entered with three people who all knew each other and left when a heads-up shark did a hit-and-run on me. I was completely crushed.

Yep, there's a reason we play at Party.

But I think occasionally it's good practice to play against tough competition who don't suck out on the river. Bugsys is affiliated with PokerSchoolOnline, for cryin' out loud, so I knew what I was getting into.

Fairly quickly, I lost my first buy-in of $250 when I wasn't getting cards and folding too much. I rebought for $250 and picked up on a few things, namely: whenever they checked, they generally had a big hand.

Armed with this knowledge, I bluffed more, check-raised more, and raised any Ace, any King, and any pair preflop.

It didn't work. Particularly if they had good cards.

I was down to $82. I thought perhaps I should concede defeat and chalk it up to an expensive lesson.

But no, I was here to learn.

The next hour I played back at them. And just at the point when I began figuring them out, they bolted. Or perhaps they left recognizing the heads-up specialist who sat down. The same heads-up specialist who took me for a few more hits before running off on his own.

Left alone at the table, I limped out of Bugsys, above my second buy-in but still down an overall $181.

It was bloody, but could've been worse.

On the bright side, I now have a couple more plays in my bag of tricks to try on my 5/10 6max opponents at Party.

They'll never suspect a thing!
Friday, April 09, 2004
My flush dress
by grubette

I had that decision again driving home from work today, gym or card room? If gym had been the decision, I guess I wouldn’t really have anything to write about except hanging out with sweaty, smelly people. Actually the card room was like that!

HI-G started this trial run of No Limit Sit and Go’s from 9am-3pm on Sun, Tues and some other day. I got there after 3 pm, but they had extended the time to 5pm and had one seat left for the last game of the day. Buy-in: $108, two prizes, 1st: $575 and 2nd: $325 or the last two players can chop $450 each. I considered the 45-minute game, especially because it seemed like a lucky coincidence I was there on a day I don’t normally go, the time had been extended, and there was only one seat left. But I only had $140 with me - if I didn’t money in the SnG I’d have to go to the gym after 45 minutes! I passed.

I had to wait for about 15 minutes, but when I did get a $4/8 table at just before 5 pm, a cheer and macho backslapping was heard from a $6/12 table. This signified a jackpot being won (Aces full or better being beaten, both cards used). I checked the digital clock on the wall – 04:59:35. This means the winners were less than 30 seconds away from the “double” bonus, which would have been $56k. Couldn’t a couple of people asked for “time”? They had to settle for $28,000.

I won my first hand, small pot, but a good start. Then a couple of bad hands: I had Kx, board was 4-3-K-3-3 and I was beaten by 2-3o. Next I had Kx and the board was T-T-T-K-4 and yep, the winner had 9-T (but that one I folded on the flop). Two four of a kinds in 10 minutes?

I’ve been consciously trying to play better. When in BB I picked up pocket 2’s, a raise and then a re-raise came back around to me. I folded pre-flop. Normally I would play that marginal hand because I was already in, but I’m tired of throwing away my money (and it was capped after I folded). Yes of course, a third 2 did come up, but a straight and a full house were the ones duking it out.

And then..

I picked up A T in early position. The flop was J T 3 with a huge round of betting that was capped. The turn landed 9 and I felt all the blood drain out of my body. Two people were still competing with my nut flush and the betting was capped at $48 on the turn card. The old geezer next to me asked what I had and I showed. He said out loud, “Oh, you have the Ace!” Yeah thanks mister, hope everyone at the table’s as deaf as you. I told him my wish, “Don’t pair the board.”

The river’s coming.. 9. I went totally cold. I checked it and so did everyone else (maybe it was something the old geezer said??).

One caller had Q 7.

The other guy had K 4.

Nine s out there with the three top flushes and I had the winner (damn I should’ve bet that river).

Nice - I’m outta there in a record 30 minutes, +190.. and I still went to the gym.

When I got home I checked on an auction I had queued for sniping on ebay. I had won it for $109 but had second thoughts about buying it because it was basically a brand new $20 dress with a $400 designer label on it. Though every time I wear that dress, I’ll be thinking that an Ace high flush paid for it.

(Later in email...)

After I won the pot I only tipped the dealer $3 and then asked around for a cigarette (my hands were shaking!). The chip guy said he would get one for me (even asked the brand!). And then he came back with a whole pack, asking for $5. Oh well. I smoked two, and shoved the rest in the pocket of another chip guy that I know smokes.

Funny about that dress, I had reconsidered it before I figured out my sniper bid won it. after I won I checked the guy's feedback, which was 99.6% and 821 comments. Only two of the comments said, "Fake merchandise" but I didn't read until it was too late. As I mentioned, most of the bucks are for the brand name - I didn't want to wear something fake. So I emailed the seller and said that I had paid, but that I had read two of the comments and wanted to be sure the merchandise was not fake. I also said this particular manufacturer is easy to tell a fake (they imprint a hologram on their label) - so if it was fake not to bother sending it and refund my money. And know what? She refunded it without a word.

So I don't have a flush dress with a story:)

Thursday, April 08, 2004
Let me entertain me, part II

A friend and I were up till an absurd 3 a.m. (okay, absurd for him), watching each other bust out of our respective SnGs and cursing so much the FCC might take away our IM license.

Empire had deposited $15 free into his account to get him to play again, and the evil temptation worked. Playing 10+1 SnGs and .5/1 ring, he drove it up to $100 before it rolled back down to $35.

While he was playing his last 10+1 SnG, he said he was watching a multi, top prize of which was five seats to the Empire 50+5 $10K guaranteed on Wednesday. I joined him on the rail.

It was down to the final eight, and I IMed, "Let's pick a person and cheer 'em on."

We selected the guy in 8th place and acted as if we knew him, wishing him well when he went all-in. An incredibly badly timed bluff of 73o and he was out (did he have to meet friends for Thai food?).

We backed the wrong horse.

A beat.

Simultaneously, chat messages appeared from my friend and me, supporting different people.

This was hilarious to me because it looked like we were after something and were fickle enough to switch allegiances at the drop of a river card.

The prize wasn't huge, it was seats to a multi worth $55.

My friend threw his support at the chip leader, who had 5x the chips of second place. Second place was pretty much even across the six remaining players. I rooted for the slightly higher second place. I Googled her city and tossed in a couple local town references in my rah-rahing.

I was cracking up and giggling like a schoolboy spewing a spitwad at the substitute, giddy from our insane comments and bad beats and sleep deprivation.

Who knew sweating strangers could be so fun?

Alas, the table was clearly lasting longer than I could, so I was off to bed.

My friend then won his 10+1 and had $55 and change in his account.

I suggested we make another of our dopey last-longer wagers. We'll play the Empire 50+5 $10K guaranteed on Wednesday (the same tourney the players we sweated won seats to). Whoever places lower buys the winner dinner. Unless the person who places higher is in the top 4, then he pays. Desserts included.

The illogic of this is we could each pay for our own meals for less than the $55 cost of the multi. But no matter.

I won last time, and we had a delicious dinner at The Palm, despite the ambience and service being lackluster and really no better than a TGIF chain.

This time (last night), I lost. We both never had a hand and dwindled to nothing. I had a bit more than nothing but took a chance against the chip leader and was promptly booted to the delight of my friend, who won the meal fair and three squares.

Going back to my horrid Freddy Krueger Martingdale System days on blackjack, I plunked down a double-or-nothing dinner bet as we both entered a 9+1 qualifier for a 250K seat.

He suggested the loser has to drive the winner to Atlantic City.

Before I could agree or disagree, I had AQ in the BB and all folded to the button, who raised. A classic steal, methought, and I raised all-in. He called with AK. Urp. I was out on the first hand, but at least I wasn't the first person out of the multi.

One more wager. Double-or-nothing dinner: yes or no.

He said yes, we played another 30+3 multi, and I went out before him again.

In all three multis, I didn't have any bad beats. On a few hands I would've had the nuts and taken huge pots had I called one flop bet to see the turn (gutshot straight) or had I called an all-in with 66 I could've taken down AA and AK (straight). Hada woulda shoulda coulda.

No. No bad beats. Just my bad play on aggressive tables.

Now I owe him two dinners. Seafood and sushi. Desserts included. I feel worse about that than my placements in the tourneys. At least he's good company and I'll be eating better than fast food those two nights.

But taking a cue from Jason Voorhees Martingdale, maybe he'll accept a quadruple-or-nothing dinner wager for next Wednesday's $10K multi.
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Let me entertain me, part I

A sure-fire way to work off the bad beats and prevent tilting: entertain yourself at the tables.

Still smarting from Saturday's loss, Sunday morning I played a couple multis. Mornings are usually reserved for sleep, but I was up early to meet some friends for a late lunch.

I had laundry to do but multis to play.

One was a freeroll, the other was a 50+5. Both were more for fun and timewasters than for actually placing.

Funny how you do better when you don't care about the outcome.

After two hours, I'm chip leader at both my tables.

I started to care.

Trouble was, I hadn't seen the friends in a few months and they knew about my poker hobby/obsession/problem, which they view as simply gambling even if I pay for the meal with the dirty money. I had a brief reprieve when they called saying they'd be late. I suspect they did this on purpose to buy me extra time; they knew I was playing a tournament, but they didn't know how long they usually last. When I was distracted enough that they could tell I was still playing, they said we could raincheck lunch.

But no, I was determined to prove that poker wasn't all of my life (just most of it), and I could break away at a moment's notice.

They'd be there in 15 minutes.

My brilliant statistical mind subtracted the 10 minutes it would take for me to get to the restaurant (15 take away 10), leaving me 5 minutes to finish the tourneys.

On the freeroll, I play A2s in EP. Two of my suit flops. I bet, a call and a raise, and I reraise all-in. A fold to the raiser, who calls. I'm flushless and go out.

Three minutes left.

The 50+5 would be more difficult, not just to get out of but to forfeit without some degree of pain. I was chip leader of my table and the whole tournament. There was still another hour or two to go, a bit past the 3 minutes remaining.

We were about 20 people away from being in the money. I could post and fold and possibly cash, or...

I type into chat: "next three hands i'm going all-in no matter what."

A guy responds, "Cool."

Before the next hand is dealt, I cover up my cards on the screen.

I can't look.

The hand is dealt.

Someone raises.

I go all-in.

That someone calls and shows AA.

I slowly spread my fingers across the phosphors and peek at my cards... 25o.

I lose half my chips.

Next hand, I go all-in again and am uncontested. I get the blinds.

Next hand, some calls and I go all-in with 56o. One caller. I lose.

Final hand, I have 55. I only said the next three hands, but I have to leave. Fourth time's the charm, right? I go all-in and butt up against 66.

I lose and go meet my friends for a delicious Thai lunch, right on time.

On the way to the restaurant, I think: what if?

I also think: it's a good thing I can play poker because I have no luck at all.
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Mouse hunt

This is my new way-too-expensive Logitech diNovo cordless keyboard and mouse. Way too expensive, that is, until I considered how many BBs I'm capable of losing in a session. Then I just chalked the purchase up to a down session and ate the cost.

I didn't really need this; I already had a perfectly fine, generic, plain-Jane USB mouse that accomplished what I needed: zooming from table to table clicking "fold." And my laptop's keys, while too close together for any real writerly editing, were serviceable.

Continued use of the touchpad and key stick were out of the question. I don't know how people use either for poker, but I can't keep up with four tables on anything but a mouse. I'm used to clocking lots of miles with the mouse, so I figured I'd treat the laptop to a cordless optical model, hoping to take advantage of the Bluetooth card and not let it go to waste.

Since I was looking at new toys, why not a cordless keyboard as well? If I'm to fancy myself a writer, a keyboard was a must. Future investment, if you will.

For the mouse, I set my sights on two: the Rocket Mouse, a doctor-recommended mouse for the patients who chew mice. It uses a thumb trackball, which I didn't think I could roll that fast without developing thumb callouses.

Plus it was corded. My mouse needs to roam free!

Second up was the Gyration, which works by detecting motion, but I'd feel silly at Starbucks moving the mouse in midair like I was Leonard Slatkin. Gyration also had a cordless keyboard, both going for a hundred bucks.

$100? Outrageous, I thought. If I'm going to spend money on a cordless combo, I want to spend as much money as possible.

That's sarcasm, but that's what I ended up doing.

I went with the diNovo because of some positive reviews (including one person who used it with the same laptop I have), because it seemed to be the only cordless combination using Bluetooth, and because it just looked wicked cool.

Turns out the Bluetooth card in the laptop isn't even necessary, as a Bluetooth chip is part of the hub (which plugs into the laptop's USB port). That's why, in addition to the thin and space-agey design, it was so pricey at $250 retail, which I picked up on the black market a.k.a. eBay for under $200. Logitech says I can use the keyboard/keypad/mouse without their hub, but I wouldn't be able to access certain features. And I'd still need the hub because it doubles as a mouse charger.

Oh. The charger. Duh.

What was I thinking? These components worked like magic? Of course they required battery power. And a hellalot of 'em: four in the keyboard, two in the keypad, and rechargeables in the mouse. And I didn't even consider the hub/charger would need another open power outlet.

The keypad is always on, as I'm sure the keyboard is as well. mamagrub taught me to turn things off to save the batteries. There are no off switches. They say a three-month lifespan before requiring replacements... but what if that three months is up when I'm in the middle of a hand? Or what if the mouse dies when I'm trying to hit "raise"? Sure, the touchpad is still there, but you get the idea.

I had in mind I'd be able to de-clutter my table with a wireless keyboard and mouse; instead, I've now added to the mess a separate numeric keypad and hub/charger.

The mouse is fantastic. No complaints there other than remembering to replace it back in the charge cradle when I'm done. It has forward/back buttons on the side, perfect for browsing the Internet. The scroll wheel slides the page up and down like slicing through butter. And it feels good in my hand. Had I a do-over, I'd have just gotten the mouse (though I'd still need to reconcile that annoying hub).

One drawback: the mouse being cordless leaves it susceptible to being thrown at the wall in the event of a bad beat. At least with the cord, it would bounce back and dangle.

The keyboard is so-so. It mimics the touch and feel of the laptop keyboard with perhaps a lighter touch like the Mac's keyboard, which I've never been a fan of. Maybe I'm old school and it takes some getting used to, but I much prefer the big, spread-out keys of the cheap (tawdry and cost) PC keyboards that make that clunk-kerchunk sound as you type, giving you weight with every word you type. It makes it extra special when you're being paid by the word to hear those keys going off like cash register chords.

I don't just do a lot of typing, I do a lot of editing. Cutting and pasting, moving words around. I need a big honkin' redneck Backspace key and a Delete key that I don't have to hunt for. I need those arrow keys and the CTRL key in convenient distance. I need a numeric keypad to plug in numbers for Neteller and no-limit bets. I need the numeric keypad's Enter key that I can slap down in satisfaction.

With the diNovo keyboard, everything still seems as scrunched together as the laptop. I don't like the keypad being separate with no way to attach it to the main keyboard. It does, however, act as a -- ooh, ahh -- calculator and a "media commander," which basically means volume control. I dislike the keypad enough that I sent it packing, still in its packing.

The sound of the keys is a tip-tip-tap rather than clunk-kerchunk. And I feel I'm digging my fingers into pudding. When I type, I type hard. I want a keyboard that will take my abuse and give some back to me with the S&M clunk-kerchunk that I need, master. I make many more misspllngs and typso now.

It's not without its virtues. The cordless ability is nice, and it connects (almost) immediately and seamlessly when the laptop is turned on. Anytime you don't have to read the documentation and can just plug-and-play earns points from me. Extra buttons on the keyboard control the volume (take that, Media Commander!), launch your browser/home page, and other programmable things I need to install the software to find out.

I have my old desktop monitor hooked into my laptop as a second monitor. I can slide my chair to the left, move Word into that monitor, and also move the mouse and keyboard without worrying about cords. All the while I can continue playing poker on the main laptop screen. And that's all that counts.

Oh yeah, the keyboard works from across the room, useful for... well, I'm not sure what. Yeah, I can type 30 feet away, but without a monitor, what's the point? Maybe it's when I throw the keyboard against the wall to follow the mouse.

I may end up getting a cheap USB clunk-kerchunk keyboard and banish the cordless keyboard to the cordless keypad corner.

But it does look wicked cool.
Monday, April 05, 2004
Funky cold grubina

Friday night I played the largest tourney I've ever played on Party: 1,745 people (I guess their beta-testing for over 1500 people was a success). Being Party, you figure half that is dead money (particularly since it was no-limit), and at a cost of only 20+2, why not?

Four hours later I made back my buy-in at 130th place. I closed my losing 5/10 tables to concentrate on the tourney.

An hour later I IMed hdouble and iggy: "hey, just made top 35 in a multi."

Both responded instantly. They didn't just respond positively, they responded with: "on my way."

Having their strong support throughout, I wouldn't have minded if I'd busted out then and there.

But I wanted to win, dammit.

We were hand-for-hand, waiting for other tables to finish. Each hand that passed meant someone dropped out and we moved up a notch. It was good to be able to relax in between. The four hours leading up to that point was tiring to say the least. I needed ice for my mouse wrist.

One person had an incredible run which put him from low chipstack to chip leader that he would take into the top 3 (when I stopped watching). He got QQ, QQ, AKs, and QQ all in a row, and he won with all of them. I folded Q-10s and the flop would've given me the flush. I cursed my luck until he showed his AKs hand -- for the higher flush.

I tried playing the ladies when I got them, but they went down to a small Ace.

Only one hand I lucked out on, about midway. I had 10-10. A shortstack raised all-in, and I went over the top to get him heads-up. He had KK. I flopped a 10 and then rivered the case 10.

Other than that, I played tight and made steals at the right moment. Pocket pairs were valued higher than below AQ, particularly if first in. People played similarly.

With iggy and hdouble sweating, I figured I'd also play better. Two hands I went all-in with. Both were pocket Kings. I could've slowplayed them to try to get more chips, but blinds were big enough and I didn't want to risk an Ace slipping through or a miracle flop for the blinds (one time an unraised pot let the blinds in, and the BB flopped a straight). So both times I went all-in and wasn't called.

After both KK hands, I would show my cards. I'm now thinking I shouldn't show at all, maybe keep them guessing. The very next hand I got AK, the trouble hand. Like KK, I don't mess around so I open-raised all-in. I had about T127,000, above average in chips. One person who had twice my stack thought and then called with KJs.

The flop gave two of his suit, then the river completed and I was out in 12th place and 5 1/2 hours for a disappointing $314.10. First place was $6,980.

He said in chat that he thought I was bluffing. I suppose if he saw me all-in with KK and all-in the very next hand, he would think that. If I didn't show...

On the bright side, I could've lost with AA or KK. That would've made the beat harder to take.

But had I won that hand, I would've been in terrific position for at least the top 5.


I've been in a poker funk lately. I still love the game and still look forward to playing every night, but now I first sit at the tables with a trepidation that feels more than a little like playing scared, almost expecting to lose. Indeed, the bankroll is not the safe harbor 300BB it should be (and I probably need at least 400BB for shorthanded), and the past few days it has taken more of a tumble.

This is no way to play, mentally and financially.

This past week has been the first time I've questioned whether playing poker is worthwhile when the psychological stress and drain of getting drawn out is increasingly taking its toll on me. Not so much top pair/top kicker -- those I know enough to drop at the sign of resistance. I can easily muck AK with an A or K on the flop if I'm raised on the turn/river. I will usually go one more to the river, which I'll check-fold. But if I'm heads-up, it's not even worth that. I was playing davidross and raised preflop with AK. He called, so I knew he had something. The flop gave a K and he called again. The turn was blank and he raised. I folded and said I hoped he had two pair. He said he had bottom two. I believed him.

What gets me is the big monster hands going into the flop and post-flop. Top two pair or trips or a flopped straight that's crushed when someone keeps call-call-calling until they hit something. On Saturday I had AQs and flopped a flush. The turn gave someone else a straight flush. I saw it and believed him, just check-calling the river. I can't wait for the day when my quads are crushed. I just hope it's at a live casino with a bad beat jackpot.

Last week at a no-limit SnG, I raised preflop with pocket Aces. Six people left. One caller reraised. I reraised all-in. He called and flipped over pocket 8s and he got his set on the flop. I've had this happen before, but this time it surprisingly didn't bother me. At least I was seventh and not fourth. He apologized in chat, I responded, "no prob, i'm immune to beats now." Which is true, or was true last week. Dominated hands winning is part of the game. It's what keeps people playing them. Next time they won't always hold up.

If I'm knocked out of a SnG, I'm only out $33 and I can load up the next one, Eternal Sunshining the beat to focus on a brand new game. Same with my limit ring games. Though the beat costs much more than $33, I just enter a note on the person and know that the next time he plays the same way he won't get his miracle card. The advantage to the cash game is I continue playing with the person and can adjust to his play. (A low-limit grubby tip: if you have top two pair with AQ or AK, tread carefully after a face card falls, because many players will play any two broadway cards and continue drawing for the straight... yep, even for an inside one. I'd rather flop a simple Q or K instead of two pair. And I'd rather flop a Q or K than an Ace, because many people will play any Ace and then draw to pair their bad kicker.)

Then this week comes along and not only kicks my ass but shreds it Matrix-style and mails the remains to Haiti with no return address.

In the past few days...

Thursday I lost $100.

Friday I came out about even, despite the multi prize.

Saturday I lost $973, probably my biggest loss in one day. Half was spent on tournaments and qualifiers (the shootout type where only first place pays off), and half was on 5/10 6max. This was over eight grueling hours.

Sunday I won $676, all in four tables of 5/10 6max. One table I lost my entire rebuy. Another I came out even. The other two I made money. This was after ninety minutes.

Clearly the swings are huge with additional tables. I need to steel myself for even bigger swings. A day off or two might do me some good, if I can tear myself away. The new laptop and its crisp, crystal clear display of four tables with no overlap and still real estate left for IMing/email/blogging makes playing much more enjoyable than my old machine. I never thought I could keep up with four tables, but I find myself thinking of six tables with my second monitor hookup.

I've been at this place before and know I'll get through it. PokerTracker shows I'm still hitting my 2BB/100 hand nut, so it's not a hopeless despair (throwing money at the black hole multis is lowering any profit... a statistic that I don't plug into PokerTracker, because it's not automatic).

It's just getting more difficult to roll my eyes at the bad beats and say, "That's poker," when really it's "bad poker play." I can't hope they play better, because pots would be smaller, games would be tighter, and my 2BB would drastically reduce.

When bad beats truly don't bother me is when I know I've become a true poker player.

Either that, or I've become a sociopath.

Powered by Blogger