Monday, August 28, 2006

Dog Days of Summer or playing like a Dog!!

One of my fellow PAers and live leaguers just emailed to chastise me saying "Some blogger you are.. no updates in three weeks!!". IG has been busy and grumpy, restless, irritable and discontent. Been in kind of a slump the past few weeks where I'm just treading water. Came back from my down week to eek out a nice profit the following week, but last week, once again I felt like I was backsliding to the point of wanting to take a few days off.

Almost three weeks ago now, LGkeeper lured me to his house for a home game under the premise that I would meet some of the live leaguers I will be playing. Up the Northway I drive for a $20 buyin with about 12 or 14 players. I meet LG who is my fellow PAer, plus Karen (who trades off weeks in the league with her hubby Steve) and Ray (two time WSOP main event qualifier thru pstars) who will be playing in the league too. The other players were co-workers of LG's. My table started out kind of loose passive, the kind of poker I am not fond of playing. I wasnt getting any hands to really even join the crowd to limp with, let alone raise with. When I did limp I would miss as happens more often then not. Finally, I button raise with A2 suited just to play a pot and of course the BB( a young chica who checked down quad tens) calls me. the flop comes two to my suit plus a str8 draw with a 4 and 6 (and eventually a 3) . I throw out a continuation bet, call, another one, call I miss my flush and str8 but pair the Ace on the river and fire again. I figure I might have her now.... Of course not La Chica hits her str8 with 35os on the river. UGH.. This leaves me short stacked and now I have to evolve into my alter ego short-stack lightening. Ray eventually looks at Tasha the calling station and says ' You are going to call me down no matter what arent you.. ?? Yup she does. I manage to double up off Tasha's beau who has been drinking and whose cards must be looking a little blurry as he keeps staring at them and then at the board with a befuddled look. I am about to be sent to the rail and push all in against Rays raise with QT. I announce with a little speech " I hate this hand but I m calling anyway" (heck, i have a 40 minute drive home). I think he had KJ or AJ and he misses his str8 when I pair my ten and for good measure and overkill I river trips. Once again the worst hand wins!! Eventually we are down to about 7 or 8 and I double up with AK against a bigger stack. Down to 6 and I' m in decent position. Trent has just laid down to an all-in from the dude I doubled off of with the AK. I have quickly discovered that Trent will raise with anything and he has a stack to do it. He fires from the BB to $1600. I push all in with AQ for about another 3000 or so. He has me outchipped is getting odds and calls... He announces that if i have a pair mid or better I have him. I shake my head no and flip my cards announcing I only have overs. Then he flips his cards and i see them ......................................72os..................THE HAMMER...................we bloggers fear its power and I off course am sent to the rail when a deuce hits on the turn. The next morning an email arrives with the title The HAMMER and the body of which is just two cards that say it all: 72os. I crack up. Did I mention I was the bubble?

Friday of the next week brings our preseason league meeting and a $30 tourney. Up I go again this time to Ft Edward. I manage to actually get some cards and raise and raise which I find that people will lay down to as they dont like 4x bb raises. I play my good hands aggressively. Trent had told me I was too tight at his house which was true. Didnt know how anyone played and I had no cards early on. I manage to final table again. I double up with 33 rivering a set against Trents A5 to stay alive and am again in contention to cash. Im 4th in chip count with 6 left, Ray being the short stack this week and Trent being bubble. I raise Trent all in from the button with QQ. He calls with KT or KJ. I realize that its not just me and Trent. Karen was in the hand having limped with a big old stack and she goes into the tank. She calls with AT. My QQ looks good on the flop. Trent hits a king on the turn. I have him covered but on the river an ace comes, and its a two bagger for Karen. I go home bubble again.... Sigh Sigh Sigh. I do manage to win a small on-line tourney on Sunday to make up for my week.

Last week I am sucking big time in online play up a whopping 90 cents going into the weekend or some such thing. Work is driving me crazy. I bypass the WWDN and the Mookie and head up on Friday for another preseason tourney. During the week I practice dealing to Bailey(my big Maine Coon Cat) who has a grand old time chasing cards. This week there are almost 24. My first table is entertaining to say the least. An all in on the first hand when two loose passives go at it and one hits his str8. Next hand the dude who laid down hits some weird hand. I starting limping to see some flops and am missing. Finally bullets. First time in live play this year. I raise 4x bb. Kenny, "Mr loose-passive and any sooted cards look good" calls as does another player. When I push all in on a rag flop, I triple up (thanks boyz). Trent had tipped me off that most of these guys are pretty weak and dont like your standard 4x bb raise. The table dynamics are such that Kenny has a big old stack, having knocked out a bunch of players who try to take stands against him. You know the saying, Blind squirrels manage to find acorns now and then.

We are now down to two tables. I soon make such a newb play that I want to run outside and gut myself. I am dealt JJ. I raise it up. Out everyone goes except for Kenny (of course). Flop comes J33. The NUTS.. I check. Kenny fires a $1000 at the pot. What do I do???.... I am too embarassed to even say this, but for some reason unbeknownst to me, my cards are in my hand and I am about to throw them face up onto the table (prematurely) as I scream all-in (in terror I might add). The only thing i can think of is I was staring at his big pile of chips thinking he had me covered and I had him. Nope, I still had chips and since he got a whiff of at least one Jack he folded. OMFG..... Im shaking not from adrenaline as some of the guys thought but because Im terrified and horrified at the mess I just made of this hand.

I make it to the final table and at the break. Ray who is out and Trent who is bound for the final table with me again, grab me and ask me why the heck didnt I value bet the thing. Im about ready to crawl under a rock and die as it is. And too rattled still. But a pep talk from them and Karen who is also out (I'm last gal standing) settles me down. I'm in okay position heading to the final table but know there is one place that I am destined for and that is the bubble....I finish one off the bubble which to me really isn't as bad. The bubble to me is like finishing in 4th at the US marathon trials.. IT SUCKS. Three weeks in a row in live play and I'm BUBBLICIOUS or close again. But at least I'm consistent. Once I open up my game watch out.

Live play and having to deal, which is nerve wracking in and of itself has a learning curve all its own. I'll get there. Im just such a live newb. In Vegas and AC it was easy. I had dealers doing the work. I sat on my Italian hands to keep them still. I carefully thought out my decisions. I am rushing my decision making when I dont have too. But I'll seal the leaks and soldier on. Half the battle is recognizing those leaks. I've always been good at self-assessment which I feel is a skill untoo itself.

Saturday night I finally get to play the Acescracked Saturday night buyin on Pstars. AcesCracked is a forum that Ive belonged to for a while and that PAer, Shamanalinx (Bruce) is active with. I drag JBaldwin (Absolutely freerolls forum owner and blogger) to the game. I had knocked JB out of the Mookie two weeks prior and he takes his revenge on me when once again i am short stacked after trying to take a stand against a thief of my BBs round after round. The thief happens to be the league champ and my first time playing him I might add. Ill get it all figured out eventually. Ray from my live league, has stopped by to watch my debacle (UGH). After Im out( 5th of 6th) I watch his $25buy-in sng on stars which he takes down with some very nice aggressive play. No wonder he has qualifed for the Main event two times. That performance inspires me so much that I makes some quick changes in my game and go on to take down a small win on Titan with about 33 in it recouping the stars buyin. I also go deep in a $4.40 180 person sng on stars but miss the top 18 finishing around 30th or so.

Last night I am still feeling frisky so I play the $10 RVP buyin. Lou Krieger who is my lucky penny is in the field and we all final table. Down to five and into the money, Lou tries to raise my BB when I am the short stack(not by much) in 5th with a rag ace and I have AK. I raise him all in he has me outchipped and I win the hand. Now donkey play by others gets all of us even stacked. Lou goes out 5th. DCI starts on a rush and I go out in 4th after going card dead and the blinds took their toll as everyones M is crap. At least I am ending the week with a profit on-line that I think covered my live game too.

Tonite I ended with two final tables and in the money on both (4th and 7th) so Im feeling like Im back on track. I know what I need to do to seal the leaks that sprung and September is around the corner as is my two year poker anniversary. Im up to well over 30 MTT wins now (I stopped counting really but figure im up around 35 or so) I have wins at NLHE, Omaha 8 and Omaha HI and I still am the most horrible stud player in the world. Ah well it keeps me honest and humble.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Blind Squirrels Running Amok in a Nut Factory

The saying goes even a blind squirrel can find a nut now and then. Lately in my tournaments it seems like the squirrels have been let loose in a nut factory and are finding the nutz and IG is getting her ass whooped by the worst hands (as usual). This left me with my first losing week on-line since probably April 2005. Granted I didnt play much last week but I ended down $7.61 (not monster bucks but still red ink). The tourneys I cashed in didn't cover the buyins. Absolute poker is not showing me any love. Ever since I withdrew most of my AP bankroll for Vegas I have been getting no cards. I know its my imagination but they are punishing me for withdrawing. My best game of the week came at my weekly Omaha Hi Lo where I managed a nice 4th place finish. Thinking about giving no limit a break and focusing on Omaha 8 for a bit or taking up Badugi.

Next Friday night we have a preseason meeting and tourney for the APL. I have my directions to where our games are held. I cant wait to actually start handling real chips again and cards. I havent mastered chip shuffling yet and I figure one of the dudes can teach me. I have small hands and just cant get the buggers to meld. My cover was blown, Trent finally realized that Lori was Irongirl and made the comment on the message board to watch out for me and actually used the word... cough choke cough......... SHARK. I have come to realize that most guys love a gal that can play cards and talk football.

I haven't made it up to the Saratoga Thoroughbred track yet. The injury to Barbaro made me not want to see another horse get injured. I only live 15 minutes from the "August Place to be". Mom and I usually go up there for her birthday which is this month. This past Wednesday the track cancelled the whole race card for the first time in history. The heat index was so bad that the track veternarians and NYRA, after consulting with the trainers and jockeys, decided it was too dangerous.

The squirrels are still running lose. I raise to $100 two off the button with AK and the blinds at $20/$40... The small blind pushes all in for another $310. I call he flips K2 os.... I got him dominated right...??? not when the flop comes a deuce and then for good measure the river comes another deuce. All is not right with the world. This is a small dollar rebuy tourney on Titan. Ten people have rebought already in 29 minutes. In order to recoup their money they have to finish better then 7th. The tourney is paying ten deep.

I hate this. I'm starting to play scared reactive poker and not aggressive poker like I usually do. I'm minimium raising because there are two many people seeing flops with mediocre hands and catching their crap. Trap hands are looking good. And one frigging moron who has no chance of winning this tourney has rebought for the third or fourth time already and is now moving all in every chance he gets. Its Hammer time baby.....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Vegas Trip Report Day II

It's about time I got down to finishing my trip report!!! Trying to keep the suspense up like waiting for the next (and final?) Harry Potter installment, which by the way I have yet to read any of!!! I got out of work at 1:30 PM after a week of insane phone volume and calls. The hot weather must have everyone ornery and bitchy and just plan rotten. I commented that our member base needed to have their prescriptions of Paxil, Prozac etc. adjusted. I got one chuckle when one member asked if therapeutic massage was covered and I replied with "Not under your dental plan". Of course being customer focused (95% of the time if you are nice to me) I offered to transfer the caller to Medical. Sometimes I wonder what was I thinking when I went to customer service from claims last September. But, I knew the writing was on the wall and claims would be Bangelored and I was right. A few months back my former division was told that claims was being outsourced completely and it was customer service or out the door. Since the company is offering jobs within no packages will be offered. At some point I reckon, the phones will be outsourced to.

Anyway, I stopped by the mall to check out the remodeled Williams Sonoma Store and to see if DSW shoe warehouse had any new shoes I should be buying. Then it was off to Walmart for OTC allergy medicine and my weekly vice of celebrity mags, a quick trip to Starbucks for my fix of Blackberry Green Tea Frappucino and then the predicament of I'm hungry what should I eat. Nothing sounded appealing and I correctly assumed that by downing the Frap I would be full. But I digress.............


After a late night of live play I still was up in time to get myself purtied up for breakfast with the Poker Analysis crew at the Rio. Finally, I'd get to meet Ellen and Dean, Clark aka Kelarob/Razrback and little did I know Lou Krieger would be joining us. After breakfast I planned on heading to the Orleans for the Ladies Tourney. I decided to go comfy and wore my adidas capris and a White Cami (with strapless bra to avert any wardrobe malfunctions) and my trusty birkies once again.

I hail a cab... Oh no that's a NYC thing... I got in line at the cab stand and one was summoned for me from queue and I was whisked away to the RIO, the short way I might add and dropped right outside the poker room!! Other folks would not have as much luck as me getting the short cheap direct routes with Vegas Cabbies but thats a story for another time!!! I then made my way to the Sao Paolo Cafe where we were meeting up for breakfast. As I was waiting in line to go in, I hear a question directed at me of "Are you waiting for the PA breakfast?", I turn and look at a warm congenial dude who I instantly assume must be Clark, and I'm right. Clark had staked me in one of the pokerstars $20+$2 buy-in 180-person sng's when I was nervous about stepping up a bit. One of the best players on PA, he has been instrumental in my development as a player. I think Emmy Jo was also outside waiting with me at this time too, and then El comes out and tells us to go right in the table is ready. Kisses and Hugs are exchanged with Dean and El who are like family even though we've never met. Dean's Dad is also in tow from Australia, and PAer Brad/Sick Coyote, who has won a seat thru PA/Titan for today's event is there with a friend. Breakfast consisted of me, Brad and friend, Dean, Dean's dad, El, Shya and Tom, Emmy Jo, Clark, late arrival Carol/DCI, Tina/Survivor and Lou Krieger. I think I got everyone and sorry if I forgot someone!!

I've referred to Lou as my lucky penny, because when he joins PA in our $10 buy-in on Royal Vegas, I usually win or come in second (and yes, he did cut me down to size once when he cracked my trademark hand of 99. I hit a set on the flop and he outdraw me with a str8). I am an owner of a signed copy of his Hold Em Excellence book, and of course an "I Knocked Out An Expert" t-shirt from RVP. He's originally from Brooklyn, like my dad (I was born in the Bronx). Anyway order's are taken and I order Granola with bananas, everyone else orders Eggs and omelets and lots of carbs, and Lou orders the Fruit Plate which is truely huge and more then one person can eat. Lou pipes to me that he cant order Granola because he doesnt drive a Volvo. I don't either but I am wearing Birkenstocks, and I do refer to myself as a tree hugging hippie chick. Heck I've met Wavy Gravy. I get to share in the spoils of the fruit plate (blackberries and blueberries) and I'm proud that I've stuck to my healthy diet. Breakfast is spent talking about Lou's upcoming projects and if Tina/Survivor has gotten closer to getting picked for the next season of the reality show Survivor (and that is where she gets her name from). She's applied like every season and has been as close as being an alternate. And of course I have to explain (again) that Jayke is a no show to El and Dean who had also been expecting him.

Breakfast wrapped up with me not getting enough time to talk to Clark or Dean for that matter since they were on the other end of the table and I was kind of mid table. Ellen had finished in the money for about $3000 at 49th in the Ladies WSOP, Tina went out early and Emmy went out right before the dinner break (see previous post). Emmy decided to play the stud tourney at the Orleans, and Tina staked her for half. That tourney started at noon so she gave me a ride in her rental car and I saved on cab fare once again!!! I decided to hang out at the Orleans till my Ladies event started at three. We headed up to her room at the RIO which she was sharing with a WPC member: Anniejr. The door was ajar but had the boltie thing in place and a shoe was in the doorway??? We couldnt get in the room so Em had to wake Annie. Annie had busted out of the ladies tourney too but then had gone on to win like $3000+ in I think a RIO second chance tourney so she was groggy and sleeping. I found the door ajar but half locked with a single shoe in the door mildly amusing. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Off to the Orleans poker room. Emmy registers and pretty much gets right underway with a noon start. I have time to kill, so I walk around the casino, check out the food places, decide not to gamble, go back upstairs and read my poker magazines and Vegas mags Ive been collecting and chat up a Aussie gal whose name I now forget. Ellen comes over to the Orleans and also decides to play. I see Judy/Bluedove from WPC, London Gallagher, the "amateur" from the Ladies Night of WPT and hear lots of bad beat stories about the Ladies WSOP event. The Ladies Orleans event doubles in size to the point where there is an alternates list. As women bust out, Seat Open is announced and the seats are filled with the alternates. I think close to 300 actually wound up playing.

I'm not found of all Ladies tourneys because its like wading thru a minefield of limpers and calling stations. You cant isolate anyone because if they see a paint card or an ace it looks good. Early on I was card dead. But at least I was still in the tourney. We lost someone at my table on the second hand. I was in Seat I which I loathe since I cant see seat 10 or 9 for that matter and I even think they tried to squeeze 11 in. Our dealer was this Asian gal who didnt speak English well at all. I had to go over the blind levels/lengths and add-on policy with her. We players wondered if she was right out of dealer school. Too her credit she could deal well and had no problems with catching string bets or figuring out the side pots. I think we were all a little nervous though.

Card Dead, card dead card dead.. At some point OPENING SEAT 6 is announced and taken by a attractive African American woman who looks vaguely familiar. She's gregarious and asks our names and states, "Im so happy my son won his first bracelet".. Im quick.. I look at her and state the obvious.. "Your David Williams mom". God Im good.. Yup.. Shirley Williams is at our table. After the intros are all made she apologizes in advance if she forgets our names and then announces that she tried or was trying to quit smoking....A delight at the table..

Anyway, some local older woman known to the floor staff is seated in seat 5 as an alternate. She called a raise on her BB with T4h and sucked out a flush. Bluedove's friend from her Jersey home game is in Seat 3 and gives me the rolling eyes. Local strikes again with one crap hand after another. Finally, its the first break.. Im treading water and in okay chip count size as the blinds are going up slowly as the rounds are 30 minutes. I loose a chip when we color up (always my luck). Back from the break. three hands of note that I play but don't go my way at all. I call a small raise with KJos... Seat 3 calls too. I flop a str8 but a 4 flush is out there. I fire out a pot size bet, Seat 3 calls my $1000 bet and of course hits the nut flush on the turn. I check, she puts me all in. I fold. She shows me the nuts. A few hands later I then get AK. I raise get a caller from a shorter stack. When the flop misses me and I check, shortie moves all in. I put her on tens and she had them. I'm now crippled and a short stack myself. I raise again with ATs the same chick calls. I hit Top pair and push my remaining chips in with a board of T 9 X. The chickie calls with QJos chasing the open ender, and when the turn pairs her Jack or queen and I fail to improve I am out.

I head over to El's table to tell her I busted and she tells me the Seafood Buffet is pretty good per Barb Enright. I decide to use my $5 voucher for the Monday night seafood buffet. It's good with a New Orleans theme. I see a bulk loader piling up a huge plate of crab legs. Too much work for me so I eat the peel and eat shrimp and the oysters on the half shell and some shrimp scampi, corn on the cob and other buffet items and have a dessert or two. Little did I know had I made the dinner break I would have gotten a free meal. Little did I know that Clark was at the buffet at roughly the same time. He had played the days mega entry WSOP event and busted out and came over for the 7PM second chance tourney that he won!!! Carol and Dean had also made their way over to meet El and I missed them all.

I catch a taxi back to TI and amuse myself for about $20 worth of video blackjack, slots and video poker for about two hours. The time change and long travel day has caught up to me so I hit the hay relatively early.