Friday, March 31, 2006

Crossing the Felt

31 MAR 06

Mario is yet another great dealer at the Muckleshoot. In fact he was dealing two days ago when I was sitting in with Bret Boone, and yesterday he told some stories about a few funny things that happened after I left. It sounds like I should have stuck around.

Mario was dealing to me again last night. He’s good enough at what he does to be able to have a conversation while dealing. This is no small task, as I’ve seen many dealers screw up when talking. They’ll burn a card too soon, or miss a raise. Mario was flawless.

But then Mario was done with his shift and took a spot right next to me.

It’s interesting. When the dealer is sitting in the big chair, most of the time they are a non-entity. Sitting across the felt, they become another potential victim. Dealers are interesting players. They rarely make technical errors, and they have pretty good reads on most of the players – especially the regulars. Mario was just dealing this table and the crowd had not changed, so he had pretty good intel prior to sitting down. My guess is that he thought he got the best seat (one to my left) because I had been working on my maniac persona. My bankroll had suffered and I was stuck close to $300 before he sat down.

Then I went on a rush.

Mario was my victim several times, but I shared the wealth (actually, I took the wealth) from just about everyone at the table.

The best hand of the night was when I was sitting in the big blind with K5. I called one raise in a multiway pot and saw a flop of KK5. This pot alone was over $200 when all was said and done – not bad for 4/8.

Well, I think Mario was steaming a little bit. On the hand just before this, Mario limped in UTG and I completed from the small blind with 2 5. I flopped a flush draw and gut shot. The turn brought a 3 to complete my straight and I check-raised him saying, “Ah HA! Now I got you.” He called the check-raise, and I said, “You didn’t stick around here with a 2, did you?”

Based on his reaction when I dragged the pot, I think he flopped a set. I know he didn’t like my witty banter. I think it was his steaming that led to this – when I was raising the river on the K5 hand, Mario announced to the table that my hands were shaking. Now, I’ve blogged about this before. In fact, I mentioned it in my very first post. My shaking hands have gotten much better, but they still sometimes give away the strength of my hand. Announcing it to the table was uncool, but fortunately, 4/8 players will call you anyway.

I consider the matter finished, mostly because I won for the night. I wonder if I’d feel differently if I was stuck.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

F___in’ Mariners

30 MAR 06

So, last night there is a palpable buzz at the Muckleshoot. I’m not entirely certain what’s causing it until Tiffany comes up and says, “Dr. Chako - you are sitting in the big game.”

Huh? I thought you just called me for 4/8.

I did, she replies, but you are sitting at the table with Bret Boone and Mike Blowers.

Sweet. Idiots with cash.

Someone at the table actually asked them, “What are you guys doing in the white chip game?” I’ll tell you the answer. They came to crush my win streak with the stupidest suckout fest you ever saw. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. They didn’t care about playing good poker. In fact, they sucked. They came for the thrill of winning with 2 5 off-suit in a multiway hand that was CAPPED pre-flop.

Unfortunately, my pocket Aces, 10’s and Kings fell victim to this nonsense.

When I calm down, I’ll tell you more about why I hate baseball (and it has nothing to do with last night).

Final thought: Just two more days until “Become Your Favorite Blogger” Day.

Editors Note: After exhaustive research (okay, I went to, I found out that Boone has been traded to the Mets and is taking a pay cut from $9 million to $1 million, and Blowers last played in 1999. I am working up the ability to feel sorry for them. I'll let you know if anything comes of it.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Quickie Post

29 MAR 06

March has been my best month ever. I’ve started keeping better records. I know I can’t sustain this win rate, but it sure feels good to look down at an average of 21 Big Blinds per hour for my last 5 sessions. I hope I remember what this feels like when the walls come a-tumblin’ down.

Still no goodies to share from Costa Rica. Perhaps the lovely Colette has been taken away again. Stay tuned.

Reminder – April 1st is “Become Your Favorite Blogger” Day. Thanks to Drizz for the idea. My experience should be interesting.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Beneath Me?

27 MAR 06

So, I’m reading a blog from Daniel Negreanu where he’s talking about his $3000/6000 game breaking up. He wanted to play some more, but the only available game was $400/800. He said that he didn’t think he’d be able to play his best because the limits were so much lower than he’s used to. He wouldn’t be able to stay focused. I start laughing. $400/800 is below him and he couldn’t concentrate or play his best? I told my wife, “If you ever hear me say that $400/800 is beneath me, slap me around a bit, okay?”

She agreed a little too quickly…

Anyway, last night I played another short session. While waiting for the $10/20 game to open up, I sat in the $6/12. For my fans (all three of you), you know how much I hate $6/12, but there I was. I won’t bore you with the hand history – suffice it to say that I played much too loose. I was on a freeroll because I won quite a bit this week. My hand selection was horrible. Here is an example of one hand with an odd outcome:

I’m dealt 3 4 of hearts and called a raise in a multiway pot.

Flop gives me a gut shot and 4 to the flush, I call one bet from the early raiser.

Turn is nothing, but I call yet again.

River pairs my four. Yuck. Something told me I had the best hand, so I bet. Early raiser raises, and I call.

He shows his AK and I drag a big pot with a pair of 4’s with a 3 kicker. The table goes nuts.

The real question is, what was I doing calling preflop? That’s almost justifiable, but how does that explain the flop and turn call? Trust me, I did not have the pot odds at the turn. Even if I got there, it was likely someone had a better flush, which reduced my outs.

The river call makes sense, but still. All I can figure is that I was playing too loose because $6/12 was “beneath me.” I had no reason to tilt – I was playing well. The “lower limit” explanation is the only one that makes sense. I guess I’ve come quite a ways from tilting at the $3/6 tables.

Can $400/800 be far behind?

Final thought: Please scroll down and re-read my post called Breaking News!! I’ve re-edited it, and I hope to have some goodies to share soon.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Follow Up to “Why Do We Blog?”

23 MAR 06

Bloggers Dr. Pauly, Spaceman, Bobby Bracelet, Chad, BG, Joe Speaker, CJ, and AlCantHang found yet another reason to blog.

Enjoy the Playboy Mansion.


Monday, March 20, 2006

Who Knew?

20 MAR 06

As I’ve mentioned before, I blog for me. The fact that anyone else reads this stuff is cool, but it’s really secondary. That being said, I always check for comments, so I guess I care a little. I love getting comments from other bloggers, and friends and family will occasionally stop by. Rarely do I get a comment from someone outside the blogsphere.

Until Friday.

A while back, I wrote this post about a commentary on NPR called This I Believe. The NPR story was great, and if it’s still on the NPR website, you should give it a listen. Here is a portion of what I wrote about it:

I have heard this Mozart Sonata done by numerous masters. It’s one of my favorites. Ms. Rusnov is not an expert. Her timing is off and she clearly displays her amateur status here. Yet, why did I find myself crying? Go listen for yourself. It’s pure beauty.

And then, out of the blue, I get this reply in the comments section of the blog:

Hi, this is Mel Rusnov, the writer of the This I Believe essay you mentioned. Yep, I'm an amateur pianist and I butchered that beautiful Mozart Sonata--your keen ear for music sure picked that up! But, your comments on the message in the essay and the way it made you feel were lovely and generous. Many thanks!

I’m speechless. Mel, if you come by here again, please know that your comment made my day. Hell, it made my whole week. So did your essay.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Breaking News!! EDITED

15 MAR 06 (See editors note below)

I’ve become friendly with many of the dealers at my local casino, the Muckleshoot. I guess it’s because I’m always nice and I always toke the dealers. They tend to stop by and say “hi,” even when I’m just standing at the board. I’ve blogged about Mary. She’s a wonderful woman who refused to run away with me when she saw my wedding ring. Jokton always says, “Hey Doc,” whenever he sees me, and Heather gives me a huge smile and hello when I walk in.

Colette is attractive. No one would argue this point. She is always professional and she’s a great dealer – I honestly think most people don’t realize how good she is. She wears a bit of make up and clearly takes good care of herself. Sometimes, however, Colette comes in “done up.” No joke – she looks like a supermodel, and it’s almost surreal. Why is this supermodel dealing me cards? I should be watching her on the TV, not flipping her a dollar when she pushes me a pot.

Come to find out, Colette has a secret identity. Occasionally she’ll disappear. The last time she was gone, I found out that she was flown to Monte Carlo to deal to Phil Ivey et al during the last Monte Carlo Millions (which Phil won). So last night, she’s chatting with the table and she casually mentions that she just got back from Costa Rica. I remembered this article, so I said, “Were you down there when the cops raided Calvin’s house?” Well, she got this deer in the headlights look. “You know about that?”

At this point, I realize that the rest of the table has become very curious. I smile and nod, saying yes. She gets this really cute furrowed brow look and finally says that yes, she was there at his house, but wasn’t dealing when the cops came crashing in. In fact, she said, there was no gambling at all when the Policia arrived.

For those that didn’t link the article, Calvin Ayre is the billionaire tycoon that started He has a mansion in Costa Rica and he’s filming a reality TV show down there. 100 cops came crashing into his house, coincidentally when the cameras were rolling. The theory was that either Calvin had a disagreement with the Costa Rican government, or this was just a big publicity stunt.

Here is the breaking news – Colette tells me that it was in fact a publicity stunt. I know this isn’t earth shattering, but I’m rarely (if ever) on the “inside,” so I feel kinda special knowing someone that was there. The really funny part was that when she finished dealing, she came over and whispered in my ear, “Are you on the board at Bodog?” Yeah, a geek like me on the board. Nah, I told her. I’m just a doc that reads a lot on the internet. She says she’ll email me some pictures from the event. I hope she does – I’ll post any good ones here.

Final note: I posted this in the comments section of my last entry, but it deserves to be brought up to the main page. Besides, the comments sections don’t include the cool links.

For those that don’t know, Maigrey coined the brilliantly impromptu phrase, “Bah, when serving justice, guilt is a poor condiment” in the comments section of my blog entry about a Valentine’s Day Maiming I levied against a deserving opponent. She realized how great the phrase is, and now uses it as the banner on her blog. In fact, it can also be found as the banner at Hoff’s place.

Since it was first posted to my blog, I demanded royalties. Can you blame a guy for trying to cash in? (I guess you can.)

Editors note: Embarrassingly, Colette saw my blog. You know how you felt when the cute cheerleader in high school saw your notebook with the “Dr. Chako loves Bunny” note written inside? Yeah – that’s how I feel right now. Well, she’s really cool about it and pointed out a few corrections I needed to make to the story. Said corrections are now made (sorry if anyone out there was given the wrong impression – totally my fault). I even corrected the spelling of her name (one “L” two “T’s,”). Hopefully, I’ll get some cool pics out of it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


14 MAR 06

It’s been a while since I’ve done anything +EV. I’ve been on a winning streak for the month of March, so I don’t want to jinx it by talking about it. What I can tell you is that I’ve done four +EV things that I’m pretty proud of.

1. The last time I played, I folded AJ on the button to a reraise from the cutoff. This isn’t really a big deal because it’s the right move, but I think it shows my growth as a poker player. I would have lost the hand, but the outcome doesn’t matter.

2. I stopped playing internet poker 2 months ago. I’d like to say it’s because of my fears about cheating, but it was really about my inability to stop playing –EV games. I’d keep winning at the 2-table turbo SNG’s just to give it all back at Limit Hold ‘em.

3. I actually chose to work at my internet business a few times lately rather than go to the casino. This is +EV in the purest sense.

4. Perhaps my biggest +EV choice recently – I was very tired when I got home yesterday, but I got home early enough to hit the casino for one of my famous “drive-by shootings.” Instead, I took a nap.

That’s money in the bank.

Monday, March 13, 2006


13 MAR 06

I love themes. Last nights theme was almost rhythmic:

AA – flopped the set – cracked by runner runner flush.
KK – Ace hit the flop. One test bet gets raised and called. I folded, of course. Showdown was A3 vs A2. Nice.
QQ – Cracked by 92 off-suit. Nothing new there.
JJ – Cracked by AA. He flopped the set. How come his hold up when mine don’t?


This isn’t a bad beat story. It’s a theme.

The theme being, I suck. Ta frikkin’ da.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Drive By Shooter

10 MAR 06

I’ve become a drive-by shooter. This is a term I’ve heard used at the blackjack table. You get a good table where everyone is playing well. The dealer keeps busting and the last person to act understands when to hit and when to stay.

Then along comes Mr. Drive-By with his $25 chip and walks up to the lone empty seat. Often times, he stands behind it and flips the chip into the open circle. The cards come out all 10’s except for Mr. DB who gets an Ace. The second cards are all 5’s and 6’s except for Mr. DB who hits the Jack. Dealer flips a Queen, checks for the green light and pays Mr. DB who collects $37.50 and waits to see everyone else bust before walking away. Now the table is on tilt, and you are guaranteed to lose the next 4 hands in a row – usually when the dealer goes runner, runner 21.

I’ve been doing the same at poker. There is often a 10/20 seat open right when I get home from work, but I only have 1-2 hours to play before I have to leave. This usually means I have to play more aggressively if I hope to win anything. Yesterday was no exception.

After re-reading the great post (linked from Iggy) by Abdul Jalib regarding pre-flop play, I really opened my starting hand requirements. I won some big pots early. Someone finally called me down to the river on an ugly hand. I had K5 of diamonds and raised in middle position. To be fair, I didn’t get this from Jalib – this was just me being overly aggressive. The flop is 2 diamonds. I bet and get raised by an AM*. The button calls the raise and so do I saying, “Black card, dealer!” The turn is a 3rd diamond, so I bet my flush, but I do it angrily. Call. Call. River is blank. Bet. Call. Call. I drag the pot.

Chuck (and old rock I’ve blogged about before) starts going on and on about me raising with K5 soooted. It was beautiful. I played like a rock after that and got paid very well. Bottom line: 45 minutes - $170 profit. It would have been better but the AM called to the river against my pocket kings. He called my early raise with 63 and flopped the 3 and rivered the 6. Oh well. I want him making that call every time.

You should check out

Thanks for the responses to my dilemma yesterday. That was one of those posts I put up from time to time that are really intended for me. Writing helps me solidify or resolve issues that bug me. Your comments (both posted and not posted) helped.

Time to go eat some lunch, courtesy of Drizz.

*AM – Asian Maniac

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Where Am I Going With This?

8 MAR 06

Answer: I don’t know.

Davy is a friend of mine. This is a true statement. We all have friends that sometimes do things that make us question the friendship, and Davy sure has done some things. Yet, at the end of the day, I still consider him a friend. Honest.

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AP) -- Jurors at Zacarias Moussaoui's sentencing trial were transfixed Tuesday by a minute-by-minute account of al Qaeda's hijacking of American Airlines' Flight 11 and the plane's journey into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

"We are flying low. We are flying very very low. We are flying way too low," flight attendant Amy Sweeney told ground controllers who asked where the plane was at 8:44 a.m. on September 11, 2001. A few seconds' pause, and then, finally: "Oh my God, we are way too low!"

The phone went dead at 8:46 a.m.

Leaving the courtroom for a recess moments later, the 37-year-old Frenchman of Moroccan descent surged from his chair, pumped his right fist in the air and shouted: "Allah Akbar! God curse America! Bless Osama bin Laden!"

When I heard this story on NPR this morning, I wanted to drive to Virginia and cudgel this man. I wanted to make him hurt. The anger from 9/11 is still there.

Before Davy was my friend, he was my mentor. He is also a physician and just like me got his education paid for by Uncle Sam. Unlike me, the Army did not fit well with Davy. This is perhaps the understatement of the century. To say that the Army and Davy didn’t play nice with each other is like saying, well, I can’t really come up with an analogy that adequately covers just how bad this relationship was. But maybe this will explain.

It’s September 11th, 2001. I am still a resident learning my craft, and Davy is one of my teaching staff. Our program director cuts our conference short and tells everyone to come watch the TV by his office. We all get there just after the first plane has hit the WTC tower. We are transfixed. Speechless. More people are arriving. What’s going on? We are talking in hushed tones so we can hear the newscasters try to make sense of it all.

In comes Davy. He immediately sizes up the situation and says, “Those fuckers should hit the Pentagon!”

About 10 minutes later, they did.

We all slowly turned our heads toward Davy. He had this weird smile, and then he walked away.

We’ve never really talked about that conversation, but I bet Davy would say he meant it and still means it. How can a physician be so callus? What grievous insult must have been committed to make him so bitter? What about the innocent civilians?

How can I condemn one idiot without condemning the other?

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Defining Your Hand

7 MAR 06

The game is 10/20, but it’s a ½ kill, which is weird at my local casino because it goes to 15/25. The person one to my left is on the kill and has a forced bet of $15. I’m dealt pocket Kings, so I raise it to $30. The kill calls and there is one other caller.

The flop is Q 10 2 with two hearts.

I bet. The kill button raises. Early position folds.

What is your move here?

Fold: Unlikely. I suppose he could have flopped two pair, but his raise says either he flopped top pair or he has the flush or straight draw and is hoping to get a free card on the turn.

Call: Decent option, but only for the right reason. If you think you have the best hand (which you probably do given that he may have just been defending his kill button), you can call here hoping to check raise the turn.

Re-raise: I think this is the best option provided the kill isn’t a maniac (which he wasn’t).

I re-raised and the kill just called. I put him on a Queen with a decent kicker.

Turn 10. Now there is a pair of 10’s on the board. A player not in the hand says, “ooh – that’s a scary card.”

Is it? I don’t think so, but I need to find out.

I bet $25. Kill just calls. I now know I’ve won the hand unless I get an unlucky river.

River is a blank. Do you bet here?

If you think you’ve won the hand, you MUST bet here. I did. He called and didn’t show when I turned over my kings.

Trust your reads. Define your hands. Play good poker.

Final thought: I got this from an email titled, “Things I’ve Learned Since Kindergarten” - I've learned that you can keep puking long after you think you're finished.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


5 MAR 05

The jokes about this damn movie are getting a bit old.

Well, unless they are sung by Willie.

Note 1: I’m no big fan of country music, but if this ain’t really Willie, someone better sign this imposter up.
Note 2: Don’t be drinking anything that might spray out your nose when the squirrels show up. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

The Hand

4 MAR 06

The game is 15/25. It’s a stupid game. The blinds are 10 and 15, which means the small blind is coming into any unraised pot, and there is usually a lot of action. Good luck calculating pot odds. When the big bet isn’t twice the small bet, it makes my head hurt.

I’m on the button with pocket 9’s. Two early callers and I raise to $30. Small blind reraises. Big blind caps and with $300 in the pot, 5 of us see a flop of:

K 9 6 rainbow.

Stay calm.

Small blind bets. 3 callers to me and I raise to $30. Everyone calls and now the pot sits at $450.

Turn blank. Everyone checks to me. There are now two clubs and a weird straight possibility. I bet $25 and get two callers. $525 in the pot and the river is a blank. It checks to me and I bet again. Two callers – both had two pair.


Biggest. Pot. Ever.

Thanks to Stefan for sweating me in a live game. He was trying to get into the 10/20, but with the bad beat jackpot hovering near $300,000, there was a 4 hour wait. The 15/25 seat was open early because most good players hate that game. I don’t know. I kinda like it.

Friday, March 03, 2006


3 MAR 06

My concentration has been off lately. Perhaps it’s this damn cold. I’ve been playing solid Level One poker, which is to say, I really only paid attention to my hand.

Case in point – At 10/20 I have KJ in middle position and I raise. I get reraised by the cutoff. Four players see a flop of Q 10 3. With an up and down straight draw I check (see, I don’t always lead out with a drawing hand). Cutoff bets and gets four callers. As the dealer is getting ready to burn and turn, an EP player says, “Pair the board!” The cutoff stares him down as another 3 come out. EP player checks after getting what he asked for. Cutoff bets again. I call, and the loud mouth EP player folds.

River is an Ace. Sweet. I have the nut straight.

I check. Cutoff bets. I raise.

Cutoff reraises.

Shit. Review the hand. Ummm… shit. Cutoff reraised preflop.

I’m forced to call the reraise to see his full house.

So this is what Level One feels like.

I never want to feel that way again.

Fortunately, there was a donkey at my table who paid me handsomely with his AK on a board of A A 2 3 6, when I had the full house with A2. He capped the turn and was going to cap the river. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention again, and thought he called my reraise on the river. He was actually about to reraise when I showed my full house. He folded without even calling, and I lost 2 big bets.

For the night: 4 hours - four dollars profit.

Dollar an hour, baby!!

Final thought: This is from Scott Adams' Dilbert Blog.
The sentence for attempted murder should be the same as the sentence for successful murder. Otherwise we’re just rewarding incompetence.