Friday, April 28, 2006

That’s Not a Knife…

28 APR 06

I’ve always wanted to quote Crocodile Dundee.

While waiting for my 10/20 seat, I wasted time at the 4/8 game (again). I remember reading something from Phil Gordon about sucking out. His point was that good players rarely suck out (but are often sucked-out on) because they usually get their money in with the best hand.

Well I did some serious sucking yesterday.

In actuality, there was a reason for my madness, but I’m sure it didn’t seem that way to Hat Boy.

Hat Boy came in with his cool pull-down Pac Northwest hat and bought in for $60. Sniff – is that dinner, I smell? He calls in early position. I’m one to his left and I call with 8 7.

The flop is A 10 6, all hearts. I don’t have any hearts. I just have a weak gutshot. Hat Boy checks, I bet and he raises. Huh?

The raise here says, “Please don’t suck out. I’ve got a hand, but I have no hearts.” At this point, I think I can get him off the hand. I call, and see a blank card on the turn. He bets. I raise. He reraises. Now I put him on a set. The right move here is to call, but he’s really nervous, so I cap it. He calls, and we see a heart on the river.

The 9 of hearts.

He slaps his hand on the table, and checks. I quickly bet, thinking he’ll fold. He calls and shows his flopped set of 6’s. I say, “Oooh. This is gonna hurt,” and I show him my hand – the suckout straight on the river. No hearts for him either, so I drag the pot. In fairness, I really thought he'd fold. Wasn't it Ross Perot who talked about that "giant sucking sound?"

One other hand of note. Dark Sunglasses boy (don’t you just love these guys), raises from the button. When an Ace falls on the flop, it’s checked around to him. He bets, everyone folds and he shows his 10 6 for the bluff.

Nice one, sir!

That hand set up this play. It’s a “full kill” (8/16) two hands later, and I call in early position. Sunglasses Boy raises to $16. I call and we see a flop of 9 10 J. I check, he bets and I call. The turn is a Queen. Now I bet right out. He raises and I reraise. He just calls and we see the river – King. No flush.

Now, there is a straight on the board. I bet right out and smile at him through his dark sunglasses. He thinks a long time before mucking his board straight.

I lay my pair of threes down right in front of him – face up.

Now THAT’s a bluff.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More Trickery

25 APR 06

In my ever expanding bag of tricks, I came up with this one on the spot.

I’m in the Big Blind. There are 4 callers and I get to see a free flop with 96 off-suit. The flop comes 345, giving me the open ender. One early bet gets called by all five of us. The turn is a nine giving me top pair. There is one bet and one raise. I reraise and 4 of us see the river, which is a 2. Sweet.

But wait, there’s more.

Everyone checks to me. Huh? Okay – watch this…

I flip over my 9 and say, “I’ve got top pair. I’m betting it.”

The first Ace-holder raises. The second Ace-holder calls. I reraise, and at this point, the caller knows he’s beat, but the first ace-holder hasn’t got the memo.

He reraises.

Moron ace-holder #2 calls again and I cap it.

Devin (the dealer) gives me a look and says, “Turn over your 6.” I’m happy to comply. The expression on my two new best friends was priceless.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reflections on 100 Posts

20 APR 06

One hundred posts. Sheesh!! Recently, Pauly took a break after 1176 posts. I can’t imagine another thousand of these, but I sure am having fun with it for now.

First off – thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogsphere. For whatever reason, you decided to spend a little of your day visiting me, and I appreciate it. An Extra Thanks to my top referrers:

To celebrate my 100th post, I decided to figure out how to use Sitemeter. Check this out:

Google searches that brought people to my blog:
Nguyen interview with Scotty" – This search was from the site, which is from Hungary. I’ve also had visitors from Sweden, the UK and Finland.

320 pound 7' 4" woman Holland” – this one is strangely legit. See here

costa rican supermodel” – Yeah, baby!

anatomical locations behind back of knee” – another legit search. See #46 here

hunter silvastorm” – someone searched for author-extraordinaire Hunter and found me instead – sweet!

A Canadian searched for “flawless poker win every time” and came to my site.

And finally, my favorite (note – this entire thing was pasted into the search window)
An Australian sheep farmer was puzzled at the disappearance of sheep on his farm. After a few weeks of sheep disappearing the farmer decided to put up an electric fence

So, if you ever want to find out about Huge Dutch Women, Costa Rican Supermodels, Great Authors or Disappearing Sheep, look no further than your friendly neighborhood poker playing doctor. It’s what I live for.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

One Last Shot

19 APR 06

My buddy Stefan decided to take one last crack at 10/20 before heading back to Texas. He’s glad he did.

I sat in first and started in with my usual shtick. It was funny, because Ryan was dealing again. Apparently, he’s been reading my blog because he was quoting several of my best lines back to me. I got a laugh out of it at first, but then I realized that other people at the table may have been listening. If they figured out what we were talking about, I may have been handicapped a little. Fortunately, either no one figured it out, or they didn’t care. I talked my way into a few pots and was up about $300 when Stefan finally got a seat.

Now, Stefan is a buddy of mine, but when he’s sitting across the felt he becomes a potential victim. Sure enough, I raised in position with J8 and he calls from the big blind. I hit my Jack on the flop (I think there was an overcard). He calls my flop and turn bets and when we get to the river, he checks to me. I bet and say, “Don’t call. I’ll show you,” and I hold my cards out towards him face down. He flips over his QJ and mucks. True to my word, I show him my inferior hand and drag the pot. If he just read my blog before he sat in, he might have made that call!!

Well, that was about the only hand he played badly last night. In the span of about 2 hours, he ran his $500 up to over $1200, and we both cashed out winners for the night. On the ride back to his hotel, he was floating on a cloud, but he asked me to critique his game. I gave him a few pointers (at several points he was calling into a multiway pot post-flop when he should have been raising or folding), but how do you offer pointers to someone that played nearly flawless poker?

I guess we can all benefit from a few pointers now and then. I know I can.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Talking the Talk

13 APR 06

I’ve talked myself into about $300 over the last 3 sessions, and I feel pretty darn good about it. John talked about it on this blog (referring to his buddy Aaron). The key is variance. Sometimes, when I’m acting strong, I have the worst hand. Other times it’s just the opposite. The key is to make sure people are paying attention, and to show down a couple of hands (be they winners or losers).

Here are a couple of my favorites:

“I’ll show you.”

It’s a 4/8 table and I raise with A 10 after one MP limper just calls. The flop is AA3. Limper checks and I check. The turn is a 6 and the limper bets. I raise and the limper just calls. The river is a Jack, and the limper bets.

I raise saying, “Don’t call, I’ll show you,” then I move my cards over towards her in preparation for showing her my flopped trips (after all, she just limped into this hand – I know she doesn’t have anything better than what I’m holding).

She folds her AK face up.

“This is my wheelhouse.”

It’s 10/20 and I raise in early position with 7 9 (I’m not justifying the move here. Just go with me). The button calls and we see a flop of 7 8 J. I bet and the button raises. I put him on a weak Jack, but he’s capable of making this move with the 9 for the open ender. I call. The turn is blank and I bet. He raises again, and now I put him on QJ or KJ. Maybe AJ. I have 6 outs (two 7’s and four 10’s), so I look at him and say, “This is my wheelhouse. Are you sure you want to bet here?” I see the look of doubt in his eyes, and I think I may be able to steal this pot if any scare card comes out. The river is a 7 and I check raise the river on him. As he’s calling my raise, he says, “Your 7 is good.”

Thanks, but I already knew that.

“You didn’t stay with A x of diamonds, did you?”

This one is more obvious. Experienced players will see this for what it is – calling out your made hand.

Again at 10/20, I complete the big blind into a multiway pot with A8 of diamonds. The flop pairs my 8 with two diamonds. I bet and get raised and called by three others. The turn puts a scary straight card on the board. I check and 3 of us see the river – 2 of diamonds. I’m first to act, and I bet out, saying the question above. My thought is that this may convince the table that I was slow playing my straight, but I’m nervous about the river card. It’s very confusing. The bet represents the flush but the talk represents the straight. Confused players will call out of curiosity. Both players called – one with the straight and one with 2 pair.

That’s why I love this game. The intangibles make it really interesting.

Monday, April 10, 2006


10 APR 06

My buddy broke his 10/20 cherry yesterday at the Muckleshoot. It was cool to witness. I just wrote about my first experience at 10/20, and I’m guessing his experience is going to stay with him for a long time.

I watched him nearly double his $500 buy in with some solid play and a few good hands. There was one hand where he had KQ. He flopped his queen and turned his king, only to run into a set of queens. It happens, but he was still way up for the night.

I had to leave for dinner, so I didn’t witness the rest. About 2 hours later, I get a call.

“Dude. I raised under the gun with AK. The big blind is the only caller. The flop is 777…”

You know the rest of this story. Big blind had 7 2 off suit for the flopped quads, and, as they say, “tilt happened.”

He actually lost only part of his buy in for the night. As I reviewed a few key hands with him, I realized he made good decisions and didn’t play scared (which was my big problem when I started). He’s good enough to play at this level. We’ll see if he ever ventures back into the mid-level games.

Final thought: The Muckleshoot – where, if you dream it, your cards will come.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Happy Birthday

6 APR 06

Last night, I gave myself exactly what I wanted for my birthday. Against all odds, I eliminated #28 FAR earlier than I expected.

So this is what it feels like to be a winning poker player.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Playing Your Rush

3 APR 06

First off – I wrote this first thing on Friday. I was going to post it Saturday, but we did the “Become Your Favorite Blogger” thing for April 1st. My favorite was Joe Speaker’s take on Factgirl, but Drizz did a number on Bobby Bracelet. Both are worth a read. Enjoy.

So, I have fans. Well, technically, I have readers I didn’t know about, but I choose to call them fans because it makes me feel kind of famous. And, you know my ego isn’t big enough already…

After my write-up about Colette, I finally ran into her. She was extremely gracious. She really could have made me feel like a creep, but instead she seemed genuinely flattered, and I was touched. She’s still hasn’t sent me any photos from Costa Rica, but those seem secondary now. If I get them, great. If not, well that’s cool, too.

I was confused when she told me she read my blog, because I never told her the name of the website. It turns out she found me from a link on another Muckleshoot blog. Another dealer at the ‘shoot (Ryan), read John’s blog and found me, then told Colette.

Now we come full circle. Ryan was seated one to my right in the very first game of 10/20 I ever played. I was scared money, and he knew it. I bought in for $200, and played very weak-tight. I finally looked down at AK of spades, but Ryan raised it to $20. I just called and the flop came K 10 6. Ryan bet, and I remember being scared straight.

I had been watching Ryan and another regular (Peter) go at it for about an hour. Both were clearly comfortable with this level of play and I was jealous. I wanted to be like that, but at the time, I didn’t know how. They were raising and reraising their turn and river bets and winning with hands like 45 and J9. Who the hell plays 45 in 10/20? Don’t these idiots know that’s a lot of money???

I was getting ready to call Ryan’s bet when, out of the blue, Ryan says, “Don’t bet, I hit my set.”


I had not seen this play from him. Why would he tell me this? I was getting ready to call, when he said, “Look, I’ll show you one card.” He flips over a 6. I’m frozen. I really don’t know how to react. I’m looking back and forth between Ryan, the exposed 6 and my chips. Is he allowed to show his card? Should I bet anyway? What’s that warm sensation running down my leg?

Then he flips over the other 6. He turns to me with a big smile and says, “I don’t want to take your money.” He points to Peter and says, “I want to take his money.” Both Peter and Ryan start laughing. I nervously laugh along, but I realize I’m WAY outgunned at this table. I lost the rest of that buy in and limped away with my tail between my legs.

I think about that hand and that session often. Ryan’s carefree attitude has been something I’ve tried to emulate every time I sit in the 10/20 game. It’s only recently that it’s started to work. I don’t think I’d ever show a fish (and I was a fish back then) my flopped set, but I understand why he did it. I remember thinking, the only reason he did that is because he wants me to have fun so I’ll come back in the future and lose even more money to him. The actual effect was to further my resolve to be comfortable at this level, so that I could go back and beat his brains out at the table. I (and my bankroll) owe him some thanks.

So ends what I wrote on Friday. But wait, there's more...

Now, fast forward to Saturday. Ryan was dealing my 10/20 game! I relayed the above story to him and we had a good laugh about it. He seemed shocked that he exposed his hand like that. I actually expected him to remember the hand, but it was clearly a much bigger deal to me than to him.

To complete the circle, I had my best rush of cards ever. At one point, I won 5 hands in a row (including a kill pot where I raised preflop with 23 and caught a wheel on the river). In those 10 minutes, I won over $600.

And I owe it all to Ryan. Well, I owe a bunch to Lee Jones and Doyle Brunson and David Sklansky, but Ryan deserves at least some of the credit.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Guest Blog

1 APR 06

Editors Note: Occasionally, I allow other’s to guest post on this here blog. Today’s guest is extra special because we both got something out of it. As a physician, I have a unique perspective into poker, but I rarely need my doctoring skills. Today’s guest needed a favor, and I was happy to comply.

Live blogging the drunk… day at the hospital

6:30 am – What the hell kind of time of day is this? Who the fuck gets up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work? I need a shot of SoCo. If it wasn’t for the free shit, this whole guest-post experiment would have to wait until a more reasonable hour – like noon.

6:35 am – Cute nurses. Hmmm… I may have to hold judgment for a bit.

6:40 am – Cute nurses asking me to undress. Even better.

6:45 am – The CAT scan table is kind of cold, but I’m kinda digging the whole “let’s play doctor thing.” Hey, what’s that tube for?

6:46 am – “You’re gonna put that WHERE?”

6:47 am – Unnnnh. Nnnnnhhhhh. Ggggghhhfffff…. Did you put that barium in the fucking fridge before you squirted it up my ass?! You people are sick!

6:50 am – Whirring noises. Table moving. My tongue is fuzzy, and not in a good way. Who the fuck is laughing out there? I’d swear I just heard someone say the ass-tube wasn’t necessary for this exam. You’d better be fucking kidding!

7:20 am – I just spent the last 20 minutes shitting out white satin paint, and I know I’m not even close to done. I’m walking like I’ve been riding a horse and I can hear a faint squish. Ooohh, that’s not good.

7:50 am – So, my liver looks good. Well, technically, the good Dr. Chako says it looks like shit, but it’s still there, so I’m calling it a wash. Now I’m headed back to Chez Chako for a beer and a nap. Does anyone have some Excedrin?

Squish. Squish. Squish.

And so, the guest post ends almost as soon as it began. Thanks to Al for the experience. I’d don’t think Chez Chako will ever be the same. And, thanks again to Drizz for the cool idea.