Friday, June 23, 2006


23 JUN 06

Dave is one of the floor personnel at the Muckleshoot. He’s always professional and friendly. A couple days ago, I finally got my seat in the 10/20 game while waiting for the 20/40 to open up. Dave comes over to me and asks to talk to me for a second. It turns out that they were opening up the 20/40 game, but I was the odd-man out. Unfortunately, most of my 10/20 game would be headed over to the 20/40, and I would be left to find a 4/8 game. Would that be okay?

Sure Dave. No problem.

I’ve said this before, but I try to be friendly to everyone. Working in a poker room opens you up to tons of abuse, and I won’t be a part of it. Felicia often talks about it. I was quite taken aback by the fact that he even asked me.

I was even more taken aback by what happened next. Right after I get my 4/8 seat, Dave comes over with 2 free comp VIP tickets to Ozzfest at the White River Amphitheater for June 29th (next week). He even gave me the VIP parking pass.


I was truly speechless. I never asked for anything, and there it was. Dave, let me say again – Thanks! You are a helluva guy.

Unfortunately, I can’t go to the concert. I suppose I could sell the two tickets, but that seems disingenuous. I might give them away at work, but is there anyone out there who will be in the South Seattle area next week that might be interested?

If there is a lot of interest, I might turn this into a contest. Let’s see who can come up with the most outrageous (non-monetary) offer.

So, who wants to go to Ozzfest?

Thursday, June 22, 2006


22 JUN 06

First off, sorry I didn’t get around to posting this yesterday. Patient care got in the way. Secondly, great job! I did not play the hand very well, as you guessed.

Anon and Maigrey: Pre-flop – if I raise here, I eventually take down this pot. By calling, I become another sheep hoping for cards. On the flop, you are correct again. My overcards are probably dead if they hit (poignantly put in CAPS by Maigrey that if I raised pre-flop, I wouldn’t have this cool hand to analyze). On the turn, Maigrey and I both think the raise was correct, but I can’t argue with Anon’s logic. It turns out that if I capped the turn, I would have won the pot. Quick question for Anon – did you really mean that you would fold to the 3-bet with the nut-flush draw?

Finally, checking on the river was the only choice. The SB (the 3-bettor) is a very good player and would have made a crying (but correct) call on the river.

Anon was closest to the guess, but alas, no bounty this time. I’ll try to think up another challenge prior to the WPBT.

6s 4s took the $870 pot with two pair and a baby flush draw. Dammit, where was that river spade???


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Welcome to the Dog Days of Summer

21 JUN 06

First day of summer. Longest day of the year. Time to reflect – on a hand, of course.

So, I took my next big step and sat into a very loose 30/60 game. I got up about $1000 early when I turned a set on two separate hands, only to bleed in back to a couple calling stations.

I would like help on the following hand. I’m on the button with Ks Qs. Five (!) limpers get around to me.

Question #1: Do you call, raise or fold?

I called. Six of us see a flop of:

4h 6d 8s

The blinds check and an MP player bets and gets called twice before it gets to me.

Question #2: Call, raise or fold?

I called with over cards. The turn is the Ace of spades, giving me the nut flush draw. It’s checked around to the original bettor, who bets. The two other MP players fold.

Questions #3: Call or raise? Obviously, folding with the nut flush draw is not an option here.

I raised. It gets 3-bet by the small blind. MP calls.

Question #4: Re-raise or call? This question was heavily debated at the table after the hand.

River is a blank. It’s checked to me.

Questions #5: Bet or check. This was even more heavily debated.

Bonus question: What won? If you get this right, I’ll have a special prize for you if I see you at the WPBT event at Caesar’s on July 8th.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Why on Earth?

20 JUN 06

Yesterday was the reverse of normal for me. Did great at 10/20 but not so hot at 20/40. Certainly got lucky on several hands. Got beat by a two outer for a $400 pot only to turn around and suck out a $250 pot with a two outer.

The point of today’s post is advice. As noted previously, I have several HUGE tells. Ryan has been using them to great advantage, as evidenced by his play with 2 3 soooted where he KNEW he had the best hand with his bottom pair, 3-kicker. I know that sounds silly, but I believe him.

Anyway, I’ve been working on improving my image so I’m less readable. I guess it’s been working because I’ve been on a hot streak, but at what cost? Part of my game is talking people into making bad decisions. But, like any tool, it must be used judiciously. It’s very effective against good players. But, to be honest, it’s not so great against very good or great players, and it’s almost useless against calling stations.

After pressing Ryan, he finally agreed to point out these facts to me as well as confirming several of the tells that I already knew about. I’m sure there are one or two tells that he’s keeping to himself.

The question is, why on Earth would he give me this valuable information? He will continue to play against me, so why would he want to help me get better? I think it’s because he’s simply a nice guy. Well, if I cash big in this year’s WSOP (and that’s a mighty big “IF”), I’ll tip him well the next time I see him. He wouldn’t expect it, but sometimes good things happen to nice people.

Friday, June 16, 2006

In a Fog

16 JUN 06

Carrie and Tina were either in the same class as me or one grade behind. I was in the 8th grade - a high school freshman in upstate New York. Dad decided to have a boys-night out, so he and I went to the best hangout for Dads with sons not-yet-old-enough-to-drink. We headed straight to McDonalds.

I remember this incident because it was a defining moment in my life. Dad and I are starting to dig into our fries (while playing Match! – to see who could pick out the largest fry at random). Carrie and Tina sat down one table over. I think I may have acknowledged them, but that’s about it. They proceeded to eat their ice cream and Dad proceeded to stare at me rather quizzically.

What? Is there something on my face?

Our conversation got muted and I knew enough to know that I was supposed to notice something, but I didn’t know what. It wasn’t until we got outside that dad finally burst.

How did you not talk to those girls? They were putting on a sex show for you, for crying outloud! The way they were tonguing those ice creams and giggling. Did you not notice that?


So many questions. How did I not notice? Isn’t that they way I eat ice cream? What’s a sex show? Is my dad a pervert?

I’m very good at the esoteric stuff, but sometimes when something is screaming in my face, I tend not to notice. I guess I’ve always been like that.


So, I just got back from a wonderful trip to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana. I got the unbelievable privilege of promoting my sister to the rank of First Lieutenant. I didn’t even get too much crap for being an Army guy on a Air Force base. Actually, I was welcomed with open arms. Very cool.

So the night before, my sister takes me to downtown Shreveport to the local casinos. Sam’s Town has no poker (huh?) but El Dorado is spreading $1/2 and $2/5 NL. I didn’t bring a bankroll with me, so I did a “short buy” of $100 into the $1/2 game and had my sister sit right behind me.

Folks, there is nothing like the act of teaching to make you a better student. As I started to talk to my sister about the playing styles of each player, I began to realize that I need to make these mental inventories EVERY time I play. Maybe I’ve gotten complacent because I usually play with regulars, so I think I know them. I don’t know.

What I do know is that after I categorized each player to my sister, I proceeded to run over the table. I knew who would lay down and who would call. I could tell the good from the very good (an important distinction) even better than the good from the bad. I could predict the play of the short stacks and even knew who would re-buy vs. who was done when they got broke.

I guess it’s not dissimilar to McDonalds in 1979. It’s always been right there in my face. I just need to pay attention.

I’m thinking of flying my sister up here so she can sit behind me every time I play.

Monday, June 05, 2006

More Ups and Downs - and a Request for Help (Take 2)

5 JUN 06

Editors Note: My apologies to anyone who came to my blog over the last two days. I had a post here (including a reply from Seattle John) and Blogger ate it. I'm attempting to re-post now. Wish me luck.

Had the best single night of my poker career playing 10/20 – quadrupled up. Big deal.

What I want to blog about today is a perplexing hand at 20/40. It has me curious on so many levels, that I really want some input.

Yes, Ryan. I’m talking about you.

In late position, I raise with Ad 10d. At this point, I had a pretty solid table image and only showed down winners or big hands. Ryan was a late comer to the game, and was playing his usual tight aggressive style. In fact, he only played about one hand for every three I was playing.

Ryan was in the blind and called. I’ve blogged about this before. If there is no one in the pot, calling a raise from the big blind is almost a no brainer. You are getting 4.5 to 1.

Ryan and I are heads up. The flop comes down with something like J 8 2 with 2 diamonds. Good draw for me. Ryan checks, so I lead out. Ryan smooth calls. Right away I’m nervous, but okay. Let’s see the turn.

The turn is a non-diamond but puts a second club on the board. Ryan bets right out, and I raise. Here is where I need some help. Ryan re-raises!

Okay. I know I’m beat right now, but I have the draw to the nut flush, so I call. The river misses me. I check with a plan on folding to a bet, but Ryan also checks and flips over 2c 3c for a pair of 2s and a nice pot.

Time for some critical review.

Ryan played the hell out of this hand. He wins on so many levels:
- Maybe he read one of my screaming tells that I was still drawing.
- He knows I’m capable of folding, so maybe he thought he’d win the pot right there with the re-raise.
- If you re-read the statement above (I know I’m beat right now), you see I was playing level 1 poker – what’s in my hand? Who cares what he’s holding?
- My calling the re-raise should have made him extremely nervous. Why didn’t I pick up on that? Surely he would have folded if I bet the river.

Or would he? At this point, it’s almost worth an extra $40 to show the table that you are willing to be aggressive with the second worst hand in poker (don’t let anyone tell you 7 2 off-suit is the worst hand. It is, but only pre-flop. At the river, 2 3 is the worst).

Anyway, kudos to Ryan for a great play. I finished the night down only a little thanks to a real donkey play with 8 3 of diamonds – otherwise I would have been down a lot more. Only two or three more big wins, and I’m taking a shot at the 50/100 game, so watch out Seattle John!