Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I'm Registered!!

Poker Tournament

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 1983207

AC Recap

30 May 06

What an incredible trip to Atlantic City!! I haven’t been this excited about an educational opportunity since sex-ed in the 7th grade. And the class didn’t disappoint.

For those that don’t know, I’m a radiologist. I read CT scans, MRI’s and x-rays for the US Army (at least for the next 2 years – but that’s for a different post). I was recently asked to take over cardiac imaging, and I was thrilled to accept.

But, that meant learning the ins and outs of the heart. Traditionally, the heart has been left to the cardiologist. Radiologists sort of danced around the “big light bulb” in the chest. Before the days of cardiologists, radiologists “owned” the heart, but we let it slip away in a relatively uncontested turf battle.

Well, guess who’s back in town!!

If all goes according to plan, everyone wins – the radiologist, the cardiologist, and most importantly, the patient. Based on what I learned at this course, cardiac imaging may go from something I do occasionally, to the majority of my daily practice. This is a prospect that is both daunting and exciting. My command is nervous that we don’t have the technical staff to support this, but I don’t care. I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do, and it will save lives. Let them figure out the details.

Anyway, while I was in NJ, I stayed at the Borgata. It certainly had a Las Vegas feel. I got a chance to head to the boardwalk and see the “old” AC – the one I remember. The interlocking crosshatch of the wooden boardwalk and the sound of the ocean really brought back memories.

I remember coming to AC with my dad back in 1984. I was 17, and I had the old paper NY driver’s license. A little scratching with a paperclip and some careful artwork with a sharp #2, and I was no longer born in 1967 – it now said 1966. Suddenly I’m 18 and strolling through the Taj like, well, like a 17 year old.

I had flop sweat.

I walked up to a blackjack table with my dad, and I think I may have even placed a bet before I got kicked out. I still have a young face – I don’t know how I thought I was going to get away with sneaking into a casino when I looked 12.

Now, fast forward to last weekend. I got to stroll along the boardwalk with none other than the famous Lady Falcon. What a gracious hostess!! We met up in the Taj Mahal, and after playing only a few hands of 10/20, the table broke, giving us the opportunity to chat and stroll. I was still overwhelmed by the flood of memories from being there, but I hope I help up my end of the conversation. My buddy Mike showed up too soon, and the Lady and I parted ways. It was a great short visit, and I hope to get invited to one of her famous home games the next time I’m on the East Coast.

(And don’t worry Ms. Falcon, I won’t tell anyone about that horrible suckout with my 35 sooooted at the NL game).

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hiatus Interruptus

To the two readers I have left:

I appreciate your patience while I'm away. I promise you a post by Tuesday that will hopefully cover my excursion to Atlantic City, including a recap of playing with the lovely and talented Lady Falcon.

For now, I leave you with this thought: Those that don't learn from their own mistakes are what we in the poker community refer to as "fish."

Excuse me whilst I go clean my tank.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


19 MAY 06

Little hiatus coming up as I try to leave my mark (but not my cash) on Atlantic City. For now, a few answers to Tripjax’s questionnaire.

1. What is the biggest mistake people make at a NL table? – Not pouncing on weakness.
2. What is the biggest mistake people make at a Limit table? – Poor table selection
3. Why do you play poker? – Best rush since playing racquetball – better, even.
4. If you weren't playing poker, what would you be doing? – Saving lives.
5. What is your favorite poker book and why? – Instructional – Lee Jones (the first book I ever read about poker). Entertainment – Either Positively Fifth Street by James McManus or Shut Up and Deal by Jesse May
6. Who is your favorite poker player and why? – Possibly Sam Farha – he’s fearless. He can play any two cards (and usually does) and will outplay you, no matter who you are. Close behind are Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey and Annie Duke.
7. Which poker player do you dislike the most and why? – Saying Hellmuth is too easy. Probably Gus Hansen because he has spawned too many maniacs.
8. Do your coworkers know about your blog? – No, and I hope to keep it that way.
9. What is the most you have won in a cash game or MTT (both live and online)? Live - $1200+. Online – Probably $200, but I stopped playing online about 6 months ago.
10. What is the most you have lost in a cash game or in one day total (both live and online)? Live $1100. Online $1600.
11. Who was your first poker blog read? Dr. Pauly – still the first poker blog I read every day.
12. What satisfies you more, your aces holding up for a big pot or a bluff working for a big pot? - I never bluff, so…
13. Why do you blog? – It satisfies a creative itch, and gives me an outlet for my huge ego.
14. Do you read blogs from an RSS reader like bloglines or do you visit each blog? – What’s an RSS reader?
15. Would you rather play poker for a living than do what you currently do for a living? – No. I love being a doctor. Poker will always be just a hobby.
16. Do you wear a tin foil hat on occasion? – I own several, but would never admit to wearing them.
17. If you had to pin it down to one specific trait, what does a great poker player have (or do) that separates them from an average player? Courting risk.
18. Is Drizz the coolest person on the planet for naming his baby Vegas? – Without a doubt.
19. What is your primary poker goal and are you close to accomplishing it? – Be a steady winning player. Not there yet.
20. What is your primary online site and why? – Used to be Pokerstars, when I cared to play online.
21. What site do you dislike and why? - None. I love everybody.

How to NOT Play a Short Stack

18 MAY 06

In the larger game of bankroll management, $100 left of a $700 buy-in is still YOUR $100. It’s also part of the larger bankroll sitting at home in your sock drawer. Giving it away with hands like Q2 sooooted and 42 off-suit, when nearly every hand is capped 4 or 5 way preflop should be viewed as an assault on the larger bankroll, not just the chips in front of you.

Or at least, that’s what I should have told myself last night.

Final thought: MUST re-read Felicia’s thoughts about poker psychology.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Random and Stumbling

17 MAY 06

Stolen (and abridged) from Dawn Summers, who stole it from Bunniblog:

The original quote:

“When I was in college, I developed the theory that in every class, there is one student who makes you question how they got in, and I don't mean the admissions process, I mean how did he figure out how to open the door to get into the room?”

And my bastardization:

“After years of playing poker, I developed the theory that in every game, there is one player who makes you question how they got in, and I don't mean the stake, I mean how did he figure out how to open the door to get into the room?”

Rapid and ugly gear change…

I just read this from Dr. Pauly:

And as far as reading blogs go... I almost quit cold turkey. Watching too much bad TV messes with your head. So does reading poorly written vanity projects... especially about poker. (Emphasis mine)

That’s what this blog has become. He’s probably not referring to me because I’m not even on his radar, but still…

I’ve got two options – quit or improve.

Let’s hope it’s #2.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Taking a Shot

16 MAY 06

Damn peer-pressure.

Seattle John has been telling me to take a shot at the higher limit. Lady Falcon just stepped up with great success.

Why not me?

I washed out of the Monday night tournament early. It was a $135 buy-in bounty tournament. I got pocket 10’s and Kings early and nearly tripled up. Unfortunately, my attempt to bully the table ran into several better hands, and I was out early.

The list for 10/20 was huge, but there was an open seat at 20/40. I walked over and there were several faces I recognized from the 10/20 game. They were 6-handed and even slid out the chair for me. I told them I didn’t bring a big enough stake to sit in that game.

Hello, Mr. ATM.

I post $20 behind the button. I’ll raise with almost any two cards here if I see no aggression early. Sure enough, it’s folded to me. I raise and the big blind three bets. We are heads up and I see a flop of A 6 5. I’ve paired my 6. Big blind bets. I raise. He re-raises and I call. The turn is a Queen. He checks. I bet and he check-raises me. I let it go.

I was my first hand at the table and I’m already down $160. It’s gonna be a short experiment.

I made two HUGE mistakes. Both times I capped the turn with the second nut straight. I didn’t give credit for the nuts because both times my gut shot also completed their gut shot. Once was against a drunk who preflop raised my big blind with QJ. I had A 8 and called. A nine on the turn gave me the 10-high straight, but gave him the nuts. I bet the flop because it paired my ace and he raised me with nothing and caught. I can’t put him on the hand, but I wasted a bet by capping.

The same dude also went runner-runner quads on me when I flopped the nut flush. Now THAT was expensive.

I finally settled down, caught some cards, made some big laydowns, and left up over $1000 for the night.

Jesse May wrote a great book called “Shut Up and Deal.” Mickey, his main character, is asked, "What’s the difference between the lower stakes and higher stakes?" His reply:

“Different color chips.”

There were other differences, too, but I have to do some critical thinking before I’m willing to say I’m a regular in that game.

For now, I’m just calling this a successful short-term experiment.

Monday, May 15, 2006


15 May 06

When I’m running well, I’m a conceited, full-of-myself, egomaniacal sonofabitch.

No real point to this post. Just trying to be honest.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

My Bad

14 May 06

It was my fault.

I decided to change up my game a little. Instead of my normal polo t-shirt and St. Andrews ball cap, I decided to wear a really loud Tommy Bahama-type shirt and the Full-Tilt hat I won as a bounty from the Poker Geek. My thought was “Dress loud. Play tight.”

So, it’s a ½ Kill (which is stupidly 15/25). I’m under the gun and I look down at 8 10 of diamonds. So of course I muck.

Yeah, right.


I’m running really hot up to this point and I have most of the table on tilt. It’s re-raised and capped before it gets back to me. I call, and seven (!) of us see a flop of 2 6 7 rainbow.

Crap. Now I have a gut-shot and the correct odds to call. One MP guy bets and all 7 of us call. That’s right. There is $525 dollars in this stupid pot already before we see the turn.


“Train wreck on table 7! I think the 6 seat just messed himself!!”

Unbelievably, the button, who is LAST to act, bets right out. I’m first to act here, so instead of betting, I just check. It checks all the way to the button, who does in fact bet. I say, “Let’s stop the madness right now. I raise to $50.” The button says, “Do you have 8 10?” I reply, “Wouldn’t that be sweet?” I still get 4 callers.

The turn is a blank. I have the mortal nuts. I bet, and my 4 buddies come right along for the ride.


Single. Largest. Pot. Ever.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Donkey Poker!!

10 MAY 06

I played like an absolute donkey yesterday. I’m serious. I was playing hands like 10 2 and 7 8 like they were suited Aces (yes, I know that’s not possible, Dad).

The good news is that Brian sat down one to my right. There’s nothing a maniac likes better than seeing another maniac sit down on their right. I asked to see one hand he lost. Brian was betting and raising. When the 8 seat made a crying call on the river, Brian tried to muck his hand without showing. Since I had already asked to see it, the dealer flipped over his 10-high. No pair and only a busted gut-shot draw.

Thanks for the info!!

I knew I could outplay this guy after the flop on just about any hand. He wasn’t an idiot – he could lay down a hand. He just always seized the initiative and was relentless unless he met resistance. Unfortunately, he beat my AK with his Q2. It was capped pre-flop and on the flop when he paired his 2. It held up.

Well, sometimes the gods of karma decide that too much aggression is no good. I became the lucky recipient. We both flopped Aces, but my 3 paired on the river. There were at least two other hands where I was betting and raising all the way and he never showed.

Then came the hand of the night.

I announce to the table, “This is my last hand.” I then look down and see AA. Uh oh.


It’s re-raised before it even gets to Brian, who caps it. Thanks!!

Four of us see a flop of K J 10. Not a great flop for AA, but let’s see where I’m at. I bet. Raise and re-raise and three of us see the turn – another King.


Brain checks. I bet and get one caller before Brain does the old check-raise play on me.

At this point, I announce to the table, “That’s the first time you check-raised me. I think you have me beat, but I’m not smart enough to get away from this hand.” My thought is that with some of the crap he's been winning with, he could have anything. Boy was I wrong.

River – Ace. Thank you gods of karma!!

Brain says, “I think that Ace killed me.”

I reply, “Wouldn’t it be sweet if I had pocket Aces?”

He looks at me and bets. I shout, “Raise!” and the table cracks up. Brain calls with his Kings full of Jacks and I drag a $500 pot. Yes, I hit my two outer on the river. Brain was very cool about it and shook my hand.

Side note – both Ryan and Seattle John were at my table!! JD was waiting for his seat in the 50/100 game. He came by a couple of times after he got his seat in the big game and saw my ever growing chip stack. He kept chiding me to get into the 50 game. Part of me wanted to go. Fortunately, I was honest with myself. The reason I had the huge chip stack was because I got very lucky. Relying on luck in the 50 game is a recipe for disaster.

Instead, I took my 3+ racks of red and went home.

Saturday, May 06, 2006


6 MAY 06

Getting dealt pocket 7s in middle position - $20
Saying outloud, “It’s been a while since I flopped quads…” – Actually, this one is free.
Actually flopping quad 7s – Awesome
Getting paid by two flush chasers all the way to the river – priceless.

How did I celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

With my biggest cash ever at the Muckleshoot, tenqberrymuge.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

My Brother Drives This Way

3 MAY 06

It’s like the old joke. Driving with my buddy Earl, he keeps flying through red lights. I’m cringing and holding the armrest for dear life, and all he says is, “It’s okay. My brother drives like this.” Red light after red light we keep flying through until we finally come upon an actual green light. Earl slams on the breaks and we come to a screeching halt. “WTF Earl?” I exclaim.

Earl’s reply? “My brother might be coming the other way.”

I saw 2 3 soooted win twice last night. The surprising thing was that once it was held by my buddy Ryan, who was playing very tight up until that point. He made a great read and stuck with it the whole way. The other time was against my TPTK when the 8 seat flops the 4-flush and rivers the straight.

I saw another great rush of cards – including winning 4 or 5 hands in a row at one point. I developed a great table image and was able to get a couple of folds when I knew I held an inferior hand. The 4 seat made a horrible mistake by folding AJ face up to an EP flop bet on a board with an Ace.


After that, I raised any pot he limped into, even if there were other players. He folded to any aggression, and I took about $100 free dollars off of him with that play alone.

Seattle John sweated me for one hand, which was pretty cool. In late position, I call a bunch of limpers with A2 off-suit, with the Ace of clubs. The flop is 3 clubs for the nut-flush draw. It checks around to me and I bet, and get three callers. No club on the turn and it checks to me again. I bet and get called just by the blind. No club on the river and the blind checks.

Do you bet here?

If you think he’s on a club draw, you bet. There’s a chance that Ace high is the best hand, but that’s kind of wishful thinking. I had squandered my table image a little, so there was a better than average chance that I’d get called. I bet and he called with top pair after the flop. It was a good (not great) call, and I didn’t have to show anyone but John. If nothing else, the bet on the river with nothing but Ace high enabled me to milk an extra bet on two separate later hands when I held the nuts.

A note about implied odds. I posted the mandatory $15 for one of my many kill pots. Ryan raises from late position and I call with 96 off-suit. Heads-up, we see a flop of 5 7 8, all clubs, for a vulnerable straight. I check-raised the flop and he three bets. I think I bet the turn and he called. When I bet the river, he raises and I ask, “Did you flop the flush?” When Ryan replies, “No. Did I need to?” I knew I had the pot. Defending the kill is similar to defending the blinds. I’m getting 5:1 pre-flop (the small and big blind = 1 bet. His raise is 2 more. My call is #4 and he will always bet the flop for #5).

Final thought: Thanks again to Ryan for pointing out another mistake I made. I talk a lot when I’m playing, especially when I’m playing well. At one point, I was asked why I didn’t bet on the river. I replied that the only person that calls my river bet is someone that has me beat. Ryan smiled and said, “No poker instructions, please.”

He (and Mike Caro) are absolutely right. Why would I want to teach the fish how to play better against me? Sorry ‘bout that.

Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day!!

1 MAY 06

I was going to take today off in solidarity with my fellow immigrants, but I didn’t think having my dad born in Canada counts.

Anyway, a series of 5 (or less) outers brought me back below the break even line. I’m tempted to tell some bad beat stories, but I’d have to pay each of you two dollars, and my poker fund just can’t take another hit right now.

Instead, I’ll just say thank you to Otis for recommending “Shut Up and Deal,” by Jesse May. I’ve just started reading it, and it’s that rare thing in literature – a unique voice. It takes a little getting used to – almost like someone is dictating the story as opposed to writing it down, but it grows on you.

The first chapter really added some clarity to how I’m feeling right now.

Here is the review from Amazon:

The vignettes in Shut Up and Deal are a bizarre mingling of Damon Runyon and David Mamet. Mickey, the book's narrator, is always playing cards with people who have monikers such as Uptown Raoul, Hot Mama Earl, Johnny World, and Vinnie the Greek, and he himself generally wears at these card games something like "yellow pants and a green double-breasted jacket from the seventies and a green and yellow flowered shirt with dark sunglasses" in order to sucker the unsuspecting mark into maybe thinking that he is not such a good poker player and that his money can be easily won, which it usually cannot. Yet the dialogue, reflecting life on the professional poker circuit, is stark and brutal, as in Mickey's advice to a dilettante who is considering following in his footsteps: "All I can tell you is that it's lonely out there, real fuckin' lonely, and your play doesn't matter so much as how tough you are and whether or not you fall apart."

If you need me, I’ll be trying not to fall apart tonight at the ‘shoot.