Friday, October 31, 2014

Across the Finnish Line

This post is basically just a shout out to Willie, a blog reader I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of nights ago.

I was sitting in a game at MGM, seat 4.  I had been there awhile and then a fellow moved into the just-vacated seat 2.

After a few minutes, he looked at me and asked, “Are you Rob?”

I didn’t recognize him, so I was surprised, but I managed to give the correct answer.  “Yes.”

“I read your blog.  I recognize you from your blog.”

I admit, this is still a big kick for me, having people tell me they read my tiny little corner of the internet.  I was thrilled.  I asked his name and then I asked if he had ever commented on the blog.

He told me his name is Willie and that no, he had never commented.  By this time I had noticed an accent…..European-ish, I thought.  “Where are you from?”

“Finland.  I know you check where your readers come from, so when you see someone there from Finland, that’s me.”

“That’s great.  Although it is possible I have more than one reader from Finland.”

He acknowledged that was possible.  I asked him how long he was in town for.  Just a few more days, and then he is heading back east to catch a couple of NFL games before heading home.  Sunday he’s in Foxboro for NE vs Den and Monday nite he’s in NY for the Giants and Indy.

I was surprised.  “Is American football popular in Finland?”  No, he said, he’s the only NFL fan in the country (probably a bit of an exaggeration).  I asked him how he got into it.  He lived in Montreal for a time, got into Canadian Football, and then got into the NFL from there.

I asked him if he read other blogs, and he specifically mentioned the blogs of Lightning, PPP and of course, TBC. I mentioned that I had dinner with Tony earlier that night and then introduced him to Alysia Chang when she showed up to play later (spoiler warning:  Alysia and I never got into a hand together).

We had a fun conversation, talking about the weather in Finland, poker there, and various other topics.  He is a very nice guy, and obviously has great taste. When I left, I did warn him that he would appear on the blog—I didn’t realize it would be so soon.

The next day I tweeted about running into a reader from Finland, and even went out of my way to point out that Willie also reads the blogs mentioned above.  So Lightning, being his usual smart-ass self (because, let’s face it, he just can’t help himself) tweeted back, “Please say "hi" to Willie for me. He must have TONS of time on his hands if he reads your posts.”

So I tweeted back, “And he has to have them translated into Finnish first!”  That was a joke, Willie spoke perfect English and I’m sure he can read our blogs just fine in English (he also speaks Canadian, and French).

But a little while after tweeting that out, I received an email from Poker Grump.  Apparently, Grump has a lot of time on his hands now that he no longer is bluffing people off the dreaded pocket Kings on a daily basis.

He said, “Just for funsies, I used Google Translate to turn your last blog post into Finnish, then from the Finnish back to English. Amuse yourself with this however you wish.”

So, I present my previous post for you, as washed twice by the Google Translator.  As you can see, sometimes things get lost in translation. This is for Willie.  Thanks and keep reading.

Note, I didn’t take a pic of Willie, so I hope this pic of Miss Finland will do.

Karma Bitch

As those of you who follow me on Twitter (or follow my Facebook page) know, I am currently Vegas. I came here last Thursday and will be staying through the weekend, returning on Monday, just before the election. Now I'm not one of those people who says "Vote" or "Everyone should vote." To be quite honest, if you do not intend to vote the right way, I do not want you to vote. Why should I want people who are in the wrong voting and canceling out the sound of my voice? However, to keep my policy to keep politics out of this blog, I will not reveal what I believe to know the right way to vote is so, point really is ... .You can not get any pressure to vote for me.

I have collected a lot of new blogging material here in Vegas so far; I just need the time to write a message, which in most cases will have to wait until I get back home. But now ... ..

I was playing the MGM last Monday night, when a new player took the open seat at my table. I had never seen him before, but I did a double-take. This guy looked remarkably like Pete Peters. I mean, he really, really looked at him. He was wearing a baseball cap (the right way), and I can easily imagine a PPP wearing a baseball cap, is a huge baseball fan that he is. He had a goatee, but unlike Pete. Other than that, he could have been Pete Peters.

Except that, in contrast to the PPP, he was the son of a bitch. This became clear at once. He was of the view, two on the left side of the large sokea.Jälleenmyyjä took care of him a card,, and then the second card, and the other player raises, he told the dealer, "I said I wanted to be at the back of the button."

Now, almost every poker room in Vegas (Bellagio is the only exception I know), you do not need to send a blind when you first come to the table. You have the right to expect the button to move and to come in for "free" on the back button (the cut-off point). Some people do this all the time, others do not, depending on how close they are to the button. But a lot of people take the big blind immediately, although they may take almost the entire course for free, instead of sending it. It's all to the player.

The shopkeeper said she did not hear him say that. No one else was myöskään.PPP-look-alike insisted he had said sen.Kysymys was that, as he had dealt with the hand, he would be the big blind and then a small hand, one hand had been dealt with.

The dealer was a dealer during the day, which was working overtime, and maybe an extra tired. Still, I'm sure that did not hear the guy say he wanted to come to the back of the button (even though I was far away and have missed it). However, the dealer very politely pointed out that he had accepted the first card. He could not tell the dealer as soon as he got his first card he wanted to come back and the dealer should have slid the card over the next pelaajalle.Pelaaja did not say anything until the hand was fully processed.

Now, despite the fact that the player has had sufficient opportunity to rectify the dealer an "error", a merchant, a good guy to be sure, said the player, "Do not worry, sir, I'm sorry, and I put my blind you." With one hand, when it was new player's turn to be the big blind, the merchant picked up two $ 1 chips from his shirt pocket and placed them in front of the player to pay for his blind.

The player refused to let the dealer the big blind with him, saying it was not a big deal, and that he had to pay his own blind. And so he put his own chips out there. Initially, the dealer insisted that pushed the player's own chips back to him and said that he would feel better if he paid for the blind. But the dealer said no, he did not feel right, if the dealer had to send him blind, so in the end, the shopkeeper took back to his two-dollar chips and processed by hand.

That should have been the end, but it was not. Again, someone lifted and the player folded. And then he proceeded to bitch about the blind again. He said the merchant, "You should have asked me if I wanted to trade."

Retailer to apologize again, but reminded him once again that he accepted the first card (both cards, really). And the player muttered a little under his breath, and felt pretty drunk. Well, some of the dealers always ask for the player, and some do not. And it depends on where the button is. If a player should be under the gun, they usually ask. And if the player says he wants to wait (without being asked), all dealers will tell the player they do not need to send to come, and then they usually do not take the hand (I guess a lot of room outside Vegas to make you send).

Actually, the dealer had good reason to believe a player would want to trade immediately. This happened in the middle of the Monday Night Football game, when the room goes to the NFL promo. I have written about this promo before. During Monday night's game (also now Thursday night and the game on Sunday afternoon), each time a team scores, the occasional seat is selected and that the player gets to choose a prize between $ 100 and $ 500.

In order to be eligible to be selected, you have to be active in the game and is not "in the lobby area." The dealer is supposed to put the player in the lobby status as soon as they are processed by hand. If a player gets from the table and held hands, they are in the lobby status and get drawing. This means that you need to schedule bathroom breaks carefully. You do not want to be going to the toilet, when the team scores a goal. And, of course, the player is in the lobby status when they first come to the table until they are treated in the first hand. So if you play football in the room during the promo, it's really stupid to try to save a few dollars blinds and the risk of improper drawing that could be worth as much as $ 500.

Well, it does not come into play, when the player was bitching must not become the back button. This was a pitifully low scoring game (Washington-Dallas), and no one made ??during this period.

The player remained there for some time, and finally there was actually some scoring. Note: to save the excitement, had never been humble blogger ever selected for this award for the nite.

But when the same dealer was still on our table, the PPP-look-alike was misfortunate to lose "all-in". He got up from the table without saying a word. But football game, someone had just teki.Vuoropäällikkö made ??the announcement that he always does, which is to remind dealers to make sure they have the players who are left from the lobby space, so Bravo random seat selector program can not choose a place that is empty or station in the lobby, and thus are not eligible for the award.

The worst part was, the dealer was currently dealing with a new hand. And when he was dealing with, he noticed that the PPP-look-alike was missing. He did not stop to do to put the guy in the lobby status; so of course he waited until he dealt with all of the cards to press the button to take the player out of the game.

And in a few seconds delay, guess what table / seat were randomly picked the seat switch?

Yes, you guessed it. It was the PPP look the same, the guy who had this same dealer such a hard time about to deal with him too soon. All of a sudden, jerk who had left returned to the table, saying he just left to get more chips, and that he won the prize. Nope, the merchant said, sorry, no noppaa.Pelaaja said he had dealt with that hand, but of course he was not ... .he did not have chips (or location) .Soitin is complaining and pissed and moaned, but left.

Dealer's actually got a bit of trouble is not refined player of the game fast enough, so that the program does not select him, that is not supposed to happen. But the shopkeeper explained that the player went all too quickly and exactly like the manager pushed the button to start the program selector to the seat.

And then we all had a good laugh at the expense of a jerk. We all agreed was a cosmic right to a rude way to the dealer's dealt with the mistake, which was not actually an error (and, as I said, could have been corrected immediately). It was especially satisfying to the dealer, who reminded us that the player was gone and even after the dealer had tried to play with a friend suck two dollars to blind himself.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch. And jerk got what he deserved. Every once in awhile, there is justice in this world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Karma's a Bitch

As those of you who follow me on Twitter (or follow my Facebook page) know, I’m currently in Vegas.  I arrived here last Thursday and will be staying through the weekend, returning Monday, right before the election.  Now, I’m not one of those people who says, “Please vote,’ or ‘Everyone should vote.”  To be perfectly honest, if you aren’t going to vote the right way, I don’t want you to vote.  Why should I want people who are wrong voting and canceling out my vote?  However, in keeping with my policy of keeping politics off this blog, I won’t reveal what I believe know the right way to vote is, so, the point really is….you won’t get any pressure to vote from me.

I have gathered much new blogging material here in Vegas thus far; I just need time to write the posts, which will mostly have to wait until I get back home.  But for now…..

I was playing at MGM this past Monday night when a new player took the open seat at my table.  I’d never seen him before, but I did a double-take.  This guy looked remarkably like Pete Peters.  I mean, he really, really looked like him.  He was wearing a baseball cap (the right way) and I can easily imagine PPP wearing a baseball cap, being the huge baseball fan that he is.  He did have a goatee, however, unlike Pete.  Other than that, he could have been Pete Peters.

Except that, unlike PPP, he was an asshole.  That became evident immediately.  He took the position two to the left of the big blind.  The dealer dealt him a card,, and then another card, and when another player raised, he told the dealer, “I said I wanted to come in behind the button.”

Now, at almost any poker room in Vegas (the Bellagio is the only exception I know of), you don’t have to post the blind when you first come to the table. You are allowed to wait for the button to pass and come in for ‘free” behind the button (in the cut-off seat).  Some people do this all the time, others do it depending on how close they are to the button.  But a lot of people take the big blind right away even though they are allowed to take almost an entire orbit for free instead of posting.  It’s all up to the player.

The dealer said he didn’t hear him say that.  No one else had either.  The PPP-look alike insisted he had said it.  The issue was that, since he was dealt a hand, he would have to post the big blind and then the small hand after one more hand had been dealt.

The dealer was a daytime dealer who was working overtime and perhaps extra tired.  Still, I sure didn’t hear the guy say he wanted to come in behind the button (although I was far away and may have missed it).  However, the dealer very politely pointed out that he had accepted the first card.  He could have told the dealer instantly when he got the first card he wanted to come in behind and the dealer would have slid the card over to the next player. The player said nothing until the hand was completely dealt.

Now, despite the fact that player had ample opportunity to correct the dealer’s “mistake,” the dealer, a good guy to be sure, said to the player, “No problem, sir, I’m sorry, and I’ll post the blind for you.”  After one more hand, when it was new player’s turn to be the big blind, the dealer took two $1 chips out of his shirt pocket and placed them in front of the player to pay his blind.

The player refused to let the dealer post the big blind for him, saying it was no big deal and that he’d pay his own blind. And so he put his own chips there.  At first the dealer insisted, pushed the player’s own chips back to him and said he would feel better if he paid the blind.  But the dealer said no, he wouldn’t feel right if the dealer had to post the blind for him, so finally, the dealer took back his two dollar chips and dealt the hand.

That should have been the end of it, but it wasn’t.  Again someone raised and the player in question folded.  And then he proceeded to bitch about the blind again.  He said to the dealer, “You should have asked me if I wanted to be dealt in.”

The dealer apologized again, but reminded him again that he accepted the first card (both cards, really).  And the player muttered some more under his breath and seemed quite pissed.
Well, some dealers always ask the player and some don’t.  And it depends on where the button is.  If the player would be under the gun, they’ll usually ask.  And if a player says he wants to wait (without being asked), all the dealers will tell the player they don’t have to post to come in, and then usually they do take a hand (I guess a lot of rooms outside of Vegas make you post).

Actually, the dealer had good reason to assume the player would want to be dealt in right away.  This took place during the middle of the Monday Night Football game, when the room runs its NFL promo.  I’ve written about this promo before. During the Monday night game (also now Thursday night and a game Sunday afternoon), every time a team scores, a random seat is selected and that player gets to pick a prize of between $100 and $500.

In order to be eligible to be selected, you have to be active in the game and not in “lobby status.”  The dealer is supposed to put a player in lobby status as soon as they are not dealt a hand.  If a player gets up from the table and misses a hand, they will be in lobby status and not eligible for the drawing.  This means you have to time your bathroom breaks carefully.  You don’t want to be in the restroom when a team scores.  And of course, a player is in lobby status when they first come to the table until they are dealt their very first hand.  So if you playing in the room during the football promo, it’s really dumb to try to save a few dollars on the blinds and risk being ineligible for the drawing that could be worth as much as $500.

Well that didn’t come into play while the player was bitching about not being allowed to come in behind the button.  This was a pathetically low-scoring game (Washington-Dallas) and no one scored during this time.

The player stayed there for awhile, and eventually there was actually some scoring.  Note: to save you suspense, at no time was your humble blogger ever selected for a prize on this nite.

But while the same dealer was still at our table, the PPP-look alike had the misfortunate of losing an “all-in”.  He got up from the table without saying a word.  But in the football game, someone had just scored.  The shift manager made the announcement that he always makes, which is to remind the dealers to make sure they have put players who have missed a hand into lobby status, so that the Bravo random seat selector program won’t select a seat that is empty or in lobby status and thus ineligible for the prize.

The trouble was, the dealer was in the process of dealing a new hand.  And as he was dealing he noticed that the PPP-look alike was missing.  He didn’t stop dealing to put the guy in lobby status; he of course waited until he dealt all the cards to push the button to take the player out of the game.

And in that few seconds of delay, guess what table/seat was picked by the random seat selector?

Yes, you guessed it.  It was the PPP-look alike, the guy who had given this very same dealer such a hard time about dealing him too early.  Suddenly, the jerk who had left returned to the table, saying he just left to get more chips, and that he won the prize.  Nope, the dealer said sorry, no dice.  The player said he was dealt in that hand, but of course he wasn’t….he had no chips (or a seat).  The player whined and pissed and moaned, but took off.

The dealer actually got in a bit of trouble for not removing the player from the game fast enough so that the program didn’t select him—that’s not supposed to happen.  But the dealer explained that the player left just too fast and just exactly as the manager was pushing the button to start the seat selector program.

And then we all had a good laugh at the jerk’s expense.  We all agreed it was cosmic justice for the rude way the player treated the dealer of his mistake which wasn’t really a mistake (and, as I pointed out, could have been corrected instantly).  It was especially satisfying to the dealer, who reminded us that the player had gone on and on about it even after the dealer had tried to play the guy’s lousy two dollar blind himself.

Karma, as they say, is a bitch.  And the jerk got what he deserved.  Every once in awhile, there is justice in this world.

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Good Luck, All In"

Of all the, um, “traditions” (for lack of a better word) in poker, the one that baffles me the most, the one I just don’t get—and the one you’ll never hear out of my lips—is saying “Good luck, all in,” when someone moves all in is at risk of being felted.

I mean, I’m ok with saying “nice hand” when someone sucks out on you, when what you really mean is “f-you”—because it would be extremely rude to say “f-you” to someone at the poker table (and most anywhere else, for that matter).  And then there’s always the “I’m sorry” when you suck out on someone, and of course you don’t mean it.  You’re just being polite. 

But “Good luck, all in?”  Who the hell came up with that bit of stupidity?

You seem to hear it more often in a tournament, so let’s discuss that first.  Here, it is mind-boggling moronic.  If you’re in a tournament, you pretty much never want the person all in and at risk of busting to get good luck and win, right? Every player that busts out puts you closer to cashing.  The person who says this insipid phrase isn’t in the hand, but if he or she had even a single functioning brain cell, he or she would be wanting the short-stack to bust and thus reduce the field by one player.  So if you have any smarts at all, you can’t possibly mean it. 

In a cash game, it might be a little different.  All things being equal, you might not care one way or the other, since, if the persons busted out and left, another player would take their place. But let’s assume the person who is at risk is a really, really bad player, and you figure that this bad player won’t rebuy if they bust.  I suppose you could seriously hope they win the pot, stay in the game, and then hopefully bust out to you instead of the player who they’re up against at that moment. 

Maybe.  Except that, I’ve rarely heard “Good luck, all in,” come from any player who was good enough to have actually thought at that level.  No, it’s usually just said reflexively, automatically.  As if it is something you’re supposed to do.  Like saying, “gesundheit” when somebody sneezes.

Now I suppose you might make an exception if the person who was at risk was someone who was really, really hot.  And you were really enjoying ogling her company, and you were even deluding yourself into thinking that you had a shot with her.  Maybe that woman (or a hot guy, I suppose, for those female poker players out there) you might sincerely wish good luck, because you didn’t want her to leave.

So I suppose if the poker player who was all-in looked like the woman below, I might make an exception and say, “Good luck all in” and maybe even mean it.

But aside from that, there’s no excuse for saying it. 

You see, what people who say that don’t seem to realize is that when you wish one player in a hand good luck, you are in fact wishing the opposing player (or players) bad luck.  It’s inherently implied. In poker, one person’s good luck is another person’s bad luck.  And why is the player with the shortest stack more worthy of receiving good luck than the player with the bigger stack?  It’s actually damn rude to the other player(s).

Every time someone says “Good luck, all in” to my opponent, I’m always just a little bit irked.  In my mind, I am thinking, “Hey, what’s wrong with me?  Why aren’t you wishing me good luck?”  Fortunately, the very first time I heard it, I wasn’t in the hand, or I might have said something.

So you’re saying something you don’t mean, and you’re inadvertently saying something not very nice to another player at the same time.

It just strikes me as a really dumb thing to say.  Where the hell did it come from?

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Twist to Aces vs. Kings

After the post here, I had two more sessions at the Bike, attempting to use the same strategy. I won a little during the first one and lost a little during the second one.  The poker was unexceptional and not worth blogging about. 

The trouble was, I was incredibly card dead.  In fact, during the four sessions, totaling almost 18 hours of play, I was never once dealt pocket Aces, pocket Kings or pocket Jacks.  Not a single time. I had pocket Queens twice during that time—in the same session.  I’m sure that law of averages would dictate that I get a premium pair a lot more than twice in 18 hours of poker.

And in trying to follow the Ed Miller strategy I was learning, I had a fairly tight range of starting hands, so I just didn’t play a lot of hands.  Now that I think of it, however, his strategy was centered around play in early and middle position, I probably could have opened up the range a bit in late position, and I didn’t do that.  So next time I will remember that I can play more hands on the button.

Anyway, during one of the sessions I did learn about a hand that I think is worth mentioning, even tho I didn’t see it.

When I got to the table, at around Noon, there was a kid there with probably more chips than I’d ever seen anyone ever have at a low-stakes ($2/$3) game.  It looked like close to $2,000, give-or-take.  He was a young guy who I didn’t recognize wearing a baseball cap (the proper way), no headphones, earbuds, sunglasses or hoodie.  I observed his play right away, and he was not at all aggressive, he sure wasn’t taking advantage of his monster stack to bully the table. 

The max buy-in is $300, so I asked the guy to my right, who looked an awful lot like long-time blog reader CoolDave88, (see here), if he knew how the guy had gotten all those chips. He said that he had won a $1,200, three-way pot and never looked back.

Then he described the hand.  It was all-in preflop. The kid had pocket Aces.  The other two players both had the dreaded pocket Kings.  And boy, were they ever dreaded that time!  And sadly, the guy telling me the story was one of the poor saps with the cowboys.  Ouch.

A crazy variation to the ol’ Aces vs. Kings hand I’ve mentioned a few times before (see here), huh?  The two guys with the Kings were drawing nearly dead, and of course the kid with the Aces was a very happy camper.  The most amazing part of the story was that, with my luck with the dreaded hand, I wasn’t one of the guys with Kings.  The fact that I hadn’t arrived at the Bike yet might have had something to do with it.

Anyway, I was there less than half an hour when the kid racked up and took his chips with him.  It was a bit over $1,900.  I asked him how long he had been playing.  He said he arrived at the Bike at around 5AM.  Five AM?  My goodness, I can’t imagine any circumstances that would find me at the Bike playing poker at 5AM.  Maybe that’s why I don’t win $1,600 playing poker.

I couldn’t get Aces or Kings dealt to me in 18 hours of poker, but in that one hand, three guys had them!  But I’m pretty happy that I wasn’t one of the guys with the Kings there, at least.


Note:  This is a short post (by my standards) and I couldn't think of any appropriate pic to look for.  So I figured no one would object to this totally off-topic picture of Kate Upton.  Please let me know if I have misjudged my audience.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Thank You for Not C-Betting

On my late summer Vegas visit, I played poker with Pete Peters three times.  You’ve already read about the second time (see here) and the third time (begins here).  But what about the first time, I hear you asking. Well, your long wait is over, here it is.

It was just the two of us.  OK, technically, there were usually seven other players at the table, but of the people you know, it was just PPP and me.  And we were sitting right next to each other.  The trouble with playing right next to Pete is that I was having such a good time chatting with him, I didn’t pay as much attention to the poker as I should have.  My notes are kind of sketchy, and I probably missed some opportunities to make some plays.

But who cares, when you’re having fun?  Pete told me all sorts of great stories.  I believe we might have discussed one or more fellow bloggers.  Not sure.  He also sold me on how great it is to be a powerful attorney working for a Washington, DC law firm.  In fact, after talking to him, I was very tempted to give up all my poker-related jobs and enroll in law school so I could eventually become a junior associate in his prestigious law firm.  But I decided I was just a few years too old to go for such a dramatic career-change.  If only I was three years younger….

One problem I would have, if I made the move, is that I don’t think I could manage all the drinking necessary to do the job.  Learning the law would be a piece of cake.  Drinking to the extent that Pete did in his recent post here?  Probably not doable.  And by the way, I insist you click that link and read the post there, if you haven’t already.  It details a night of excessive drinking that is beyond belief.  It is also the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.  Seriously, if this is the funniest thing you’ve read on the internet since Windows 3.1 came out, Pete will gladly refund your money.

But I did somehow make some money this session.  Early on I had pocket 4’s three times within about a dozen hands (less, I think).  Limped in, missed.  Called a raise, missed.  The last time was the most interesting. Both my 4’s were red.  The pot was limped.  The flop was all hearts.  No one bet.  The turn was another heart, giving me a little baby flush.  Again, no one bet.  The river was a blank that didn’t pair the board.  Someone bet $10, someone called.  I didn’t think my flush was any good, but for a measly ten bucks I figured I could get a drawing ticket for the cash drawing, because, after all, I’m a drawing ticket ho’.  To my surprise, my four of hearts was the only heart shown.  The initial bettor had Ace-high, and the other guy had a low pair.  I got a ticket and the pot. 

I called a $12 raise with Ace-10 of diamonds in the small blind.  The flop had two diamonds.  I checked and called $17.  The turn was another diamond.  I decided to go for the check-raise.  He bet $35, I made it $85 and he folded.  I showed my flush to get another drawing ticket.  The dealer said, “It’s easy to play when you have the nuts, isn’t it?”  Can’t argue with that.

Then came the eerie hand.  You see, Pete had been playing at the table for some time before I joined him, and had amassed a pretty big stack.  But since I got there, he had been losing.  He seemed to be good luck for me, but I was bad luck for him.  One of the ways he had been losing money was by double-barreling.  Not just making the c-bet on the flop, but betting the turn again when he had air.  We had a long discussion about that, and I said I rarely fired the second barrel. I was planning to talk more about it in this post, but when I was doing my research for it, I went back and read Pete’s version of this night (here), and I see that he did a very thorough discussion of the double-barrel there, so I won’t repeat it.  And by the way, this evening took place before I had seen that Ed Miller video I talked about here.  One of Miller’s “rules” is that if you bet on one street, you should bet on the next street (mostly).  If you call on one street you should call (or raise) on the next street (again, most of the time).  This means I might start firing more second barrels in the future.  But at this point, I wasn’t doing that.

Now, if you read Pete’s old post, you will see that he gives an example of a hand where he has pocket 8’s.  He gave me this same example at the table this night.  And here’s the eerie part.  Within a minute of him mentioning the example hand of pocket 8’s, I looked down at my cards and saw 7-2 offsuit.

No, no, no.  I did indeed see pocket 8’s. Why couldn’t he have mentioned pocket Aces?  Well, at least he didn’t mention pocket Kings.

A guy raised to $12 and another player called and so did I.  The raiser was a guy I recognized, played with him before, and considered him a tough player, and fairly aggressive.  So when the flop came Queen or Jack high, no 8, I was surprised that he didn’t c-bet.  The other guy checked too.  The turn was a blank and no one bet.  The river was another blank and no one bet.  The raiser showed Ace-King, in other words, nothing.  The other guy mucked when he saw the first guy’s Ace.  My pocket 8’s were good.

I was shocked the guy had never fired even a single barrel, let alone two.  At that point I almost definitely would have laid down my 8’s to his bet with at least one over card on the board.  I commented to Pete about the guy not c-betting, and it sort of tied into our discussion of how many barrels to fire.  In this case, zero was definitely not the right number.  Thanks for not c-betting, sir, appreciate it. 

Flash forward two nights to the poker session with PPP, Coach and Alysia Chang.  There was a hand where I called a raise with Ace-Queen.  Again, the raiser didn’t c-bet on a fairly dry board. He didn’t bet any street, it was checked down.  He showed Ace-Jack and I took the pot.  A c-bet from him would have earned him the pot.  Instead, I took it, thank you very much.  Zero barrels is definitely not the right number.

A bit later, with a stack of around $300 (up from $200), I called a raise to $10 with Ace-2 of spades.  Three of us saw the flop, which contained two spades.  The preflop raiser bet $25, sitting on a stack of about $150.  The next guy made it $75.  He had about $200 before he bet.  To prove to you that I’m not a total drawing ticket ho’, I did fold there, rather than chase the nut flush at bad odds.  The guy who bet first folded, so I never found out if I would have hit the flush.

Last hand to talk about, it was getting late, the drawing was getting close, and I was still up over $100.  I limped in with Ace-Jack of hearts in late position.  I admit it, the limp was because I wanted to hit a flush and get another ticket.  A whole bunch of us saw the flop, there was no raise.  It was a great flop for me—Ace high, the other two cards were hearts.  A guy bet $10 and I was the only caller.  A blank hit the turn, he bet $10 again and called.  A third heart hit the river, he bet $10 yet again.  I made it $25.  He said, “I guess I know what that means,” and folded.  I showed my nut flush to get a ticket.

Alas, none of my tickets were picked, but I left up over $100.  It was a fun nite, I had a great time playing with PPP and had some interesting discussions about c-bets and double barreling.  We didn’t resolve anything about how many barrels to fire, but the value of c-betting was proven.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Late Night With Scott Davies

This past Friday night, and into Saturday morning, I was riveted to the TV, watching poker.  Scott Davies was playing for a bracelet.  Not just any ol’ bracelet.  He was playing for the Main Event bracelet at the WSOP- APAC in Australia. In other words, it was a big effing deal.

I’ve mentioned before, I don’t actually watch that much televised poker.  But I was excited to make an exception for this event, in order to cheer for Scott and see if he could get his very first WSOP bracelet.

Why did I care?  Well, for over four years now, Scott has been blogging about his adventures as a professional poker player on AVP (now PokerAtlas).  He started long before I started blogging, and before I started working for AVP.  In fact, the title of his blog is called, “My Quest for a WSOP Bracelet.” You can find his blog here.

So I’ve been following his adventures and his quest, his highs and lows, for all this time.  He’s practically family!  If my memory is accurate, I only briefly met Scott one time, last year during the WSOP in Vegas (see here).

When I learned that Scott had made the final table at the Main Event down under, and that the final table was going to be televised on ESPN live here in the US at 10PM Friday night, PST, I knew I had to watch and see if Scott could do it.  He came into the final table with the second most chips, so it was certainly doable. 

Across the twitterverse, I saw all kinds of encouragement directed at Scott.  Some of these folks no-doubt knew Scott from his AVP blog.  Not sure how the others knew him, but apparently everyone who knows him or knows of him likes him; that’s the kind of guy he is. 

In Vegas, a few of his friends organized a viewing party to watch the telecast together: AlaskaGal, Stump, Michelle, all names you’ve seen on my blog in the past.  But since I wasn’t in Vegas, I had to do the next best thing.

Friends and followers of Scott from all over organized a Facebook chat group, just so we could all watch the final table together and comment about it in real time.  Isn’t the internet cool?  I hope I don’t leave anyone out, but on the group chat were Vook, Nick, John, Jess, Benton, Dwayne, Dan (sorry, don’t have a link for him).  Oh yes, Scott’s wife, Liezl, was also part of the chat.  She was home in Canada, watching on TV like the rest of us.

And it was the chat that made it extra special.  All of us, chiming in from around the country, sharing our thoughts, our good wishes, it was just a total blast.  And keep in mind, for those of our group who live on the east coast, this started at 1AM and didn’t finish until after 5AM!  They were all troopers.

One logistics problem was that, when you televise poker “live” and you show the audience the hole cards, you have to do it on a delay (so that a player can’t have an opponent’s hole cards signaled to him).  We all took a vow not to look at twitter or any other source that would reveal the results prematurely.  Even Liezl agreed…..insisting that Scott not tell her anything when he called her during the breaks.  Honestly, I have a hard time believing she didn’t get real updates during those conversations (or that she didn’t check Twitter for current updates), but hey, I’ll go along with it. J

It was so exciting watching Scott go for the bracelet, and chatting with all his friends and fans at the same time, that I wasn’t even tired.  I had no trouble staying awake, even tho this went on well past the time I normally retire when I’m home in LA.

At the start of the 6-handed table , the biggest stack belonged to Jack Salter, but after awhile, Frank Kassela took the chip lead (moving Scott down to third, I believe) and started bullying the table around.  He went on quite a run. Meanwhile, Scott was card dead and hardly played any hands.

But to show you how fast things can turn around in tournament poker, Kassela went from chip leader to busto in the span of just two hands!  First, he had the misfortune of seeing Ace-King when Scott finally woke up with a hand….a big hand.  Pocket Aces, to be precise.  They got it all in and Scott’s Aces held (I believe there was some Hollywooding on Scott’s part before he put all his chips in the middle).  Suddenly, Scott was the chip leader. 

The very next hand, Kassela was dealt Ace-Queen, and guess what?  Salter woke up with the Aces this time.  Again they were all in, and again, the Aces held.  Bye, bye Kassela.  From the penthouse to the outhouse in two hands.

The rest of the players were soon eliminated (actually, Kassela went out 5th; the lone woman at the final table, Ang Italiano, was the first to bust) and it was heads up between Scott and Salter.

Scott had a small chip lead.  I’m not sure, but I think Salter may have jumped slightly ahead once or twice, but it was usually Scott in the lead, but never by more than 60% to 40%. 

When it was heads up, things got real interesting, thanks especially to the commentary by noted pro Antonio Esfandiari.  The few times previously I’ve heard Esfandiari doing poker commentary, I’ve always enjoyed him.  He is not only insightful, but he’s witty and charming and presents a winning personality.  I think he’s the best poker “color-man.”

Or at least I did until he started his commentary on the heads-up match.

Antonio didn’t like Scott’s play at all.  He didn’t like his heads-up style.  He clearly didn’t think Scott was aggressive enough.  He even said that he didn’t think Scott had a lot of experience heads-up. 

He was only the “guest” commentator, but really, he should have done some research.

Those of us in the Facebook chat group all knew (or soon learned) that Scott is actually a heads-up specialist.  He might have checked Scott’s cashes from this year’s WSOP.  Scott finished fourth in the $10K heads-up event. 

Antonio predicted immediately that Salter would win the bracelet; he made it clear that he felt Scott was overmatched, and kept praising Salter (and dissing Scott) even as his stack was shrinking.  It was kind of funny.  Except that it was really annoying to our little chat group of Scott’s fans.  Antonio may have lost some fans this night.   Meanwhile, Liezl was telling us that Scott was doing exactly what he wanted to do, that this was his specialty, and that he was going to win.  She laughed off Antonio’s digs at her husband and expressed total confidence in Scott.

To be fair to Antonio, he has his own view of how heads-up should be played, and that’s what he was there for, to give the viewer his expert opinion.  But you know, there’s more than one style that can be successful in poker and Antonio didn’t seem to be willing to consider that.  If you ask for advice on how to play a specific hand of five different pros, the first thing they will say to you is, “It depends.”  Then the five of them will give you at least seven different answers. 

We didn’t see it until after the event was over (on TV, that is), but we later learned that another top pro, Phil Hellmuth, had tweeted out that he disagreed with Antonio and that he actually loved Scott’s style and strategy. 

Anyway, Antonio’s disagreeable comments probably made us pull even harder for Scott, if that was possible, just so we could all kind of universally say to Antonio, “Take that!”  Or “Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah.”  Or even, “Where’s your main event bracelet, Antonio?”

Heads-up play went on for a (seemingly) long time without a lot of dramatic hands.  Scott kept chipping up, but there were no monster pots or monster hands.  It was after 2AM on the west coast, and it was beginning to look like I’d see the sunrise before this thing would be over.

There were a couple of hands that had us all going crazy on the chat.  On one, I think Scott had top pair, but there were two 4’s on the board and Salter had one in his hand.  Scott was beat, but it was hard to put Salter on a 4 and Scott could have easily thought he had the best hand.  Facing a river bet, Scott tanked for a long time.  The chat room was going crazy, “Fold!”  “Lay it down!”  Finally, Scott did indeed fold and we all cheered.

The flip side was when Scott had a Jack in his hand and there were two Jacks on the board.  But the board was scary.  Salter had a straight draw, and on the river, he missed.  But the river put a third diamond on the board.  Scott’s trip Jacks looked eminently beatable.  But Salter had absolutely nothing.  He led out with a huge overbet, bigger than the pot.  Scott went into the tank for a long, long time.

Then the weirdest thing happened.  As we were all shouting in the chat room, “Call, call, call!” the TD came over and told Scott that he had one minute to act; the clock had been called.  But no one, and I mean no one, had heard Salter call for the clock.  Even the commentators were surprised, they hadn’t heard it either.  We wondered if it was possible that the TD did it himself?  Pretty sure that isn’t allowed.  Apparently Salter must have whispered it, or perhaps had somehow signaled to the TD non-verbally.

However, Scott couldn’t hear us shouting to call (especially since, by the time we saw it on TV, it had happened half an hour earlier).  And as the clock was counting down, he folded.  Damn it!

The commentators, Antonio and Norman Chad, had a field day with this.  They both proclaimed that, even tho Scott still was the chip leader, this was the “turning point” of the match.  They clearly expected Salter to go on from there and start taking Scott’s chips as if he was taking candy from a baby.  Honestly, they way they were talking, Scott may have well as just thrown in the towel. Even before this, they were saying that Salter was clearly outplaying Scott, which was absurd. Scott was the one who was slowly but steadily building up his stack. It would have been funny if we weren’t all pulling so hard for Scott.

I assume at the break that Scott learned that he had been bluffed there, but that’s the difference between successful pros and amateurs.  They can deal with that without going on tilt.  Scott kept playing his steady game—the one Antonio didn’t like—and built his chip lead back up. 

At some point, Antonio finally realized that Scott was playing well, and started praising his moves a bit.  Then finally, just when it looked like there’d never be a truly game-changing hand, it happened.  Scott had pocket 6’s and Salter had Queen-10 (yes, Coach, the “evil hand”).  I believe Scott three-bet with his 6’s.

The flop came 10-10-6.


Scott had flopped a full house, and Salter “only” flopped trip 10’s.  On the turn there was some back and forth betting, Salter finally announced “all-in” and Scott insta-called.  He had Salter covered. The river was a blank and our pal Scott had his first WSOP bracelet—and a Main Event bracelet at that.

Out little chat group was ecstatic, to say the least.  Liezl told us that Scott had actually called her with the news while she was watching the final hand on TV (I guess Scott was tied up with interviews and such).

It was freaking awesome.

Side note:  I’m pretty sure that in the entire 4+ hours of poker, we never saw anyone get dealt the dreaded pocket Kings, for whatever that’s worth.

Congratulations to Scott Davies, Main Event bracelet winner!  No doubt there are more bracelets in your future!