Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Up All Night

Managed to score 3rd at Caesar's last night for $1700. Caesar's have a slightly odd structure, big jumps between levels but to mitigate that the levels are 40 minutes. On balance I probably like it, although a result always helps in that respect !

If you can double up early on in these fast comps it really helps. This time I was gifted the doublage after raising with AA and being called in 4 spots. I bet 1000 on a flop of 873 rainbow (fairly safe looking) and the small blind check-raised all in for about 6000. I called him without much thought and he tabled 75. No more drama and as he walked off he said "that's what I put him on, Aces or Kings". Go figure. Once you're ahead of the game you usually just have to avoid losing two pots in a row, and I managed to do this despite some ups and downs to reach the final with an average stack of 40K.

However, with blinds at 2K-4K/400 the average stack constituted about 4 times the starting pot ! My kind of game :-). We lost two players and on the next break there was a lot of talk about a deal. If I learned something yesterday it was this : remind me to shoot myself if I ever even consider a 7-way deal again. In a moment of weakness I almost accepted one but managed to get a hold of myself just in time to a) play on and b) piss off half the table. Oh well. Despite only average luck on the all-ins (lost two from in front won two from behind) I made it 3-handed with about 25% of the chips, but then I finally did lose two in a row (one in front one coin flip) and that was that. 3rd for $1700 and as a bonus I now have an ITIN number application in the system. I'll talk about the way people play in these in more detail at some point but for now just note that most people suck in these $200 comps.


I'm done with the Venetian and I give it a thumbs up. Beautiful rooms, nice food and a reasonably well-run poker room. I'm now off to slum it in the Orleans for a couple of days. I could have won every tournament I played so far and I still wouldn't pay $600+ for a room on the Strip just because it's New Year. At least an afternoon off from poker will be good today, especially in my zombie-like state after being up till 3am last night. On Monday I'll be back on strip at Paris, which I thought I'd try as a change seeing as it's only 3 nights. My guidebook rates it as the very best value for money, which makes sense as I can't see Americans paying top whack to stay at the hotel of surrender-eating cheese-monkeys or whatever it is they call them. All in all it's nice to be here, nicer still because I'm up on the trip and nicest of all because I hear that football matches are being abandoned back home due torrential rain. Enjoy :-)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Flying High

Off to a slowish start, bonged out of 3 tournaments in the usual different ways - murdered my chips in the first hour, got hold of a good stack and then lost 2 big pots, hung around forever and lost the second allin. I also scored my biggest ever US cash win, a pathetic $370, which just about equals one win in a $100 SNG online, but a win's a win and that softened the tournament losses. Then today I thought, well, I'll play 3 tournaments if I have to, start off quickly and give Arnie's formula a chance to work its magic. Starting with the noon $180 (effectively) at the Venetian.

Which is all very well but the situations to make position plays have to arise and basically they didn't. Fortunately I doubled up twice on complete gifts instead. First I somehow extracted the lot with QJ on a board of QQJQ. I assume he had another Jack. Betting the turn definitely helped me, although it doesn't excuse it entirely from his POV. Then some geezer took offence to me check-raising him for the second time and launched it all in on the turn with AK on a rag board against my JJ. That'll teach me. Then I won a few decent pots AK v AQ, TT v KQ, AQ v KQ, pressed the eggs around the bubble and entered the final as chip leader.

Down to 5-handed and it was clear that I had 2 players and 2 goons to deal with. At this point a cast-iron law of poker came into effect. When some egg messes up the action by playing out of turn, invariably someone gets fucked as a result. Every time. Goon 1 throws his hand away in the big blind, says "they didn't touch the muck" and pulls them back. Good job you did that mate, you might get a walk now. Goon 2, some woman, makes a minimum raise in the cut off. I don't think so biatch, I'm all in. She insta-calls with KK. I have 22. 2 on the flop, never in doubt.

After that we circle around waiting for the other goon to wank off his short stack, he obliges, we play on for about 15 minutes and when the deal talk begins I have about half the chips. Short stack suggests a proportional chip count deal. He wasn't a bad player but he needs to read a book or two (Kill Phil covers this quite succinctly). I put on my most ingenuous face and say, hmmm, yeah we could do that. After 10 minutes of tortuous calculator work from the tournament director I trouser $2450. Chingy ching. Nice guys the two players, and I figure the least I can do is buy the short stack a beer (the other guy declined politely) [1]. Well, the least I could do would be explain to him how bad the proportional chip deal is for a short stack, but I don't. So anyway, not a bad day's work and I can pass on this evening's events, kick back a bit.

[1] Good job really seeing as two crappy bottles of Amstel Light cost me $16 as it was.


We have a new champion for the Most Pathetic Pot-Odds Related Fold In Poker History prize. The previous winner can fuck off, he's nowhere now. 200-400 with 25 ante. Some geezer limps. The egg makes it 1600. Geezer goes all in for 725 more. I swear, I know you won't believe me but I swear on everything I hold dear, the egg dwells up a bit and passes. He even had plenty of chips. I have to turn away to hide my expression of utter disbelief and contempt. Another guy can't keep it in, English guy I think though I didn't have a chance to talk to him, and says "Come on, you have to call with like 23 there". As is probably another iron law of poker, the egg has to compound it by talking some shite, and he says "I understand the game sir". Hehe. Shout that from the rooftops if you like, it doesn't make it so.


I have to bite my tongue sometimes at some of the casual, well you could call it racism really. A geezer goes all in on the turn for about 2/3 of the pot and some dude calls him. Now the board is QQ53 or something like that, the geezer has A5 and the caller dude JT. Wtf ? All becomes clear when the river comes an Ace and the dude announces "straight !". Once the ensuing confusion is cleared up he laughs and says he couldn't see the board and thought one of the Queens was a King. Fair enough. But then someone goes "You had a Mexican straight", and someone else finds this so amusing he has to repeat it 2 or 3 times chuckling to himself. Unless I'm missing something here, unless Mexican Stud is some game like Soko where 4-card gutshots count, the only reason it could be a Mexican straight is because Mexicans are stuuuuupid. Hmmm. I don't reckon too many Mexicans would pass for the last 725 in a 4700 pot.


Also one more thing, there was a very active player at the other end of the table ; he didn't last long, having bluffed off most of his chips, run the rest up to half a stack by moving in with rags and winning, and then busting out with Aces when the 725 egg called him pre-flop with 53 and hit two pair. At one point he was telling his neighbours how he wrote poker articles, and I thought I heard him say his name was Matt Slessinger or something. Now I've googled, it might well have been this guy. If I'd known he was the author of "The Book Of Bluffs" when he reraised my attempted steal on the second hand of the tournament, I might have done something about it :-). At the time I thought he was a bit wild but I could at least see what he was trying to do. 10 seconds after he was out the door half the table agreed "that guy didn't know what he was doing". Who is right ? We'll never know. But it's probably me.

Update : I might be right that the guy could play, but I was wrong about who it was. I emailed Matt Lessinger and he said it wasn't him. Who exactly it was will remain a mystery.


In some ways it's a bit of a pain this being New Year. Prince tickets are $315 this weekend instead of the usual $125 and, unless he plays for three times as long, that's a gyp. I'm going to gamble that he's still playing in the summer and hold out till then. Although, as Pete B suggests, I could go and see Purple Reign at the Monte Carlo. Meanwhile the Venetian usually have a $500 tournament on Saturdays with 10K chips which would have been a nice change, but now it's a special $1000 Joe Hachem hosted tournament. With Q&A beforehand. How much did you trouser for this Joe would be the only question that springs to my mind, although to be fair he seems alright Hachem I have no bone to pick with the guy.


As for the flight, well it's difficult for me to compare because I've never flown business class before. The plane was a bit shabby-looking inside and the seats a bit plasticky but to be fair you could recline right back, there was all the legroom you needed and the food was a cut above the usual airline fare. Worth an extra 50% on the price ? Ahh, probably, if you're not on a tight budget. I'll see if I can sleep on the flight back which is an overnighter, that would be a big plus if I can.


Speaking of sleep I'm still not quite in phase here. Obviously I've shifted a bit but my body is most insistent that it wants to sleep from about 9pm - 5am and that's its final offer. However I can live with this because even if I stick with that, once I'm in Tunica that should become midnight - 8am which is just about perfect. They do say that West Coast players have an advantage in places like Atlantic City because of the time difference, we'll see if this pays off when I hit the Deep South.


Finally, if you think our footballers are up themselves, you should see these NFL guys. Christ on a bike !!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Tomorrow I Will Fly

Thanks to Titmus for suggesting the title above. I could have mocked up a whole blood on the bathroom wall representation but I decided against, not so much on the grounds of taste as the grounds of I couldn't be arsed.

The main point of this trip, apart from escaping the cold and wet of an English winter, is to follow Greenstein's number one rule for tournament success : play lots of tournaments. I should be looking to play at least 25 tournaments around the $300-$500 level, and see what happens. If I go 0/25, no big deal, back to the internet. If I can actually bring any $ back after expenses, then I might have a bash at a few £300/£500s back here. There is really no reason why I shouldn't have a good expectation. I look back to when I was playing these 5 years ago and it's embarrassing how much I didn't know back then. No doubt there's still plenty I don't know now - just not as much.

While I'm out there, as an internet poker nerd, I have an obligation to mention huggling, toasters, $30K handjobs, I will fly one day and anything else I can think of as much as I possibly can. Huggling, as I said on Dr Pauly's blog the other day, is the new Jopke. It has to be a calling card for the internet generation. Stay tuned for updates, both here and on the Secrets blog.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Nuke The Whales

Alright politico-types, pretend I'm thick and explain this one to me. Why exactly should North Korea abandon its nuclear weapons programme when we're making more ?

Update : I just read the best bit. "the US offered North Korea a further package of incentives - including a written guarantee not to attack ". LOL and ROT fucking F as they say. Tell you what Uncle Sam, how about if North Korea gave you a written guarantee not to attack, then would it be OK for them to get nuked up ?

Just to clarify this, I'm not particularly interesting in discussing the game theory of it all. The acronym isn't MAD for nothing. The amazing thing is this was all concocted by supposed geniuses like von Neumann, although as Fox said, he can't have been that clever because he was a chronic smoker.

What I'm talking about is the staggeringly insane hypocrisy of it all. Who's advising them on policy here, Brandi Hawbaker ?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Scenes From The Vic

A couple of things from last night I did want to share, sad though they may be, I found them amusing. The first is the Vic's resident lounge pianist on the second floor. I quite like it to be honest, he just tinkles away in the background fairly quietly. If you listen though, it is one hell of a mix he puts together. One of the dealers was insistent that he had been playing ringtones earlier in the evening. While I was there, among others I recognised the theme from Rainbow, which comes across remarkably well when played on a lounge piano, and Stars And Stripes which is immediately more recognisable to the football fan as the tune to "Here We Go". What's next, I mused, "Come And Have A Go If You Think You're Hard Enough" ?

Then later Dr Channing told me an amusing story from the previous week. Greg Raymer was in town doing some EPT TV stuff and, of an evening, he was ligging around various home games and the Vic. So Greg was sitting in the Vic reading a magazine and waiting for his seat in whatever game. Meanwhile most people were giving it the classic British reserved ignore-the-celebrity pose (definitely one of our better racial characteristics). As an aside, Neil confirmed the story I heard from a dealer earlier in the evening that when Doyle Brunson was in the Vic last year, everyone completely blanked him to the point that no one helped him when he was in apparent difficulty getting around on is crutches.

Anyway, back to last week, and while Greg is sitting there M-ing his own B, who is on the phone in a nearby cash game but DY. David, bless him, has a habit of talking on the phone as though no one can hear him even though, if it's a local call, the callee could probably just about hear him unaided, without having to go through all that telephone rigmarole. "YOU'LL NEVER GUESS WHO'S JUST WALKED INTO THE VIC," blares DY. At this point a mutual acquaintance, who played in a home game with Greg the previous night, catches the champ's eye and they have a quick eyebrow conversation along the lines of "Sorry about this / Don't worry it happens all the time". The instant this information has been exchanged, DY continues "DOM SUTTON !!". At this point, Greg buries himself back in his magazine. Ah fame, it's so fleeting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

Right, we're doing this and we're doing it large. Maxjet to Vegas on the 25th, 5 nights in the Venetian, slum it in the Orleans for 30th/31st to avoid paying the thick end of a grand for two nights, and three more nights on the Strip wherever. Then hit Tunica on the 4th, hang out there for 2 weeks, hop to JFK and Maxjet back from there. That last flight is the best of the lot, Business class one-way JFK to Stansted for $700. It's worth checking Maxjet out any time you're in the US, internal flights are dirt cheap to connect to/from wherever you're going. The most difficult part of the whole thing might be getting to Stansted on Christmas Day, but worst case I can train up the night before and stay in a hotel. I don't know if Santa can fit down the chimney in a Holiday Inn but that's a risk I'm prepared to take.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Itchy Feet

I'm seriously considering a month in the US. Christmas and New Year in Vegas, then a week or two in Tunica for their WPT thingy. Vegas over Christmas is something I've thought about before, and right now I'd have to say why not. You might think flights would cost an arm and a leg, and they do, unless you fly on Boxing Day or even Christmas Day. It's all the same to me. Has anyone flown on the Maxjet all-business class yet ? About £1000 return if I want to large it.

As for Tunica I've been there before and it is a dump apart from the poker, but there are some good things they do down there. They acknowledge that there's life outside NLHE, and there's basically a $500 tournament every day, various games for the first week and then when the buyins rise after that, the second chance tournaments are all $500, which is about the level I want to play at. In fact, when it comes to live MTTs, I shouldn't even get out of bed for less than $300/£150. A lot of my frustration with live play on the last trip was down to the fact that I was playing too small. At $500 a pop you don't get so many cockwits who just want an audience because no one pays them the slightest bit of attention in real life.

Throw in the cheap dollar and it's very tempting. What am I missing, football, that's about it, and I'm sure that can manage without me for a month. It's not that I have no life here, it's just that I can do most of the things I enjoy out there too. It would be good for my game to go out there and play a $500 comp every day, or every day that I'm playing anyway, and if I do $15K so what, it's not going to bust me. If anyone else is going to be out there let me know.