I'm Taking My Ball And Going Home

Rejoice, for this blog is over. Celebrate the arrival of Absinthetics. You can now find everything there that still (for now) exists here. If you're looking to update RSS: feed://www.absinthetics.com/blog/feed/atom/ should get you there.


The Clairmont, Part I

Mystery Hotel
Originally uploaded by ShaneNickerson.
I finally got around to vamping on Nickerson's Mystery Hotel meme.I am a long-winded bastard; hence, this is a serial. Probably. If anyone wants to pay me to find out what happens next.

Without further ado:


It was in the morning that things always became the hardest. In the cruel light streaming through the Clairmont's dusty windowpanes, it was less easy to pass off the previous night's affairs as a dream, a bit of bad sausage gone down wrong and left to rot too quickly during a brief period of somnolence.

Harkins had been manning the desk while I tidied up, as per usual, hoping for a quick bit of day business, perhaps visitors from the flop trade. As per usual, no-one came knocking.

I was glad, this once, that our door remained undarkened. Cleaning the rooms had taken too long, and the work had left me effusing strong scents of lye and copper, which would only fade with a good scrubbing (the latter) and a sprinkling of vinegar (the former). Harkins did not mind; he had in fact become so inured to the smell that he hardly noticed it, and so it was that I began cleaning the rooms in his stead lest the odors drive off our few potential guests.

Our two tenants had both made their exits in the wee hours - though not without paying - and with the rooms cleaned and freshened we had little enough to do with ourselves, needing only to pass the time until the shifting crescent of light on the floor became a sliver and the gaslamps and electric bulbs were brought to bear on the encroaching darkness.

I fancied a nap, and saying so to Harkins, I made my way to the cot in our office and wrestled with the lumpy cotton until it was in a shape that gave me some comfort, if little peace. The light was fainter here, a spattering of smears in the dust - Harkins' duty to clean the office, not mine, and come damnation I will not have lifted a finger to save him this of all troubles. The cascade of beams across the roughly-plastered wall brought to mind other, less hypnotic patterns, but nonetheless my eyes promptly closed, and I was asleep.

Cranes' calls, the soft bleating of the willows, and then this voice:


I was rigid, arms clenched at my sides, willing them to move but unable to lift them.

"Adam. Wake up."

I can see clearly, but yet my eyes will not open. Curious.


Harkins. My arms and legs wobbly, I attempted to roll from the cot, anything to get real legs under me.

"We have a guest."

And then another kind of paralysis swept over me. From the light that remained it was too early, too early by half, but there is no reckoning the time of a guest's arrival; they come when they come.

And so, to work.


I Am Not Poker Champ

In related news: The Poker Champ shot the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy suffered a fatal blunt head trauma when the bitch went after my upper right second molar, and the dead fat guy in your chimney is proof that there definitely isn't a Santa Claus anymore.



I hear there was a WSOP qualifier tonight. Wish I'd had time to play, as it's likely the only way I'm playing in a WSOP event this year. Unfortunately I was busy throwing together some treatments for a teaser trailer for a much-blogged-about movie whose title I won't mention except to say that it rhymes with Flakes On A Blain. I dunno if it'll pan out but I floated some faintly amusing ideas.


A Sad Announcement

It pains me to say this, because I've been close to this guy over the years, but I regret to inform readers of this blog that I, Absinthe, can no longer put up with Absinthe's shit anymore and therefore will not be contributing to this blog anymore. He's such a fucking tool. Every time I look in the mirror, there he is, grinning at me. What you grinning at, smart guy? The other day I punched him but me must have punched me back because all of a sudden my hand was bloody. Who punches somebody in the hand, anyway? Then he was holding this bottle of shit and I was like, ooo, painkiller, maybe this guy isn't so bad. Nope. Hydrogen fucking peroxide. So there I am, foamy knuckles, looking at Absinthe, and I realized, dammit, it's over. Fucking asshole. It's like I don't know him anymore. It's like he turned into Otis or something. I hear Blood is hiring, maybe he's not such an asshole. Can't be any worse than that fucking Absinthe guy.


I had my first experience with the ponies on Sunday last. A friend of ours' brother works at Santa Anita and scored us passes to the Turf Club, which I learned probably has the strictest dress code in LA short of the Academy Awards. Or, you know, that mansion to which a bunch of other bloggers were invited. At least I didn't have to wear a tie. I followed the advice of a certain Genius Who Shall Not Be Named and made a careful study of the racing form, which was simultaneously the best and most expensive $4.50 I'll ever spend. In the first race I found what looked like a good bet; the #1 horse didn't have a great record but really seemed to run well along the rail, while the second-favorite had short odds and didn't seem to do well from the outside. So I put in an exacta bet for the favorite to win and the #1 horse to come in second. Turned out I was dead right and the second-favorite was never a factor. I pocketed my winning ticket while everyone praised my betting acumen. Unfortunately that was the last bet of any significance I won. However, one of our novice friends bet (and won) two consecutive superfectas, for a cool $2200 profit. So that worked out okay. My poker experiences lately have been lean and bloody, like... a skirt steak? Like a bad skirt steak, I guess. A brief inability to win when I'm 4.5 to 1 has kept me from moneying in any of the FTP guarantees. I'm presently playing the first cash games I've played in ages. Results have been mixed due to a string of bad beats and, I'm ashamed to admit, opponents who've outplayed me. I know I've given up the best hand a few times today, and nobody's returned the favor. So the time has come to be a donkey.


Not Quite Dead Yet

...but feeling like I'd rather be. Went to SXSW, which was a blast as always, hung out with some bloggers, etc. I'll give y'all a shout-out once I'm feeling up to an actual post. I think I caught the plague from our friend Lyle. Right now I'm at the stage where it hurts to talk, which means that soon icebergs of phlegm will begin detaching themselves from my sinuses and being expelled in dramatic fashion, hopefully during meals.


None Of My Exes Live In Texas

...but that's where I'm going anyway, off to SXSW. Expect even less from this space until the 20th or so. I know I've been quiet lately. No new revelations, a couple of high finishes in FTP tourneys, a final-table implosion at the WWdN. Still haven't jumped back into cash games, mostly due to my feeling that the FTP tourneys give a better return for the amount of time I'm willing to put in at the moment. I'll probably change my mind when I bomb out of the next forty or so, but until then, banzai!



This bastard got me a meme for my birthday. Just what I wanted! My life in Los Angeles has been a little less... diverse... than my pre-LA existence. This is the longest I've lived in one place since I was in grade school. So the meme is hereby virused in minor ways. Four Jobs I've Had In My Life in LA: Reality Producer (Investigating A Space-Age New-Age Cult That Wasn't Scientology) Reality Producer (In A Maximum-Security State Pen) Reality Producer (On Porn Sets) Ex-Reality Producer, Freelance Writer And Poker Novice Four Movies About LA I Could Watch Over And Over: Chinatown LA Story The Long Goodbye The Big Lebowski Four Places I've Lived All Over L.A. (With Food Memories From Each): Hollywood's the only place I've lived. Four local food memories: Chilaquiles at the counter of Loteria Grill Steak frites at Cafe Des Artistes My first In'N'Out Burger (double-double, ketchup & mustard instead, raw onion) The dandy vanilla lattes at groundwork Four LA-Themed Shows I Love(d) To Watch: In the interests of not agonizing over this on my goddamn birthday, and considering my serious TV fixation, this is hereby limited to shows currently on the air or ones that just got cancelled. The Shield Six Feet Under The OC Arrested Development Four Places I Would Vacation At In LA: ... ...every day in LA is a vacation. That's why it's hell. Four LA-Based Websites I Visit Daily: BoingBoing CitySearch Crooks And Liars The Obituarium Four Of My Favorite Foods Found In LA: Zankou Chicken Orochon Ramen's Hyper Orochon ramen with cha-shu and green onions The frutti di mare risotto at Vivoli Cafe Burritos from Sharky's Four Places In LA I Would Rather Be Right Now: The ArcLight The Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax Hanging upside down and moving backwards at 50MPH somewhere in Six Flags Magic Mountain Dropping a wad of cash at Meltdown Comics Tagged: Phil Chris JoeSpeaker, who could use something else to think about Change100


Mojo No Go

Since the end of the LAPC I've played online tournaments. Not a lot of 'em - poker and I have been taking a little time apart - but enough to convince me that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Whatever mojo I had, it left me. I couldn't get action when I had a hand unless I was beat, couldn't bluff to save my life, couldn't push someone off a weaker hand in time to stop them sucking out on me. Earlier tonight I lost one huge pot (and effectively any shot at cashing) when I was better than a 96% favorite on the flop. Which is the sort of thing that makes one a little gunshy. Thankfully, all this has made me realize that nobody else has any idea what they're doing either. The "better" you get at playing lower buyin online tournaments, the more you come to understand that the first half is an very densely packed minefield; all you can hope for is to get cards that'll let you get your money in at 3 to 1 or better. (Maybe less true of "deep stack" tourneys, but I haven't had time for those.) The price of this revelation, until tonight, was a big fat zero. That'd be return on investment of exactly nil. Nada. Half a dozen token SNGs on Full Tilt? Zero tokens. $50K worth of Guaranteed tournaments? I had a guaranteed nothing. I was about ready to declare myself incapable of playing online tournaments. Then I landed 4th in tonight's night-owl $8K Guaranteed, which explains exactly why I'm up so goddamn late. Pretty confident I could have brought home the gold but for a seemingly inexplicable play (opponent's, not mine) when we were five-handed. I was dominant before the flop (when the majority of the money went in) and had eleven outs twice on the flop for a no-brainer call, so I can't even lay it at the feet of the bad beat bugbear. I managed to get the remainder of my money in drawing substantially slimmer a couple orbits later. Like it says on the tombstones of three-eighths of the world's deceased poker players: I had two live cards.


This Ain't About Me

Wil Wheaton is kicking ass and taking names on the second day of the WPT Invitational - he started the day with 17K and now has over 90K, a double-par stack. Go reload the fuck out of Dr Pauly's coverage to stay up-to-the-minute and cheer on a representative of bloggerdom.


After Math And Post Facto Draws

I'm ready to call my run at the LAPC a qualified success. Winning 300 buyins in a tourney to start doesn't hurt. I was running fairly well for the remainder of the tournaments as well, though the satellites and the main event ate into my bottom line. The last couple weeks weren't great, and were mostly a lesson in how lucky you need to get to make a big cash, which is hard to absorb when your first big tournament goes so smashingly. But in the span of a month I did a staggering number of things I've never done before. I've played with some pros without curling into a fetal ball, even bluffed them out of pots I needed to win. Played higher limits than I ever have (the difference really IS just the bet size). I've been in a set-over-set-over-set hand. I've walked into a bank with a laptop case lined with a few bricks of cold, hard cash and subsequently freaked out the personal banker; I think her read on me went from "nice young man" to "probable drug kingpin" in the span of two words. I've called bets that, whatever their chip consequences, were essentially for $10K and $20K, and been right both times. I've heard my wife shout "It's not gambling!" at my mother, in response to my mother's probing question about my presumptive "gambling problem". All that said, I'm craving familiarity now. I left Commerce tonight earlier than I'd planned, because I realized I'd rather get home to my wife than spend another second in an increasingly weird limit game. I have a much healthier bankroll now, and I plan to use it, but I'm not hitting the tournament circuit anytime soon (and I don't have the bankroll for it anyway). I looked over the schedule and structures for the WSOP and couldn't get excited about them - the LAPC events had a better blind structure, more starting chips, and similar level times. So after a month of living, breathing and dreaming poker, I have no idea what the "next step" is. I've got several unpokerish projects that have languished overlong, a trip to SXSW in March, and a need to decompress my head. Also I think I'm getting a cold. I've never been good at making a long story short, but longtime readers already knew that. Do keep watching this space, but don't expect a whole lot from it in the near future. I have a life to reconstruct, a wife and three cats who've missed me, and an appointment at the DMV. It's all about the priorities; suddenly I have more options than usual and I'm going to need a little time to explore them.


In Slightly Gorier Detail

Blair Rodman is the guy who busted me. I wish him the best. We were both sitting on about T15K at that point. He had me covered by only a few hundred. Blinds 100/200/25. I completed and he raised to T800. Hey, action! He's got position on me so I want to build the pot. Also, I figure I've got the best hand right now. I reraise to T2500. He seems startled by this, but after a minute moves all-in. For T12500 more. I know he doesn't have aces. Not 100% but the play doesn't make that much sense with aces. Glyphic had sent me a few messages with data on the guy, including a few passages from Rodman's book in which he recommends using the all-in play with abandon. If he puts me on a pair like tens or jacks he could move there with a hand as weak as AT, QQ, JJ ... I know he doesn't have the aces. If he doesn't have the aces I'm at least 70-30 to win, more if he's got a pocket pair lower than mine. I think he has either AK or QQ. I remember TJ Cloutier's admonition against going broke with less than aces preflop on the first day of a tournament, but decide it can't possibly apply here. I know I have the best hand. If I'm not going to take a chance like this I shouldn't be in the tourney to begin with. You know the rest. Turns out he has one ace. Then the flop comes and all of a sudden he has three. I am slightly irritated by D. Negreanu at this point because Negreanu starts repeating, "Drawing dead, drawing dead," over and over for no particular reason that I can make out. Irritated because, first, it's obvious to everyone that I have just taken a particularly brutal overkill beat - one ace would have been plenty, thanks - and though my eyes and brain may be a little wobbly at the moment it's because I know I just got badly outflopped. And second, because he's wrong. Even with the staggering, crushing blow the dealer's just given me, I can see that I am, in fact, not drawing dead - the AAT flop gives me a runner-runner gutshot draw to chop. Turn is a J. "Drawing dead." I nearly give him the stare of death but decide I need all the karma I can get at the moment. A queen on the river would be nice. It would be just. I'd take it and thank my luck, never mind that cursed flop. But the river is a ten, he has a boat, I have kings and tens, and we're so close in chips I have to lean over and count my chips down to the last to make sure I'm actually covered. Which I am. Rodman was a gentleman about it. He said sorry and that he didn't have me on such a strong hand. Of course, if I hadn't, he wouldn't have anything to be sorry about because I would have just folded. I didn't stick around to watch him stack my chips. I hope he puts them to good use. I would recommend, in all sincerity, that he use them to play AK very fast, because it's hard to argue with that kind of success. A hell of a lot harder from the rail.

System Shock

I limped from the SB with KK. BB raised. I reraised. BB moved in. I thought about it and called. BB tables AKo.

AAT flop.

So, that was fun.

Learning To Swim

I raise to T600 in EP with KhQh. Three (!) callers. Maybe table image not so good.

228 flop, two diamonds. I bet T1800, everyone folds. Table image good. Bowels maybe less good.

Negreanu maybe about to lose a lot of money, I think COTE flopped a set.

...no, just massively overbetting top pair, but none of Negreanu's draws came in (though he was a favorite, I think). Score another for Cop On The Edge.

Math Problem

700 gamblers (and, in some cases, their entourages) are released for a forty-five minute dinner break at the same time with the instruction that they must leave the room. If a casino has seven food outlets, four of which seem incapable of processing more than twenty customers an hour, how many fistfights will occur per minute? Express your answer as a function of the time remaining until the dinner break ends.

T17K on the nose at the break. Still 100/200 when we come back. I played (and lost) a tiny pot with Negreanu when I didn't bet my turned double-gutter draw (JT on an AK78 board), river was a deuce, he had 44. Shoulda bet; then again I don't have anything and he has to think the only way to win the pot is with a raise.

Still no real cards, but I did resteal from the blind with KJo and get away with it. Table image solid, so I once again hope to put it to good use when the antes come in, which is after the next half-hour of play.

The Kid Is Back

Negreanu just doubled through Cop On The Edge with a flopped jack-high flush. COTE chased with Ad and missed.

So now the monster has chips.

Good News, Bad News

Good: they finally filled the 1 seat so we're no longer 8-handed.



... it's Negreanu.

If Deuces Were Horses

... I could spend a lot of time at the paddock.

Did get KK. Got a little action with it but not much. Aggressive players on my right and a lot of hands I'd call them with, but I'm not getting any of them. Suited connectors and baby pairs, where are you?

T17.6K or so, ten minutes left at this level, then 100/200.

Dealer Beat

I nearly just won a pot I shouldn't have. I limped with 88, Cop On The Edge raised from late position. Flop 99T. I was fairly certain COTE had none of this and check-called, planning to bet or raise the turn. But the turn was a K. I checked, he checked. River K. Great.

"Counterfeited, I'm playing the board," I said.

...and he mucked his hand. Sort of. He pushed it toward the dealer, who stared at him open-mouthed for a few seconds.

And THEN he reached out and turned his hand over, which included an ace.

For the record, I'm not the one who called for the floor.

Little controversy a bit later that tilted the one seat so badly he blew off his stack calling a massive overbet by Cop On The Edge. Overpair no good against three deuces.

What happened was, I called his turn bet, made the nut flush on the river, and was looking down at my chips deciding how much I was going to bet. So I didn't see him check and the dealer wasn't looking at me. So I asked, "you check?" and he opened his hand (which obviously I could beat) having heard only "check". Floor!

He accused me of angle-shooting. Probably I should have showed him my flush but I wasn't interested in sharing.

Down to about T17K, maybe a bit more. No cards. No hurry. It's mostly keeping me out of trouble, anyway.

Card Sense 1, Common Sense 0

I raised with KJs from (relatively) early position. Overaggressive player in the 3 (he's vibrating like a Cop On The Edge) reraises from the SB. I call knowing that a good flop will give me a lot of chips.

Flop comes jack high. He checks. Somehow I know I'm beat and check behind. Turn is a blank. He checks again. This time I'm counting out chips but change my mind and check again. River is another blank, he makes a half-pot bet of T1000, I call, he shows queens.

So I lost T2000 with top pair good kicker. But at least I had a good read.

The guy's a nut. He's bluff-checkraised into a straight on the river when only holding top pair. I think I may get my chips back.

Sorry, T.J.

Coming into the first break with one T100 chip less than I started with. No cards. I've played one pot where I turned two pair with ATo; player on my left folded to a smallish river bet.

Every steal I've attempted has succeeded, so obviously I should be stealing more.

One pair so far, 22, and it was with two limpers and a raise ahead of me. I folded.

Chip count: T19900, 50/100 blinds when we come back.

The Advertising Budget

Haven't played a pot in forever. Buttson-raised with J6o. Took it down. It's the small victories that are best.

No cards. I'm in no hurry, but I need to raise once in a while to buy some action once I get them. I think.

Blair Rodman and (I think) Maureen Feduniak are on my left. Don't recognize anyone else. Juanda and Darden are one table over, D'Agostino's nearby, Hellmuth just made his entrance a while ago. Tough field.

Cards In The Air Like You Just Don't Care

I'm up T100. Not much when you consider starting stacks are T20K, but it's a start.

Mile One

This is a marathon.

Cards in the air now, ostensibly, but the line is still huge and a lot of players haven't taken their seats yet. I can see the stacks of chips, though. They're pretty. I already want more of them.

The Big Dance

All you gotta do is not get broke. Every day.


I've got less buyer's remorse about this than I had when dropping nearly twice that on a new car. Funny how one win changes things. I've gotten used to making a read and going with it. Once you put down the money, you're committed.

My read is that I have a shot. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

I'm confident, but not overconfident. The way you feel about your hand doesn't change what it is.

To paraphrase Hemingway, I'll try simply to play the best poker I can; I might get lucky and play better than I can. It's more often true in poker than in writing.

Early on in a tournament, when I make a marginal call, I'm almost always right. I need to find that ability when things get deeper, when the bets are more significant. I'm good with a shortstack, but I need to get better at not becoming one.

This is Day 1. There's a lot of room to maneuver in the early going. If I get broke today, it won't be because I played badly; it'll be because I got unlucky.

I can live with that.

Phil's Favorite Part Of The Show: I Report, You Decide

Hand #1: (KK vs. ??, QJx flop with two clubs; pot is T12300, you have T20K, BB covers) Everyone is obviously in favor of betting here. I chose the hand mainly because it's one I remember and it was a point at which a marginal decision can have a great impact, when you're in that never-neverland where you have to make an arbitrary decision between moving to take down the already extremely valuable pot, and getting full value for your hand - where the size of your stack makes it difficult to make a reasonable bet that both protects your hand and doesn't smell like week-old halibut. When the BB checked, I started building myself a little mental chip abacus. I knew how much was in the pot and how much I had left, but I couldn't decide how much to bet. On a less-coordinated flop I would probably bet about half the pot or a little more (my continuation bets are usually a little more than 1/2 pot, though the time for continuation bets was pretty much over at this point in the tourney). A half-pot bet gives him 2:1 to call and pretty near commits me (pot of T24K, I have 14K remaining). If he has a drawing hand I'd really rather he didn't play it, all things considered. I probably can't get away from my hand so I want to get the most money I can in on the flop. Full-pot bet seems a little silly/fishy to me. I'd see through it - you're going to bet 12K and leave just 8K behind? You have to love your hand to do that. It wrecks the drawing odds, sure, but it also makes it easier to get away from second pair. Top pair probably isn't going anywhere anyway. I'd seen this opponent checkraise on more than one occasion, but I'd also seen him smooth-call with a set and draws. Solid player, aggressive, not a big fan of being pushed around. So I narrowed down my decision to two possible bet sizes: tiny and all-in. If I bet out 3K or 4K, and he has any piece of the flop, he's likely to raise me. The raise is preferable, to me, as if he smooth-calls I'm forced to shut down. If he has QJ or a set I'm going to go broke here; I'm not good enough to get away from KK in this situation just yet. If I shove all-in, he may put me on AK or TT and call with any piece of the flop. I finally decided that the pot was valuable to me already, that I didn't want to give a cheap card (with AK I might just call a 1/4 pot bet there, too) and that there were a number of hands he could call me with that I could beat. I shoved. He debated - he definitely wanted to call me - but finally he said "We're not there yet," and mucked. He seemed fairly confident that he'd folded the best hand, which to my mind just reconfirms that he didn't. Hand #2: (T2o vs. limper (??) and SB (??), 89T flop with two spades, pot is T5400, you are BB with 18K behind, SB checks) This is, to my mind, a let's-separate-the-men-from-the-boys kind of hand. You have very little information, a very vulnerable hand, and a huge stack that has position on you. The limp from the big stack is very suspicious to me. (In a poker tournament it's not paranoia - they really are out to get you.) This player is reasonably observant and has a big enough stack that he could limp with a monster and hope one of the blinds catches enough of the flop to make a kamikaze run at the pot. It took me a little while to check behind the SB, but check I did. I don't like to lead into an unknown hand with a hand that can't stand a reraise, and though it's hard to put the limper on a particular hand, I don't think it's 23o. I'm crushed by a large number of limp-worthy holdings even if he doesn't have a monster. My equity isn't that great against something like 78 (or even 77), 88 and 99 have me all but dead, T9, JT, QT, AT, and let's not forget QJ for the straight. I already went up against that one and I'd rather not do it again so soon. I checked hoping for a free card. Didn't get one. The limper led out for 3500. SB folded immediately. I did the math. 3500 now makes the pot 12.4K, I'll have less than 15K left. Do I want to come that close to committing myself when I think I may be drawing to a three-to-five outer? My read on the limper is that he has something, but I become less trustful of my reads as a tourney progresses and decisions become more consequential. If this were level one and I still had chips to play with I'd call him here - my value calls work amazingly well for me early on. But it's not level one. If I'm wrong I'm out. Folding here just costs me a marginal hand where my edge is thin at best and direly negative at worst. So I gave it up. As a player, I do very well both preflop and postflop when stacks are still deep. I'm awesome with a short stack. It's in the middle ground, the grey areas where all calls and bets are marginal, that I need to do better. It's also in these grey areas that most of the main event takes place. But, you know. If you wanna learn to swim you're going to have to get in the water sometime. And I very badly want to learn to swim.


One Live Card Too Few

I moved in UTG with 96o.

Yeah, 96o. I had T1500 left at 300/600 blinds so half my stack was in blind the next hand. Someone else moved all-in behind me. The fact that that someone had A7o should give you an idea of the crapshootiness happening at this point.

Flop TJQ. 8 good, 9 good, 6 good. Turn Q, river ten, IGHN.

I played my shortstack as well as I've ever played one. Well, except for the time I didn't put all my chips in with 25o - I figured they were two live cards - and would have made two pair and tripled up against AJ and KQ. Poker gods as my witness I almost pulled the trigger there.

Hung La was at my table for the last couple of hours. He's nursing a small stack but looked healthier as I was leaving. As far as I can tell the primary difference between our play is that he had cowboys twice and flopped a set with 55. I had cowboys zero times and flopped middle set at a really bad time.

3:30PM tomorrow I have a date with destiny. Shortly before that I have a (very expensive) date with my player's bank account. Stay tuned!

Resuscitate, If You Please

Little over T2000. 300/600/100 when we come back. Crapshoot mode. Lot of people in the same boat. Need two soubleups or a few successful steals to have any shot whatsoever.

Regretting the JJ hand very much now, though stil, what can I beat there? A few hands earlier I'd just have shoved preflop but I had enough chips to make a standard raise and still be able to get away from it. And every time that guy had called a raise or reraise he'd had a big ace. Moot point, the hand is over.

Time to go broke or go home. Since I'm buying in no matter what I'm pretty much betting ten grand every time I enter a pot now, and I'll be doing it with utter crap. Gamboooool!


I should just fold JJ in early position. One deep-stacked caller behind, flop AQx. How much can I possibly like my hand here? Chips are so precious I can't afford to bet, can't afford to fold... I check-folded. Should have bet.

Just over T3K left, 200/400/50.

Action Is Go

More than doubled up, I have T4300. AK held up against a shorter stack's A8o (though the flop of 79T did not thrill me) and I won a small pot with 66 when the table's tight-weakest player raised my blind when I had 66. T42 flop, I bet, he called. Turn 8, check-check. River 6, I bet, he folds.

Blinds will soon be 200/400/50 so it's still very touch and go.

Tooth And Nail

Moving at every pot that I can. T1500, still 100/200.

Holy Fucking Shit

Set over set over set. 873 flop, I had 77. Guy to my left had 88. Mickey Applebaum in the 1 seat had 33.

I still have T1000 left, but blinds will soon be 100-200. Wish me luck.


I guess my posts are showing up out of order. Sooner or later one will arrive in which my 11AM satellite life undergoes a startling turn for the better. Obviously it wasn't enough, though it was a bit of a rush to quadruple up over the course of two hands.

Half an hour until the last satellite starts. Just enough time to digest my BLT and down some sweet, sweet Gatorade.


Blinds of 300/600/100 are killing me. Everyone's short so it's a pushfest. I'm already down to 4300. Need a hand.

There's A Hole In The Bucket

...and my stack just fell through it. I was down to near 4000 when another shortstack pushed. I had 22 and was pretty sure it was a race. He had AJo. Flopped an ace, turned a flush.

Not a bad experience all in all. My inclusive list of playable hands appears here:

AJo JJ 77 55 22 KJo A8o (when desperate)

...and that is that. About four hours of play. I'm beginning to get the sense that you need to catch a couple of cards to place in these things.

Will try again at 7PM.


We don't get 75-150 level - went straight to 100-200. I have 1550 left, will be in uber-short mode soon.

Drought continues.

Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning

...but it's a little easier when there's poker to be played. I'm no longer used to rising at 8AM, and neither is Commerce - none of the sit-down restaurants are open yet, nor the deli, so I'm trying to figure out what I can scavenge from the donut stand. I could go with tacos but they're not looking good at the moment. Not that they ever are.

The stairs are also out of order, for some reason - carpet cleaning crews set up what looks like one dehumidifier/fan to cover, oh, about an acre of carpet - so getting up to the ballroom takes a substantial elevator wait. The line upstairs isn't running terribly efficiently either, but I've got my seat with a little time to kill. I expect there'll be at least 25 tables, maybe more - one of the tourney directors said they already sold 15 tables' worth and the line is currently growing every minute.

I'm once again cautiously optimistic. Structure permitting (and I hope it's better than the $225 rebuy supers) my game is pretty well geared toward outlasting 90% of the field already so at least I'm not nervous about it.

Okay, maybe a little nervous. But I've got another shot if the first one goes awry.

Table Change Your Luck

I had T1900 left when I got moved to table 30. Two hands later I was over T8000.

First hand: I raise 750 from MP with A8o. Bigger stack moves all-in. I call. He has A4o. Flop has two eights.

Second hand: all-in behind me for about 1500. I reraise all-in with JJ. One caller behind with TT. Original pusher has KJ. No K and all of a sudde I'm alive.

200/400/50, T7800 or so. Not a big stack but it'll do for now.

Folding Is Almost Always The Right Move

T1850 left (T2000 to start), blinds at 75-150 after the break. Amazingly crappy run of cards. I've had AJo (won a small pot) and 77 (lost a small pot after calling a preflop raise; flop came QQ8, he checked, I checked behind, he checkraised my half-pot turn bet and I gave it up). Otherwise nothing but junk - paint-rag, rag-unconnected-rag, occasionally suited-but-unconnected-rag-rag. Oh, I got KJs in relatively early position, raised it to test my table image, folded to a preflop reraise - I've been so tight he had to have a monster to reraise me there.

My most profitable hand so far: 26o, which won a four-way pot with bottom pair. 50-100 blinds, UTG was short and moved all-in for 150. One caller, SB calls, I call. Deuce on the flop and somehow my hand is good by the river. 11-to-1 is about the right odds for 26o there, I think.

Back to the table. Need some cards soonish, my M is only 8 and the levels are 30 minutes.


Phil's Favorite Part Of The Show

A couple of hands from yesterday on which I'm seeking reader opinion. I'll discuss the actions I took in a later post. These are all late-tournament situations; my chip counts may not be entirely accurate but they're close enough. Hand #1: 9-handed, 500/1000/200. You are in EP2 with T25000 in chips. You have KsKh and make your standard opening raise of 5000. (The pot is T3300 before any cards are dealt; thus even a raise to T4000 gives the blind better than 2:1 to play. I never vary my opening raise.) All fold to the big blind, a solid player who has been on a small rush and has about 40K in chips; he calls. The flop comes QcJc2h. BB checks. The pot is T12300; you have T20000 left. Your action? Hand #2: 9-handed, 600/1200/200. You are BB with T18000 and are dealt Tc2d; you have not rigorously defended your blind for the last several orbits. A tricky, normally aggressive player with a monster stack (90K) limps from early position. SB completes, you check to see the free flop, which comes 8s9sTd. The SB checks. The pot is T5400. Your action?

Bubble Of The Bubble's Bubble

Lucksack on my left busted me. I had about 11K chips with blinds at 1000/2000/300. Folded to me on the button, where I held A5o. Anybody not go broke there when the SB wakes up with AJs? I had seven outs on the turn (gutshot and the 5), but that was just cruel hope.

I probably would have moved there with anything better than 92o (which, ironically, would have won the hand going away with two pair), or, hell, I would have moved with any two. The ace was just icing.

I finished 39/697. 36 pay. Hooray for a top-heavy payout structure, I guess.

I made a couple of folds I regret now - all bad plays with good results. Twice I folded 99 in EP and someone woke up with aces behind. It was at the point in the tourney where I don't like to play marginal hands with big stacks yet to act, and I had big stacks to my left for the last few hours. Mostly I was getting junk anyway, so no loss, but those were exceptionally tight folds and I've gotta get used to gambling a little more when I need chips. (Though I was a medium stack at the time - in that never-neverland where if you open and get reraised, it's for all your chips.) Probably I shouldn't have laid down the AJ vs. KK hand mathematically speaking either, but I had a pretty dead read on the guy. I'm not especially experienced, but he was very, very green. I read him for a monster (despite the way he'd played his earlier monsters) and, whaddaya know, I was right.

Small fuckin' comfort. I had a pretty good run and can't complain.

Yeah, I'm playing the main event. By hook or crook. Live updates will be liberal and as detailed as possible. Might go dark for a day or two until then. Good luck, y'all.

Waiting For The Pop

T18K or so, waiting for a hand. Something like 40 players left, 36 pay (I was wrong earlier).

Lucksack to my left has gotten AA three times in the last orbit, each time reraising all-in, never getting called.

Whoops, 13K. I folded AJo to his min-reraise. He had KK. Cut me a slice of that, please.

Legit shortstack now. Maybe bubble boy.