The Cards Spoke

After 5 years of silence, I'm back! Check out the new poker blog.




No, I'm not talking about Sklansky and Malmuth. Yours truly was whipped into submission on the $6-12 tables at Hollywood Park, dropping $300 over 7 hours. There were plenty of calling stations, and of course that makes for plenty of bad beats. My stack fluctuated wildly, going down to -200 all the way up to +70, and then a series of terrible beats sent me home with an empty wallet.

Looking at my notes, I see that my last session at HP was 6 weeks ago, on 11/22 for a loss of $350. The only note I have says: "bad beat city". The beats I took yesterday were just awful, and for all the grinders out there at .50/1, I don't know how you can handle it. Looking back at my play yesterday, I think I only misplayed two hands, and one of the few positive things that came out of the session was my ability to stay sharp for the entire 7 hours and avoid tilt. There's no way I could sit in front of the comp for 7 hours (unless I'm working), and it felt good to have a solid session of poker. Once you're immersed in the game, it's a lot more fun, even if you are taking some many bad beats.

The players were pretty bad. I ended up moving tables about halfway through the session when my first table tightened up. Both tables were about evenly divided between calling stations, and tricky, loose-aggressive players who would often raise on the come, and punish you when they actually had (or hit) a hand. The 3 or 4 calling stations combined into one giant fish, and usually end up biting my head off. I felt like Gandalf going into battle against a horde of orcs, destroying most of them but taking a knife in the back from an unseen foe.

I tried to keep notes on the interesting hands, and here is the list I came up with:

1. AQ in the SB, Q flops. River is T, beat by 2 pair by a guy with QT. This was the second hand of the night.
2. AA cracked by J9s for the straight on the turn
3. 42 BB, flop A 2 3, turn 3, river 4, guy wins 55 for the wheel.
4. Limp UTG with 88, flop 3 3 7, I bet, raised on turn, I muck, he shows J3o
5. Missed on three open straight draws...
6. AQ, flop Q 7 5, turn 7, I get reraised and fold, she shows 75o
7. Overplay JJ, guy 3 bets it, flop Q T rag, he check raises and I call to river-- he shows AA. This was one of the two seriously bad plays I made.
8. Last hand-- KJ, call UTG, 2 callers. Checked to river, K, guy turns over 6 8 for a straight he hit on the turn.

1. Hit a straight on the turn with 78s
2. pocket 6s, flop K 6 6 w 2 hearts, I bet out 3 players muck. The calling stations decide to fold when I have quads, how nice. Pot was around 4 SB.
3. TT overpair raising the whole way, guy also has TT (Split pot)
4. I crack AA with 65s in the BB, flop is 4 5 8, turn 6
4. AQ-- Board Q 9 9 K Q, guy bets out on the flop, I reraise. I bet the whole way, he shows QT (split pot).
5. 88- flop 8 A rag, I slowplay heads up.
6. AJ, J flops, I win.
7. AJ again UTG, J flops and one guy calls to the river. A Pot Limit player who just sat down to my left said he mucked AK on the flop.
8. QQ holds up when K hits on river.

Poker Gods, why hast thou forsaken me?
None of the above hands would have really mattered if I had won the biggest pot of the night, which went down like this:

5 limpers, I look at AQs in the SB, and raise it up, and everyone calls, so there are 6 BBs in the pot pre-flop. The flop is no good for me: T J 7 with none of my suit, so I check it and a guy in middle position bets. Everybody calls, and I know the pot is laying me the correct odds for my gutshot, since people are tied to the pot at this point. I call, and the guy to my left check raises, making it 2 bets. The first bettor reraises, but everyone still calls, so I reluctantly throw in 2 more bets, knowing that only the King can save me. The pot now has 15 BBs ($180), and we haven't even hit the turn. The turn is... THE KING OF CLUBS!!! I manage to keep my poker face, and check raise when the early bettor bets out. There is no possible flush on the board, so the early bettor has either a set of jacks, a set of tens, or JT. He calls the check raise, along with one other player, so now 21 BBs ($252) in the pot. I think I heard the poker gods booming laughter in my ears as the river paired the board with a ten, and the bettor immediately bet out. I sadly called, asking "are you full?" as he turned over JTo and raked in the $300 pot to give me my answer.

I would have been a lot happier if he had won with a set of jacks or tens, but he's got 4 cards in the deck that he can win with (10%), and he hits one of them. The 90% favorite goes down hard, and turns a winning night into a losing one. You gotta love poker. Again, this is why we need a 300BB bankroll-- to survive the cruel strokes of fate.

The annoying thing about the long session yesterday was that there was relatively little skill involved. I picked up several tells, but it didn't really matter. With the pots being so large, it was pretty much ABC ram and jam poker. I remember a guy in middle position showed down 53o for the 6 high straight, which he gutshotted on the river, and called a raise preflop with. The guy to my left asked me "was that suited?" as a serious question, implying that 53s is ok to call a raise with.

Time to go back to the masters of wild games, Izmet and Abdul, so I can "enjoy loose games" a little bit more.

Poker Blog Patrol
A blog that has been around for a while but I haven't discovered until today: Paulsburbon, where you can go to find the best hard liquor out there, as well as some great chat. Check out Paul's chat after sucking out on a fish:

maxi27: you have to be KIDDING
maxi27: \ODO
Paulsburbon: should have folded that bottom pair against me...
Paulsburbon: ;)
maxi27: KEEP IT UP
Paulsburbon: Draw being the most important word there
Dealer: Akos, it's your turn. You have 15 seconds to act
Dealer: Player Akos has requested TIME
Paulsburbon: and I took the pot... it happens
Paulsburbon: nh
Dealer: Paulsburbon has two pair, Kings and Nines
Dealer: maxi27 has two pair, Tens and Nines
Dealer: Game #217135443: Paulsburbon wins pot (3360) with two pair, Kings and Nines
Dealer: maxi27 finished the tournament in 11th place
Paulsburbon: luck wins again
jukebox: thats the game

I've been reading Table Tango for a while, but I didn't discover Linda's Book of Tales until today. I've only made my way through about half of them, but I recommend all of these to everyone. There are some excellent poker lessons in here, lessons that go beyond pot odds and table image. Check out Linda's musings about the big name players created by the media.

Next mention goes to TFG, who is back on the tables with a vengeance. Go check out his win with seven-deuce offsuit, which unfortunately (for him) didn't qualify for the HAMMER CHALLENGE because it was at the .50/1 level (read the rules carefully!). TFG also confesses that he has been playing Strat-o-matic baseball with his buddy Otis for years... I had the board game back in 87, and the computer game in 90, but I figured most folks had moved on to bigger and better baseball sims by now.

A late congrats goes out to Jason at Stick-and-move who took down the first hammer challenge. Of course I am jealous, and he's also got cool images on his site, which made me even more jealous. I guess I'll have to win the second one.

I have to put in a complaint to both TFG and Jason that there is not enough smack being talked upon dropping the hammer. Let me tell you, if HD ever drops it, I will goad the table for at least a couple orbits before relenting.

Also, one of my favorite poker bloggers talks about life as a playwright, and has a one-act showing in DC soon. If I had the cash, I'd fly out and check it out, and repeatedly bellow "HAMMER!" at the top of my lungs immediately upon the play's conclusion. Grubs had the misforgute of busting out in the big Saturday tourney when his AQ went down in flames to AK.

Reading about OJ's night at the $10-20 game at the Mirage was somewhat comforting, after coming off a similar night last night at HP. It was even more comforting to know that he booked a big win in his next session at Ocean's Eleven in SD.

Boy Genius continues to blog like there is no tomorrow, and explains how he dominated his home game NL tourney. Congrats my man.

Peyton, you're just another pawn in Belichek's game
The Pats are busy dropping the hammer on the Colts. Those Boston boys are some tough MFs. They have pounded the hell out of the Colts all game, and the Pats O-line is mandhandling people. Billy B has blown Peyton's mind, and I can't even explain how brilliant Belichek's schemes are. I just wish I had put down more cash on them. I might have to push all-in in the superbowl and let it ride on the Pats. Two guys I would never want to play poker against-- Bill Belichek and Tom Brady.

Side note: Daniel Graham, the TE for the Pats, is the TE whose game most resembles mine. Expect big things out of this guy (he had a couple big drops last week and cost me a win in the sportsbook, but besides that he has been impressive). He is big, athletic, and runs great routes, and goes an excellent job blocking, unlike Shockey or Shannon Sharpe. If I'd ever sold out and used roids, I like to think I'd be doin the stuff that Graham is doing.

Fun with keywords
My last blog entry had several references to Paris Hilton. I noticed that the ads at the top of my blog today were in French! Nice work Google theoreticians. Just for fun, I'm going to see if I can get Swedish ads with the following text:
"Jag ska vinna alla penga pa Globen Casino i Stockholm". Translation: I'm going to win all the money at the Stockholm Casino. I wish I could say something more interesting, but my Swedish sucks. More likely it will pick up on the "S&M" in the blog title, which is probably more fun anyway...

Chips anyone?
I got an email from Stephan, who runs a poker chip site. He seems like a nice guy, and the chips look really nice, so I've linked up to him. I'm still using plastic chips that I bought at Target, but if I ever win a tourney I'll probably buy this set.

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