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Archive for April, 2006

For those that know me, know the only game I love more than poker is baseball.  I've been fortunate to identify a team in LA, but still told my team I'd travel to national tournaments with them.  This one was in Birmingham, a new tourney.

 We were to play Friday night however the rains came.  That allowed me to play my second favorite game at a local game I've frequented often.  Triple draw low-ball must be my "lucky" game.  I'll leave it at that.  But I did get "even" for the week because of our baseball rain out.

 The drive to Birmingham is longer than anticipated and even longer when you are tired and driving at 3am.  We played so-so, but made the playoffs.  We lost in the semi-finals but had a pretty decent run.  I threw one inning of scoreless relief on Saturday and then started Sunday morning's game.  I threw "ok", but fell behind some good hitters.  Considering that these guys scored nine and fifteen runs in their two round robin games, I felt ok that I held them to four runs.  Some good relieving by my buddy Ives sealed the deal.  We played in the oldest ballpark in America, where the Birmingham Barons, a AA affiliate of the Chicago WhiteSox play.

Well, back to Los Angeles…back to west coast time, and more importantly, back to my bride and son.

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So I traveled back to the east coast for a week….and it's almost time to head back to the west coast.  I went to NY for my nephew's baptism and then to Atlanta to work the week away.  I missed Atlanta during my seven weeks away.  A lot has changed….the leaves have come in, the weather is warm, there are strangers living in my house, and spring is in the air.  I miss this place!  Of course I got some poker in Sunday, Monday and Wednesday evenings.

Sunday I stunk up the place at hold'em re-raising all in w/ 10,10 because I thought for sure my opponent held AK.  I was 1/2 right….he had KK.  Woops.  The only memorable hand was my 6,4 low on triple-draw lowball.  I was fortunate to catch on my last draw which "only" cost me $75.  I hit and dragged a $700 pot.  Unfortunately the 6,5 did not call me (he said he had 6,5 anyway).

Monday's limit game was good with solid players, but dropped some loot there as I ran into a couple of monsters.  Wednesday's new game, $2,5 NL in Roswell was also fun, but no real action to speak of.

Off to Birmingham to play some baseball and then back to Los Angeles on Sunday….where I'll get to see my bride and my little guy! 

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Tornados versus earthquakes, lol.  So from what I hear there were pretty fun tornados and pollen in Atlanta.  Fortunately I was never affected by the pollen, other than needing to wash my black cars, but never did anyway.  They don’t have pollen here in LA, just rain and clouds.  Six weeks in the locals all swear to me the weather gets better!  I think in six weeks period, we’ve had 3 days with temperatures over 70 degrees.  Wacky.  But there have started to have several days with sun for a change with temps in the mid to upper 60’s. 

Saturday was actually a gorgous day.  We took Shane to one of the many Los Angeles parks.  Populated with babies, infants, toddlers, and boys and girls up to 7-8 years of age, they had two separate playgrounds…one for older kids, one for younger kids.  Anyway, so Shane is going over one of the bridges about 3 feet ahead of mom.  Wham!!!!  This 4 year old literally runs past Shane and pushes him down to the ground.  Wow, was I pissed.  And what do you do?  Well, went and pushed the kid down to ground.  I picked him up, dangled him from his feet, then dragged him about 50 feet to his father and yelled at his father.   Then left.

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 Ok, so I didn’t do that, but wouldn’t that be great!  Shane was fine, dusted him off, and we went about our day.  Went over to the swing and had a nice afternoon….

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Played an eight hour session at the famed Hustler Casino in Gardena, CA, continuing my tour or California Casinos. It is no where near what you'd expect when you first hear the name. It's just simply a card room. Just fine w/ me. First the food service is excellent and one of my favorite things too…inexpensive. Second there are plent of trout, bass,…just have to identify them. Unfortunately, you cannot bluff stupid people.

Mid position I have Q,J of hearts. I limp as do five others. Flop of 6,7,K two hearts. I bet out $25. Only one caller. Turn Ace. I bet $50, figuring if he had a King, the ace would be a scare card. He thinks and calls a $50 bet. Now I figured he's drawing…to what I'm not quite certain but am thinking I can probably out play him.

The river was a non-suited 10 and I thought for a few moments and looked at him and he didn't exude confidence…I put a stack of red out there, $100. He thinks, laughs….is about to throw his cards in (yay!), even shows his cards to another player and then says, ah…you've got me…I call. I cannot believe it as I turn over my QJ for queen high. This guy flips over 10,9 to hit a pair of 10's on the river? He called a $100 river bet, even saying he was beat….with an Ace and King overpair out there?!?!?! The donkey got luckier later.

I know people say the hate Aces and here is the exact reason why. I'm dealt rockets UTG and make it $25 which was a sizeable bet at this $2-5NL table. Six caller? Ah respect. Flop, K,10,9, two hearts. You know what happens. I lead out with $100, then the donkey calls, then all in by the player afterwards. I'm a donkey here and don't muck. I don't even have the Ace of hearts! Needless to say the all in better had a QJ for a straight, the sad part is that he did not win. The hearts came and the donkey turned his 4,8 hearts into a tidy $900 pot. Took me the next six hours to get close to even. At least the rest of the fish let me catch back up over the evening. Lesson hopefully learned. Trip – -$56.

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Vegas results…

Two days in Vegas did not produce quite the amount of playing I'd like. This was partially due to staying at the Ritz Carlton, which don't get me wrong…is beautiful. Problem is, it was 1/2 hour away at least. With Mindy at her conference, this did not help for me to play….when I wanted to play. I got in a six hour session at the Venetian and a two hour one at the Palms. Just a note, I had heard a rumor that the evening games at the Palms are a little crooked (dealers signalling players, teams, etc….so be careful).

My session in the new Venetian poker room was a good one overall…profit of $50, but had been down $400. I got stuck when there were 7 to the flop for $25 each and I had 7,8s. Flop 9,10,J rainbow (one club of my suit), and a lead out bet of $100, a call then me. I had $275 in front of me and decided to push with one player behind me. I figured someone for a set and the player that called two pair. I was right on both accords as players confirmed afterwards. The only problem is the remaining player flopped a higher stright than me and I had to buy back in. I grinded the rest of the session back to above even. I guess I played it wrong but not sure. Flopping the 'sucker' straight well makes you feel like a sucker. Do you get off that hand?? No way for me to call there…so it was either fold a flopped staight or get my money in with what I thought was the best hand.

My last hand at the Palms before I had to go pick her up. I get A,9o UTG and limp for $5. Three callers and the button raises to $15. I don't like A,9 to begin with, especially so just fold and start stacking my chips getting ready to go. Flop, 9,9,8. Grr! Dontcha hate that? Lots of action as the trout on my left bet, the button raised, call. Flop 2, check, $30 bet, call. River 7, $50 bet, just a call from the button. Player on my left has an announced two pair, eights and sevens. Button turns over pocket 10s for a better two pair, 10s and 9's. Unbelieveable. Oh well. Trip result – up $149.

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Was in Vegas for Mindy's conference…ok, so I was freeloading.  I wound up playing a session over at the new Venetian poker room on Wednesday.  Was interesting to think that just two years ago, there was no poker room at Caesars, MGM, Alladin, Harrah, Rio, to name a few and now virtually all of the major casinos have'em.  The Venetian is one of the last, but the term, saving the best for last can probabaly be used here.

It's truly a beautiful room.  Well lit, non-smoking of course, not tucked away in a back area, spacious (I think over 10,000 sq. ft.), 39 tables well spaced apart, fairly comfortable chairs, the staff friendly.  All good.  The not so good, they're still training some dealers and apparantly haven't had the opportunity to steal too many away from other casinos quite yet.  The ones they have are from Reno or new, at least the ones that dealt for us.  So it'll take them some time to get up par there.

The game is a TBD.  The one I played in was pretty good, although when I got there at 10am, this 2/5NL was the only game running.  They were supposed to have a NL90 tourney with rebuy at 11am, which I would not have played in anyway, but there were not enough players to have it.  Then again, the room just opened this past Sunday.

All in all, comfortable and with all the conventioneers and regular tourists, am sure this room will do just fine…and probably better in the long run than Caesars and MGM I think.

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Besides my and Mank's $300NL tourney back in February, I hadn't played in more than a $55NL tourney.  So this was to be my first.  The event was the $300+$40 No-Limit even at the Hollywood Park Casino – as part of the Sport of Kings Tournament.  This was event number four of nine and one of the only ones with no rebuys.  Never liked rebuy tournaments and will try to avoid them.

Tourney started at 5:15 with 319 players and each player receiving only 1,200 in chips.  Good blind structure though, 25-25, 25-50, 50-100, 75-150, 100-200, 100-200(25), 150-300(25), 200-400(50), etc, forty minute rounds.  My goal by the break (round three) was to have doubled up, which I accomplished by going into the break with 4,200.  My aces vs. AK helped as did my QJ catching a boat on the river to beat another's flush.  I played solid poker and chose my spots.

Rounds four-six I didn't do much moving until I moved tables, came in on the big blind with four callers in the 150-300 round and my J3o hit a pretty good flop of 3,9,3 with two hearts.  I checked and the chip leader at the table bet 600.  I paused, announced a raise, paused and announced "I raise all in".  Couldn't let him catch.  He called!  So figuring him with a 9, or overpair, I was shocked to see he only had pocket fours?!?  Doubled up and had 8,000.  Bought some small pots and moved my chip stack to around 10,500 before being moved again.  Eight tables left with 9 at each, so around 70-75 players left.

Kings made me another 2,000 so now I had around 12,500.  But never caught another hand really.  Blinds ate me up really.  Only hand I questioned myself where I thought I made a good lay down was my KQ being raised and called by small blind.  I called the extra 600 to 800.  Flop Q, 10, 2.  First position moves all in for $7,000.  I just couldn't call with top pair and only a K kicker.  10,10; AQ, 22 beats me.  He may have been flush drawing but too big a chance to take, I thought and a good lay down.  He announced AQ but I'm not sure whether to believe him.  He got pinched later when he reraised KK with only 55. 

Two plays I questioned of myself.  Blinds eating me up, we're at 200-400(50).  I'm down to about 8,000, but still about average chip stack at my table.  I'm in big blind and the button kept on going all in with between 2000 and 3000 in chips.  He repeated and I had K,10s.  Bad call as I think I got frustrated and felt I could use the $2,500 in chips.  He had an Ace which held up.  I'm at around $5,500.  My last hand, I have A,10s UTG, four callers.  Flop, 10,3,2.  Instead of betting out $1,200, I go all-in.  Button with 2,2 goes all in.  I'm done.  Frustration, out in 34th place when top 24 paid.  Top prize $33k, places 17-24 paid $555.  I think I played this hand poorly.  But overall a good tourney; 34th out of 319.  Looking forward to my next one….  Vegas this week.

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