Tuesday, June 12, 2007

MATH Recap, and Blogger Weekend Part Deux

Mondays at the Hoy was back in the house last night, as 36 runners joined in and took their shots at 18 BBT point slots and the top 4 money spots as well in this weekly Monday night event. After a weekend spent donking it up and playing basically almost any two cards at the cash tables with the bloggers in Las Vegas, it was refreshing to see a return to the tight play that we've seen heading into the points spots in these BBT events -- "refreshing" in a pussy sort of way -- and what was also a nice surprise was seeing longtime blogger dominator Lucko continuing his return to form and amassing a massive chip lead at the final table, eventually taking down his first MATH tournament of the year in the process. Although I ended up donking out in 15th place when my Hammer was somehow called down and lost to Goat's pocket Jacks (but not Ace-Jack, so no bounty for this week), I had a great time getting back to the virtual felt for the first time in nearly a week as well as nabbing some more juicy BBT points myself. Here are this week's MATH cashers:

Finishing in 4th place this week for $103.68 was Bayne, who is really starting to pull away from the rest of the field in the BBT as he recorded his amazing 9th BBT final table, several more than even the second-best player in this category.

In third place was cemfredmd, who also took down $155.52 for his efforts just a week or two after also winning his first-ever bracelet race on full tilt and who will therefore hopefully head out to Vegas sometime in the next few weeks to take a stab at winning his first WSOP bracelet as well.

One of the wonkas, wwonka69 -- finished this week's MATH in 2nd place after building up a large chip lead somewhere around the middle of the tournament thanks to some early cards and nice play to boot. Wonka won $216 for his runner-up finish this week as well, making his first appearance on the MATH moneyboard for 2007. I think this wonka deserves an honorable mention for a bounty because he lost the last hand of the MATH last night with the JackAce to Lucko's KK. And to be clear (I double checked this), this is the wonka who is the hammerlover, not the other wonka who won't lay down JTs to a raise preflop (yes just like I did not lay down JTs in the WSOP last week when I busted that big stack at my second table -- you can go read my WSOP tournament report here.)

And as I mentioned above, winning the MATH this week for his first MATH win as well as his first MATH cash of 2007 was Lucko, who also cashed for $388.80 in the process. I'm really psyched to see that Lucko appears to be back in da house after he took down the single-rebuy mtt on pokerstars last week and now the MATH for what I think are his first significant mtt cashes in a while. It can be brutal getting on a bad streak if you're an mtt type of guy, I would know, but once you get your game back again I find that these wins tend to come in streaks, so look for Lucko to post some more big tournamewnt scores soon as he has shown himself to be one of the very best mtt-playing bloggers out there.

And here is the updated 2007 MATH moneyboard including this week's tournament:

1. Hoyazo $849
2. VinNay $775
3. Bayne_s $683
4. NewinNov $677
5. Iggy $641
6. Astin $616
7. Columbo $606
8. Tripjax $561
9. Julius Goat $507
10. mtnrider81 $492
11. scots_chris $474
12. Fuel55 $458
13. Otis $429
14. Miami Don $402
15. Lucko21 $389
16. Blinders $379
16. Chad $379
18. Pirate Wes $372
19. IslandBum1 $357
20. ChapelncHill $353
21. Zeem $330
22. Mike_Maloney $326
23. cmitch $312
23 oossuuu754 $312
24. Waffles $294
26. Wigginx $288
27. ScottMc $282
28. Manik79 $252
29. Wippy1313 $248
30. Byron $234
31. RecessRampage $224
32. wwonka69 $216
33. Omega_man_99 $210
34. lightning36 $205
35. Buddydank $197
36. Jordan $184
37. bartonfa $180
38. 23Skidoo $176
39. Santa Clauss $170
40. Iakaris $162
40. Smokkee $162
42. cemfredmd $156
42. NumbBono $156
44. lester000 $147
45. DDionysus $137
46. Patchmaster $135
47. Pushmonkey72 $129
47. InstantTragedy $129
49. Ganton516 $114
50. Gracie $94
50. Scurvydog $94
52. Shag0103 $84
53. PhinCity $80
53. jeciimd $80
55. Alceste $71
55. dbirider $71
57. Easycure $67

So we're now up to 57 different players who have cashed in Mondays at the Hoy during this year, with three of this week's four finishers entering the 2007 moneyboard for the first time with their cashes last night. And check out Bayne, the current BBT leader who seems to widen the gap between himself and second place every week on the BBT leaderboard, and who has now risen back up to 3rd place on the moneyboard with this week's 4th place finish. I'm still not sure who that guy is in first place on the board, but he has got to be good to be that far ahead of the current BBT leader and all the other great players up near the top of the moneyboard, so if anyone knows who he is please let me know and I can update my links. And congratulations again to all four of this week's cashers, and I look forward to a return to the larger field size next week as the rest of the degenerates bloggers will all be back from Vegas and hopefully ready to donk it up again with the best of 'em.

OK, so back to the rest of the blogger weekend in Las Vegas. As I mentioned yesterday, this weekend definitely ends up ranking as the most fun weekend I have had playing poker in as long as I can remember. I had commented to Miami Don shortly after meeting up with him on Friday morning at the Bellagio poker room that all I really wanted to do this weekend was test out my newfound cash game skills by playing some live poker with the bloggers this weekend, and boy did I end up getting my wish and how. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.

So, we left off yesterday with me cashing in WSOP Event #12, ending in 107th place out of 1427 runners for $2435 and a lifetime of happy memories for me, even if I never make it out to Vegas for the WSOP again. I still get a big kick out of seeing my name on espn.com and on pokernews among the list of cashers, and I'm sure I will for a long, long time. After enduring that record-setting 3-hour bubble with poker bloggers Pauly, Change, Otis, Weak and Bonedaddy all in attendance at the Rio, and tons of bloggers sweating me on the text messaging as well, I was utterly beat by the time I finally busted shortly after midnight on Thursday night / Friday morning. You really have no idea how stressful playing 12 straight hours of poker is, in particular 6-max poker which is almost more bullshit and bluffing than it is playing your actual strong hands, and especially in particular given that it's at the World Series of Poker, and my first-ever cash in such an event, and triply especially given that redickulous bubble period before it finally burst. I personally could not believe how drained I was -- amped up from my first ever WSOP cash, but drained as hell nonetheless, both mentally and physically -- but in the end Eric "bonedaddy" was willing to wait the probably 60-90 additional agonizing minutes it took for my cash to be officially "recorded" at the Rio payouts window and then to actually retrieve my cash before I was convinced to head over to the Bellagio to meet up with Iak for the first time since last summer, and with Fuel55 for the first time ever, as well as the Gnome who was going to be there as well. We sat at the bar and had a few drinks, scoped out some of the hottest chicks in all of Las Vegas, and eventually I headed back to my room at the Monte Carlo at around 3am, exhausted and yet still strangely amped up at the same time. When I got back I found Chad still on the girly chat on my laptop and we proceeded to chat it up for a good hour or so more until I finally calmed down enough to sleep, probably close to 5am Vegas time.

Friday morning saw my brother wake me up with a call on the cell phone at around 10am, after which time I quickly showered and headed over to Bellagio for breakfast with Iak and Fuel. I chowed down hard, as I said I would in my post last week. That was just about more breakfast food in one sitting than I have consumed in the previous 2 or 3 months worth of breakfasts prior to the trip, which is always good since I aboslutely love breakfast food and prefer it over just about all other kinds of food available in this or any country. After that I headed over to the Bellagio poker room for my first time ever, where I promptly sat down with Iak to what I will say in retrospect was easily the donkiest 2-5 nlh table I found on the entire trip, which included probably more than 30 hours of cash game play all around the city. Basically after buying in for the maximum $500 (of course), I was seated to the immediate left of the weakest, tightest most pussyass player at the table, and almost immediately I began the abuse since it only took about 2 hands where the guy open-limped in preflop to identify just the kind of player he was. I pushed him off the first hand with a sizeable bet on the flop after I had raised his preflop limp with air, even though I held nothing, winning about $60 from his stack, and then two hands later I raised his preflop limp again, this time with the Hammer. The flop came with a 7 on it but nothing else worth noting, and this time he called my pot-sized flop bet, so when the raggy turn card fell, I bet it hard and this time Mr. Tighty let it go again, netting me another $100 or so from him right off the bat. I didn't have the balls to show the hammer on my third hand of sitting down at a cash table, which would only have hurt my image since I like to steal lots of pots with smallish bets when no one shows much strength in a particular hand, so instead I just turned to Iak, looking through my donkey internet pro reflective sunglasses and into his, and mouthed the word "Hammer" to him. I had to tell somebody, didn't I?

Fast forward maybe 15 minutes later, and long story short I had depleted the tightydonk to my right of his entire stack. I mean, I abused him so hard that I bet he won't play 2-5 again in Vegas for a long time. Just about every time he limped preflop -- which was many of the pots, mind you -- I got in there with him, most of the time just floating him since I knew I could get him to fold and that I could probably win his entire stack if I lucked into a flop, so on most occasions even where I was floating I would raise his preflop limp to ensure I could isolate against just him. It was mean in a way what I did to the guy, but he sat down there with the $500 and as far as I was concerned, I was more entitled to it than anyone else because the guy was on my immediate right. And hey, if I didn't take those chips then somebody else would have, so what can I do, right? So after maybe half an hour of sitting down with $500 at the Bellagio, I had amassed nearly $900 in chips. If I was smart I would have gotten up right then and there like I normally do in my online cash games after winning $400 cash, but at this point Don showed up and I ended up getting up to talk with him for a while instead, excited to see my old friend after a year since the last time we got to hang out together at last summer's WPBT gathering when I first met the man. I decided to sit back down at the table for a bit while Don waited for his name to be called, and that was when I basically donked up my entire $400 profit from the morning on one hand where I had just Ace-high, and kept pushing stupidly at a guy who had limped in preflop from early position so I had him on nothing much. Turns out I was wrong and I was right. I was right that he had nothing much -- just TPTK to be exact -- but I was wrong on two counts. #1 he had started not with a weakish hand but with AK and had limped from EP with it, and #2 he was not willing to lay down TPTK like any good cash player would and should. The result was me bluffing off $100 on the turn to him, which he called, and then me sliding out $200 into the middle of the table on the river, which he also called with just the TPTK. I would say this was an unequivocally terrible play by both of us and leave it at that, even though in the end the other donkey got the money and I gave back my entire morning's profit on that one hand. You call off hundreds of dollars with just TPTK in cash games against guys playing the hand strong from the flop on, and you will be a major moneyloser in cash games overall without a doubt, but in this case the guy just could not lay it down. Why the F couldn't I have had two shitty pairs against him on that hand, I don't know. But I didn't, and his donkery was rewarded by me basically transferring to him the entire contents of the earlier donkey's stack to my right. Oh well. I proceeded to lose another $80 or so before finally cashing out after my pocket Queens were cracked by an idiot who called my preflop raise with J5s (that is a serious soooted donk right there), who then moved allin on the Jack-high flop on the turn on a raise from me, only to spike a 5 on the turn and double through me. When that happened, I was done. I've played enough cash games to know when the tables have turned so to speak, and I was not going to sit around there and tilt off the rest of my stack, which is definitely what was coming if I had stuck around at that point after a hand like that. Did I ever mention here that I can't fucking win with pocket Queens to save my life? Effing biatches, dam them.

The next move was to the Rio, where we met up with Weak, another great guy I had not seen in person since last summer's WPBT gathering in Las Vegas. Don, Iak, Weak and I quickly sat down at a new 2-5 nlh table at the Rio, all buying in for the max of course, hoping to take advantage of some of the World Series donks that we all hear so much about, but what we found was that the quality of game there at the Rio was actually far better than what we had seen in the morning at the Bellagio, or what we would later run into at the MGM. I spent the afternoon getting no cards and slowly bleeding out blinds and preflop raises that ended up going nowhere, in addition to making one really bad call that cost me probably $150 before all was said and done. Basically, I got to see a cheap flop with A9, and the flop came down A52 rainbow. The first player, the guy to my immediate left, bet small on that flop, and the next player to his left minraised it up, still to a small amount though. As neither player had raised it up preflop, I thought my Ace might still be best so I was willing to make a small call and hope for the best on the later streets. That would be mistake #1 against a bet and a minraise on that flop. Then the turn card brought a 3, making a board of A523, still with no flush draws, and this time the action was checked all around. By this time I didn't know what was going on, but I was happy to get a free card on the river to hopefully help clarify my hand and if I'm lucky to actually improve it, either by pairing the board or hitting one of my hole cards. Well, that's exactly what happened as a nice-looking 9 fell on the river for a final board of A5239, and when the first player moved allin for his last $100 or so, the second guy took a few seconds before just calling the allin.

I stared at this board for a long time. It had not been raised up preflop, but when the second player had minraised on the flop I had immediately put him on AK, and his actions so far in the hand were perfectly indicative of an AK holding, so I decided I liked my read of his hand there. The first player, meanwhile, had already been caught making naked bluffs on two separate occasions in just the hour or so we had been playing at this table, so with him on the short stack he had, my read of him was that he was more or less bluffing, or maybe had some kind of Ace, or a hand like 32 or something. I just wasn't getting a particularly strong vibe from either player, so after much consideration I ended up going with the call and slid a stack of red chips out to match the bet as well. Immediately the first player showed a 4 for the turned straight, and the second guy (the minraiser) showed a 43 for the flopped straight as well. Guess those reads were wrong, huh? This was a bad play by me, plain and simple, and it had cost me over $150 as the other two players in the pot would chop a large pot with the profits coming mostly directly from my stack to be split into theirs. It was a terrible river card for me to give me top two pairs on that board, but obviously in retrospect I should never even have stayed in there to see a river card and get drawn into continuing with the hand after there was what little action there was on the flop and turn, and especially with 4 cards to a straight on the board on a preflop limped pot where therefore anybody playing could have just about anything in their starting holecards. I was frustrated with myself, and not too long afterwards I ended up getting up and taking a walk around to try to compose myself. I opted not to sit back down, instead just taking in the sites at the Rio where literally five WSOP events were going on at the same time and just about every pro you've ever seen on tv was visible or locatable at a table somewhere within the cordoned WSOP areas. I was down another $200 or so on the afternoon to go along with my $100 or so loss in the morning at the Bellagio, and I wondered when I expected to make back these losses as my first forays into live cash nlh play in Vegas had not gone well overall.

Eventually on Friday night we made our way over to the MGM for mixed games with the bloggers. This was when I was telling Don that what I really hoped we could do was play some live blogger cash nlh rather than the dinky limit HORSE games that I played last year. As you know if you read here often, I have grown a pretty solid case of disdain for limit HORSE over the past several months, and this despite my winning the weekly HORSE 30k guaranteed tournament on full tilt on New Years' Day this year for over 5k in cash. So I know how to play the games and play them well, but there is only so much sucking out I can take before I start tilt-spewing my chips, and limit games like this tend to get me to that point a lot easier than most nlh hands are able to do. Thus, I was very pleased when we pretty quickly were able to find a 1-2 cash nlh table with a $200 max buyin at the MGM, where I was able to sit down at the opposite end of the table from Don, Chad, Iak and Blinders. Pretty soon someone got up from the seat next to Chad, and I made the big mistake of moving over to the blogger end of the table, where I wanted to be part of the conversation and the joking that we have gotten used to at our online blogger tables. Little did I know I was upsetting the balance of power and significantly impacting my fortunes at this table by making this switch to be near my friends. I loved the conversation and we shared about a million laughs over the next -- literally -- 10 straight hours that we all sat at the table, while the 5 seats on the other side were routinely filled, vacated and then filled again with new tourists looking to make a quick buck. And boy did they ever.

Honestly, it was like the table was on an incline, and the chips just could not help but slide from our end over to the players on the other side. Despite the five of us being fairly accomplished poker players and at least in a few cases pretty experienced cash game guys, it seemed that no matter what we did, the guys at the other side of the table always had the answer. I think Don got beat four separate times when he got in ahead with two pairs -- once to a higher two pairs, once to three of a kind and a couple of times to straights or flushes that filled on the turn or river after all the money got into the middle. We all donated at least a couple of times to the players on the Other Side, and as has been written about profusely at some other bloggers' sites, we probably ended up shipping a good 2 grand or so to them during the course of the evening, which even for a 10-hour session is still a solidly large amount to lose at a table with a $200 maximum buyin. One luckbox we had played with earlier at the Bellagio who had been dealt pocket Aces three fucking times in two orbits had even sat down for a bit, a guy who had overplayed his overpairs laughably badly at the Bellagio already that morning, and even he got to benefit from our bad play as he sucked out a redonkulous two pairs on my pocket Kings after he called a preflop raise from me with his 97o. Nice move you bald dickshit! But his donkery was rewarded on that hand, and frankly that's just how it went on the night for us bloggers as we single-handedly funded the entire Other Side through probably 10 or 12 different players over the 10-hour session. I would have lost a couple of buyins myself or so if not for a big hand that occurred around 3 or 4am when deep into our session, when I happened to pick up Aces on the button. I tried hard to hide my excitement at my first pocket Aces in a cash hand in Vegas as Iak raised it up ahead of me, and then I accidentally min-reraised to $20 when I truly meant to reraise him to $40 with my rockets. Nonetheless, Iak re-reraised me allin, and then Smokkee, who had called Iak's original preflop raise to $10, moved in the rest of his chips for a bit less than Iak's allin bet. So there I was, having made the wrong amount of a reraise but still ending up with not one but two donkeys allin preflop ahead of me when I held pocket Aces. Iak flipped up pocket Queens (ha ha those biatches!) and Smokkee I think held 4s or 5s, I don't remember exactly which. In any event, in an amazing twist of fate my Aces actually held up, dodging the four obvious outs to make either opponent a set as well as any chance at runner-runner bullshit that also likes to pop up every once in a while, and that one pot marked my one big win of the night. The night of poker ended with Smokkee pushing allin preflop against calls from both Iak and Chad, culminating with Smokkee flipping up 87 of hearts for a flopped flush prematurely once the flop was out even though Chad and Iak still had two rounds of betting left to go in a then-dry side pot. Curiously, even after Smokkee had turned up his flopped flush, Iak made a move at the dry side pot, to which Chad quickly folded. As I sat and wondered what Iak would be doing playing at the dry side pot when he know Smokkee had just flopped a flush. Iak slow-rolled the crap out of the entire table before turning up his hand: Ace-2, also of hearts, for the flopped nut flush and a crazy ending to a crazy night at the live cash tables. In the end, after chatting with Iak about life tilt, our families and the fucked up shit that goes on with them for an hour or two, I headed back to the Monte Carlo for a few hours of rest as the sun was coming up over the Las Vegas desert in the east. I had cashed out for the night down just $140, less than a buyin thanks to that one big hand that saw me win about 1.3 buyins thanks to my luck of not only finding pocket Aces, but finding them at the same time as Iak has Queens and Smokkee also has a pocket pair, and of course the luck of the Aces holding up. Still, on the day I was down around $400 in cash play and hadn't really played all that well since the morning session at the Bellagio before I made the donkey bets against the guy who obviously wasn't folding his TPTK. I hope that anus got stacked with top pair ten times over for the rest of the weekend, as I'm sure he did since he should clearly have gotten rid of his one-pair hand given all the action he was seeing from me at the Bellagio that morning.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. I slept maybe 3 hours total, mostly in a drunked stupor after probably drinking 15 or so captain n cokes at the MGM the night before, and getting to meet a bunch of cool bloggers to boot there whom I had never met in the flesh before. Those new people I met included Astin, with whom I've played poker only about 5000 times online in various blonkaments and maybe even a cash table or two in my day, as well as Irongirl, Meanhappyguy, Mattazuma and LJ, and I'm pretty sure a few others as well whom I know I'm forgetting. Blame it on the spiced rum. So anyways, Saturday morning began much the same as Friday had, with a trip to the Bellagio for breakfast with Iak and Fuel, and stuffing my face with a new 2007 record amount of breakfast food. Now that I knew my way around the restaurant after the previous day's visit, I didn't waste any of the time that I had on the day before trying to find various pork products and premature chicken babies, instead heading right for the good stuff which thankfully had not been moved from its perch on Friday. After gorging myself with an amount of bacon that even this guy or this guy would have been proud of, Iak, Fuel and I headed over to the Bellagio shops to look for gifts for our respective wives. I found the absolutely perfect necklace at Tiffany's, only to remember that I was at Tiffany's and that therefore you could take what the bracelet appeared to be worth, multiply that figure by 5, and then add a zero to get the actual price tag on the item. Now nobody could love their wife more than I do the Hammer Wife, and I basically spend every dime that I make on her and my kids, but let's just say I would have had to have cashed in the top couple of spots instead of in 107th place in WSOP Event #12 to be able to afford this thing, so in the end I moved on, determined to find a gift later in the day but otherwise heading over to the Orleans for the annual summer WPBT live blonkament.

The Orleans, in a word, sucked. I know several other bloggers have written about it, but the structure in the poker tournament they set up for us was utterly recockulous, with blinds rounds that I think lasted approximately 15 seconds each, and small starting chip stacks to boot. After about 20 minutes the thing turned into a total pushfest, with absolutely no room to raise anything but allin in almost any situation unless you had already doubled up at least once in the first few minutes. Kram420, a friend of Linda's and a competent poker player whom I met at last year's WPBT tournament at Caesar's, won Gigli when his Aces got cracked by pocket Jacks who couldn't lay down to his reraise, and otherwise I would like to brag about my 11th place finish out of 42 entrants, but really it was all pure 100% unadulterated luck and nothing more. In the end the final tablers made a deal that at least ensured a return of the $80 buyin to all the remaining players, and in the end it was Waffles lucksacking his way into 3rd place, Grubette luckjobbing into second place, and Spaceman's wife Rachel lucksucking her way to the victory after about 90 minutes of pure pushfest poker. Meanwhile, the tournament director was such an assanus that #1 I vow to never return as long as I live to the Orleans, poker room or otherwise, and #2 the guy even ended up banning Iakaris from the poker room after a particularly assanussy exchange between him and some nice witty repartee from Iak. Now if that ain't assanussy behavior from a tournament director, then I don't know what is. Any poker room not worth having Iak in is simply not worth playing, period.

After this, it was back to the MGM poker room for what turned out to be a super fun night. While everyone else sat down to play, I spoke with Tina and she gave me the perfect idea for a gift for my wife, so I headed over to the Canal Shops at the Venetian to pick up a very cute pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, with a low heel and a nice bow in the front. The Hammer Wife nearly cried when she saw them, and lord knows she deserves it after watching my rambunctious lovable children for four days while I gambled like a degenerate, so that was all good, and Tina I owe you big time for that! Anyways after picking up the shoes and dropping them back off in my room at the Monte Carlo, it was back to the MGM poker room where I basically immediately sat down at another 1-2 table with much the same crowd as the night before. I was in the 1 seat, with resident blogger tighty Blinders in seat #2, followed by Don, Smokkee, then Chad and then Iakaris bringing up the rear in seat #5. Saturday's cash action started off almost the complete opposite as Friday had begun, with a couple of us blonkeys stacking off two of the tourists on the other side of the table, mostly once again by Chad as I recall who was once again taking the whole "any two cards" thing to a whole new level and really punishing some other players who did not know Chad's game and could simply not put him on the low-card hands he was accurately representing with his big bets and raises. After we knocked a couple of donkeys out on the other side of the table, we were fortunate enough to find Alan, StatiKling and Columbo willing to sit with us and take on the terror that is live blogger cash games head-on. What ensued was about 11 straight hours of fun and jokes at the poker table like I don't ever recall in a live session, including lots of big pots and a whole lot of loose-ass poker play. What started off as a $200 maximum buyin 1-2 table eventually turned into a much, much larger game as Iakaris got off to a big start, climbing his stack to over $600 early before giving much of it back to Alan when Iak flopped top two pairs on a flop of A23 all clubs, eventually getting it allin against Alan who it turned out held the offsuit 54 for the straight. With both players pushing it all in, I managed to lose a $5 prop bet to Blinders, who even in his tightness could not resist my nearly unwinnably specific bet that Iak held precisely AQ with the Queen of clubs, and amazingly it turned out that neither player held even one club in the hand despite all the money getting in on the flop with all three of the same suit. Later Penner would double up again with an already big stack against Don, although for the life of me I cannot remember the hand that did it other than to know that it was a great hand for Penner and a fun one to watch. Statik also won a few large pots off of our side of the table, making his biggest move when he hit a flush with KJ of clubs over Blinders' smaller T9 flush, as Blinders was pushing like crazy on every street to get it allin. Eventually I won a couple of nice pots as well -- mostly with bullshit, mind you -- and Don joined in the fun as well. After maybe four or five hours at the table, the game was much bigger than your typical 1-2 game with a $200 max buyin, because all the bloggers around the table had basically 500 or $600 apiece
or more in front of them, so things were getting really fun and we were really able to open things up from there for the next several hours of play, including Chad and myself live-straddling in every UTG hand for almost the entire night just to get things going.

As the night wore on, the exact opposite pattern appeared as compared to the night before at the MGM. This time around, there was only one or two seats all night long that were not occupied by bloggers, and in a marked departure from the previous day's action, it was just a question of which blogger would stack the tourist before he would eventually get up and give way to another donator to the blogger cause. In the end, Alan managed to retain his biggest stack at the table all through the night with some careful and yet situationally aggressive play, winning what must have been more than four buyins in a very impressive performance overall, while as a group I bet we stacked some 7 or 8 tourists on the night. Two things that stand out in my memory the most from that night, other than the absolutely fabulous time we had at our end of the table, discussing and predicting the hands that the guys on the other side were holding, winning and losing prop bets on particular hands or on which blogger could stack the new tourist first. First was stacking the one non-blogger who started off at our table when I first sat down after returning from the Venetian. This guy was your typical grinder rock-type, only playing the nuts for the most part, and he seemed pleased to be at a table of happy-go-lucky-seeming friends who were clearly mucking it up with any-two on a lot of preflop hands and making a number of non-standard type of plays. Well, on our end of the table we had bets going on how long it would take to stack the rock, and how many suckouts it would take to get this nut peddler to give us all his chips, which early on in the session had swelled to over $500 at the 1-2 table. Well, fast forward about 3 or 4 hours, and finally Chad won a big pot from the guy with A3 and two 3s on the board against the rock's 93 in his hand, and then it all happened pretty fast from there. A few hands later, we had finally broken him down as the former rock type proceeded to literally tilt-bluff off his entire stack to Statik on a flop with a pair of 9s on it, making a big bet on the turn and an even larger bet on the river before Statik called him down with just pocket Aces. The rock mucked his cards disgustedly, having moved allin on the river in a desperate attempt to chase his earlier loss to Chad by representing a 9 that he simply did not have, and before we knew it he was in for one more buyin to try to get it all back. That buyin didn't last more than 5 or 10 more minutes, until he raised preflop, got put allin by Don and then he proceeded to call the preflop allin with -- you guessed it -- the JackAce, and Don stacked him again with Kings. As mean as it may sound, there is very little more enjoyable at the poker table than watching a nut peddler disintegrate and turn into a bluff machine, getting stacked repeatedly with hands that you know he wouldn't have been caught dead playing for all his chips just a few hours earlier. This was one of the highlights of the night for me and the rest of us around the table, and his seat was soon filled by another tight player who bought in short, oblivious to what he was about to get into. That guy ended up getting stacked by Don at around 4am as we left for breakfast, with Don literally racking his chips and getting ready to leave, so that was a nice ender to the most fun session of cash poker I've played in ages.

The other fun hand for me went down in one of my live straddle hands, where for the first time all weekend after probably 50 live straddles, I actually picked up a hand in the UTG position: pocket Kings. A new player had recently sat down in the seat two spots to my left, just next to Don, which had recently been vacated by Smokkee after a sick allin river beat turned Smokkee's flopped flush into a second-best full house. Well, this guy called my live straddle for $4, as did four other players around the table which had turned very, very loose by this point due to the huge stacks as well as a good 15 drinks for most of us during the marathon cash session. When the action got around to me, I did my best "I'm just raising to narrow the field and annoy you all" face as I bumped the 6-way action up from $4 to $25 from my under the gun position. In the end, only the new player two seats to my left called my reraise, and we saw a flop of TT2. I figured my Kings had to be good, but I knew my opponent had to have something to be calling my $25 reraise in the hand, so I wasn't too worried about another Ten in his hand. And, since he had just called and not raised my straddle from early position preflop, no way I was putting him on pocket Aces here, all of which meant I was most likely ahead. That said, I had him on a middle pair, or AK, so I tried my best to make a weak face while I threw out just $40, at this point only around half the pot and noticeably smaller than most flop bets at this table had been at the time.

My opponent must have picked up on the vibes I was trying to send, because he almost instantly raised me to $100. I was loving it. Although again I knew a Ten was a possible holding for him, I thought it very unlikely, and probably much more likely that he simply thought I was stealing preflop and now trying to steal again on the flop with a weak holding. I thought and thought, acting as much as I felt I could get away with at the time, before finally pushing allin for about $400 more. Luckily my opponent had flopped a set on just his second hand at the table, doubling up and getting his own stack to nearly $400, and he agonized over whether to risk those two buyins on this one hand. The more he thought, the more I knew he did not hold a Ten and that I was therefore ahead. I tried to look as motionlessly ahead as I could, giving off the old Mike Caro "weak means strong" tell that is supposed to signify that someone is bluffing, and I like to think that this contributed to the guy's eventual decision to call my allin. Immediately upon saying "call", he asked me if I held a Ten. I sadly said "no", truthfully, and his eyes lit up as he slid his big stack towards the middle of the table. But when I flipped up my pocket Kings from my live straddle position, his face grew white as he felted pocket 9s from his own hand. My monster held up through the turn and river cards, and the nearly $700 pot was shipped my way. I flipped the dealer a fatty $25 tip for dealing me the cash hand of the trip for me, which she was still talking about some three hours later when I ran into her during an early-morning conversation with Astin about life and poker in general, and I raked in my biggest cash pot of the weekend, and in fact the largest live nlh cash pot I have ever won.

Around 5am I said goodbye to my friends and to a weekend of fun that I will not soon forget, headed back to the Monte Carlo to pack up, and then made off for McCarran airport to return from fantasy land back to the land of suits and ties, having to pay for my drinks, and actually walking places instead of just cabbing all around town. I have tons of great memories from the weekend which was truly one of the most fun I can ever remember, including of course cashing in only my second World Series of Poker ever and being a huge stack early on, and acting more than I ever have before when I flopped that nut flush against the aggressive guy at my second table in the WSOP. I remember the hideous Orleans tournament pushfest, christening Don's druggie buggy with Fuel and Chad and Iak, and all those late-night blogger cash games that I had been craving ever since deciding to make the trek out to the desert to hang with my boys in style in Sin City. I even got Blinders of all people to play the Hammer in a cash game, not just for a preflop raise but for a big bet on the flop, and the look in his eyes when he flipped his cards over after pushing an aggressive Chad out of the pot was worth a million words. And who can forget finding pocket Kings in my last live straddle of the weekend, leading to that $700 pot that I felt like a million bucks pulling down in front of all my blogger friends. In all it was a weekend for the ages for me, and although of course it's always great to return home to my family and friends in New York City, I surely did not want my time in Vegas to end and when the time came, as always it seemed just too short, just too soon. I look forward eagerly to the next time I get together with this group of guys, and I want to say thanks to everyone who hung out and spent time with me, and to everybody who came up and introduced themselves to me, including of course all the kind words about me, my WSOP cash, my blog and anything else. What a blast of a weekend, where I think it's fair to say that a great time was had by all.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Goat said...

Nice write up, Hoy. Wish I could have attended, sounds like a killer time.


And it was Jacks, not Ax that I called down with (though obviously I would have preferred to have called with the JackAce).

2:47 AM  
Blogger CarmenSinCity said...

Nice hanging out with you.

3:11 AM  
Blogger bayne_s said...

Alan had trip 8s with Ace Kicker, Don had trip 8s with a 7 for an OESD and 3rd hand was A9 on 9 8 8 6 board when money went in on the big hand.

3:12 AM  
Blogger Chad Carpenter (Yahoo IM: carchd) said...

I am still shocked blinders did that. I really did not believe he had the heart to fire two shells at a pot out of position. Of course, I only had Q high anyway hahahaha!!!!

3:49 AM  
Blogger smokkee said...

i'm pretty sure that was Chad in the AA vs QQ hand between u and Iak. he had 2-3o and woulda busted u both. but, he folded to the allin action after initially calling ur minreraise preflop.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Love_elf said...

Hoy!!! Glad to hear the wifey loved the Choos!!!!

It was very nice seeing you again and actually getting to chat this time! You're an OK guy! LOL

See ya next time.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Irongirl01 said...

Absolutely Fanfriggintastic meeting you.. We definitely have to do a Foxwoods East Coast gathering soon!!!

Congrats again on the WSOP cash.

10:55 AM  
Blogger jjok said...

playing catchup on my reading.....

Congrats on the cash bub!!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Gnome said...

I had a great time, and I hope to see you in Vegas again in December.

7:41 AM  

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