Friday, October 26, 2018

Where is Mianus?

I’ve noticed that whenever Americans are asked where they are from they’ll nearly always reply in the same format of town / city then state. Examples would be “I’m from Beaverlick, Kentucky or “I live in Wankers Corner, Oregon” (although these are real places I’ve never met anyone from either). The only exceptions would be if people are from one of the major US cities like NY or LA which, to most people, would need no clarification of which state their hometown is in. I like it when people do this as my knowledge of the US is pretty limited to the major cities so if someone just said Beaverlick I couldn’t be expected to know that it’s in Kentucky for instance. 

We Brits don’t necessarily do this even when talking to other Brits – the UK is such a small place that even if you live in a tiny village then you’d just mention the nearest medium sized town and the majority of people would be able to roughly place it on a map. If we’re talking to foreigners most people from the south east would say x miles from London on the assumption that most would have a vague idea where London was.

But I like the American way – it’s a conversation starter as I can usually ask someone where they are in relation to a major city in their state or even update my crossword skills and ask where their state capital is. I would have thought that this would be possible for nearly everyone until I had a very odd encounter with someone from Pennsylvania who didn’t know where they lived in relation to Philadelphia. Now I know that Pennsylvania is a pretty big state but to me there’s only 2 big cities that most people would be able to place – Philly being one and Pittsburgh the other. I asked this lady where she was in relation to Philly and she had no idea, I followed up by asking about her local sports teams – if she’d said the Eagles or the Flyers I would have face palmed myself but she said her whole family support NY based teams and were regular travellers to NY which was only 2 hours or so drive away. From a few follow up questions I’d ascertained a few things that narrows it down that you live in east PA, possibly just inside the Delaware River? Yes – just over the river into PA.

OK – now I can picture where you are on the map and you’re about 2 hours north of Philly. This was a surprise to her. She’d lived in this place for years and had no idea how close (or even what direction) Philly was. Now I can understand living 2 hours from somewhere and never going but the thing I found very strange was not even knowing the distance or direction. 

And just in case you were wondering where Mianus is – it’s in Connecticut,_Connecticut, and Uranus is in Missouri,_Missouri.  

Normal poker based drunken idiocy will resume in due course

Saturday, October 20, 2018

No one likes a shaved girl

Before I proceed I’ll describe my own hairstyle – or lack of. Although I’m far from bald I’ve had a receding hairline since my mid to late 20s. Since then I’ve always just had a buzz cut and it’s brilliant – no more time spent exchanging inane chit chat with an over priced barber, no more expensive hair products or worrying if your hair looks funny because you’ve slept on it or got it wet in the rain. But it’s even better if you travel a lot as I do – given the restrictions on carrying liquids through airport security I don’t have to utilise valuable packing space on shampoo or gel and if I’m away from home for more than a couple of weeks I can just bring my clippers to trim it myself. It also shows that I’m growing old gracefully and accepting certain inevitabilities that come with the passing of time – there’s nothing more ridiculous than a guy who is trying to fool the world (or maybe just himself) with a bad comb-over or wig.

So now to the line – I’m sat enduring a very boring poker session, being dealt no decent cards so I’m just enjoying a few beers when a couple of ladies (maybe mid to late 30s) sit down at the table in seats 4 & 6. I’m sat in seat 5 and I ask if they want to sit next to each other and they say they actually prefer to sit apart so I stay put. As long as they don’t start trying to talk through me I decide to hang in there but the lady to my left says hello and starts chatting to me. Usually the only female attention I get in Vegas is from hookers and even then it’s pretty rare but I’m happy to exchange pleasantries for a little bit. She asks what I do and not being in the mood to tell her I’m in the Colorado coastguard I tell her, I ask her and she says she’s a hairdresser. I tell her I don’t have much use for one of those and she laughs politely but says that if I grew it out I could get a decent style going on. I then tell her about it being much more convenient when I travel etc and her friend now comes into the conversation. She tells me that she also travels a lot for work and she wishes that she could do the same but “No-one likes a shaved girl”. I swear I laughed so hard half of my beer came out of my nose. A couple of the other players have heard this and are sat sniggering like Beavis & Butthead. When I regain my composure I tell her that quite a lot of men would have a differing opinion. She realises what she’s said and says she didn’t mean it that way – I laugh and protest my innocence and she’s soon chatting away as well. They were a lovely couple of ladies and made an otherwise forgettable night quite memorable.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Not a good day to get aces

Some sessions are dull in that I fail to get a decent story out of them. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I made or lost money, just that there’s nothing interesting enough to put into black and white. This was not one of those sessions. To say it went to 11 on the 1-10 poker scale would be doing it a disservice. It was more like smoking crack and snorting speed being chased by tigers whilst blasting across the alkali flats in a jet-powered, monkey navigated…. and it goes on like this It was mental. There were also numerous beers consumed over my 5 hour session but that had nothing to do with it.

No one at the table was particularly remarkable, there were a couple of LAGs over the course of my session, one of whom features heavily in the later stages. Quite a few of the players were very passive and it wasn’t uncommon to see multi raised preflop action get called by 4 or more players. The only player I’ll describe is grandma calling station (GCS) on my immediate left who, over the course of the 2 hours that she was sat next to me, must have called 95% of the time preflop whatever the action and didn’t make a single raise. One particularly weird hand was when she called something like $40 preflop then folded to a $25 shove on the flop with no action behind. 

When I join a table I usually like to sit down with a beer already in front of me and I do this for 2 reasons. The first being the waitress service – if I’m parched I’ll spend the first few hands scanning the room for a waitress and not concentrating on the table. The second is other people’s reactions – the better players’ eyes will light up when a new player enters the game holding a beer as they presume that anyone drinking is likely to be less skilled and therefore will be easy pickings. If you’ve never noticed it before you will now – even local grinders will loosen up a bit if they think there is easy money to be won from a drunk tourist.

I’m in MP when I first sit down and don’t see a flop for the first few hands – the waitress has already come by and I’ve ordered another beer so I’m trying my best to get rid of the one in front of me before she returns – I know she’ll want to take this however much is left and I don’t want to waste it. The first hand I’m interested in is when I’m on the button and look down at 77 – there’s been 4 or 5 limps already so I raise to $16. GCS in the SB calls and the BB raises to $40. Now I don’t like my hand so much and I’m thinking about a fold when there are 3 callers before I act so it’s only costing me $24 into a pot of over $160. My only concern is if GCS is going to come over the top (at this stage I’ve not realised that she’s a calling station) but I call and she does the same. So we’re 6 to the flop of A77. GCS checks, BB bets $50 and there’s one call before getting to me. I’m hoping GCS has an Ace and will call so I only call rather than raise but GCS folds. Turn is a blank and there’s now 2 hearts on the board and the BB bets $100 which is called before getting to me so I call. River is another heart and the BB shoves maybe $250 which is called before I call for my last $100 or so. BB turns over AA for the house, other hand is Ah-Qh for a rivered flush and the BB looks sick as I table my flopped quads (looking back I should have raised the turn– neither player is folding for another $100 and if the flush draw doesn’t come in then the MP player can potentially get away given the BB has bet $250 and all he would have is 2 pair). More than a triple up and I’m still stacking chips when the waitress comes along with my beer. Lovely.

I barely play a hand for a few rounds until I’m dealt AA in MP – UTG has limped so I raise, GCS calls as do the blinds and the UTG limper. Q high flop but not overly scary so I bet when it’s checked to me and it folds to the UTG limper who shoves his last $80 or so. I call, everyone else folds and he tables QQ. Aces are 0/2.

I look at 4h-5h in the BB when there’s an MP raise plus 3 calls with only GCS left to act. Flop is A-2-3 all hearts!!! Checked to MP who bets, 1 call, I call and GCS calls. Order another beer as the turn is dealt, checked to MP who now checks, bet from late position and I call, GCS folds and MP calls. Another blank on the river and I decide to bet but I’m unsure of the size. A large bet potentially goes uncalled – the board is unpaired and the only hand that’s raising is a K high flush so I only bet about ¼ of the pot. MP calls then other guy shoves for maybe $150 more. I call and the original raiser tanks before open mucking AA. Other guy shows Kh-Qh and I scoop my second monster pot of the night. Aces are 0/3. 

I take a bathroom break after my button and I return to see someone’s Aces cracked again – they are now 0/4 in about 90 mins.

I button raise with JJ and get called by GCS in the SB plus one in MP. 10 high flop and I bet, GCS calls and the other guy folds. Turn, check, bet, call. River, check, check and GCS flips over AA!!! But at least it’s to GCS – anyone else could quite easily have doubled up through me. But AA is now on the scoreboard although looking pretty bad at 1/5. 

GCS has left at this stage and there’s a new guy sat on my left – he asks how I’m sat behind nearly 2k and I recount a few of the hands and tell him to avoid playing Aces. I jokingly tell him I’m just open shoving if I get them. 

Next hand I get involved with is from late position holding J-10 suited. I call a small raise as does half the table and floppeda flush draw which hit on the turn. I can’t recall being overly aggressive but the original raiser bets all the way and is all in when we’re heads up at showdown – he tables AA which are 1/6 now!

I 3 bet in late position holding KK after 2 calls to the original bet, original raiser 4 bet shoves (he was fairly new to the table but pretty LAG so I’m not overly concerned that he’s got AA) and there’s 2 all ins behind him for not much more. So I call and table my hand. Bizarrely all the other players do as well – A rag for all 3!!! What the fuck? I’d be embarrassed to show if it were me. I think the strongest kicker was a 10 but LAG showed A-3!! There’s the case fucking ace on the flop and I lose $300 or so. Someone scoops a $1,200 pot with A-10!!!

I lose some more holding QQ against 22 who turns a set then rivers quads despite me betting preflop and effectively putting him all in on a J-10-8 flop

Then I get some chips from the LAG – he raises from MP and there are 3 or 4 callers before I look down at AA in the BB. Given he shoved with A3 he’s probably calling a decent sized bet but I don’t want 4 callers so I just shove. The guy next to me chuckles, LAG calls and everyone else folds. LAG tables A5 off!! He gets no help and I’m glad I shoved as one of the original callers says he had KJ for a straight. I know preflop I want him in the hand but I’m only 40%ish to win against 4 opponents and I’m probably not getting him off an open ender on the flop. Aces are 2/7!

I lose some more when I call a short stack’s all in – I’ve got AA and he flops a set of 3s. I jokingly look at the dealer and tell her not to give me aces as I can only win with rags – it’s her 2nd or 3rd down at this table and she’s seen AA get busted all night so she knows what I’m talking about. Aces are 2/8 now

Then the last noteworthy hand of the night. I’m holding JJ in late position and I get 2 calls to a raise - the BB (who had only been sat down a few minutes) and the LAG who is now sat on around $1,000. Flop is A-J-2 rainbow and the BB checks, LAG bets, I raise and the BB shoves (he started with $200), LAG shoves behind*Parp – has someone slowplayed AA here? This makes no sense here as LAG is definitely reraising preflop with AA but would the BB have flat called preflop then check shoved on the flop? I actually take a bit of time to think about this and I work back the hand history. I decide LAG has definitely not got AA, even a single ace is unlikely so that means BB could well have it. LAG’s got all his chips in preflop with A-rag a couple of times already so there’s no way that he’s limped then called my preflop bet with AA, I’m putting LAG on 22 for bottom set so I call, expecting to be behind BB but ahead of LAGBB turns over A9!!! LAG tables KQ off – fuck my life, $1,000 on a 4 outer drawalthough he’s got quadruple the number of outs than if he’d got bottom set!!! Turn is a 9 and the river is another fucking Ace – fuck off poker gods! BB scoops $600 but at least I take the LAG’s money. BB burns off his chips within a round or 2 but none back to me.

*Looking back I really have no idea why he did this – he knows he’s behind so should want me in the hand as if he hits he wins big but if he doesn’t then he loses everything he’s got. Or is his thought process to bluff me off a better hand? Again that doesn’t work because he must be behind the BB and therefore losing $200 anyway. I understand betting the draw (as his bet could cause me and the BB to fold) but once the BB is all in he needs to hit to win the hand. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to have to call a big bet on the turn if he’s missed and if I fold he effectively gets 2 “free” cards for his draw?But wtf goes on in the minds of these crazy loons? I really have no idea.

I decide to call it a day after about 5 hours and 12 or so beers. Although I’ve racked up more than this at higher stakes tables this is by far my biggest win at a 1/2 table – I cashed out for $3.5k and change which just looked ridiculous at a small stakes table. It had been a complete rollercoaster and my only concern now is where to buy some downers.

Friday, October 5, 2018

I’ve already told you my hand - why would you raise?

I’d been playing for about 2 hours and had been pretty card dead so I was down about $80 from my initial buy in of $300 at a 1/2 table. I was on the button and this was going to be my last round before I headed out to dinner. There’s a raise in MP to $8, the cut-off calls and I look down at Ad-10d. I call and the BB calls as well. There’s 2 diamonds on the K high flop so I’m already getting excited. BB leads out for $22, MP folds, C/O calls and I call. Turn is a blank and the BB leads out for $65, C/O thinks about it for a bit (I’m internally screaming for him to call) but folds. I say “I wish you’d called” to the C/O but to his credit he says nothing. At this point I know the maths is bad – I’m being asked to pay $65 to win $164 less the rake (I will often ignore implied odds at lower stakes as a lot of players are so scared of 3 suited cards on the deck that they will usually shut down any future action) but I’ve been card dead for so long that I want to see the river. I take a gamble and as I call I say to the BB “if I wasn’t drawing to the nuts I wouldn’t”. As soon as the words come out of my head I want to kick myself – damn you free drinks*!! 

The river is a lovely diamond and although I feel dirty (not for hitting but for getting the wrong price) I’m chuffed that I’ve finally won a decent sized pot. I’m now doubly regretting my words as the BB obviously checks. I’m holding the nuts so I have to bet (don’t want to be accused of soft play again so I bet $35 – now even if I’d said nothing on the turn this has a made flush value bet screaming out loud. The BB thinks for a few seconds and I expect him to fold but he raises!!! He slides out $100. I double check the flop to ensure there’s no straight flush possible (not that I believe in monsters under the bed) – the board isn’t paired and I’ve definitely got the nuts. So I announce all in and the BB calls – I show and he mucks and immediately leaves the table. As the chips are being pushed to me half the players are left opened mouthed – they’d all heard what I said on the turn and couldn’t believe what had just happened. I said that I felt stupid for talking on the turn but maybe he thought it was just speech-play. The C/O says he knew it wasn’t (he’d folded K-10) and that there’s no way he could believe how the betting transpired on the river.

I was heading out to dinner so didn’t see if the guy came back to ask what he had but any idea what he might have held? My best guess is a flush or small set – he’s called from the BB with 2 callers to a raise so effectively he could hold any 2 cards. Given he lead the flop and turn he’s either on a draw or had a small pocket pair that hit a set. But that still doesn’t explain his river action – if he thought I was lying why not just bet the river?

Any ideas?

*Sorry free drinks – it’s never your fault – it’s always mine

Monday, October 1, 2018

First hand madness

It’s my favourite afternoon drinking session (or the lunchtime tournie at TI if that makes more sense)  I’ve posted before about a double up on the 1st hand but this was just crazy.

Again I’m UTG and have barely sniffed my 1st beer when I look down at QQ. I raise to 325 (starting stack of 10k and blinds at 25-50) - some may see this as an over-raise but the standard of play at these tournaments is pretty low and a standard 2.5 BB raise would probably see the entire table call – and I get 2 callers, the button and the BB.

Flop comes Qd-10d-4s – BB checks and I’m not slow playing with a flush draw on the board so I bet 650 into a pot of 1,000 and the button calls. BB shoves!!! Now I’ve played against the BB before and he’s quite nitty but there’s no way he’s shoving on a draw given how early on we are in the tournament and I’ve never seen the guy who’s on the button before. I obviously call and the button calls as well.

BB shows 44 for a flopped set and the button shows Q-10 – absolutely perfect scenario for me as I only need to fade the case 4 or running 10s. Turn and river are both blanks and I scoop a triple up. Next hand I’m dealt KK whilst in the BB – everyone limps in and I try to act like the big stack bully by raising to about 700 hoping that someone has a hand worth reraising with, unfortunately my luck is out and everyone folds. I actually show my hand (I rarely do this) – it gives the impression that I’m not trying to steal and might be useful later on. 

Has anyone ever seen better than a triple up during the 1st hand of a tournament?