I’m mushing myself; so be it.  Head on over to the looney bin over at 2+2 if you Believe (and you should).

Ugh.  So I got creamed at 1-5 at Foxwoods last Saturday.  I should have seen the bad juju coming when 100 or so of my colleagues were displaced, friends were having accidents, and I was sporting a month long headache, but stubborn is stubborn so I went, 10AM to 10PM.  Blech.

It was just bad luck, and in my own defense I will say that a worse player would have lost 5x as much money in the same amount of time, which was approximately 8 hours of playing.  Missed flushes, cruddy cards, beat made hands, yadda yadda yadda, it happens, but not usually so slowly, and all in the same session.  I was reading hands alright, but it still wasn’t working out.  One lost hand got down to the 5th card.  We both had AA, both had a king (damn) , both had nines, then I had a 7 and he had an 8.  So WTF.  The betting was rather spastic, or aggressive if you prefer, but that did not help in this case where I was losing over and over.

I did tear myself away at one point, ate dinner, but then, refreshed, I went back for more!  My rolled 5′s, only rolled hand of the day, lost to a player who put in his last dollar and made his flush.  Yay!  Started having those thoughts about the automatic shufflers being broken and/or haunted. Eventually I gave up.

I exercised pretty good tilt control against one of the worst  players I have ever seen.  Sometimes one says “So-n-so plays every hand” but this woman really did.  I saw her drop $200 in no time, but then won $300, all with the same foolish non-existent hand selections.  I rarely change tables at a live game but when I saw three 7′s come out for her, I had to leave.  Thankfully she was whittled down to nothing again.  I guess I was her lucky charm.

I will probably do the poker hissy and head to Mohegan Sun next, because I’m mad at the haunted card shufflers at Foxwoods, but also, because the players at MS are even worse.  I’ll be able to try more Monday tournaments; now that I’m in a new job I can get Mondays off a bit easier.

I was just an innocent bystander…it’s a democracy.

I shared this with some friends a few years ago, now the whole world can not read about it.


I played Howard Lederer, heads up.

At Chess.

25 years ago.

This ain’t no California-style Recovered Childhood memory Moment, it really happened.

It finally came back to me this week, after reading Katy Lederer’s “Poker Face”, a memoir about the Lederer Clan, and re-reading the HL chapter in “Aces & Kings”, a new poker bio book that I just finished. I mean, I knew he went to the prep school in my town, his dad was a grammar maven, yadda yadda yadda. But nothing I’ve ever read on HL ever mentioned his chess in detail, just him and his sister playing random board games as kids.

Until now. Per A&K, Howard was captain of the St. Paul’s chess team. On their way to the state championship, they played a little Catholic school down the road, Bishop Brady HS. Its chess captain? Let’s put it this way, it weren’t no gurl in a thigh-high plaid green skirt.

Then it all came together. Their captain, as i recall, was a biggish guy. Somewhat intense. No nonsense. Do the years match? Check. Goddamn, why didn’t I sort this out before?

Oh, yeah, he kicked my ass. He drew white, played English Opening, which I was totally clueless about defending (and still am), and I resigned about move 16, give or take a couple. He even did a post-game critique afterward, speculating that I could have opened my King-side rook file or something; gimme a fucking break, it was a quarter century ago so the details are fuzzy. (The A&K book also describes this HL-type behavior during his Mayfair days.)

Our similarities don’t end with a passion for games: He blows off stoopid NH burg for big city college; ditto. Middle of the night smokes on 14th and 6th; ditto. Sleeping in Washington Square Park; ditto. Weight “issues”? Yep. Somehow, my WSOP bracelets and millions in NFL line arbitrage went missing. Maybe they’re under the sofa cushions or something.

Anyway, thanks for listening. With luck, maybe Howard and I will have a rematch someday.

"If you break it in half...you don't get two nickels, you get shit."

I spent 12 hours at Foxwoods Saturday. Things went well, but I think I need to move up a level. Spread limit is really bugging me, so enough of this nickel and dime stuff. The low level hands are very give & take. You can’t play too tight or else you miss out on easy money, but, no one else plays tight either so there is always a random suck-out for every stolen pot. Beach reading will be 7CS4AP again. Some of the examples will have more resonance after the Mohegan tournament. I’m still smarting over the raised fours.

Over & over in life, I’ve learned that some mistakes just need to be made before you learn from them. Even though you know you are making a mistake, once you go through the process, you’ll have the muscle memory of the error, and so when the next time to flub up comes around, you will already have the wax-on, wax-off moves in motion, preventing you from fucking up again. And so, yes, things did not go so well at the tournament, but I’m pleased with myself for having condensed pretty much all of the possible errors I could have made into one, economical event.

Some random categories then…

Game Observations: Lots of ladies played this event. One decent level headed nlhe player commented that he had never, ever seen so many women at a tournament table. Lots of locals, the professionally unemployed, and New Jersey types, people wearing their “I knocked out a pro on FTP” shirts and other dumb crap. I suppose that was one mistake I did not make: dressing like a dork.

A strange new problem for me. Some of the “better” players did a lot of jamming early on with weak pairs. This worked on me against my kings. Dude is re-raising me with a pair of fours. And he gets a third one on sixth. My kings weren’t entirely dead; only one was out, but maybe he had the remaining one. I can’t say I’m going to start re-raising with pocket fours just yet, but maybe against weak players, like myself, I will.

Game Errors Well lets see. The worst was my playing past 5th with draws too often, and didn’t bluff with my failed draws enough. A lot of the Sopranos extras liked to drive over the old ladies and I suppose I fell into the old lady category too. I only let this happen once, but it was enough for me to illustrate myself as someone who will fold under pressure. My once attempt at shaking this perception was a raising war between and a bulimic meth head. I had a queen high straight, one of my few made hands, but that ended up losing to a flush, on 7th of course.

And that was another major error. Being self-involved. With that queen high straight, I had taken so many beatings previously that I could barely see straight. I knew on seventh I should just bet/call, and maybe, maybe check, LOOK to see if I’m dealing with some major BS, but I just wanted it done. So I didn’t see the flush. The girl didn’t either. She had just 2 pair all along, which I knew, but she fell ass backwards into the flush. Later I did take down both her and the Soprano via an Ace-nine high flush, which I was really cry calling because she was showing a possible Ace-King flush. Come seventh I’m afraid to look up, NJ bully announces “King high flush,” the girl is silent, and I get shipped a huge pot! Yay highlight of the day. I actually gasped for air, like a pro lol.

Sometime after this came the pair of fours, turning into a set of fours jamming. I lost a lot here. One thing I did last time that I didn’t do this time was keep a constant tally of my chips. I probably would have backed off a street earlier if I knew I was already so low, but, fours? I don’t know, as much as you don’t want to be known as a stubborn turkey, do you want everyone to know you’ll fold your kings if they represent?

After that, if was just more bad luck. Tried to knock out a girl with an Ace-King-eight flush draw. Nothing. Got it all in with another Ace-King-nine flush draw. I get a pair of sevens. Dude starts with nothing and gets threes and fours. The end.

I suppose, looking back, I didn’t play super bad. A lot of shit cards, 2 really good players at my first table, stayed in too long a few too many times, brought in a lot. The biggest mistake was getting bullied one time. This was super early, so not a huge amount of chips, but it bent me mentally. I knew the players who were going to get all jammie and I avoided them, a few times when I shouldn’t have. I could put them on steals, even if it wasn’t my bring in, but should you get stubborn with a 3 card straight draw?

Regional Lifestyles and Customs: There are a lot of bad hard drugs in Southern CT, and a lot of drunks too. Too close to Long Island. And the cheesecake at the buffet blows. Made of ground up styrofoam and cremora. The dealers were great as always, very polite and always on my side.

I guess I had a good time. My cash game went very well so it wasn’t a total washout. Perhaps I should have taken the tournament more seriously, tried to look scarier? Whatever. For a $230 event I got a great education. Maybe Foxwoods in the Fall, but for now, its back to cash and Juniors Cheesecake.

I’ve got to calm down…I don’t know why sometimes I get frightened…

I’m playing the Summer Showdown at Mohegan Sun tomorrow, and its frizzing my hair. Shouldn’t be a big deal, win or lose, considering the crustaceans that played the last time, but I’m still bugging. In the middle of the night I began thinking about Hannibal Lecter chewing out Agent Starling when she first came to interrogate him and I thought, “That’s me! What in the hell do you think you’re doing?”

I’m trying to come up with some kind of ceremony to make peace with the money I’m about to lose. Maybe burn a dollar bill. This would be easier if I was independently wealthy, but then, I wouldn’t play as well. Updates to come soon…

But I doubt he was swimming in his sheets like I was last night.

At least the hat isn't on the bed

Our names have the same cadence, so I always think of thiswhen I’m illin’. And now I’m illin’ in Vegas, probably in the same spot he was some 50 years ago. (I think he was at the Sands, which was imploded here. I forget.)

But now I’m better! So that means no more half-ass poker, playing an orbit of 1/2 to see my AA get cracked, and then dinking around in a low-level horse game the rest of the day. Since I’m probably the only one in this town using pseudoepinephrine the way nature intended I’m bound to have an advantage.

At least Spain won. bankroll salvage!

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