Saturday, March 13, 2004

Borgata Trip 

Right off that bat, I'll let you know that I lost. $100 over 6 hours at a 2/4 table. With a couple of big trips coming up, I wasn't planning on risking too much but I wanted to play on a live table to work on my game. I feel like I've improved and I learned some good lessons last night.

Landow learned a good one. Check/raise on the turn may be a powerful move, but it doesn't go over real well in low-limit heads up with a guy from South Philly. Some very creative curses were thrown in his general directions.

The first sign of trouble appeared before we even sat down. It took about an hour to get a seat so we waited in the B-Bar and milked some free SoCo playing quarter video poker. Of course, I started nailing hands and go up 50% while drinking free $12 double Southerns. I'm money, it's gonna be a great night. Landow laughed and told me I was screwed. I knew it.

Next bad sign was my table assignment. The table was one of the tightest low-limit games in the history of poker. It was a 9 handed table with some of the most interesting characters I've seen in awhile. The best being Rob the Old Fart in 9s. When I first sat down, he would barely look away from reading his CardPlayer to check his cards or post. Then he fell asleep. Snoring and all. I ended up taking a nice pot from him when my pocket 5's turned into a set on the flop and he wasn't paying any attention to me.

Every single player can describe his bad beats with incredible detail. The nice lady in 5s presented me with my first of two bad wins.

Holding QTc in late position, Ms. Nice Lady raises pre-flop and I'm the only caller. She's been very tight/aggressive and I'm worried about high pocket pairs or big slick. Can anyone telling me if calling was right or should I have raised? The flop comes out 8-J-9 with two clubs to make my straight and setup a straight flush draw. Ms. Nice Lady bets out and I raise. My raise puts her all-in. No kidding. Not another chip or penny to her name. She flips over poker 9's and I know I just got screwed. Rags come out on the turn and river. The way Ms. Nice Lady was playing she would have re-raised the whole way down thinking her set was best. Instead of a nice big pot, I took $8 off her. Not even enough for a nice double shot when I hit the felt.

This actually put me on tilt for a couple of hands. But I was able to recognize I was tilting and corrected myself. More drinks and a nicotine break certainly helped.

Then I had the best / luckiest hand of the night. The table was unbearably tight. Most folding to $2 bets, nevermind raises. I can't remember which blogger recently wrote about playing blind to loosen up a tight table. I announced that I was playing blind (apparently Old Fart Rob didn't hear me because he flipped out when I bet on turn and he just realized my cards were still sitting next to the button). On the river, I bet out and every single chucklehead folded. 6 players folded to a bet from an idiot who never bothered to look at his cards. I don't know what they were chasing but I got a lot of dirty looks when I flipped of K6c and I made a flush on the river.

So to be a nice guy, I bled it all back to everyone.

Once the Friday night NLHE tournament was winding down, they moved our piddly low-limit game to a bigger table waaay back in the corner near the cashier. A tenth player was added. Grumpy Old Italian guy with his shrew harpy of a wife sitting behind him the whole time. Old Fart Rob decides that since I have long hair, he needs to tell me about his hippy days in SanFran. And a nice older gentleman with money to burn has a seat. The king of all maniacs.

Then my personal poker god shows up. He says he missed me and wants to give me a nice present. (ok, maybe it was the booze talking. I may have been -EV at the table but I was ++EV with the drink holder)

Landow comes over to my corner of the world and let's me know that we've gotta go. Something about his dog needing to be let out or some of that rubbish. No problem, I said. I'm half in the bag and down to the felt. 7 whole US dollars to my name. I'll play it down until he cashes out. (He finished his night to the positive).

Sonofabitch if I don't look down and see cowboys. Un-freaking-believable. I didn't have high pocket pairs the entire night and now I get them? With $7 to play? I raise pre-flop and get one caller. Mr. Loosey Goosey old guy. $3 left. Flop comes out 9-9-K. Mother @!#$%@$. Loosey Goosey bets and I go all-in with my lousy $3. Of course he calls, and we would have capped every time. Because he was holding K 9. So I double up to $15. Magnificent. That will buy me into the WSOP.

I cashed out (I was startled that they didn't 1099 me) and started looking for the wifey who had shown up later with BigMike. I handed over the $15 plus the ticket from video poker and left for home.

Adding insult to injury, when she gets home she flashed 3 crisp $100 bills. She took my $15 and played a $1 slot machine and hit for over $300 on the last pull. Superb honey, now stop laughing.


overall, I had a great time and it was nice to get out and play. Hdouble talks about the value advantages to playing online. For me last night, EV stood for Entertainment Value. I had a blast playing, got nice and banged up later, and even learned some valuable lessons at the table. In my neverending efforts to improve my game, I have to consider last night a positive even though the bank account shows negative.


Sorry for the long ramlbing post.

Good day.


Oh the humanity 

With a nod to Iggy, I need to borrow his phrase. This will get a nice post tomorrow.

6+ hours
Poker Gods

And the only hands I'm going to bitch about, I won.


Friday, March 12, 2004

True Poker response 

I sent an email to True Poker asking about the way they do their insta-all in's. Below is their response and I'm more confused than before


I would like to thank you for that suggestion.

In that scenario, where all the players go all in, it seems like the cards
are dealt at the same time, they are actually dealt one at a time, but as
there is no one left to call or bet, it seems to the player that this
happens. If we were to change this, players would have to wait x amount of
seconds for the cards to be dealt, even during normal game play.

The TruePoker Crew


Road trip 

"When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth."
Dawn of the Dead, 1978

Oddly enough, I feel human today. Not for lack of effort though. Good drinking and good conversation.

My friend Chris, aka Padre, was in town and nothing is better than listening to him and BigMike go at it. Padre is an interesting story. He left a well paying IT position and went into the seminary to become an Episcopalian Priest. There's no higher comedy then hearing him say "....and the Pharisees were using the law and shit to...." , all the while knocking back beers. You just can't make this stuff up.

Padre is a great guy and we're making plans for a road trip to Pittsburgh for his ordination in June. How hot is hell going to be for me if / when I turn it into a booze trip?


The odds of hitting the Borgata today have jumped to 99%. Assuming work stays out of my way (I have NO problem staying out of it's way), we're shooting to be down there between 4 and 5. If anyone's interested, I'll be down in the Poker Room or sitting at the B-Bar.

Hopefully I'll have a good trip report when I return.


Thursday, March 11, 2004

Consider this a warning 

Unfortunately, in my efforts to improve my poker skills, I have really neglected my alcoholic side. There are bartender gambling debts and waitress college tuitions going unpaid. The local bar called to make sure I was alright. They noticed an excess number of SoCo bottles going unused.

When I go out, my bar tab closely resembles the GNP of a small to moderate 3rd world country. When I drink, everyone drinks. And man does that piss of wifey.

So in the fine Thursday night tradition at the CantHang household, I'm going to local bar for my standard 8 hour binge and the wife goes bowling. (She keeps trying to convince me to go by telling me it's a good excuse to drink. I don't need a good excuse.)

So consider this a warning. Assuming anyone shows up tomorrow for a post, I'll just go ahead and say it now. Damn I'm tired.


For anyone interested, it's about a 90% certainty that I'm blowing off work tomorrow afternoon and heading to the Borgata.

Who's wit me?


For a great writeup on round two of the World Poker Blogger Tour, head on over to Tao of Poker.

I still think that if Grubby was going to come incognito, he should have used the name Wesley or Crusher.


WBT 2 small recap 

Bigger post to come later. 28 players turned out for the 2nd leg of the World Poker Blogger Tour. There were some newbies and a lot of seasoned 'pros'. First off, I came if 8th. That's not a typo. 28 real goddamn, mother loaded poker players. Every time some got dropped, I couldn't believe it wasn't me.

My first look around the table didn't fill me with a lot of confidence. Starting on my left, Grubby, Iggy, Pauly, Grubbette, and Felicia. I don't even remember who else was there. I saw these guys and thought, this should be a nice short tournament. I kept my head low and played the premium hands.

It didn't hurt that I caught some really good cards early on and, when they dried up, held onto my money like they were free drink chips at the local dive bar.

Two memorable hands (I wish I had a hand history). I look down at QQ one spade, make the min raise and got a couple of callers. Flop didn't have anything that scared me but it did have 3 spades. Raise again, one caller (not sure who). Turn gets me a set when another Q hits the board. 'Nother raise, 'nother call. River completes the flush. I bet, get a call and take down the pot. Nothing spectacular but it was my one and only big pot of the night. I wish I had the hand history to post so someone could tell me if I played that hand to it's max EV.

The other hand was something I promised my wifey that I was going to try. Someone once wrote in their blog that the check/raise on the turn was the most powerful move in Poker. I made a note before the tournament to use it if I could. Well, I think I used it on Pauly or Grubby (who, by the way, was smokin'. I couldn't see around the corner because of the silicon projecting onto the screen.). I check/raised on the turn to force a lay down. Not a big pot but it was my first 'move' with no regard for my hole cards. Ever.

I had a great time last night. Thanks again to Iggy for 1) setting it all up, and 2) giving me the opportunity to play.

Here's the money list.

1. Otis B Dart - Up for Poker
2. Chris Halverson
3. PaulyMcGrupp - Tao of Poker
4. STICKandMOVE - Stick and Move
5. FeliciaLee - FeliciaLee

8th - your hero, the one, the only, AlCantHang.

(chirp, chirp)(chirp, chirp)

Hey, where'd everyone go?


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

WBT 2 

Last night I deposited my entry fee / donation on TruePoker for the second stop on the World Blogger Tour. I hope the winner enjoys my money properly and spends it on booze. That's where my money is happiest.

If you are playing tonight and haven't signed up, get there early. The interface is wild. You have the perspective of sitting at a table with everyone around you. But I wish I could create my own avatar. There were no hippies on the list. Sitting at a play table to get the feel for the software, I was surrounded by two Col. Sander's, two James Bond types, Austin Powers, and a very "Village People" type rough guy. They have an alien that seems like it just grunts when betting or raising.

There is a "lounge" area where everyone can hang out and chat after the tournament. So there won't be the problem of getting kicked out immediately after the last hand like at ChoicePoker.

Felicia is looking for someone to do some over/unders prior to the tournament. I have one for the list. Number of shots I consume during the tournament - 10. Since I will be the first one out, the shots done while I'm sitting at the rail probably won't count. I may have to get a side bet with Iggy for the total number of drinks. Are you up for it, Iggy?

To help out, I'll pop a shot every time I win a hand. It would be in everyone's best interest to let me win a couple at the beginning so I'm nice and tuned later in the tournament. I'll be at my max-fishiness.

I've got Wil Wheaton's favorite cigar (Romeo Y Julieta No.2) and a fresh bottle of Soco.

Good luck to everyone! See you there.


Today I received an email from one of my regular tournament players. I've been invited to a NLHE tournament going down in the Philly / King of Prussia area on March 28th. The final day for signup if March 21st. I'm still waiting on the final details (buy-in / levels / directions etc.) Anyone around interested in playing, let me know and I'll get you signed up.


I was reading Chris Halverson's post about playing at Canterbury for the first time and it reminded me of my first time playing at the Taj.

I took off to AC one Saturday afternoon with Big Mike and friends looking to play some low (really low) limit hold'em. I'd played in a ton of home games and had the tournaments running at the time but I really wanted the casino experience.

The lowest limit I could get on before sunset was 3/6 and I was the last of the 4 of us to get called for a seat. I was in 9s with my friend ACaucc in 8s. As far as table selection, we got really lucky. All the players were exceptionally friendly and didn't mind that 'new poker player smell'.

The player in 10s was nice older gentleman who apparently took no pride in the fact that he was taking all my money. I was so concerned with making sure I didn't screw up at the table that I wasn't paying enough attention to my actual play. Chips fumbling all over the place. I'm sure no one saw my hands shaking when I drug a pot.

So the kind old gentleman in 10s gets a coffee and pulls out a pill bottle. Casually leans over with a pill in his hand and asks me quietly, "Would you like split a Viagra with me". What the F#$%. The look on my face must have been ridiculous. Then he sits up and tells me not quite as quietly, "It will keep you from pissing yourself every time you go into a pot".

Mother Loader.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Why I'm sleeping on the couch AND getting fired 

Conversation with Mrs. CantHang today:

Wifey: I'm going to the gym to exercise after work, do you want to go?

Al: huh?

Wifey: I'm going to Yoga class after work, do you want to go?

Al: Bending over and shoving your head up your ass is NOT exercise. If it was, our upper management would be competing in the Mr. Universe contest.

Thank you, have a good day.


Jump the Shark 

I have to repeat a question that someone wiser than myself asked:

Has the term "Jump the Shark", jumped the shark?


According to Sitemeter, yesterday was the busiest day here at AlCantHang Ranch. Apparently I've been linked on a ton of respected, well-written blogs in the past couple of days. I'm not even remotely in their league.

On that note, I'd like to pimp one of my favorite sites. Actually 3 sites written by McGrupp. There's something for everyone.

Tao of Poker - not a real big stretch to figure out the subject matter.
Tao of Pauly - Pauly's regular blog
Truckin' - Short stories, sagas, and tales of the road

All are great reads (he's a writer for christsake) and I highly recommend them.


After sending an email to Iggy, I think I've decided to give back to the blogging community that has been so good to me. I'm going to enter the True Poker tournament on Wednesday. Free money in the mix should make the sharks happy. I'll just go ahead and install myself as the overwhelming underdog. Anywhere but dead-friggin'-last will be an amazing showing.

Unfortunately, the two finalist of the last tournament (TheFatGuy and MeanGene) will not be able to attend. But that just means I moved up two spots automatically, right? Haven't had a drink since Saturday and that sentence still makes no sense.

So wish me luck and we'll see you guys on Wednesday.


Something funny just came up that I can't fully explain yet. Sometime next week, I'm going to be on the Preston and Steve morning show on Y100 in Philly with my friend FatAss Bob. They haven't announced anything yet so I have to keep my trap shut. But it will involve some serious redneck hijinx. March 17th around 8am.



Absolutely, positively blatant attempt to get Felicia to acknowledge my pathetic existence.


Monday, March 08, 2004

Death takes a Holiday 

I hope my fellow bloggers are enjoying unparalleled success online the last two days. Death (the poker god) has taken a holiday and is visiting suburban Philly. I'm hoping it was just a weekend visit but I'm betting he's sitting on my couch eating my chips just waiting for me to get home from work.

After writing my meandering and semi-readable post Sunday morning, I took up my normal Sunday morning position on the couch for breakfast and SportsCenter. I flipped around the channels and saw a commercial for the upcoming WPT broadcast. (I can't wait to see Hellmuth explode at the final table). That's when the thoughts start coming. The night before was a fluke, an apparition to keep me in line. Play smart, no big mistakes, grind away. You'll be fine. Why not play a couple rings until the wifey wakes up and forces you back into servitude.

And the same ol' slow bleed continues. I didn't tilt or go Hellmouth. I wasn't playing too tight. I just didn't get any cards.

I've read the collected works of Felicia and Iggy (who the heck needs Brunson and Slansky). I understand that we newbies focus way too much on the short term and should just concentrate on long term by improving our play. I can't will myself to win. If the great and powerful Felicia can go that many tournament without winning a hand, who the heck am I to complain?

But if I can help out my fellow players, I will jump on this grenade and keep the poker god's attention. Use this time wisely. Chris Ferguson tells us to cast our nets on the right side of the boat. That's where you will catch the fish. (His nickname is Jesus, right?).

Back to the grind tonight.


Scott at the TheFatGuy.com responded to the ESPN article about Barry Bonds. Very enjoyable.

He did take a shot at me. You can get on my case for the soccer and even the other Philly sports teams. No problem. They deserve it.

But the Phillies. Can a Texas Ranger fan really call the Phillies a leper of a baseball team? How's that pitching staff coming along?


Thanks to the other bloggers for linking to my site. I'm still in the process of reading other blogs. The ones I've really enjoyed so far a linked on the right.


Sunday, March 07, 2004

The curse of the blogger / or why every winner last night should thank me 

I don't know how all these guys do it. The blogging. The hand histories. The insight. I found the true curse of the blogger last night and this morning.

I had an interesting time playing poker all day. 4 hours online, 6 at a home game. As you will see later, very happy with one, stark-raving psychotic about the other.

Here's the curse though. It's 3am, pockets empty. And I'm laying in bed thinking about how to put the whole day into words for this friggin' blog.

Again I ask, how do they do it?


Happy report first. Today I "sat" at .50/1 table on party for the first time. No real horrendous beats and I won a couple decent size pots after flopping boats. (My all time favorite hand is a full house, Queens over anything. Then I get to tell the room, "Full Boat with the Bitches rowing". I've gotta grow up.) According to PokerTracker, I hit a little over 16BB/100. I have absolutely no idea what that means other than I finished the 4 hour session with more money than I started. So it must be good. Iggy tells me it is. So it must.

I'm still trying to get a grasp on the 5 gazillion pieces of information dumped out of PokerTracker. Any help would be appreciated. I did notice some oddities. My best win percentage was in MP. And I had AA and KK twice. Cracked both times by crap. Someone even dropped the Hammer on my big slick without even the common courtesy to chat back "The Hammer!".

So I finished up my online portion of the day feeling relatively good about the current state of my poker affairs. Let's go meet up with the friends for the Pot Limit Hold'em.


So we get to Lewey's house and find out that we're going to be playing shorthanded. Only 5 were going to make it. Mrs. CantHang decided to stay at a friends house with her drinky drinky and Landow went down to AC. The other 4 players are tough. Lewey, Big Mike, KAK, and Chup. We've all played together a lot. With me generally turning into the whipping boy. Also, note to Grubby, the Hammer is making it's way into the main stream quickly.

There is no easy way to describe how my night went. Apparently the poker gods were having a real slow night. They didn't pop in every once in awhile to hit me with a bad beat or huge pot loss. No quick mercy killing. They sat right next to me the whole night. Bleeding me slowly. I was getting nothing. None of my cards made enough sense to even make a small move.

That's when the gods took a bathroom break. I get KJs with a K-x-x flop and two spades. Holy crap, a real hand. And to top it off, Lewey bets to me. He's a good loose, aggressive player. He'll push you around but you can catch him sometimes. I raise, he calls. Turn is a rag. He bets, I raise, and then he calls pot. That puts me all-in. He flips over K-T. You could almost hear the blood vessels bursting when I flipped the KJs. I survived the river and things are looking up. Time for a smoke break.

Bad idea. Poker gods finish up whatever they were doing and sit down again. Another nice slow bleed. Nothing, nada, nyet. Until the last hand that I care to bother anyone with.

I'm dealing and I look down at Q-6c and I limp in (probably should have raised but you'll see it wouldn't have mattered anyway). Big Mike in the SB limps also. Flop is Ac - Kc - As. Bingo. I've got it. The gods are away playing with someone else again. Not only do I have it but I'm going to hit the flush on the turn. Big Mike checks! and I put in a decent size bet and he calls. The Aces have me concerned but I know I have it. Turn comes Tc. Sweet Merciful crap. I've got my nut flush and I'm drawing for the Royal. Still worried about the Aces but Big Mike checks again. Here's where the first inkling of trouble comes in. The gods are back and just whispered in my ear "Mike just looked at his hole cards for the first time". Are you kidding me? Nope, there they are right where I dealt them. Enough of this, huge bet. Just about putting him all in (I was a couple of bucks ahead at the start of the hand). He calls. I'm screwed. River is a Ten. The board is A K A T T. There are so many different ways that he was going to kill me. He looks at my puny stack, puts me all-in. Please God, don't let it be the river that beat me. Anything but the river.

That's the only prayer answered all night. The river had nothing to do with it. He had KK and I was beat on the flop. Thanks for playing, have a nice day.

(Why don't you buy back in, the gods whispered).

What the heck, I can't take it with me. I buy back in, pour a nice big SoCo and bleed the money right over to KAK. Nothing outstanding. Just nice and slow so you don't realize you're dying.

Lewey and myself hit the felt, Big Mike literally broke even after 5 hours, KAK and Chup walked away with everything else.

It's 7 hours later and I'm up writing this post. I'm afraid to go play on Party because I don't want to tilt. It's one thing losing money to your friends, I refuse to give money to the fishes.


So if you had a winning night last night. Amazing luck. Your AA held up and you cracked a couple with Hammers, please remember to thank me. The poker gods had a new whipping boy in town and they were practicing some new tricks.