Friday, February 04, 2005

I'm dying 

Well, for those wondering how I managed to finish 150 out of 151 players at Wednesday's WPBT, the above should tell the story.

No hand histories, no bad beat stories. Just the pic. In the middle of the hand, I even told the wifey that he had TT or 99 when I pushed. No matter.

Not only that, the hand was played so slowly that I wasn't even the first one out to pick up a Maudie gift.


To top it all off, I've been sick as a dog since Wednesday morning before the tourney. I passed out from the time I got home from work until just before the tournament started.

Played two hands.

After I finished steaming, I signed off and crashed again.

Yesterday, 16 hours of sleep.

To really put it in perspective. No booze since Sunday. No cigarettes since Wednesday morning. That, my friends, is the defintion of AlHatesBeingSick.

It's not very tough to figure out what happened. Patient Zero (or the Outbreak Monkey as I like to call him), was the guy sitting across the aisle from the me on the packed plane from the L.A. to Philly. He was hacking, coughing, hurling, etc. for 5 straight hours. The big surprise is that it took until Wednesday for it to hit me.


I need to snap out of it by tomorrow for the trip to OC, MD and my SuperBowl party. This one has a special meaning......

And I won't jinx it by even mentioning the birds.



I found on more thing decent about the state of Delaware.

On the flight from L.A. to Philly, we were in the back of the plane with a dozen or so University of Delaware girls on the their way home after a month-long stay in New Zealand.

They were very 'keyed up'.


That's all I can muster at this point. Saving my energy for the blowout this weekend.



Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Another fine drunken mess I got myself into... 

Day 1 of the trip to L.A. began like so many other Friday's the past couple of weeks. Standing in the airport security line, crowded in with the great unwashed waiting for my 'zone' to get called for boarding. Although I must say, the quotient of good-looking, faked-coned women was much higher on this flight as opposed to somewhere, say, like Minnesota. No offense to those in Minnesota.

Preparing the writeup, I decided to crunch numbers. Here's the number of miles I've traveled to meet up with some of my favorite bloggers for a liver crunching good time in the last two months.

Las Vegas - 4,344
Bahamas - 2,066
Minneapolis - 1,956
L.A. - 4,790

Total - 13,156 miles

My cruddy calculations have the total number of bloggers met at somewhere around 40. That's a whole lotta dead brain cells but well worth it.


We touched down in L.A. nearly an hour and half late but there was HDub waiting patiently holding his Can't Hang sign high. After checking in at our hotel (2 star hotel at 1 star prices! whoohoo), we made our way to the Commerce Casino.

HDub and Felicia had given me the basic head's up about the casino. All tables games (no pressing it for me this weekend), humungo poker rooms (plural), and decent food in the poker room for the players. This was odd to me considering the Borgata will castrate you if you walk into the poker room with anything larger than a stick of gum to eat.

We walked through the high-limit and tourney looking for Felicia and Glenn but settled for finding some food in the sports bar. This would not be my last time in the Arena Sports Bar. Lucky waiter Jimmy was assigned to our table and would become the lifeline to my cherished liquid.

Shortly after ordering, the blogger gathering is in full force as we're joined by the surprise visitors Grubby and Grubette. (Now that I'm 3000 miles away I'm allowed to admit that I have a tiny crush on Grubette. Hey, if Mrs. Can'tHang can keep going on about BadBlood's 'guns' a month later.....)

When Felicia and Glenn tracked us down, the party was in full swing. We moved to a larger area and the festivities stepped up. Beers were flowing freely and Jimmy always had me backed up one shot throughout the night.

As the night turned into morning, we needed to make a decision. HDub had a long last day before his new job. It would have been easy for him to call it a night and head on home. Instead he led the rallying cry. Ok, not so much a cry as it was a question. "Hit the tables?"

Off we go to the fishiest of all fishing grounds. The world famous California no-fold'em hold'em, any two cards'll do.


Here's where one of the coolest parts of the trip occurred. As HDub and myself were walking past the high-limit room, we were stopped in our tracks when someone yelled my name from one of the "big boy" tables. We turned around to find Isabelle Mercier.

Just kidding Mean Gene.

It was Max Pescatori, fine friend of the poker bloggers, waving us over.

He was in the 10s playing Omaha8, stakes huge but unknown. We began chatting about the NLHE tourney the next day and he mentioned my eBay auction. Always one with a good sense of humor, Max reached down into the large stack of chips in front of him and hands me $35 in chips. He smiled and said, "There, now I own 10% of you. Make me rich."


We eventually found ourselves in the lower-limit room. Good lord this place has more tables then you can ever believe. The Taj in Atlantic City. pfft. Puny.

You name the game, they were spreading it. Name the limit, you could find it. I saw everything from 1/2 Limit Hold'em up to what I believe was 2,000/4,000 Limit (things got a little fuzzy after awhile).

Oddly enough, at 2am-ish on a Friday night, there was no waiting for the $100 NLHE game (2/3 blinds). Weird game considering the min-raise to get any respect pre-flop was in the $20 range.

I took the 7s with Grubby already occupying the 4s(?). To Grubby's left was the biggest maniac to ever earn the title. At the $100 max buy-in game, he had to have at least a grand sitting in front on him. He gave no worries to the size of the pot. Once HDub took the 10s, we actually witnessed maniac man push $50 in UTG to pull $4 (Commerce rakes a buck from the small blind immediately upon posting).

The guy was nuts and the entire table was waiting to catch a hand to get a piece of his stack. HDub was the lottery winner in back-to-back hands. The first one when maniac pushed Hank all-in with an AJx flop. Hank thought for a while, mentioned he thought he was probably beat, but called anyway. Maniac had nothing except second pair and Hank doubles up. The very next hand Maniac limps in with KK and gets crushed by Hanks Q8 when two 8's hit the flop.

Another double up for Hank. Maniac decided he was taking his ball and going home. Hank took off for the super juicy 20/40 game. But not before the hand.....

(and I'm sure he's tired of hearing this story)

As he is getting ready to leave he decided to play on more hand. In the BB, I look down to find a beautiful diamond-hearted red Hammer. A couple of limpers and I raise because I know that you must voluntarily put money in pre-flop to qualify as a proper Hammer hand.

Hank calls and I believe one other. When the flop comes out 7 high, I bet out and everyone folds. Hank just chuckled when I flipped over the Hammer. He grabbed his chips and went searching for bigger fish. About two hands later, the guy to my left asked me if I realized the 72o is the worst starting hand. I'm still not sure if he bought my response, "Oh really?"

After a couple more hours of play, a beat up (but richer) HDub shows up and we call it a night/morning. 6:30am body time and I'm not feeling that tired. The next day, tourney time!


Believe it or not, but I was up at 7:30 the next morning and unable to fall back asleep. Maybe it was the slow booze night on friday causing a lack in passing out? Who knows. I was up and ready to go.

Felicia, Glenn, the wifey, and myself hit the Commerce on a mission. At noon, we were unable to find any of the other bloggers so we did what was natural.

Steak, eggs, and Soco. My buddy Jimmy was working again and kept me loose with the Nectar of the Gods. After "breakfast" we made the stroll up to the tourney room to get signed up and get Eva into one of the satellites. (she's finished 4th or 5th, but she'll have to write that one).

On the way up to the room, Felicia introduces us to WSoP winner, and all around nice guy 'Miami' John. He also asks about the eBay auction but looking for specifics such as what I would do if I did a rebuy and finished in the money. For the record, if I decided to rebuy and made the money, everyone still would have gotten their 1% of the winnings.

The Grub clan shows up shortly thereafter. Grubby, Hank, and myself sign up for the tourney. I'm already disturbed when I find out that they have unlimited rebuys during the first 3 40-minute levels. Just to add to my misery, additional single OR double add-ons available after level 3.


There I was with one teensy tiny lil buy-in. Grubby and I quickly decide that there will be no rebuys for us. That $300 would be better spent in the juicy games downstairs.


Tourney Report

I walked into the tournament with a specific strategy. There was no way I could compete equally for the long term with guys holding 5 to 10 rebuys in their pocket and prepared to use them. In reality, I was walking into the tournament already shortstacked. I was going to play to double up as many times early as I could. If I made it past the rebuys, than I could re-evaluate my situation and play accordingly.

We started with T500, 40 minute levels.

Level 1 - 5/15 blinds. T500. I start in the 10seat Table 50.

Nothing major during the first few hands for me. No 'big' names at my table and they are playing exactly as I expected. Maniacs with no regard for the initial buy-in. They were going to double up or rebuy.

As the first orbit came around, I found my first chance. In SB, one of the few times the table limped around. I completed with K7d looking for a lucky flop. A flop of K23 rainbow looked interesting. I threw out a half-pot bet to see where I was and ready to fold to a raise wary of my crappy ass kicker.

Everyone folded except the 3s who just smooth called. The turn brought a 7 giving me top two pair. I check-raised the 3seat's pot sized bet all-in. He called and I met my first goal of doubling up. 3s rebuys without even blinking. Bastard (that's called foreshadowing I believe)

The rest of level 1 was crappy cards in position and mediocre cards in EP. Not much going on and I finished level 1 slightly ahead of double.

Level 2 - 10/25 T1170

The 1s has established himself as the maniac du jour. I'm pretty sure the 9s is snoring but I'm afraid to look at the crusty old man.

Early in Level 2, I find my second opportunity. In the cutoff, I find two black Kings. I bet out 6x the BB (which is practically limping at this table). The button thinks and thinks and finally pushes all-in. I have him covered and I'm thinking happy days. Until the BB, Mr. 3Seat rebuy champion of the world, also pushes all-in. Well sure, I'd rather triple up then double up.

At this point, I can't see how I could possibly lay down KK. I needed all the chips I could get and the maniacs are pushing with a bunch of crap.

But the number one sure fire rule. When I'm holding Kings, you can gauran-goddamn-tee the other guy is holding rockets. Sure enough, 3s had AA, 1s had AQo. No help came and I was down to T470.

At this point in my notes I have the following hands..... 64, T3, 82, 84, 62. Christ, I might just have to push with the hammer.

Getting absolutely nothing, I was blinded down to ~T300 when I find AKc. With a couple of limpers ahead of me, I pushed in. 3s and 4s both called. A completely ragged, red flop came out, 3s bet 400 into the dry side pot and eliminated the 4s from the hand. More chances for me.

But nothing on the turn or river knocking me out right before the end of Level 2.

I don't believe I played all that poorly. After discussing my play with several others, I think that is correct. I was severly limited by the fact that I couldn't rebuy. I pushed my best opportunities and just didn't get lucky.

Final tally. 881 players. 955 rebuys. 458 add-ons. Prize pool - $662,554.

Final thoughts.

The Commerce is killing the poker players. The juice and the toke off the original buy-in, PLUS they were taking juice out of the rebuys/add-ons. You've heard Felicia rail against this craziness. The only people who don't care are those already with outrageous bankrolls and it doesn't matter OR the people who don't play. The Commerce took an additional ~$20K - $30K out of the prize pool. And this was just a small $300 buy-in event.

I can't help but think that Commerce must hire the worst dealers. Ever. Whether it was the ring games or the tourney's, they were bad. Too many things to mention but at least they were consistently bad.

Other than the horrible juice and the terrible dealers, I had a great time during my weekend there. The games are incredibly juicy and it's so large that it's very easy to find whatever game you are looking for.

Thanks to everyone for their support. It was a blast.


There, the official crap is over. There was more pressure on me with the backers because now I had to write a real tournament recap. pfft.

HDub and Grubby were still moving along. Hank had doubled up a couple of times and would make the dinner break.

After going out for an post-knockout smoke or 5, I walked back into the tourney room where I met fhwrdh (who's site I can now type by memory). Since Hank seemed to be doing ok without us, we made the only logical decision. Back to the bar! More doubles all around and I can feel the fuzzies kicking in. A couple of shots and smokes later and we find the PokerProf himself. The LasVegasVegas crew has arrived and we head upstairs to look for proper photo opportunities for a real photographer.

Now things start to head a bit south for me. Someone (I believe it was PokerProf) mentions that we don't have a place to gather for the tourney dinner break. That was the plan after all, wasn't it? I decide to run down to the sports bar to see if they can fit in 12 for a quick dinner. The best they have is a super-sized round Denny's-type booth.

It would have to do. I spent the next 2 hours bribing/tipping/harassing the staff to make sure the players could get served and finish up their dinner before the tournament resumed. Around this time, Mr. Obituarium made his entrance. No sooner had he taken his seat, shots were ordered. And the dreaded words from the waiter (NOT Jimmy for those keeping score at home).....

"Sir, the bartender says this is it for the Southern Comfort. There is no more left"

Sweet jesus say it ain't so. I had to double check. But it was a no-go with the manager or bartenders. It occurred to me the next day that maybe they weren't being entirely truthful and it was their way of flagging me. 8 hours and 2 bottles of Soco. That's weak for 8 hours BUT this is California. I'll cut them some slack.

Now things slide into the happy regular place where all good drunk boys go to heaven. The fuzzies. PokerProf (the non-drinker, non-smoker), Obituarium, myself, and..... I have no idea who else, were hanging outside on the sidewalk drinking and smoking. PokerProf hung like a champ, considering he informed me that he doesn't drink after he knocked back his third(?) double.

PokerProf received a phone call from flipchipro around this time informing him that they were leaving at that moment to head back to Vegas. I can't wait to get the complete story. I'll let the LasVegasVegas guys handle it.

Obituarium and myself wander around the casino. I'm smart enough to know there is NO way I should even consider getting in a game even if it's the silly 1/2 LHE game. We manage to find the single most ridiculous poker game I've ever seen.

The game is 4/8 LHE. Apparently the Commerce only issues their ugly $1 blue chips for this game. Now imagine if you will, the betting is always capped, 6 see the flop, 4 all the way to the turn. We walk up in enough time to see the end of the post-flop betting. The frantic dealer had to contend with screaming players, betting out of turn, and the biggest pile of poker chips I've ever seen on a table. Here's a visual for you. Stretch your arms out wide. Now imagine poker chips from the one hand to the other, who knows how deep. That's the size of the pots on this table. Yes, that's pots, plural. Every hand we watched was the same.

For the record, the only quiet player at the table drug the pot. With T6o.


The last actual memory I have of that night is wondering through the high-limit area. Hey, there's Tobey Maguire, looking kinda chunky there Tobe-man. I give him the wink and nod. Toss the peace sign and kept moving. I'm still wandering around and decide to press my luck.

What were they gonna do, kick me out? As I walked up to one of the boards, I had my argument all set up in my head (humming the theme song to SpiderMan of course).

"You can't kick me *hiccup* out! Don't you know who I am? *hiccup* I know Dr. Pauly and *hiccup* Iggy. Plus, Felicia will kick your ass and write some not so *hiccup* good things about this dump!"

But the guy running the board was very polite. I asked where the Omaha Hi/Lo games were listed and he pointed me to one of the other two boards in the room. Guy at Board #2 was also polite as I looked at the board and wrinkled my nose.

Drunk hippy in a McNabb jersey: "Is that the highest limit you have going for O8?"

Nice board running-type guy: "Yes sir. What were you looking for?"

Fooknut who obviously couldn't afford it: "I'm looking for xxxx/xxxx O8"

Just humoring me now board running guy: "Ok sir, what are your initials? We'll list it as a game of interest"

I can't remember exactly what game I was asking for, but I took the largest game they had going and doubled it. Probably 800/1,600......

.....Then the wife was waking me up in the morning asking how I was feeling.



Hopefully I didn't get called for that O8 game.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005


I'm back, I'm alive, and the liver is still in functioning somewhat properly.

I'm in the middle of writing everything up. If you're wondering about your $3.30 investment, maybe you should have gone with the scratch off lottery ticket.

But here's what you can expect....

Made another bar my own, got recognized in the high limit room, played in a tourney with a $660,000+ prize pool, had my name on the 400/800 Omaha8 list, drank the bar out of Soco, Max Pescatori, "Miami" John, Tobey Maguire, Norm "smackass" Chad, and a rousing game of fooknut crazy poker.

And nothing tops off a good weekend like a Bob Golic siting.....