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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cash Game at WinStar


As I mentioned in my previous post, Bobby Dee and I drove north to Oklahoma to compete in a $175 no-limit, freeze-out tournament at the WinStar Casino. Both of us fell a little short of cashing, so after a bite at one of the restaurants in the casino, we decided to try our luck at the cash games.

Our game of preference was $1-2 NLHE, but there were around 60 people on the waiting list. We only had a couple hours left before heading home, so that wasn't an option. The $1-3 NLHE only had 20-something on the list, so we signed up and waited. It took about half an hour before we were seated (at separate tables), and started pitching cards.

I bought in for $200 and limped from UTG with T-8 soooted, only to be raised and then 3-bet. For some reason, which I find hard to explain as I write this, I decided to call. A swing and a miss on the flop, and I was down $18 on the first hand.

The second hand I peeked down at A-J and open raised to $10, only to get re-popped to $24 pre-flop. Once again I didn't connect on the flop and had to fold to a continuation bet and found myself down another $24.

Damn.

My third hand was pocket nines. Since the action had been so wild in the first two hands, I decided to open limp from middle position, assuming someone would raise anyway. It folded to the button, who bumped it to $10. Both blinds mucked and I called the additional seven bucks. A ten high flop looked pretty good for my hand, so I tossed three redbirds and got called. The flop was another low, unconnected card, but I slowed down and checked. The villain bet $35 and then stared me down as I considered a call. I read this as weakness and made the call. The river was a queen, which was certainly in his range, but I still thought I could very well be ahead. Once again I checked and my nemesis slammed down a $80 bet along with the "I dare you to call" stare again. I still read weakness. A-K? Middle pair?

I made the tough call and was shown A-A.

Bad read.

Crap. Down $180 in three hands.

Ain't poker fun!

I pulled another $150 from my roll, thinking that I would call it a day if I lost it.

Things settled down for a lap or two as I didn't receive any playable hands. This was probably a good thing, giving me time to regain my composure and getting a better feel for the other players.

My next big hand came from the big blind. A middle position player raised to $10 and was called by "Mr. Stare Down." This time however, I was the one with pocket aces! I re-popped it to $25 and received calls from both players.

The flop hit me so hard it knocked me out of my chair. I got up, looked again, and almost fainted!


What's better than an A-A-K flop when you are holding A-A? Holding it with two players betting into you, that's what!

As first to act I checked and was pleased as villain #1 bet $25. Mr. Stare Down and I both called.

The turn was a repeat, with #1 pushing his last $25 in and MSD and I calling.

I pushed for my final $65 on the river and waited for the stare down from you know who. He hem-hawed before grudgingly making the call. After the hand of which I had gotten full value, I found myself sitting on $320, which was pretty good after such a horrible start.

A few hands later I held 3-5 of diamonds in the BB. With a raise to $10 and two callers, I decided to buy a ticket for this ride and tossed in $7. The flop was T-Q-6 with one diamond. I checked and was prepared to toss my hand, but it checked around. Another diamond hit on the turn and we checked around again. All I could figure is that I was up against a mid pair and/or A-K. The river was the jack of diamonds, giving me my flush. I bet $15, hoping someone may have completed a straight. One player folded, but the other raised to $50. I called and was shown a straight, so I scooped another nice pot.

When Bobby and I cashed out and headed for his truck, I was up $80 for the session. That's not a big win by any stretch, but after being down so much, I was pleased to walk away with a few extra shekels in my pocket.

We had a good time last Saturday and I'm sure there will be another trip in the near future. We'll probably take a few more players from our home game on the next trip.

Till next time, win the flips!


Monday, February 23, 2015

TJ and Me


 Bobby Dee and I decided to take a road trip to the WinStar Casino just across the state line in Oklahoma. There was a $175 buy-in, no-limit freeze-out tournament we wanted to give a go.

We left Waco at 7am, with a temperature a balmy (for February) 66 degrees. When we stepped out of Bobby's truck three hours later the temp had dropped 20 degrees and was continuing to sink. Brrrr!

I had never been to this property before, and let me tell you, it was impressive. A huge casino, similar in size to the MGM in Vegas. The poker room was top flight, and was buzzing Saturday night.


The first thing I did when we arrived was sign up for a player's card in hopes I might get some special room rate offers in the future. Next, we made the long walk to the poker room to register for the 11am tourney.

There were 175 players at the start, with 18 getting paid. First place paid a little north of $6,500, which is a nice roll-builder. The deep-stack structure was great! Blinds started at $50-100 and lasted 30 minutes. Combined with a $20,000 starting stack and you had the recipe for a fun tournament.

Running into well known poker players in Vegas is not that unusual, especially at WSOP events. The only player of note I have had the pleasure of actually playing against was Phil Ivey in last year's World Series, and that was only for a hand or two before he busted out. Getting an opportunity to play against a Poker Hall of Famer in a casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma had not crossed my mind, but after taking seat seven at my table, I looked to my left and saw TJ Cloutier seated in seat nine. Getting the chance to pitch cards with TJ certainly made my $175 investment worthwhile! And who knows, I might even cash.


TJ was very friendly to all of us, keeping the table entertained with his stories from both the poker world and his childhood. A couple stories stuck in my mind, the first about some business cards he received from the Poker Hall of Fame. He was supposed to give them out at the WSOP this summer. His title on the card read "Poker Hall of Fame Inductee."

"Hell, I was inducted in 2006" he said, "Shouldn't it read, 'Poker Hall of Fame Member?' I just threw 'em away!"

He also spoke about walking to Seals Stadium to sell soda pop at their baseball games when he was a kid.

"It wasn't an easy sale, because it was always so cold in Frisco." "One of the older guys was trying to push cold beer, but couldn't peddle even one because it was chilly."

"Well, the heck with YOU people," the vendor said, "Then I'll have one," sat down and popped one open!"

The whole table got a kick out of the story :)

I started quickly in the tourney, including two hands with TJ. Both times I held A-Q diamonds. In the first hand I turned the nut flush and he folded his A-Q hearts. I pulled a nice pot when my turn and river bets were called by another player with the K high flush. My second hand with TJ was once again A-Q diamonds. This time he got the best of me, hitting a straight on the the river and getting paid off with my TPTK.

I also picked off a big bluff on a 4-4-3-2-2 board with pocket queens. My biggest pot however, was won with what Rob refers to as the "dreaded pocket kings." I was in middle position and open raised 3X the BB, which seemed to be standard in the early portion of the tournament. I was three-bet by the button, who had been fairly active thus far, so I was confident it was likely I was ahead in the hand. I hit my set on a dry flop and just check-called. I rinsed and repeated the turn, but missed a bet when my opponent checked behind me on the river and tabled his pocket aces. At the first break (two hours in), I had built my stack up to a healthy $46K and was liking my chances.

I won a few small pots in the next couple hours, but lost almost half my stack on a bad beat. I raised 3X from UTG with pocket jacks and got three-bet by the button when he pushed all-in for $23K.

Crap.

My opponent hadn't gotten out of line thus far, so I knew he had something, so it was a tough decision. I made the call and was please to see my opponent table T-T. The flop was harmless, but the turn was another T and just like that, I was below $25K.

I didn't get many hands worth playing in the next hour, and when I did, I was whiffing the flop. And I mean whiffing, as in no hand and no draws. At the second break I was sitting at $29K, but the blinds and antes were getting serious. There were 74 players left.

We had a table change when we returned from our break and after four hours, my poker playing with TJ was over. I open pushed two hands, A-T and Q-Q, picking up the antes and blinds, and a limper or two. I also pulled in a decent pot when the UTG player open raised 3.5X the BB and was called by one player. I pushed my K-K and both villains folded.

I open-pushed my final hand from the cutoff with 9-9 and got called by the big stack at the table with his J-J. Unlike my pocket jacks, his held up and I went busto in 67th place.

Bobby Dee didn't last much longer, finishing 58th.

We then walked over to a New York themed burger joint and swapped stories over a couple of cheeseburgers and greasy fries. Good stuff!

We headed back down to the poker room and got on the waiting list for both the $1-2 (61 ahead of us on the list) and the $1-3 (22nd on the list). After a 30 minute wait, we were both seated at different $1-3 tables.

I'll write a separate post on the cash game. I don't want this go on so long that it rivals one of Rob's missives :)

Till next time, win the flips.




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Poker League Update


We had a full table of 10 at last Friday's Vegas or Bust Poker League tournament. This was the tenth of 12 league tourneys. At stake are two seats to the 2015 WSOP this summer at the Rio in Las Vegas.

Coming into the tournament there were three of us that had started to pull away from the rest of the players. With only two prizes available, my main goal was to finish ahead of both Ranger Rick and Tin Man, who were my main menaces.

Rick tore his britches (southern expression) early when he ran his pocket aces into Big Daddy's flopped set of kings and was the first out. This pretty much seals his fate for this season.

Philly Phanatic was next to go when he pushed with top pair and I called with top pair (better kicker) plus a flush draw. I didn't hit my flush, but didn't need too. I guess that would be considered showing off.

Big Daddy fell on his sword in eighth, followed by Tin Man in seventh, so I had reached my goal. Now the only question was how much daylight I could put between us.

As it turned out, it wasn't much. Lil' Annie Okie dropped out in sixth and I was next to go with a fifth-place finish.

Ollie the Accountant got toe-tagged in fourth, followed by Bobby Dee in third.

Stamps won a short heads-up battle with J-Dawg to win his second tourney in the last three and pushing his way into the running.

With only two tournaments left, I am in a pretty good position to win another seat. I'll need to finish in the middle of the pack in both tournaments to wrap it up, but one bad move could mess everything up.

CLICK HERE for the latest standings.

Hopefully I can hang on and see a few of you in the desert this summer :)

Till next time, win the flips.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hockey Picks, February 17th

$16 on Nashville (-155) over San Jose
The Predators have won 5 straight and have beaten the Sharks 4 of the last 5 times they've played. San Jose has dropped 4 of their last 5.

Starting Bankroll                           $1,500.00
Profit/Loss                                       $29.50
Current Bankroll                           $1,529.50

All picks are for entertainment purposes only with no guarantees implied. Any money wagered is at your own risk.

Good luck!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Man of Steel

I have been called many things in my life, but "handyman" isn't one of them.

We have had a recurring problem with the inside unit of our central air and heating system. The problem is that the suction from the return vent is so strong that it tends to bend the filter which allows unfiltered air to get to the coils, and dog/cat hair gets lodged in said coils. Then the unit isn't working as effectively as it should.

After careful thought and some high-level engineering, my solution was to place a flat metal brace across the center of the opening where the filter was set. The brace would give the filter extra support and keep it from bending.

Brilliant!

I made a trip to Home Depot for a flat metal bar and some JB Weld to attach it to the unit. I cut the bar to the perfect length and was ready to install. I mixed the JB Weld (which is a metal-based epoxy glue) on a pallet, placed it on the floor near the unit, and was ready to go.

This is where the problem started.

To see the bracket where the filter rests meant I would have to lay on my side, with my face on the floor in order to get a good view. So I did that... and put my left cheek in the middle of the pallet of JB Weld.

FAIL!

I guess you can add "Man of Steel" to my list of titles :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Hockey Picks, February 6th

$16 on St. Louis (-160) over Columbus
The Blues have won 7 straight and 12 of their last 13. The Blue Jackets have dropped 3 in a row and 4 of 5, getting outscored 17-8. St. Louis has won 5 of the last 6 match ups between the two teams

Starting Bankroll                           $1,500.00
Profit/Loss                                       $45.50
Current Bankroll                           $1,545.50

All picks are for entertainment purposes only with no guarantees implied. Any money wagered is at your own risk.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hockey Picks- February 5th

One game is worth a peek on the tonight's docket.

$29 on St. Louis (-285) over Buffalo

The Blues have won 6 straight and 11 of their last 12. The Sabres are 2-18 in their last 20. St. Louis won the only match up this season, blowing out Buffalo 6-1 in November.

Starting Bankroll                           $1,500.00
Profit/Loss                                       $35.25
Current Bankroll                           $1,535.25

All picks are for entertainment purposes only with no guarantees implied. Any money wagered is at your own risk.

Good luck!