Friday, June 30, 2006

June Top 15

15. Snow Patrol - Hands Open
14. Steve Miller Band - The Joker
13. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California
12. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tell Me Baby
11. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Storm in a Teacup

10. Incredible Moses Leroy - 1983
9. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Especially in Michigan
8. Kathleen Edwards - Back to Me
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Slow Cheetah
6. Jack Johnson - Breakdown

5. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Snow
4. Kathleen Edwards - In State
3. The English Beat - Save it for Later
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Desecration Smile

Song of the Month: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Wet Sand

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Settling In

The 1.5k limit hold em was a weird tournament for me. I never had any chips or any cards but I hung around like a cockroach for quite a while. I beat Allen "Chainsaw" Kessler's AJ with AT and then doubled again with AQ vs AJ. A gracious dead money benefactress helped keep me afloat after that with a couple donations and at one point I found myself above 4k after spending most of the afternoon below 1k. Unfortunately I didn't win a pot after that and went out with about 240 left shortly before the dinner break.

I've busted out of so many tournaments recently without making the money that it doesn't sting a bit when I get the boot. The last couple days I hardly felt disappointed at all walking out of the Rio. Maybe I am expecting to lose. Party Poker has been so kind to me lately that I don't care much about losing tournament buyins.

Although I continue to despise Vegas, the weather, the Rio, the WSOP, the people running it, the cards I receive, the weakness I exhibit at the tables, the throngs of idiots in the poker area, the coddling of poker "superstars", and most of the other players, I feel pretty okay with life right now. I don't really expect to do anything special this summer and I don't really care too much. The house is comfortable, there's plenty to do, I can always play cash games, and a bunch of friends are headed this way.

Tomorrow should be a fun day as the Bag and Nappy will be playing the 2.5k shorthanded NLHE along with Toph, Paul and I.


Wednesday evening: 1 hr, +4471
Event #4 Limit HE: -1500
Year to date: 136,038

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

If This is the Future of Poker, Count Me Out

Today was the $1500 PLHE at the WSOP. The structure was a tad slower than yesterday, but not by much. With so few starting chips it's very difficult to play any "real poker" and do things like bluff, value bet, lay down big hands, etc - basically all of the things that make the game fun to play and reward intelligence. Huge fields and fast structures are good for casino executives and average Joes who don't really know how to play the game, not intelligent 23 year olds questioning their commitment to the game and its role in their lives. There's still some skill involved but right now I find the decisionmaking in video poker to be more stimulating.


  1. Second level. 25-50 blinds. My VPIP is zero (I have not once voluntarily put money into a pot). A guy raises to 150 and I reraise to 450 with AKs. The small blind moves in for 950, the initial raiser folds, I call and lose to his QQ. I am down to 375.
  2. I raise to 175 in the cutoff with JhTh. John D'Agostino in the big blind thinks for about a minute and then puts me in for my remaining 200 with Ah3h. I make two pair and win.
  3. I raise to 150 with 99 in mid-early position and an older fellow calls on the button. The flop comes 355, I check, he bets 200, I move in for 450 more, he calls with 66, I double again.
  4. 50-100 blinds. I raise to 300 on the button with QQ, the big blind calls. The flop comes A76 with two spades and one diamond and we both check. The turn is the Jd, he bets 450, I move in for 900 more (a play inspired by the Bag), he folds.
  5. At a new table where I have played none of the first fifteen or so hands, a late position player raises my 150 BB to 450. I entered the hand with about 1800. I thought for a long time and then called with QhTh. The flop came 8h7d6d and I bet the pot. He moved in for my last 400 and I called, he had 5c4c and eliminated me.

Toph said something about a straight flush draw that got him knocked out. The Fish had 9k after the second level. He said he raised ten consecutive hands. When I got knocked out halfway through the fourth level it looked like he had around 7k but it was hard to tell.

It was only about 105 today, and it even rained a few drops last night and again this afternoon. Tomorrow the Bag and Wolf arrive and I try to get something going in the 1.5k limit hold em.


Saturday night: +2440

Event #2 NLHE: -1500

Event #3 PLHE: -1500

Year to date: 133,067

The 1.5k NL

I didn't get in until halfway through the second level. I was gone before the end of the third. I was never above the 1500 starting stack. The only hands I saw were QQ (split with another QQ) and AQ and 88 both under the gun, both folded due to inconvenient blind:stack ratios. I should ask better tournament players what to do with these hands in these positions with 10-15x BBs and a normal table. The Fish had a similar result although his involved bluffing Chris Ferguson while drawing dead.

The internet is still extremely shaky. Toph, Paul, and I all play in the $1500 PLHE (or, as I like to call it, the $1365 + $135 PLHE) tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Arrival

  • Paul and I got in today shortly before noon
  • Toph aka gcnmoo aka schnie23 got in about 10 PM tonight
  • Paul and I are signed up for the 1.5k NL as alternates in the mid 200s
  • We spent most of today haggling with the landlord and Cox Communications over internet difficulties, and miraculously all seems to have fixed itself in the late hours (with no help from the latter parties). I am praying my computer will get internet tomorrow when I wake up.
  • The house is better than expected; the landlord leaves plenty to be desired. The key to all of it is the internet.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The 2006 World Series of Poker

Three and a half weeks ago I got my corneal ulcer, and I haven't been right since. I've been living a diminished existence. I don't like going outside and exercising, because I can't see right. I don't like hanging out with people, because I can't look at their faces and it makes me uncomfortable. Basically I don't like doing anything except sedentary activities where I don't have to look anyone in the eye or look at anything more than eight feet away.

I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag
I'm useless, but not for long
The future is coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on
It's coming on

- Gorillaz, "Clint Eastwood"

That pretty much sums up my feelings leading up to this year's World Series of Poker. Last year's WSOP was a soul-eating, ego-deflating, devastating adventure that almost killed my love of the game along with nearly destroying my bankroll. I'm not sure what was the low point -
  • busting myself by pushing in with 97o after a guy limped with aces in the 5k NL
  • losing a 4k pot with JJ against Q8o all in preflop on Party Poker
  • busting myself by pushing in with ATs against aces in the 2.5k NL
  • hearing "Pour Some Sugar on Me" 12 times a day while staying at Harrah's
  • busting myself by pushing in with 88 against aces with 11 left at the Palms after being chip leader with 15 left
  • getting tooled by Ram Vaswani in the 3k NL
  • nearly busting myself by pushing in with kings against aces on day 2 of the main event
  • hearing a terrible cover band do Tequila Sunrise at 4 AM at the Gold Coast one July morning
  • finding myself on tilt for basically the first time ever
It was bad times, it was no fun, I was unlucky, I was probably in over my head, I didn't have a big enough bankroll to be there, it almost wiped me out, but it was last year and this is this year. No more Def Leppard. No more crappy cover bands at the Gold Coast. No more Graveyard Specials (sadly). No more lying in a hotel bed watching back-to-back episodes of "Yes, Dear." The house will be loaded with a revolving crew of talented, supportive poker-playing friends hellbent on winning bracelets. My bankroll is big enough that I think I can stomach dropping 50k without panicking. Emotionally that would be difficult but I think I can handle it.

But I don't think I'm going to drop 50k, I think I'm gonna bust loose and do something huge.

Yesterday I wired $45,000 to the Rio. I preregistered for the following events:

Tuesday June 27 1.5k NLHE
Wednesday June 28 1.5k PLHE
Thursday June 29 1.5k Limit HE
Friday June 30 2.5k shorthanded NLHE
Saturday July 1 2k NLHE
Tuesday July 4 5k NLHE
Thursday July 6 1.5k Limit HE
Friday July 7 2.5k NLHE
Monday July 10 1k NLHE
Tuesday July 11 2k PLHE
Wednesday July 12 50k HORSE
Thursday July 13 2.5k shorthanded NLHE
Friday July 14 2k NLHE
Sunday July 16 2k NLHE Shootout
Tuesday July 18 1.5k NLHE
Wednesday July 19 2.5k PLHE
Friday July 21 2k NLHE
Tuesday July 25 1.5k NLHE
Friday July 28 10k NLHE World Championship

Assuming I don't make a huge run in the main event, I will also likely play several of the 1.5k events scheduled in August. I'm also considering the 5k PLHE on July 22 and will make a gametime decision on that one. Then there is the Bellagio Challenge Cup, including a 10k main event, in early August. Assuming I don't go deep at the WSOP and haven't lost my bankroll, I'll probably play that one as well.

The house will cost $30 per night plus $10 for every room. Someone staying alone would pay $40, and someone staying with two other people would owe me $33. The house is available to us from June 25 through August 9.

And now some over/under estimates I have set for the trip:

# of WSOP events I play: 21
# of WSOP cashes I make: 3
# of WSOP cashes from the house: 12
# of WSOP final tables reached by the house: 2
# of WSOP bracelets won by the house: 1
# of World Cup games I will watch: 7
# of World Cup games I will watch decided by terrible officiating: 6
# of times Jose's mom will break up the soccer game: 83
# of times I hear "Pour Some Sugar on Me": 3
# of times I watch a full episode of "Yes, Dear": 0
# of times I watch a full episode of "Lost": 23
# of 100 degree days: 43
# of 110 degree days: 9
# of rainshowers: 1 (it has never rained while I have been in Vegas)
# of 200 games I will bowl: 1
# of 250 games the Gambler will bowl: 2
# of laptops found in the house at its peak: 11
# of times the Gambler says "I hate my job": 49
# of times the Fish says "yet again": 74
# of times I use the phrase "incongruous romanticism" in a blog entry: 0
# of times I use the phrase "So the turn comes the Tc" in a blog entry: 3


The few times I've played poker recently, I've gotten really lucky. I don't think I've been playing well at all but it's hard to lose when you hit every draw and then pull out a one outer for a 4k pot. A big question I have to think about is will I play live 25-50 or even 50-100 NL this summer. We'll see.

June 16 evening: 1.5 hrs, +3223
Tuesday afternoon: 2 hrs, +5256
Tuesday night: .5 hrs, -747

Year to date: 133,627

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Heroic Effort

The US soccer team is in the cellar of their group entering the last day of group play in the World Cup. No American has scored a goal and the US has given up three more goals than they have scored. On Thursday, the Americans play a powerful, frightening Ghana squad coming off a crushing of the Czech Republic (the same team that beat the US 3-0 one week ago). Even if the US beats Ghana, they will essentially need Italy to defeat the Czechs in order to advance to the next round.

Against Italy on Saturday, the Americans gave one of the most exciting and inspiring team efforts I have seen in sports. I thought about the game all day, and how I could apply what I had seen to my own life, in both the present and the future. In the Italy game, the US somehow scrapped out a tie despite an unfair, nightmarish series of events seemingly contrived against the US by a mysterious third party. It appeared to me that the Americans were feeding off the adversity, growing stronger and more determined with every sickening disadvantage placed against them.

After the game, we held the first annual Leisure Sport Olympics. I kept thinking back to the soccer game as I tried to keep the ship afloat throughout the afternoon and evening. A number of unfortunate circumstances and cancerous participants (cough-Ben Howard-cough) took the wind out of the event's sails and it was all we could do to try to patch the leaks and get the ship to its final dock at my house in Westminster. Luckily there were six other intrepid souls who shared my same determination, and we were able to complete the event around 3 AM on Sunday morning. The Bag, spurred on by a surprisingly strong result in Wiffle Ball HR Derby and consistently solid play in most of the subsidiary events, won the trophy fairly easily. Overall the Olympics were not as cohesive or entertaining as I had hoped, but I had a good time and believe the other final six shared that sentiment.

The US may not advance further in this World Cup, but I will always remember the heart, poise, determination, and passion for the game they played with on Saturday. I hope I can bring these same qualities to my own competitive endeavors.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Only the Lonely

A month ago, after completing a ten hour marathon viewing of every episode of the American version of The Office, I posted a blog entry entitled “The Best Show on Television” which consisted only of a couple photos of the show’s main characters. At that time I was emotionally spent after the marathon, a night in which I found myself crying at two different junctures. I have cried less than half a dozen times in the past ten years, so it came as a shock that a one-plus year half hour comedy about a Scranton, Pa paper supply company branch could move me with such devastating force.

The first tears I shed that evening were tears of laughter. A clever plot halfway through season two which saw the characters choose and create gifts for a Christmas White Elephant party spiraled into perhaps the funniest episode of television I have ever seen. This plot device provided an uncontrived method for highlighting the eccentricities (some whimsical, some endearing, some absurdly hilarious) of each of the show’s characters. When the episode climaxed in boss Michael’s ridiculous purchase of a video ipod for temp Ryan (a relationship so fascinating it could be analyzed in a blog far larger and more discerning than this), my friends and I finally lost it and the laughter became so violent and the tears so blinding we had to rewind the DVD to see what we had missed.

The second time I cried came near the end of the second season, during a video vignette of the office produced by Michael set to U2’s “With or Without You.” The segment so deftly illustrated the vital aspects of Michael’s character – his whimsical ignorance, ignorant incompetence, passion for life, and, most importantly, ignorant innocence – while doing the same on a micro-level for the other characters, that before I knew it I had been overwhelmed and a few tears had slid onto the couch. The emotion of that moment is actually topped in a couple other moments, especially Jim’s booze-cruise confiding in Michael (perhaps my favorite moment in television fiction history) and a Michael-Jim karaoke duet of “Islands in the Stream” that I watched tonight on NBC.

The Office is certainly the funniest show I have ever seen, with only Curb Your Enthusiasm providing a worthy challenge. But the real reason I once said “On a scale of 1 to 10, The Office is a 10, and no other show is above a 7” (I have never seen the stalwarts Lost and Arrested Development, of which I hear wonderful things and plan to remedy this summer, and realized I might give Northern Exposure at least an 8 on that scale) is because The Office combines the comedy with an extremely subtle (until the Earthshaking season two finale) yet lethal picture of unrequieted love and modern suburban loneliness.

I have dealt with loneliness for most of my life, and it has intensified at times since graduating college and moving to the suburban slog of Westminster (not to mention spending significant time in the jump-fifty-stories-loneliness oasis known as Las Vegas). Most of the time I seek to fight these lonely feelings (and most of the time they are successfully vanquished by a solid foundation of friends and the knowledge that I am poised for a successful and satisfying life). But sometimes I am oddly proud of my loneliness. It is an incongruous romanticism, perhaps a sort of evolutionary wrinkle like the poor being proud of their poverty and virgins celebrating their celibacy. Maybe it is why my favorite movies of the past nine months are The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Brokeback Mountain, and The Weatherman. Sometimes the loneliness provides an odd, poignant kinship, and makes me feel alive.

Only the lonely
Know the way I feel tonight
Only the lonely
Know this feelin’ ain’t right…

But only the lonely
Know whyI cry
Only the lonely…

Maybe tomorrow
A new romance
No more sorrow
But that’s the chance - you gotta take
If your lonely heart breaks
Only the lonely

- Roy Orbison, “Only the Lonely”

That got a bit out of hand towards the end. I’ve never written a blog entry like this, and I’d appreciate feedback. Especially if you think it was pretentious.

Bottom line: The Office is fucking sweet, and you should watch it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Fifty Songs of the Month

The Song of the Month tradition began late in my first year of college, growing out of the Song of the Day correspondence I had with my friend Leo. The Song of the Month is a big deal to me, something I think about constantly. It's quite an "honor" for a song to be named SOTM. There have now been fifty, and I can name them all off the top of my head. They'll be with me forever. Here is the complete list:

April: Cornershop - Brimful of Asha
May: Pete Yorn - For Nancy
June: Cornershop - Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III
July: Weezer - Why Bother
August: Bob Dylan - Tangled Up in Blue
September: Outkast - Rosa Parks
October: Everclear - Hating You for Christmas
November: The Guess Who - No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature
December: Bruce Springsteen - I'm Goin' Down

January: The Who - Behind Blue Eyes
February: Charlatans - How High
March: Blur - Tender
April: Superdrag - Sucked Out
May: Led Zeppelin - How Many More Times
June: Toadies - Tyler
July: Guster - Amsterdam
August: Audioslave - I Am the Highway
September: Kenny Rogers - The Gambler
October: The Strokes - 12:51
November: The Verve - Lucky Man
December: Stereophonics - Nothing Precious At All

January: Travis - Love Will Come Through
February: Nada Surf - Blonde on Blonde
March: Pink Floyd - Time
April: White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself
May: Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
June: The Darkness - Love Is Only A Feeling
July: Powderfinger - My Happiness
August: Eagles - Take It Easy
September: Badly Drawn Boy - I Love N.Y.E.
October: Eagles - Desperado
November: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Venice Queen
December: Green Day - Boulevard of Broken Dreams

January: Jimi Hendrix - Bold as Love (instrumental)
February: Blondie - Heart of Glass
March: The Arcade Fire - Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
April: The Wrens - Happy
May: Badly Drawn Boy - A Minor Incident
June: Green Day - Holiday
July: Embrace - Ashes
August: Audioslave - Doesn't Remind Me
September: Coldplay - Swallowed in the Sea
October: Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line
November: Clem Snide - Moment in the Sun
December: Goodshirt - Fiji Baby

January: AC/DC - It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Want to Rock and Roll)
February: Van Morrison - Stranded
March: Willie Nelson - He Was a Friend of Mine
April: Cardigans - Live and Learn
May: Fatboy Slim - Praise You


Tonight I hit a monster draw to win a pot of around $8000. It was a super interesting hand and I may analyze it sometime in the future.

Sunday afternoon: 2hrs, -1539
Tuesday afternoon: 2.5 hrs, +3387
Tuesday night: 2.5hrs, +5150

Year to date: 125,895

Friday, June 09, 2006

The NBA Finals

Note - almost all of the NBA portion of this was written on Thursday afternoon, before Game 1 of the series, and before reading the Bill Simmons column on the series. The rest was written on Friday afternoon, a day after Game 1 and a reading of the Simmons column. I promise any thoughts were my own and not plagiarized.

It's been a satisfying NBA Playoffs, though my favorite teams (Denver, Detroit, and Phoenix) fell a bit short. There have been many exciting games, and the quality of play has been pretty high (at least in the West). What I like best about the NBA Playoffs is that the best team almost always wins. I think it's pretty clear that at this point, Dallas is the best team in the West and Miami is the best team from the East. The winner of this series can confidently be called the best team in the NBA. The same cannot be said of the champions of the NHL, NCAA basketball, or the upcoming World Cup.

I think Dallas is going to win this series. I think Miami's run through the Eastern Conference may have been less impressive than it appears. Miami needed 6 games to beat the Bulls, a team that went exactly .500 during the regular season. The Heat then dispatched New Jersey in 5 after getting blown out at home in game 1. New Jersey was certainly one of the best teams in the East this year, but had a scoring differential of only 1.4 pts a game during the season. New Jersey is a solid team, but was never considered to be a real contender for a championship. Finally, the Heat rolled over the Pistons in 6 games. The Pistons went 64-18 during the regular season, the best record in the NBA. They had also won the Eastern Conference each of the past two seasons (and the Finals in 2004) with the same Big Five nucleus.

None of this is news to anyone, and it is impossible for me to give statistical evidence as to why the Heat are overrated. But I watched the games, and this is why I think Dallas will win the Finals:

  • Dwyane Wade played so ridiculously well in the Detroit series, it is impossible to expect him to play that well against Dallas. Guards are not capable of consistently shooting above 60%. It's a fact. No one has ever done it for a reasonable period of time and no one ever will. It's just impossible to shoot that well. Wade got hot against Detroit, but generally he's not the world's greatest shooter. Even if he's the best player in the world right now (not an unreasonable thought), he shouldn't be expected to shoot 60%, ever.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, Shaq is not a dominant center. His overall numbers since jetting to Miami are really pretty unspectacular. While he is still capable of carrying his team at times, such as Game 6 against Detroit or the 30/20 he threw up against the Bulls, these games come along far less often than his usual workmanlike performances.
  • There is no way to prove this, but I think Detroit was playing pretty mediocre basketball by the time they staggered into the Eastern Finals. Most of their top guys were not shooting very well and they didn't look as hungry as the Cavs or Heat. I don't think this was the same team that went 64-18 during the regular season.
  • Dallas just beat two of the NBA's five best teams. Duncan was playing his A-game in that series, which many people may not realize. Finley was also playing well. I think San Antonio was playing at a higher level this year than last, when they beat the Pistons (who beat the Heat) in the Finals. Basically I have a hunch that the Heat snuck into the Finals by beating an average Pistons team masquerading as a great team. The Mavs, on the other hand, beat two excellent teams that may have been underrated. Again, this is just from watching games, and there is not much empirical evidence for any of this.
  • Dirk is unstoppable.
  • The Mavs role players are so much better than the Heat role players. This was extremely obvious in Game 1, even with Josh Howard having a below-average game. Antoine Walker was abysmal in Game 1 and routinely submarines the team with bad plays. He has many games where the team would have been better off if he had not been available to play. Jason Williams cannot be relied upon as a point guard, Udonis Haslem disappears at times, and James Posey possesses little offensive skill. They are all more flawed than Mavs like Terry, Stackhouse, and Harris. Also, Howard is significantly better than any Heat role player. And Gary Payton is arguably the worst player to log significant minutes in the 2006 playoffs, for any team. He is shooting 29.6% on his three-pointers in the playoffs, despite nearly all of them wide open. That's about the same percentage as I shoot them at the rec center.
  • In good and evil battles, good usually wins. When my roommate first saw Pat Riley on tv, he said that he looked like a villain from Sin City. This is without knowing how shady Riley's actions have been throughout his career. By contrast, Avery Johnson represents all that is good about sports.

The Prediction: Dallas in 6.


I'm certainly not qualified to write any sort of World Cup preview, but I will be watching a lot of games and every second of U.S. action. Even for a casual soccer fan like me, the World Cup is one of the most exciting events in sports.

I am probably going to stake the Wolf at the Party 2k NL. Preparations have already begun. He will likely be playing on APotIsAPot, just like Paul used to play as GnightMoon.

My poker aggression is at an all-time high. The goals outlined in the "Maniacism" post have basically been reached, and now I am trying to fine-tune things. I still have a long way to go before reaching Remmy/Patrik Antonius levels of dominance, but the days of nutpeddling are long gone.

Gamblegambel and I wagered a steak dinner on our June hourly rates. I got off to an incredible start but hit a rough patch a couple days ago. It will be an interesting battle, but only if I get to the minimum of 40 hours for the month that we set. It's stressful to play long sessions when you are playing wild at 5 tables, and I usually can't get through more than a couple hours. With the sports distractions and WSOP preparations this month, it figures to be a quiet one on Party Poker.


Mandalay Bay WPT: -10,200
Gold Coast 4-8 limit Sunday evening: +350
Monday afternoon: 2 hrs, +11,593
Monday night: 3 hrs, +2353
Tuesday night: 2 hrs, +5058
Wednesday afternoon: 1.5 hrs, -2039
Wednesday night: 2 hrs, -5285

Year to date: 118,897

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Bloodbath at the Bay

I was pretty happy with my table draw. John Juanda and Marco Traniello were to my right, the guy to my left seemed easy to manipulate, and while the other guys further to my left would not be easy to run over, they certainly weren't superstars. We started with 20k in chips.

Level One, 50-100 blinds

UTG limps, another guy limps, Juanda limps, the guy to my right limps, I make it 800 on the button with 97o, UTG calls, everyone else folds. The flop comes 7h5h4h, UTG bets 1k, I make it 3200, he immediately goes all in, I fold, he shows Ah3h.

Marco raises on the button to 300, I call in the BB with 99. The flop is rags and we both check. The turn is a J or something and we both check. The river is an ace and we both check. He has 44 and I win.

I raise to 300 in the CO + 1 with T6s, the guy to my left calls, others fold, the flop comes AKJ, I check, the other guy checks, the turn is a brick, I bet 500, he folds.

I raise to 300 in early position with JJ, Juanda calls from the SB, and Marco Traniello calls in the BB. The flop comes 993, they check to me and I elect to check. I decided I was calling a checkraise and subsequent bets, and I did not want to get checkraised. Also when I check it solidifies my hand as big cards in their mind, and I can get paid off later in the hand. Also they will now bluff or bet worse hands than mine later in the hand. The turn is a T, Juanda checks, Marco bets 500, I call, Juanda thinks for one minute and calls. The river is a K, Juanda thinks for 30s and bets 3500, Marco quickly calls, I fold, Juanda shows TT and wins.

In a 6-way limped pot, I have 9s6s in the SB. The flop comes JsTh7s. I check, the big blind checks, an early limper checks, James English bets 250, the guy to his right calls, Juanda calls, I make it 1200, the big blind and early limper fold, and English immediately pushes all in. Everyone folds, including me, and he shows 89.

Mr. Ace-Three-of-Hearts limps again UTG, a few others limp, and I again make it 800 on the button with pocket nines. Mr. A3 is the only caller. The flop comes J75, he checks, I bet 1500, he folds.

The button raises to 300, I call in the SB with AJo, the big blind folds. The flop comes 853 and we both check. The turn is a Q and we both check. The river is a 9, I check, he makes a large bet, I fold.

A good player open-limps, Juanda limps, I make it 500 from the cutoff with KJo, Mr. Ace-Three-of-Hearts calls from the big blind, the first guy calls, Juanda calls. The flop comes T53 rainbow, Mr. Ace-Three-of-Hearts bets 1500, we all fold, he shows ATo.

I finished level one with about 13k.

Level Two, 100-200 blinds

I raise the first hand after the break to 575 with 5d4d in MP, the rock directly to my left makes it 1500, I call, the flop comes KTx, I check-fold to his 3k bet.

A round later I raise with AQs in second position to 575, the rock to my left again reraises, this time to 1600, I fold. I believe he won three pots before he ran a set into Juanda's nut flush and busted, and all three pots were against me.

I limp UTG with 88, Violette makes it 800 three behind me, the big blind calls, I call, the flop comes J42 with two clubs we both check to Violette, she bets 1k, we both fold.

I limp with A6s after an EP limper, the blinds call, the flop comes A84 rainbow, the SB checks, Mr. Ace-Three-of-Hearts bets 1000, the EP limper folds, I think for a while and fold, the SB folds, Mr. Ace-Three-of-Hearts shows ATo.

All folds to the SB who raises to 600, I call in the BB with AhTh. The flop comes 853 with two diamonds, he checks quickly, I think for a bit and bet 800, he makes it 2500, I think for a bit and fold. I would have moved in with any draw.

Violette raises to 700 in early position, I call in the SB with AhQh, David Matthew calls in the BB. The flop comes QT4 rainbow, I check, Matthew checks, Violette bets 1500, I move in for a bit more than 7k, Matthew thinks for a while and folds, Violette calls with KK, board bricks, I'm out.

There were some other small pots that I won or lost, but nothing more than 500 chips up or down.

The Gambler had a similar day and, in typical fashion, managed to bluff off all of his chips before the end of the third level.

I go home on Tuesday. The next main event I will play will be the World Championship.

Mandalay Bay

Today was my smoothest pre-tournament travel day ever. Both DIA and McCarron were about half as busy as usual (the 107 degree weather in Vegas being the most likely culprit). The Gambler arrived half an hour after I did and we took a cab to the Excalibur, where we're staying. After dinner at the dreadful Round Table Buffet, the poorest dining establishment I've ever eaten at in Vegas (including Panda King Express), we walked over to Mandalay Bay and bought into tomorrow's 10k event. The whole buy-in process took me less than two minutes, roughly one fifteenth of what it usually takes. There were 170 players signed up at 10:30 when we were there, so I'm expecting around 300 and a first place prize of about a million dollars.

Both the Gambler and I are bursting with confidence. It may not happen this week, but a major final table is inevitable the way we are playing right now. I got a bit of a boost at dinner tonight, as Don't Dream It's Over (albeit the Sixpence cover) and Time Passages played back to back on the Excalibur soundtrack. It just might be my week.

Friday, June 02, 2006

May Top 15

15. R.E.M. - Crush With Eyeliner
14. Pretty Girls Make Graves - The Get A Way
13. The Fray - Over My Head
12. Superdrag - Slot Machine
11. Giant Drag - Wicked Game

10. Interpol - NYC
9. Weezer - Tired of Sex
8. Foghat - Slow Ride
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Dani California
6. Death Cab For Cutie - Someday You Will Be Loved

5. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
4. Black Crowes - Jealous Again
3. Interpol - Untitled
2. Josh Rouse - My Love Has Gone

Song of the Month: Fatboy Slim - Praise You