Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Thoughts on Paul's Continued Successes and My Continued Failures

I'm not a big enough man to be happy for my friend Paul. I'm a petty, competitive, frustrated jealous little boy. Paul is better at poker than me and oooh, it hurts. I hate it when I'm not the best at something. It's especially troubling because this is what we do for a living. This is our career, our identity. If Paul wasn't the outstanding, wonderful person he is, I don't think I could tolerate his presence. It kind of makes me sick to see him do well. There is definitely a demented part of me that wants to see him lose on days like this (playing down to the WPT Final Table). Why? Like I said, I am weak inside; I do not have the strength of a better, more mature man. His success more clearly defines my failure.

Of course, many of my poker friends are not as successful as me. But I just compare myself to the best, cause I want to be the best. Anything short of that is unacceptable to me, so right now I am unacceptable to me. The only remedy is what I mentioned in my last entry - success.

Like a Virgin

I'm going to be miserable until I get my cherry popped with a six figure score in a poker tournament. I've thought a lot about it and I honestly believe I will be quite unhappy until that day comes.

I don't know it's going to happen. I won't know I will be successful or really feel confident about my game until it does happen. I do think it's going to happen, but thinking isn't knowing or doing.

Monday, February 26, 2007


Add set under set to a growing list of spectacular exits from big tournaments.

The hand before I went out, JC Tran raised a tight guy's blind to 6500 at the 1200-2400-400 level and I decided to make it 20k right behind him with 85 offsuit. It was a psychological play involving who was in the blinds, my image, my stack, and the fact that I had reraised the previous hand. I thought JC would give up most hands here but he called, then moved me in on the AdTd6d flop.

The next hand, with my stack at 52k, I raised to 7k with 55 in middle position. The big blind David "The Gunslinger" Bach called after asking for a chip count. I thought he could be trapping with a huge hand. The flop came Qc5c2h. He checked and I shuffled some chips, feigned a bet, and then checked. The turn was the 7h and he checked, I bet 10k, and he made it 20k. I thought about the hands he could have here - not that I considered folding - and what I should do. It was really hard putting him on a hand and eventually I moved in for another 25k. He called with 77 and that was the end of the tournament for me.

LAPC Day Two: Decent Luck

I arrived at a table with Todd Brunson and Joe Pelton on my right, BodogAri (with a gargantuan stack), and online foes TheCzar and RichANDSmooth to my left. Brunson busted quickly and got replaced by the slippery tourney vet Johan Storakers. No one made it through the day except for Ari and myself.

On the fourth hand of the day I looked down at the sweet sight of pocket kings and made a normal raise. It looked like I wouldn't get any action but the big blind came along for the ride, then checkraised me all in on a J87 flop. I called, held on against his pocket nines, and then basically cruised up to 91,500 chips where I finished the day. BodogAri was to my direct left all day, playing a Jamie Gold like-game. I decided to play pretty tight since he was calling a ton of raises, hitting a lot of monsters, and generally playing well. Luckily I got some action with my good hands and not too much adversity with my mediocre ones. There were also no coolers, bad beats, or misclicks.

I was scanning the chip counts looking at my table draw for tomorrow. Things looked pretty good.

PHAN LOI V 140,700 6 1
BACH DAVID 133,000 6 3
FULLER THOMAS 91,500 6 7
GOOTT ARI 81,800 6 8

Some good players, certainly, but no superstars, which is rare at this point of the tournament. Then I got to the top of the list:

TRAN JC 543,700 6 6

Yikes. The chip leader, and one of the top five tournament players in the world. To be honest, I'm really looking forward to it. I've been wanting to play with him for a while, since he has the best tournament results of anyone over the last six months. I imagine he'll be raising most of the time it is folded to him, so I'll have to decide between

1) reraising
2) calling and trying to play flops against him
3) getting the hell out of the way

I've been all in and called once this tournament, with the guy having six outs. Ari thought about making a huge call against me on a board of A5h3h where I made an obvious-draw shove with 7h4h not really caring if he called or folded, other than that life has been pretty smooth. If the pattern continues tomorrow's blog entry will be titled "LAPC Day Three: Good Luck".

The Fish hit a hand or two vs William Lin and is up to 161k.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

LAPC Day One: Bad Luck

I heard this Social Distortion song "Bad Luck" for the first time on the radio the other day driving to Commerce.

Some people like to gamble
But you, you always lose
Some people like to rock 'n' roll
You're always singin' the blues
You gotta nasty disposition
No one really knows the reason why
You gotta bad, bad reputation
Gonna hang your head down and cry

You got bad, bad luck
Bad, bad luck
You got bad, bad luck
Bad, bad luck

I listened to this song about five times during the first day of the LA Poker Classic $10k main event. We're always talking and thinking about how important it is to stay positive in poker. It's absolutely crucial. So listening to songs like this over and over and bemoaning my bad luck wouldn't seem to be beneficial.

I rarely get good hands or favorable situations anymore playing poker. Today I didn't have aces, kings, a set, a flush, or a straight in 12 hours of play. And it's not like I wasn't playing many hands. The idea is, if I got bad, bad luck, then I am going to have to outplay my way into the chips. I am going to have to make some huge moves and some great calls and thin value bets and basically just own everyone since I won't be getting anything in terms of cards.

I made a couple huge bluffs early in the tournament today, and they are the reason I am still in. One was against a good young player named Tom Koral, who folded KJ on the river on a board of J43K4 when I had 75. It was a monster move that I don't usually make. At the time I didn't need the pot, but I sure needed it at the end of the day because I had complete shit the whole way and lost a ridiculous pot with Q9 against QJ after I bet a flop of 932 and a jack hit the turn. I finished the day with 20,400 (we started with 20k) and a spring in my step. I think I may have started to turn a corner here today, and will be looking forward to the next tournament no matter the result of this one.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Gambler was actually the chip leader with about 20 players left after a spectacular double-up with queen-two offsuit played under the gun. With two tables left he lost a couple all-in pots blind vs blind and went out in 12th place. The prizepools here are extremely top heavy, so it was very disappointing for us but - for that same reason - I can't fault his aggressive play late in the tournament.

Saturday the massive 10k main event begins here. I always get really excited for the big tournaments, though my results in them are laughably bad. Someday that has to turn around I think, if for no other reason than the "if you throw enough shit at a wall, some of it has to stick" theory.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Grinded Into Oblivion

I actually won a couple hands today in the $1k NL at the Commerce. I had aces twice and both times got a lot of action and had them hold up. I started at a wild table with William Lin, a crazy Asian player from Denver, controlling the action. I was really impressed with his play, which was borderline insane and borderline genius. There are a lot of good players from Colorado, and he's one of the best. Someday I'd like to play a Best of Colorado tournament with players like Lin, Dapo Fadeyi, and Francois Safieddine. It would be a lot of fun since these guys are all pretty nuts.

I got moved to a shitty table, but it was a pleasure to be there. The Grinder got moved to the table a bit after me, and he put on an exhibition. Never in my life have I seen someone play the game as well as he did on this day. It really was entertaining and inspirational to watch this master at the height of his powers. Here I am getting sick of it and hating poker, and the Grinder showed just how beautiful the game can be. His creativity is incredible. Someone today asked him why he still plays - he has nothing left to prove. He said "to prove I can still win." There's also a famous quote from the Grinder that he only plays $1000 tournaments "to crush people's dreams." It occurred to me that when you play like the Grinder, it never gets old. Every hand is an adventure, and there are infinite permutations, infinite options. He really doesn't seem like a particularly nice, interesting, or even intelligent fellow, but my god can he play the game of no limit hold em.

I have no idea how he got to playing like this. I can't imagine learning to play like the Grinder. You'd have to experiment in so many tournaments and donk off stacks so many times trying weird plays. You'd have to play hours and hours and hours of no limit hold em without worrying too much about the financial consequences. And you kind of have to go all or nothing and play every hand like the Grinder, or not try it at all. Going halfway just gets you into trouble.

It was an enlightening, encouraging day, reminding me why I play poker and how high the ceiling is. But it was also a discouraging day, as I realize I will never play poker like Michael Mizrachi.

The Grinder eventually got me, calling my all-in reraise with king-queen and defeating my ace-four of diamonds.

The Gambler had amassed a very large stack with seven tables left when I left the casino. I bought half his action today, as I think he's turned a corner in tournament poker. I stole yesterday's blog title "I Hate My Job" from him - that's his favorite phrase and the title of his blog. As long as he doesn't have to tangle with the Grinder, I think he's got a great shot at the final table. And if there's hope for the Gambler, there's hope for me too.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Hate My Job

I hate poker right now, I really do.

Today was another laughable tournament. I had literally the worst starting hands I've ever had in my life. I doubled up twice on desperation moves that got called by better hands, then finally picked up my only real hand of the day, pocket jacks. I moved in and ran into pocket kings.

I've become one of those sad souls who curses the game, honestly believes he is unlucky, thinks everyone else sucks, but never has any success in poker. My inspiration for playing right now is basically to say fuck you to all the players I hate. There are a lot of players I see who really piss me off, for different reasons, and I want them to lose or go away. I really do want to win and I continue to believe I'm not playing badly, but I just can't get anything decent to happen, ever. Every day is some new twist of bad luck. During the last month I've lost every way possible - bad beats, bad plays, failed bluffs, epic coolers, missed draws, and on and on.

I really think it's lame for a poker player to complain about bad luck. I think anyone who plays poker should consider him or herself lucky to be able to do so. But I just feel so unlucky right now. I'm tired of losing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

#21 on the Lame Hall of Fame

Is kings against aces. I lost 9k of my 10k that way in the fourth level. I won some pots to get back up to 4500 before I was moved to my FIFTH table of the day. There were only eighteen tables to start the tournament and somehow I played at five of them in less than five hours of play. It was quite frustrating not knowing what was going on at a table, playing tight while trying to figure the players out, and then getting moved over and over. I was at 3200 in the small blind with the blinds at 100-200-25. A guy limped in early position and a huge stack limped behind him. I looked at ace-ten offsuit in the small blind and decided to move all-in. It's so hard coming to a new table with no idea how the guys play. When many players limp in early position, it's a huge scary sign. When an unknown, fishy looking guy does it, it doesn't mean much (and he also didn't look super excited when he put the chips in). With 925 in the pot and ATo I felt moving in made sense. I got slowly called by the first limper's AQs and the board came a frustrating KTxQx.

Within two hours Toph (an early victim with queens against David Matthew's kings) and I were in LA. Tomorrow there's a $1500 event that a bunch of us will play.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I didn't get the memo that there are towering Lord of the Rings style mountains in southern California. I know American geography better than 99% of people I think but I had no idea of the mountainous nature of the land in this corner of the state. I'm pretty sure my aunt and uncle took me on this drive before but I had no memories of these peaks. About 75 miles from San Diego on I-8 the highway suddenly climbs more than 4,000 vertical feet to a series of rocky, windswept passes. Today those passes were in the clouds, and it was raining. It was pretty terrifying, and it only got worse once I descended into the San Diego area and the road became 7 lanes wide each way and the drivers got crazy and the rain started coming down harder and I didn't know where I was going. San Diego is the most mountainous metropolitan area I've ever seen in my life. Again, I somehow had no idea of this.

I eventually clawed my way to Escondido, which isn't too far from Harrah's Rincon where the 5k tournament is tomorrow. Toph managed to get up here on his own after missing a flight. I'm thankful to be alive, healthy, and wealthy, and look at tomorrow as a chance to relax doing what I love.

Monday, February 19, 2007


I do some stupid shit. I really do.

I forgot to bring my clothes on this trip. I left them all in a hamper in my room. I realized that this morning.

I didn't check the fluids in my car before embarking on this 1,000+ mile road trip. This became a rather pertinent issue shortly before I crested Emory Pass, the surprisingly high and harrowing gateway between Truth or Consequences and Silver City. The engine oil pressure light went on, accompanied by a chilling beep. There wasn't enough oil in the engine.

It's not that I'm an idiot. I don't do this stupid shit beacuse I don't know better or I can't process information. It's that I'm lazy in the brain. I know you're supposed to check the fluids in your car before a long trip and I know you should check the rooms in your house for forgotten items before leaving for over a month. I just don't do a lot of this elementary stuff a lot of the time. I don't think it through. I get easily distracted by mundane tasks and I don't make them a priority, regardless of their necessity.

Most of my poker friends are like this. Most of them are even worse than me I think. I'm not sure what causes this disability of organization. Does our gaming prowess come from a deficiency in basic task completion, two different intelligences requiring opposite forms of thought? Did our quick rise to financial success make us forget the importance of basic societal skills? Or are we just lazy, and that is why we became attracted to the gaming, gambling lifestyle?

It's getting to be embarassing. I can just buy some new clothes, and I appear to have taken care of the oil problem. But eventually this little problem is going to cost me dearly.

I got to Tucson at midnight. Spencer and I went to a park nearby and shot hoops. There was a lot of snow on Emory Pass, but that was the end of my winter. It's in the sixties as I write this, and I won't be north of Vegas till mid-March. I made it through the winter, and I couldn't be more excited about that.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Viva Las Vegas

It took me just one tank of gas to get from Boulder to Las Vegas -

New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment. I've never been to the interior of the state so I decided to stop in Las Vegas rather than push on to Santa Fe or Albuquerque so I can see more of the state tomorrow in the light. I'm hoping to get to Tucson tomorrow night and then pick Toph up Monday night at the San Diego airport. We don't have a place to stay and Harrah's Rincon is unavailable, but it's southern California so we figure worst case scenario will be an improptu camp (it's been done before).

I haven't played in a while but my confidence has been growing while sitting on the bench. I've been studying a bit and thinking about the game. I feel like I've got a play for almost every tournament situation, and can't wait to apply some new stuff and finally get that big win.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Lame Hall of Fame

I felt it was an appropriate time to compile a list of the twenty lamest things in the universe, according to me. Feel free to suggest your own.

20. February
19. My garage
18. The Ryan Adams album "Rock and Roll"
17. The New York Yankees
16. The Rio
15. Veronica's Closet
14. Hannity
13. Denver International Airport
12. Puddles
11. The WNBA
10. PartyPoker
9. The murder of John Lennon
8. Ricardo Patton
7. Dandruff
6. Middle School
5. Mike Tirico
4. Chicken Pox
3. Scraping ice off the windshield
2. Babies crying on airplanes
1. Bologna

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Official

I'm running worse in poker than I ever have before. I'm at +$341 over my last 15 sessions over about 50 hrs. Today I lost a cool 10k. Much of it went to the Kwickfish, who trapped me with some really well played hands and a couple nasty coolers. I bluffed off a decent portion of it as well, lost some with overpairs, some with KK vs AA, etc, etc, etc. Bottom line - I'm not playing my best, I'm running ridiculously badly, and I hate poker. So it's time to take a break. I've written a lot about this before. The best medicine in times like this is abstinence. I'd be a lot better off just not playing for a while, so maybe I will go cold-turkey until the 5k event at Rincon on Feb 20.

This sums it up perfectly. This is my life right now, only without the tv cameras.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Notre Dame Poker

It's February, which means Notre Dame fans are sweating despite living in one of the coldest, cruddiest climates in America. No offense, MasterJ. The Notre Dame basketball team has a habit of living "on the bubble" this time of year, uncomfortably waffling between in and out of the NCAA tournament. They usually end up narrowly missing.

February is also my least favorite month of the year. The weather sucks. I'm sick of the winter. There's no more football. The spring is still a ways off. There was a nasty ice storm tonight in Boulder that prevented me from going to see "Children of Men" as I planned.

My sessions have been Notre Damesque lately. There's no guarantee of a win. If it is, it's been a small win. I haven't been losing, but I haven't been winning all that much. I feel like this might actually be the worst run of cards I've ever gone through. I don't really have any idea though. Last winter might have been worse. I have been making so many absurd laydowns, and I think they've been correct. I just can't see these guys making these moves in big pots without the goods.

My patience has been good. Not perfect, but good. It's just a fight to keep my head above water usually, waiting for big hands that haven't been coming. I do think in general I'm playing quite well. I'm getting exercise, and my head is clear while playing.

I'm hoping my sacrifices to the poker gods were finally satisfied tonight. A hand came up where I raised As7d on the button. The BB called. The flop came 9s8x2x and we both checked. The turn brought the 6s and he checked. I bet moderate and he made a ~2.7x raise. I called. If a spade hit, I was planning on having a flush. The river was the 5c, and my opponent bet $1200 into the ~$700 pot. I threw it away. I never seriously thought about calling.

Right after that pot, I won two monster pots with the other guy below 10% when the money went in, and I cruised to my first big win in a while. I'd like to think the ice storm has passed, and the spring is about to bloom in Kazakhstan.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Screw It

I was minutes from jumping in the car when it hit me - I'd be better off not going to LA this week. I'm just not feeling it and that is never a good sign. Most of my friends aren't going to even be there this week. I'd only be going for four tournaments. I'd like to make some headway on POY pts and whatnot, but not at the cost of happiness. I'm lucky to have total control of my life and get to do whatever I feel like, and this week I feel like chilling. This way I can have more fun this week, continue to crank it on Kazakhpoker, hang out with some friends I've been missing, watch some hoops, see my parents, and take a better road trip through New Mexico and Arizona and see my aunt, uncle, and Spencer. That's right Spencetron - let's hang out.

I'll be going straight to Rincon for the WSOP Circuit main event on Tuesday, February 20, then continuing the rest of the trip as planned.

Going to California

Tomorrow I'm driving to California for an epic late winter of poker tournaments, beginning at the Commerce Casino with the gargantuan LA Poker Classic, moving south near San Diego for the main event at Harrah's Rincon, back to Commerce for the LAPC main event, over to Vegas for the Wynn Classic, and finally the Shooting Star WPT in San Jose.

It's a troubling time for the online poker pro. There is no guarantee that this will be a viable career in a few months. No one really knows. I'm pretty sure I could hack it and make good money as a live pro, but I don't think I really want to. I'm not sure I like the game enough to keep doing this much longer. It's a great game and all, but I get really sad thinking about the old pros and how they must feel about their lives. Even the top pros - I think it's kind of pathetic really to be a lifetime cardplayer.

It's also becoming increasingly apparent to me that I'm not especially talented at the game of poker. This is an enormously depressing, confidence-crushing, life-altering realization, but deep down I've known it for quite a while. I'm pretty damn good at the game; I've got more talent than most pros; but recently I've been talking to and hanging out with some better players and it's become clear to me that they just get it a little better than I do.

Maybe I wouldn't be thinking about this if a couple of pocket aces had stood up in big tournaments. Maybe if a couple of critical hands had gone differently at a number of different junctures, I'd be singing a different tune. In December I almost wrote a blog entry about how good at tournament poker I was getting. Since then it's been a dry desert on the tournament trail, with the exception of a final table the Master and I made in a teams event in Australia that ended in a cruel three out beat in a huge pot.

I think the Bellagio Five Diamond in December took a lot out of me. I'm not sure I've recovered yet. Day after day, going in, scrapping as hard as I could, repeatedly getting deep, three times well into the money, and never getting up on that stage for the final table. It took a lot out of me. It's important to have that 110% drive in every tournament, and I didn't get it back until the Borgata. I'm not as talented as some players, so it's double important for me to play my hardest.

This trip will likely be a litmus test for my future in poker. I'd like to be done as a full-time pro pretty soon, really. If I can win a big one, I think I'm done. Conversely, if things go very poorly, and I lose money, then I might be done as well. Or at least I may curtail the tournament travel and just play online cash games and the occasional big tournament. Of course, the online cash games may disappear in a few months.

Most of my poker friends are going to be in LA. There will be big tournaments every day. It's Southern California. On the surface it looks like it should be an excellent trip. The problem is, right now I'd rather be watching college basketball with my girlfriend than playing poker tournaments.

Last June, Paul and I drove out to Vegas for the World Series of Poker. That drive was wild, fresh, free, and exciting. I'm not really looking forward to this one, but that may all change by the time I hit Utah. I still love the idea of driving out over the Rockies to the West in search of what Indiana Jones called "Fortune and Glory."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

2:12 AM, Aces Diner, Harrah's Council Bluffs, Iowa, February 6, 2007

When Harrah's released the '06-'07 WSOP Circuit schedule, I was immediately surprised and amused to see "Harrah's Council Bluffs" listed as an early February tour stop. I also immediately got the feeling I'd likely wind up playing it, as there has never been a closer major tournament to my home and the field would likely be softer than the snow sure to be falling during the event. Right away I had two visions - one of me crushing the field and cruising to a dominant win, and one of me watching episodes of "Lost" on my computer in a lonely hotel room looking out on the plains.

Sure enough, when February 2007 arrived, I booked a flight to Omaha and a room at Harrah's Council Bluffs. From the start, the trip felt like a business trip/mission. There was none of the vacation feel that usually accompanies my poker expeditions to more attractive climates and locales. I alluded to this in a blog entry, noting there was only one reason to go to Council Bluffs in February, and that was to get first place.

Of course that didn't happen, I got my money in quite badly in two places, and I was back in the hotel room before the end of the first day (not knocked out the last hand of the night as I previously reported). The next day I woke up, constructed the Top 15, ate a lunch at a decent buffet, and fired up an afternoon session of online poker. Things went smoothly, as they tend to on Kazakhpoker, and it was not long before I redeemed the money lost buying into the tournament. I then took a short break, took a shower and a walk around the casino, and then went back to business. This was to be a marathon day of online poker, my longest session since a disastrous bleedathon a couple days after exiting from the WSOP main event.

The night session went poorly from the start. I did not run well, and I'm sad to admit I exacerbated the losses by continuing to play while hungry, tired, pissed off, and hellbent on chasing down my losses. This was amateurish behavior, activity I accost my pro friends for doing, and certainly something that I know should always be avoided. Playing long hours trying to dig out of the red almost always leads to a deeper hole, and I've known that for a long time. I don't want to ever let this happen again.

When I finally wrapped up the session, it was 1:30 AM and I was starving. I called down to the front desk for a late check-out, a shuttle to the airport the next morning, and a list of dining options. I was given only one: "Aces" 24 hr Diner.

"Aces" was exactly what I thought and feared it would be - a mildly repulsive Midwestern greasy spoon serving up a predictable menu of "country favorites." I quickly ordered eggs with bacon and toast, and sat back in the booth listening to a disappointing array of hollow modern pop tunes on the restaurant'scruddy overhead speakers. There is a time for Chingy and the Pussycat Dolls, but sitting alone in a booth in Council Bluffs Iowa at 2 AM in February watching an old sweaty man exhaustedly fry food is not that time. It was, however, an appropriate soundtrack for the three drunk kids at the next booth who saw that I was alone and asked/bludgeoned me to join them.

I'm polite, lonely, and always looking for a good story, so I readily agreed and sat down with them. The crew consisted of a loud, friendly, mildly obnoxious, and overwhelmingly mediocre young cocktail waitress; her BFF (best friend forever), a spectacularly unattractive lifetime Omahan; and the waitress's boyfriend, a pretty calm and regular dude who was the only one I found remotely tolerable. While doing my best to fend off the advances of the beefy BFF, I learned only a few notable tidbits from the natives. Omahans look down on Iowans, for one. When I asked what was the best thing to do for fun in the area, I didn't get much of a response. They asked me if I wanted to take the third wheel to my room, then asked if I wanted to get high. I considered the latter - it would have been a satisfactory end to a troubling day - but ultimately elected the company just too undesirable to pursue anything but minimal social relations.

I waited more than half an hour for my food, and couldn't eat it fast enough when it finally arrived. As I sat there eating the greasy food, listening to and participating in the inane conversation, trying not to be rude to the nasty girl coming on to me, head pounding from staring at a computer screen all day, it occurred to me that I may have reached a new low point on the poker tournament circuit. But really, and especially now as I write this, I realize experiences like this are what "it's all about."

I remember my senior year in college my friend Nick had a day where he went around the Twin Cities on buses and his bike, just poking around. I'm not sure I've ever seen him more excited than he was when he got back to the college after his day interacting with different strangers around the Cities. He told the story of his day with great excitement, and nothing he said sounded remotely exciting. But it was a REAL experience,and that was what had him so pumped up. Macalester was quite a bubble, and he had popped it for one day.

Most of my time is spent in the high-stakes poker bubble, where no one cares about what most people care about. It's pretty nice really - real life isn't really that cool for most people, I don't think. But the bubble is better with a taste of reality. Council Bluffs was a fairly shitty experience overall, but I was able to find a bit of something real and American. I enjoy having a lifestyle that allows me to see the high-class Omahans as well as the simple Iowans.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

January Top 15

15. Nada Surf - The Plan
14. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Tear
13. Fleetwood Mac - Over My Head
12. The Vines - Take Me Back
11. Kathleen Edwards - Six O'Clock News

10. The Arcade Fire - Intervention
9. The Killers - Bling! (Confessions of a King)
8. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Weight of the World
7. Nick Lowe - Cruel to be Kind
6. Enya - Caribbean Blue

5. Powderfinger - Sunsets
4. Matthew Sweet - Sick of Myself
3. O.A.R. - Hey Girl
2. Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy

Song of the Month: Refreshments - Nada

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Tidy End to a Long Day(s)

I busted out on the very last hand of the night. The cutoff limped for 600, the small blind completed, and I shoved in for 10k from the BB with AcQc. It was really a value bet - I thought I might get called by a dominated hand that wanted to gamble at the end of the night, or thought I was making a move. The cutoff thought for about a minute and then called with AK. The flop came Kxx with no clubs.

I lost the other half of my chips an hour before when I raised to 1500 on the button with 88 and the BB jammed for about 10k more. I thought I had the best hand, so I called. I almost fell out of my chair when he showed aces. This had to be his worst available play, but it worked on me for full value so maybe he deserves some credit. I need to remember the uber tell that he was exhibiting, the stare-you-right-in-the-face-slightly-pissed-off-and-excited look. That one is always the nuts.

For some reason my phone is not working here. I apologize to anyone who needed to talk to me today.

Overall this will go down as a forgettable trip to an uninspiring locale with a nothing result. I did learn a few things, though, especially about lifestyle and planning. I come home Wednesday for a few days before heading to California.

Dinner Break

I flew into Omaha this morning. I didn't sleep last night because my flight left at a very inconvenient time. I snagged an hour and a half on the plane but that's pretty much it. Still I feel pretty damn focused at the table. My concentration has been quite good.

I started off at a wonderful weak-tight passive table and went right up to 13k after winning a big pot with jacks against AK. I was up at 14k before making a series of second best hands (I think, I kept folding on the river in big pots). I don't think the players at my first table were capable of running these big bluffs against me so I just think I was running into the nuts a lot. I got down to 7700 and then the table broke right before the antes hit and I could rob the table blind.

I went on a truly sick rush the last level at the new table. I made a set against Rizen, two flushes for big pots, and I had KK twice and QQ and won all three of those. I've been raising an insane amount including A9s EP and KTs UTG that got shown down. I might have to reign it in a bit because some guys at the table are getting restless. The last hand I raised AK UTG and elected to just fold when second position called and third position reraised. I'm at about 24k now which is excellent shape with two levels left.

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The Council

There is only one reason to fly to Council Bluffs, Iowa, in February. Only one.

One is the reason I go. Not two. Two would be a disappointment. One is the only reason I am taking a 7:20 AM flight to Omaha this morning.