Monday, December 27, 2010

Table lag?

"Where was that flop last hand?"

I hear this at least once every time I play live. A player will bemoan the fact that the current flop is what he sorely needed in the previous hand in which he probably lost. The dealer or another player will then chime in with "Flop lag", everyone smiles and the game continues.

When multitabling online a similar situation can occur, only it is inter-table and concurrent.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker

I don't recall ever having read a history book. That is until I got my hands on Cowboys Full, a colorful and comprehensive description of how poker evolved into the popular game it is today. Author James McManus combines academic research with a gift for the narrative to produce a book which kept my interest from the first page to the very end.

Whether he's grinding online or playing live, a poker player at least owes it to himself to find out the origins of what he's spending hours, days and years on.

Read the book - you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Poker Hall of Shame VI

Today was the second time I played at the Aria. I was involved in a hand with a regular in which I lost a huge pot. The details are irrelevant but suffice it to say that it was a very ugly beat. Immediately afterwards, it was difficult discerning who had the larger smirk, the scumbag dealer Michael as he pushed the pot, or the smug regular. Way to go Aria! Way to go Altweis!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Evolutionary anthropology

This has yet to be confirmed by any official scientific body, but last night at South Point I sighted a previously unknown species that genetically links the Cro-Magnons with the Neanderthals - in the form of Claudio the dealer. International teams of forensic anthropologists and radiocarbon dating experts are being dispatched to Las Vegas as we speak.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rebel Oil Racing Fuel

Even worse than the bad beats at the Venetian this morning was the near collision I experienced the previous night (Monday, November 22, 9:58pm), when a Rebel Oil double-tanker truck failed to yield at the I-215 and Windmill entrance, and sped through inches past me like in a scene from Duel. A friend jotted down his registration (Nevada 446741) while I regained my composure.

Spurious correlation?

I had no idea that early Tuesday morning at the Venetian was F.U.D.C* Day. First that bitch Lisa deals me KhQh, puts out an all-heart flop, but not before making sure that my opponent has Ah6h. Then that prick Fernando sees to it that I'm beaten on the river by an obvious bluffer who makes his gutshot straight.

You've been warned - if they're fat and ugly and it's Tuesday morning, get up and take a walk for 30 minutes.

* Fat Ugly Dealer Cooler

Sunday, November 14, 2010

We have a winner

Canadian Jonathan Duhamel, the incoming chip leader, won the 2010 WSOP Main Event bracelet. Equally impressive was John Racener (pictured below) who folded his way into second place.

                             (Courtesy of nonecks from 2+2)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

WSOP 2010 November Nine

I'm watching the live stream on ESPN3 and John Racener is still chewing like a fucking camel. Candio just moved all-in and Duhamel called in a 30 million pot. At this stage, the only thing moving in the Penn & Teller Theatre is Racener's jaws.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Calm before the storm

It was a variance free, boring session till dealer Tom stepped in. I had about $600 in front of me, having bought in for $500. Then came the 2 hands that unhinged me.

Hand 1
I limp in with AdJd in early position. Many callers.

Flop comes 8d 5d Tc
I bet $25, only old fart calls.

Turn is As
I bet $50, old fart calls.

River is Jc
I check and old fart bets $110. I call with my 2-pair and old fart takes the pot with KdQd, hitting a 3-outer to make his broadway.

Hand 2
Creepy lady raises to $40 from middle position and I am the only caller from the big blind with 88.

Flop comes Jd 8d 4d
Of course we get it all-in and creepy lady has JJ.

Somewhat tilted, I rebuy for another $500. And after an orbit, Tom deals the third pivotal hand of his down.

Hand 3
Very nice Italian guy who has me covered raises to $35 from late position. Once again I am the only caller with Ts9s in the big blind. Dubious call? Yes.

Flop comes 8s 5d 2c
I check and Italian guy bets $60. I have missed the flop entirely but somehow feel that the runner-runner possibilities warrant a tilt-induced call. I call.

Turn is 7s
I now have an open-ended straight flush draw and push with my remaining $380. Italian guy thinks for a bit, reads me correctly and calls.

River is Ks
My flush beats his QQ and I double up. Dealer Tom soon finishes his down, and thankfully my play and mental state are now back to where they were when he stepped in.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Wrigley to sponsor John Racener

Hopefully John Racener can brush up his act for the upcoming November Nine telecast. I found his open-mouthed chewing disgusting to watch.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Infusion and confusion

As thunderstorms hit Las Vegas, I am fortunate to finally have a non-cardboard roof over my head. It's a long story best left for another time, but surprisingly enough does not involve tournament chips.

I have been playing some $2-$5 at the Venetian thanks to $360 I recently earned as a participant in an FDA approved clinical study for a malady too embarrassing to mention. The denizens at the V are an eclectic bunch comprised of local grinders, visiting grinders, drunken tourists, off-duty dealers, conventioneers, busted-out tournament players, degenerates, to name but a few. After playing with a group for a few hours, different bonds are formed; cliques, friendships, rivalries - both feigned and real.

Last night I had about $650 in front of me, with the 2 big stacks ($2,000 +) to my immediate right (RBS) and two to my left (LBS). LBS was a very loose and aggressive European who would both raise and call pre-flop with what seemed like ATC, and continued the bulldozing post-flop. I limped with Qs9c and was one of 2 callers of LBS's $30 button raise.

The flop came Qc 9d 8c giving me top 2-pair.

EP checked, I bet $40, LBS and EP both called.

The turn was Ah.

When EP checked to me, I put LBS on air and decided to commit myself to the hand. I bet $200. LBS called with his normal tempo while EP folded. At this stage I could not put LBS on any hand, thought that I was probably ahead, so I decided to go all-in with my remaining $300 before the dealer put out the river.

The river was 9s giving me a full house.

LBS pondered for a while and called. I tabled my boat and he folded face down. In the ensuing discussion I had with RBS, the latter thought that I may well have been behind on the turn with LBS perhaps holding 88. I agreed, though there is also the possibility of 98 and KK where I didn't need to get lucky. Another question is whether my push "in the dark" had any influence on his call. Perhaps he put me on a busted flush draw?

I hope I see LBS again because the curiosity is starting to kill this cat.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

End of summer

It got down to 58 degrees here in Vegas overnight and very soon sleeping under the stars will no longer be an option. My plan is to pass off some worthless tournament chips to an unwitting landlord. Failing that, it's back to the shelter.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

People are strange

Why is it that whenever someone expresses interest in moving to another table because "there is no action on this table", that player is invariably the tightest nit on the table? Paradoxically, their departure can only lead to an increase in action.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

This just in : Best hand holds up!!!

$2-$5 Venetian, early Sunday morning, saw the following unfurl. I am on the button with AcKc and a relatively short stack of $285, several players limp in and I decide to just call, as do the small and big blinds.

Flop : Jd Th 7d

Checked around.

Turn : Qh

EP bets $25, hijack and cutoff call, I raise all-in to $280, EP calls, hijack calls, cutoff goes all-in for another $460, EP calls, hijack folds. Other players not mentioned fold.

River : 6c

EP turns over QdTd and loses the sidepot to the cutoff's K9 offsuit, which is also what the hijack folded. I take down the $1,200 main pot and quadruple up. This is what we play for.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rucked in the fear again

There's a limit to the tit I can shake.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tuck Full Filt

Nothing like getting a bad beat on a Sunday morning to bring out the irrational feelings festering inside of me. I'm leading with set over set on the flop, we get it all-in, and my opponent is graciously rewarded with the 1-outer needed to make quads on the turn. I immediately picture an arena filled with Full Tilt executives and software engineers self-immolating. It soothes the pain, kerosene fumes notwithstanding.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Greek icon

Found myself sitting next to this self-proclaimed wanker from Greece. Still not sure what the fwtinaki means.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Decked cold

Sat next to a young lady who turned out to be Jessica Welman, writer for Bluff magazine, last night. She was coughing intermittently - most of the time she covered her mouth but many times she didn't have the chance. I overheard her telling the player to her right she was fighting off a cold. Tonight my eyes and throat are sore and my nose is running. Jessica, my dear, you have a wonderful personality, are a pleasure to play with, but have some consideration for others and stay the fuck out of a cardroom when you're sick. Thank you.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Fetting gelted

Experienced a binging stad beat dealt by the posser Taul at the M nast light. Wucking fanker deals a runner flunner rush to give some praniac mick my $300 stack.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Respectable looking player at the table says that J 7 2 is the most commonly occurring flop. General silence that follows is interpreted as table acquiescence. I sit quietly not wishing to respond to his nonsense.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Royal flush

I made my 2nd royal flush in 10 years at the M early yesterday morning. We were 3 handed so I didn't qualify for the high hand jackpot which would have been $313. I was royally pissed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Service at its best

I'm playing $2-$5 NLHE at the Venetian. The cocktail waitress comes around and I order a black coffee, no cream. She comes back a few minutes later, apologizing :

"I'm sorry, we're out of cream. Would you take your coffee without milk?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

WSOP 2010

Vegas is packed with aspiring WSOP hopefuls. Dreams will be made for the very few at the expense of the thousands making the annual pilgrimage. As usual, I am encountering both the beautiful and the ugly, the mean and the kind, the fun loving and the dour, the brazen and the meek, not to mention all the shades in between. A cornucopia of card players on a mission.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


PokerStars recently busted a huge collusion ring that allegedly scammed at least $750,000 from other players in the Double or Nothing SNG's. Read all about it here.

Reminds me of the Green Valley Ranch poker room of not so long ago, where the locals were notorious for colluding in some of the games. Management of course turned a blind eye, and needless to say the room is languishing today.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Last orbit

It can be online or live. I have decided to leave the table after a successful session. Online this would entail unchecking the "Auto-Post Blinds" box and waiting till the big blind comes around. In live play I would be racking up.

And then it comes, the very last hand before I physically or virtually leave the table. It's just a formality, an easy fold. I've convinced myself that it's not worth getting involved with one foot already out the proverbial door. I am psychologically detached from the game and have already mentally booked the exact dollar amount of my winnings.

I look down at 2 red kings. Well, fuck me sideways.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Venetian still the nuts

After playing for months at local casinos, had a good session playing $2-$5 at the Venetian. Apart from the usual tourists, there were some very good players who had no trouble 3-betting pre-flop with rags. The place was chock-a-block full, the Deep Stack tournament no doubt being a factor. There remains no doubt that the Venetian is the number one room in Vegas today.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Thanks for the memories, South Point

After a series of horrendous bad beats several months ago, I took a break from playing at the South Point poker room. Not being the superstitious type, I decided to give them another chance yesterday but immediately ran into the unsympathetic and dour-faced dealer Val who, true to his past form, continued to unleash his amazing ability to conjure up 2-outers to my opponents. Unfortunately that is the only skill he is blessed with. You see, Val embodies the antithesis of friendly customer service so sorely needed in the gaming industry. I have yet to hear him utter the usual "good luck everybody" at the beginning of a down, in fact there is zero interaction between him and the players. Claudio is another soulless robot who does nothing to promote a pleasant playing experience. These 2 are in sharp contrast to the more affable dealers like Bill, Rex, Manny, Frank, Tom, Dominic and others.

Harold, Perry, Bob and Joe - take heed.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Breaking news

In a watershed decision aimed at improving the quality of my life, I have sworn off poker and all other forms of gambling, effective today.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

No list

The local poker rooms are really feeling the pinch and are sparsely populated on the traditionally quiet weekday nights. The landscape has changed considerably over the 7 years I have been frequenting Vegas cardrooms. A lot of the gleamy-eyed college kid rounders that I bumped into on a regular basis have returned to whence they came. Dealers and floor staff have been laid off. Not a bright picture.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Is poker a sport?

Can you get injured while partaking in a game of poker?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On the tube

We finally have a decent poker show on TV now that Season 6 of High Stakes Poker has begun. My only gripe is that I find it difficult to discern a spade from a club on their visuals.

Watching the Winter Olympics brings back fond memories of when I competed in the 1988 games in Calgary. I was lagging at the back of the field in the biathlon and, out of sheer frustration, decided my only chance was to open fire directly above the heads of the other competitors. Fortunately sanity prevailed and I quashed that plan. I haven't competed since.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Poker Hall of Shame V

Next time poker-playing drecksack Sascha Cornils does a web search on his name, he will undoubtedly come across this post. It will be a sombre reminder how a lapse in judgement, laced with a dose of obnoxious immaturity, will come back to haunt him as long as the internet is accessible to mankind. And without further ado, here is the mother of all slowrolls :

Monday, January 04, 2010

Live poker

$1-$2 NLHE at the Venetian. A well-dressed businessman is on my left, with an older retiree on my right. Both obviously have thrown common decency and hygienic etiquette to the wind by sitting at the table with heavy colds or flu. They are both nasally congested and their loud snorting and sniffling is accompanied by the soft sound of swallowing. I find it difficult to drink my tea, even though I am not that sensitive.

I am tempted to bring a box of tissues from the main podium but instead order 2 cokes and wait. Businessman is just taking his first sip of a Strawberry Julius when I turn slightly toward him and let out a firm, prolonged belch. He appears shocked but I still maintain eye contact. I repeat the same with retiree, only twice. Both leave within a few minutes of my onslaught. I apologize to the table but there is no need.