Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nuts by any other name...

Arrived late to the €40+5 game in the Jackpot last night near the end of level one, it was intentional as every other tourney I went to in there always started late before but not this one!

As I sat down with my 5k stack, there were few big stacks on the table, I was told that a couple of players had left already! Watching the current hand progressed it was clear I was on a table of LAGs. Uh oh! Trouble ahead... But in my very first hand I got AJ, called the button's 300 raise and the flop came up a beautiful JJ10... niiiiiccceeee! Button threw out 400, I considered slowplaying but instead decided to raised small, 800; he insta-folded. I mucked. The very next hand I had Q9 suited. I love queens, me. UTG+1 raised to 300; there were a couple other callers plus me. BB, who was shortstacked, pushed with 1,150. UTG+ called... I dwelled, quizzing BB for a tell "Hmmm I love this hand... have you a pair" I asked. He nodded (!) then indicated upwards "oh two high cards?" "yep" "ah I have a good feeling about them...". He laughed, and a quick 'oh no' look briefly appeared on his face. Yay! He's nothing! I called.

Flop: QQK (rainbow)

UTG+1 checked, I saw had me well covered... I threw out 3k, he insta-pushed all-in with 10k. I called to see JJ; BB's had 45 suited. What a time to shove! Turn and river did nothing to improve either and I was up to 14.5k. Nice!

Then I made a huge mistake few hands later. Still can't believe I donked my chips on it... Was in CO-1 limped for 100 in along with 5 others; SB raised to 600. Action folded back to me. I had KQ off; I saw the raise as steal and decided to call. Flop came A10Q... SB threw out 1200... I called (I should have folded but I swear to myself he was still bluffing!). River was K, two pair for me! He went all-in with 2,800 approx and of course I called to see his AK smiling at me. Doh! I needed a J to save the day but none came... 25% of my stack (4.5k) spewed! Awful! My cheeks burned for ages!

Some hands later I was on button with 55, CO had raised to 6bb. Huge raise to pay for 55, but I called resolving to fold if there was another raise or the flop doesn't help me, it didn't, he bet 3k and I folded.

Pulled a cheeky bluff in BB position with 22; I called a 3BB raise, flop came 334. I bet out 1/2 of pot , two callers and turn was A (3 clubs on board). I insta-bet with 2k (a little over half pot) and both folded! I mucked my cards as they all quizzed me 'what ya have? what ya have?'...

"pair o'2s" says I.
"Ya did not! Did ya not have an Ace? Or Flush?"
"No.. 22."
"Damn I folded the nuts!"
"what you have?" I asked curious as to what 'nuts' he had
"55... one of them was a club"

I grew back up to a healthy 12k, before getting moved to another table. There, we had more LAG's on short-stacks pushing all-in from various positions with any ace or pair. I called 1k here, 2k there to see a flop that didn't help me, only to have another player shoving and I had to fold.

Was on Button with 10K clubs; I called a 1k raise from player in MP also called by chipleader; I was getting a nice return for my money to see a flop.

Flop came: QcJc10x

MP bet 1.5k, Chipleader called, I dwelled - it was a good place to push: I had a pair, straight flush/flush/straight draw. But I was playing against big stacks who would call me anyway. There were 20 players remaining in the game and I was determined to make final table. I decided to play safe and call.

I don't remember turn hand, I know it insignificant, it wasn't a club, 9 or A. MP checked; Chipleader bet out 5k, I was stuck. I had all the nut-draws... calling 5k would leave me less than 3k behind. I humming for an age... just was hoping the gods would help me somehow... I called. MP folded. River was a measy 4h. FFS! Chipleader looked over at my stack "3k left right?" I folded face up before he threw the last chip in... "ah I thought I had the nuts" he showed a pair of kings for a set "no I had the nuts...". WP sir!

With 20 players left, I played Tighty McTight for several rounds, managed to increase my stack from 2.5k to 6k and blinds were 300/600. Oh I have to thank Tommy for 2k of it! The infamous Tommy or 'The Troublemaker' as I call him, was all over me like a rash most of the night. I learnt from other players that if Tommy's nice to you - keep it that way... I just laugh all his annoying sleazy innuendos off, and stay out of pots with him in it; I've only played with him in 2 games and both times I claimed his scalp! It sure makes up for all the sleaze talk I have to endure!

My exit hand was a push with 5.2k holding AQ; got called by the same chipleader above with 99... Q on Flop, looking good for me... til the bloody river threw me out in 12th place with a 9. Sick. Found out afterwards they were paying out to 9th place... Grrrrr!

Overall apart from two mistakes, I was happy with how I played, I had great fun with the players on the first table! Second table was more serious, til a chatterbox by the name of Keith joined us... and never.... shut... up... once! LOL!

Good game - great structure - the standard was decent - best value in town too! I'll be back, and yes I'll be in on time next time!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

One scorching sunny summer's day...

It's been a while since I walked the length of O'Connell Street... With the heat of the hottest day we've had this year burning down on me too, I must have been mad!

O'Connell Street has changed since I was last in town, but it sure is no cleaner! The amount of ciggie butts, litter and chewing gum is the same, strange considering the pavements are new'ish. I recall a long standing quiz joke/trick question: Q: How many monuments does O'Connell St have? A: None, they are all statues... now obsolete since the arrival of the Spire. I love to meet the group who put it there - how they came to their reasoning(!) The steel phallic column never fails to amaze me, its the most boring, unfriendly, stupidest waste of space ever! Another useless priick in a street full of dead men! Underneath it was another of Dublin's archetypical characters - the street sellers - having a fine argument with each other on the subject of flower arranging in-between serving customers! "Ya put de pink wans over 'ere and da whites in t'bucket on dis ooan! Gobshite! A fiver a bunch luv? Wan em wrapped? Alrioigh... Miiiiick! Get yer hand out of me box, I gav yer a load of chaige already!" I could watch and listen all day! LOL! Next time I get asked by someone to meet up in Town during the day - I'm heading there!

There's a new shop in the mist of all the fast-food chains, that offers 'devotion', the zealots were queueing up outside to get in for the service, or a token pilgrimage, as a staff member handed out cards reminding me 'why Jesus died' and offered to pray for my soul. I'm not a religious person - can't remember the last time I was in a church, but I always held the belief anyone saying prayers for me was simply another form of sending positive thoughts. I'm not going to refuse positive thoughts am I? I just accepted the card, smiled politely and said 'thank you'. Despite all the zealots the amount of abuse that man was getting from other passer bys was something else. People were taking his cards, some mocking it, then throwing it back in his face or on the road. Just then, this wee lad of 8 or 9 years old appeared wearing grubby tracksuit bottoms and faded t-shirt, runner and no socks. The kind you instantly avoid, holding on to your bag that bit tighter. He runs over, picked up the cards from the ground, handed them back to the man saying "Here mister... just tell them them f#*% off next time roigh?!" Then ran off again before anyone could thank him! Awww kudos to whoever reared him! He made ME feel so guilty for misjudging him, the incident left me smiling for the rest of the day too! There's hope for the future generation yet...

I used to be a great jay-walker before I moved to the suburbs and brought a car. It's an arrestable offence in some cities I believe, but not Dublin - I was totally lost as to when and where it was safe while waiting for the red man to go green... I showed myself up by being one of the few still standing at the kerb as the rest of the multi-cultural crowd jay-walked away! I nearly got knocked down by a bus too, taking the corner so tight - it literally went up to the kerb. Now there's a timer on some junctions to control the jaywalking mob, but it's not working, they still walk! A tourist ansked me for directions to Ormond Quay, I had to think for a moment where Ormond Quay was... as I was thinking, barely 10 seconds to be honest, an Eastern European girl replied with the correct set of directions and gave not just the direct route (via Abbey St) but the Alternate Route too ('along the Liffey') naming ALL the street with great accuracy. Oh the shame! Now I know how the Dubliner's must feel when culchies (like me!) show their superior knowledge of their home town... now it's not the culchies, it's the non-nationals showing us up!

The smell of the Liffey was something else! I forgot how bad it reeks!!! Don't know how the beggars on the bridge can tolerate it, especially the ones in baseball hats and sunglasses ... maybe they are poker players?! LOL!

Went to see Susie Woosie in hospital - she looked very trendy in her 'no pyjama during day' gear; poker books and laptop! She's definitely on a holiday!!! Get well soon Susie!

Was in the Bell for my favourite Deepstack Game on Sunday night - we had our biggest numbers to date with 3 full tables... To my right was a 'pro'; well he called himself one! He was raising to mental amounts - kept throwing 1k in any position when blinds were 25/50; naturally no one was calling him. He won all the early blinds, folded only twice. Then I got AK off in SB and called his raise (button)... flop came out 443... I checked he bet 2k. I thought for a moment, and called.
Turn was 3, I checked again and he shoved. I had to fold he could have been playing A3 or A4 but it annoyed me somewhat. I made a smart comment about his betting adding that I never see players betting like this elsewhere even bigger games I've dealt in and he replied that he "played with the pro's" and this was the way he played "either call or shut up!" the other players were praoising him "fair play to ya.." crapaments! Meh!

I tightened up my game, got 88 and called the 1.8k bet from 'Pro' ... 8 on flop... I check raised his 3k to 6k leaving me with 2k behind. He folded. Yay! Few hands later I was in SB (blinds 150/300) with A10 off and had 20k; Pro made a raise to 3k on button; I called so did Paul S. Flop came QKx rainbow; play checked back to Pro who threw in 3k. I called, Paul folded. Turn was the mighty J and I checked again. Pro bet 3k, I raised to 6k, he called. River was 4. I bet out for 6... Pro looked at me and said "huh I only have 3k left... your not paying attention to my stack are ya?" I took back 3k "okay put ya all-in then?" he called me showing A4 and his face fell when I showed my hand. Paul started berating him over the play

-"did ya not see the straight there?"
-"Ya... thought she was bluffing... I was pot committed anyway"
-"Bluff?! Julie never bluffs... do ya Julie?"


I started the final table as chipleader with 47k, the rest of the minions were on 25k or less and blinds 1k/500. First hand UTG pushed with 21k... action folded around to me, I called with AK off. 9 on the Flop and I was down to 26k and remained totally card dead for the rest of the game! It was the longest final table too, everyone was playing tight. But not one A, K or pair did I see... almost pushed a couple of times with J10 and Q8 but other players shoved first with at least one caller so I folded gracefully. Got blinded out and went all in on 24 off -v- 33 nothing on board to save me and I bubbled in 6th place. Meh! GG! UL Good night...

Off to check out the Jackpot €40+5 FO tonight... been a while since I was in there, hope they have short memories!!! LOL!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Poker in a Power Cut(!)

I usually love the 10k deepstack Sunday evening games in the Bell... but last Sunday was some experience!

The power went during the 2nd level; and a decision was made to play "turbo style" - 5 minute blinds - by candlelight in order to maximise what little light there was left, the alternative was move the tables to the car park(!) My favourite game was turning into a crapshoot... It was push or die!

By the time the power was restored, I was 2nd chip-leader sitting on 37k [thanks to trip 2s and a beautiful straight flush!] on the final table with: two noobies (one young good player YGP and the other Bully-Bluffer [ab]using his 60K+ lead to push the shorties off the blinds) Paul S, Mr Invincible (he so looks like him too!), Phil-with-a-tash, Susie-Woosie and Black Sanjay. Blinds were 1k/2k and it was only 10pm!!!!

Gum was out early much to Susie Woosie's delight - the woman plays so bad, she puts the proverbial 'pub players' to shame! Her latest claims was to have won "thousands" in the Fitz "and other games" in the past two weeks... huh?!!!! I've never seen her play anywhere else but the Dublin 15 pub games... and she runs too good in them to move on just yet me thinks(!) She's got a new partner in crime in the form of Bully-Bluffer, they must have had the same teacher I reckon, or a pact with the devil!

Mr Invincible is Gum's 3rd biggest fan after Susie Woosie and moi - he was mimicking her constant gum chewing and stroppy 'speech' play to a T... ahem... I think its safe to substitute 'boast' for 'speech' here! I'm not usually a b1tch but the woman really gets to me calling with hands like 58o and J3o winning with them, then bragging on and on about her "winnings"! She really set my teeth on edge and I wasn't even on her table(!)

Dealer refused to readjust the blinds back to 15 minute levels and poor Susie was caught short having to push with marginal hands only to be eaten alive by Bully-Bluffer. I grinded up to 60k then crashed to 25k calling YGP's all-in with my 10 10-v-KK on a AQ10 flop that yielded a J by river, NH sir! I managed to hold on for 3rd place and 7 precious league points, while YGP and Bully-Bluffer split 1st & 2nd between themselves.

I know you are reading here Robbie... You're probably right, I shouldn't complain as I did cash but ... GrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRrrrr! I so wanted a decent satisfying game not this fast n furious crapshootinessaments... please please don't do this to us again! Y'hear me??!!!!!!! Gah! That feels better now I've got it off my chest! LOL!

AFTERTHOUGHT: Got a lovely apology by text from Robbie of Dublin Poker Nights for the way the game went last Sunday! He's such a sweetie, I do like the way he runs his games in Dublin 15 (except when there's a power cut!!!) so I want to reassure him he hasn't lost me over it! You'll have to update the league standings soon Robbie now I've linked you!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tales from the Dealer's Side...

I've been playing very little over the past few weeks. After the massive down swing I had in June the last thing I want to do is add more debt to the ever decreasing bankroll... I'm not that degenerate! (Well I hope not...)

Resolution: Poker Dealing.

Just what the big man ordered to lift me 'back to black' and rebuild the bankroll! Pros: you get the low-down on future opponents style before you've played them; you are getting a 'free lesson' watching the players play (only if the standard is good of course); you are still part of the action and atmosphere that poker derives for free without the adrenaline from playing a bluff brings. Cons: Its regarded as a 'mugs job'; mentally tiring; open to all sorts of abuse or criticism; sitting for hours on double stacked chairs with toes barely touching the floor (well I'm only only 5'3"!) is a pain in the hamstrings! But to nothing to stop me from reporting about it... Without mentioning any names of course!

Never mind the fish, the sharks or the bluffers: meet the predator; the gruffado; the joker; the 'Lucky Charm'; the drunk; the Duchess; silent bots and the iPod Shakers.

The 'Gruffado' is one to watch out for... he will undermine the dealer big time, pounces on every single mistake you make. He's got no patience for new or unskilled dealers on the table, huffing and sighing if they are any slower at shuffling/dealing than the 'Las-Vegas-level trained skilled' dealers he's expecting you to be. A chip missing; change not given; a forgotten card dealt; showing a card accidentally; not shuffling enough; not catching on when another player breaks the rules with string-bets, under-raises or act out of turn... will all bring down the wrath of the Gruffado on your head. I've seen many a dealer reduced to a nervous-wreck or tears at their hands. They will practically all but take over from the dealer, double-counting the chips when you have just done it, giving other players back their change and pointing to where you 'put the next card HERE!' They think they are being helpful but they are not! If you dare challenge his 'string bet' and call the TD over to help - watch as the TD looks at the player without waiting for an explanation of the situation and throw the dealer a look just to say 'let him have it this time'. Having such a player on my table will make me nervous, and when I'm nervous I make more mistakes... As dealers relieve each other, watch carefully next time, you'll catch one doing a subtle nod towards the Gruffado and a knowing look that translates 'Ah ha! Oh ho! Watch that Gruffado!'

The 'Predator' thinks he's god's gift to women. He makes lewd and suggestive comments mainly directed at various women in the room: the girl who serves the drinks, dolls out the cash, the female TD, and female dealers of course. Grabs every opportunity to rub my back, massaging my neck or stroking my hair as I deal... "I luve this gal" he declares to the table... "Careful now, your wife might hear" I retorted noticing the gold band; "aw don't worry love, she's tucked up in bed since 9 O'Clock, what goes down on me in this room stays in this room... he! He!" with a sly wink; "Have ya got a boyfriend love?" asked another player, "I'm her boyfriend! Aren't I?" roared Predator, "He wishes!!! He couldn't afford me!" I insta-replied. "Ah Shure I can, me lovely, when I win this game roight! Haw Haw!" As I get relieved by another dealer, the Predator usually gets up to insists on a hug, "giz a proper bunch of skin-on-skin babe!" while grabbing the opportunity to cop a feel and enjoys every stinging slap he gets in return.

The 'Lucky Charm' is the player with all the charms, who suddenly attaches his entire game luck to you. One night I sat down to deal, this guy had a short-stack then proceeded to double up, again and again. Whenever I was replaced or he got moved to another table, his luck "changed"... til I returned to the table 'of course'. Once of these feckers kept insisting on giving me a bear hug across the table with kisses on both cheeks for good measure every time he won a pot(!) These are the players who ask you to 'blow' on their coin before they flip to make a decision... who insist on having you back to deal "PLEASE come back here after yer break miss.... You hear me? Yeah, okay?!" When acting on a pivot hand, he will look to me for 'guidance' then proceeds to tell the entire table that my expression had 'warned' him not to call(!) Putting me in danger of 'collusion' rant from the Gruffado!

There is nothing more distracting than the 'iPod Shakers'. These players actually sway or rock to the rhythm in their seats, strum air guitars, drum their chips or fingers on the side of the table to the beat. It's so easy to 'guess' what kind of music they are listening to as well. When it's their go, forget about motioning to me for the clock, they will 'wait' until the song is finished before making a decision to call or not anyway! The worse offenders are the ones whose iPods are turned up so loud that even I can feel the music across the felt... with no regards for protecting their own hearing - I can tell these are my future clients, ones I will be evaluating for noise-induced hearing loss in 10 years time.

The sun-glasses clad 'Silent Bots' are simply unfathomable! Their heads never seem to move apart from the hands to pick up their cards... They never make a sound... they don't even breathe... when its their go, they remain so still for so.... long... then... they... act. You can even time your watch to the very second even. No amount of urging will make them call any faster. I have this inexpressible urge to run over, check if they have a pause, or lift those glasses and to see if their eyes glow red as in the 'terminator' but I'm afraid if I even touch them they will fall over or explode so I digress. No matter where they sit they always seem to be staring right at you... I've no idea if they know what cards they actually have! Getting any tells pre, during or after is nil impossible - Silent Bots only have the same dead almost 'moronic' expression for the entire game. If I was playing they will put me on total tilt trying to push them off the table never mind the pot!

While the 'Duchess' is seen as the token female player. Beware, she's not just 'any' female player... she THE female player in the killer heels, make-up, polished talons and coffered hair. She sits on the table with an automatic TAG label and a handbag to match. She commands the respect of the male players on the table, no bull$hitting, dirty jokes or swearing here or her death stare will turn you straight to jelly. She has the skill to sniff out a bluff and has the ability to out-manoeuvre weaker males e.g. forever moving all-in against men like the predator who will almost never call her (cos it will hurt their ego too much if they got shown up by a woman!) Her bling is so blinding it puts people on tilt. She makes the dealers feel very, very inferior especially if they are female: "That black shirt does nothing for you girl... You need to get a better bra fitted, go to Gertie in Arnotts, tell her I sent you." Yes madam, no madam, will do madam.

The 'Drunk' is the worse player to deal to. He hold up the entire hand trying to be funny in the most annoying way possible! He makes out that the only thick person on the table is the dealer and makes it his mission to start an argument with them: "Huh... call who? (hic!) is it my gwo... oooohhh? Ha! Ha! (hic!) How mush? 'Are ya havin' a laff... how MUSH? Tha' too mush! Blinds up? Since wen? Ya never told me tha'!!! No ya didn't... ya fcukin' liar ya are!" It's worse when the drunk is either side of you, apart from the smell (beruuugggh!) its very hard to deal with him constantly leaning towards you then he has the cheek to tell you off for touching him up all the while holding on to the table to keep steady the cards as he rants and spits in your face. All regards for tact goes out the window as he tells me off for wearing low cut tops, blames me for all his bad beats, his aggressive 'hoi... where've me cards gone? I never folded!' pokes leave small bruises in my arm for days. Pushes all in and insists he had double the stack you just counted out "Ehhh?! Two-fcuking-thou? Impossible there's 4,000 'ere... count again retard!" Even berates me for breathing 'Will ya stop fcukin movin' there...' or for placing his blinds out "WTF are ye doin' stop robbin me chips!" It tough enough dealing without babysitting the drunk spilling his drink on the felt or worse... getting sick everywhere.

I love having a 'Joker' on the table! They really liven up the game, taking the pi$$ out of the Gruffado when he lays into you, mocks the iPod Shuffler and is the only one brave enough to turn down the volume, handles the Drunk better than anyone else, charms the Duchess and jeers the predator! He will even take the glasses off the Silent Bot and, amazingly, get the bot to perform a human emotion i.e. laugh. They love being railed and will include everyone around them in the banter. They are the ones who truly don't care about how 'bad' their play is... criticism runs off their backs. Calling raises with 7 2 off only to get a 227 flop and carry it with aplomb while engaging in quality speech-play and making up witty limericks about the various players. Jokers always manages to stake a few big bluffs without upsetting a soul on the table! They play the game as it should be played - with fun - none of the serious stuff here thank you. They put the others on tilt and usually end up winning in the end! They are the best tippers too.

I should add the 'old married couple' (and no, before anyone asks: I'm not talking about Smurph & Martin here) but it's not strictly speaking a player stereotype but more when two players on the same table start up. They have obvious deep poker history between them, with an ongoing banter starting with one liners, put downs, innuendos and ends up with them cursing each others' mothers. Dogging the other: Raising and re-raising in a deliberate effort to ensure the other doesn't get the pot no matter what hands they hold. They generally include the bewildered dealer as the third party/'counsellor role' in these retorts... right to the point of asking our opinion on the other's play/action. Just when we are convinced there's going to be murder... one will slap t'other's back and say "GG Joe... fancy a pint?"

Yeah... the dealers lot is not an easy one! Next time your playing, think of this post, be nice and tip your dealer a €1 for me...