Sad sad day for poker.
Looks like my favourite card room, Full Tilt Poker, is all in with a 1 outer.
According to their site it says the site is undergoing maintenance, its been like this for more than a day now and the word is that they were shut down by the FBI. Their gaming licence has been revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission.
This comes on the back of the last crackdown which happened a few months ago, citing fraud and other bullshit.
So apparently if you live in the US of A, you are not allowed to play poker online, which would be akin to not being allowed to play baseball in the summer.
Stupid if you ask me.
While I am opposed to drinking and playing poker (I get way too agressive) I find that if I ever play while stoned on weed, I seem to concentrate a lot better.
I have heard of pros who take various drugs such as ritalin to help their game but lets investigate a few drugs and possible scenarios at the poker table shall we?
This is a parody
Chemical name : Canabis Sativa
Common street names : Weed, grass, dope
Using Marijuana at the poker table :
You giggle through the first 3 blind levels, the dealer has to ask you repeatedly to act on your turn. Your fumble your chips, drop them off the table then get a spasm in your hand while trying to riffle, by this time everyone is staring at you and you eventually become paranoid and introverted. You speak to no one and start trying to read everyone around you, you even start trying to get reads on the dealer and people not even in the hand. You do your stack when you call an all in on a flop of q22, and turn over j7 off and realize you folded q2 4 hands ago.
Probable quote : How much must I call again ?
Chemical Name : Methylenedioxymethamphetamine
Common street names : pills, x
Using Extasy at the poker table :
You offer to give everyone a lollipop and a massage. You try give chips to the guy next to you cause the two of you had a moment and are now best friends. You feel terrible when you elliminate someone and ask the dealer to give them some of your chips.
They eventually throw you out for repeatedly blowing your rave whistle in the dealer’s ear.
Probable quote : Gee, you guys are the nicest people I have ever met, I love all of you. Lets get together soon hey, and we can all hang out!
Chemical name : Phencyclidine
Common Street names : angel dust, pcp
Using pcp at the poker table :
You watch yourself playing from the ceiling of the casino for a while then start freaking out because there are giant worms crawling out of the felt.
You get thrown out of the casino and later follow the dealer home, slit her throat and eat her lungs.
You spend the rest of your days hustling other inmates for cigarettes.
Probable Quote : I SWEAR YOUR HONOUR! A FLOCK OF HUGE FUCKING BATS TOLD ME TO EAT HER LUNGS!
Chemical Name : Psilocybin
Common street names : magic mushrooms, shrooms
Using mushrooms at the poker table :
You giggle every time the dealer says your name or addresses you. You then suffer a bad beat and then blame the dealer for giving you a bad trip.
You are convinced the dude in the cut off seat is a narc.
You do your stack after looking at the same hole card twice and think you have a pocket pair.
Probable Quote : GEEEZ! this shit is like acid heeeey ?? what a hectic trip!
Chemical name : Diacetylmorphine
Common street names : Smack, Junk, “H”, horse
Using heroin at the poker table :
You start rushing and slide off your chair and fall to a heap on the floor.
You get blinded out after getting carried out the casino where you just lie outside on the floor. Everything is hazy and your throat is dry.
Probable Quote : sheesh maaan, can shomeone perhapsh tell me where I finished in the tourney? AH fuckit, doeshnt matter…
Chemical Name : Methamphetamine
Common Street names : Meth, Crank, Tik, Crypto, Crystal
Using meth at the poker table :
You play for 3 days straight without sleeping or eating.
Youre convinced you have thenuts every hand and lose a small fortune.
You shag a couple of random girls in the bathroom and dont remember their names.
You eventually get thrown out of the casino for throwing a chair at a dealer who dealt you 72 off twice in a row.
Probable Quote : Sleep? fuck sleep man, and fuck you I’ll fucking cut your fucking throat you mother fucker!!!
Chemical name : Lysergic Acid Diethalamyde
Common street names : Acid, trips, papers, stamps
Using LSD at the poker table :
You keep staring at your chips because they are so brightly coloured. The dealer has to ask you a few times to stop rubbing the felt cause you have rubbed a hole in it so you start rubbing the shaven head of the guy sitting next to you.
You try and psychoanalyze everyone at the table with your new found wisdom.
You eventually do your stack cause you wanted to see if an indigo coloured card was going to appear on the river after seeing a rainbow flop.
Probable quote : SHOOOWEEEEE WOW! FUCK ME! My chips are floating!
Chemical name : benzoylmethyl-ecgonine
Common street names : coke, powder, shnarf
Using Coke at the poker table :
You’re loud, brash, aggressive and obnoxious. No one at your table wants to talk to you so you raise your voice even louder. You keep trying to help the dealer count pots (incorrectly) You keep missing hands on your big blind because you’re in the bathroom doing another line. You eventually do your stack trying to bluff someone with 72 off while staring them in the face but instead of raising with your 72 off, you call his all in. You then throw wads of cash at the dealer so you can rebuy but this isnt a rebuy tourney. You spend the rest of the night railing your buddies on other tables and urging them to call any raise “cause the other dude hasnt got shit!”
Probable Quote : “heyman!hurryupandfold!Iwannaplay!thissucksimgoingtogodoanotherline”
16th of 184 at event 1 of SA poker open.
It’s not a bad result considering that I got no fucking cards for 2 fucking days!
My first hand of the tournament I picked up A7 of spades on the button, and called a raise to see a flop of 228 , 2 spades.
The original raiser made a continuation bet which I reraised and picked up the pot of 400 chips… and then my folding started.
I folded for 2 rotations folding hands like kq, a10, aj off utg. Not even in middle position was I picking up half decent playable hands. Eventually I found aj in the cut off and managed to pick up the blinds without a fight.
Fold, fold, fold till I faced a raise from the button, I had q10 in the BB which was not a great hand oop but I had gotten to the point where any 2 cards were starting to look good.
Anyway I called the raise and the flop fell QJ9. Top pair and a straight draw. So if I bet and he raises? I’m either behind or already drawing thin, so I check, original raiser fires one at the pot and I pop it to 2000 chips. He stared at me for a while before mucking AQ faceup. I showed the 10.
Not too long afterwards I picked up AK off in middle position and raised to 5 X BB and Brett Pozniak instashoves, I fold my AK faceup and he claims to have had aces and was hoping I had QQ or KK.
hmmm… fold fold fold fold 45 suited in doaminds on the BB and Pozniak raises it up, by this time even 72 off was looking playable so I call and manage to flop 1 diamond on a paired board. We check to the turn and another diamond, check again to the river where I make my flush and I fire a small value bet into the pot, Pozniak calls and I take the pot.
I was a little peeved at Craig Perkel who mocked my play there because my river bet was so small ( 300 into 1500 ) but on a paired board with 2 small diamonds, am I gonna shove the lolly to stare down at a boat or a high flush ?
Perkel asked me what I would have done had Pozniak repopped me with 2000 more, well I _probably_ would have laid down. Maybe I should have checked the river to be safe but surely if he is first to act in the hand and has a hand he’ll try to extract a few chips out of me with a small value bet on the river?
At the end of the day I did win an extra 300 chips.
A few hands later I picked up A10 in a decent spot and raised, Pozniac called and checked the flop behind me, I decided to bet the jack that showed up on the turn and Pozniac raised me. The problem with this raise is that it was just a single raise, nowhere near the size of the pot, I couldn’t put him on the jack, already had chips committed so I called the difference and rivered an ace to take the pot down. Bad turn call ? probably, he did have the winning hand at that point but such an odd bet ?
Our table got busted up right after that hand and I moved to table 2. Only person I knew at my table was Jaime Vilela and he wasnt even there long before doing his stack with Ace10.
Sascha Walter joined my table after someone got knocked out and came with a monster stack of nearly 20 000. But she wasnt even close to the table chip leader.
Some big dutchman had a chipstack of collosal proportions, probably 50 k. My 7500 stack looked miserable.
But I knew this fella would not make the money, let alone the final table. He was reckless; calling with any 2 and hitting the flops hard. He had absolutely no idea what position was or odds for that matter. The concept of a starting hand range strategy was obviously foreign to him and could only at best be described as insane. But he did know how to do one thing well and that was call. He would call ANYTHING.
I learnt this the hard way when he called me all the way down to the river with 10 4 off after calling my preflop raise to make 2 pairs on the river and crush my A10, this guy was unbluffable and I was determined to get my chips back from him with interest. I was disgusted and let him know exactly how I felt, saying that I was going to take back my chips eventually. He just sat there with this stupid smug look on his face like a cat that got caught eating cream.
I lost 5000 chips to him and had 1 move left; ship or fold. I picked my spots carefully and shipped once with AJ to pick up the blinds and again with KQ with no action. 1 rotation later I picked up A10, shipped and got called. I was convinced I was behind only to see QJ and my A10 holding up for me to double through and back to around 8000 chips. I asked the calling station why he hasnt called me yet and he replies something like “ag you know, when I call I got the goods” right.. k3 is the goods. I had seen him call a much bigger bet than my all in with K3, but I spose that an all in shove from a short stack is alot more intimidating than a raise from a big stack.
We took a break and a few minutes after the break someone to my left got knocked out and a new player was soon stacking his chips on the table to play so I used this opportunity to run to the toilet to blow my nose, when I got back, the new player was already gone. wow…
Mike joined my table to my left and not long after I pick up AQ in middle position and call a raise from the player to my right, I considered repopping him in that spot because he was rather tight but I feared action from anyone behind me, so I smooth called and got to see a flop of AA2. Player checks to me and I quickly check behind him, turn is a 2 and he bets. I do a little hollywood before shipping the rest of my stack. He asks me if I really caught some of that flop and I responded by saying that I honestly hoped HE didnt have an ace ( I wasnt lying, I didnt wanna chop the pot) he calls and shows 1010. I double through then knock him out 2 hands later. Gareth soon replaced him.
After that I went on a tear, picking up pots with some good positional play and wielding my fast growing stack around like a battle axe.
Sascha was bleeding chips and was content to sit on her stack, I on the other knew that the end of the day was approaching and the day bubble was looming, I’m not going to sit around waiting for hands so I got stuck in, playing agressively from late position and picking up the blinds and antes with any 2 cards, j8, 47, k7, avoiding confrontations with other big stacks, the only big stack I had my mind on was the calling station’s.
It wasnt long before I had a scary stack of around 30 k and was about to go up against him, the calling station, whose stack had been whittled down to under 30k. One flaw in my game is that I tend to let my ego get the better of me and often go after players who have sucked out on me or who have managed to get my goat somehow. But in this case, I can see a weak player from a while away and I knew that sooner or later he was going to lose his stack, I wanted to make sure I was there to rake in his chips. He raises 3 x BB UTG and I call his raise from the small blind with 89 hearts. Not the best call I figured because I didnt have position, but if I did catch some of the flop, I was going to put him to the test for the rest of his stack.
Flop comes down 8 high with 2 spades. I check to him and he bets about 3 quarters of the pot and I ship my stack. Imagine my surprise when he INSTACALLS.
No hesitation whatsoever. He turns up A2 of spades and misses his draw completely for my pair of 8′s to hold up and send him packing.
As I rake in his chips, I look up and tell him that I told him I was coming for his chips. He says something like “ja its lekker to get clever afterwards” Well of course, duh. I wasnt going to have the same attitude if he had made his draw.
So Gareth and myself are the chip leaders at the table, Im probably just outchipping him with a few thousand.
I double Mike up with a stupid play with KJ and a dumb continuation bet on a queen high flop when I know the man likes to play KQ. I’m committed to call the difference of his all in and I double him up and drop down to 52k.
They call it a night with 49 players left.
I still had to go to work the next day and the dentist. But I did manage to sneak in an hour or so nap before returning to Monte. I picked up a massive redbull on the way and popped a handful of vitamins.
My strategy was to keep applying pressure to the medium stacks as the bubble approached. I had still yet to come across a big pocket pair so I had to continue to play from late position with some good continuation bets. Bet just enough to let the other guy know that youre committed to call his all in should he ship and thats scary enough for most people to reconsider their options.
I somehow managed to just stay at 52 000. I would pick up pots from late position and give away my blinds because everytime I was in either of the blinds the raise would come from middle position and I wasnt picking hands strong enough or even suited enough to defend with.
Mike got moved to another table and eventually some hindian chap n hol came and took his place. The Indian dude ships UTG and I look down to see KK in my big blind. I call his 8000 all in and he turns up 88 and ever so eloquently spikes an 8 on the flop to crack my kings. First big pair I get and they get cracked. mooooi!!! Myself and Gareth have a chuckle over big hands getting cracked and I try to think of the many times my Aces got cracked online since the beginning of the year. Too many. It’s almost unbelievable when I think about it, the number of times my aces have been cracked this year alone. I would say almost a daily occurence. The Indian gets moved right after that hand, taking my chips with him to another table.
By this time Roy had moved to our table and was seated to my left. I’ve played againt him before a couple of times and am wary of him.
I get Kings again a few hands later and basically min raise to pick up some action and everyone folds to me, I show the kings. “Hey look, when I raise I got the goods.”
The bubble is fast approaching, we are down to about 28 players and I’ve gone back into my folding routine, not even daring to try play my aggressive position poker for fear that someone at this table thinks I’m tilting because of my kings getting cracked.
After 2 rotations, I shift gears and pick up the pace again with 2 very aggressive bluffs. First bluff was against Gareth who raised from cut off. I KNOW he is on the steal so I pretend to look at my cards and instantly repop him up to 12000. The blinds both fold and Gareth thinks, then mucks his hand, claiming to have had KJ. I peek at my cards and see 8 2 off. I muck them quickly.
Gareth gets moved and I try to establish myself as the table captain without much respect or co operation.
A couple of hands later I get 72 off in middle position, I’m feeling brave and raise to 8 000. Big blind calls and checks the flop, I fire another
10 000 and he lets his hand go, I show the bluff and get a few laughs from people around the table. BB looks disgusted. Didnt like him much so if I put him on tilt, yay for me. We go on a break and I return to my seat half an hour later.
The Indian chap gets moved back to my table, seated to my left between Roy and I and immediately knocks out 2 players and cracking pocket kings again with another set of 8′s.
Couple of hands later, I pick up AQ suited hearts in middle position, I raise 4 x BB and the indian fellow goes into the tank for a minute before shipping.
I show him the ace and fold. He shows me 2 in return. It wasnt a WOW lay down but a decent one none the less.
Tighten up again and after half an hour or so the bubble bursts and soon after, 2oth place also walks.
Down to 19 players. We lose another player and Eugene gets moved to my table and is seated to my right, in Gareth’s old seat.
I’ve never played against him before, so I figure that my best strategy against him is to hollywood about big laydowns with shit hands then set him up for when I do get a hand.
He raises my blind twice, the 1st time I took my time about folding, stared at my hand for a while then the second time I ummed and aahed about laying down QJ suited ( I actually had something ridiculous like 83 off )
18th player goes, Gareth gets moved back to my table and a couple of hands later on his Big blind I pick up pocket aces. Yip! the mass weapons of destruction, the bullets, the big ones.
And what do you know? Eugene raises! So this is what I was trying to set him up for. I go into the tank again, uhmming and aahing and doing the whole hollywood sing and dance, I count my chips twice then ship, Gareth instacalls and Eugene does a count. I’m happy for a caller but a 3 way all in? Aces get cracked like this often. Euegene reckons he is getting 4:1 to call an additional 20 k into the 80 k pot, he looks uncomfortable making the call and Gareth calls time. That annoyed me but I say nothing. Eugene eventually moves his chips to the middle after Gareth called time again and turns up pocket Jacks. Gareth shows AK and I fling my aces onto the table and shout “hold up!”
The flop brings a king, Gareth starts chanting for another King, but the death card falls on the turn, a Jack. I have 1 out and 2 % to river the winning hand. The river brings a 5 and I’m out in 16th just slightly ahead of Gareth in chips.
Dazed, I walk to the cage to fetch my prize money of R8000, wondering what could have been, should have been.
I went over everything in my mind, 5 pocket pairs the entire tourney, 22, 33 on the first night. Then KK ( cracked by set of 8′s) then KK again (no action) then AA (too much action)
Not a single straight, not a single set, no 2 pairs with both cards in my hand, 1 full house and 1 flush. In fact, not a single nut hand.
But the fact that I was able to wade through 184 players and cash in this event without big hands proves that I dont need to pick up big hands to win at poker, so just deal me my suited connectors in late position and hopefully you understand why I fucking hate pocket aces.
I cant stand Tony G, so when the Devilfish gives him a piece of his mind, I had to laugh.
Poker is a truly wonderful game.
The thrill of the win, the money, the game, everything is so addictive.
When you flop the nuts and people are betting into you and you are trying to look confused, or when you shove all your chips in on a complete bluff and hope that you don’t get called, the adrenaline coursing through your veins, your breathing becomes shallow and when your opponent mucks and you show him your bluff.
There are few feelings like it in the world.
But there is a downside.
A very dark and ugly roller coaster of emotions.
I found out earlier today that JP, a poker player that I played with in a couple of tourneys, committed suicide over the weekend.
Recently Brandy Hawbaker, Vegas based poker player, committed suicide.
Depression and poker are often synonymous and it would not surprise me if it turns out that JP lost some of his bankroll or was feeling incredibly lonely – remember once you get knocked out of a game, thats it, everyone else is still in and YOU’RE out.
It’s not a team sport. You don’t have team mates to console you. You are surrounded by people who more often than not are happy to see the back of you.
And that’s the gist of it.
Whenever I get knocked out of a live tourney, I don’t stick around unless I want to play a side game or have a few drinks with friends or maybe even rail someone.
Those who know me know that as soon as I get knocked out, I am gone.
There’s only one thing that can get me over the emotion of getting knocked out early or on the bubble and that’s more poker so more often than not I jump into my car and I head on home to jump online and play a sit n go or switch on the telly and watch a WPT event and study players.
On my way home I will analyze my play and my mistakes and I replay the last hand over and over in my mind trying to figure out if I can get away from the same mistake next time round.
Driving 400 km however is not the most fun thing to do especially when you have just bubbled out of the biggest tourney of your life and all you can do is think of a9 off suit and wonder to yourself why on earth you would want to play that hand in the first place instead of sending it right where it belongs, into the muck.
Poker can be very draining on your spirits, especially when you bubble.
My advice to people who intend on traveling far to play in a big game is to NOT travel alone.
Go with a friend, a lover, a family relative and NOT another player who is playing in the same tourney.
Some people might think that the best thing to do is to go with someone that you playing with but if that person makes the money and you didn’t, the drive home will be uncomfortable and visa versa. If you both bubble or both cash then great, you can be miserable together all the way home or be happy together.
A non poker playing companion or a poker playing companion that is not playing in the same tourney is perfect however because you’ll talk about other things, they will console you, rub your head, pat your back and generally land up talking about other things.
If you have a partner, lover or spouse that is going to be playing with you maybe take a 3rd party in the car, make sure the person driving is not the person that bubbled or you might find yourself heading down a ravine because he is sick of hearing you plan your trip to Vegas when the only trip he will be taking is one down misery lane.
I thank God for the friends and family that I have, those that sent me good wishes and phoned me and sms’d me – they are truly a godsend.