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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ballin in Baton Rouge

Before I get too far into this blog post, I want you to know something. Due to a handful of very solid relationships I've made with the owners/operators of this site, and some readers who have been tremendously supportive of me over the years, I've decided to continue trying to post to this site on the same regularity that I have over the past 6 years.

Why am I telling you this? Why WOULDN'T I keep doing that? I'll tell you why. Through a good friend of mine, my writing abilities (or whatever you would like to label them) were mentioned to a nice fellow in Europe, who runs a very large poker site similar to 2+2, and he was scouting for US writers/contributors to periodically write original content for his site. We did kind of an interview via email, and I was accepted into his 'stable' of writers. I am being paid a very 'respectable' fee for every post I write for them. The one catch? And this is a tough one. I can't copy/paste the material I write for Which means I actually have to really commit a lot of time, energy and original thought now when I sit down to write for that other site. 

This led to my wife asking me what to some would be an obvious question: "Well then why not just quit writing on that site and only write for the one that is paying you?" anyone outside the GCP family that would seem like a pretty easy decision, especially since my main purpose for writing for GCP is for my own sense of therapy a lot of times. If I could show you a few of the comments that I haven't published, and I will stress, there is no doubt they are almost always by the same two or three people, you would wonder why in the hell I even continue writing on here. I've literally had death threats...not just to me, but to my wife. That unless I quit writing, I am going to pay. No kidding. What would motivate someone to make these comments? I have no clue. And frankly, I didn't really let them rattle me. I just find it disturbing that these people actually exist among us.

So, to answer the question: Why? Because I'm loyal. It might not be a big deal to some (most!) of you...but it means something to me. Bill and Gene have been awfully good to me, and they have helped my poker career. And several of my readers have been instrumental in getting involved in my backing deals. So, to an extent, I feel like I owe it to these guys to keep writing here. Actually, I think this site will host what is more like my personal Poker Diary...whereas this other place I'm blogging will be more of a take on poker in general, and the people who play it. Less about me, more about poker.  And probably a lot more short and to the point. Definitely two different writing styles. I'll try!!! But editing is not my strong suit!


A couple months ago , I was asked by my friend Chad Holloway, who I've known for over 5 years now...and was/is a writer-reporter for PokerNews, a favor. He has also started to play some, and ended up winning a bracelet in the WSOP employee event last summer. He's a great when he asked me to give some thought to driving up to Baton Rouge in late February to play this $1100 event, I didn't quickly dismiss it as I would if some random person had told me about it. 

But knowing what kind of person/player would  likely be present at this event, I felt like I was simply driving 2 hours each way so I could light $1100 on fire. I knew there would be those Lafayette maniacs and the Coushatta crazies that I've experienced before. Well, I wasn't disappointed. On the other hand...there were a lot, I would actually say a majority, of good players. And that was good to see. I went up on Friday...passed on the mega satellite they ran at noon...opting to just go, plop down my $1100 and see if I could get lucky. Claudia met me there.

We both got off to equal starts. Lousy. I finally won my first hand with :20 seconds left til the first break. About the same time she won hers! My table draw sucked. Four complete donks. And the guys at MSPT had, and I don't have any idea how they worked this...a few 'MSPT Pros' who they had inserted into the tourney. And one of them...a guy who seriously looked like a heavier version of Tim Tebow, but carried the real name of Matt Alexander, was playing a lot of stupid hands...and playing them with 2 and 3 barrel bets to hammer home the belief that he had the goods. Only problem? He kept getting called, not by the good players. No...those guys (myself included, on a hand where I was sure I had him) kept letting him steal pots. No, it was the swampies who refused to fold middle pair. And he was pummeled, over and over. Not just on Friday, but again on Saturday (I know because I was following the blog that PokerNews was doing for the event) he bought in (or his backers did) not once, twice, or three times...but FOUR times. On his fourth bullet, he surrendered his stack, of 12, that he could rebuy before registration closed...and come back with a stack of 20,000. Great EV move there, wouldn't ya say?

Mr. Alexander got moved to Claudia's table. I texted her to tell her that 'Fat Tebow' was on his way to her table...and to watch out for his incessant bluffing. She ended up putting him on the rail. And the play was classic. It got a nice write up on PokerNews...something like "The Claw knocks out Alexander, then Insults him!" And included a few Tweets from him where he said she called him Fat Tebow. Somehow, I feel slighted! Apparently, she had A2 in the blind...called his button raise (automatic for FT)...and flopped a deuce with a bunch of other things. She calls his flop bet. Calls his turn bet...and on the river...still holding just that lonely deuce, he ships on her...and she calls his ass...the deuce being good. And he left shaking his head. I'll tell you who SHOULD have been shaking his head....the guy from MSPT who decided this guy was worthy of four bullets into this event that attracted a grand total of 114 players. He would have had to finish 6th or higher for them to finish with a profit. Yikes.

I would fire my own second bullet. Not on Saturday though. And frankly, I would not have made that trip back up there the following day to play again if I'd lost late in the day on Friday. Nope. When I lost, there was still 3 minutes left to re-enter...and I just didn't really feel like leaving on the note I would have been leaving on. 

I raised in early position with QQ...and not surprisingly got called by four players. Think we were at 100/200 with a 25 ante and I raised p/f to 550. The flop came 10-x-x...rainbow, both unders, and no straight draw. I led out 850. This guy...who I admit, is NOT a total donkey, I've played with him somewhere else before..and I know he's made some scores...I just don't know why he refused to believe his 10 (with a jack) could actually have my hand beaten...but he sure did. He raises me to 2200. And though I should have just shipped, I figured he had like A10 or maybe even K10...and if I could fade either of those on the turn...was simply going to ship my remaining 6200 and either take down a decent pot, or hopefully get called, hold and get back to a near starting stack. The turn was a five or something and I shipped.

He couldn't quite grasp why I was doing that. Which told me right away (thankfully) that he didn't have a set. So I knew I was good...and literally said to him "well, now that you've told me what you have, you might as well call and try to hit one of your five outs (two more tens and three more of whatever his kicker was)...which led to more tanking by him. And in fairness, he had amassed quite a few it wasn't the most horrendous call, if he in fact just had me on AK. Which he must of, since he made the call. I saw his J10 and felt pretty good about my chances to double up and go to break with a starting stack. Whoa...hold the phone! James Ovington...a dealer who is also a Facebook friend, and one of my favorite dealers mainly because I love his dry, sarcastic sense of humor...plops a damn jack on the river. Shit! Then he gives me that I've seen way too many times from dealers I like, the one that says "Shit, Monkey...I'm sorry man!" happens. I know it, they know it. But still sucks!

So...I now had a decision to make. Rebuy? Or just get in my car and get the hell out of there? Now, I wasn't playing this event there was no consideration there to make, like...why in the hell would you put another $1100 into a tourney that currently only has 54 entries? A question my wife grilled me about later that night when I returned home. Granted, Day 1B was sure to get (wasn't it???) a lot more, maybe double...the players that the first day got? And I knew that field....and knew I could beat it. So damn, I happened to have $1500 still in pocket, so I bought in again. Screw it!


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