Sunday, April 8, 2018

Breaking 40

I played two rounds last week.  Both rounds were decent.  The first round ended with an 87.  I hit 71% of the fairways but my chipping was off.  I played the front nine well and ended up +6 with 5 pars.

The second round was interesting.  The temperature was in the low 40s with some wind.  I played the front nine seven over par and I did it in about an hour.  I started the back nine behind two groups of three players.  Fortunately they played at a good pace.

10th: I hit a crappy drive into the wind that went right.  My second shot was short of the green.  I chipped on and made a decent length putt to save par.

11th: A par 3, I hit it short into the water.  I took a drop and chipped onto the green.  I had about a 10 footer and somehow made it to save bogey.

12th: I hit a decent drive that hit the fairway but rolled off.  Luckily, the ball stopped short of a pond.  My approach shot was about 140 yards out and I got it on the green.  I had a decent look at birdie but only managed a par.

13th: I hit a good drive but my second shot was weak.  I left myself with a 40 yard sand wedge.  I got it on the green and made a 12 footer.  Pure luck.

14th: A par 5, I hit a terrible drive.  The ball ended up between some trees.  But since it was a par 5, I hit an 8 iron back into the fairway to setup my third shot.  It worked out well and I was left with a 140 yard third shot.  I got it on the green and two putted for a respectable par.

15th: I had a good drive but messed up my second shot.  I hit it 5 yards short of the green which resulted in the ball rolling down into a bunker.  Miraculously, I hit my best shot of the day from the bunker.  I tapped it in for an unlikely par.

16th: A par 3, I hit my 5 iron poorly.  It resulted in another bunker shot.  This time, there was no miracle as the ball rolled over the green.  I putted onto the green and left myself with a long put for bogey.  To my surprised, I rolled it in.  After all that, I was still only two over thru 7 holes.

17th: Next up was the number one handicap hole.  To make matters worse, the 403 yard par 4 was playing into the wind.  I hit a good drive but the wind knocked it down.  I pulled out my 3 wood since I was 220 yards out.  I didn't catch it flush and it ended up short right.  I got on the green but was left with a long putt.  There was a ridge near the hole and I missed it on the wrong side.  I ended up with a double bogey because of the three putt.

18th: Here I was +4 with one hole to go.  The back nine is a par 35.  So I had a chance to shoot in the 30s with a par.  I pulled out my driver and proceeded to slice it into the trees.  I found the ball but had to take an unplayable lie.  I hit an 8 iron across the water and onto the front of the green.  I had a long putt to save par.

I didn't make it and ended up with a 40.

I was disappointed I didn't shoot a 39.  But I did get very lucky to even be in a position to shoot a 40.  I one putted on five holes and four of those were 8 to 12 footers.  By the end of the round, my score was 40 and so was the temperature.  Even with the cold, it was an enjoyable round.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Moneymaker or Not

I haven't played any golf or poker lately.  But I did read a poker (player) book.

Few days ago, my brother texted me from Knoxville asking for the last name of our club soccer coach back in the high school days.  I thought I could use Google to quickly find out.  The club season was in the autumn and the high school soccer season was in the spring.  Our club coach was also an assistant coach for Farragut High School in the spring.

I ended up on a Farragut High School sports website and at the bottom of the page it had a list of notable alumni.  The list had a few NFL players and a couple of MLB players.  And then, I saw the name, Chris Moneymaker - 2003 World Series of Poker Champion.

I was shocked.  During the past fifteen years, I always thought that Chris Moneymaker was an accountant from Nashville, Tennessee.  I checked out his Wikipedia page and it said that he attended high school in Knoxville and also graduated from the University of did I!  Pretty cool stuff.  I couldn't believe that I didn't know this before.

Scrolling down the Wikipedia page, the bibliography section mentioned his book, Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker.  I opened Google Play Books and the book was available as an Ebook for $6.99.  I had a $5 credit towards any Ebook from Google and decided to use it.  

I bought the Ebook for $1.99 to see what Chris had to say about growing up in Knoxville.  I sure didn't buy the book to learn about his historic win.  We all already know how that went down.  ESPN (and now YouTube) has plenty of videos on the 2003 WSOP Main Event.

It was an easy read and I finished the book over the weekend.  Most of the book was about his 2003 title run.  But he did talk about growing up in Knoxville and attending the University of Tennessee before graduating and moving to Nashville.  The most interesting thing from the book...spoiler alert (if you plan to read it).

Chris entered and won an 18 player $40 online satellite tournament on PokerStars in early 2003.  The prize was an entry into a $600 satellite tournament that paid $8,000 to the fourth place finisher while the top three received a free entry into the 2003 WSOP Main Event plus travel expenses.

He made it to the final four out of 68 players.  Chris and his wife were struggling financially and he planned to finish exactly fourth and take the $8,000 cash.  During the final table play, his buddy Bruce was on the phone with him and offered him a deal.  Bruce said that he would give Chris $5,000 for 50% of his Main Event winnings.  Chris agreed and finished in the top three.

A week later, Bruce told Chris that he was backing out of the deal!  Chris had to scrambled and ended up selling 45% to his dad and few buddies.

Bruce had a chance to turn Moneymaker into a moneymaker but he decided not to.  His decision to back out of the agreement cost him an opportunity to pocket $1.25 million!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

St. Patrick's Day

I had a day to myself and decided to drive to Baltimore and play in a $75 tournament with a $25 bounty.  Calling it a tournament is probably being too generous.  The structure is horrible and not many players enter.  The weather wasn't good enough for outdoor activities, so my choices were limited.

There was a $1000 guarantee.  When the late registration closed and they showed the payouts, I realized that the $1000 included the bounties.  There were only 14 runners.  Only the top two got paid, $390 for 1st and $260 for 2nd.  When I saw that, I realized that playing cash would have been better.

My first entry went down the drain when I was holding A-Q on the button.  There was a call and seat 5 made a min raise.  I moved all-in and it folded to seat 5.  He asked for a chip count and the dealer started counting.  He had me covered by 200 chips.  He thought for a minute and was leaning towards a fold but then decided to call.  I think he was going after the bounty and if he lost, he would reenter.  He called and showed K-J.  The board ran out jack high and I was out.

My second entry started on a good note.  I knocked out a very short stack and earned the $25 bounty.  Then I had A-K, the short stack had J-9 of clubs, and the third guy had K-Q.  They did not catch any of their outs and I caught an ace on the river.  I got a full double up and collected another $25 bounty.

I made it down to the last 7 before getting knocked out.  While in the tournament, a random guy sat down at the table wanting to play cash not realizing it was a tournament.  The dealer told him that it was a tournament but he didn't get it.  After another explanation, he got up and stood next to the table.  Then he walked over to the adjacent table and sat down.  That table was also a tournament table!  I don't think he has been to many poker rooms.

I didn't feel like playing cash after being knocked out.  I also didn't feel like driving all the way back home.  I texted a buddy who lives in Baltimore to see if he wanted to grab a beer.  We will call him Roy.  Sure enough, he was free and invited me to see his newly purchased row house.  When I got there, he mentioned that few of his friends were going out later since it was St. Patrick's Day.  I had totally forgotten about it!  Luckily for me, I had on a light greenish sweater.

After the house tour, we headed to The Outpost Tavern and met up with two of his buddies, Will and Steve, for food and beers.  Afterwards, the four of us Ubered to Canton's Portside Tavern.  Roy bought a round of beers and we joined a group of his friends who were already there.  Half an hour later, the place got packed.  I went downstairs to use the bathroom and on my way back bought a round of beers.  When I finally made it back upstairs, I saw the three of them standing next to each other hands full of beers!  Apparently, Steve and Will had each bought a round of beers while I was gone!  So there we were, four guys with three beers each.

The crowd wasn't that interesting, primarily just dudes.  We stayed for a bit longer but decided to leave because it was too crowded and the ladies seemed to be elsewhere.  Roy and Will are both single.  Steve and I were there to assist, if need be.  We walked down to the Bartenders bar near Fells Point.  It was a good place to have a beer and take a break before deciding where to go next.

Next, we Ubered to S Charles Street.  The bar of choice was Mother's Federal Hill Grille.  The place was huge.  They had an outdoor mini bar.  Inside, there were four or five different bar areas.  The place was a maze.  The crowd was better and it was not overcrowded.

We spent a few minutes on the patio watching a large group of patrons dance in the cold.  Roy started chatting up a girl but out of nowhere one of her female friends appeared and whisked her away.  Around 6:45 pm, Steve said he had to head out and wasn't going back into the bar.  Will was hanging out upstairs with another group of friends.  I'm not sure what time he left but we didn't see him again.  We headed back inside to watch the second half of the game.

As the Tennessee-Loyola game was wrapping up, a very attractive girl walked by us.  She was at least a 9.  We'll call here Lala since she was wearing hoop earrings and resembled Lala Kent.  She was walking back towards a high top table where her two female friends were sitting.  Before I knew it, Roy was chasing after her.  I needed to use the bathroom before I could deploy as a wingman.

When it comes to Roy, he can talk, no doubt.  My assignment wasn't going to be difficult: occupy and entertain the two ladies so Roy could get to know Lala.  After the bathroom, I headed over to their table.  Roy and Lala were standing and the two friends were sitting down.  I just walked over to an empty chair and said, "Hi guys, I'll take this one (chair) if you don't mind."  All four of them just stared at me.  I guess they were not expecting a random guy to just sit down at their table.  Then Roy said, "Do we know you?"  And suddenly the girls were even more confused.  I just laughed as he said, "We're just kidding, this is by buddy Ace."  And suddenly the three ladies were smiling again.

We kept the conversation casual and light-hearted.  We had a few more drinks before deciding to move to another place.  The five of us walked a few blocks to another bar.  One of Lala's friends had texted a guy who was drinking near by.  I guess she liked him.  He showed up hammered.  The kicker was that he brought with him a girl!  Obviously, Lala's friend didn't like this.  The drunk guy and the new girl left very quickly.

Around 10:45 pm, the two girls said they were heading out.  Few minutes after they left, I told Roy and Lala that I had to head back home.  I managed to find my car and make it home by midnight.  I was exhausted.

The next morning I got a text from Roy saying that he sealed the deal.  I responded with a Borat-like "Very nice!"