Sunday, October 29, 2017

Crazy Game of Poker

Fall is settling in around Washington DC and the MGM National Harbor conservatory has a new theme on display.

I played a short session recently and it didn't go well.  I lost most of my stack in a pot where I thought the outcome would be a chop.  My A-A-5-5-Q was no match for A-A-Q-Q-8.  I played it bad and we all know that playing for a chop is a foolish goal.

This weekend I got a chance to redeem myself.  I was seated right away.  I took seat 4 since it was the only one open.  I had to double check that the game was $1/$3 because there were plenty of big stacks.  The player in seat 5 left shortly after my arrival so I scooted over to get a bit more legroom.

For the first 45 minutes the game was nothing special.  I was up $45 and sitting on $245.  Everything changed when a Middle Eastern guy sat down in seat 4 and bought in for $500.  Let's call him Amir.

The button was in seat 3 and the dealer asked Amir, "Do you want to wait one hand and play for free or play now and pay $4?"  Without hesitation Amir said, "I'll play now."  That was the first sign that he was not your regular poker player.

On that hand, seat 8 opened to $15, seat 2 made it $45, and Amir called immediately.  Seat 8 also called.  All the money went in on the flop of 3-2-5 and the pot ballooned to over a $1000!  Seat 8 had over cards A-Q (and a gutshot draw), seat 2 was in the lead with 9-9, and Amir held J-8.  Here is how the board ran out.  Seat 8 rebought.  

Amir was friendly and talkative.  He said he got lucky but that he was there to have fun and play.  After winning that pot, he started raising every hand pre-flop to $20 unless he was in the BB or SB.  Many times he didn't even look at his cards pre-flop.  He would just say to the table he was raising blind.

He bet pre-flop without looking at his cards.  The flop was 3-6-7.  He bet or called each street and at the end showed 5-6 for the win.  He also won with J-5 that turned into a full house.  His 10-4 became trip tens on the flop and won another pot.  His stack was above $1700 in less than 30 minutes from the time he sat down!

Here I was, sitting to the left of the most active player who had a huge stack and would open any two.  I told myself to buckle-up because this was going to be a wild game.

Seat 8 was Amir's biggest nemesis.  He bet and Amir called without hesitation.  The flop was 9-6-Q and seat 8 bet and Amir called again.  The turn was a 6 and seat 8 bet $150 and Amir called.  The river was a 9 and Amir bet $200.  Seat 8 wasn't happy then reluctantly called.  Amir showed 2-9 and scooped another huge pot!  Seat 8 darted to the ATM so he could rebuy again.  At this point, Amir was up to $2,200!

Then he went up against seat 6 who had J-J.  Amir won the pot holding 2-8 when the board ran out:

His stack went from $500 to $2,700 in less than 90 minutes.  But then his luck started to turn.  He bet blind and called a raise from the guy in seat 8.  The flop was K-10-2 and he called.  Seat 8 bet the 8 on the turn and Amir called.  On the river, Amir led out for $100 and seat 8 made it $355.  Amir called holding 10-x.

I got a chance to get in the mix.  I called $25 with 6-6 pre-flop after Amir bet.  Seat 7 also called and we saw a flop of Q-K-3.  Amir tapped the table once, I tapped right behind him, and seat 7 quickly checked as well.  But as the dealer was flipping over the turn card, Amir said, "Wait, I want to bet."  The turn was 6.  Apparently he didn't know that tapping the table was considered a check.  The dealer took the time and explained to him the rule.  He bet $40, I called, and seat 7 folded.  The river was another 3.  He bet $60 and I made it $170.  Unfortunately, he folded.

In the big blind with K-6, I saw the flop with seat 2, Amir, and seat 6.  The flop was K-6-8.  Amir lead out for $25, I called, seat 6 folded, and seat 2 called.  The turn was 3 and Amir bet $25 again.  I called and seat 2 made it $60.  Amir called and I took some time to decide what to do.  The board was getting sticky with two flush draws.  I doubt seat 2 had a set.  Most likely he had a king.  Not wanting to give any more cards for cheap, I moved all-in for $337.  Seat 2 took a while and said that I probably had a set and folded.  Amir folded as well.

In the last hand I was involved in, I had 9-8.  The flop was J-8-5.  On the flop, Amir bet $20 and I called.  The turn was 8 and he bet $20 again.  I raised to $50 and he called.  The river was K and he bet $20.  I raised to $80 and he called with J-x.  That got me over $800 and I cashed out an orbit later.

As for Amir, when I picked up, his stack had dwindled down to $300.  From $500 to almost $3,000 and then down to $300 in two hours, it was a crazy game of poker.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Cards, Golf, Beach, and Palmettos: Part 3

When we got back to the house, one of my friends who had a bad knee said he couldn't play again due to pain.  It didn't take long before the rest of the guys were lobbying to skip or postpone the round.  The decision was made and sleeping in won over waking up early to golf again.

Saturday we spent some time at the beach swimming and relaxing.  There were plenty of ladies on the beach who were north of 45.  We even walked by a group of them doing yoga in bikinis.  The running joke was that Charleston was a perfect retirement place for single guys.  There were some really nice beachfront properties on the Isle of Palm.

We also went for a stroll around downtown.  There were plenty of horse-drawn carriages leisurely taking tourists by the attractions while the tour guides regurgitated history.   Overall, the downtown and its architecture had a nice feel to it.

For dinner, we went to a former church which was turned into a restaurant called 5Church.  I have to say that it was my first time having shots and other adult beverages in a church.

Stock Photo

After dinner, we walked across the street to the 
Market Pavilion Hotel rooftop bar.  It was a cool place with a nice view.  We ran into a lady that was a bit out of the ordinary.  She was probably in her 40s and close to six feet tall.  Within the first five minutes, she managed to say to one of my friends, "You are not that tall."  And to another one, "You'are not very smart."  Then she proceeded to tell us how her husband had recently passed away.

Sunday, the day of our departure, the temperature high had dropped down to 75 degrees!  If we had time, it would have been a perfect day for another round of golf.  Instead, we piled into the SUV and said goodbye to The Palmetto State.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Cards, Golf, Beach, and Palmettos: Part 2

I'm finally getting back to the Charleston trip report.  Friday morning eight of us dragged ourselves out of bed to hit the links by 9 am.

The course was in great shape.  By 10 am it felt like an oven.  The temperature was already 85 and the humidity was packing a Mike Tyson type of punch.  Each foursome ended up playing 2 vs 2.  The teams were pretty even and the winning teams only won by one.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the house cooling off in the pool and grilling.  In the evening, we headed downtown to King St.  Surprisingly, majority of the people we ran into were out-of-towners.  Most were from Florida, and few from Virginia, New York, Minnesota, and even California.

At one of the bars, we talked to four ladies that were also in town for the weekend.  I asked if they were celebrating anything and one of them said that it's her blonde friend's coming out party.  I was unsure what that meant.  She said that her friend went through a divorce and for months she didn't go out.  This was her first time coming out of the house and going out to bars!

We also ran into a semi-celebrity.  At first, we just though she was another girl but someone pointed out that she is on TV.  She was a contestant on Survivor and now is on the show called Southern Charm.  We talked to her and her friend for a few minutes and some of the guys took photos with her to show to their wives who watch the show.


We also watched a guy get arrested by a lady cop.  Apparently he had walked by the parked cop car earlier and they told him to go home.  He walked away but came back later, I assume not realizing where he was going.  As soon as she saw him, she told him that she had warned him earlier to go home and then she handcuffed him.

It was 2 am and the bars were closing.  We had to get back to the house since another round of golf was scheduled for Saturday morning.

To be continued...

Friday, October 13, 2017

Cards, Golf, Beach, and Palmettos: Part 1

I spent the last weekend in September with ten of my buddies in Charleston, South Carolina.  Few flew down and the rest of us drove.  We filled a Chevy Suburban to the brim with golf clubs and luggage.

Eight hours later, we arrived to 95 degree weather and 100% humidity.  Our rented house was located on the Isle of Palm near the beach.  To beat the heat and the humidity, a duo consisting of cold beer and a backyard pool was used.  We strolled down to the beach bars and grabbed some food and drinks for dinner.

Exhausted from the trip we headed back to the house.  Six of us decided to play a $10 buy-in game of poker where the winner would get $40 and second place $20.  It was a loose game where having a cold beverage in one hand was as important as having two cards in the other.  Few hands passed and then I was the dealer.

I looked down at A-K and waited my turn.  There was a bet and my buddy on my right raised.  Being tired and ready for bed, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to flip a coin.  I moved all-in and it folded back to him.  He wasn’t sure about it but he was probably ready for a double-up or sleep also.  It was a win-win type of situation.  He called and flipped over 9-9.  I spiked a K and won the hand.  He went to bed shortly after.

Few hands later, I was the only caller after my buddy, on my left, raised pre-flop.  The flop was Q-5-2.  By the river, I bet to put him all-in and he called with A-Q.  I showed 5-5 for a flopped set and pulled in a pile of chips.

The rest was a blur until we were three-handed.  Let's call one of my buddies K-man (after Kramer from Seinfeld) and the other Tom Brady (since he is from New England and a Pats fan).

The flop was J-4-7.  K-man was short stacked and bet.  Only I called.  The turn was the 6.  He bet and I said “I’ll call and show you that I have nothing.”  I flipped over my cards but only exposing 2.  The river was an A!  He bet and I moved all-in.

He was surprised and wasn’t sure what to do.  He said that it looks like a bluff.  Tom Brady agreed.  He egged him on to call.  A minute passed and then K-man called showing a Jack.  I slid over the 2 exposing the A and the whole table erupted.  

Before I could collect the chips in the pot, Tom Brady handed me $40 and he took the $20 for second place.  Everyone laughed and teased K-man that no wonder Tom Brady wanted him to call.

To be continued…

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The United States Sucker Team

I'll get back to the Charleston trip report in the next post.  But today I'd like to talk about the US men's national soccer team or as my title states "sucker" team.

Since the Nats baseball game was postponed last night due to rain, I started my evening by watching the Ecuador vs Argentina soccer match.  Argentina needed a victory to secure a spot in the 2018 World Cup.  The match got very interesting when Ecuador scored in the first minute of the game!  But the great Lionel Messi would not be denied.  He scored twice in the next twenty minutes.  Seeing that Argentina was most likely on its way to the WC, I checked the scores of the other games at halftime.

The US team need a win against Trinidad and Tobago to qualify directly; a draw was good enough to keep them alive.  Panama was taking on Costa Rica and Honduras was hosting Mexico.  I was surprised to see that the US was already down 1-0.

Trinidad and Tobago are ranked 99th in the world while the US is in the top 30.  The US was a 10 to 1 favorite!  By halftime, the US was down 2-0.  It looked like the US would need to rely on Mexico to beat Honduras and Costa Rica take care of Panama.  At halftime, that is exactly what was happening.  Mexico was winning 2-1 and Costa Rica 1-0. 

Despite the favorable scores, I made a comment that it is likely that Mexico and Costa Rica would slow down in the second half since they had already qualified for the World Cup.  Instead of telling you what happened in each game in the second half, I'll leave you with an ESPN video that captures it all.

And so dies the dream and the chant I believe that we will win!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Audis and Poker

My day started out at the Audi dealership.  Due to a recall on Takata airbags, I went in for a replacement.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the following car manufacturers are affected by this recall: Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daimler, Dodge/Ram, Ferrari, Fisker, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, and Volkswagen.

I ended up getting a loaner car for the day, free of charge of course.  Here is a look at the 2017 Audi A4 Quattro.

I took the new Audi for a spin straight down to the MGM for my first poker session of the month.  I felt like the famous work/leisure/lifestyle blogger who also rides in luxury around DC.

I got seated right away.  In seat 7, within 20 minutes, I'm dealt A-A!  I'm in the BB.  UTG+1 leads out for $13, gets one caller, and it folds back to me.  I make it $50 and he goes all-in for $100 total.  The other guy folds and I call.  We flip over our cards and he also shows A-A!  The part that sucked was that he had the ace of spades and the flop had two spades.  The turn was a spade.  At that point, I was getting ready to curse the poker Gods.  Luckily the river was a red card so we chopped.

Not the best photo of Aces vs Aces

Over the next two hours, I had increased my stack by $155.  I was one of the blinds and holding A-8.  Seat 4 and seat 5 also put in $3.  The flop was 8-5-3.  I lead out for $9, seat 4 called, and then seat 5 made it $25.  I made the call and seat 4 folded.  The turn was the J and I checked.  He bet $100!  He had $50 more behind.

I thought about it.  I don't think he had 8-8 or 8-x.  There is a chance he had 3-3 or 5-5.  Did he have two clubs.  Would he bet his flush draw that way on the flop.  Maybe if he was holding 7-6.  My pot odds vary depending on his holding.  Could we use implied odds to add the $50 he had left if I called the turn.

What would you do?


I didn't fold right away.  I had outs but the problem was that I didn't have enough outs.  I put him on either 3-3,5-5, or a made flush.  If he had a pocket pair then I'm drawing to eight clubs and only seven if he had a flush.  I folded and booked a $125 win.