Monday, May 29, 2006

I was in the process of writing a post about how it has been a long 16 days since I last played any form of poker, and how that's the longest I've gone without playing since I started (in fall 2003). I was announcing my excitement over my plans to go grab a bite to eat and head over to Empress to play cards, when all of a sudden my power went out. (Thunderstorm)

Now, I am a prisoner in my own home, as my car is in the garage, and my garage door is powered by that magic juice that I so take for granted - electricity.

Now I'm thumbing away in misery on my Blackberry, after having called the electric company to report the outage. The have no information on restoration at this time.

I know there's some way to disengage the power thingy on the garage door, but I'm not quite sure how to do it, nor am I certain I'd be able to lift the door anyway. My luck, I'd get out only to find that the casino lost power too. (It's 15 minutes away and was likely subject to the same storm that blew through here).

Now I will sit, listening to the warning beep of my computer's uninterruptible power supply and the ticking of the only battery powered timepiece in my house - my Philadelphia Flyers wall clock.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Today concludes my semester of work. For the most part, I have the summer off (except for having to go in for a few days through early June).

NO poker was played this week, unless you consider the video persuasion.

Wednesday night, I headed out with the girls to Empress Casino to do everything but play poker. I knew I was going to blow a buy-in of my bankroll, but had great fun playing nickel slots and quarter video poker.

The last few Friday nights have been spent at my cousin's house playing drunken "poker" (if you can call it that) with some friends. Tonight will be no different.

I'm busy this weekend with a graduation ceremony to attend and my niece's christening, so no poker will be had. Then, I'll be out of town Mon-Fri next week at a conference for work.

I'm already twitching from withdrawl....

I'll try and post something worthwhile, but if you don't hear from me till next weekend, at least you'll know why! Cya's on the flip side...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Many of you have probably already read about a little girl named Peyton Novoa. She's 2 1/2 years old, and lost her mother recently to small cell ovarian cancer.

I've been working with Spaceman and Bobby Bracelet (RIP One2Many) to put together a web site for Peyton. We're working to raise money to help Peyton and her family through this tough and tragic loss. Several poker pro's have already contributed to the cause. Gavin Smith and Phil Hellmuth have made generous cash donations of $2,000 a piece for Peyton. Phil Ivey, Michael Mizrachi, Mark Seif, and others have donated items for an upcoming auction to benefit the cause. I hear that a poker tournament with Gavin Smith is in the works.

Please help us to spread the word by posting a banner or link on your blog. Save a copy of the banner below, or drop me an email if you'd like a snippet of HTML code that you can paste into your blog template to display the banner. (Email - phlyersphan at gmail dot com).

You can also make cash donations via PayPal through the web site. Help us reach our goal of raising $100,000 for Peyton. Thanks!

See Card Player Magazine's article about Poker Community Opens Its Heart

More in the "new blog pimpage" department...

Check out JusDealEm over at

Chicks with chips... always a good thing!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Well, I'll be damned.... my friend Jim is now a blogger.

Railbird's Nest -

Pretty soon I'm gonna need two hands to count all of the Chicago bloggers!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Originally uploaded by phlyersphan.
Ed's not the only one winning these micro-rebuys on PokerStars... my friend Jim (host of the Nice Table games) won one too.

Damn, I could really use one of these! Congrats, Jim :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

My friend Jim of the "Nice Table Games" hosted a tourney last night - NL holdem, $20 buy in with rebuys the first hour and one optional addon. 25% of the proceeds went to sponsor Jim and his wife in the American Cancer Society walk-n-ride marathon event.

Baz and his wife made it out to the game, and it was nice to finally meet Bob's better half :) We had a starting field of 13 or 14 people, and Jim purchased some software that managed the seat selection, prize pool, and blind timers. That was much nicer than dealing with egg timers all night.

Early on, I thought things were going well. I found myself raising preflop when I should, which shouldn't be a big deal, but I've spent the last year of my life playing weak-tight in tourneys with this particular crowd (for reasons unbeknownst to me). I was pleasantly surprised to see that I'd broken out of that shell, without even really thinking about it. I flopped a monster hand against Baz when my KQ flopped a boat of with KQQ. Baz bet it the whole way, much to my puzzlement, and when his river bet put me nearly all in and I pushed, he folded. (What'd ya have, Baz? I'm thinking a K?)

I was beating Mike (to my right) out of a lot of small pots. My pair of 5's rivered the ass end of a straight in a mostly checked-down pot, and I raised his bet on the end (which he called). Pocket 10's held up against his smaller pocket pair. I outkicked him in another pot, A8 vs A6. It didn't stop Mike from playing in pots with me, though.

Things started to go south when I hit AA for the second hand in a row. (The first hand, everyone folded to my preflop raise). The second time around, I raised it up again (4x BB was about the standard for the table, except for Dan the Man, who preferred raises in the 8-10x range). Mike called, and we saw a flop of A-x-x, 2 hearts. He pushed all in on the short stack, and I called. He turned over 10-7 hearts for the flush draw. At least the poker gods were quick with their delivery; the turn was a third heart, giving Mike the flush, and the river failed to pair the board, so I lost a chunk of change.

Next up was my JJ. I raised and found a caller in Baz. The board came undercards. I bet, he called. The turn brought a K. Based on the smooth-call preflop, I really didn't put Baz on a King. I bet, he called again. The river came a blank, and by now most of my chips are in the pot. I bet, he raised me all in, and I called. Turns out, I was right - there was no reason to fear one K in Baz's hand, because he held two of them. I was dead the entire way. Rebuy!

I made it to the final table of 8, but even with a handful of double-up's, the blinds were so big that my stack never grew about 10xBB. The final twist of the knife was when I pushed from the big blind preflop with 33 after Ed had raised 3x. (I had about 6x in my stack, total). He'd raised 4 of my previous big blinds at that table, and I had folded all of them. I decided to make my stand with 33, and it turns out I pushed into his pocket Aces. Nice play, Shel. No help onboard, and I went home a frustrated girl.

I had a frog of tears in my through as I drove home, and it wasn't because I got knocked out of the tourney. I thought I played well - better than I've played in a year or more. But the reflection off my windshield as I drove through the rain told tales of recent past that rang bitterly true. This game I play has mirrored my life, and I'm disappointed in how I've played.

I've played a weak-tight game for the past year or so, and it's no coincidence that it's been a very unhappy year in my personal life. I'd lost my confidence at the poker table, fearing that any move was liable to backfire anyway, so why bother. I'd limp and watch, wishing and wishing and wishing that my hands would hold up. I'd bleed away chips, lose in another tournament, and then wonder, why me? Even the monster hands betrayed me. Aces looked so beautiful when they did come around, but the board would dessimate them and I'd wish and wish and wish that they'd hold up anyway, because the just looked so right. I couldn't let them go, and would lose more me each time I held on for too long.

I've played the cards of my former relationship with Randy the same way. I don't think that playing any other way would have changed the outcome; I think we were destined to lose this game, as much as I wished otherwise. However, if I'd have played my cards and not tried to manufacture luck out of wishes, I might have been able to see the inevitable sooner and fold my hand. As it stands, I've bled away so much of myself and so much time that any realistic hope of ever getting married and having kids is dim at best. (I'm no spring chicken...)

Maybe that's just not in the cards for me. I'll take whatever the universe has in store for me and make the best of it. It's just ironic how life never seems to turn out the way you expect that it would.

Filed Under:

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Empress is finally starting to feel like home, as Trump once did.

The other day, a dealer called me by name for the first time. The brush folks recognize me now, and I'm on a first-name basis with a handful of regulars (the social ones, anyway). Poker life is good.

I headed over there after work tonight, to sit the 5/10 game (as per usual). I wish I had some hand stories for you, because something must have gone right (I left up $155 in 4 hours). I just can't seem to remember anything spectacular. I had QQ 3 times - lost big twice, and won small once. A suited 7-8 made me a straight, which was nice. The only other hand I recall is an A-T offsuit holding up for top pair, Aces.

I did enjoy the company of my tablemates tonight, which is not always the case. It was a pretty young table. Early on, I had a crazy Asian gambler to my left, and he had me cracking up. By the time I moved to the main game, I got to join a few poker "friends" (if you can call anyone at a poker table your friend). A woman Renee was there, and she's great fun to chat with. I see her a lot on Wednesday nights. She talks about golf so much and so highly that it makes me want to try it someday. To my right was a guy I'd have pegged as my age (turns out, he's 33). I've seen him a few times, though hadn't talked with him in the past. He was cool. He mentioned being married for 7 years, and it made me think, wow... I have to remember that I'm not crazy for expecting a 33 year old guy to be ready to get married after dating for 3 years. It's not crazy... there are obviously guys out there doing it (getting married, that is).

There was a kid at the other end of the table who I would have pegged as a solid player, except that he sucked. I know - that statement is a contradiction in terms, but he acted like a solid player. Then he'd flip over Q7 suited, having played 2nd pair 7's and raised all day long. Scooby. The guy to my right got into a few verbal sparring matches with the kid, outwitting him at every turn. It was enough to keep me amused while watching Joe Crede fail to get the tying run home from 2nd base, and even kept me laughing while the White Sox got soaked an inning later (literally and figuratively).

I stayed a couple orbits longer than I'd intended, and won back $50 for my time. My straddle buddy Joe was still nursing his Coronas, hoping to take a few more stacks off of a table that had gotten too tight-aggressive for my taste. I bid farewell to Mr. 33, Joe, and the rest of the table, pleased at my take for the day.

As I stepped out of the casino and into the exposed hallway leading to the parking lot, my lungs filled with rain-soaked air. I love the smell of rain. It no longer fell in Joliet, but the skies off in the distance were angry. I love an angry sky. Some people draw strength and comfort from bright, sunshiny days. I find the best versions of myself under an angry sky. Maybe it's the underlying threat of danger from the storm - the adrenaline rush of what could be. It reminds me how small we really are in this big, big world. It puts me in my place, and that is somehow empowering.

The first song to hit the airwaves off my iPod once I reached my car was, "Don't Fear the Reaper." Seasons don't fear the reaper, nor do the wind, the sun or the rain - We can be like they are....

Filed Under:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I was leaving Empress last night, and saw something that struck me as bizarre. I was walking through the parking lot to my car, and off in the distance, a handful of what appeared to be grown adults were tailgating in the parking lot. They had a blue cooler full of beverages, and tunes blaring from the open car doors. One guy sat on the trunk of his car, with his lady friend nestled between his legs, and another couple was making out like school kids against the car next door. The others were whooping it up and having a gay ol' time.

Tailgating outside a suburban casino on a Monday night... OK... is it just me, or is that weird?

The poker inside was loose and passive. I sat at the $5/10 game for about 2 1/2 hours. I was up a nice $140 until my very last hand - JJ. I raised the action preflop (and capped it when a raise came behind me), and bet out on the Q-high flop. My two opponents were a solid player across the table from me, and a loose "cool-guy" who thought he was playing for WPT millions, often pushing his 2nd pair like Aces. I was last to act, and the solid player was just calling calling calling. Cool guy popped me for a raise on the flop, but the Q-3-8 board just didn't look scary to me, and coming from him, his raise was nothing more than a bully move.

Both guys checked the turn to me (4), and I bet again. Solid guy looked decidedly uncomfortable but called anyway (he was pretty textbook - strong meant strong, weak meant weak), and Cool guy sighed as he called. He totally had AK. I had no doubt.

The river paired the board with 4's, and the solid player bet out excitedly. Mother Effer. Cool guy reluctantly folded, and though I knew I was beat, for one bet into a mountain of chips, I had to call to ward off the bluff. (You only have to win 10% of those crying calls on the end in big pots to make it profitable over the long run...) Had the other guy called, I would have folded, since I'd get to see the hand anyway, but there's no way this pot was getting shipped uncontested.

The solid player had 3-4 of diamonds. No wonder he made the comment after the turn that he never should have even been in this pot. The poker gods sure rained down on his river. No pair, no draw after the flop.. nice call, guy. He must be psychic.

So, that pot cost me $60 or so and brought my profits for the night down under $100. Just then I got called for a seat change (I was at the must-move table), and was so annoyed with the JJ loss that I decided to take my winnings and leave, lest I tilt off the rest at a new table.

+$87 (8.7 BB)/ 2.5 hours = 3.48 BB/hour

Average that out with Sunday's results:

7 hours, + 0 BB

Seriously. I left exactly even after 7 hours of play. I was never up more than $50 and was never down more than $50. If you count all of the diet cokes, I was probably up ten bucks on the day. Ugh.

So my two-day run came out to: .92 BB/hour


No poker tonight. Must work. Maybe Wednesday.

Filed Under:

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Blame this guy.

the Idiot Savant
(47% dark, 42% spontaneous, 42% vulgar)
your humor style:

You like things silly, immediate, and, above all, outrageous. Ixne on the subtle word play, more testicles on fire, please. People like you are the most likely to RECEIVE internet forwards--and also the most likely to save them in a special folder entitled 'HOLY SHIT'.

Because it's so easily appreciated, and often wacky and physical, your sense of humor never ceases to amuse your friends. Most realize that there's a sly intelligence and a knowing wink to your tastes. Your sense of humor could be called 'anti-pretentious'--but paradoxically enough, that indicates you're smarter than most.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Johnny Knoxville - Jimmy Kimmel

The 3-Variable Funny Test!

- it rules -
If you're interested, try my best friend's best test:
The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece
This test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 43% on darkness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 28% on spontaneity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 60% on vulgarity
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My apologies for the song lyrics posted the other day. I know - very 9th grade of me. The observant amongst you might have noticed Randy's removal from the sidebar of this blog, and the song lyrics were my announement to that effect. (We broke up). I don't plan to speak any more of it here, except to say that by the time I see you all in July, I will likely be embracing single-hood once again. For now, I'm in recovery mode. So - that's all I have to say about that!

I headed to Empress yesterday for the first time in a week, thinking that my emotional state was at least back to the point where I could focus on poker on not the other trials and tribulations of my life. Thankfully for my bankroll I consciously avoided poker all of last week. I signed on to Full Tilt last night to play a bit online, and it seems that I'm not as able to focus at home as I am at the casino right now. I think it's the combination of being at home (Randy is still living here while finding a new place to live) and the iTunes factor. I was definitely off my game, and took a couple dings to the online bankroll as a result.

Not much happened at Empress. I played for 4 hours until the poker room closed for the night, and ended up down $47 (-4.7 BB) at $5/10. Not once did I go to showdown with a losing hand, but I very rarely found myself at showdown. If you figure that I saw about 3 orbits of play per hour, that's at least $21/hour spent in blinds ($5 big+ $2 small = $7 x 3). So, at least I outran the blinds.

I won two nice pots that kept me afloat. The two times in the 4 hours that I saw pocket pairs, they flopped sets: 3's and 5's. With the 3's, I cold-called a preflop raise in position. Four people had already limped into the pot, and the button and blinds were still to act after me. The guy that raised was immediately to my right, and was a solid player. Not too many players at Empress earn that designation - at least not too many I've played with. So I knew this guy had a premium hand. He was very TAG. I figured, though, if I could flop my set, I could probably crack him off, and because it's a general rule that if you limp into a pot you HAVE to call the raise behind you, I knew all of the previous limpers would come along for the $10. The blinds were also likely to call, so I was looking at a pot of at least $80 preflop, including my reds. With odds of 7:1 against flopping my set, the pot looked about right.

Glory be, I flopped my set. I was calling down to keep as many of the other people in the pot as possible (risky with a low set, yes, but there were no straight or flush draws possible). On the turn, the last of the former limpers folded, so I was heads-up with the original raiser. I raised him on the river, and he knew he was beat. He sighed and broken-heartedly folded. I showed him my 3's, and he patted the felt. "Nice hand," he said. "You had me all the way." I think he had AK, and flopped a K. I don't normally show hands, but I appreciated his pain, and he wasn't the type of player that I felt bad about giving the info that he made a good laydown. He was getting cracked off all night, and I hoped he could at least go home thinking that he played well despite his bad luck. We've all had those days.

Believe it or not, I'm thinking of breaking my "no live poker on Saturdays" rule today. Empress is closed on Saturdays, but Resorts isn't.... We'll see what the day brings.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Congrats to my friend Ed, who is on quite a roll with the $5/rebuy tourneys on PokerStars. I think Ed needs to start a blog and share some of his secret strategies :)

Ed's Second Win

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It would be wrong to ask you why
Because I know what goes inside
Is only half of what comes out
Isn't that what it's about?
To remind us we're alive
To remind us we're not blind
In that big, black hole
Digging the grave, I got it made
Let something in, or throw something out?
You left the door open wide

I know you have a reason why
The knot is better left untied
I just went and undid mine
It takes some time
And the shadows so big
It takes the sun out of the day
And the feeling goes away
when you close the door