Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spencer High School -- Class of 1992!!

No Poker! No Gambling! Not in this blog entry. Going to focus this blog entry about my upcoming high school reunion...

This week was very eventful. I confirmed my attendance my 20-year High School Reunion to Spencer High School  in Columbus, GA! I can't believe it's been 20 years since I was in high school. Time really flies..To quote the great Ferris Beuller, "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and looking around. You could miss it." That's how I felt the past 20 years have been. I can remember vividly my a hot and muggy night. I don't remember feeling nostalgic about my high school days, just wondering what the next chapter in my life would end up. I remember saying goodbye and salutations to my friends and wishing them good luck. It was like the end of an era and the beginning a new chapter.

I didn't keep track of my classmates, until I became friends with many of them on Facebook...It's amazing what some of the graduating class of 1992 are doing now. One, owns a Photography studio JB Hedges...looks like it's very successful. One, owns a very successful business, who even blogs about his success and helping others have successful: Two guys are successful military officers in the United States Army. One of which is very prominent on Facebook, telling us what he does and what's on his mind every 2 seconds...Sorry Ray, had to needle ya a little bit.

Although I knew a lot of people in high school, I wouldn't say I had a lot of close friends, because I was a very introverted person. I was beyond shy!! Although I think I'm more outgoing nowadays, I was the typical teenager who didn't fit in with one particular group, but didn't wasn't a total outsider. I was friendly with everyone and they were friendly to me, so I never had enemies.

A few months ago, my fellow Spencerians formed a 20-year reunion committee. Invitations was out, the buzz was loud, but I wasn't sure if I was going. First of all, The reunion would be in Columbus, GA. I live way out in Las Vegas, NV....Would I be willing to spend the plane ticket to see people I rarely hung out with when I was in high school?? Initially, I wasn't going to go...but as time went on and as I was thinking about the memories of Spencer High School. I must say I had a lot of good thoughts about that school.

You see, despite the awkwardness most teenagers are (myself included), the memories of High school are some of the best times in your lives. It's high school where you develop you social skills, where you begin to learn about yourself as a person. It's a place where you develop your first crush, but never pursued it cause you were extremely shy. It's a place where you gain respect for a particular teacher who believed enough in you to put you in a local contest even if you didn't think you deserved it but it helped you develop a strong confidence that your exhibit now...Thanks Mr. Hampton.

I'm proud to say I'll be attending my 20-year high school reunion, and I'll be happy to reacquaint myself with everyone I went to high school.. from my closest friends to acquaintances. I'm definitely gonna have fun while I'm there...and maybe..just maybe be a teenager for 2 days..I'm looking forward to laughing and reminiscing about four years of my life that partly made me the man I am today.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Poker Hands For Critique

This blog will be dedicated to some hands I've played the past couple of and tournaments...Every poker player is looking for improve their game. A poker player who thinks he/she knows it all is not a true student of the game. I, for one, is always looking to improve my poker game and getting advice from other players is the best way to do it:

Hand #1 (Aria) 1-3 No Limit

Typical Aria game, mixture of tight and loose players. I'm sitting behind a stack of $500 after a couple of hours...Limper UTG (Loose, bad player behind a stack of $200) calls,  I raise to $12 with AQ hearts....folded to a tight player in Small Player with around $120 calls...Limper calls...3 to the flop....Flop comes A 9 10 (two hearts). Small Blind check...Limper leads for $40...Limper has $160 behind after the bet, and I'm pretty much gonna play this hand fast...With the small blind lurking behind, I don't mind playing for stacks with such a strong hand against these two players. Even if I'm behind, I'm pretty sure I have a ton of outs even if I'm called...I decide to apply maximum pressure and raise-all in. To my surprise both the small blind and Limper calls!!! Shit!!! Small Blind turns over AK, Limper has A9....I need help!! Turn is a K river is a 4....I lose both pots!! I thought I played the hand correctly, but after analyzing the hand, I may have overplayed it...Thoughts??

Hand #2 (Ballys) 1-2 No Limit

Arrived at Ballys around 7:30AM to a table full of drunken morons with monster stacks and they were throwing chips in the middle like it was out of style! Probably one of the best tables I've ever been at! But this hand involved the only non-drunk at the table. A gentlemen who was a semi regular at Ballys, who I'd call a pretty solid player...I raise a couple of limpers to $15 behind $350 stack with KK...called by two of the drunks...The solid player is on Big blind, instantly shoves $100 in the middle! Limpers fold... Because he's a solid player I immediately put him on AA, but after further thought I believed he re-raised to fast to have that big a hand. In my experience, anyone who has AA and there is a raise in front of them, you'll see a lot of stalling (or "Hollywood") to try and show weakness! This is what I sensed he was doing. My range extended to now included AK, QQ or JJ. My plan of action (Albiet, a risky one) was to cold call the raise, and hope the two drunks would let go of their hands and I can play my KK in position against one player. If I got called by either drunk, I would proceed cautiously. But to my surprise and relief, both drunk limpers fold. So I'm heads up against solid player. My plan was to go All-in to any bet unless an Ace, Queen or Jack flopped!  The flop comes 2 3 4 rainbow....Solid player leads for $125...I go All in...he instantly calls....Board comes runs out a couple of bricks...I show my KK, he taps the table and mucks....Later he told me he has QQ....Not sure if I played this hand correctly, but I loved the results...

Hand #3 (Santa Fe) $10,000 Guarantee No Limit Tournament

This monthly tournament attracts a pretty tough crowd, but there are still some weak spots to make it worth your time. It's one of the better tournaments in Vegas! The structure is awesome and it's run very well. Although I haven't had much luck in this tournament (In fact, I NEVER HAVE LUCK at SANTA FE), it's still one of my favorite tournaments to play. This hand happened in the middle stages...Blinds are 400-800, 50 ante....Two limpers in front of me with over 40,000 Each...I raise in Middle position with AQ offsuit out of a 25,000 stack...Limpers call....Flop comes A84...Both limpers check....I decided to pot control and check behind...this is one of those "polarizing" boards where I'm either way ahead or way behind...There's not much turn cards I'm afraid of...The turn brings an 8 diamonds, which not puts two diamonds on the board. The first limper leads for 2,200...Second limper folds...I would characterized his player as weak-straight forward...I've seen him limps with all kinds of junk but fold if he doesn't flop anything...maybe he'll take one card off sometimes...I decided to just call and reevaulate the river...The river comes 3 diamonds, now he leads for 4,400....Dammit, I definitely put myself in a bind. He's definitely representing a flush. I didn't think he'd bet an Ace on the river, so there's not much I can beat out there...maybe AJ or A10, which I felt was in his limping range....My initial reaction was to fold, but I'm a stubborn guy, and I reluctly call...HE turns over 64 Diamonds for a rivered flushed...Damn!! Two mistakes is I should have raised for value on the turn especially if I put him on a weaker Ace and the fact that a flush came I should have made him pay dealer to draw. On the river, I need to go with my first read and go with it...Fold was the correctly play on the river...

Critiques please!! Thanks...

Friday, April 6, 2012


I hate bad beat stories!!!
I hate bad beat stories!!!
I hate bad beat stories!!!

Did I mention how I hate bad beat stories??

As a poker dealer, you hear kinds of stories that people "think" are "bad beat stories. It usually starts with I had "pocket Jacks" or "pocket Aces". Funny how it's all bad beats involves Jacks or Aces...never Kings or queens or 75 off suit. Dealing for 6 years, and hearing countless "bad beat" stories, you pretty much become immune to the next one. After a while, you learn to just nod your head and say, "I know what you mean."

I've been playing for 10 years and dealing for 6 years, and I wanted to take this time to tell you about my all time favorite bad beat story...I've told this story numerous times to other dealers, players, and anyone who wants to hear it's time to tell it to my blog readers. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoy telling it:

In 2002, I used to play 4-8 Limit at a casino called Boulder Station on the east side of town. It's a 98 percent locals room, which houses probably the juiciest game in the entire city...It's a 4-8 Limit Omaha-High only. The game has been featured in a Card Player article...despite the game being only 4-8 game, there have been times where the game as had as many chips on the table as a 2-5 No Limit game!!

Anyway back to the 4-8 Limit Hold em game..I used to play this game every Friday. No Limit cash games were non-existent in Vegas. At the time, there weren't many poker rooms in the city: Mirage and Bellagio were the big boys. The smaller rooms consisted of Flamingo, Circus Circus, and the old Stardust

Boulder Station is part of  the Station Casinos properties which catered to the local clienteles. At the time, the only station casinos with poker rooms were Sunset, Palace, and Texas Stations.  These poker rooms had a unique progressive bad beat jackpot where if a bad beat occurred (I.e. Quads loses to Quads), not only do the casino where the bad beat occurred gets the majority of the jackpot (I think it was $150,000 at the time)...every one playing in the other poker rooms gets a share. So let's say the bad beat hit at Sunset Station, if I'm playing at Texas Station, I get a piece of the bad beat. Since there were only 4 casinos participating at the time, the player's share sometimes reached in the thousands. The qualifications for the bad beat lowered week when it wasn't hit.

On this particular night, I remembered distinctly cause I had a good night, I think I won about $150, not sure if I played good or ran good, but I was ahead all night. Around midnight, this old gentleman took a seat next to me and bought in for a hundred. I remember him being very tight, and when he was in the hand...he lost pot after pot. I never saw him rake in a single pot...Then it happened...I remember him having 40 bucks when he raised's folded to the another player who re-raises...the old gentleman capped it...The flop came K-K-x.  The old man led out...the other player raised...he just called...the turn was another brick...He checks calls...The river brings an Ace...Suddenly the old man bets out...The other guy raises...he old man re-raises...other guys raises again...the old man puts his last 5 bucks....Hands are turned over guy turns over Pocket Kings for Quad Kings, the old man turns over pocket Aces for Aces Full of Kings. The entire table erupts, as the qualification was Aces full of Queens must be beaten... High fives are thrown around the table as if we just won the lottery. The floorman makes the call to the other poker rooms, surveillance had to verify the hand, players from other tables trickle to our table to witness the good fortune and when everything is said and done..The floorman announces that we have a bad beat Jackpot, and because the jackpot took place around 2AM the player share was over $2,000!!! Winning hand gets $10,000. Losing hand gets $22,000!!!...The poker room explodes with utter disbelief and excitement..everyone congratulates the old man, who's grinning ear to ear that never left his face..Mind you he still hadn't won a hand!!!

While the casino gathers the jackpot money, our poker game continues..the old gentleman pulls out another 100 bucks for more chips...Again, the old gentleman continues to lose...I think he played 4 hands after that and lost each one...Finally our money came...They give the old gentlemen his $22,000...and tips the dealer $3,000!! Extremely generous man....and continues to player for another hour...Still he hasn't won a SINGLE HAND!!! I loses another $100, and finally racks up his chips and leaves...

This guy hits the Bad beat jackpot without EVER WINNING A HAND!!!! But I never seen a guy so happy to lose!!

About a month later, they put a picture of him on the wall of fame with previous jackpot winners and if you look closely at this picture, you can see my chips on the right of him, with my $2,000 and two racks of white chips...

It's been a long time since I stepped foot in Boulder Station, so I'm not sure if that Wall of Fame still exsit, but whatever happens in my poker life...that night will go down as the greatest poker night I ever witnessed!!  I don't think I'll ever be a part of something so unique in poker...

What a fun night!!!!