Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oklahoma Trip Report 2011

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died. - Steven Wright

We gently toasted ourselves in the warm Dallas air that reminded me of a convection oven. I had been anticipating the trip to Oklahoma all day as we grilled and smoked three of the main food groups – beef, chicken, and pork. Although, I love BBQ – we just couldn’t get on the road soon enough. Plus, true enjoyment of BBQing (at least for me) involves beer and I did not want to start consuming so far in advance of the journey. After initially thinking I would sport the smoke laden clothes I had been in all day to the card room, I showered and changed at the urging of my lovely wife. She thinks most poker players are slobs and constantly worries about me becoming one or resembling one. So, sufficiently cleaned up, we wolfed down some more tasty BBQ and left to obtain beer and friends before heading up into Okie land.

The approx. one hour drive up I-35 from the Colony went by swiftly as my friends and I talked poker the entire way. They are solid players that have enjoyed some success in tourneys, as well as, cash games at the Winstar. One thing they reminded me of was how good the food comp is. A player gets $8.80 for each 8 hours played but can use the first $8.80 as soon as one is seated at a table (and every item on the poker room menu is at or below $8.80).

I couldn’t help but smile as we walked into the poker room. I had forgotten how massive this poker room really is. The Chickasaw Nation has done a great job on their poker room at the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, OK. They have 46 tables and were spreading 1-2, 2-5, and 5-10 NLHE (as well as a couple levels of Omaha). It was amazing. I was completely surrounded by poker and poker players. I was literally immersed in the sound of chips, the murmur of the masses, the announcement of available seats, the friendly and competent staff… was almost (gasp) like Vegas but bigger.

This room is THE north Texas destination for poker players. My only complaint is about the beer. It has the lowest possible alcohol content and, here’s the worst part, you have to buy it. It is not provided for gamblers the way it is everywhere else I have played.

I am seated quickly and within a few orbits, I had sized up the table. There were no players I perceived to be my superiors and several that seemed to be fish. It was time to go to work. As usual for live 1-2 NLHE, there was a lot of limping and I started making raises in position followed by C-bets on the flop. They worked to perfection but before long, some of the observant players starting playing back at me (perfect). I double up within the next 30 minutes and now I cover all but one player at my table. I increase the size of my opening bets to build bigger pots and enable me to apply more pressure post flop. I am ready to play for their whole stack and continue using SPR to my advantage. A few players bust but the table fills right back up with fresh money. I feel confident and in the zone. Rather than bore you with actual hands, I will simply say that time flies by and before I know it, my crew is telling me it’s time to go. So, I rack out (up 4 buy ins) and we head back to Texas. The ride is uneventful but gives us all time to unwind and allow the charge that comes with playing poker to subside before settling in for a peaceful nights rest. As usual, I can’t wait to do it again.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Don’t Rapture Me, Bro.

Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There's nothing to do but to stand there and take it. – Lyndon B. Johnson

That’s pretty much how I felt about the prospect of the Rapture occurring over the weekend. If it happened, all one can do is stand there and take it. Being reared as a staunch protestant here in Texas, talk of the end times was common amongst the church folk. That subject frequently dominated the table talk at the popular “dinner on the grounds” we enjoyed on the first Sunday of each month. I would sit there devouring piece after piece of fried chicken (long before the chicken nugget was even imagined) and listen to the various ideas of how it might go down and wondering what I would do. Therefore, I have had a plan for a long time. If I really believed the world was ending, I would fire up my pit and start grilling. No sense leaving the Earth on an empty stomach. I've always liked steaks and doubted there was enough grass in Heaven to keep livestock well fed so my last meal was decided upon long ago. Following through, just in case, I enjoyed some extra thick bone in ribeye steaks before the Saturday home game. If the Rapture really was to occur, I was going out while playing cards and drinking beer. By the fourth hour of the game, it became apparent that if it was still going to occur, it was going to be later than announced. Some wondered aloud if it was just to build up the excitement, sort of how some rock stars like to wait an hour or two after the stated start time for the show to finally appear on stage. Thankfully, the date came and went without a bang.

So, what have I been doing since the untimely demise of online poker as we knew it?

Well, I have been playing a lot more live poker. I have been re-reading some good poker books. I have also been playing online poker on Bodog. Yes, you heard me right, playing online poker. Bodog is still offering online poker for real money to US players. Even though they are still only a fraction of the size of Stars, their traffic has increased lately and most importantly, they are open for business. So, come on over to Bodog and see what’s happening. While you’re there, tell em, Lucypher sent you.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Regarding Black Friday and the Bitter Aftermath

By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest. - Confucius

There have been many times in my life that I have regretted being right; this is certainly another one of those times. I have suggested (on this blog, in comments on other blogs, and on 2+2 ) for a long while that it would be better for online poker to be officially recognized as legal, to be regulated by the government, and (yes) taxed. This would have ensured our collective ability to play online poker indefinitely. Sure, we would have to pay the appropriate taxes on winnings, but we should have been doing that anyway. There were many (often rational) voices out on the web that decried the idea that official legitimacy would be a good thing for online poker and thought that legalization would be worse than the nebulous status we used to enjoy pre-Black Friday. Well friends, what say ye now?