Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Office vultures and loving Doyle

Tis the season...

Gifts from vendors have started to arrive in the office. When a big box gets delivered, everyone gathers to see what treasures it contains. Wine (the favourite, but difficult to share), chocolate, cookies, fruit…it all gets ooooohed and ahhhhed over before it gets ripped open and devoured.

Clearly we need more excitement in our days.

I’m going to try not to gain 48765803876lbs this season.


I started writing some commentary about Monday’s High Stakes Poker episode, but it got boring so I deleted it al, because really, all I want to say is I heart Doyle Brunson.

My favourite Doyleism was actually from last week’s episode. After Jamie Gold and Farha made fools out of themselves over the AA v KK hand, Doyle (after referring to them as Dumb and Dumber) turned to Barry Greenstien and muttered:

“If my Daddy knew I was a loser in this game he’d roll over in his grave”

Oh Doyle, you had me at Dumb and Dumber.

This week I loved how he handled Guy Laliberte not wanting to turn over his hand when Doyle called his huge check-raise on the turn. The pot was over $800,000. Doyle said:

“You don’t want to turn over your cards after you asked to see mine? Ok” and shrugged.

He totally called Guy out, without being a jerk about it. Guy turned over his cards.

Class and a quick wit – not much more you can ask for in a man. Oh, and he has nice, warm hands too ;)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Easy come, easy go

Working from home on Thursday brought a lovely side effect – lunchtime poker. I convinced Banky to play a $5 HORSE sng with me. Big mistake – he busted me on (or near) the bubble. At least he took second place ;)

When my ‘work day’ was done, I decided to play way above my roll (as I am occasionally known to do), and crushed the 15/30 OHL game. I quadrupled my buy-in (which, incidentally, more than doubled my roll on FullTilt). Wheeeeee

I know one shouldn’t risk so much of their bankroll on one game. But my offline bankroll is more than sufficient. And sometimes I just get sick of the small stakes. I’m a gambler at heart.

The league game that night was disappointing as usual. When the blinds were 150/300, we had 6 players left and we were all shortstacked. I was the chipleader at one point, with less than 10 times the Big Blind. There’s so much wrong with the structure of the game, and I really don’t have fun there anymore. The people I really liked have stopped coming, and last week the ONLY person talking it up and trying to have a good time was Banky. Everyone else was sitting there stonefaced. BO-ring. Anyhoo…

That lead to Friday and what is quickly becoming the most therapeutic game I play…Kat’s Donkament. I like being able to act silly and not care about the results. Last week I think I was in for $15 bucks. This week, I didn’t have to rebuy once. The poker gods were on my side. I ended up losing to Carson when my hammer lost to AceJack. I think that was hammer karma hitting me because I told Astin that his hammer was no goot. Ooops!

Saturday I thought I was the shiznit and tried to repeat my OHL crushing, and was crushed instead. I lost 2 buyins…gross. But I was still up for the weekend, so I was able to keep it in perspective. The only bad part is, after riding the variance train on Thursday, I cashed out a bug chunk of change, so with the loss on Saturday,my FT balance is back on the paltry side. Ah well, time to rebuild...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'd rather be eating turkey

While many of my poker blogging brethern are enjoying a day filled with family, turkey and football – I’m working at home due to some terrifically crap-tastic driving conditions.

I’m pretty lucky that I have the kind of job where the occasional work-from-home day is acceptable, because 2+ hours each way = my personal hell.

Pokering has been ok lately. Banky and I went to a game on Saturday night that did not end well. I busted just before the bubble, and Banky on the bubble. I really didn’t care, but Banky was really ticked off about how card dead he was – and it showed. It was kind of uncomfortable, especially since I started dealing after I busted out. I know I’m not personally responsible for the cards I dealt out, but somehow I felt like I was pouring salt in the wounds. Not pretty. I think his reaction was less about this game in particular, and more about how bad he’s been running lately. Bubble after bubble can wear you down.

Good news is, the bubble streak was broken when he won Woody’s on Monday. Of course, he took me out along the way. Punk.

Now for the bad news. Banky and I are out for Vegas. There are a bunch of reasons….but ultimately it’s just not the right time for us.

Hopefully we can organize some sort of GTA-Vegas get-together in the near future...we have a swank poker room. Ok, it’s a folding poker table in our basement, but still, the invite is open…

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Blogroll updates + pimpage

I've been catching up on my blog reading, and realized that I've been remiss in updating my blogroll with some bloggers I've started (and restarted) reading...

Bam-Bam in Bedrock. My favourite TuckFard has a cave of his own.

Jusdealem. Been reading this gal for awhile now.

Kajagugu. I started reading Kaja after we played in Kat's donkament.

And to my complete delight - I've redicovered Grubby. I've been checking his pokerworks blog daily and haven't seen an update since September. I decided to check his old blog, and discovered that he and Grubette have been blogging faithfully there. Grubby was the first poker blog I ever read. It's been great catching up on his posts.


The new issue of Truckin' is out.

November 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 11And we're back...

Existentialist Conversations with Strippers: The Afternoon Shift by Paul McGuireThe club was just the type of seedy place where you might find William Kennedy Smith or any other soused heirs to the Kennedy name, knocking back cheap scotch at 3 pm while aggressively fondling the sketchy girls with visible c-section scars and multiple fresh bruises all over their cracked-out bodies.... More

Lonesome Cowboy Bill by AlCantHangMy comfort zone is a dive rock club where I can chain smoke, power drink, and have my head assaulted with decibels equivalent to a jumbo jet taking off. The next step down the ladder would be the pubs and bars the exist for sole purpose of its patrons getting blitzed on various hardcore drinks. Then comes the sports bars, strip clubs, snooty yuppie bars, and hotel watering holes. Near the very bottom would generally be any place that plays country music... More

Seven Minutes with Olga by Change100Olga led me all the way to the back and sat me down. She took her top off and grabbed my hands, placing them on her very soft, very real breasts... More

The Sleep Deprived Memoirs of I by Sigge S. AmdalI might as well go to sleep, I thought. And I thought about sleeping forever, the eternal sleep, and how it could feel – was it cold or was it cozy – had it not been for facts contesting life after death in terms of subjectively sensory experience... More

Their Father's Love by Sean A. DonahueTying to explain the differences and the complaints of a failed marriage is too complicated for a four-year old to understand. I think I heard the phrase, "But why daddy?" more than I ever thought I could. But it wasn't my kids' fault... More

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Aussie Millions Adventure

My Aussie Millions adventure happened so serendipitously, it’s like it was meant to be. Like Sonny and Cher. Only without the divorce part. Or the skiing into trees. That wouldn’t really be serendipitous. Anyhoo…

*insert flashback waves here*

I’ve never been the greatest poker player. But I love the game. The competition, the camaraderie, the challenge.

When Al teamed up with FullTilt Poker to give bloggers a chance to win their way into the Aussie Millions, I knew it was probably my only chance at a major tourney. My biggest problem was trying to play the BBToo events. My early morning starts at my corporate job (and my general love of sleep) coupled with a killer cold in early November put me out of commission for many of the tournaments. But buoyed by the idea that even a blind squirrel can occasionally find a nut, I entered a few, and by the luck of Jebus, I finally won one!

The hand that won me the game went something like this:

Limp with 45o, get quads, get paid off.

Many people have questioned the pre-flop limp with 45 offsuit UTG. But what can I say? Women’s intuition, suckahs, women’s intuition.

Of course, that only won me into the big game. I was worried. How could I beat the field full of poker blogging elite? I figured my only way to win was to lucksack it, so lucksack it I did.

When, late in the game, I was dealt 45o UTG. I knew it was my time. We were 3 handed, and I had my opponents both slightly out-chipped. I raised and they both called. The flop came 2,3,6 rainbow. All the money went in, and my opponents showed KK and AA.

It’s good to be lucky.

The 45o was officially renamed “the tart”. Well, my opponents tried to call it “that f’ing b--ch”, but I’m calling it “the tart”.

So with my lucksack packed, Banky and I boarded the plane to Australia.

Banky had 3 big agenda items for Australia:
1. Eat some kangaroo
2. Climb into a eucalyptus tree and hang with koalas
3. Dress in drag and lip synch to Abba in the outback.

Banky's kind of weird that way. Makes me love him more.

I only had one agenda item – take the fooker down!

I was extremely intimidated playing the event.

At my first table I had one pro I knew (Gus Hansen – hubba hubba), and a bunch of internet people that I had never heard of. They don’t typically play the $2 +$0.15 heads-up SNGs on FullTilt like I do. But apparently they are pretty big in teh interweb poker. I nursed my stack for awhile until I pushed in with, AKc, got called by AA and KK, and caught a flush. Wheeeeeeeee! I never heard a Dane swear so much in my life.

Honestly, I can’t remember much from the rest of the hands that lead up to the final table. I do, however, remember seeing a lot of head shaking and hearing the phrases “on the f-ing river” and “caught a 2 outer!” over and over. *shrug*

By the time I made it to the final table, I was ready for a nap. Poker is hard!

My final table featured hometown favourite Joe Hachem, Phil Ivey, Allen Cunningham and some other dudes. I was surprised when they all showed up decked in hats and shirts from various poker sites. I tracked down a FullTilt rep and asked what was up…

Tart: Um. Hi. So. No one approached me to wear a FullTilt hat or anything.
FullTilt Marketing Lackey: Ahhhh…yeah. About that. *looks around skittishly* We’ve, uh, watched your play, Tart. And uh, we at FullTilt want to promote poker as a game of skill.
Tart: Yeah?
FTML: Um. Right. And we think it’s best if we associate ourselves with skillful players.
Tart: Sweet! I’m a 2XL. Can I get a hockey jersey with “TART” on the back?
FTML: *cough*

Needless to say, the hockey jersey didn’t arrive before filming started. I guess it takes awhile to get them personalized.

When final table play started, I was pretty nervous. I had Cunningham on my left, Ivey on my right, and Joe right across the table from me. For the first hour, I couldn’t play to save my life. My hands were constantly shaking, every time I raised I got re-raised and folded. It was brutal. And that’s when I realized that I was actually trying to outplay these guys. How stupid! That’s not how I won my way here, that’s not how I survived the days leading up to the final table…I made my way here by relying on my natural gift – lucksackery!

But I was so intimidated. Could I really donk-it-up here, on TV, against Ivey, Cunningham, Hachem and the dudes? The only way to find that answer was through alcohol, and lots of it. So I ordered up a round of tequila shots. For reasons unbeknownst to me no one else partook. In my neck of the woods, we call those people wusses.

Now that I was feeling libatious, I loosened up. I don’t think Cunningham liked it when I called him Doogie Howser. I guess that’s what made him call my all-in. How was he to know I flopped a full house with J6? Anway, who goes all in with a straight and expects it to hold up, Doogie?

Some other dudes went out, and it was down to me, Phil, and Joe. Now Joe, I wasn’t worried about. I’ve watched him on TV many times and no one, and I mean no one, gets sucked out on more than Joe Hachem. If it got down to me and Joe heads-up, I was sure I could squeeze out at least a 6 outer in him. But Phil was trickier, he kept avoiding me. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t tilt him. I tried calling him Tiger. I tried asking him for golf tips. I even tried imitating him at the table. All I got were sore eyeballs, and a dwindling stack.

Here’s where my uber-luck kicked in. Joe and Phil got into a big pot with A 8 8 on the flop. When the dust cleared, Joe with his quads 8s had knocked out Phil with his Aces full.

I congratulated Joe

Tart: Whoa nice suckout, Joe!
Joe: Roight.

I offered to chop the money with him, and shockingly, he declined. So we went into battle. I knew I needed to reach into my reserves – so I ordered another round of tequila shots. Joe declined. I advised him that the buggery might not be so painful if he imbibed, but he chose not to take my advice.

Heads-up lasted 2 hours, and it was the most painful 2 hours of Joe’s life. He would whittle me down and I’d suck-out to double up. He spent a lot of time pacing back and forth, hiding his eyes from the flops, and wincing as my cards magically turned into boats, flushes, and straights before his eyes.

The crowd was growing hostile. Banky took off his “I’m with Tart” t-shirt and started waving an Australian flag, lest he be mauled by frenzied Australians.

Finally, it came down to the last hand. Joe, sick of trying to outplay me post flop (because really, how can you outplay a lucksack?), pushed all-in. I looked down at two black Aces. The poker player in me leaped with joy. But then the lucksack in me filled with dread.

I’d made it this far by coming from behind. I’d sucked out my way to this, the pinnacle of my poker career. I’d be going against everything that had worked for me thusfar. But I had the best hand in poker. Pocket Rockets…the hand you wish for every time you peel back the corners of your hole cards, the hand that makes your heart do a little jig when there’s been a raise before you, the hand that you can legitimately say was the favourite pre-flop. I couldn’t NOT play these cards, could I?

I can only blame the tequila.

I called Joe’s all-in.

He showed KingJack.

Flop – Jack, Jack, Jack.

The crowd goes wild.

Ace on the turn.

The crowd groaned. Joe began to sweat through his dress shirt and khakis. Banky started to giggle. Could this be it? Could this be the suck-out of all suck-outs?

2 on the river.

Joe Hachem wins the Aussie Millions, and I take second. No sponsorship. No title. But I do console myself with a whole chunk of second place dough.

Banky comes over and gives me a hug. Joe, being the consummate gentleman, shakes my hand. The Aussies in the audience quietly put away the Tart effigy they were about to light afire. I’m actually a little relieved I didn’t win – had an Ace fallen on that river, I’m not sure I would have made it out of the casino alive.

After getting my cheque, Banky and I quickly exit the Crown Casino, put on our high heels and head for the outback.

*end flashback waves*

And so ends my Aussie Millions adventure. I didn’t win enough to quit my day job. But I did win enough to fix up the house, get Banky a sweet Jacuzzi, and take a trip to Europe.

Life is pretty sweet these days.

Although I’m still waiting for my FullTilt hockey jersey.

Friday, November 09, 2007


What I’ve been up to for the past two weeks:

Coughing, sniffling, sneezing
Week 3 of being sick. I called in sick today, because my head felt as if my brain had been removed, and then placed inside a skull two sizes two small. I just want to feel normal again. My desire to play the BBToo events has been surpassed by my desire to sleep.

Turning into a domestic goddess
I was feeling pretty bored with our standard dinner routine, so I picked up Jamie Oliver’s newest cookbook (Cook with Jamie) and I got pretty inspired. I made gnocchi with meat sauce one night. How I lived this long without discovering the yummy, potatoey goodness of gnocchi is beyond me. I also made coleslaw another day, and it was freakishly good.

Reading up a storm
I finished Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (on audio), and started Neverwhere…I love discovering a new author and going through their backlist. I’m also reading (in print) Ken Follett’s World Without End. It’s a quasi-sequel to Pillars of the Earth, which is one of my all-time favourite books. It was the first book I ever read where as I was coming to the end, I was happy that the story was coming to a conclusion, but sad that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it longer. I didn’t even know the sequel was coming until Banky pointed it out in a flyer we got at the house one night. I was so excited…and the next day, I came home from work and Banky had picked it up for me.

Eating far too much Halloween candy
Damn you snack-size Kit-Kats and your tempting chocolate waferness!

Playing poker (of course)
I came in second at Woody’s on Monday…which puts me in the lead for the year. Woody tracks all the money finishes for the year, and the person who wins the most money is crowned the champ and gets all the rights and priviledges associated with champitude…picture on the wall in his basement, cheesy trophy, and of course bragging rights. As the only woman who plays in the very testosterone-charged game…I’m salivating to be the champ. I also won the Thursday league last night for the first time in a long time. I was so happy at the end of the game, because I went into heads-up at a huge chip disadvantage, and I absolutely schooled my opponent. I felt so in control of the game. It was awesome.

Banky and I have a busy weekend coming up. It’s his 32nd birthday tomorrow, and we’re celebrating with our families on Sunday, because it’s my uncle’s 60th birthday on Sunday, and my aunt is having a party for him on Saturday. Very convoluted.

I still have to figure out what to get Banky for his birthday, and what to cook for the family on Sunday. If I still feel as sick as I feel now, I sense a nice big order of Thai food in my future…