Sunday, December 24, 2006

My Return to a Live Casino

Since the in laws are in town and Michele needed a break, I offered to take them to Casino Arizona. I have not played in a casino since before Jake was born in November. I think the last time I played was at the Gila River in that disaster of an Aces and Faces promotion. Bad memories.

This time I was called into a 4-8 Hold'em game after 10 minutes. My table was incredibly passive. It seemed like "raise" was a dirty word. Within the first orbit I saw pocket Kings and Ace-King limp into the pot preflop.

I won a good sized pot early on the big blind with Q-2. The flop was 7-2-2 rainbow with 6 players in the pot. I checked and let the player on my right do the betting for me. A Queen on the river and I was raking in a $60 profit.

Gradually the cards went cold for an hour and I leaked away my profits. Then in a couple of hands I picked up A-9 on the button, flopped an Ace and won a small pot. Then I picked up pocket Kings in a 5 way pot and had one caller all the way to the river. So I was back up to a $50 profit.

By this time it was 12:50 pm and I was supposed to meet up with the in laws in 10 minutes. I decided to hit the restroom and scan the casino to see if I could figure out where they were. It didn't take long as I found them on the slots, trying to win a new car. They were ready to go, so I told them I would hit the head and then cash in my chips and go.

I brought a couple of racks to the table as they were just starting another hand. The dealer saw me standing behind my chips and dealt me in. They had finally filled the 3 open spots on the table since I had left, so it almost looked like a new table. I figured I'd play one last hand while I racked up the chips. I was dealt the Kd-Td in middle position. I figured limping was safe since nobody was raising. A couple of others came along for the ride and we were 5 handed.

The flop was 2-3-4 with 2 diamonds. A big black man in a nice cream colored suit with a vest and some bling lead out from the big blind. The player on my right called, I called, and 2 others called as well. I could have raised on a draw, but it wasn't the nut draw and I felt like protecting my profit. The turn was a 4 of diamonds completing my flush. The black man bet again, one fold, and I raised. Everyone else folded back to the initial better who grudgingly called. The river was the Queen of diamonds putting 4 diamonds on the board. My opponent cursed and slammed down his hand for a check. Sometimes that is an acting job when someone is slow playing a full house and hoping for a check raise. I don't have a read on him, so I have to take the small chance that my hand is still good and bet it. He called and turned over 5-6 for a flopped straight. My hand is good and I get to leave with a $122 profit.

That guy didn't know what hit him. Tall white dude comes back to the table, plays one hand, and takes half my stack. Now he's leaving! "I'm gonna kill that whitey!" At least that's what I imagine he was saying in his head.

Overall, I felt a little rusty. I had some trouble concentrating on the play when I wasn't in the hand. There was so much limping that I got discouraged from trying to put players on hands because they could be playing any 2 cards. I'm glad I won and hopefully I won't have to play live again until I go to Vegas for Brady's bachelor party in January.

On a much more sour note, I lost another golf match to Bill last Friday. I am now down 3-1. The weather was absolutely miserable with light rain and a high temperature of about 50 degrees.

I had a one stroke lead going into #9. I hit my standard slice drive to the right by the practice area, while Bill hit his drive a little less right, but was still going to have tree trouble. I couldn't go for the green due to a tree right in front of me, but I could punch it out, around the tree and get pretty close to the green. That's what I did and I was 10 yards off the green on the left with a ton of green to work with for my pitch shot. Bill had managed to put himself in the right bunker. I was really thinking I would get up and down when I hit my 52 degree wedge. Unfortunately, I hit it way too hard and I ran by the pin and off the green. Now I am short sided with a pitch to an elevated green that runs away from me. Bill meanwhile hits another great bunker shot to 5 feet and makes the putt. I pitch up and miss the 15 footer coming back for double and now I am down one.

I was down 2 going into 14 when the wheels came off. Bill hit a crappy 2 iron off the tee but he was in play. I hit 5 wood trying to keep the ball on the grass and off of Osborn Road. I hit it like a pussy and it sliced to the right and out of bounds. My 3rd shot was almost a carbon copy except it hit a tree on the right and stayed in play. I could not hit it directly at the green because of the tree, so I tried to hit a miracle 3 wood and hope it sliced into the green. Of course when I want the ball to slice it goes straight. I track it down and then hit my punch shot chunky, hit another pitch, putt from off the green, and tap in for an 8. Bill had only managed a 6, but it was enough for the win.

I finished with a 90 which is just terrible. There was a stretch earlier this year where I had not shot in the 90's for something like 20 rounds. Now I can't seem to shoot bogey golf. I haven't been this mad after a round of golf in a long time.

Bill was playing on a surgically repaired knee and shot an 84. It's not like Bill is playing that great, it's just that I can't seem to put two good shots together anymore. I guess I'll just keep working on my game. I will probably try to stretch out the next few matches so I can get my game in order before I fall hopelessly behind.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

When can I play poker?

There is still not much personal poker to write about for the last week. I bought a new laptop, mostly because I needed a faster chip to run the film editing software I have, and I have been trying to get everything from my old computer on to the new one. This includes poker software and poker tracker.

I finally have that done, but Michele's parents are in town and we have been trying to entertain them. I felt a little self conscious firing up a couple of sit and go's on the computer while my inlaws were on the couch watching tv.

Mother in law: "What is Larry doing on the computer?"
Michele: "He's playing poker"
Mother in law: "Is it for real money?"
Michele: "yep"
Mother in law: "Why is he playing on two different screens?"
Michele: "Sometimes he plays in two or three games at the same time"

On and on and on. The good news is that the 2 table sit and go I was playing went well and I won the whole thing for a $100 profit on the night.

I was supposed to play golf and maybe a little poker last Friday out at Fort McDowell. On Thursday at work I started to feel naseous and feverish. It got worse at night and I was running a fever of 101 degrees. I gobbled some Tylenol and went to bed. On Friday morning, I felt better, but not good enough to play golf or go to work. So I missed my free round of golf. The good news is I felt almost 100% by the end of Friday and I was back to full strength on Saturday.

Since I was feeling good, I played golf on Saturday with the Noon Group at the club. My pairing was a little intimidating as I was paired with the club pro, Adam. We also had a 4 handicap and another 0 handicap, and me with my big 10 handicap. I was happy to be paired with Adam though so he could see my progress on my golf swing.

I had a lesson with him last Wednesday where he told me to stand closer to the ball again and stand up straighter. He also noticed that my right knee was straightening, which was causing a slight reverse pivot. For some reason, he became obsessed with increasing my wrist cock and lag into the hitting area. I know that is a big key on hitting the ball farther, but it seemed like the least of my problems in my mind. He had me doing a silly drill that was supposed to help me release the club. I was not getting it and it ate up all the time in my lesson. I did not even get to hit a driver for him.

So I wasn't expecting much on Saturday from my round of golf. The good news was that I hit it pretty well off of the tee. The bad news was that my short game was atrocious and I fired a 3 month high of 91. Adam did say it looked like I made some good swings with the driver, coming at the ball from the inside.

Hopefully I will get to work on it a little more after work today.

In other poker news, Joe Hachem just won the Bellagio 5 Diamond WPT Event for $2.1 MM. I am incredibly impressed. He even beat Daniel Negreanu when it was 3 handed. Poker is like golf for me in this sense. There are brief moments where you feel like a pro and make a good shot or make a good read in a card game. Then you see the pros do something incredible and you realize you have a long way to go to get that good.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Golf Bet Update

Bill and I played a week ago. Again, neither one of us played really well. I basically screwed the pooch on the second hole by putting my tee shot in the water and then 3 putting. Bill birdied and those 4 strokes were the difference.

In the middle of the round I had shaved his lead to 1 stroke, but never tied it up. Bill tried his best to make it interesting on the last 2 holes by bogeying 17 and double bogeying 18. I had a chance to make up a stroke on 17, but I left my pitch shot short and in the bunker. I played 18 great and almost holed my approach to the par 5. I made the 5 footer for birdie to end on a good note.

Bill had knee surgery 3 days after our round. He has yet to have the follow up visit with the doctor, but he says his knee feels great. Our next match may be as close as 2 weeks away.

Since I had a severe case of the "rights" off the tee, I am taking another lesson with the Club Pro, Adam on Wednesday. I think I have figured out that my backswing is still way too flat. Thumbs up and feel like I am trying to hit a slice, should fix the problem. I actually fooled around with my video camera last weekend and figured out that I am not quite where Adam wanted me from the last time I worked with him.

I am playing a great course named We Ko Pa on the Fort McDowell Reservation on Friday thanks to an Annuity Wholesaler. I'll probably waste a really good score playing with my co-workers, but that's the way golf is.