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striving for poker mediocrity and life stories

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Dave Palm

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December 6th, 2008

I'm still here.

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Sorry for no posts in forever. I have been insanely busy at work. I almost forgot about this, but I just got an e-mail saying it was time to renew so I thought I'd drop a quick note.

Hope you're all well. I've been running bad, and am unsure if it's due to bad play or bad cards. It may be one of those times to take a week or two off again.

I'll try to get more regular updates starting soon.

Good luck ot you all.

October 9th, 2008

Sorry for the long delay. Work has been incredibly busy for me.  I’ve been waiting for a “happy time” where I could just block some time to do a post and just haven’t been able to find it.  I have either not been in a good mood or not had the time for I can’t remember how long.  I’ll try to catch you up.

I started playing again around mid-August and have been grinding up the bankroll like I started all over again.  I was flashing back to when I started a few years ago. I’d play ring games and if I made enough to play a tournament, I’d buy in. If not, I’d keep grinding away.

It’s a good thing my cash games were going well. I didn’t even realize it, but I just checked OPR and it took me 15 tries before my first cash after the layoff. That’s just tournament variance on a small scale. I can’t imagine guys who travel the circuit full time. I don’t see how it’s mathematically possible.

In September, I took a business trip to Kauai. I’d never been to that island before and it was beautiful. We thought about flying Kat out and staying a few extra days. By the time my company decided they wanted me to go, ticket prices were sky high. We checked into using frequent flyer miles for her ticket but they wanted 70k miles for coach. I thought that was outrageous. We could both fly first class to NY for 80k. We didn’t do it, but after being there, I’m kind of sorry we didn’t.

I was able to play some golf at the course at the Hyatt, where I was staying. It is definitely in the top five hardest courses I’ve ever played and probably top two beautiful. It seemed like every hole was uphill and into the wind. Anyway, it was a good trip overall.

The weekend I got back was the Manhattan Open. It’s usually the weekend after SurfFest in August, but they had to move it because of the Olympics. Once again, a friend of mine was able to come up with VIP passes to get Kat out of the sun and under the sponsors’ canopies in the boxes. Plus that comes with free food and drink, so that’s always a plus.

Finally, the Bicycle Casino has a deepstack poker series this time of year. I played a $60 tournament a week ago Sunday. It started with 7k in chips, 25/50 blinds, and 20-minute levels. I made it through the fourth break, but never really got any traction and ended up busting around 120th or so out of around 700ish.

I decided to take another shot this past Friday. They had a $120 entry. This one had $8k in chips and 20-minute levels. What a big difference.

Long story short; I played well and had the chips I needed to take some chances. I ended up taking 2nd in a chip deal with seven left and had my biggest cash ever. I even got my own player page out of it. I feel like Steve Martin in the Jerk, where he is shouting, “The phone books are here!”



I went to 10-handed with the chiplead at 885k. They put together a deal, but there was one player who held out. I agreed because the blinds were 25k/50k/10k antes and was offered better than 2nd place money. Plus I was due for the blinds on the 3rd and 4th hands, which would take 10% of my stack by the time I cleared the blinds. The final factor to my decision was that it was 6:30 AM. I had been up for about 25 hours and since 3:00 had about six Mountain Dews to keep me going. The last thing I wanted to happen was to be tired and miss a draw that hit, or not think something through clearly.

The guy who held out said he had a backer who was playing in the in the poker room and had to check with him first? A backer? Really? For a  $120 tournament? Whatever.

He ran down to the poker room, came back, and said, “deal the cards.” There were some serious eye daggers being shot his way by the other players. Unfortunately for me, he busted a player on the 2nd hand, and I called a raise from him in my BB with KQ. He bet the A-high flop and I had to fold.

When the third player busted and we were down to seven he said he would be open to a deal. I was pissed. Of course he was ready for a deal. He had the chiplead now. When it came to me, I was ready to say no. He basically cost me $2k. One of the other players was ready to hold out because he was getting around $450 less than he was offered before and he wanted 1st to make it up. I wasn’t going to hold out if I was the only one because it was after 7:00 by then but if he didn’t want to deal, I decided I’d side with him.

1st said he’d kick in $170 of the $450. I think he was getting $8,170 or something and would give up his extra change. He looked to me to make the difference and I told him he already cost me $2k and if he didn’t want to pony it up, let’s deal the cards. He finally gave in but even winning what I did, I was still steaming.

I can’t really bitch about it though. I maybe could have been more firm for the first deal. I think if I would have told him I wouldn’t agree to any deal until he or I was busted, he may have caved. It’s not a familiar situation for me, but I won’t make that mistake again.

All-in-all, I am very happy with the way I played. I never once got it all in behind with a chance of being eliminated. I did make one ill-timed raise with 5d7d and was forced to call an all-in getting 4.25:1. That hurt my image for a bit, but because I had a lot of chips, I could afford to make a few moves like that.

My first table was great. There were a couple players that pretty much had no clue, a couple that thought top pair was the nuts, and Chris Grigorian. I thought when we sat down I recognized him, but I thought it was from the cash games at the Hustler. He had a hat on backwards but after a few hands he turned it around and it said “Armenian Express” on it.

He doubled early and we only got into it one hand where he raised my big blind and I defended. I check-called the Q 7 3 flop and be when another Q hit the turn. He folded and flashed an ace before he did. I was pretty sure a K or 8 would  come to give me a pair on the river so it was a good fold by him.

That’s it for me. I have a home game at KJ’s on Saturday and am considering playing the final $120 at the Bike. It is their “player appreciation” tournament and they are adding $15k to the prize pool. That’s like a 150 player overlay. Unless I am really hurting from KJ’s game, I’ll hopefully have another report next week. It for sure won’t be two or three months again.

 Good luck at the tables….

August 8th, 2008

Here are some photos from Saturday.  It was  a tremendous time as expected.  I'll post details later.   I'm playing on FTP right now and watching a movie.


Batman and Robins


My buddy Steve from Kentucky with Barry Manilow


Kat really liked this one


Beach Volleyball Olympian Sean Rosenthal is usually on this team


View of the insanity from the pier.


That's Hot


Irish Eyes are Smiling


My Team Photo.  I couldn't talk the "old guys" into dressing up more crazy, but my friend Bill from Smack Sportswear did hook us up with matching shorts though.


August 2nd, 2008

Well, I was pretty true to myself not redepositing and playing poker.  I did cash in some Ironman medals to get a $26 token, had a baby cash there and lost it in a $26 and $11 a couple days later.

Other then that, I think I may have played the 2+2 freeroll last Sunday because it was HORSE.

We have company in town this weekend for SurfFest.  My blog entry covering last year's event is here.  This is the first year I haven't played open.  I put together a Masters team, which is all guys over 40.  We'll see how it goes.

I hope to get a proper entry up by mid-week with a total recap but thought I'd check in to let you know I hadn't fallen upon some horrific tragedy, or th earthquake didn't get me.

Until next time...


June 30th, 2008

Home ....

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I reread my mobile posts to see if I remembered anything, I may have omitted. It looks like I have the spelling capability of a 2nd grader (not putting down 2nd graders here). I just want to say that most of the mobile posts I typed while I was walking the hallways of the Rio between sessions. My typos make it hard for even me to read. I guess there’s no spell-check in LiveJournal mobile.

Before I forget, in the hand from my first satellite where the chipleader flopped quad fives against the 2nd biggest stack who went off on him for calling her push. She had KK.

Where did I leave off?

I think it may have been shots with Aaron Kanter and my new best friends at the table. Well, I did end up a pretty good winner in that session. We played until around 8:30 or so. It was quite the fun time.

After I woke up, I was deciding whether to play cash games or try one of the nightly tournaments. I decided I would try the 7:00 at Harrah's. It fit into my schedule and I could take the free shuttle from the Rio rather than pay for a cab or get my car from the Rio valet.

I decided to call them first to see what cash games they were spreading to play before the tournament. I guess they loaned all their extra dealers to the Rio for the WSOP because they told me there was no nightly tournament.

Since I wanted to get on the road relatively early on Monday and didn't want to be up all night, I decided to go down and play cash games at the Rio. I guess even during the WSOP Sunday nights are slow because I got lucky because they had immediate seating.

In the first few hands, there was a player who didn’t appear to really know what he was doing. He raised from EP and I called from the cutoff with AK. The flop was A88, I raised his bet and he called. The turn was a blank and he check-called. The river was an 8 and he check-called my push with A5 for a chop. I figured that was a good sign to see a player that weak at my table.

A few hands later, and before my first drink even arrived, the session was looking up. After an EP raise from the player with A5 in the previous hand and a call, I found 99 in the BB and called. The flop was a glorious K 9 x. I decided to bet out and the original raiser overpushed for way more than the pot. Something about the way he looked really gave me a bad feeling. I thought for about a minute, and even showed the dealer my hand and said I couldn’t believe I was even considering folding the hand.

Based on the previous hand, I called figuring he’d play AA or AK the same. Unfortunately for me, he did have KK and I failed to hit my 1-outer. That left me with about 30 BB and I decided I’d try to work it up and if I couldn’t, I’d go down and watch whatever final table was going on.

I ended up busting out about an hour later and called it a night. Even that was kind of weird. I got it in with KQ on a KJx board. Two players called me and checked the turn and river. I tabled my KQ and said I just had a K. One of the other players said that beat him, he just had a J and showed AJ. The other guy actually said that beat his jack then turned up J6. He then saw that the turn was a six and he really had two pair. He forgot what his kicker was and didn’t even bet when he hit his 2nd pair. He immediately went white and apologized to me for miscalling his hand and made sure I didn’t think he slowrolled me. I told him that was just the way the trip was going and I was done for the night.

I went down to the tournament area and checked out some of the goings-on for awhile, headed back to the room, packed, and crashed by midnight.

The trip home was uneventful except I pretty much had this blog entry done when my phone rebooted and I lost the last hour and a half’s worth of thumb-typed text. It looks like the partial may have posted for a short time, but I took it down when I got home until I could get this entry posted.

I feel like I lived the live of the poker player for five days. The first night I was already playing poker all night and sleeping until almost noon. By the fourth day, I was completely over it. I’ll leave it to someone else. It’s OK to do for a short time once in awhile, but I think I’m a guy who needs more structure and I don’t think there’s any way I could ever even consider doing it full time, even if I didn’t suck.

After the trip, I’m even kind of burnt out on poker. I think I may take the month of July off. I have a ton of stuff to do around the house hopefully in preparation for our adoption to move forward, plus Harrington’s cash games books arrived just before I went to Vegas and I’d like to get through them.

My biggest party of the year is coming up the first weekend in August (see videos).   It's as big or bigger than any tailgate party.  I think I’m just going to take off until then and jump back on the horse in August. Unless something big happens in the meantime, I don’t see my mind changing.

I’m not down at all on poker. I sat at more tables with more bad players than I could ever hope for. I’m just burnt playing approximately 45 hours of poker over a long weekend. I missed live poker and like online poker even less so there’s no draw for me to jump back online.

My final tally for the trip:
0/4 in satellites (-$700)
0/1 in craps sessions (- ~$300)
2/5 winning NL cash sessions.

I’m not statistics expert (although I probably could be), but I don’t think making money two of ten gambling sessions is any way to have a profitable trip. June has been bad to me the last few years. Next year my goal is to buy right in and bypass the super-turbo-shortstack-satellite method. If I have anywhere near the first half of next year I did this year, I definitely will

Only one other thing of interest I can think of from my trip. The night we played with Aaron Kanter, there was a German guy in a FTP t-shirt and hat who sat down at the table. Within 2 minutes of sitting down, he told the dealer I had to stack my chips so he could tell what I had. I had been riffling chips with two colors so I had a small stack of multi-denomination chips. Someone at the table jumped in and said it wasn’t a tournament and I could have them piled in front of me if I wanted. I calmly told him I didn’t have any black chips hidden and if he ever wanted a count, I’d be happy to give him one.

He turned out to be pretty aggressive and was four to my left with his friend three to my left. When the seat to his left opened up, I asked to get moved. He seemed like a pretty good player so the first thing I did was tell him I wasn’t purposely keeping dirty stacks, he just caught me in a hand when I had been riffling chips so it looked bad. He told me he was just trying to go for any tilt factor he could and I didn’t bite a bit.

We got talking and somehow Bill Fillmaff came up and he lit right up and said he loved Fillmaff. He explained how he was a friend of FullTilt because he won some tournament when they did their tour in Europe after the WSOPE last year. He talked about how this was his first time to Vegas and said he was more of an Omaha tournament specialist and was still working on his NL cash play.

He and his friend (tightest player in the universe, showed when he folded QQ to a preflop reraise) stayed and played until shortly after Kanter joined our table but missed out on the shots. He gave me his name and when I got to my room, I had to check it out, and it turns out it was this guy.

I tuned into ESPN360 Tuesday night and who do I see that the final table of the $1,500 PLO8 tournament, but Martin. From what I saw he ruled the final table and heads-up wasn’t even a contest. So now I can say in the same night I played with a WSOPME final tablist and bracelet winner at the same table and it was one of the few winning sessions I had this trip.

I think that’s it. I’m not sure if I’ll post in the meantime, but right now my next post may be following the Surf Fest tournament. I need to get some good shots so Rat can get a new avatar.

Good luck at the tables.






June 23rd, 2008

mobile blog frustrations

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goddammit!!

I've been working on a "leaving Veas" post the entire two and a half hours since I left Vegas. Unfortunately that went much like the rest of my trip so far. Something happened with my phone and it rebooted after it locked up.
everything I had was lost.

I'll put something together when I get home but I won't have time to do it again now.
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June 22nd, 2008

doin' better

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posting from the table. Here's a quiz. What does someone do to blow off steam when they just 3rd place for a bracelet? Apparently for Aaron Kanter it's playing 2/5 at the Rio poker room at the table next to mine.

edit: he just moved to my table and he's hammered. He seems really cool so far and has already apologized for playing slowly because he's so drunk.

re-edit: the first round of shots have been ordered. oh dear
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doin' better

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posting from the table. Here's a quiz. What does someone do to blow off steam when they just 3rd place for a bracelet? Apparently for Aaron Kanter it's playing 2/5 at the Rio poker room at the table next to mine.

edit: he just moved to my table and he's hammered. He seems really cool so far and has already apologized fir playing slowly because he's so drunk.
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doin' better

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posting from the table. Here's a quiz. What doe someone do to blow off steam when they just 3rd place for a bracelet? Apparently for Aaron Kanter it's playing 2/5 at the Rio poker room at the table next to mine.
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June 21st, 2008

still running poorly

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Hopefully I can get a seat to eatch the 10k O8 championship tonight because I certainly won't be playing.

Teied my 3rd sat last night with no luck, played another cash session slightly less than breaking even. Then I went to bed and since I didn't sleep too well I woke up around 9:00 and decided to give it one more try this morning.

At least I feel like I played better this time and got h/u. We talked deal but both of us were taking one last shot to get into today's $1,500.

The blinds got pretty steep and the crippling blow came when I was slightly ahead and my 88 couldn't fade rhe overs.

Oh well. I geuss there's next year.

I think that's it. I 'm going to take a nap for a few and hopefuly get a seat in the spectator area tonight.
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