Positively Fifth Street
by James McManus.
Author James McManus was a writer from the Chicagoland area. In 2000, he got an assignment from Harper's magazine to cover the World Series of Poker, specifically the Women in the World Series, as well as the ongoing trial for the murder of Ted Binion, a member of the legendary Las Vegas Binion family.
Much to the chagrin of his wife, He decides that the best way cover the Series is to participate, and he uses nearly his entire advance for the article in a satellite just to get into the main event. It wouldn't be much of a story if he didn't do well in tournament, which is lucky for him, because he makes it to the final table and takes you along for the ride.
Overall the book is good, but not great. There are parts where he is covering the trial, or the history of poker, or the Horshoe, or how he grew up playing with his grandfather that I found to be rather dull. This was balanced by the adrenaline rush of the actual poker plays, as McManus recounts some of the more memorable hands and tournament related events. For someone who will probably never experience what its like to survive so long in that tournament, I found those sections of the book to be quite enjoyable and defiantly worth the read.
If you're looking for an entertaining story involving poker, I'd recommend it , but be prepared for some slow sections. If you are looking for poker strategy or advice, you aren't going to find it here. I should probably have some sort of rating system, but I don't really feel like it, so you'll have to judge for yourself.
Final Thoughts WSOP 2004
Well with the WSOP over on ESPN, I don't know what I am going to do on Tuesday nights. At least Scrubs is back on.
I wish that when Mettias Anderson got knocked out, someone would have stood up and yelled "Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeees. Yeeeees." just like he does. Than maybe he would know how much of an ass he sounds like.
It looks like Josh Arieh is going to be another Phil Helmuth. He just whines about how bad a play his opponent makes when he gets beat. Not that he's a bad player, because I don't think you can come in 3rd and be considered a bad player, but if he was as good as he thinks, then he would know that looser players might call his all in's when they will be coin flip type situations, and he really shouldn't be that surprised when he gets called.
How many gimmicks do you think we are going to see next year. Since Greg Raymer became "Fossilman", and he had those zombie glasses, how much do you want to bet that next year some clown comes in dressed as a chicken or something?
How soon until there are too many people in the tournament to make it possible? I know the Horseshoe is just about out of space. With the exponential growth in participants, I wouldn't be surprised if there were 10,000 entrants into next years tournament. If that were the case, I would suggest doing some sort of satellite for the first day or two, so that there were 2500 people at three or four sites, and after two days, they could bring everyone together for the final.
The Return of Office Poker
After what seems like months, we finally had an office poker game. Of course we only had seven people and three of them were just friends with one of our co-workers, but who's counting?Things did not go quite as well as I had hoped. I could not get a hole card higher than an eight to save my life. I think I saw two flops until we went up to the third level of blinds. Since I had pretty much stayed out of the action, I wasn't hurting too bad, but the blinds were starting to get expensive. I finally got a pair of nines in the hole, and if felt as though I had bullets. The most aggressive player in our game of coarse raised pre-flop, which made me a bit nervous, but I called anyway. If it was anyone else, I would have considered laying them down, because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to call a bet with overcards on the board, but I had risk it. The flop came [A 9 9]. Of coarse I check here, and Mr aggressive goes all in. I instantly call, and he flips over big slick. That must really suck when you finally hit with big slick, and out of nowhere someone pulls four of a kind. I enjoyed it though.
After winning that pot, I was able to play bully for a while, up until we got down to three people. We kept going back and forth, no one really wanting to bet anything since the blinds were so high. I finally got dealt a pair of Jacks, and decided just to raise rather than going all in since I didn't want to scare people away. Turns out I'd regret that choice as I get called then put all in when my opponent's K Q pair the board on the flop. I thought he was bluffing at the King and called, and earned myself a third place finish for my efforts. Of coarse only the top two paid.
For some reason, while I hate losing, I don't mind losing in online poker nearly as much as I do in a live game. Maybe its just because I know the people that I am playing with, but I think I'm still on tilt from that loss. I'm pretty sure if I wanted to play now, that I would do better just handing out money to people because I am so frustrated. Oh well. I took a lot of these people's money the last time we played, so I guess its only fair that they get some back.
Hopefully we'll manage to get a game together next week, and I'll do a little better. We'll see.
Online Sit and Go Summary
I played in a $5 sit and go at pokerroom yesterday, and managed an easy second place finish. I probably should have won it, but I started out way short stacked when we got to head to head, so I was satisfied with second place.
My usual tournament consists of me entering a few pots early on, but not doing too much one way or another. Once a few people get eliminated, I start playing more aggressively since I am usually in the lower third in the chip count by that point. My goal is to make sure I get at least third, then worry about placing higher if when I reach that point. I'll tighten up once there are four or five people left, and hope that someone will try to make a move and get busted out.
So anyway, yesterday, my usual strategy was out the window on the first hand, but in a good way. I was dealt [As 7S] in late position. I decided it was the first hand, and the blinds were cheap, so I'd play it and see what happens. Flop comes [8d, 5s 8s]. Hmmm. Now I'm drawing to the nut flush which is basically what I was hoping for. Maybe I can see some more cards for cheap. No luck. Small blind bets $150, which is way more than I would have thought appropriate. Maybe he has another 8 or he is just bluffing. Big Blind calls, and everyone else folds. I decide I have something like a 30% chance of hitting my flush in the next two cards, and if it gets too expensive and I lose, I can tighten up and still make a comeback. Pot Odds wise, this was probably a bad choice, but I was in a crappy mood, and felt like gambling a bit and didn't want to get pushed around. Turn Comes [Ad]. This gives me top pair, with a second pair on the board. Small blind bets $40, which to me says, he is either trying to trap us, or he is scared of that Ace. Big Blind calls and so do I. The river brings the five of spades. Just what I was looking for. Small blind bets $40 again, and big blind goes all in. This is the first hand, so I don't know what was expecting. I can't imagine anyone calling this bet with anything other than a flush or full house, and as it turned out he only had a jack high flush. I called thinking that if he had the full house, oh well, I'd play another tourny, if he didn't have the boat, then I should be able to coast to the money. Small blind folded and I doubled up.
The table was unusually aggressive. I had a suited Ace Ten beaten when someone called my 3x big blind raise with Jack Seven off. The flop came [rag, 10, J] and I think the turn was a King, and I couldn't get him to fold. A lot of people went out fast though. We were down to four people in no time. The blinds were still real low for that point in the tourny. I had about 3500, the leader had 8500 and the remaining 3000 was split between the other two, and they just would not go away. Everyone played tight because the next person out meant money for everyone else. The other two kept draining their stack then doubling up, until finally they both went out. It was now me against Goliath, but he folded to just about any raise pre-flop. I was able to catch him pretty soon, and put him all in and but, he managed two pair against my aces, so I was severely short stacked again. I battled back to about even when he put me all in with two fives. He had JQ, both of which paired to cost me the tourny. All in all, I was satisfied, with the result, although, I think probably could have won.