Blog from E. Mark, the "e- Shark"

3pips   PERFECT PLAY, SICK BEAT (12/4/12)

Perfect Play, SICK Beat!

I'm playing $10/20 limit hold'em this past weekend at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

A late-position-player, I'll call him 'Dave' raises pre-flop to $20. His raise means nothing, he's easily 'read' and outplayed.   Subject to the
unlikelihood that one of the blinds has been dealt a super-powerful starting hand (they haven't looked), my button re-raise will have us go heads-up to
the flop. I make it $30 from the button with suited-connectors, the 8 and 9 of diamonds.

As I hoped, the blinds fold and we are heads-up on the flop, with me in position.

The flop is the King of hearts, Jack of spades and Ten of hearts. I have the low-end of the straight, but there are MANY danger-cards that might open on
the turn or river.  When Dave checks to me, I correctly read that I'm leading and bet $10. He thinks and then calls $10.

The turn brings the Jack of hearts. Dave checks again and I (correctly reading him for NO flush, boat, quads or Royal ) bet $20 - with the best
hand (my straight to the King).  Dave again thinks and then calls.

More to come...... The nine of hearts opens as the river.  Now, if Dave has any heart, he's made a winning flush.

Dave checks again. I check and say: 'I have a straight.  Good?'

Dave opens his winning boat, 9s-full-of-Jacks. His hand is the 9 of clubs, 9 of spades.

Dave drew out on me, by hitting a pair-the-board turn and then the-last-nine-in-the-deck as the river. He needed BOTH to win.

His hand was dead on the turn to many hands made by the board, coupled with hands that pre-flop three-bet. And, the capper, after he makes the winner,
he can't even bet his hand (as he still might be trailing). The math on Dave beating me, given his THIN draw, is off the charts, and he doesn't even get
paid a river bet. 

Postscript: I saved my table image by stating that I had a straight (without showing which end).

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross

3pips   MY DUPE (11/12/12)

My Dupe

I actually said 'sorry' to the 6 seat in my game Sunday.  I'll call him John (for understandable reasons, I never exchanged names with him).
He was so-my-dupe (a try at valley-talk:), as I played $2/3 no-limit Hold'em at Ocean's Eleven Casino in  San Diego, CA.  Not only is southern California always pleasant, it’s more-so great to be here on West Coast business and coincidentally miss the nor’easter that followed Superstorm Sandy – both of impacted my home turf of NY - NJ.
Dupe Act 1:
I'd just joined the table and decided as first-to-call to play the King 9 of clubs.  After several others limped, John in the big blind over-raised to $40. From the way he bet, I sensed he didn't want callers and perhaps was weak. When I next acted, I shoved all-in for $265 - trying to rep a monster hand, end the pot there, and win about $50. 
After everyone else predictably folded, John insta-called with pocket Kings.
He was dead on the turn, when I made the flush.  Our stacks were about even and John re-bought for $300.
Dupe Act 2:
About 20 minutes later, John raised to $35 and all folded to me on the button.  I re-raised to $95 with the King of diamonds and the King of spades.
John called and the flop was all diamonds, Jack-high.
John checked to me and I shoved all-in for more than his about $210 remaining stack.  John insta-called with pocket Queens.  He had an inferior over-pair to the Jack-high-board and also an inferior flush draw - one of his ladies was the diamond.  He lost, after missing his only-two-outs, when no Queen opened on the turn or river.
Talk about a cold deck.  There isn't a player that doesn't lose his stack in the hand, as John did.
John left after the hand, having twice been felted by me.
That's poker.  Glad to be on the winning side of those tough beats.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross

3pips   POKER IMITATES FILM (10/31/12)

Poker Imitates Film

Gotta smile.  I'm playing recently in a $10 /20 limit game in Atlantic City after superstorm Sandy - glad the city is recovering.  
I take a moment away from the table, as the casino's bringing in a chip-fill and play's halted.  I know I've got about 3 minutes, so I'm coming right back.

As I'm about to re-take my chair moments later, an elderly player carps about how my leaving made the game shorthanded.  Still going with his complaining about this non-issue  (no play was affected), he says: "Your leaving was third-man walking, so you only had minutes before being picked up."

Joe from across the table, always a funny guy, intending to fuel this silliness, chimes in with: "Actually, his leaving was fourth-man walking. So, he had no time and should have been immediately picked up."

Hearing this, I thematically get up and start singing: "The-moment-I'm-picked-up ......"  [Dione Warwick did it better, but it's likely I'm funnier.]

Never to be out-done, Joe rises and  comes in singing the chorus. The card-room audience endured and / or appreciated our untuneful comedy:)

Perhaps the table should be called My-Best-Friends'-Card-Game?
(Homage to Julia Roberts' film:)

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross

 MY HAND-OF-DOOM (9/7/12)

My Hand-of-Doom

I'm playing at a Borgata $20/40 limit table over the weekend.
I'm just off a hand where from mid-position I'd raised pocket Kings into an un-raised pot, and in which I lost a big pot to one of many smooth-callers.  A player with 7, 8 suited turned the winning straight. That loss was 'routine' for the way the table was playing.  Every hand saw multi-way action, regardless of whether there were pre-flop raises.

Now, comes my torture.  Hear ominous organ chords in your mind!

Three spots off the button, I call with 5, 8 suited of hearts.  There was raising after I entered the hand.  I  called to $60, knowing six of us would play the hand. The flop brought Ace, 9, 8 with two hearts.  I  checked and called another $60 to play on.
The turn brought a 5, giving me two pairs.  Clearly I trailed, as the betting (capped after three  raises) went to $160.
I called the $160, convinced my flush draw was live (as it was) - and given how the bets came in [I called $80 and then made another $80 call, after further raising].
River of Doom:  Fifth-street brought another 5.  I crying called another $40 with my small full house and lost to 9s full of fives.  The winner - holding pocket 9s - had flopped a set of 9s and won with his better full house.
Owwwwwwww.  Doesn't get more painful in limit poker!

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross

3pips   SO, WHAT'S THE CLOUD (8/6/12)

So, What's the Cloud?

My friend 'V' plays this great hand at a Borgata $20/40 limit table last week:

He defends King, 10 suited against a late-position raise after 3 limp-called, so 5 players will likely enter the hand, making for a likely juicy pot.

By the turn, he's heads-up and holding a Royal Flush while the pre-flop raiser (who he later finds out has pocket Queens) is holding Quad-Queens.

V check-calls the turn. It's fireworks on the river - 5 raises. Finally, Quad-Queens sees he's vulnerable to one hand and stops raising.

V's Royal Flush drags him a $700 pot, but amazingly that's the 'silver lining.' So, up over $400 on one hand, what's the 'cloud'?

Borgata's $20/40 limit tables are among a very few tables NOT participating in the Bad-Beat pool.  V misses out on about $35,000. Mr. Quads loses and insult-to-injury misses the about $70,000 BIG Bad-Beat Jackpot (cashed on losing with better-than-Quad-10s). Leaving everyone disappointed, payouts of about $8,000 don't go to all others dealt in on the hand.

Quite a story and there were many different reactions. Mine was to ask V if he ever asked himself: 'Is it good?' as he kept raising his Royal Flush on the river.

Amazing how a poker room always has a new bad-beat story to buzz about.

- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross


Playing the Crown Casino in Melbourne; Poker Abroad

Over the past several days, I played the Crown Casino in Melbourne, home of the Australian Poker Championship, aka the Aussie Millions.  Fun action, with many tables going.  Check it out, if you're okay with high rake and don't mind paying for drinks (not even water is free).


While traveling recently, I've played many of the World's most important poker rooms (old and new) and seen some interesting technology being used on the tables.  In Australia's Crown Casino, the dealer is required to activate a digital 10-second countdown clock (looks like an egg-timer) any time a player perceptibly slows the game. After calling out the 10 second countdown, the player's hand is declared dead if he has not acted.  


In Singapore, they take the just-shuffled cards and put them in a two-part metal box (similar to the shoe used in Baccarat) and deal from the box.  It slows the game by 5-10 seconds each deal (insert deck, assemble box), but also ensures that the cards are dispensed with optimal integrity.


So, games are faster in Australia than in the US, while being slower in Singapore than we have back in the States.


There are other minor differences abroad as well.  But, bottom line for me, I enjoyed playing over the past three months in the Philippines, Macau, Singapore and what I was told is Australia's largest poker room.  I met many good people at the tables.  It's wonderful to see the game's popularity growing and that poker is being spread almost everywhere.


- E. Mark the "e-Shark" Gross

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