Friday, May 28, 2010

A Sure Sign of Spring

Standing on my back patio this morning, I heard a series of blasts, which reminded me of, say, a blowtorch. Turns out it was this, just behind my house:

Of course, those who know me over at the Purple Row know this balloon was probably filled with San Francisco Gints fans. Or not, since it actually arrived upright.

Congrats to the winners of Main Event seats in the BBT5 Tournament of Champions last night, especially NYRambler and JJ, whose blogs I've read on occasion.

Here's to hoping you actually play the ME with your ultimate token, for the once-in-a-lifetime experience, instead of taking the cash. And let's hope your journey to the Main Event ends up more like this picture, and less like the landings over those over at McCovey Chronicles.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Chance at the BBT5

Piffle. Bubbled the Mookie in 11th. So meh. I think I made a bad play play with about 15 left. I raised a suited A (hearts) UTG. Folded to the BB who called. Flop came ten high, I believe, but gave me the nut frush draw. Checked to me, and I thought hard about c-betting to protect my hand, but I was about 8th in chips at the time, and if I had to fold to a shove (maybe I call off there with the frush draw), then I'm hurt bad.

Check/check turn.

Blank river, so I didn't hit my flush. Check/check, BB had AT, so he won the pot. I think I could have taken it down on the turn, maybe. But I played it so weak tight.

Of course, I ended up 12th of 14, and never got any kind of hand again. Ended up shoving KJo UTG, and got overshoved by 88. AQx on flop, giving me 10 outs, but I whiffed, and went out 11th.

I'm pretty certain that's my last shot at TOC glory, for real this time. Only played two events (both Mookies), and took 9th and 11th. Not fucking good enough.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On the Band Front...

....or in the rear view mirror...

I've been sitting on this post for a while because...well, because first, it doesn't amount to much in the grand scheme of things, and second, because the epilogue sorta sucks. This isn't meant to be a rant, though it will likely come off as one. This isn't meant to be vindictive, though I readily admit it does not come from a good headspace. I blog it because after about a month, I feel I have to...maybe afterwards, I can Leave It All Behind, so to speak.

That said, about a month ago, I left New Ben Franklins. And I'm still not even really sure whether I quit, or whether I got the boot. It doesn't matter really, but the taste in my mouth is still bitter, but perhaps some background is worth shedding light.

My participation in New Ben Franklins began back around 20 months ago or so, after I answered an ad on Craigslist looking for a bass player. As it was put to me, the band was to be a melding of alt-country songwriting, with big shoegaze tonality. Hell, I was excited. I'm not a country guy by any stretch, despite my abiding love of The Sadies, but I've always been a big fan of shoegaze, even if the term is somewhat amorphous at times.

Now, New Ben Franklins wasn't exactly a "new" band, but a new old band. The frontman/guitarist of the band started the project back around '92 or so, and had run the band a couple times over the years, in a couple of iterations. But it was new to me, and it felt fresh. Having been bandless for the previous two years, most anything would, and the situation felt welcoming.

Anyway, as bands go, the beginning weeks were fits and starts. We had to replace our drummer after a month, because he'd missed half the rehearsals...okay, so we did, and we moved on. We eventually picked up the Wedge on drums, and we started playing shows in late November or early December of 2008. Hell, we even did an instrumental surf tune I wrote years ago for The Florenteens, slightly westernized. Matinee Idol Tommy joined us on pedal steel, and stuck around. Things were good.

Winter into spring, the gigs became fairly numerous, at least for a local band without a huge fanbase. I had no trouble booking us shows at several of the local Denver haunts, we even got to play the Bluebird Theater, we shared bills with some bands I really enjoy, and we started talking about, and eventually, recording.

Somewhere along the line, things started to go sideways.

The new songs were more country, less sonic, more sorta singer-songwriter-y. It felt like more covers. More slow tempo, more desire by the band for me to play, as I now put it, mostly whole notes with dotted whole rests between notes...and yeah, I started to chafe against this direction. Time to digress...I'm pretty fuckin' far away from being Jaco, or Stanley Clarke, or Victor Wooten. I hope I'm never asked to play pop and slap, because that's just not what I do. Count amongst my heroes the Ox, Bruce Foxton, Graham Maby, Paul Simonon, so yeah, I probably do overplay. I'm certainly not one of those who's going to be happy just playing root notes on the 1 and 3 all night. I mean, I can do that, but if a band wants their bass player to do that more than about 15% of the time, then we're probably not right for one another. And that's fine.

But I felt like this band was changing, in ways that were just making the music not fun for me. And I became petulant and surly during rehearsals at times. Yeah, I can wear my heart on my sleeve, consider it a fault, I suppose.

But we *were* a band, and a team. And no matter what else, everyone connected with the band was so incredibly loving and supportive and helpful and understanding during the Good Doctor Mondo's hospitalization and afterward. We were a family -- sometimes a bit more dysfunctional than before, but that's like, what...98% of all bands that have ever pulled into a PA.

And then I felt dissed.

The 5-song EP was finished, and of the songs had no bass. Okay. And then the last song had a bass player that was not me. Fuck. Seriously. Fuck. Our frontman decided to have a mutual friend of ours come in and play bass on a track. That's when I really felt to begin I wasn't part of a band. No one had asked my opinion about it first. That's when I decided what was a band was really the frontman's show and project, 100%. The rest of us were just sidemen. That's how I felt, anyway.

But I stuck around. We continued to play a few shows. Our shows were usually pretty well received. But my attitude didn't really get any better. I'm not sure why it would. I was the only member of the band who'd been replaced for part of the recording. The one song that had no bass had no drums, either, and I get that. Still, if you're going to leave half the band out, it's a bit less dismissive of those guys if it's on, say, a 10 song full length record, ya know?

And new songs were being written. And more shows played. Even learned a bunch of Waylon Jennings tunes for a tribute show. And yet, nobody in the band...well, at least not the front man, liked any of the bass parts I came up with for the new material. Too busy. Not enough pauses, not what he wanted. Okay. I try something else. No dice. I try something else. No dice again. Fuck it, back to surly Mondo.

Then I go from beyond dissed to pissed. Or, dissed and pissed.

Randomly surfing Craigslist, I see an ad for a bass player that didn't mention the band, but was unmistakably an ad for a replacement bass player for New Ben Franklins. It had all the code words that made it unmistakably clear that I was on my way out. Of course, I immediately quit the band via e-mail, even with gigs booked out in advance.

And then I had that little tiny shred of doubt, the kind you get after you've 4-bet KK preflop, and are min-raised. Does he have AA? A 5-bet always means AA, right? Could I have been wrong?

Well, I wasn't wrong. Good read, Mondo. Shitty situation, but good read.

The frontman put the ad out on his own, without telling the other guys. He came clean to us about it a couple of days later. I guess his plan was to just keep me around until he found someone he liked enough to take my place, and then just spring it on me. And I'm not going to be anyone's punk. I do respect him for coming forward and admitting it after the fact, though because of the way it went down, I doubt he would have done so if I hadn't figured it out myself first and called shenanigans.

In truth, I was on my way out. As I told the band, I probably would have muddled along in the band until July, because playing the Denver Post Underground Music Showcase is one of the coolest things ever. It really is, and the band's been slated to make a return appearance this year. It's going to hurt not to be a part of it. Yeah, I think I was planning on sticking it out that long, and then leave. But not sneakily, like bailing the night before a show, or anything.

Like I said, New Ben Franklins has always been his deal...he's certainly entitled to do what he wants, like when he was interviewed in the Westword a few months, and made no mention of anyone else in the band at all. Whatever, I don't think any of us have any real ego in terms of press and adulation. But I'll readily admit to having a certain ego when it comes to bass playing. I've been told many times that I write interesting bass lines. Other bass players I respect have complimented me on what I've contributed to songs. But in New Ben Franklins, I felt as if my creative input was unwanted. Whenever the band wanted to add a cover to the set (we'd do 2-3 covers a show), it was never anything I wanted to play, despite what I most often pushed for being a song by one of the frontman's favorite bands.

Anyway, yeah, I'm still bitter. In a cruel epilogue, I'd spent 18 months trying to get the band into one particular Denver venue, my favorite, because I've seen so many bands there I love and used to play shows there in a previous band. Each time I came up empty handed, the room wanted nothing to do with us. Now, the very first gig the band actually booked after my departure (not including already-booked shows), is at this very venue, an irony that is not lost on me. Now, the band was added to the bill by the headliner, and it wasn't booked directly between the band and the club, but that's splitting hairs.

We are still family. I don't forget how genuinely friendly, generous, and human those guys are. Hell, I love them, even the frontman. Though I haven't seen any of them since the break, we've been in touch. I hope to remain friendly them. I hope exorcising my anger this way allows me to be friendly with them. But I can't, and won't, forget the way in which I was dumped.

I wish them each well both personally, and as a band. Though at present, I have no desire to see the band play.

Fortunately, there is no small amount of excitement for me coming up real soon, on the musical front...more on that later...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Live Bloggin' the MooDankie

Over halfway through the BBT5, and I'm finally going to donate to the field tonight.

Will be live blogging, at least until I overshove my JJ into KK and AA.

Damn I got a tough starting table:

8:02 - Called a small raise from the BB, flopped trips, and took out The Blue Heron when my trips held against KK.1

8:06 - Pulled down a decent pot after 3-betting the turn against 1Queens Up1.

8:09 - Damn, gave back about a grand betting out on 4th and 5th streets to ShabazzJenkins' TPTK. May be time to slow down a bit. Only played that hand with QJo from BB because of Shabazz' 3x raise and two callers. Felt like good pot odds.

8:11 - First table change:

8:13 - Wussed out of my first opportunity for a Hammer steal attempt.

8:15 - Turned a boat, tried to overbet river, but villian folded. Still took a half decent pot (called flop and turn bets), but may have been a missed opportunity at a couple grand more chips. Maybe I should have shoved turn, but any non K or non AA hand folds there.

8:19 - Can't stop giving chips away to Wheelz78. May have folded to a river bluff.

8:21 - Raised KK 3x, three callers. J87 rainbow flop. My C bet was called and then overshoved. Hmm...did I run into a set? Thought about overshoving, but just called and Wheelz78 folded. PJS JR's JTo couldn't catch up, so I'm back over 6k. 3rd in chips. Been a relative card rack early. Hope it keeps up.

8:24 - 28 hands in, and I've already seen 8 flops, but have taken down 7 pots. More active than usual, but the cards have been coming.

8:30 - Raised 3x preflop from hijack. Riggstad pots it from cutoff. I 4-bet him to 65% of his chips, hoping for a shove. Alas, Riggs folds. Not a terrible pot, though.

8:38 - Damn, some good players (CK, Smokkee, Blinders) already out.

8:40 - Woke up to AA in the big blind. Raise and a call before me, so I reraise and get one caller . J high flop. Thought about check raising, but didn't want to give a free turn. Sadly, got a fold on the flop. Up to 8.1k, but I still feel like I'm missing chances at bigger pots.

8:44 - Damnity Damn Damn - QQ in the BB. Button raises, Shabazz calls from SB. I raise to 640, button shoves. I think and call. Button has 44. 4 on the turn. So sick. Down to 5.9k. If my queens hold, I become chipleader. Damn.

8:50 - In the first 62 hands, I've had AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, KQs twice...can't complain about the hands. Just hope it continues, since that QQ debacle dropped me to 11th in chips, whereas I'd been in the Top 3 the whole tourney before that hand.

8:55 - Picked up the blinds to go into the first break 13th in chips:

Some strong players ahead of me on the leaderboard. Lightning36, Hoy, Shabazz, OMGItsPokerFool...

9:10 - ShabazzJenkins knocks out two players when his flopped straight beats TP/straight draw and another straight draw. Both hit their straights, but not as big as Shabazz' on the flop.

9:12 - AKo and AQs in successive hands for smallish pots. The cardrackery continues, but folks aren't staying along for the ride. Still, back up to 8th in chips.

9:25 - 100 hands in, I haven't tossed many chips in over the last orbit or two. Quiet time in the corner, I guess.

9:27 - Pick up a monster the very next hand, and get paid through the turn. Back over 8k. muhctim, current chipleader, moves to the table two seats to my left.

9:34 - Time for another table change, I guess:

9:35 - Not many chips at this table. I'm only 11th in chips, but table chipleader.

9:40 - Irongirl just picked up a really nice pot with a flopped set of 7s. I don't get the call by RNallin on that turn with AJo, but whatev.

9:43 - Wow, awesome hand. Pick up QQ in the BB (3rd QQ this game). UTG shoves his 1700 stack, and there's a call in 2nd position. I raise to 4200, which would commit the caller. He shoves, I call. I'm up against AKo and 88. The A on the flop doesn't hurt when it's followed by a Q. Feels like justice after my first QQ went down. Up to 15k in chips, and 2nd biggest stack.

9:48 - Just noticed I've got BuddyDank, OMGItsPokerFool, and pushmonkey72 at my table. Just gets more difficult, don't it?

9:50 - Flip74 shoves, and I've got KK in mid position. I elect to double his bet, to isolate. Probably a good thing because the A on the board would have hurt me, if he hadn't had KJo. Up to 18k, still 2nd in chips.

9:54 - BuddyDank's out when bigdav1967 hit his dirty set of 9s on the river to take down KK.

9:55 - Going into 2nd break with 19k, 2nd in chips. Blinds to be 200/400/50.

10:02 - My how things change. Five of the top 9 in chips at my table. Current chipleader, but barely.

10:07 - Damn, made a bad fold with TT, villian showed 99 after I check-folded an ace high flop. Thought about a checkraise, but thought better. Or worse, as things would have it. Down to 16k.

10:19 - We've reached that point where a shorty is shoving preflop every single hand. Not the same shorty, but one of 2-3 of them. Up to 18k, but 6th in chips, 21 runners left.

10:26 - Karma is catching up to me for all my cardrackery in the first two hours. Nothing I can play here, especially in the fact of so many all ins, down to 14.5k.

10:30 - Final two tables, coming in 9th in chips:

10:34 - Only 16 left, but my poor cards have helped me slide to 12th in chips, well below average. First time I've been a relative shorty the whole tourney. Need to change gears, perhaps.

10:45 - Just got incredibly lucky against Irongirl, but bet it well. Raised A8hh from cutoff, she called from a blind. KT8 flop. I bet, she check-called. Check check on turn. Beautiful 8 on river. Small value bet called, she showed ATo. Caught from way behind, though when she check-called the flop, I figured her for ATo, or maybe slowplaying a set. Up to 27k, up to 4th in chips of 13 left.

10:51 - Final table bubble, but everyone's got at least like 18BB or so, so game's not really shallow yet. Lots of close-sized stacks.

10:54 - Hoy bubbled, leaving us with this final table:

11:11 - Crap, gonna be another 9th place finish. My c-bet with JJ on a Q high board made me committed to call NewinNov's shove. Yup, he had QJo.

11:15 - Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand out in 9th. My desperate less than 1 BB shove almost won, but Joanne pipped my KJ with AJ. Good luck on the felt, y'all. The mincash kinda hurts and sucks, but it was a fun tourney. Probably was also my one and only shot at a TOC berth, c'est la vie.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


For astoundingly huge chipleadl

PokerStars Game #43851931799: Tournament #268003178, $4.00+$0.40 USD Omaha Hi/Lo Pot Limit - Level XVII (600/1200) - 2010/05/09 15:31:29 MT [2010/05/09 17:31:29 ET]
Table '268003178 22' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: Antep1982 (17176 in chips)
Seat 2: pdking (25457 in chips)
Seat 3: boxcar daddy (7478 in chips)
Seat 4: MRrsick (31093 in chips)
Seat 5: PACTAMAH (18998 in chips)
Seat 6: violetta 27 (11081 in chips)
Seat 7: BRUTUS83 (20280 in chips)
Seat 8: Scampi74 (16295 in chips)
Seat 9: Mondogarage (41083 in chips)
Scampi74: posts small blind 600
Mondogarage: posts big blind 1200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mondogarage [6s Qs 3h 8c]
Antep1982: calls 1200
pdking: calls 1200
boxcar daddy: calls 1200
MRrsick: calls 1200
violetta 27: calls 1200
BRUTUS83: folds
Scampi74: calls 600
Mondogarage: checks
*** FLOP *** [2s 7c 5s]
Scampi74: checks
Mondogarage: bets 1200
Antep1982: calls 1200
pdking: calls 1200
boxcar daddy: calls 1200
MRrsick: calls 1200
violetta 27: calls 1200
Scampi74: calls 1200
*** TURN *** [2s 7c 5s] [9c]
Scampi74: checks
Mondogarage: bets 3600
Antep1982: calls 3600
pdking: calls 3600
boxcar daddy: calls 3600
MRrsick: raises 25093 to 28693 and is all-in
violetta 27: calls 8681 and is all-in
Scampi74: calls 13895 and is all-in
Mondogarage: raises 9990 to 38683 and is all-in
Antep1982: folds
pdking: folds
boxcar daddy: calls 1478 and is all-in
Uncalled bet (9990) returned to Mondogarage
*** RIVER *** [2s 7c 5s 9c] [3c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Mondogarage: shows [6s Qs 3h 8c] (HI: a straight, Five to Nine; LO: 7,6,5,3,2)
MRrsick: shows [8h Qc Ah 6c] (HI: a flush, Queen high; LO: 6,5,3,2,A)
MRrsick collected 14798 from side pot-3
MRrsick collected 14798 from side pot-3
Scampi74: shows [As Ts 7h 9h] (HI: two pair, Nines and Sevens; LO: 7,5,3,2,A)
MRrsick collected 7821 from side pot-2
MRrsick collected 7821 from side pot-2
violetta 27: shows [4c Ac Tc 4d] (HI: a flush, Ace high; LO: 5,4,3,2,A)
violetta 27 collected 7206 from side pot-1
violetta 27 collected 7206 from side pot-1
boxcar daddy: shows [Jh 9d Ad 3s] (HI: two pair, Nines and Threes; LO: 7,5,3,2,A)
violetta 27 collected 24695 from main pot
violetta 27 collected 24695 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 109040 Main pot 49390. Side pot-1 14412. Side pot-2 15642. Side pot-3 29596. | Rake 0
Board [2s 7c 5s 9c 3c]
Seat 1: Antep1982 folded on the Turn
Seat 2: pdking folded on the Turn
Seat 3: boxcar daddy showed [Jh 9d Ad 3s] and lost with HI: two pair, Nines and Threes; LO: 7,5,3,2,A
Seat 4: MRrsick showed [8h Qc Ah 6c] and won (45238) with HI: a flush, Queen high; LO: 6,5,3,2,A
Seat 5: PACTAMAH folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: violetta 27 showed [4c Ac Tc 4d] and won (63802) with HI: a flush, Ace high; LO: 5,4,3,2,A
Seat 7: BRUTUS83 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: Scampi74 (small blind) showed [As Ts 7h 9h] and lost with HI: two pair, Nines and Sevens; LO: 7,5,3,2,A
Seat 9: Mondogarage (big blind) showed [6s Qs 3h 8c] and lost with HI: a straight, Five to Nine; LO: 7,6,5,3,2

Friday, May 07, 2010

Unexpected Springtime Awesomeness

If you're of a certain age, and most of us poker bloggers are, you'll certainly remember this game.

You're never too old to play Whiffleball. Hell, I spent the better part of a couple summers inside the Coral Gables Rec Center playing this on a makeshift field taking up their basketball court. Good times. This video just made my day.

Brought to you by Lucy Lager, the only girl that gets to go out with the guys.

Filling up the Dead Air

So Big Al's BBT5 series is starting to round the corner into the homestretch, and there's been some really strong blogger players finding their way into the Tournament of Champions. Congrats to LJ for being the latest to join the list, having taken down this week's marathon Mookie. I seem to recall having bought a tiny % of LJ's action in the WSOP a couple of years ago, and while it was fun rooting her on, everything came up in tears that time around. Perhaps this time, things will be different.

Congrats also to the Black Widow for running really deep in the Stars SCOOP Lo Stud event the other day. I know coming up short of the final table always hurts...believe me, I've had far more of that than the alternative...but surviving 95% of the field in any kind of stud event inherently requires a ton of skill. And the ability to withstand the pain of stabbing oneself in the forehead repeatedly with a fork, but I digress....

I've played on SCOOP event so far, last week's $500k guarantee. Things started out fine, and I almost doubled up during the first hour, but all it took was one bad play in hour two to force me to scrape along the bottom for the next couple hours or so. I think I managed to outlast about 70% of the field, but came up well short of the money. And I took a decent stack post-bubble in the quarter-mil bingo donkament, and overplayed AQo. Results haven't been great lately, and I'm trying to make up for it by being too aggressive in less-than-optimal spots.

One SCOOP event is one more than the number of BBT5 events I've played, since Mookie night just doesn't work for me, I guess. But good luck to the rest of you trying to nail down one of the last TOC seats. I'd love to see this guy there. Not only do I respect his game, he's clearly one of the good guys.

Okay, enough for not...need to work on some long time catch up posts on the Good Doctor Mondo and my a lil' bit of music.

Good luck on the felt, ya'll.

Oh well, I'll keep trying to play one big session a week for now, as that's all I really have time for in my life these days.