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Monday, May 03, 2004

Poker Beer
I had a fantastic weekend. Specifically, a fantastic Saturday. About 18 of our coolest friends came over, we played board games through dinner, then did a NL Hold'Em tourney, then a group of the truly hardcore stayed for a ring game that lasted til 4am. The late hour is the reason this event didn't get blogged on Sunday -- I was too busy lying semi-catatonic on the couch watching bad movies (among them was Logan's Run, very fitting for my 30th birthday).

Poker Beer

But before I talk more about the festivities I have to mention the beer that B picked up for me -- it's simply called Poker Beer. They've got a website, www.pokerbeer.com, and a quick look shows that Poker beer is from the wonderful people that gave us Jolt Cola!

It's an obvious gimmick but a very amusing one. The label has two great slogans -- "I'll Raise You One!" in large print and in small print on the neck of the bottle, "For centuries, games and beer have gone hand in hand. Now, they're inseparable!"

Also on the neck is a 4-card poker hand, a different one on each bottle. The website confirmed that they are indeed random. When you pop the top, you get to see the 5th card under the bottlecap. We were speculating that if you got some monster hand maybe you won something via the website or something. Nope. It's just an amusing little touch.

But that little gimmick could be the starting point for some fun (read: moronic) drinking games, don't you think? Like everybody opens a bottle, and the guy with the worst hand has to chug. Or you could have two rounds of betting, for shots. Heh heh heh.

The most promising 4-card hand we had was 4 to a straight, which failed to complete. The best final hand in the 6-pack we had was Jacks and Eights.

The beer itself tasted just like MGD to me, which is a beer I'm fairly neutral on. As in, I'd never buy it myself but will happily drink it if offered.

The Game Day

We started off around noon with board games. Of the 18 guests in attendance, only about half are really into poker. This is a poker blog so I'll just mention that of the board games, I'm the Boss! was by far the biggest hit.

We finally made the move to poker around 8:30. By that time the poker players in the bunch were chomping at the bit to actually play poker on my beautiful poker table (I think I'm going to have to name her). Many of the non-poker players were interested but wary of buying in for much money, so we just started out with a $2 buy-in NL tourney. 14 players in all, so we split into two tables. 7 poor souls had to play on the boring old dining room table.

The start of the tourney also marked the start of me drinking in earnest. Everyone at my table was doing the "bet, call, call, call, call, call, call" thing, which due to the beer and the low limits I put an end to by raising ridiculous amounts with just about anything. It was awful poker but it made for a fun time. There was soon a lot of all-ins, yelling, and hooting at our table, along with several bust-outs, myself included. We soon had a merge, and a quorum of losers for another game of I'm the Boss!

By the time the tourney was over it was after midnight. Several people had to call it a night, and I figured we wouldn't get any ring game action in. I resigned myself to this, since it had been an incredibly fun day anway, and I cheerfully wished those exiting a good night.

It warmed my heart to turn and find 7 courageous souls (plus me and B) ready to start a ring game at 12:30! Our usual format for the last 6 months or so has been .25/.50 H.O.S.E. (Hold'em, Omaha Hi-Lo, 7-Stud, and 7-Stud 8 or Better Hi-Lo), $10 buy-in, and Saturday was no different. I think we should move to .50/$1, but I doubt I'll be able to convince everyone, and I'd rather play lower limits and have fun than raise them and drive anyone away.

Not too much to say about the poker play. It was better than the average .50/$1 table at Party. Yup, not saying much. Really it was more about the hanging out than it was about the poker play, and that's fine with me when it's the right crowd.

The coolest thing is that most everyone's a lot better than they were a year ago. Well, 2 of the players are pretty inexperienced (they've only played with us once before) and it showed. Another woman was a board gamer who hadn't played poker in years, but she did pretty well. My buddy Gene, one of the two regulars who is moving down to D.C. this week, showed the most improvement and walked away with $26 after a $10 buy-in. For a long time Gene was a biggest, um, "contributor" in our group, but no longer. He's still incredibly loose pre-flop and loves to raise, but in the past couple months he seems to have gotten over his aversion to folding, and boy has it helped him. I finished down $3. The final stacks took some swings when it was down to 4 players at the very end of the evening and we moved to a few rounds of dealer's choice that I only vaguely remember.

We finally called it a night a little after 4, but I was too keyed up to sleep. Hopped onto Absolute and played a $5 SnG. Figured I'd crash halfway into it, but to my surprise I was in the final 4 when dawn started to break. I'm a creature of the night, though. I shielded my eyes from that awful orb even as its rays drove away my luck. I soon went out when my A8 flopped two pair, and my all-in was called by A9o, who caught a 9 on the river. I groaned a perfunctory "doh!" and shuffled off to bed.

A Poker-Filled May

I've actually got poker lined up for the next two Saturdays. This coming weekend will be another .25/.50 game with a few friends in Boston (it's really just a semi-regular get-together with college friends, and a couple years ago we started playing nickel-dime poker instead of going out to bars). But the Saturday after that I'm going to be hosting a game with some of the board-gaming-poker-players who live around Boston that I played with once before a couple months ago (when I came in second in a $20 buy-in tourney). Those guys play .50/$1, sometimes NL with a $20 buy-in, and usually a $20 NL tourney to cap the evening. (So basically they player higher limits than anybody else I know.) Then the Saturday after that is a friend's bachelor party, at which I will certainly push for poker, and then after that is Memorial Day weekend, and with an extra day on the weekend I should certainly be able to get some poker in!

Seriously, playing live action poker, even for .25/.50, really made me remember how much I love it. Yesterday and today I felt no urge to play online poker, but boy was I tempted to head down to Foxwoods. B too, and she said we should've gone on Sunday if I had been so tired and hungover. Maybe next Sunday? . . .

Poker Table Note

My poker table received many compliments. It performed wonderfully, however, around 2 am I noticed that the rail was loose in one area. I remedied the problem earlier this evening, but am going to put the details of that in an addendum to my previous post on how I built the table, so that all the instructions are in one post.

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