Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Kid and Me

“See, in my world—the world of high-stakes gin and poker—we play for cold, hard cash. It’s all business, pure and simple. Anyone who thinks card playing is a game—I’ll show you a loser. Money … M-O-N-E-Y.
“That’s how you measure success. One dollar at a time. One chip at a time. That’s how you keep score.”
—Stu “The Kid” Ungar

I found the quote above on my poker desk calendar yesterday and thought it was appropriate since I am finishing the book on his life. I also received the movie, High Roller – The Stu Ungar Story, in the mail yesterday from my Blockbuster Online account. I must say I was really disappointed with the movie, especially after reading the book. The movie doesn’t do his life justice in any way. I’m not saying it wasn’t enjoyable at all, but the book is so incredible. In my opinion, you can always paint a more vivid picture with words in a book than you can on the screen.

The kid cast in the movie was completely wrong for the part. He may have had the look they were looking for, but he didn’t have the attitude of Stu. Granted, I’m not sure any kids have ever had Stu’s attitude. That is part of what makes his story so appealing. Stu had the mentality that he was indestructible and played every game and life that way.

I thought Michael Imperioli did a decent job acting. I doubt Stu was a character many good duplicate. I guess I struggle seeing Imperioli doing anything other than Christopher on The Sopranos. Vince Van Patten was a complete douche bag in the movie and that’s all I have to say about that.

Speaking of gambling, an obvious theme to this blog from time to time, this past weekend was an event to remember, or try to remember depending on who you are. My brother, his fraternity brothers and I (an honorary member of the fraternity) began a tradition of golf, gambling and booze one weekend a year at Pine Valley Golf Resort in Elizabethtown, KY. Arrived Thursday night and proceed to drink and gamble into the wee hours of the morning. I think six of us played five games of hold’em and I won four of them and finished second in the last. It might have had something to do with my inability to decipher what cards I was holding in my hand. After several Red Bull and vodkas and many, many beers that tends to happen. I was grateful that I had essentially paid for the entry fee in the weekend’s festivities.

Instead of trying to recap a weekend full of drinking, golf and gambling … let me sum it up by saying for the past two nights I have had the shakes and felt as if my heart will come out of my chest. I don’t tend to go on 64-hour binders, so weaning off a weekend of such magnitude takes a while. I give incredible amounts of respect to those that can do it for a living (AlCantHang).

Friday night held another poker game with all 20 of us. Many donkeys in the group and everyone being incredibly drunk made this a virtual crapshoot. My table was about half donkeys and half decent players. I finished second in this game too. Only one hand worth mentioning. We were down to five players—needing to eliminate one more to combine tables. I cannot remember seat positions, but Mole was to my right and limped in. I raised the pot $500 and everyone folds around to Mole. He says, “You wouldn’t do that if you had a big pair. You would have wanted me in the pot if you did have a big pair. You have to have Ace-Jack or King-Ten.” He thought for a little while and finally called the $500. Flop came 867 rainbow. He moved all-in for $650 more. I thought for a few minutes, looking at my stack, seeing how much it would cost me to win the amount in the pot and how much I would be left with I lost. I counted out the chips and set them aside. I told him that I didn’t hit the flop, but I don’t think he did either. I put him on a small pair, but not a set. For the same reason as his read on me, I know him well enough that he would have checked for me to bet, then come over top of me. But, I knew I was still behind in the hand. I had overcards to his small pair in my mind.

I was drunk anyway, so I finally called his all-in. He turns over pocket 4s and I show my AT of spades. Fourth Street was a blank and the River brought an Ace. Nice suckout. Finally, one went my way. Ever since Vegas, I have been catching breaks like this. Like I said, I went on to finish second.

Golf was great as usual. 72 holes in two days is more than my body can take though. Thanks to the golf gods on Sunday for raining and letting me keep my one-stroke lead in the two-day tournament (w/ handicaps).

Last couple of items. Sorry I wasn’t able to play in the Charlie Tuttle Charity Game on PokerStars the other night. I struggled to know my name, much less play poker for a few hours minutes.

Congrats to Pauly for an awesome job covering the WSOP for the past almost two months. Truly a masterpiece and if the book does become a reality, I will be first in line to buy one. As far as Joseph Hachem winning the whole thing … congrats to him. I was pulling for Mike Matasuow at the final table. In my heart of hearts I wanted to see Ivey to win his sixth bracelet and his first WSOP ME. I would have liked to see Raymer make back-to-back final tables.

Question: Do you consider Greg Raymer’s accomplishment of winning the 2004 WSOP ME in a field of 2500 and making it to the final 27 in 2005 in a field of 5600 better than Harrington’s back-to-back final tables in fields of 890 and 2500?

Also, would you still believe I have fired up Party Poker since the end of May?


Anonymous said...

Yes I would consider Raymer's run a more impressive accomplishment than Harrington. In fact, I've had this discussion at work with a buddy before. Considering the field size, what Raymer did is mind boggling. Now, Raymer needs to make his presence felt during the year as well, not just at the WSOP.

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