Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

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My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


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    Friday, September 15, 2006

    Working on my Swing

    With my trip to Aruba on the horizon I thought getting a taste of hot poker action would be a good idea. Get in the rhyhtm of the live game, observe the players, become attuned to the pulsating energy of a packed casino. One problem--I'm in Pittsburgh, and with the ETA of our planned slots casino around 2021, finding action would be difficult. But not impossible.

    I drove the five minutes from my flat to the sports bar down the road, where I knew they had free poker tournaments on Wednesday nights. Now, I know what you're thinking. A banquet hall in a bar does not equal Commerce Casino. And you're right, I have no response to that. But as I wanted to see cards in the air and hear the clatter of chips, this was the best I could do at the moment. I showed up spot on 6:30, when the early game was due to begin, and found a gaggle of people standing outside the room smoking and sipping beers. Got myself a Yuengling, scribbled my name on the sign-up sheet, and a few minutes later took my place at table 3, seat 3.

    Well, there were only three tables that night. Small crowd, only 17 people. The last time I came they had six tables going, and from the talk things slowed down over the summer. Everyone playing seemed to know each other--except for me. The mysterious stranger who comes out of nowhere and starts riffling chips and check-raising. Which I what I did on the first hand I played when I flopped two pair. I play for keeps, people. That's the message I wanted to get across.

    I had fun. Nice people, friendly game, good cards. I won a big pot with AK vs. AQ, and even won two big pots with bluffs on the river. I played with no fear, with style and elan and...some other ludicrously inappropriate word. I made the final table and continued my soul-destroying run by doubling up with KK against tens and knocking out the table captain when my AJ crushed his A-8.

    When I've played in these things I don't tell people that I'm a blogger, that I've written about poker, and that night I didn't tell anyone about my upcoming assignment to work the Aruba Classic. Trying to explain what a blogger would be difficult at best, and trying to get them to care harder still. So I keep my identity secret, kinda like Bruce Wayne. Kinda.

    Two hands near the end were amusing. I dealt myself AQ and called the all-in of the shortstack. He had the Hammer. Uh-oh, it would suck if I lost to the Ham...oh, great, I just dealt a 7 on the flop. Lost that hand, and the next time I was on the button I dealt myself the Hammer. Raised big, and the guy who'd just beat me thought it over and went all-in. Stuck but good I called, and he turned over J-10. And once again I flipped a 7 on the flop. Knew the Hammer wouldn't let me down. Overall, I mean.

    Heads-up lasted one hand. I pushed with A-3, the chip leader called with Q-J, and he flopped a queen. So, I asked, what did I win for my 2nd-place finish. Well, 24% of the prize pool. What was the prize pool? Points. You get points basked on how you do and you can redeem these points for...I don't know what. Last time I was there you could win coupons and stuff for the restaurant, but this time I won points. The folks there that night play 3 or 4 nights a week at different bars who use the same company, which I'm not able to do. So, I played high-quality poker for 2 hours, and ended up with...nothing. But I had three inexpensive beers, had a good time, and felt like I'd done some homework for my trip next week. Mission Accomplished. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

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