Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Having fun playing live poker with Aberlour 12 year old scotch whiskey

I've spent the last few months pretty much not playing live poker. By not playing live poker I mean not more then once a month if that. Bourbonators has pretty much been my only live poker since sometime last spring. Before this hiatus, I had played at least one night a week for 4 years. Maybe I was a little burned out. Maybe.  I had reached a point though, I was getting bored playing online only. There's only so many online hours you can spend before you long to just splash some chips around.

Last Friday night, we had our monthly meeting. Our host's wife is spitting out a baby ANY day now, so it was a little dicey about whether he was gonna host or not. He had picked up a bottle of Aberlour Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (aged 12 years). We think we've tried this one before, but we've lost the list. Nice huh? Oh well, if I keep this up and post every month. There's always a chance, we might just get the official web site going.

On with the booze!

According to the package, this single malt has been aged in traditional oak casks and finest Sherry Casks. Double casking was developed in distillers in Scotland. The British would sell them their used sherry casks and after aging the whiskey for a while in the traditional vessels, they would move the spirits into the sherry casks for a little more maturation. Interesting idea.

The tasting notes on this package described the color as a golden amber with hints of rub red. You can see that in my first picture. I have noticed that the darker/redder the liquid, the more likely it is to either be sweeter or comprised of more complex flavors. Sweeter for me in a whisky is not always a good thing. (Sorry Canadians)

The nose is described as "soft and round with fruity notes of red apple". I have no idea what round is supposed to smell like. Any clues? But it was definitely pleasant fruity. The palate was listed as "sherried character and fruity flavours balanced with a rich chocolate, toffee and cinnamon and ginger spiciness." My perception was definitely a richer flavor than many scotches I've tried. It really was a warm, deeply comforting flavor that I found quite enjoyable. So many of the scotches I've tried have either been very smoky or very peaty. This was neither. Just smooth, a tiny touch of sweet and very relaxing. The finish was also as described, "warm and lingering with some smoky notes and gentle pepperiness."

A drink well done.

It very well could have been this spirit or the fact that we had a short table of 6 runners, but I found myself in a strange place. I really wanted to play poker and had a lot of fun playing it. So incredibly weird. The host had also purchased the nummy and delicious 312 beer from the Goose Island Brewery.

The 6 guys that were there were 6 guys I've played many times. The more I think of it, the more I realize that many of them actually read this blog and I probably shouldn't go babbling on and on about what kind of tells, habits, tendencies I've noticed. Maybe just recap a hand or two that seemed fun or somehow caught my attention.

The first hand was something I've really sucked at for a while. Some people might wonder how the hell you could screw it up but I think others will definitely recognize just what a challenge it can be. In this first hand, I held AA. Yep, I suck at playing this hand, especially from very early position.

Now how the hell can you suck at playing aces, I mean really. Well, for the longest time, I've been consistently winning the smallest of pots with it. Annoying as hell. Taking the blinds is not my goal, but it seemed to be my modus operandi.

On this night, I played them different. I normally 3 BB raise everything, but I also tend to be the tightest guy at the table. My guess is, the 3 BB raise from EP would probably just look like aces when I do it. I had spent more time also playing against my usual tight image. I had been a down right bully a few times and play a bit more pots then usual.

I opened from under the gun with just a min raise. With the table short handed, I hoped this might generate a little action, if I could get a few callers, there was more the one guy here that would take a stab at a squeeze play.

Two guys did indeed limp and the button did a reraise. A nice sized one too. The blinds quickly folded and back to me. I realized this might be a really good time for a really big over bet. I had bullied this player earlier and if he's got a hand that's trying to clear out the deadwood, like a big ace, he just might defend his raise. My bet was almost all of my stack and sure enough, he moved it all in over the top. Gin!

He tables AQs, this was exactly the type of hand I thought he might have. It's also a hand that's almost a 9:1 underdog to pocket aces, all I would need to do is dodge the remaining 50 spades in the deck (that's a joke, but doesn't it seem like when this happens, every card turned over is a spade...just sayin) I dodged them all and doubled up with aces.Whew!

.Since it was 6 handed, I really did figure it was time to be very active and more aggressive. The weird thing was, the 6 of us were taking way longer to finish a sng then we ever took when there was twice this many players. It probably was the scotch.

The night did produce a fair amount of drama. In the hand pictured below, the flop was laid out from right to left. Yes, the 87 had flopped the straight and two cards later, the A2o hits the bigger straight. The sick part was the 87o was a big stack, and the A2o was a little stack we were trying to bust from the tournament. Poker can be so cruel.

I believe this was one hand later, same two players. KJ was the big stack again, and got rivered for the chop. Sigh.

I went away from the night with a smile on my face. I finished 2nd in the 2nd sng, so the whole night cost me my $5 for the booze. Well worth it. I felt good about the way I played and had a blast doing it. Hopefully, these keeps with me to December. Which is taking it's sweet ass time, don't you think?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Been a loooonnnnnggggg time

Finally made it back to the bar to play some live poker. I gots some rust to shake off before the gathering in December.

Is it December yet? I'd really like it if it was.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The sum of my SNG's - god save the queen

I'm beginning to believe I'm never supposed to cash again. I played two SNG's tonight. How I busted from the first... (you'll have to click through to see them in a reader)

And from the second tournament...

Queens rock?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I guess it's time again

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It's post season baseball people...

Win Twins!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

From the Isle of Mull - Aged 10 Years - The Product of Scotland

I'll bet some of you knew right from the title that this post wasn't going to be about poker sites accepting US players. No sir. My guess is some of you had an immediate Pavlovian reaction and started to salivate. Those words appear on one type of product that I know of. And I know of very few other products from Scotland. I'm sure they probably do produce things other then Scotch whisky. It's possible and probably likely. Go read their damn Wikipedia page for yourself. Look under Economy and Infrastructure.

This month, our chief Bourbonator asked me to pick us up something nice. He was coming down for the game, but as you may have heard, a hurricane that had hit hard in the Yucatan peninsular meandered it's way here, to my town, to piss upwards of 11 inches of rain in 24 hours. I live in Minnesota. While sure, 11 inches of snow, is nothin. 11 gawd damn inches of rain is a friggin' mess. Our fearless leader lives in the Twin Cities and normally has an hourish drive. With almost every single road leading into Rochester closed due to [insert something washing out cuz of a boatload of rain] he wasn't exactly sure how quick he was gonna be.

On the left there, you'll see the shelf sign that caught my eye. It was conveniently located over the price. Those clever bastards. For this months whisky (if you are wondering where the 'e' went in 'whisky' please refer to this post about Bourbonators) I chose a 10 year old bottle of Ledaig (pronounced 'Led-chig') single malt from the Tobermory Distillery.

"The Master Distiller's Tasting Notes" located on both the box and the shelf signage made note of something I didn't normally associate with a fine Scotch whisky. Let's see if you notice:

Colour: Bright lemony gold
Nose: Immediately pungent with sweet tar and creosote aromas that release wood smoked fragrances with hints of liquorice. Further intrigue develops from soft antiseptic hints and charred leather. 
Ok, there's more, but the nose part. It had me wondering why, oh why, would someone write that on the box? Creosote doesn't immediately pop in my head when I think, hm, what kind of booze should I be drinking tonight? Maybe something that tastes like charred leather?

Under that shelf signage, was the price: $35.99. My budget was $40 and since math is hard, I just assumed that with tax, I was golden. I grabbed the box headed to the counter and the nice girl said, "That'll be $54..." - um, math is hard and all, but..."The sign said $35.99..." She was pleasant and checked the shelf...she found that I wasn't crazy, cheap maybe, but not crazy. Price adjustment and I was out of there. Whew!

We cracked this bottle open. It did have a very nice cork. I like corks. They don't make you feel cheap like a screw top or a box with a spout. On first sniff, you definitely get the whiff of airplane fuel. Can't say I found that really appealing since I normally try to avoid drinking petroleum distillates, but then again, I'm no whisky expert. Sipping was a completely different experience. It was indeed a peaty spirit, like one would expect. It was fairly smooth and smoky. The finish was a bit rough with a bit of a burn. All in all, it wasn't too bad. I'm not sure I'd go back to store and pick it up again, but I probably wouldn't pass it up when offered. The box claims there should be hints of spicy pepper, but I missed that. It also said it should be salty from the malt, maybe I caught that, but it claimed liquorice and cloves in the lost me there. I didn't find either. But like I said, I'm no whisky expert.

Probably the biggest reasons I haven't been posting all that much is the fact that I haven't been playing all that much poker (I missed completely the month of September - sorry). PokerFool seems to have started playing poker again (you really need to go check him out, maybe even leave a comment or three). But for me, live poker has been a distant memory. Playing poker this summer just wasn't in the cards and since OhPrincess1 somehow turned into a middle schooler over night, (geebus gawd, someone want to slow this ride down! I could swear last week she was a baby)....I miss playing poker.

Bourbonators has pretty much been the only live poker I've played this last 4 or 5 months. And this has how that has gone...fold, fold, fold, big bluff to set up something, fold, fold, fold AK vs A8 - flow KQ8 - turn diamond, river diamond, my AK falls victim to a 4 card flush. FAWK! Sigh. Go find the loser game...

Since British Tony was hosting this month, something new happened. The loser cash game really didn't materialize but if you'll notice the picture on the left, we did play some level 3 cribbage. I haven't played cribbage that I can remember since college. George H. W. Bush was president. Oh, what is Level 3 cribbage? That's where people are playing optimally like poker and placing people on a hand and playing the cards to optimize pointing themselves while avoiding their opponents goal of getting points. A beautiful thing.

I think it's looking quite possibly I might just hit the felt at the local watering hole this Tuesday night. I don't think I've played there since May. With the Winter Gathering quickly approaching, I need to shake the rust off the live game and get ready to join Team Skol! in our victory celebration. A boy can dream right?

Saw someone I knew....

Taking the kids to the pumpkin patch today and saw someone I knew. Recognize him?