Halifax Gentlemen's Poker Association

"We're as honest as gambling men can be."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Game Report 7/25/06

Location: The Allan Street Poker Syndicate
Attendance: Neil, Drake, Bob, EBOC, Alex, Chris, Cracker, Carsten, Andrew (friend of Bob)

A nice crowd after a couple of weeks of smaller games. Early games limited to round matches because of the numbers. Omaha had the predictable dizzying effects, as EBOC shed chips quickly and Andrew's rapid stack growth spawned whispers of "ringer". Drake and Bob played tight and didn't see much action early on. Neil played fairly cautious again, but got seriously nipped in the ass thanks to a stealth Full House by Cracker. Alex folded almost constantly, clearly waiting for a good hand to move on, a strategy that eventually bankrolled him a nice stack.

EBOC busted out early, as he had limited funds to work with. Carsten parlayed his birthday stack into a tidy profit and checked out before the crazy games began. Andrew's early run of good luck evaporated, and soon Chris, Alex, Bob & Drake all had sizable stacks before them, while Neil struggled to chase his losses. Cracker's run of good fortune also saw him tumble out before the crazy games began.

As expected, many chips moved around during the initial games of Federation Day, Pregnant Cows & Garbage Day. A particularly vicious round of Montezuma's Revenge saw almost everyone folding anything that wasn't at least a 10-high straight. Neil's leaking of chips continued, and Alex suffered a few losses while Drake and Bob fortified. A last big move by Chris saw him lose his stack to Bob, and after a bold all-in move by Drake in baseball, Bob's three Jacks remained the hand to beat, dealing Drake a massive blow to the tune of $45. Some card cutting dealt with the change, and the night drew to another dramatic close.

Big Winner: Bob, with +$110 or so

Big Loser: Neil to the beat of -$50

Dramatic Moment: Drake going all-in with K-Q-3 suited spades against Bob's showing J-J-3-10-5-2 with threes wild in Baseball. Bob called and Drake failed to hit a K, Q, A/J/10 or 2 spades with his last four undercards, leaving Bob's three Jacks in the clear. Bob had Drake's $45 covered with $0.70 left to spare, making it a near true double up.

Groan Inducing Beat: Neil's $25 all-in nut straight being unceremoniously obliterated by Cracker's rivering of the 2nd shittiest full house you can get.

Quote of the Night: "Wow, I certainly wasn't expecting that." - Neil, after noting that Cracker had matched several large bets with only two low pairs before the aforementioned rivering of his full house.

Honorable Mention: "Jesus, do you guys always play like this?!" - A bewildered Andrew after witnessing three all-in moves within the first five hands of the night.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Carsten Is Older Now Than He Was Yesterday

While this is true of us all, it is more profound for Carsten, aka Stacks, aka Boo, since today is actually his birthday.

Since he's insane enough to skip poker tonight in order to celebrate his birthday, the H.G.P.A. was good enough to chip in and bake him this wonderful cake:

And by "bake" I of course mean "Google up an image of".

All the best, old man.

(EdNote: Apparently Carsten is 36 now. Madness! And he even showed for poker. Insanity!)

Player Profile: EBOC

EdNote: This is the first in a series of profiles of our merry band of men. All profiles are penned by the players themselves, with minimal editing for clarity and brevity.

Name: Michael James Brygidyr MacLean (EdNote: "Brygidyr"?!?")
Nickname: EBOC (Eight-Ball Of Crack) ... Of the Shire
Date of Birth: 12/08/1980

Real World Occupation: At present I am tampering with God's divine plan by working in a Bio-tech firm. Prematurely taking embryonic chickens out of their shells, giving them cancer, and then injecting them with anti-cancer drugs to see if they work....might I add, Eat It God! You never thought giving me free will would go so wrong! In your ethereal personification of a face!

Poker Highlights: I don't think I play well enough to have highlights. Perhaps one might be the night where I won the last crazy game of the night. Because of that windfall I was able to buy comics the next day.

Style of Play: Idiotic/Hallucinogenic

Best Poker Attribute: I help build the pot (and bring it ... this poor drug reference is dedicated to Chris, in memory of his misspent youth).

Worst Poker Attribute: Like Steven Colbert I only listen to one thing when I play - my gut. Why? Because your gut's never wrong, even when it is.

Favourite Game: Crazy Pineapple, in memory of the late great Ananas from "Tele Francais".

Least Favourite Game: Stigmata, aka, Don't Shoot Yourself In The Foot

Hand You Always Play: Anything with colours, shapes, and numbers (I once played on a drawing my 8 year old cousin drew of him and me playing football).

Little Known Fact: When I grow up I wanna be a fireman!

Monday, July 24, 2006

News from the Poker World

Apparently people other than us play poker. Who'd have thunk it?

Chimp Might Not Be Chump in Poker

In a “rumor mill” exercise that sounds remarkably like a viral marketing project, the poker site PokerShare.com is being touted as the first company to enter a chimpanzee in the the august tournaments of the World Series of Poker.

Unlikely as it may seem that WSOP would consider such a distraction (unless it's in on the stunt) the word is that PokerShare intends to enter a chimp called Mikey into the main event at WSOP. Adding to the hype, the animal has apparently been given an intensive course in poker playing over the past few months.

Alex Van Klaveren of GameShare, the Gibraltar-based parent group for PokerShare, responded thus to an InfoPowa enquiry about the rumor:

“Thanks for your e-mail. Your sources are accurate. We have been training Mikey for the past four months, and he is now ready to play the WSOP main event. We will be issuing a press release by the end of the week.”

Van Klaveren did not comment on whether this ploy had the cooperation of the WSOP tournament director, saying in response to a direct question on this: “I agree, it should be interesting to see what people make of it. Mikey has a blog which is starting soon where you will be able to follow his progress.”

I wager 400 quatloos on the newcomer. 300 quatloos says he will hurl feces on the table.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The History Of The H.G.P.A.

Since Neil seems to have the reporting of current H.G.P.A. events covered, I thought I, as the current association archivist, would take on the responsibility of publishing some information about the long and storied history of the H.G.P.A.

Obviously there are hundreds of important stories and anecdotes in the records, but I guess we should begin at the beginning.

Here are some frequent questions about the early days of the H.G.P.A. with their answers.

1. When was the Association founded?

This is actually a tricky question to answer, because it depends on how you define 'the Association'. While there was no formal Association under the name H.G.P.A. until 1836 when Joseph Howe officially chartered the club (see below), there was certainly a regular gathering of like-minded men for friendly gaming that far pre-dated that. There definite evidence of the club as early as the mid-1820s, and indeed there is a persistent rumour that Howe's purchase of the Novascotian in 1827 was funded with winnings from a particularly successful series of meetings of this informal group. While documentary evidence is lacking, there is anecdotal evidence that suggests the Association can be traced back to a gaming society originally formed by officers onboard the sloop Sphinx in 1749, including Edward Cornwallis himself.

Howe enters new H.G.P.A. building
In any case, the formal H.G.P.A. was born in 1836 when Howe, just elected as representative for Halifax country, chartered the association and was responsible (with significant funding from charter members, notably including brewing magnate Alexander Keith, for whom the investment paid off--shortly after formal charter of the club Keith was sudden a director of several major corporations including the Bank of Nova Scotia and the Halifax Fire Insurance Company, all apparently resulting from meetings over cards) for the acquisition of a building on Hollis street to operate as the club's center. Time and time again it has been suggested that Howe took this step in order to make his "friendly gambling" into something more socially acceptable for someone with political ambitions, i.e. membership in an exclusive gentlemen's club where gaming occurred was seen as much more appropriate to his social class than attending back room games in dockside ale houses, but there is no documentary evidence of this.

(Incidentally, the Association continued to operate out of that building until 1862 when a schism within the Association lead to a split, with one faction departing the Hollis street location and keeping the H.G.P.A. name, and the other faction maintaining the location under a slightly shorter name.)

2. I didn't think poker as a game was that old?

That's not really a question, but I'll answer it anyway--the game was certainly known in some variant, even in the early days of the association. While a 20-card variant was apparently popular among sailors and military men in the 1820s, our records only date from the formal founding of the club and they clearly show that the full 52-card deck was in use in 1836. There is also a record of a highly empassioned debate on whether or not to adopt the flush recorded in the minutes of the1843 general meeting (it was finally adopted). Amusingly, the exact details of how to rank the flush in three card poker were not formally worked out until more than 160 years later.

The exact details of the games played before the formal chartering of the club, are lost to history.

3. What's up with the crest?

The HGPA crest was designed for Howe by his political compatriot, lawyer James Uniacke. Uniacke was an important man politically (he later became premiere of Nova Scotia in 1848) who was well known for his love of gambling and sport. Contemporary writers described him thus: “in a heavy-eating, hard-drinking age, [he] made no bones about his intimate friendship with John Berleycorn as he raced his stable of fast horses on the Halifax Commons. He had a great thirst for companionship and conviviality.”

It's also well known that Howe and Uniacke were often loudly at odds in parliament, exchanging scathing rejoinders and debating the question of responsible government. During the early years of the H.G.P.A., the two men were often publicly in great disputes and rivalries, but club records show that despite this they still managed to play civil games of poker with each other, although perhaps taking special joy in those hands where they could best each other particularly. Of course in time the two men were key in forming the reform government, which saw Uniacke made premiere, with Howe functioning as an eminence grise. Association records hint that much of the political manuevering required to make this happen occured over friendly games of cards.

What is less well-known about Uniacke is that he had an abiding interest in heraldry, and thus was the one who supplied Howe with a crest for the newly chartered organization. The crest has been in continuous use since 1836, and is registered with the College of Arms.

H.G.P.A. crest

The notes on the design of the crest are as follows:

Motto: “Neutiquam erro” is Latin for “I am not lost”. This represents the club members' firm determination to never give up no matter how deep in they are getting, and to constantly assert that they know what they are doing.

St. Andrew’s Cross, or Saltire: This is the blue background with the white cross, and it represents resolution. This ties into the basic club theme of sticking with it, even if you are bleeding money onto the table. The saltire also represents Scotland in these colours, and by extension Nova Scotia.

Wolf: Reward from perseverance in long sieges and/or hard industry. This represents how resolution can bring you back from under by persevering and playing right.

Roundles (Gold or yellow): This is actually a representation of bezants or byzantine coins and indicate someone worthy of trust or treasure. In this case this suggests both the high level of bluffing, and the consistent movement of cash, at club events.

Quatrefoil (Primrose): This is said to represent or brings good tidings. Either meaning is appropriate, either suggesting the ability to represent a good hand, or to wish for news of one.

Lion: Dauntless courage. This refers to what you need to either stone cold bluff a pot, or to follow your instinct into the face of someone who is representing a better hand. Club members pride themselves on their courage, especially in cases where it was expensive.

In addition to a crest, the group also needed a slogan. The story behind the slogan is somewhat amusing. It arose from a veiled insult issued by Charles Tupper (who had, perhaps not incidentally, been denied membership in the H.G.P.A. earlier that year) who referred to "Howe and his pack of reprobates", saying "why the public expects honest service from gamblers I will never understand.". At the next H.G.P.A. meeting this slur was adopted as a mock honour by the assembled members, who voted to make the Association slogan: “We’re as honest as gambling men can be”. (The slogan has since been used in at least one piece of popular music that deals with the subject of gambling.)

Lots more "from the Archives" to come.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Game Report 7/18/06

Location: The Allan Street Poker Syndicate
Attendance: Neil, Drake, Bob, EBOC, Alex

A small group, but a decicated one indeed. Thank Jesus for air conditioning as well. Quick rounds of Omaha and Hold 'Em saw Neil build a surprising lead thanks to strangely cautious play. EBOC bled money at a ferocious rate, with the philosophy of "I just want to buy in again anyways". Drake had several hot and cold streaks, as he jealously guarded his stacks. It took Bob at least 15 hands before he actually won one, but he played tight and was only in for a 2nd rebuy before the chips began to reel his way. Alex was on the wrong end of some serious hands, including a costly $3 wager to learn that you can only use 2 cards in Omaha. D'oh!

Around the same time that two arks of poutine and an unholy sized chicken pita darkened the doorway of Allan Street, the initial cautious play was out the window and red chips began to trade hands many times over. The pot built to a respectable $120 before the crazy games began around 12:30 a.m. or so.

As usual, the crazy games produced a chaotic effect. Neil lost a sizeable portion of his big stack early on, and Drake's string of luck came to a screeching halt. Bob doubled up a couple of times to bring him close to even again, and EBOC caught fire in the bad sense and crashed and burned totally out of the game. Alex swung his luck 180 degrees and took down some sizable pots before being busted out totally. A neolithic "nnnnrg" grunt from Neil somehow convinced him to rebuy in for the crazy games - an irony, as it was Neil who would land a devastating blow to Alex when he went all in on five 8s in Pregnant Cows only to be felled by Neil's 5 jacks. Several card cuts later and Drake was busted out and Bob was back to $20. A hollow way to end the night, but fun times had by all.

Big Winner: Neil, with $90 profit off a single $10 buy-in

Big Loser: EBOC & Alex, both at -$30 each (I think)

Hilarious Moment: EBOC having to be told by others that Neil had indeed purchased all the cards of a full house during a round of eBay. Weed possibly involved.

Bad Beat: Alex's five 8s getting gobbled up by Neil's five Jacks in Pregnant Cows. Mooo!

Quote of the Night: "Is that another euphemism? Because I've been thinking 'pussy' the whole time." - Drake, remarking on someone's descriptions of someone else's play.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Game Report 7/11/06

Location: EBOC's Brother-in-Law's Swanky South End Pad
Attendance: Neil, Chris, Drake, Bob, EBOC, Eric, Speedbag

Another sweltering session in the confines of the Webster Terrace PokerDome. Neil's early attempt to play tight torn asunder by desire to leak chips onto table like a mofo. Drake was up early by a large margin, a fact that would haunt him later on. Arrival of Chris later in evening bode ill for all involved, as he quickly became big stack. Speedbag busted out before nightmarish massacre of Crazy Games began. Drake lost his previous winnings as did EBOC, and Eric and Neil both continued into the red while Bob and Chris built sizable stacks.

All was well until Eric's revealing of "Don't Shoot Yourself In the Foot" which is essentially played like Guts with insane variations that make you pay a dollar for three more cards, but you are then locked into the hand. Pot quickly built to a staggering $37.50 or so, only to then increase to a relatively huge $85 or so.

EBOC and Bob actually lost a fair amount of their winnings at that point, sending EBOC to the nearest ATM (actual kind, not Neil) and forcing BOB to play a $55 marker in the middle, which he promptly won back from Chris with a straight to the Ace the very next hand. Tempers flared and thankfully the game ended with Chris reaping a huge pot to add to his already bulging stack of chips.

Big Winner: Chris, with a new record of $185

Big Loser: Neil, to the tune of -$65

Big Moment: Bob's Herculean re-winning of his $85 marker

Bad Beat: Eric's full house sinking to four of a kind, specifics forgotten.

Quote of the Night: "I don't know about you guys, but this seems pretty fucking insane to me." - Drake, commenting on the madness of 'D.S.Y.I.T.F'.


We need a way to document our peaks and valleys, and since drinking and other herbal pastimes play a signifigant role in our weekly games, this seems like the best way to do it.