Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rough Night

Well, last night I couldn't fade the donkeys and their seemingly endless pocket aces, but I only took about a $6 hit in the end.

I was able to make it home for the $500 guaranteed, where I got all-in with A7 and lost to Kx in 50th out of 94. I was up early, but got short-stacked chasing a draw, hence the push at the earlier-than-hoped stage in the tourney.

After that I played four $2 SNGs, winning one, and going 0-fer in the other three.

I cracked aces once, but I was sent packing in when my short stack AQ ran into the very same player's aces later in that tournament. I also was dismissed at the hands of aces in another of the tournaments on a short stack push w/Ace-face. In the third, someone ran JQ through my KJ push.

I was missing every way you could miss...flops, draws, bluffs...the whole nine yards. So why should I expect my all-ins to pan out, anyway??

In one hand, I picked up AKs and pumped it up to 4-5xBB and got one caller. The board was not particularly threatning, so I went at the pot with sizeable bets on the flop and the turn, but backed off on the river, where my K3c caller had hit a 3 to win the pot. Usually I remain quiet, but in berating this particular donkey, he claimed to be "going for the flush". There was ONE club on the flop, and I guess there must've been one on the turn, but he stuck in there like a real trooper and emerged victorious. Way to go, pal. This hand left me pretty severely short stacked, but this was actually the tournament I won.

The play last night was just atrocious. Usually I can give the players at this level credit for decent preflop play but terrible postflop play and ridiculously overvaluing their hands. Last night you had people pushing preflop like their chips were on fire or something. The sick part is that a couple of times they got called and showed really good hands, not understanding that if you have a monster, you actually don't mind some calls. And it doesn't end there. The overbetting postflop is comical at times, and is what makes it pretty simple to navigate this level of SNGs. But I digress...I'm not quite to the point where I can be critiquing others' play. I am playing at this level, after all.

So, I got clubbed upside the head with the variance stick last night, but I made all the right plays when I had to make them, and got beat as a favorite twice, so I can't be too upset about it. I've got $15 in the roll, and another $50 coming when Jorgen very generously clears my referral bonus, so I'm still in fine shape. I just wish I could get over the hump, here.

Anyway, just thought you might be interested.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Defining Moments

Well, I've got a pretty good weekend to report. No big over the top wins or anything, but more of that "growing as a poker player" stuff that I love to talk about.

Saturday night was a home game. It was couples night, and there were 8 of us. The skill level is not overwhelming (especially with the drinks flowing), but my friends that I play against never cease to impress me at times. One of the couples lives at the local casino playing all their tourneys and lots of hours of cash games, so they're quite formidable opponents. And, of course, there's my wife, who I taught, so obviously she's terrible. Anyway, I finished 2nd both tourneys. Actually, the same guy finished 1st both times too. And I took some of the nastiest heads-up beats you've seen, so they were EXTREMELY disappointing 2nds. But the guy is a Notre Dame fan, so obviously it was his night. The payouts we decided on were terrible, which I didn't think about until after and didn't wanna be a whiner, so in the end I gave my tainted winnings to my wife and we both broke even on the night. But regardless, I was happy with my performance, because I want to be good against any competition, with any structure, and I was the best player that night.

I then got some time to play yesterday, and sat in four $2 SNGs at I was completely card-dead, so using my recent FTP tip from the pros, it got to where I hat 7xBB, and I saw my pushing hands. In the first tourney my AJ got smacked around by AA in the blinds, in the 2nd my AQ couldn't outrun A10, and in the third, I flopped 2nd pair in the BB, bet the pot, and the UTG limper raised me all-in. Fairly confident he didn't have TP on the board, I called and HE rolled AA (ha! I was right!), so that was that. But here's where the defining moment came in. Instead of throwing the cows away with the barn (In Iowa, that's another way of saying "going down the shitter"), I stuck to my game, kept it together, and won the 4th one, turning a $1.20 profit on the day. THAT is how I know that things are different these days, and if I can just see some consistent success and get out of the bankroll gutter, I'm mentally prepared.

This afternoon traffic screwed me out of the 4:00 $500 guaranteed, but there was a $5 MTT at 5:00 that I finished a stellar 67th out of 79 in when my AJ couldn't win a race. Back in the day, I wouldn't have called, and had I called and lost, I'd have been pissed at myself. But today, its just another call I've gotta make to get chips, and I moved on with no real thought or second guess. I then ran another couple of $2 SNGs, bubbling the first, but coming from the bubble to take down the 2nd, turning a $.10 profit on the day!

So, excuse the philosophiser (Copyright White Goodman 2005) in me, but the last couple days have been about "big picture" and "defining moments" and seeing in myself what was never there before. The ability to keep a level head, overcome, and play the best way I know how, no matter the circumstances.

This Sunday I'm gonna head out to the local poker room and play in their $60 tourney. If I can see some cards and outrun the structure, I like my chances, so I'm really excited. But if that doesn't go wellAfter I cash in my winnings, I think some 3/6 might be in order. I've been looking to give that another run since April when this whole poker vision quest began. So we shall see.

But that's about it for me right now. I need to head to the store for some bread, milk, and chicken.


Friday, September 22, 2006

Roller Coaster Wednesday

So Wednesday night I had the place to myself and decided to do some serious work on the bankroll. Of course, when I can really commit myself tends to be when things go the worst for me, and Wednesday was no exception.

First thing I did was bust out of work early to play the 4:00 $500 guaranteed short-handed tourney at I picked up a few marginal hands and marginal pots, and basically hung around until 35th out of 98. Not what I had hoped for, but I'm happy that I didn't *really* tank in my first non-freeroll MTT in...geez...maybe more than a year. If I can actually see a few cards, things would be drastically different.

After that tourney, I went to a very dark place involving a relapse into terrible bankroll management and tilt that I will not mention. Starting with $27, I was as low as $7, but I regrouped, and had four consecutive relieving but agonizing 3rd place finishes in $2.20s, and ended the night w/$20.20 in the roll and some pride back. PLENTY to work with, and I took away more of the good experiences than the bad, which is also a good sign as to my growing maturity as a committed player.

Jorgen is absolutely the man, and has signed up as my referral at, which will net me a sweet $50 bonus. This will help bail me out of the pinch I've gotten myself into, and get me back on the fast track, so I can't thank him enough. If you would like to go donkey punching and throw a micro roll a bone, I would be appreciative beyond words. Click Here.

I promise to continue working on being a better blogger. Right now I have to focus on results, but hopefully when I've got a little more cushion I can spread my wings a little with the blog.

This weekend should allow me some decent playing time, so I hope to report back next time with even better news.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On second thought...

I have modified my go-forward plan slightly.

Instead of playing another $5.50 SNG, today I'm gonna plan on heading home in time to sign up for the 4:00 $500 guaranteed tourney at It usually gets somewhere in the neighborhood of 85-100 people, and I'd like to see how I can do. I can run $2.20 SNGs in the background so I don't get bored, and if I get any semblance of cards, I'd like to think I can throttle the thing. But I will have to adjust my mentality slightly from a freeroll mentality to a "people actually put a little money into this so might have a hand when they're betting" mentality to be successful.

So we shall see.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

...and there it is

Wow. Pathetic. I just donked away $16.50 in $5.50 SNGs like it was my job. So much for a bankroll and for running well.

In the first one I raised preflop with AJo, got 3 callers, and on a flop of AKQ, my pride and anger got in the way and made me call an all-in and get throttled by J10o. In the 2nd one, I made equally as retarded of a move, although I don't recall what it was at the moment. And in the third, I got myself into a pinch and picked the wrong move. I was actually 2nd in chips at the time. I had finally picked up some hands and had them hold up, and was looking to be in pretty good shape. All game long I had been stealing the big blind from the guy next to me who was hella weak, and I picked up A3o in the small and tried it again. Only this time, the guy pushed on me. After contemplating for quite some time, my gut told me I was good, and I made the call. (Might I note, that on the first hand of this tournament my gut was telling me to play 89o but I folded it, only for the flop to come 567 and watch someone with 34o win a decent pot when I should've taken all his chips, hence turning to the gut for this call) Well...this time he woke up with AK. The flop actually comes x3A and I thought maybe I had some good karma in the bank, but a K on the river made things "right". That left me on the short stack, and a couple hands later I couldn't run A9 through JJ.

That makes FIFTEEN $5 SNGs in a row on FTP and combined that I have failed to cash in, and that makes me SICK. I should be killing this level, but my luck has been gut wrenching. Not to push all the blame off of myself, I'm also bringing my C game to the table and paying for it. I don't know if its some sort of subconscious thing or what, but I can feel that I'm playing differently, I just don't know how.

Anyway, my bankroll still stands at $32+, so I'm going to give one more $5.50 a run and give it everything I've got. If I cash, I'm still in business, and if not, its back to the $2.20s.


The Latest

Just $3 worth of winnings to report since the last update. I played Friday between work and play, and got 3rd in a SNG. I made a big call early to double up and take someone out, then I made a bad call a little further down the line, and was kicked to the back of the pack. After that I did some hard work to weasle into the top 4, and then happened to not be the guy to go out on the bubble. Once we got into the money I actually made some pretty good progress, and I can't really remember now, but I may have gotten sucked out on to go out in 3rd. Regardless, I was happy to cash.

I also played one of the Step 3 play money for real money SNGs, where if I won, I got $1. And I won. I'm actually pretty proud of it. About a year ago I never would've had the confidence to think I could outright win 3 SNGs in a row to cash in on something like that, but right about now I'm absolutely killing SNGs with little to no effort. Very good news. Especially as I am starting to think about some SNG satellites.

I also forgot to mention that I lost the rest of my mysterious free $5 on FTP sometime last week. I ran one of the $1.25 tournaments and took two disgusting beats, then played about $2 worth of .05/.10 NL cash game action, during which I didn't win ONE legitimate hand. My plan was to quit when I got to $1.25 so I could play another tournament, but then I picked up a decent hand in the big blind right when I could've folded and quit, and, naturally, FTP laughed in my face and my plan went to shit. My luck on FTP is just sickening. I really would like to be able to play there on a regular basis, but it scares the absolute crap out of me, so I'll cross that bridge if I ever have enough of a bankroll to start spreading around. I still have a large majority of a bonus to clear, plus I'm getting rakeback there, so I'll go back there sometime, but I'm gonna make sure I'm deep so I can handle the sickening variance that site deals me.

Aaaaaaand...I haven't played since Friday. Saturday I started drinking at 9 AM for the Iowa/Iowa State game, and then by 5:30 when everyone left I was a wreck and just cleaned up and then hit the couch for some more football and a movie. We were gone all day Sunday and when we got home did some cleaning up around the house and watched some stuff piled up on the DVR. Then yesterday, a usual play day, I didn't play because TV has started. This is gonna be a bit of an issue. It was nice to have new TV shows to watch again, but I was crazy jonesin for some poker. So I'm gonna have to figure something out to work more poker in. I need to keep my skills sharp and keep building my bankroll, because I've got some great momentum going right now. I have a couple different options, so I'll just have to see what's gonna work.

My plan tonight is to work a SNG in between running and dinner, because I'll lose my mind if I don't play tonight. My bankroll is at $48, so I'm close to giving the $5 SNGs another run. I'll try one, and if it doesn't work out, back to the $2. But unless I'm just completely cold-decked, I think I should be able to move my success up to the next level. Once I get to $100, I have a whole plan, that maybe I'll detail in another post, another day.

Good luck to everyone.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Senator Frist Attempting to Bury Online Poker Ban in Defense Bill

CLICK HERE to read the latest developments in the online poker ban bill by April Kyle at

Things seemed to be looking up after this week's "Phone March" on Capitol Hill according to via Tuscaloosa Johnny, but now the bill may be facing an entirely different challenge.

EDIT: Iggy's posted AP article and discussion seems to tell somewhat of a different, more hopeful story. It seems April might have glossed over the fact that the AP article mentions just banning the use of credit cards, and Iggy's post goes on to talk about what the circumstances of such a measure passing would mean to the issue being revisited and "bulked up" at a later date.

Regardless, spread the word! The online poker world needs to know this is moving!

Chugging Along

Well, I played on Wednesday night, as expected, and rode 1st and 2nd place SNG finishes to a $12 profit. I also got 61st out of 1000 in the freeroll. So things continue to go well, and I expect it to end, really, anytime. Although w/the level of play at the $2 tables, all I really have to worry about are suckouts. Wednesday night I picked up KK in EP and raised it up 4xBB. A couple seats after me I see a re-raise, and then another caller after that. I re-raise this dude all-in, he calls without much hesitation, and we lose the third guy. I didn't have too much trouble winning against his K 10 off.

Of course, I also took advantage of a little luck to make things easier. Three-handed, I've got over 6k in chips, and the other 4 are distributed between the other two players in the form of 2xxx and 1xxx. I pick up 66 on the button and raise it up. 2xxx in chips re-raises all-in, 1xxx folds in the big, and I call. I'm racing AK, and with an ace on the flop am about to even things up. But I take it down w/a 6 on the river, and then proceed to steamroll the small stack. Done and done.

So, things are going well...EXTREMELY well. I don't wanna jinx it, and I don't want it to end, but I also don't expect it to continue forever.

As far as my referral thing, I chatted w/support on Wednesday, and they informed me that my buddy had signed up using another affiliate. I told them that was impossible, and that their referral program was a sham. After he said something about downloading the software onto a machine that has never run the software before, I had to remove my foot from my mouth and ask him humbly if anything could be done. My buddy had said that he hadn't played there, but his wife had, so it was obvious at this point that whoever she signed up through got the referral. The rep told me to have my buddy contact them and they could try to get the referral switched, but since he had already cleared the bonus, it may be too late. He did contact them last night and that was indeed the case. So no score there.

Anyway, the guy told me the referral is for the software and not for the account, and if the software had ever been on a machine they'd be able to tell, so not even a cookie clear, uninstall, etc would help. I'd like to know whether they track that via IP, MAC address of the network card, or registry files that your common fool doesn't know how to get rid of, in case I face the same problem again somewhere down the line. So if anyone knows, I'd appreciate if you'd pass that morsel of information on to me.

Hopefully I still have a couple other referrals lined up that will work out. Jorgen's isn't necessarily looking good based on an email I got from him, and my other buddy at work and I have hashed out a plan for his to work, even though he's played there before. He'll be installing the software onto his work laptop and signing up with a new account.

Sorry about all those words that I'm positive you couldn't care less about, but hopefully someday it will all be helpful to someone else. I also apologize if this is common knowledge and I look like an idiot. I'm new to the world...take it easy on me.

If anyone is interested in trying out (aside from the small number of players, I really do love the software, and the action is pretty soft) and throwing me a bone, please download the software here. They've got a 100% up to $100 bonus, a ticket to an Aussie Millions freeroll, and you'll get a weeks worth of entry into $500 freerolls, and four weeks of $50 freerolls. Give it a shot.

Of course, whatever happens at the tables, you'll be the first to know.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Quick Score

I couldn't resist the urge and made the time to play in a $2 SNG last night...

...and I won it. So that was a good decision on my part. I didn't win without a little help from a giant suckout, but hey...that's how its gotta go sometimes. I pick up pocket 10s and limp in early position. The flop comes 8 10 J. There's a bet, a raise, and I go ahead and push all-in. Probably one of the worst possible plays to make right there, but I was playing for fun and willing to put it all on the line here if I was up against JJ or Q9. And of course, I was up against Q9 and like 8 10, but a J on the turn got me everyone's chips.

As a side note, how is it that EVERY TIME the flop comes 8 10 J, someone is holding on to Q9? Does this happen to anyone else, or just me??

Anyway, I put 'er in cruise control at that point, emerged from my shell to take out a couple of micro stacks in the middle of a dry spell, and then hit a mad rush of cards to take the thing down. My bankroll is now above $30! Wednesdays are usually a play night for me, so hopefully I can make some more progress tonight.

My post about Cap games on Full Tilt showed up in my blog over there, but never made the front page. Go here if you're interested in reading it. Its really not that great. Too many questions, not enough answers. I never claim to be a writer, but I've done better.

In other news, I have propositioned 3 friends to sign up as my referral at First, because they're great guys who would be happy to throw me a bone, 2nd, because 2 of them are bonus whores and a 100% bonus is a 100% bonus, and the third likes the sound of the success I'm having in the $2 SNGs, so I don't feel like I'm twisting their arms, and 3rd, because, despite the low player numbers, I really do like their interface and think its a great place to play. BUT, one guy signed up last night supposedly using my referral link, deposited his money, is working through his bonus, and HASN'T shown up in my list of referrals! So I've got an email into support to see what the deal is with that. I want my 50 bones! I'm gonna be super pissed if they give me some bullshit about how I have to have made a deposit, because they're making rake off me, it shouldn't matter that I'm playing off freeroll winnings. If that's the problem, then I'd have been more than happy for my freeroll winnings to have taken away my "first depositor" status. Anyway...hopefully I don't have to hate them for this.

That's all for now. Back soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Well, last night was the first time as a poker player where I felt like I probably should have lost, but won. I don't know if that means I'm better, or I just got enough to get by.

After a fairly average 2nd place finish in an afternoon SNG and another ticket to step 2 in the play money SNGs, I got back at it at about 7. I sat in a .05/.10 NL cash game at FTP, and from 7-8 just saw disgusting cards, but only ended up losing $1.75. My plan is to sit in on a cash game there again and see about working back up to $3.75, at which point I'll probably run 3 of the $1.25 45 person SNGs. But I wanted to get in some cash game action and see where I felt like I was at, and also I figured it was the best way to work on unlocking my bonus. Truth be told, I think a $1.75 loss w/the cards I saw and the preflop raises I missed on and had to forfeit is pretty impressive. I did my absolute best to not have any leaks, and probably only made a couple of really bad decisions. Now if only I could run well and see what happens.

Then came the 8:00 freeroll. I was on the receiving end of some serious donking early and worked my way up inside of the top 60, then about lost it all, only to work my way back to the top 70. After putting it on cruise control for several levels and not seeing much, I called a min-raise in the BB w/AQh, and I and a couple others lost all our chips to the raiser's KK when my Q hit on the flop. That was good enough for a 156th place finish. You could easily argue that I played it wrong, but the bottom line was that neither of us would've gotten away from our hands, and the result would've been the same regardless. With a little bigger stack or smaller blinds, maybe. But if I re-raise preflop, I'm pot committed and have huge odds with 4 people in, and if I put it all-in preflop, he's not mucking his kings. Meanwhile, I played about the worst $2.20 I ever have, getting it all-in w/TPTK and losing to a higher pocket pair that I *knew* my opponent had. Why I gave away $2.20 like that, I'm not sure. Call it a relapse, I guess. At that point I knew it wasn't adviseable to be playing for money the way the night was going, so I used a couple of my Step 2 play money for real money SNG tix, and ended up going 2 for 2 in those. So on to level 3 with a couple of shots, and all that stands between me and a whole dollar is 9 donkeys.

After those encouraging results I decided to play one more $2 SNG. I lost half of my stack early when I knew my pocket 10s was good on a garbage board and bet the whole way, until I got rivered when a tagalong with K4o hit his K. No...there was no 4 on the board, and nothing but a backdoor low straight draw that was squashed by the turn. Guess he just had a feeling. *rolls eyes* After having made a couple hundred chips worth of headway through a couple of levels I picked up AA and chunked away at a guy through the river, where he dropped to my last $200 all-in bet. That catapulted me from 8th to 2nd, and I was back in business. From then on I just played as craftily as I could, and then when we got to the top 5 is when things got interesting. The guy earlier who called me to the river w/garbage, only to hit his king...well...he was destined to win this tournament. He was the big stack all through, and then when we got to the top 5, it just got nasty. He took out 5th by running his 85 through AK, he then took out 4th by calling an all-in on the flop with a pocket pair of 4s, to the player's flopped pair of 8s, only to hit a 4 on the river. After pushing all-in and collecting the blinds on the first 3-handed hand, I pick up 98 on the button and limp. The flop comes 997. This guy min-bets, and I pause, eventually min-raising to look like I'm on a weak steal. He methodically re-raises, and thinking I have him right where I want him, I push all-in, only to get blindsided by his pocket 7s. So I cashed, and I decided to stick around and see what happened. Well, on the first hand of heads-up, luckbox picks up QQ against KJ, and as if pocket Qs wasn't good enough, the flop comes xKQ. Unreal. We all love those kind of runs, and I didn't even hate the guy for it. I was just happy that, as it were, he brought me to the money. That was his SNG from the get-go, and there was nothing anybody could do about it.

So, end result for the night is a $1.75 loss at FTP, and a $3.40 profit at, for a final tally of PROFIT, on a night where I don't necessarily feel like things were going my way. But I squeezed everything I could out of the cards I did see and turned it into a profitable night, so I'm extremely proud about that.

I also figured out that I love the structure for the SNGs. On no other site could I lose half my stack early and even think I had an even money shot at recovering. Playing it by number of hands as opposed to time certainly takes longer, but when I'm battling back from a short stack by outplaying my opponents, its nice to have the level playing field of equal number of hands, as opposed to my fate being at the hands of the pace of play. I love it, and I hope it never changes.

I submitted a discussion piece to yesterday, discussing the Cap games that FTP introduced, but I guess they weren't interested. Its been almost a full day and it hasn't gotten published. Oh, well. Guess its not as big of a deal as I'd like to think it might be. I wish I'd at least saved a copy so I could post it here.

That's more than enough for now. I'll be back in a day or two.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Might I ACTUALLY be running lucky??

So I had a solid performance at poker night last night. And by "performance" I mean "enough cards to make some money", given that our structure is so disgusting. After doubling up within the first five hands, I didn't win a hand and was the first one out at the final table of 8 in the first tournament. In the 2nd tournament I was tilted beyond belief at this loose/aggressive jackass that someone brought, and couldn't handle his style of play, succumbing at the first table. Then in the third tournament I finally saw a run of cards and rode them to a first place performance for a $30 profit on the night. That puts me at $115 profit in my last 4 home/live games. Its actually keeping me away from the ATM and I'm pretty much funding my recent weekends with poker winnings. Its weird.

Impressive home game last night, though. 23 for the first 2 tourneys, and 18 in the third.

This has nothing to do with "running" lucky, but it certainly feels like a lucky occurance to me. I wake up this morning to a $5 transfer notice into my FTP account. I don't recognize the name, but I guess it must be rakeback, even though its puzzling because that's supposed to come on the 15th or 16th, and I really shouldn't be eligible for it given that I haven't cleared my bonus so any bonus earned should cancel out rakeback. But...I'm alive again! I'm just not sure how to spend it. I could jump in a $.05/.10 cash game and hope for the best, or I could run 4 of the $1.25 45 person tourneys. Each have their benefits and drawbacks. I really don't know which way to go. Regardless, its nice to have a little more money to tinker with there given the upward trending of my recent poker success. I would REALLY REALLY love to build there. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

And speaking of FTP, it was interesting to get an email yesterday about the new NL and PL Cap games they're spreading. This seems like it'd be right up my alley, given how I feel like I lose too often when I get my money in as a favorite. If nothing else, it would be a good intermediate step as I refine my pure NL cash game, which is mediocre at best. In general, it also takes the big stack element out of a "NL" cash game. Captain Millionare can now push his A 10 off against Joe Blow's AK as much as he wants, and it hurts a little less when Joe Blow gets sucked out on. If these games catch on, they could bring a whole new aspect to the poker phenominon. Its a whole new version of the game to master, and unless I'm missing something, it could even carry over to Cap tournaments. You have your SB, BB, and the Cap, all that increase incrementally. Within a couple of years we could see Cap events at the WSOP. I don't wanna put the cart before the horse, but if it happens, you heard it here first.

That's it for now. I've gotta go run and get packed up to head to Ames to tailgate for the ISU vs. UNLV game. Much beer and deceased mammal will be consumed.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another Winning Night? Don't Mind if I Do!

Last night was fun. It started slow, but ended hot.

I sat in the 5:00 PokerStars freeroll, and although I lasted almost 2 hours and had some fun, it pretty much just reminded me how I hate freerolls that are over 2000 people. And the PS freeroll is merely a satellite to the Sunday freeroll, where there's a $1000 prize pool. But I left work early to play the 5:00, and they don't have it anymore, so I wanted to play something.

After I took my break time to go run at 6:00 (Yes I run more than 5 minutes...I missed hands...bite me), I decided to sit in a $2.20 at Things were going well as usual, and then I took a gnarly beat that crippled me. I'm going to stay away from hand specifics as often as possible because apparently its not cool to blog about hands, but I feel this one is somewhat pivotal to the story. I limp w/K8d in 1st position (don't judge me), and am in the hand w/the button and the blinds. The flop comes 7-high, 2 diamonds, and it checks around to the button. The button bets, and I check-raise a couple times her bet, and she calls. Pretty obvious at this point she's got a 7, but I'm not giving her credit for much more. At some unimportant point we've also lost the blinds. The turn is a beautiful looking king, and the button puts in the rest of her chips. I call without much thought, proud of my big, nasty trap, and she and rolls Q7. I do a little dance, just in time to see a 7 fall on the river. I'm angry, but its just one of those hands. As it were, I still managed to outlast her by biding my time on the short stack, but I bowed out in 5th.

So later on I hop in another $2.20 to go along w/the 8:00 freeroll, and what are the chances that to my left sits this very same girl that had hit her very special river card? And then, what are the chances that I'm able to hand her some sweet payback by getting heads up with her and handing her her ass? Well, in this case, the chances were good, because its exactly what happened. With the giant pool of players, especially at the micro levels, its not often you get to dole out some payback online, so it was about as fufilling as a $2.20 SNG win could be.

Although I still don't think she's that good of a player despite her 2nd place performance, she was very nice when we got heads up, so in the spirit of being nice, I typed in "You know, I'm still mad at you for sucking out on me earlier tonight. :-)", to which she replies "What does that mean?". Oh $2.20 SNGs, why do I love you so much?

I also mixed it up in the chat box in the first SNG with this guy who was colluding with his buddy. We're going along in this tournament, and the short stack pushed all-in. The chip leader then called and rolled 57, and proceeded to suck out to win. Like pure geniuses, they then proceeded to chat about how chip lead was trying to get short stack some chips. Brilliant. So I decided to screw with this guy and gave him shit about colluding. Telling him I was already writing my email to support about collusion, etc, etc. He proceeds to lay into me with a profanity laced tirade, and lots of calling me a "fag". Hmmmm...I swear 15 isn't old enough to gamble in the US. Anyway, I had my fun.

So after all was said and done and I watched Negreanu make some uncharacteristically bad decisions against Erick Lindgren and throw away the PPT title (guess he needs more than a minute and a half to work his magic), I put up a proud performance of 79th out of 1k in the freeroll, throttled two of those play money for real money "Steps" SNGs in a row and gotten tickets to level 2, and won a $2.20 and gotten my bankroll back up above $20, where, with any luck, it'll stay this time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Forward Progress

Good and bad news to report from last night.

The first thing I did was play my last $5.50 tournament that I'm gonna play until I'm properly bankrolled, at Jorgen's advice. Turns out I went 0-4, which is quite disturbing and disappointing, but at the same time, I still don't feel like I made great decisions the whole way through. Its weird, because the $5.50s are actually played worse than the $2.20s, as I had a lot of worse starting hands outdraw me to beat me, which got me pretty steamed. At least in the $2.20s these people make bad calls, stay with you the whole way, and then show down to the river w/a horrible kicker or something. In the $5.50, twice I lost w/TPTK when, after calling a preflop raise, my opponents hit 2 pair on or after the flop and put it to me in the end. I'm confident I can beat that level, but I have yet to play one where I've hit cards and/or played as well as I know I'm capable.

After that, I played in two $2.20 SNGs and got 2nd in both. That means 4 consecutive cashes at that level (and I'd be at about $40 right now if I stayed out of the $5.50s...grrr). In the first one I got down early and battled back but was outchipped 3 to 1 going into heads up. In the 2nd one I flopped 4 kings with 2 in my pocket early, but got no other help from the board in the way of hitting my opponents and I think squeezed about the most value possible out of it. I then proceeded to dodge JK and JQ all-ins with pocket Qs to take a massive chip lead early. And finally, I hit a set with pocket 4s and took out another couple of folks, amassing myself 48% of the chips in play with 6 left. I then rode out a cold deck to the money, where it looked like I was on the way out in 3rd, but then got some help when AA took out KK. I put up a pretty pathetic effort in heads up again, and finished 2nd.

I used to really be confident about my heads up play, but now I wonder if something is wrong with it. I think my strategy is sound, but I get ZERO cards preflop and postflop to back up my play, and I seem to always be playing against call stations. I'm finding myself raising preflop, missing the flop and having my continuation bet called, and having to give up by the turn because its obvious not even an all-in move will win it for me. I'm gonna stick to my game for now and just hope I start picking up some cards to back up my HU playing style.

Regardless, that's a tiny profit on the night, and further reason to just stick to the $2.20s and hopefully build slowly but surely. Since I technically haven't made a deposit at, I'm still eligible for the 100% deposit bonus up to $100 and week's worth of freerolls that they offer new depositors. So my new plan is to build to $100, deposit $100, withdraw $100 (or vice versa) and get a little extra equity out of my money.

I'm not sure how they found me, but I got an email this morning that exactly matched one that Matt Maroon ranted about just a week and a half ago. Its obviously nothing more than highly customized and targeted spam, but still interesting that they'd take the time to pursue me, given my complete and total lack of credibility and readers. If nothing else, its the first thing I have in common with any sort of a "real" blogger. Look at me moving up in the world.

Thanks to Jorgen for the shout-out in his latest blog entry, and if you happen to be here because of him or are visiting for the first time for any other reason, be sure to see my "Reset" post just below to learn a little bit about me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


When I started this blog last month I kind of jumped in with both feet. I obviously would like to benefit from having a poker blog, and think I already have, but I also have had my eyes opened to a whole blogging community that seems like a cool group to be a part of, and wouldn't mind having some more readers than my 3 friends who are hardcore enough to read about this much poker, and I would like for this blog to benefit my readers.

So let me reset things here a little bit and try and fill you in on my story.

I started playing back in mid-2004. No coincidence it was after I heard about this every day average joe winning 3 million dollars and poker's most coveted prize. If he can do it, why can't I?

Rich and I started playing recreationally a couple days a week at this local place where you could pay $5 and sit in on a tournament. There were a couple tourneys each night at 6 and 8. You didn't get anything unless you won the tournament, where you got just your buy-in back. It was a total sham, but that's where I cut my teeth. I even got out of there with a couple of certificates for wins. Looking back, I wonder how I ever had any sort of success, because I knew nothing about odds or anything like that, and would play any connectors, any suited face+x, and a pocket pair was GOLD. Just really super pathetic starting hand requirements. Quite comical to me now. Late in 2004 we quit going to that game and started building poker tables, and went officially live w/our business in Jan 2005. In December 2004 I started putting a little money in at and playing strictly $5 SNGs. I had some success for a while, but basically ended up tinkleing money down my leg for the next 6-8 months. I read the Harrington on Hold 'em books and thought I was on the right track, but I just kept losing. Up to this point I had steadily improved, and it was the only thing in my life I had steadily improved at for such a long period, but I had plateaued at this point, and it was extremely frustrating. 4th and 5th place finishes, and I'd just keep putting more money in and saw the same results. In about July or August it was getting to the point where I couldn't afford it and I was teetering on having a problem, so no more money, and not a whole lot but the monthly low-stakes home game until December. Around Christmas, I put some more money in as a present to myself and lost it bubbling SNGs by Jan 3rd. Then again in March I blew a chunk of my bonus trying to play cash games, and that was it again.

This time, however, I didn't quit. I put together a freeroll schedule in Excel, and I saw hands. A trip to Vegas in April brought more losing, but valuable lessons learned from Jorgen and a 5 hour losing session at my first ever limit cash game ($3/$6). I looked at this 5 hour session as my final learning experience. After this, I was to get serious. I actually spent quite a bit of time up in this session, but then got too loose and too "experimental" and lost it all. For the record, however, I took a pretty gnarly beat on my all-in hand and should've probably stayed alive, doubled up, and maybe turned things around. But it didn't hurt that bad, because it was a blast, and I saw how easy it was to win by simply being a better player than those you're up against. Yes, I didn't win...but I told you, it was above all the final time I'd play poker as an experiment.

I came away from my latest Vegas trip thinking "hundreds of thousands of people who know less about this game than me are able to win at it, so why shouldn't I?". I know a lot about the game, I just needed to figure out how to use it. And the best way to continue learning was to play for a bankroll, w/o a bankroll. So I freerolled for the next 3 months as much as I could. Hold 'Em, Limit and No, Omaha, Stud, whatever was next, I played in it. I started out slow, but eventually it got to the point where my chip stack was trending up at the beginning instead of down, and eventually moreso got to the point where a top 20% finish was pretty routine, and about 1 out of 3 of those would turn into top 10%. It stings to get a top 10% finish in a freeroll and get nothing for it, because with real money in, I'm getting paid for that performance a lot of the time. Poker was a sore spot for my wife and I due to 2005, but she knows how much I love the game, and I just needed to convince her I was good at it. So I kept her posted with my freeroll results, and then this July she said that if I'm doing that well, maybe I should put more money in. She said she was fine w/$20 a month. So I'm back in the game now.

The sad part is that I've since put $100 in FTP and lost it. I lost $50 playing strictly cash games, and then put in another $50 in my saved up cash for our now aborted thanks to corporate America putting a fist in my ass trip to Vegas this fall, and lost it losing 7 straight $5.50 SNGs and 4 $1.25 45 person SNGs. That stung bad, because I'm better than those results. But that's 2 1/2 months worth of play that my wife authorized, and I'm not going to regress to the bad place I put myself in last year. So here I am, after all this, playing on my $10 in freeroll winnings at, trying to build a bankroll, one $2.20 SNG at a time. Its surprisingly not frustrating. I told myself in April I wanted to build my bankroll off of freeroll winnings, and here I am doing it. Sure, I'd love to be playing $10-20 SNGs, cash games, and MTT satellites to big live events and big cash MTTs, but those levels are only gonna feel that much better knowing I started at zero.

I'm playing the best poker of my life right now. MTTs, something that used to scare the bejesus out of me, is probably my strongest game. My cash game, which I'd eventually love to be my moneymaker, is weak, but I also feel like a high limit player trapped in a low limit player's bankroll (who doesn't?). My SNGs, where I've got the most experience, are getting better. The $2.20s at are going really well for me, but I always seem to bring out my worst performance when I try and bump up to the $5.50s. Jorgen has advised me to stick to the $2.20s until I can sweat the variance at the next level, and I will heed that advice. My biggest weak spots are bankroll management and tilt, so any advice there will be well received.

I think the biggest key to my recent improvement is having seen a lot of hands in freerolls and realizing that although I may have a strong hand, it *is* possible for someone to have a better one. It took a year and a half of good hands and going "nah, he couldn't have it" to realize "uh, yeah, actually...he can, and probably does". So I'm getting away from hands when I'm beat, and in tournament play, that means staying alive, which is your number 1 goal. Plus, my post-flop play is slowly and steadily improving, and that's an EXTREMELY important area to improve if you're gonna be a successful player. I'm beginning to read players better, recognize their tendencies, and look at entire hands and the bets that have occured on every street to sum up where I'm at, which helps me get away from hands when I need to, and pounce when I should. Last year, thanks to Harrington on Hold 'em, I learned the game. This year, I'm learning how to play it.

Although my online results aren't exactly flurishing, I've won $85 in home games since I've really started focusing on results the past month and a half or so, and that's encouraging. I'd rather be better live, but I still wanna be good enough to be profitable online.

So here I am with a blog. After I made the Paradise Poker Million Dollar Freeroll earlier this year I decided that I'd like to have some of the cool stuff I see and do on paper to go back and recall. Turns out its more beneficial than I ever could have thought. I've already made improvements just because I can get this stuff down on paper and hash these thoughts out. Not to mention I go back and read it, and can actively work on what I need to. And maybe, someday, when I figure out how to be a halfway decent writer and maybe a little less long-winded, my blog can benefit others. Jorgen has said great things about blogging and about poker bloggers, and I'd love to be a part of that, so if you're reading this, please bear with me, and give me a shot. Even email me and say hello.

So for all of you who haven't met me...Hello, I'm Chad, I have $15.50, and I'm trying to build a bankroll. I hope my journey can be a little bit interesting for you, and I hope to hear from you along the way.

Monday, September 04, 2006

High Stakes Home Game

Well, the home game started out pretty scary, but ended up being alright.

In the first tournament, I was the 2nd player out of 10 eliminated. Early in the tournament I made a raise w/AQ and got one apprehensive caller. I don't know much about this guy except for that he's won about $15k online, so I know he's solid. I was happy to see an A on the flop, and made a bet equal to my preflop raise. He raised me. I decided to pay off and see one more card, and it turned out being the one card I didn't wanna see, a K. He bet fairly sizeably, and I had to let it go. I lost about 1k on that hand, and later found out he had hit a set on a pocket pair. I'm not fond of calling raises w/pocket pairs, but that's just me. 7 times out of 8, I'm gonna win that hand, so I just have to take satisfaction with that. I then managed to scoop a decent sized pot w/K 10 hitting 2 pair on the flop and thought I was back in it. Until I picked up AQc in the small blind again. The blinds were 75/150, and I made it 450 total to go. My brother-in-law apprehensively calls me in the big blind. The flop came a seemingly harmless 5J5, with 2 clubs. I checked, he bet like 300, and I pulled my favorite new move, the check-raise on a draw. It got me my free card on the turn, and then no club on the river and that was that. He ends up showing down 10 5 of hearts and had hit trips on the flop. It took me until the next hand was dealt to realize it, and I go "Wait a minute...did you call my 300 raise w/10 5?!" and he whimpers "it was suited!" That left me with 500 chips, and BURNING. Of course, I eventually got over it and it was the running joke for the rest of the day, but when I was trying to play the best game I could, it really stings to lose to such a terrible call. That was virtually it for me, as I got my last 500 chips in a few hands later w/KQ against Ax and neither of us got any help.

So after a long wait, we finally shuffled up and dealt the 2nd tourney. Two had to leave, so that left us with a full table of 8 players. I won a couple of pots to keep me around or above my 2500 starting stack, but then it was getting tight w/5 players left, and 3 getting paid. I felt the "Eugening" coming on. I may refer to Eugening often in this blog, and it basically means finishing on the bubble. My middle name is Eugene, and I went through a streak of 2-3 months late last year where I was constantly finishing 1 out of the money in SNGs on PokerRoom and even at our monthly game, so bubbling in our circle of friends is referred to as Eugening. Naturally, I'm flattered. Anyway, with 5 left, I was 4th in chips, and everything looked to be in order for my Eugening and a VERY dissapointing home game. However, I picked up a couple of pocket pairs when things really started looking grim, and with a couple of pushes managed to scoop. But I'm still in 4th, *maybe* third. But then the miracle I needed came down. A buddy in the big blind makes a raise, and my brother-in-law who had limped thinks about it for a while and moves all-in in 1st position w/J 10 and loses to the raiser's A-high. Now all of the sudden I'm 3rd in chips with the big blind falling on the 4th in chips player, who had less than the BB. I proceed to knock him out and take down a pot, and am in the money. But I'd only be getting 1 buy-in back, so I really would like to get deeper. At least I've got a little more wiggle room in my stack now. A couple hands go by and I find myself looking at a suited ace in the small blind. I raise it up, and my buddy in the big blind re-raises all-in. I love this guy, and I respect the hell outta his play, but it seems like he does this to me a lot for some reason. I don't know if he does it because I'm notoriously weak/tight, if its just a coincidence, or if maybe I just notice his play more than others, but after almost letting it go like I usually do, I decide I'm making my stand here, I can't be in *that* bad of shape, and make the call for all my chips. He shows a red KQ, and I'm pretty satisfied. The flop brings 3 hearts, and all of the sudden a K, Q, or any heart and I'm history. The turn is an A, so at least the K and Q outs are gone, and the river is a blank and I double up. That left him with 1k left, and he lost that going all-in in the dark on the next hand. Heads up play isn't even worth talking about, as I got 5 pretty terrible hands and got bullied around, ended up pushing w/KQ after a blank flop, and got called by my opponent's A6 that had paired his 6. I've got 2 live cards, but miss, and that's that. $20 profit on the day, and I can breathe a sigh of relief.

The first tourney I just got throttled by luck, and then in the 2nd some pretty solid play and an equal amount of luck got me right where I wanted to be, so overall it was satisfying to come away as a winner. I really wanted to be one of the top 3-4 players at the game, and I think I proved that I was.

Time to go get groceries. Take it easy. Hopefully nobody's working today.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


I managed to knock out a 2.20 SNG while I was getting a couple things ready to go up on eBay, so that's a nice little score for the day.

I went way down early, chasing a couple of draws, but I felt like I wasn't out yet. So I put on the brakes, waited until I saw some hands, went on a MAD run, and before I knew it I had 50% of the chips in play w/5 people left. At that point I just had to guide it home.

I wasn't even necessarily planning on playing online today, but Linz was in bed and I had the eBay stuff to work on, so I decided to sit in. Heck of a bonus to win the thing.

Ok, gotta finish getting ready for the home game.


Well, Friday morning after I woke up with a thrilling ISU win hangover and looking forward to no work, I decided to give my "last hurrah" at FTP a go.

I ended up busting out in 12th out of 45, 6 short of the money. It was disappointing, but overall it was a pretty average tournament. There was a couple of hands I'd like to be sure to discuss.

After amassing a few chips fairly early in the tournament, I picked up pocket 9s in early position and limped. There was a min-raise in middle position, a call in the blinds, and I went ahead and called. The flop comes 6 9 J, rainbow. Blind checks, and figuring I'm in SOLID position here, I check, and preflop raiser bets. Calls all around. Then, wouldn't you know it, the turn is about the only *real* scare card in the deck, a 10. Check from the blinds, this time I bet, and then the preflop raiser raises me. Blind calls, and I end up throwing an internal tantrum before letting it go. With a huge bet on the end, the preflop raiser didn't even end up showing down.

Initially I figured this was a good laydown, but the more I think about it, the more I think the guy probably had AA or KK. The way to play rockets online, it seems, is to min-raise them preflop. That way you're still raising so you can complain when you get beat, but it also entices callers. It just makes sense the way the guy played it that he had bullets. If not, he was representing KQ, which he WAY overplayed preflop and on the flop. I probably should've gone to the end on this hand, but I'm so used to losing w/2 pair and trips that I just wanted to get away.

The other key hand that annoyed me was when I picked up QQ. I raised it up preflop, and got 1 caller. The board came K-high, and long story short I ended up going all the way to the river and doubling my opponent up, when he had tripped up his pocket kings on the flop. Usually I can get away from this hand, but for some reason I just played it like a complete moron. This hand was probably more pivotal than the other, because at that stage in the game if I hadn't lost 2k off my 6k stack, I could've had a little more to play with when I went card dead at that point.

Throughout the end of the tournament I hit a lot of Q-high hands and didn't see a lot of flops. I managed to keep my 7xBB for a little all-in vigorish/threat, but when I finally picked up an A4 in 12th out of 12, I was called by A9 and that was it. Things went well for me early. I don't remember specifics, but I pretty much hit a couple of pretty good hands that were routine wins, to amass up to a high of 6k in chips. Of course, because of my luck at FTP I had to sweat every single card on the board, but all went well.

So I am non-bankrolled again at FTP, and am relying on what I have left at to build. I'm still confident I'll turn things around.

Today I'm hosting a home game with some friends. Instead of our typical Friday night $5, disgusting structured, "as much about the beer as it is about the poker" game, I've put together a much awaited higher stakes game, where its all about the poker. We'll play $20 tourneys, hopefully a couple, with a starting stack of $2500 and the standard online blind structure, raised every 15 mins. That should allow for a little bit of play, and hopefully have the better players coming out on top, unlike the $1500, blinds double every 15 "crapshoot" structure we play in our monthly game.

So, I'm REALLY looking forward to that, and could use the money, so I'm gonna try and pull out my "A" game. I've been running *pretty* well lately, so as long as that continues, hopefully I can add a little success at reading to that and pull down a chunk of the prize pool.

That's about it for now. GL All.