Thursday, November 30, 2006

Renewed Spirit

I almost posted yesterday about Tuesday night. It would not have been a very happy post. Well, it would've ended somewhat happy, but it would've been much too much complaining.

The bottom line is that on Tuesday night I was ready and willing to bust. After having zero cards, missing every flop, and losing w/my chips in as a favorite in my first two SNGs, and losing another big pot for all but the last $2.20 of my bankroll in .10/.20 limit when my opponent drew his gutshot on the river while we capped all the way, I sat in my last SNG w/the last $2.20 in my account. In the SNG I had 750 chips out of my 1k starting stack, and the blinds were at 50/100. I was on the ropes, and had come to terms with busting, looking forward to moving on, and putting some of my B&M bankroll toward TripJax's advice for Mansion via Poker Savvy as promised. Then, miraculously, my KJ vs A7 push saw a flop of 9 10 Q and held. A few hands later it took EVERYTHING I had to push w/33 in the big against a SB raise. I was positive I was racing, but didn't think I could win it. Well I did the right thing, held up, found myself at the top of the heap, and guided my stack to victory. Ten bucks in my bankroll, and a fresh start looking very similar to this day. I still was very upset with poker, upset with missing flops, upset with losing races, upset with losing with the best of it, and flat farking tired of seeing Face/X off. But for some reason I walked away with a very positive feeling of a new beginning.

Then, as if they were written especially for me, yesterday I read blogs about frustration, variance, ego, and tilt, and a winning attitude, and it only further reinforced this feeling of a fresh start and renewed spirit. I realized that I was expecting the game to come to me and the slump to break itself, especially at the $2.20 level which I used to kill routinely with a couple of big hands per SNG and weak competition, but when you're dealing with a bout of variance, you're not only playing against the players, you're playing against the game, and it takes everything you have to exploit your edge over both. Perhaps even more importantly, it can easily reach a point where you're playing against yourself. Like Pauly said, when you start to experience some bad breaks, you can't help but question the very foundation of how you play. You start to wonder if any success you ever had was just luck, and if you even have anywhere near enough of the pieces of this giant puzzle put together to be a real winner, or if you even have the right pieces. That certainly was the case for me as I had my last $2.20 on the line and expected to lose it, because no matter what I did, I could not come out ahead, and I had a terrible attitude about my game and about the game in general.

Luckily, the cards bailed me out.

So, with my renewed spirit and new beginning, I was excited to sit down and test my will last night. With some strict concentration and way more effort than should be required at this level, I managed to cash in the two SNGs I played. The cards were still very much on the bottom side of average, but I used reads, position, table image, and a handfull of the other subtle neuances of the game to exploit advantage when I had it. It would have been nice to win one, but I got cold-decked heads-up in the first when it seemed like no matter what I had I was dominated, and in the second I got in racing w/AK vs QQ and couldn't catch. They were both heroic performances, though, and I was proud of myself.

So that's where I'm at. I've got 7 SNGs in my online bankroll, and I'm not looking back this time. I've come to terms with the fact that until the variance dies down, the game is going to take more effort than it maybe should. But the real takeaway from this whole episode is that I'll hopefully find that I'm a good enough player to persevere. A lot of people say that the best poker players don't need cards to win, and while that concept certainly contains a lot of validity, when it really comes into play is when you're not getting cards. The best poker players are the ones who you'd never know were dealing with variance, and I'm currently out to prove myself as one of those players.

Then once I get my feet back under me, I'd like to take the next step and start working some more aggression into my game. But for now, I'll take "Cashing Without Cards" for $2.20, Alex.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 Making Huge Strides

The following is NOT a paid advertisement. Its just me being really excited about some new changes to, my favorite site to play at, and IMO the best and most overlooked.

With the UIGEA shutting down so many online poker rooms to US citizens, seems to be making a serious attempt at snagging some of the abandoned players. Some may say its a little too late, but I think all anyone needs to do is go give this room a try and they won't turn back.

Fellow blogger Kipper is reporting the following additions in games and enhancements to's interface.

# 7 Card Stud
# 7 Card Stud hi/lo
# Omaha hi/lo
# Razz
# 5 Card Stud
# 5 Card Draw
# Badugi
# 2-7 Lowball (Triple Draw)
# A-5 Lowball (Triple Draw)
# Hand Histories Stored Locally on Hard Drive
# New Lobby Interface

This hopefully means that soon, players will be able to use Poker Tracker, but even for those of us that do play there now, even being able to go back and look at your personal hand histories will be a huge change, as previously we only had the past 15 hands at your current table and then they were to speak.

Also, it may take away from my "street cred", but I love the features like percentages, show one card, rabbit hunt, player tagging capabilities, visible player accolades, personal avatars, table resizing, and the chat bubbles and smilies, including "donkey" and "fish" icons that show up when you type the words. Priceless. Plus, its hella fast.

While everyone is talking about all the money they're making in omaha hi/lo, RAZZ, and triple draw, and I'm getting killed by every idiot on the planet in hold 'em, I've really been itching to play these games where I will actually have a *real* advantage, and soon I'll be able to.

So this is great news, and I'm begging ANY of you that play, if you've never tried, DO IT. Not just because there are shamelessly placed referral links all over this page and I need the $50 like you lucky WPBT participants need December 8th to be here, but because you really will like the site, and they take damn good care of their players.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Breaking Even Sucks

Well, I had the opportunity to play some on Friday and yesterday, and while the results are encouraging overall, I'm still taking some very pivotal beats that are keeping me from making progress from my current bankroll predicament.

The big news is that yesterday was my inagural run at the monthly 50k freeroll for those getting 5k points for the month. I really had a blast running this tourney, as it actually had a damn decent structure (2k stack, blinds every 15 mins) which I felt rewarded strong players. With about 1850 starting, my first hour was phenominal, as I ran my starting stack up to over 8k. I doubled up fairly early when I turned a flush and Johnny Action at our table was firing bets at me with his suited ace all the way to the end. I had a lot of hands hit and hold up, and this saw me spend some time in the top 20. I knew that this inevitably meant things would go dry, and they promptly did, as I don't think I won a hand in the 2nd hour. But I also protected my chips, and only lost about 3k to blinds and a few paid for and missed flops. Needless to say, with the bubble approaching, I was looking forward to the tide turning in the 3rd hour. When my KQ flopped a flush on the first hand of the 3rd hour, I was liking the way things were headed, until it folded to the big blind who folded to my lone min-bet on the river. I kinda felt like that was gonna be the story, and it was. I was on the outside looking in with about 25 players to the bubble, but managed to double up w/AJs under the gun. That got me ITM, and I eventually busted in 281st when 95 turned a 9 to beat my J7. It was only $5, but its always nice at least somewhat of a moral victory to cash. My tournament life was only at stake twice, and when I did bust I managed to get in with the best of it as the SB bluff-raised my short stack in the big. I had what it takes to win the tournament, but no cards to do it with. Now I just hope I can turn things around and qualify for this thing next month, too.

After I busted, I thought I'd look for a fellow blogger and see if he gave it a go. Ironically, he busted in 279th, two spots ahead of me. This guy seems to not have played.

Incidentally, I kept tabs on the luckbox donkey who I immediately tabbed with the "fish" icon 3 hands into the tournament, of whom graced me with my first double up. I was with this guy until well into the 2nd hour and HATED to have our table broken, as I had an eye on his chips and was just waiting for the hand. This guy sucked out for his tournament life no less than 4 times, and managed to make significant forward progress by a strategy of sticking all his chips in the middle like it was his job. I was the only player at the table who he showed any respect for, and who got any chips off of him. This guy was vastly afraid of non-push monkey action, and was such an easy read it was sick. Well, he ended up spending a lot of time in the top 10, and finished in the top 15 for a $500 payday. It makes me wonder what I could've done if things went a little bit differently and he doubled me up just one more time. But that's neither here nor there. I just took quite an interest in this guy as his skill level was obviously low, but whatever he was doing it was working for least from 2-6 PM yesterday.

Moving on, I also ventured into a new arena over the weekend. I ran about four $2 satellites. These are 5 person SNGs where the winner gets $11. It took me about 3 of these satellites to get the hang of them. At first I played them very loose due to it being a 5-handed SNG. Well, I failed to recognize the differences between this and a normal SNG, in that the blinds are timed as opposed to every 10 hands (like the normal SNGs at, and also, of course, you have to play to win. The timed blinds at the shorthanded table allowed for a lot more play as the chips moved around, and I found myself playing a lot of hands, missing a lot of flops, and making an overall pathetic showing. So eventually the winning formula was my typical game, to play tight and just play the big hands as they come. Heads up was also a new experience, as, again, due to the amount of play in the structure, heads up took almost as long as x-handed play. I'm not used to this much heads up play, but in my first opportunity to get heads up in one of these, I managed to come from behind to take it down.

Now, initially my plan was to use these for $11 SNGs, but I'm kind of a dumbass and didn't do my research on them. I guess they can only be used for the $11 satellites and it says MTT buy-ins, which is also fine. But the pickle I'm in is whether to use it for some $11 guaranteed MTT and take a good shot at a 2 figure cash (usually less than 100 runners), or run the $11 satellite and try to turn it into a $60 ticket that will get me into's Sunday 20k Guarantee. With my current bankroll predicament, I can't really waste a lot of money trying to win 2 straight SNGs to satellite into a MTT with about 300 runners. But at the same time, I like my odds in a 300 person tourney w/a decent structure and first prize of about 5k. So I'll have to keep thinking on that. I should probably sit on the thing for at least a few days and see if I can build at least a little backbone into my bankroll and see just how "wasteful" I can be w/the $11 value in my back pocket.

Other than that, SNGs were -EV for me for the weekend. As is the trend lately, I tended to run my big hands into the unlikely nuts holdings, or managed to get outrun when I do something right. Yesterday I had a real stinger as I made a clutch call on a flop all-in from a preflop over-raiser when I had an overpair to a raggy board and it felt like this guy was on Ace-Face. I made the call, he showed AK, and spiked a K on the river. You don't often get opportunities to make great plays like that, and it hurts that much worse to make the clutch play and get robbed. Of course, I'm also not afraid to admit that I also made a lot of mistakes as I was trying to push the envelope and win some SNGs. However, at this point if I'm really gonna turn my bankroll around and try to do this Circuit Event thing at the end of January, I really need to hunker down and quit screwing around. While taking some chances for 1st or 2nd place SNG money is an admirable ploy, its not my game. So I need to settle down and play my game, and make it work for me.

Luckily some .10/.20 limit action bailed me out yesterday, and my bankroll currently contains about $22 of value, which is technically a win for the weekend, but still just chump change in the grand scheme of things.

So wish me luck, because I'm gonna try and really dig in and get to work.

Check ya.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Breathing a Sigh of Relief for the Holiday

Well, I got in a handfull of SNGs yesterday, and things remained pretty precarious in the beginning. In fact, I was in my "last" SNG, w/the remaining bankroll under $2.20. But the drama pretty much ends there, as I sat down at a .10/.20 limit table and turned my $1.70 into $2.30, not dooming me quite yet. I also won the SNG. It took a big suckout to do it, but for some reason I knew I was beat after the flop and just couldn't let the hand go. I then proceeded to make a bigger 2 pair on the turn and triple up, cruising to the win after that. Which was a huge monkey off my back, because even when I was managing to cash, I could not freegging WIN. After getting that bankroll back to back over $12, I took a break to work out, and when the wife said she still wouldn't be home for a while, I cracked a couple beers and had another go at it. I played 3 more SNGs, made a HUGE misread in one for all my chips, and cashed in both the others (3rd & 2nd). By the 2nd one I was getting buzzed, having a good time, and cracking up the table. It was a blast. The thing ended up possibly being the longest SNG I've played on the site, as we played several hands at 500/1000.

Final result, a bankroll over $17 (at least 8 more SNG's worth), and the REAL good news is that the cards started to circle back to normal a little bit. I was making some hands and having them hold up, so it was very encouraging, and good to have fun playing poker again.

I couldn't ask for much more going into the holiday.

And speaking of that, I'm probably already too late, but hope everyone has a great one. We're headed for my folks (only a half hour away) for the day, and expecting gorgeous 60 degree temps, which is ridiculous for November in Iowa. So we'll mix a little HD football in with some real football and other fun and games I'm sure.

For all you traveling, travel safe, and as always, good luck on the felt!

Friday, November 17, 2006

You know, its funny...

This post that I am now editing I had started last Friday, and it started out "I did have about an hour to play last night, and I got back to my roots and grinded out a $30 win."

Boy, has it gotten ugly since then. That win on Thursday put me at $177. Currently, my bankroll is at $9. Yes...NINE DOLLARS.

Variance is here. I knew that I was due some, but I never really realized exactly how disgustingly brutal it is. For the most part, the starting two cards are about the same. However, the position I get them in and the raises I face with them due to said position and everything else after that is NOT. I'm dealt most of my flop-worthy cards in EP, and am forced to limp, only to face that inevitable raise that's way more than you can call with your holding and/or risk missing the flop. If I do get a raising hand in EP, I'll go ahead and make that raise, only to get called by the big blind w/KJo, who makes his gutshot straight by the turn and dethrone a hand I actually hit. So thats the starting two cards. I'm dealing with it. What makes me want to eat a bullet is the flops that couldn't be missing me any more, and the action that I'm getting when I do hit a rare big hand.

If I actually get to see a flop, I miss it. Very rarely can I even make top pair these days, let alone anything better than that. If I do happen to hit a hand, its either beat, or gets outrun in the worst way to get beat. I'm still doing a pretty decent job of getting in with the best of it. But generally all it takes is a flop to change that, or if I get it in on the flop with the lead, a runner or two. When I make top pair, my kicker isn't good enough or my opponent has an ugly two pair. When I have someone dominated, we manage to split. What this all adds up to in a SNG is chips leaving the stack trying to see flops and calling when I've got odds to straights or flushes, pushing when its time to push, and either being behind or getting outflopped if I'm ahead. If I hit a big hand, I can't get any action. If I try and play it pretty standard, I scare everyone away. And when I slow play it, I get rocked. I lost with AA shorthanded twice in the past two sessions by slow playing it. I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't. And a coin flip?? Forget it.

Variance is not kind.

If I'm taking anything away from this, its the fact that I finally understand variance. I have never really played consistently enough to know the difference between a few rough beats, playing badly, and variance. This, I know is variance, because it just won't stop, and its some of the most ridiculous shit I've ever seen. I'm playing my game, and getting cold decked HARD. I am back to the $2 SNGs, a level that I used to kill in my sleep, and busting in 5th, 6th, and 7th, never even having been in it, sometimes never winning a pot.

I have examined my play. Initially, when my bankroll went from $425 down to sub-$100, there were several bad decisions involved in calling off buy-ins at the .50/1 NL tables. Granted, they were unlikely beats on opponents terribly played hands in several cases, but I was also tilting, and blind to the possibility of the better hands that my opponents ended up holding. Sadly, that was child's play variance. Now? I am playing every SNG like its my last (because it damn near is), and can do absolutely nothing to combat this streak of luck like I've never seen before.

So...when I think about poker right now, it makes me angry and nervous. But when I'm playing, I'm extremely focused. This *has* to end, and I'd like to think that despite what I'm facing while playing these days, there's no way I can go busto at the $2 SNG level.

*knocks furiously on wood*

Things are NOT looking up right now in the least bit, but I'm finding some peace of mind in the fact that all of this started with a $10 freeroll win, so if I did it once, I can do it again. I've still got about two months until the Circuit Event, including some significant time off from work, open weekends, and more time at the B&M casino. So the quest is not over, and I'm learning every step of the way.

That said, its noon and the office is a ghost town. Time to head home and get this train back on the tracks.

Iowa Poker Players Claim Their Hand in Ousting Leach

A co-worker pointed this out to me in this morning's paper, so naturally I figured bloggers would have a great interest. I submitted it to PokerBlog so hopefully they will publish it and it will get some more exposure than it would in my humble blog.

A story in this morning's Des Moines Register (Iowa) has poker players and the PPA claiming their role in dethroning Jim Leach, the author of the UIGEA, from his 15 term incumbency in the Iowa legislature.

"Following the election the poker group commissioned an automated poll of 1,033 voters in the 2nd District, asking how the poker issue influenced their decisions.

Among those who knew about the law, 15 percent said it influenced them to support Loebsack. Another 10 percent said that it influenced them to support Leach.

Online poker advocates contend that was enough to doom Leach in a race lost by just 5,711 votes."

Read this article in its entirety at The Des Moines Register's website.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Upon Further Review...

After some thought...ok, screw it, I can't STOP thinking about it...I want it to be known that I accept a majority of the blame for last night's debacle.

After reading Drizz's post that mentioned admitting your mistakes, I just wanted to clear up that although my last post mentioned several variations of beats, I have also come to terms with the fact that a lot of poor play was involved as well.

Don't get me wrong, I lost a lot of hands that would and should generally hold up, but I also lost a lot of hands where I shouldn't even have been in the pot, called a lot of preflop raises that I shouldn't have, and pissed away about $120 with overplayed pocket pairs that I normally am very good at treading carefully with.

So I will grow from this. I will get back at it, and I will get back to my roots and do a little reconstruction on a game that I thought was coming into its own, but more likely was just running pretty lucky.

Three weeks ago I would've been thrilled to have what I have now. Of course, since I've seen the promised land it really blows to be where I am, but this is FAR from over. I did it once, and I can do it again. And next time I hit a high mark, having learned this valuable lesson, things will be different.

That's what its all about, right??

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just as I Expected

Well, the bottom finally dropped out. I started w/$426 tonight, and I will likely cash out under the $200 mark.

It all started w/the $20 SNG. Everything was just going swimmingly until the blinds were 50/100, and I find JJ in MP. I hate this hand, so figuring it to be as good of a time as any, in 5th out of 7, I push my 1k stack with it. I get called by a bigger stack who has AK, and the flop brings a K. And just like that, the train was off the tracks.

And it only got worse from there. I am just getting embarassed in the cash games. My few made hands either get no action or get beat. Straight over set, flush over straight, and even the illustrious boat over boat. I even tried to scoop w/QQ at one table, maybe get a call and double up, and ran it into AA for a $30 or so dollar gone broke hand. ...And now I just ran 10s into KK. I think that's enough.

I got a little bit reckless a handfull of times, but nothing out of the ordinary. Its just that this time things never turned around.

Yeah...the bottom dropped out. I knew it was coming, but of course, it stings. Its a lot easier to lose $300 in this game than it is to make it, and now I go back to the grind.

So I Played Some Poker...

Lots to report from the weekend, but I will do it in a quick fashion.

I played more hands this weekend than I have ever played. Possibly literally, in all of the 2 years I've played poker, but at the very least, the most I've ever played in such a short time span. I cleared about 1800 hands on Friday and Saturday. I even was FOUR TABLING at times. Shut up. Its a big accomplishment for a guy who got flustered playing 2 SNGs at a time. I have come to discover the beauty of multitabling, which is, of course, that this game is really boring when you're not playing, so the more you can see hands, the more you can play.

Welcome me from the stone age.

It was, as poker is, a rollercoaster of activity. I played about 4 hours of .50/1 NL Friday morning and ended up a whopping $8. I then played an afternoon session of about another 4 hours, including 3 non-cashing $10 SNGs, and ended up down about $45, although it felt a whole lot more frustrating than that. In fact, as I recall, it *was* a lot more frustrating than that (read: bankroll severely depleated) until I finally hit about a 1/2 hour run late in the session to recover. The coup de grace was a crying call I made with 10 10 on a 6-high board. Someone pushed at me for about $30 and I called thinking TPTK, time to get back to even and breathe a sigh of relief. Nope, a set of 3s, and me realizing I wasn't playing cards anymore. I was playing tilt. So I walked away...and headed for poker night. I was running late anyway.

I might have had my best played poker night ever. Best played. Remember, this is our monthly game which is as much about drinking as it is about the $5 horribly structured tourneys, so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't mean damn much of anything. But I was playing lights out after having 8 hours of warmup. We had 9 guys. I didn't cash. In the first tourney, as chip lead I doubled up the 2nd stack. This hand was beautiful. I looked down at QQ and raised it up about 4x, my buddy who doesn't play a lot called. The flop came J-high, I bet the same amount as before, and he raised me all-in. He might as well have screamed AJ as I knew I had him right where I wanted him. I called, he rolled the AJ, and I had to sweat 4 outs. My brother-in-law (he always seem to be involved when the worst of it happens to me) deals an A on the river, and I'm crippled. The next hand the very same buddy took me out w/K7 when I was fortunate enough to find AQ on my decimated stack. All of this, after said buddy who doesn't play much spiked a 3 outer to take two people out a few hands previous. It was his night, and you can't mess with someone when its their night. In the 2nd tournament we were down to the bubble and I was feeling pretty good about my chances. I got K2 in the big blind, and after a KJx flop, a surging stack known for his terrible questionable play moves all-in on me, and I call after some kicker-related deliberation. I was thrilled to see his J 10, and he was thrilled to see the 10 on the turn. Cya. The final tournament we played was a FIVE person tournament, and the only thing more pathetic than the fact that there were only 5 guys left, was my play. But I had given up by that point.

So night was poker night. With a badly structured tournament, you're either on the good side of things or the bad side of things, and I just ran into a couple of guys on tears.

Saturday brought me back to the virtual felt where I got in another 4 or so hour session. Things were clicking on Saturday, and I ended up cashing out to the tune of $160 up. The fun part about Saturday was the end. I swear I had $152.xx and $148.xx at the two tables I was playing at (yeah, I bought in for $50 at each!), so I cashed out with those two tables plus my $100 behind putting me at a nice, round $400.xx figure. Except I cashed out and it was $399.05. My OCD kicked in and I had a couple of ticks before I shook it off. I called the wife over to revel in my greatness, and she goes "Don't you want that last 95 cents?" Damn it. Yes I do! So I sat down at a .50/1 shorthanded table to make 95 cents. Five hands later, having won 3, I cash out $26 richer. Now we're talking.

So, when all was said and done, over the course of 12 hours and 1800 hands I improved my starting point by 33%, and I also set a new high point for the online bankroll at $425, which is a 15% improvement over my previous high point. So, naturally, I'm feeling pretty strong. I also got myself eligible for the monthly $50k freeroll on, so I will be looking to make a serious run in that.

I was burnt out and busy so haven't played in a couple of days, but will hit it again tonight. I'm thinking about giving a $20 SNG a run as I'm missing the SNG scene a little bit and want to see how the $20s play. I'll probably play that with a 10-handed cash game table, but really want to focus on the SNG and see how my skills match up. After that, I'll probably supplement the full table (played tight and position-oriented looking to pick up big pots here and there) with 2-3 6-max tables (played loosely, looking for small or big scores) to keep the hands and points coming.

So that's my story. Things are still looking good for the Circuit Event run in Jan/Feb, and with the last ISU game being this weekend, I'll probably look to get some more live play in on weekends, including cherry pick some drunks on misc. Friday and Saturday nights to pad the bankroll, along with some more skill testing play sprinkled in as well. Of course, I'll continue with online and regardless of what I'm playing, try to keep all my skills sharp in preparation to conquer my current poker Everest. When I get to The Horseshoe, I'll need SNG skills to satellite into the events, MTT skills to make noise in said events, and may have to turn to the cash games if I find myself needing to build my bankroll.

Does anyone know if Negreanu's blog has a feed? Or do I just have to keep going to it seperately? Also, Dutch Boyd's feed doesn't work, so that's annoying too.

I'm still working on catching up on blogs from over the weekend and the past couple of days. Lots of activity as usual. Congrats to those of you making some serious noise (Drizz, smokkee, HOY, lucko, Wes, and countless others I haven't even gotten to yet), welcome home Mook, thanks for the great Vegas content, and RIP Iggy, the father of all bloggers. Sadly, I hardly knew ye.

Ok, I'm leaving. Seriously.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

V for Variance

Well, after taking the night off Tuesday, I did get an hour of cash games in last night. And I tanked...hard.

Ok, well not *that* hard. I started w/$364, and lost $64. I always lose on Wednesdays. Why? Because playing is not an option on Thursday nights, and so it eats away at me for 2 days until I can (usually) play again on Friday.

Last night was sick. I played my standard .50/1 full and shorthanded tables. I was just getting beat up at the shorthanded table. Missing flops, getting reraised off hands, playing too much, raising too much, and hitting too little. I had the worst possible table image imagineable, and they were killing me for it. But I was maintaining at around $30 down after I had to double up twice already. As its getting to be quitting time, I pick up AA. I raise to just $3 and get one caller. The flop comes like 356, with two hearts. I make a continuation bet, and my opponent calls. The turn is a 5. I bet the pot this time, sure to stick the dagger in any straight or flush draws, and I get raised by my opponent for all my chips, and make a pretty simple call. I should've known. Just to really get me square in the jewels, the dude had 55, and had turned quads. So quitting time it was. At the full table, I won 2 hands out of the 90ish I played. One was fun because I made quad kings out of big slick and got doubled up by ace-high. But the other, incidentally, I picked up aces at the exact same time on this table as at the shorthander. I managed to win the hand, but only for a small profit. But I cashed out even at this table. Two pairs of aces at the same time at each table, stacked at one, and no payday at the other definitely meant it was time to call it quits. So that was last night. Just atrocious. But I was due.

Tomorrow I have the day off, and after I sleep in a little I have no plans to leave the house. So I'm hoping for at least *average* cards. With average cards, I think I can play well enough to beat the level.

But we shall see. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

EDIT: Oh yeah...congrats to Drizz for getting published on the Full Tilt Poker Blog, joining the long list of accomplished bloggers to do so.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Score One For the Good Guys

Jorgen already mentioned this, but incase you didn't notice, Iowans did their part and showed Jim Leach, *that*...Jim...Leach, the door.

Reports out of Washington say that Bill Frist has been spotted this morning frantically searching for a new basket in which to put his eggs.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fun With Sh*t Talkers

Recent posts by NewinNov and Waffles reminded me about a fun exchange with a hot tempered New Yorker in the chat box last night.

Playing at the .50/1 shorthanded table, in the midst of 4-tabling (remember, I'm a rookie) I accidentally called a $4 raise in the SB w/34c. I ended up hitting my flush on the turn and taking a nice sized pot when it became obvious that it was the best hand. My opponent says "NH Donkey", to which I replied "Yeah, I didn't mean to call that raise there. Sucks to be you.", at which point he replied "F**k you" and something about my mother.

Gotta love it. After this, he was coming at me hard every pot I was in, and as such, I had to take a couple more pots off him. Unfortunately, I busted at the table, but since it wasn't at his hands, I'd like to think I got the last laugh.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Goin' Deep

Well, I made the final table of last night's $1k Freeroll. It was a great tournament, but tough to go out in 7th after three and a half hours of tooth and nail play.

It started out pretty average. I actually was in both the $500 and the $1k, and while I was being careful to play my best in the $1k, it was the $500 that was going best when I doubled up early w/QQ. Then, before I knew it I was out of the $500, and with blinds at 75/150, I only had 999 chips in the $1k. I was wondering if I'd even make the first break. Cash games were off the chain, though, so I didn't care *that* much. But wait, pocket kings in the big blind? Maybe this isn't over yet. So, behind a limp and a raise, I push my kings and get two callers. They hold up, and all of the sudden I'm back in the game. In fact, this kicks off a mad rush that includes taking someone out two hands later when I turned the nut flush, and a string of pocket pairs hitting trips or holding up and not even needing to hit trips to win, amongs other random flushes and TP, good kicks. It couldn't have come at a better time, as I was able to be taking stacks from the others who were sitting around 7-8xBB and pushing the first decent hand they saw. When the dust settled, I found myself in 35th out of the remaining 300-some players.

At that point I went into that inevitable period of inactivity where you just have to grind it out and not take yourself out of the game. This lasted until I was sitting somewhere around 64th out of 70ish. I was sitting on a stack of around 8k, with blinds at 500/1000. I managed to scoop some chips here and get myself up to 11k. Then came the suckout that you need at least one of to go deep in a tournament. I found myself pushing w/A6o in early position, and was not thrilled when I saw AK in the small blind. But it was really strange...I didn't get as worried as I usually do when I'm facing this situation. The flop proceeded to bring a 6, my opponent got no help, and he went home. Including the blinds, I was doubled up. Over the course of the next 20ish people going out, a handfull of which at the hands of yours truly, I went on another rush, this time taking me to the top spot. I bounced back and forth between 1st and 3rd while the next 20 were whiddled down, and we were ITM. Naturally 30 to 20 dropped pretty quick, and then it got dicey for a little bit between 20 and 10 as the blinds were really starting to get mean. But the lowest I dropped was 4th.

Next thing we know, the final table was here, and it looked a little something like THIS, with your hero at the top of the pile.

This is where the story fizzles. I was feeling really good about my chances, but over the course of the next 5 or so orbits, while people are pushing and showing AA, KK, AK, and other pocket pairs galore, the best hand I see is Q7o. I finally find myself in a position to at least *make* a move, folded to me on the button w/J9o. I push with my 90k, hoping to collect the 22,500 in blinds, but the big blind calls w/AK and IGH in 7th out of 733, for a $40 payday.

So while it was a thrilling run deep into the tournament, I again fall short of that illustrious little trophy by my name, with about as weak of a final table performance as possible. I stuck around to watch it, and my pick to win it, therack, took it down. We'd been together for the last 3 tables, and he was a very strong player with good instincts. He came back from a short stack, stole several of my big blinds at the last two tables, and always seemed to make the right moves. Thanks to the stack:blind ratio, the FT was just a big push-fest until there were about 3 players left. They finally got to play a little at that point. Which is unfortunate, because if anywhere, the FT is where there should be the MOST play, but of course this is an online tournament, and they're not known for their structure.

Regardless...a damn respectable Final Table, YAY!

As I mentioned, I also played some more .50/1 NL for about an hour to keep working off that bonus, and happen to have won my biggest online cash game pot as well. At the 10-handed table I limped with 99, and the flop came 9 8 6. Two players called me all the way down and after all was said and done I had made $100 on the hand. One player showed 69, and the other mucked. So I was riding HIGH in the cash games, and although I hate to think about it, was up as much as $150 before I got a little frisky in the short-handed game and called off my stack with odds on a flush draw. But I still cashed out up about $60.

That means a little over $100 profit on the night, which I just can't even believe. Friday afternoon I had $67. Now I've got almost $367. I am a very fortunate soul right now.

I'm getting to the point where I'd like to be able to review hand histories, and unfortunately don't have that option with PokerTracker doesn't work with the site last I checked, and their hand histories function is unavailable (and has been for as long as I've been there). I get the last 15 hands at the table, but that's not nearly enough, and as soon as I close the table that's gone. When I'm 4-tabling, including cash and tournaments, its hard to make the right move on a hand-by-hand basis, let alone be able to recall hands. I can't remember all of the key hands over the course of the inevitable 3 1/2 hour roller coaster ride that is a FT performance, especially when I was 4-tabling for the first hour. And as for the cash game, I know I made some brash plays and mistakes at the shorthanded table that could've saved me my $50, and I'd like to go back and see what they are. I'm pretty much used to playing no more than two tables that are pretty low action and meaningless, and my big, dumb melon can handle that pretty well. But with this 4-tabling stuff with decent chunks of money on the line, I can definitely see the need for going back and doing some homework to see where you can shore up potential holes.

Anyway, I think that's plenty for today. Tonight, after stopping to vote on my way home, I'll probably play an hour and a half or two of cash games, but will call it quits by 7 to catch up on TV missed last night (Heroes and Studio 60!) and hang w/the wife, who ended up being home last night, made my dinner (last night and Sunday), and hung out w/me watching the crappy TV while I played. She definitely earned some comp points for that, and I'm plenty pokered out after a couple of solid evenings, so a night on the couch it will be!

EVERYONE GO VOTE TODAY. Show them that we won't stand for them deciding how we spend our hard earned money, or for the concept of taking away our freedom in general. They're not expecting us to turn out (hell, normally I wouldn't), but lets show 'em that the 15 million poker players in the US *do* have a voice, and we're not afraid to use it!


All I wanted to do was clear a bonus...

...and now I've got this pesky $190 I didn't have before.

The rest of this weekend continued to go well for me. Saturday I played 3 tournaments, spending about 3 minutes at the computer. I got 200-somethingth out of 700-some in the Aussie Millions Freeroll. Not bad for showing up just as the blinds gobbled me up. I didn't show well in the $2k freeroll I earned with my points. Of course, I jammed with the first face card I saw when I was checking on the Aussie Millions tourney. Then the $500 started at 6. My wife was going to the computer to do something, and I told her to push if I got a good hand. Well, she doubled me up w/QQ and then won another small pot w/KK. Imagine the possibilities... But in the end I got 34th out of 200-some, sadly matching my best finish in that tourney.

You see, I had better things to do on Saturday. Had friends over for tailgating before the game, went to the game for about 4 minutes (41-10 trouncing at the hands of f'ing KANSAS), then when we came back we ended up playing euchre until about 7:30, hence my missing everything. Friends over poker, after all.

Yesterday was my last chance at the $500 freeroll for new depositing players, and, can you imagine? I went out 66th out of 211. In 5 attempts, that makes four 6Xth finishes, and one 3Xth finish. Like I say, I'm nothing if not consistent. What I learned was that I need to figure out a way to close the deal, because I spent time in the top five in 4 of the 5 tourneys, eventually fizzling. I'm of the belief that you can't bluff in a freeroll (correct me if I'm wrong), and I went card dead in all of them, so I guess maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Anyway, while I was playing yesterday I also sat down with $91 in a 10-handed .50/1 NL table to keep working on that bonus. In a fairly early hand, I pissed away half my stack when I lost with top two pair to trips. By the river I knew I was beat, but I still made a $20 call. Hopefully I won't have to learn that lesson too many more times. It was just an assanine hand, and I hated myself after calling the river. I'm not even describing it, because I'm so embarassed about how it played out. So things were not off to a great start at the cash game, and they only continued to get worse. Once I hit about $30 I decided to try and break out of the funk by opening up a 6-handed table again and buying in for $30 there. Just like Friday, this proved to be the catalyst to winning. Early in my 6-handed session I doubled up when two of us had trips and I outkicked. While missing AK like it was my job at the 10-handed table, I proceeded to win a big pot at the 6-hander when my JQo flopped queens full and I was in the hand with someone holding the case Q. I think I got about all but $15 in, really thinking he wasn't as strong as he was. Turns out, he probably would've been willing to double me up. After that I called a pathetic bluff attempt w/JJ and a 9-high paired board, when he didn't improve his AQ. That was another $25 win. Then, finally a little good fortune at the full table when I limped with 78 and saw a 6 9 10 flop. I let a couple players draw to their hands and got it all in by the end. Unfortunately, at the time "all in" was only $20. As I'm winning that hand, I pick up AA at the 6 seater and take another decent chunk of change off a player who liked his top pair on a Q-high board.

About this time I had cracked 2k player points, unlocking the first 10% of my bonus, and after I cashed out of my tables, my total tally came to just South of $260. After another miserable start, accentuated by my HORRIBLE play, I stuck it out and hung in there for the rush, promptly cashing out with a win.

Seriously though...AK has NOT been kind to me at the full tables. I had it about 5 times on Friday night and then another 4-5, including twice in a row yesterday, and I didn't win with it ONCE. That's a lot of preflop raises down the crapper. Oh well, I guess I'll just stick to my 78 flopping straights.

I find it hard to care about my results in the $500 freerolls when I'm earning player points and becoming eligible for $1k and $2k freerolls. I blew off Saturday's $2k, but will be giving tonight's $1k my all, as the old lady is going to a friend's and its just gonna be me, poker, and Seneca Wallace's first win as an NFL starter tonight. What I get a chuckle out of, is the fact that over the course of 2 months playing SNGs, I earned just over 2000 player points. Since Friday, I've played about 5 hours of two table .50/1 NL and earned 2000 player points. I've got 18,000 to go by 11/30 to clear all of my bonus, so we'll see how that works out. Looks like the SNGs will be taking a back seat at least for the next 24 days. I just hope the cash games don't take a dump on me. There's several elements to consider, including the level I'm playing at (probably too high), my multitabling skills (I'm generally comfortable w/2 tables plus an unimportant tourney table, but may have to strech that), and volatility of NL. If any of those combine with variance and sneak up on me, I could be telling a sad story real fast. So I *really* have to be careful.

Bloggers are already off to a killer start this week, as I found great posts already from HighOnPoker (about pushing the limits, and his "Good Players Have..." question), TripJax (about bad beats and tilt), doubleas (about micro limit cash games), and slb159 bringing to my attention the fact that my favorite site, has a Blogger Poker Tour. All of these posts hit very close to home for me, so thanks to these posters for putting your thoughts out there. As I become more engrained in this blogger community, I see that that's what this is all about. We've all got the same basic goal, and in the different paths to that goal, endless knowledge that will benefit others. I only hope that eventually I'll be able to contribute to the community.

Along those lines, I've got my first idea for a theory post that I'll work on getting out as soon as I can. I don't know if its been done before, and I hope it doesn't suck, but I guess I'll just run it up the flagpole and see who salutes.

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck at the felt.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Let the Suckout be Your Guide

Well, the wifey was all tuckered out tonight, and hit the sheets early which left me to the tables. The SNGs won't be getting the job done for the bonus I have to clear, so I sat down at a 10-handed .50/1 NL table with $50. I'm pretty sure this is living on the edge of my roll, but I didn't plan on getting too crazy, and just planned on playing it tight and looking for good opportunities. Should the worst manage to happen, I've got my cash reserves to back me up.

To see about some additional scores, I also played SNGs in the background, figuring I could A-B-C my way to some cashes there, now that I was back on track.


I was able to stay even in the cash game for the first hour and a half or so, and I liked the way the comp points were stacking up, so that was alright by me. But I think I got 6th in both the SNGs because I didn't see jack nor shit.

Irritated w/the SNGs, and the lack of anything the least bit exciting in the cash game but liking the way my comp points were flying at me at a rate I've never seen before, I decided to sit down at a .50/1 NL shorthanded table with the rest of my bankroll ($39 at the time), and try my luck there. It was my first hand at that table, I pick up A10c, and raise it up to $5 or so. I get one caller. The flop comes 10 4 4. I'm pretty excited about that, but wary of my caller friend. I bet $5 at it again, and he semi-quickly raises me all-in. I make one of the worst possible crying calls, knowing I'm in deep, but hoping for a miracle like an idiot with K10 or something. No such luck. QQ. Wanting to kill myself, with a million thoughts of past blowups rushing through my head, I can barely muster up the courage to look at the screen, resigned to the idea of somehow trying to get a big win out of the full table even though its produced nothing for over an hour. There was a turn and river, but who the hell cares? I've screwed myself again. And then there it was. Right there on the turn, the most beautiful 10 I've ever seen in my life. Double up, first hand, on the most donktacular tunadonk play anyone with the least bit of pride in their game can make. I didn't deserve it, but I needed it like I'd never needed a card in this game before. This post is VERY different without that card, I guarantee you that.

And then, like the suckout flipped some sort of switch, it was off to the races...

Within a few minutes, I proceeded to win 3 straight hands at the 10-handed table. I don't remember the first, but the 2nd and third were KK and AA that were very kind to me. I'd been waiting for 2 hours for any semblance of cards like this, and there they were. Bang, Bang, Bang. Then it was back to the shorthanded table for a few small wins. Then back to the 10-handed for a set of kings in the small blind. In the meantime I had pissed some away at the shorthanded table, just in time to double up again with set over set. The 10-handed table cooled off, I squeezed a couple more moderate sized wins out of the shorthander, and I cashed out of both the tables with over one.hundred.dollars.

I more than doubled my (online) bankroll today. Technically, I started at $67 this afternoon. At my dinner break I was at $115. But using $100 as the benchmark, I doubled my roll. I'm just North of $220, I'm eligible for a couple of 1 and 2k freerolls tomorrow and Monday, and I'm well on my way to unlocking the first $10 of my bonus.

This is the highest of highs. This is the first time I've gotten a little reckless and come out ahead. The poker gods were smiling on me tonight. And the beauty of it is that I will take this win and crawl back into my cave, protecting it the best way I know how. Tonight was the exception to the rule, and while I'll now frequent cash games a little more with a little bankroll security, you can be damned sure I'll keep it close to the vest unless the situation should warrant different.

Now I'm just rambling. But damn it, I'm stoked. For the first time, I feel like I have a roll with a little insurance, and I can finally exhale...if only just a little. And you can bet I won't forget that suckout. Like I've posted in other people's comments over the past few days, even the good guys have to suck out every now and then. The difference is we give it a thankful knod, acknowledging it for getting us out of a tough spot, before it runs off to make yet another donkey think they're god's gift to poker.

I'm disappointed in you guys. Nobody wants to step up and play my Aussie Millions Freeroll tomorrow. As of right now there's just shy of 600 in it. Winner gets a $12,500 package for the Aussie Millions. Those aren't terrible odds. And should you win, we can approach some sort of deal with a blank slate. I'm open to whatever. Anyway, there's still time to email me if you're interested. Link is at the upper right, because for some reason I can never remember the syntax for the damn mailto tag, and I'm too lazy to look it up.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Well, I'm nothing if not consistent. I just finished bowing out in 39th out of 182 in the $500 freeroll.

Things were going along just fine until I finally decided to make a bluff. And I realized why I don't bluff at this level.

I called the 300 chip blind with about 6k left w/A8d in middle position. I loves me some suited aces. So sue me.

The flop came 8 5 5, two hearts, one diamond. The small blind bet out, big blind dropped, and I went ahead and called here. I know now I should've raised here, but I'm very very afraid of the SB 5. So I thought we'd see a turn. The turn was a Qh and the SB doubled his bet. Now I'm putting him on a SB steal, so I go ahead and call here. The river is the 4th heart. The small blind bets out bigger still, and I decide to bluff the big flush all-in. This guy calls with zero thought w/the Jh (and Qd), and I'm a micro stack in the BB. I'm pretty sure I can fold the J for all my chips there, especially the way I played the hand. But I'm not just your average donkey.

I actually worked my stack back up to the middle of the pack but was never a contender. I ended up pushing a 4xBB stack w/A10 vs AQ, and that was that.

Again, I spent PLENTY of time in the top 25, as high as 3rd, so I'm happy overall with my effort, its just a matter of finishing the job. Two shots left.

The good news is that I played a couple of $10 SNGs, and cashed in third in the first one despite two major suckouts (well, one crippled me 3-handed, so its not really "despite" worthy), and a GIANT blunder by me. With a still push-worthy stack, I accidentally called a 3xBB raise by clicking the "call" button in the SB a nanosecond after the raiser had made his move. Then fiddled around and couldn't get it unchecked. With a little luck (or perhaps good karma?) I recovered from my pathetic stack to cash. *whew*

In the 2nd one I had some good fortune (and maybe some good play?) in the middle, and it carried on throughout the end. I had to sweat a couple of suckouts here, too (including aces cracked on a KILLER slow play), but emerged victorious.

So after moving up a level and not cashing in 3 straight SNGs, I was starting to sweat it out a little bit, but this is how building a bankroll w/SNGs goes, and as a result I'm at a new high of $115.

I may get to play a little more after I take blondie out to dinner, but no matter what happens, I'll be feeling a lot better about things than I have thus far this week!


Well, I'm gonna seriously have to crank things up a notch now. I've got this guy putting the pressure on and linking to me in his blog post (the first of such occurances).

I kid...I kid. You can surely expect more of the same crappy content as I work on honing in my bloggah skillz. Thanks again for the link up, slb.

And so we're clear, I added his recommended reading to my feeds and to the links at right, and you should too.

Tonight should be fun, no matter what. I've got the $500 Freeroll attempt 4, and then I'll either play some more online, or see if I can toss out a 2/3 pot bet and get a read on the hot blonde entitled to half my stuff, and maybe try and get out the door and play some 1/2 NL against Friday night drunks.

Either way, poker is all that's on the docket for this gassy white fellow.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Props and Whaaaaaaa???

I'd like to think I'm weasling my way into this blogger community a little bit, and as I read about all of you and your expeditions through each day, no matter what limit you're at, I'm finding myself to have a queer little sense of pride when something great is accomplished.

So I'd like to toss out some props.

Congratuations to iakaris for final tabling the Full Tilt 25k last night. That's gotta feel great.

Congratulations to Hoyazo for making the Full Tilt Online Poker Series (right?) RAZZ event. This guy's razz stories make me want to fire up the first ever hand of razz I will have ever seen. But first I need money at Full Tilt. *cough*pickupmydamnblogsubmission*cough* Anyway, amazing job out of you, Hoy.

And finally, congratulations to yet another blogger getting published on Full Tilt's Blog (I pimped FT way more than he did!), joining slb159, iakaris, HighOnPoker, and Fuel55. If my submission doesn't show up in another week or so, I'm going to have to regroup and see if I can make another attempt at desciphering the formula to get one published.

You people do pretty cool things day in and day out, and I hope at some point I can get my bankroll and my writing skills out of the gutter and join you.

And Finally...

What's the deal with this post from Richard Brodie?? Far be it from me to poke fun at the dude who wrote freakin' Microsoft Word, but isn't it a little homoerotic talking about talking on the phone with a dude while he's taking a bath and then toweling himself off? I know I got an awkward chuckle out of it. If I'm talking to a dude on the phone and he happens to be taking a bath, first of all, I don't want to know about it, second, I don't need to know the gritty details, and third of all, I sure as hell aren't gonna go shouting to the rooftops on the internet about the details of said conversation. But that's just me.

Its all in good fun. That just struck me as funny. I'm immature like that.

Ok, I have to go learn about life insurance for 2 hours now. You all rule. Please kill me.


I am getting a slight bit cold decked, and its starting to get a little depressing.

Last night I did manage to finish 32nd out of 187 in the $500 Freeroll. Overall its encouraging, but it was a very pathetic 32nd that just as easily could've been 60th. I spent the last half hour of the tourney just looking for a hand to push with while my stack decreased to as low as less than 1xBB. As Jorgen has said to me concerning the strategy of not getting below 7xBB, it made me feel dirty. But I just can't justify pushing with absolute garbage. I can't bring myself to do it. I managed to triple up to <3xBB w/J10 (yes, a terrible hand, but easily the best I had seen), but that just delayed the inevitable. Early in the tourney I was as high as 3rd, when I took two people out with AA, I got trickled down again, but then doubled up w/KK against KQ, and then the cards just got less and less as things went on, I lost a hunk when my QQ doubled up J10, and then things dried up more-or-less completely. I did take advantage of an extremely loose table at the very beginning, which is a great takeaway. I stayed patient, picked my spots, and came away from the table way ahead. Loose play used to make me pretty nervous and anxious, and I would succumb with a bad decision, so that's another hurdle that I've conquered. Anyway, I was only 12 away from cashing, and with 3 shots left, I still like my chances to win one.

I also played one SNG, where I improved on my previous two 5th place finishes, to take 4th this time. *farts* It was crazy loose early on, and we were down to 6 w/the blinds at 15/30. I was in 3rd with 800 chips, and I figured if I kept it close to the vest, I'd cruise. I worked my way up as high as 1400, but then things dried up here, too, and I ended up pushing with the first ace I'd seen in 3 rounds, only to come up against AK and get throttled.

So this can go ahead and stop anytime. I've got bankroll milestones to hit, damn it!

I haven't heard any interest in anyone playing my Aussie Millions Freeroll for me on Saturday. Surely someone is interested. If for nothing else, just the practice?

Let me know.

No play for me tonight, as Thursday is our long standing "TV Night" tradition where we get together with freinds. But tomorrow night there should be a *lot* of poker, starting with the $500 Freeroll, if not before.

Duty calls.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Back in the Saddle

Thanks to time during last night's tourney, I am all caught up on my backlog of 60 blog posts. And that's the post fat trimming number. Score one for Windbreaker.

My other main goal for today will be updating my links on the right with all the blogs I am subscribed to on Google Reader.

Well, that, and winning tonight's $500 Freeroll.