Poker Words - A Poker Blog

Mostly a recount of my poker exploits along with a bunch of random other stuff just for fun.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Two Table Experiment Continued

Last night my wife and I rented a bunch of movies to watch new years eve. That whole going out and drinking the new years thing has gotten kind of old, and we usually just chill at home. We were going to watch one last night since we had more than we would be able to watch tonight. So we're waiting for a pizza to show up before we start start the movie, and I start reading Iggy's latest post. (Side note, for the love of god man, you have got to break those things up into smaller posts, or I'll never get anything done.) The pizza arrives halfway through the post, and after eating, I go back upstairs to finish it. By the time I'm done, my wife has started watching some girly movie on TV, and wants to finish watching that. So now I have about an hour and a half to kill, or watch a girly movie that I have no interest in. Poker it is.

I go back to my new testing grounds, Poker Champs, and fire up two tables. I have a total of $5.40 in that account that I earned on the $0.02/$0.04 NL tables. My plan try two $0.02/$0.04 limit tables at once. I don't expect to win much if at all playing two tables, I'm really just trying to practice and get a feel for it. Playing such low limits, I figure I can gradually let my chips dwindle and not hurt my overall bank roll. I chose limit over no limit because I figure if I make a mistake it will only cost me a few bets, not my whole stack.

So I fire up two tables and drop a buck on each. I'm doing a little better on the top table, hovering around even, than on the bottom table where I'm down about twenty cents. People start dropping from the top table though, and pretty soon I'm heads up against this one guy. I think “this is stupid” and leave for another table.

What I didn't realize at first is that the new table I picked was a no limit table. I'm a little concerned about this, but I had already posted my blind and didn't feel like switching so I stayed there. It turned out to be a great move, as I turned that dollar into over $6.

It started out slow, losing some small pots, and then getting back to even when I flopped trips, and overplayed my hand forcing everyone to fold before I could extract more chips from them. The turning point on the top game came when I was in the big blind, and had 82o. I think everyone at the table limped. The flop was the big blind special, 8A2 with two clubs. This is why when you limp in NL you are asking for trouble. I now had two pair, and chances are someone has an Ace and thinks they are winning. This is also where I get myself into trouble, because I don't think anyone will have A8 or A2 which is fairly reasonable for this game. Lucky for me they don't. The pot is like $0.24 and I bet $.10. I get one caller and then someone raises it to $0.64. I put him on an Ace or maybe a flush draw. I go all in (I started the hand with $1.10). The previous caller folds, and the raiser calls. I don't know what he had, because Poker Champs software still needs some work, and they don't show you the cards on an all in, but whatever it was, it was less than my bottom two pair.

My second huge hand came when I had pocket cowboys under the gun. I raised one BB and got a bunch of callers. The flop was 972 rainbow. I bet, and got raised. I reraised and he went all in. Did he have the hammer? I didn't think so, so I called. The turn and river were some of the best cards ever, K and then 9 to give me the full house. After the hand he made a comment/joke about how great the turn was and that he had his first, shouldn't we split the pot? I assumed that he had a full house that I beat, but I don't see what he could have had that would have given him a boat before me, as the board didn't pair until the river. Maybe he only thought I had two pair, or trips. I wish Poker Champs would show the opponents cards when you are all in, or at least hand histories. That's kind of annoying.

My bottom game wasn't going as well. I was fluctuating between $0.60 and $0.90 for most of the night, finishing at $0.64. I think I play way too many hands in limit poker. I don't know why. Probably because I know that it will only cost me one bet to see the flop. I also wasn't paying nearly as much attention to bottom game as the top. The other players were probably pissed at me for taking so long to make a move since I was concentrating on the top game so much.

I did take one bad beat on the lower table, but that's fine. I flopped a Ace high flush with 9Jd. The flop was xD, Qs, Ad. I was afraid of another diamond hitting giving someone with the Q or K a better flush. The turn was a rag so I was encouraged. I bet but then got raised. Maybe I was already beaten. The river was in hindsight the worst card possible. It was Qd. Now, I'm thinking that its possible that the other guy just made his flush with his Kd, but it also eliminated one of the hands that could beat me as I know he doesn't have the queen. He bets and I just call, stilll fearful of the Kd. He turns over AQ for a full house. Doh. Fell into the “I made my hand trap”, where I don't look for possible better made hands for my opponent. Even if I saw that full house possibility, I probably would have called at that point. That's not the worst beat I've taken, and wasn't the worst play on his part either.

Overall, I was up to a little under $6 for the night. Not too bad since I only started with about $2. I really have to work on my limit game though, or else try two no limit games.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Two Table Experiment

I finally tried playing two tables at once, and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I did two $10 NL SNGs starting within five minutes of one another. I figured that I usually get restless in the early stages of the tournaments, because I’m not playing too many hands, and there are a lot of other players taking a while to make their moves. What better way to fill up the down time than to use it to play more poker? Plus I’ve read about many other people doing this online, so I know it can be done.

I’m definitely not a natural. I couldn’t get in a rhythm in either game, and I probably played way too tight and predictably. I intentionally opted to tighten up my starting hand requirements, since I would be going back and forth between tables, and wanted to minimize the times when I was in a hand on both at the same time. The problem is I was never in a hand on either table. I was getting some horrible cards, and when I even thought about playing a hand, someone would come in with a big raise ahead of me. Then I started getting paranoid that everyone knew I was playing super tight, and would steal my blinds just because they knew they could. But I couldn’t even get the cards to defend them.

In the top game, called the top game because it occupied the top half of my screen, I did absolutely nothing. I think I went through three or four cycles around the table without even seeing a flop. Eventually I was able to win a medium sized hand and steal some blinds so that while I was one of the shorter stacks, I was not to the point almost being knocked out.

On the bottom game, I wasn’t doing as well. I had seen a few flops, and nothing had come of them. I was down to about T800 chips. I had A9s on the button, and decided to try to steal some blinds. They were up to 100/200 I think. I don’t remember exactly because I was halfway paying attention to the top game. Anyway, I get called by JK. The flop is 9JA, the turn is a K and the river a rag. I’m not sure how much other players had put in, but I ended up with over T2000. Shortly there after I doubled up again, I don’t recall the hand, and I was the chip leader.

Switch back to the top game, blinds are starting to eat away at my stack. There are five of us left, and I try to make a stand with an ok, but not great hand. I get called and lose. I wish I remember the hand, but I know that I was ok the loss, so it couldn’t have been that bad of a play. At least that’s what I tell myself. Plus, now I can concentrate on the bottom game, where I’ve been watching the guy to my immediate right, raise and steal my big blind every time the table folds to him. I think I’ve had 93o in the BB the last four times around the table.

Five people left on the bottom game, and I’m the big stack. I move into aggressive mode, and start pushing the others around. I get caught once or twice and have to rebuild, but overall, I pretty much stay in the lead. Finally the fifth guy goes out, and I’m up by about T1000 on my next closest opponent.

Now I’m in the big blind again, and I finally get some decent cards. K9s. Not great, but we’re short handed, and on the bubble, so I’ll definitely take it. I am actually hoping that the SB will raise me as he has every previous hand, so I can put him all in. I’ve got about 4 times as many chips as him and I’m pretty sure he’d fold at any sign of resistance and if he doesn’t I still like my chances. Instead, the button raises, and the small blind folds. Thinking that he too must have figured out how tight I am playing, I stick to my plan and go all in. He calls with pocket nines, and suddenly I’m the short stack looking like I’m about to bubble out. The player to my left has a few more chips than me and has to be ecstatic at my misfortune. I steal his blind once, but I’m still below him. The next time he’s in the big blind, I get KJ and go all in from the small blind. He calls, with pocket nines. That’s the second time in like 10 hands that I get beaten by pocket nines. I am so pissed off at how I managed to lose a chip lead so late in the tournament and not even place in the money. Horrible play on my part.

So back to my multi table thoughts. As you can see, I pay much better attention when its just one table. I barely relate one hand from when I had two going. I was too flustered trying to pay attention to what was happening on each table that I couldn’t think about much else. I’m sure this is something that I can get over with practice, but it was way less enjoyable than just playing a single game and surfing the web, or writing blog entries. I think if I was playing limit it would be easier. Then I would only have to worry about folding, calling or raising, not how much I should raise by. Having to type the raise amount got to be a challenge when both windows’ timers were ticking away. I also couldn’t get a good read on any player since I was never watching them unless I was in the hand, and then only halfway.

Maybe I’ll try playing super micro limits on Poker Champs again, so that I can try to get better at two tabling. Until then, I am going to stick to one table and wait until I move up in stakes to increase my potential profit per hour.


Dreaming about Poker

I don’t usually remember by dreams, but for some reason I remember last night's. The part I remember involved a poker tournament. This probably means that I’m thinking about poker way more than is healthy for a normal person, but I’ll leave that analysis to a professional, or at least someone who’s taken more than psych 101 in college.

Anyway, since it was about poker, I thought I’d share. The first part I remember is that everyone was all seated in some auditorium type setting, although someone else had been assigned the same seat as me. Somehow they had overbooked the event.

From there, it cuts to the tournament, where I’m doing reasonably well. I think everyone started with a different amount of chips, and I started with less than most, but I had climbed to above average.

The next thing I remember, I’m looking down at a flop of 33A. I check my hole cards, and see that I have bullets. I’ve got the full house. There’s some betting, and there are two other people in the hand with me. The turn is a Q, and the three of us end up all in. The guy directly across from me turns over AQ, and I think I’m drawing dead because he has Aces full of Queens to my Aces full of Threes. Then I look to other guy, and see that I really am drawing dead because he had pocket threes. So I’m busted out of the tournament. After waking up, I realized that the guy with AQ only had two pair, and it irritated me that I thought he had me beat.

So there’s the first dream that I can remember in quite a long time. Nothing really weird, unless you count that fact that poker has now firmly embedded itself in my subconscious, and that can’t be good. Maybe that means its time to take a break for a while....nah that's crazy talk, it must be my subconscious complaining that I haven't been playing enough recently. Yeah that's it.


Monday, December 27, 2004

Moving up $0.04 at a Time

I have to dedicate this post to my friend Tim, who despite the fact that he has no interest in poker, and makes fun of us whenever we discuss it at work, called me a slacker for not posting in the past week. The reason I haven't posted of coarse is because I've been running all the over the place doing Christamsy things.

I did get in a small amount of poker in the last week. I was able to take most of last week off, so I was up kind of late one night just surfing the web one night. My wife had gone to bed because she had a huge deadline for one of her projects, and thus was not able to get any time off before the holidays. I was a bit bored, and felt like playing some cards. Only one problem. In celebration of my few days of vacation, I had had a few drinks earlier in the evening. I figure that I make enough mistakes at the table that I don't need to through in some extra challenges like drunken logic and the idiocy that often accompanies it. I usually don't even drink while playing in live games with friends. Another option was to try a play money table, but ever since I've started playing for real money online, I just don't find play games interesting anymore.

So what's an inebriated poker player to do? Well fortunately for me, a few of my nice readers have signed up with Poker Champs through my links. They had even earned me a fat $1.36 commission. This turns out to be perfect, as Poker Champs offers super micro limit ring games at $0.02/$0.04, with a max buy in of $2.00. I sit down with just a buck, figuring that I can play until it inevitably runs out. I get my poker fix, and the most damage I can do is losing $1, and it really wasn't my dollar to begin with, so who cares?

I don't know what happened, but apparently I play pretty good drunken poker. Or maybe people playing $0.02/$0.04 suck. Or maybe I got lucky. Either way, I turned that dollar into over $5.00. I wish I had some hand histories, to relate, but there wasn't anything particularly exciting. I think I just played good tight aggressive poker. I do know that I was very careful in my hand selection. I knew that I was somewhat drunk and so I tried really hard not to put myself in situations where I would have to make tough calls, or where I could get suckered into losing a big pot. Whatever I did, it worked, because I don't think I lost a showdown, not that I saw many.

I did have Aces twice, and both times took down some nice pots without reaching a showdown. I was OK with people folding in that situation because I was more afraid of having some suck out on me on the river and me over betting thinking I was ahead, than I was worried about missing some extra profit. I also double up with pocket jacks when a rag flop with 9 high came up. The player across from me bet big, and I went all-in. He called with A9. I picked up my third jack on the river just for good measure.

So all in all, I made more than 400% profit on my $1 investment. You don't see ROI like that very often. Hopefully now I can spend a couple bucks on their $1 turbo tournaments, and turn that into some real cash. Then I'm on my way to easy street. Or something like that.


Tuesday, December 21, 2004

PokerRoom Offers to solve NHL Labor Dispute

Weird day for sports/poker news. has offered to solve the NHL lockout by inviting the commissioner and executive director of the players association to play in a heads up poker match. Really, its just a way to get their name in the news, but I would give them points for thinking outside the box. The press release is here. This would probably be more interesting if I actually cared about hockey.

Empire Poker Offers to Bail Out Expos

The people at Empire Poker have offered to contribute $500 Million to help the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals finance their new stadium in DC. In return they want naming rights for the stadium, exclusive rights to the advertising signs in the stadium and the ability to set up electronic kiosks so fans can play poker before during and after the game.

There's a story in the Washington Post (Free Registration might be required).

It poses an interesting problem for baseball. On the one hand they need someone to fiance the deal, or the Expo/Nationals might not have anywhere to play next year. On the other hand baseball is allergic to gambling and its questionable as to how legal poker advertising is in the US.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Second Set of 10

My second set of sit and goes isn't going so well. So far I've played three and finished in 10th, 5th and then 6th. I'm definitely not on my game. I'm not quite sure why.

In the first game, I went out on the fourth hand. Horrible play on my part, but it was a tough hand. I had KQs in the BB and a number of limpers. I flopped a King high flush. I 1BB hoping to draw a raise, which I did. I reraised and got two callers. I don't remember the exact amounts, I should really save some hand histories. Turn is a rag, and I bet strong, realizing that another spade could be big trouble for me. The guy to my left folds, and I get one caller. Sure enough, the river is a spade, and the guy goes all in. I make a crying call and he turns over the Ace of Spades. I don't know what I could have done better there, besides folding on the river. I didn't want to bet too much on the flop and turn because I didn't want to scare them away, but I also didn't want anyone chasing and hitting the nut flush, which they did.

In the second game, nothing too interesting happened. I was medium stacked with five players left, and tried to steal a blind with A8o. I got called by the big blind, and when he check raised me on the flop, I had to fold. That left me pretty short stacked, and I was forced to go all soon there after.

The third game was an interesting one. First of all there was a ton of significant pre-flop raising early on, and then almost none after a few blind increases. Secondly, I had big slick four times, and on none of them did anything good happen for me. The first hand I had AK under the gun and raised to two BB. SB called. The flop was Axx all diamonds. Small blind goes all in, and I'm forced to fold. Next hand, I get Big Slick again, and fold it preflop to $380 raise. (Blinds are $10/20). We get down to six people and I get AK in the big blind again. Everyone folds to the SB, and I'm hoping he raises so I can push all in. He's been raising pretty aggressively all night, and I think he's likely to try to steal my blind with just about anything. Sure enough he does raise, and I push all in. Much to my dismay, he calls and turns over a pair of tens. The board provides no help and just like that, I'm out.

Pretty crappy poker day for me. Better luck tomorrow I guess.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Progress Report

I haven't had time to post recently with all of the holiday shopping, and parties and assorted other hoopla, but I finally found some time for some poker this afternoon and thought I'd post an update on my progress. Earlier this month I started tracking my tournament play, and I've completed my tenth sit and go since then. I'm playing exclusively $10+1 SNGs at Poker Room right now. I'm going to evaluate my progress every 10 tournaments. If my bankroll reaches $300, I'll start dabbling in the $20s.

So How did my first 10 tournaments go? Surprisingly well. I would have been OK with breaking even assuming that I could get always get better and at least I'm not losing money, but I actually finished up $80 overall. Admittedly this is a small sample set and I could easily be down $80 the next time, but overall, I'm encouraged. So here are the stats:

Total invested $100+$10 Fees ($110 total)
Total winnings $190
Net +$80
Finished in the Money 6/10 times

1st Place 2
2nd Place 1
3rd Place 3
4th Place 0
5th Place 1
6th Place 1
7th Place 2
8th-10th 0
Average 3.8

Looking back at the comments I made for myself, I think I have identified two holes in my game. The first is playing overly aggressive early on and not backing off pots when there's a reasonable chance I am beat. I recently stumbled on an excellent post by the Poker Nerd where he outlines his SNG strategy. One of the things he advocates is keeping the pot size low early on in the tournament. This will allow you to get out of hands and not risk all your chips early on. This is especially important early on in the tournament because you don't have a good idea for what people are playing, and they could have any two cards. For example, this afternoon, in the first round I had AJ in late position and raised 3BB, and got a few callers. The flop was A25 rainbow. Early position bet, and I raised. He then reraised. At this point I probably should have put him on two pair, but I had top pair and a good kicker, and couldn't lay it down. When he consequently bet half the pot on the turn, I felt like I had to call. Had I kept the pot small, I think I would have had a much easier time getting out to such a large bet, or at the very least wouldn't have lost as many chips. Early on, its tough to know who you are playing against, and many people will call preflop raises with just about anything. In this case it was A2 that beat me. I managed to battle back and win this one, but in my four losses, similar earlier mistakes crippled me to the point where I couldn't bet effectively and was knocked out on when I went all in on a race. The point here is that early on, unless you are positive that you have the winning hand, its best to be patient and let some of the other players eliminate themselves. Don't get involved unless you have a monster, and if you do get involved, don't over bet. The blinds are still small enough where you can afford to miss a few and not feel short stacked.

I guess now that I wrote this the real problem is over valuing my hand. When I'm willing to lay down what I think has a good chance of being the best hand, I've done better. Sure, I've probably been bluffed out of, or just plain folded some winners, but I think missing a pot that I would win is less harmful than chasing a pot I will lose.

The other hole in my game occurs once I've made the money. As the Poker Nerd pointed out in his article, people get real tight when they are close to the money. I think that I am a pretty good player when there are four or five people left. Other players often go into a shell trying to hold out until they reach the money. I've been able to take advantage of that by playing aggressively and forcing them to fold or risk being eliminated. Its usually its the former, and I am often ahead once we hit the money. The problem is that I stay overly aggressive at that point. Everyone else loosens up once they are in the money, which means I get called more often, and end up in race type situations. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. I think I need to slow down once we get down to three people to reevaluate how the others are playing, and adjust my play accordingly.

So where do I go from here? Well, as I mentioned above, I'm going to start trying the $20 tables once my bankroll reaches $300. I'm at $188 right now, so it will probably take a while. If I do well enough at the $20 tables, then I might move up to them permanently should my bankroll reach $600 or $700. Who knows, maybe the $20 game will be too tough for me and I'll have to grind it out on the $10 circuit forever. Once the holidays are over, my office game, and monthly multi table tournaments should pick up again, so I'll be able to write about those too.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Skill or Chance?

Pokerati recently pointed its readers to a number of articles where the legality of poker is being questioned. In Virginia, a candidate for Lieutenant Governor has promised to introduce a bill legalizing Poker in that state. In Texas, a bar was raided and 83 people were fined or arrested. There has also been articles out of Pennsylvania and South Carolina about the legality of poker tournaments.

I'm not an expert in gambling law, but I do know that each state has its own rules and regulations. Check out this page for a nice overview. One of the issues involved is how much chance is involved versus skill. I think its generally accepted that any game where luck is the most significant factor in determining the result is considered gambling. Bingo, roulette, and craps would all fall into this category. In craps for example, even though there are strategies to maximize your potential winnings, everything is still decided by the results of two random die rolls.

Poker can be a bit trickier to define, although maybe that's just because I'm biased, and would like to see one of my favorite pastimes legalized. In it's simplest form, poker is a game where each player gets five random cards, and the player with the best hand, wins. Sounds completely random huh? Where's the skill in that? This is the perception that we must change if poker is to be taken seriously as skill related game. It's not necessarily the cards that you are given that determines the overall winner, its what you do with those cards. For example, I was recently trying to teach a co-worker to play, and he didn't understand why you would ever fold pre-flop. He kept saying any two cards could win, why not see what comes up on the flop? What we kept trying to explain to him is that while any given hand could win, certain hands are more likely to win than others. Players that can identify those hands, and take advantage of them are ultimately more successful. If the game were played as my coworker though of it, you might as well just make one blind bet each round, and then deal out all the cards and see who one. The skill in poker is reacting to each round of cards, and other player's actions.

Maybe poker needs to be redefined, not as a game where the best hand wins, but as one where the guy with the most chips wins. This changes the game from declaring a winner based on a random set of cards, to the declaring the winner to be the person who can consistently and correctly evaluates their situation to maximize their profit. I think that in that context, poker would be considered a much more skillful game than based only on chance. That's not to say that luck isn't involved, but those with enough skill will eventually overcome any luck that may be involved.

Another problem with labeling games as gambling when an element of chance is involved is that many games involve some level of chance. Take backgammon for example. I don't know too much about backgammon, but I do know that there is a level of chance involved. You could be the best backgammon player in the world, but your moves are still determined on the random results of two dice rolls. If you somehow run into the unluckiest streak of rolls, its possible that you lose to just someone as inexperienced as me. Just as its possible in poker for someone like me win the WSOP. Neither case is likely, as both still require a significant amount of skill to win, in addition to some luck. You could probably argue that backgammon involves more skill than poker, and you'd probably be right, but who defines where the line is drawn between too much luck or not?

Despite all the legal wordings of what defines gambling and what defines games of skill, poker also still has somewhat of an image problem. I think people that don't play still think of old western movies, or smoke filled back rooms or the mob when they think of poker. It's seen as a game of degenerates and lowlifes and a sure way to go broke. The increasing popularity of the game, and especially televised events like ESPN's WSOP coverage, and Bravo's Celebrity Poker are helping to change that image. I think eventually you'll start to see some of these laws loosened up a bit as poker becomes more and more mainstream. I also think you'll start seeing some of the laws like those mentioned in the first paragraph repealed, as people start to realize how outdated those laws are.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Using Odds in Tournament Play

Every once in while, I check Google news to see if there are any main stream poker articles that haven't already been picked up by the other bloggers. For some reason earlier this week the results included this article written by Phil Helmuth from Card Player magazine's 2002 archives, and I thought it was interesting. In the article Phil talks about a specific hand in the $10,000 buy in World Poker Open event. In this hand he had KQs and flopped an open ended straight flush draw. He calls a small bet, then decides to fold after getting raised all-in. Before folding, he calculates that he is probably ahead in the hand, and that worst case he is an 11-10 dog, to win the hand and at best case a 3-2 favorite. So why lay that hand down? He got a pretty good chance at doubling up, why not take a shot at it? Nearly every pro on hand was surprised by his lay down, and claimed they would have all called the hand.

Phil goes on to explain that he didn't want to risk all his chips and tournament life on a draw, unless he was a much higher favorite. He figured it was still relatively early in the tournament and he had time to wait for someone to make a mistake. Shortly after that hand he goes all-in preflop with KK against QQ, and doubles up, then goes on to place 17th overall.

The lesson here is that even though you may be the favorite in a hand, that doesn't always mean you should make a call in tournament play. In a ring game, when the pot odds are in your favor, you can make this call every time. If you lose, you can always dig back into your bankrole to buy in again. In the long run, you'll end up ahead. In a tournament setting, if lose this bet, you are busted out of the tournament, and you don't get a chance to let the odds swing back in your favor. You're done. You have to consider if the chance of doubling up is worth not just losing the chips you bet, but your entire tournament stake.

This is probably something that I need to be more aware of in my play. In a number of my recent tournament losses, I have correctly put an opponent on marginal hands when they go all in. Usually, it is when someone is short stacked, and they just took a bad beat or lost a huge pot. They'll go on tilt and go all in with just about any face card. So, I've been calling in this situation, and usually end up being the favorite in the hand. The problem is that all too often, I end up losing this battle, and putting myself in a much less favorable spot in the tournament. I'm finding out the hard way, that it's not always worth it to keep the short stack honest when he tries to steal some blinds. If I'm just patient enough, sooner or later, he'll make a mistake and push all in when I am a much higher favorite, and since I'm the one with the chips, I can afford to wait for that time.

On the other side of this, you can't always wait until you are a 4.5:1 favorite like Phil did. Sooner or later the blinds are going to get you. The later it gets in a tournament, and the fewer chips you have, the less able you are going to be to wait for the perfect hand.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tracking My Progress

I finally decided to stop being a lazy ass, and start tracking how I play. Hopefully I can better figure out what I'm good at, and what I'm bad at, and either fix what I'm bad at, or stop doing it. I'm sure most serious poker players already do this, but like I said before, I'm pretty lazy, and I have just been using the size of my bankrole to determine how well I was doing. Probably not best tracking method around.

I think there are programs out there that will track your play on Party Poker, which is probably another reason I should play there. Next deposit I make will go there I promise. As far as I know, there isn't anything that interfaces with The Poker Room, so good ol' Microsoft Excel will have to do. I thought about writing some application for my website but then I figured that there are probably a bunch of better apps out there, so why bother. There's that laziness again. Maybe if I get bored I'll work on it.

So where do I stand now? I made an initial deposit of $115, and got a bonus of $23, Which brings me to $138 in poker funds (Anyone who wants to donate to the "Mike needs more poker funds" fund let me know). My bankrole is currently at $134.45 Not so great, but it could be worse. When I first started playing I didn't realize that they had single table sit and goes around the clock (sometimes I'm not so bright), and I didn't have the time for the huge multi-table tournaments, so I played real low limit ring games, which admittedly is not my specialty. Poker Room does keep some stats for ring games, and I can tell you that I'm down $45.55. I have only played a NL ring game once, and finished up about $5, so that's about a loss of $50 in low limit ring games. I don't plan on going back to those for a while.

I've also lost $22 playing in multi table tournaments. I've done three. Two 5+1s where I finished 100 something and 11th out of 250ish both times. The 11th place finish earned me $12 so those two were a wash. The $22 was from one of their guaranteed $15000 tournaments. I finished about twenty or thirty spots out of the money. Overall I'm reasonably satisfied with my large tournament play. Not a big sample size though. I generally don't prefer to play in them for a few reasons. First, I don't have the time. I usually don't have the hour that it takes for a single table tournament, finding the hours needed for a mutli-table tournament is almost impossible. Secondly, I'm not convinced that they are worth it. Winning one of those takes a lot of skill, but it also takes a lot of luck. All it takes is one bad move, or a bad read, or someone sucking out on you and you've spent three hours playing for nothing. I've over simplified that a bit, but I like my chances a lot better in the SNGs. Sure the ceiling isn't so high at 5x your entrance fee, but the likelihood of coming out ahead seems a lot greater.

So that brings me to my SNG tournament play. Since I started with $138, and currently have $134ish, and can account for $65 in losses, I must be up $61 overall in my SNGs. Of coarse since I haven't been tracking how many I've played, I have no idea if that's good or not. I do know that in the four games I recorded this weekend, all $10+1s, I netted $26, finishing 3rd, 1st, 7th and 5th. There wasn't anything particularly memorable in those games, so I won't bore you with details.

Ok I lied, I'll bore you with some details. In the final game there were four people that jumped in that all obviously knew each other, and talked throughout the whole game. I know people always say to be aware of collusion online, but I didn't notice anything peculiar in their play. Two of them went out before me, losing to a guy who was not part of their group, and I think I could have won, but I got had some bad luck, and called an all in with A2s in the BB and got beat when the guy paired a six on the turn. I was then short stacked and eliminated the next time I was in the BB. Calling an all in with only A2s may not have been the best play, but at least I correctly guessed that he was bluffing. It was a moral victory or something like that.

Anyway, for those who are interested, maybe I'll provide you with some periodic updates on the status of my bankrole. Also if anyone knows of some good tracking software let me know. Even better if its free, works with Poker Room automagically, and doesn't require a lot of effort to set up/maintain.


Thanks to Iggy for pimping my site. I feel bad about not having anything particularly interesting to write about lately. I don't know how he has time to read all those blogs. I barely have the time to read the short list you see on right hand column. I'd get a lot more done if my fellow bloggers would stop posting so frequently.


Football note... Don't look now, but the Bears offense actually scored more than their defense this week. Its amazing what you can do when you actually complete a pass or two. They even looked better than the local high school team. Of coarse this marks the part of the season when the Bears traditionally start winning a few games in an effort to trick you into thinking they might be good next year while at the same time blowing their chances at a good draft pick.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

NTN to offer Texas Holdem

Press Release

This story is a bit old, so you may have already seen it, but I've been busy so I haven't posted it yet. I guess with the help of Phil Gordon, NTN has developed a Texas Holdem game that will be playable in sports bars and the like. For those of you who have no idea what NTN is, if you've ever been to a bar, usually a sports bar, and seen people playing some sort of trivia game with a weird remote looking thing and one of the TV's, that is NTN. If you've never seen that, thats still what NTN is, you'll have to take my word for it. How poker will work in this setting will be interesting. Whenever I've seen the NTN game a table of people would be playing as a team, against other tables at that bar, or nationwide or whatever. Team poker could be amusing. There's also the problem of no money being involved. Players might care about winning, or getting ranked nationally, but without an actual cash interest in the game, people tend to stop taking it as seriously. Just try playing a free money game at any of the online sites.

Just in case you thought you could get away from poker by going out for a drink, or to watch the game, you are soon to be wrong.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

I-L-L . . . I-N-I

At least one of the sports teams that I follow seams to be doing well as U of I obliterated #1 Wake Forest tonight. They'll probably choke in the second round of the NCAA tourny but for now I'm pretty happy.