Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Monday, February 28, 2005

Poker Tracker Guide

In case you haven’t already heard about it, Iggy and Hank, of GuinnessAndPoker and The Cards Speak, have written a users guide to the popular Poker Tracker program. Their guide is only $20 and will explain many of the features of poker tracker that your everyday user is either unaware of or just unsure of how to take full advantage of. At least that’s what I think it will do. I'll be buying my copy as soon as I am done with this post.

The single feature in their guide that I am most interested in is their rules for auto rating players. Player rating via poker tracker allows you to easily categorize other players, but I'm not sure how to define the rules used to judge my opponents. Hopefully I can just steal their rules, and tweak them as necessary. Its really gonna suck when I apply their rules to myself and see a fish icon staring back at me.

You can pick up a copy at

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Weekend Poker

This weekend I actually got to play a lot of poker. A lot for me anyways, probably not as much as many of my fellow bloggers.

My plan on Friday night was to try some bonus whoring. There were reload bonuses at both Party Poker and PokerRoom that I wanted to try to take advantage of. Now, I’m not a very good ring game player, so I wasn’t going to crazy, just hopefully put a little bit of cash in and not lose any more than the bonuses paid out. I had $50 in my account at FullTilt, and my plan was to cash that out, and take it to Party, then take what ever I won had left and put it in PokerRoom, thus getting both bonuses. Unfortunately, the cash out at FullTilt wasn’t instant, as I expected, so I had no cash on hand to use for deposit bonuses. I don’t know why I expected my cash out to be instantaneous, I guess because when I cashed out of PokerStars, I got $100 of it right away, while the rest cleared a few days later.

Anyway, my plan is now ruined. I was really looking forward to some ring game action, but without the deposit bonus as a means to protect me from some of my losses, I was now less than enthusiastic. At this point my wife calls and tells me she missed her train, and asked if I could pick her up downtown in an hour. I was just about to start a few SNG’s, but so much for that. I was afraid they would go long, and somehow I don’t think the chance of winning $50 would be sufficient justification for stranding my wife downtown, so ring games it was.

I had played for about half an hour and I just couldn’t get any cards. On one table I was slowly bleeding away my chips to blinds and missed flops. On the other I was just treading water winning a few small pots every few orbits. The hand that almost put me on over the edge of the tilt chasm was when I got anti-big-blind special. I was in the big blind had [10 3], and a whole bunch of limpers. The flop was [3 8 10]: big blind special. I check, and the button bets. I raise, and he reraises. Now either he fell into my trap, or he has trips and I’m screwed. I call. The turn is an Ace, and I check call. The river is a rag and I check call again positive that I’ve been beaten. He turns over [A 10]. The frustrating thing about that hand is that in any other spot other that the big blind, and I’m folding, but no, I had to get it in the big blind and see a free flop, and hit on the flop, only to get beat on the turn. I don’t know how to avoid that situation, but it seems to happen to me more frequently than it should.

Just to make matters worse, Party decides to start messing with me. I would look at my hole cards on one table, and see 73o, then look across to the other table table where the flop would come [7 3 7]. On the next hand on the second table, my 23o would have went quite well with the [2 3 K] flop that shows up on the first table. I swear this happened four or five times in like 10 hands.

So now I start watching my chip stacks, counting how many big bets I’m down if I stop right now. I still have 20 minutes before I go to pick up my wife, so I decide to play it out, but I’m way more concerned about my shrinking chip count than I should be. Somehow I’m actually up on the other table, despite no memorable hands.

At about five minutes before I have to leave, the cards start falling my way. I’m up almost enough on the one table to cover my losses on the other, and think maybe I should quit while I’m ahead. I’ve just posted a big blind so I opt to play it out for one more orbit.

I get pocket threes in late position, and limp with three others and both blinds to the flop, which is [3 6 Q]. Four checks and a bet ahead of me. I call, not wanting to scare anyone off. We get one other caller. The turn is [4s], the second spade on the board. This time I raise the bet ahead of me, not wanting anyone to be able to get that third spade for cheap. The river is [5h], and knowing my luck, he just hit a seven high straight. He check calls, and mucks his pair of queens, guaranteeing me a profit for the night, as long as I don’t play anymore hands.

Two hands later I get [Ad Kd] and I’m pretty sure that I’ll misplay this into a huge loss. I raise it up to $1 preflop and get two callers. The flop is [3d 2d 6c] and everyone checks. The turn is [4d] completing my flush, and giving me a shot at the straight flush. It’s bet ahead of me, and I call, along with the guy behind me. The turn is [7s] and original better and I cap the betting, while the guy behind me drops out. He had [Jd 5d] for the jack high flush. That was the biggest pot of the night, and a perfect way to go out. All in all, I ended up about $20, playing $.50/$1.00 limit. I’ll take that. I think the moral of this story is just to be patient. If you wait long enough, someone will bet into your nut flush and you’ll come out ahead. Either that or the moral is to wait around long enough to get really lucky then bail.


Saturday I played six Sit and Goes at Poker Stars, five $10+1s and one $15+1 turbo. They were more frustrating than anything else. I placed in second for the $15 turbo, and in third in one of the others. I had of couple of fourth place finishes as well. The most annoying thing was that I felt like I was playing pretty well. I would get to a healthy first or second place in chip count, and then bully the rest of the table. Once we got down to four or five players, I get caught trying to steal a blind, and have to fold to reraise. It would then take me two or three more orbits to get those chips back. Then I would get someone all in and they would end beating me, and I would have to battle back to the chip lead again. Eventually, I would make a mistake, and someone would knock me out. I just couldn’t seem to get that final blow to put me into the money. I think I prefer PokerStar’s interface to Party’s, except for the fact that there are only 9 players. I don’t think adding another player would have a significant effect on my in the money rate, but not having that player hurts my ROI when I do make the money.


Sunday I went back to Party for some SNGs. I finished in second twice third once and fourth once. I was going to write about them, but this post is already getting pretty long, and I think I’ll just go play some more instead. I will say that those fourth place finishes are really starting to annoy me. I have way too many of them, although I don’t know what to do about them.


On a completely unrelated to poker note, another coworker of mine who reads this blog despite not playing poker at all wanted me to mention how great Yahoo Word Racer is. It’s basically an online boggle game. If you are ever bored at work, and think that getting busted for playing poker isn’t quite worth it, check out and look for word racer. A game lasts for like 10 minutes, and it’s addictive as hell. It’s also integrated into their Y! Messenger so you can play with your friends and just claim you were instant messaging them. Anyway, maybe he’ll start a word racer blog and then you can read all about it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Teams I Like to see Lose

One of my coworkers was complaining this afternoon because he was bored, and I hadn’t updated my blog recently enough for him, so he nothing new to read. First off, Noah, you’re a slacker, get back to work. Secondly, I meant to write something yesterday but I didn’t get around to it. I also meant to play a lot of poker yesterday, but didn’t do much of that either. I happened to check ESPN’s website at halftime of the Kansas/OU game and saw that Kansas was getting their ass handed to them, so I decided I’d watch the rest of the game rather than blog or play cards. There aren’t really a whole lot of teams that I root for, but there a bunch that I root against and Kansas is definitely one of them. So with that being the reason that I didn’t play cards last night, and not wanting to have to listen to Noah complain, I decided I’d post a list of teams that I enjoy watching lose. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while anyway.

I apologize if your favorite team makes this list. You can at least take solace in the fact that if your favorite team is on the list then it’s because they are either perennial championship contenders, or they are strong rivals of one of my favorite teams, or they in some way did something that hurt one of my teams traumatizing me in the process.

So here it is. Teams I like to see lose, in no particular order.

  • New York Yankees. Big surprise here. They fact that they just buy a playoff team every year is a bit annoying. If they would just go into a ten year playoffless streak I think I’d forgive them and no longer root against them. On second thought I’d still hate them. Boooo.
  • New York Mets. I wasn’t around in 1969, but I think Cub fandom is hereditary so I think I was born with a natural hatred for the Mets. I did root for them over the Yankees during the last subway series, so they have that going for them.

  • Notre Dame. Specifically their football team, but I also enjoy a good Notre Dame basketball loss. They wouldn’t be so bad except that you can’t go anywhere without having to hear about Notre Dame. Their football team has a contract with NBC, so every game is televised and overly promoted. And they are so over-hyped. And their fans are so obnoxious. I think I’ve rooted for Notre Dame once in my life and it was against BC a few weeks ago so that U of I would be the only remaining undefeated team.

  • Any Football Team from Florida. Possible exception for Jacksonville who I don’t care about one way or the other. I hate the big three Florida college teams because it seems like at least one of them is in the National Championship hunt every year. I hate the Dolphins because they were the only team to beat the ’85 Bears and because of the way the members of their undefeated team celebrate each year when the last undefeated team loses.

  • Green Bay Packers. I’m a Bears fan. Do I need any further explanation?

  • Minnesota Vikings. Ditto.

  • Kansas. I wasn’t a big Kansas fan to start with. I think it’s that whole consistent winner thing, but when Bill Self left the Illini to coach there, he turned me into a hater. I’ve really enjoyed their current losing streak and the fact that the team Self gave up is undefeated.

  • Duke. They are like the Yankees of College Basketball. I wish they’d just have one or two years where they don’t make the tournament.

  • New York Knicks. I really don’t watch pro Basketball much, but I remember them playing like a bunch of thugs during one of the Bulls championship runs.

  • LA Lakers. They also win too much, and I’m so sick of Shaq. I’m nowhere near a basketball expert, but based on the limited times I’ve seen him play I would contend that I could do better if I was his size. (and yes I know he’s not on the Lakers anymore).

  • St Louis Cardinals. Until recently I didn’t mind the Cards. The Cubs were never any good, so who cares if the Cardinals were? I saved my hated for those dirty Mets. Over the past few years as the Cubs have actually contended, my dislike for St. Louis has grown considerably.

  • Houston Astros. Same as above.

  • Dallas Cowboys. I don’t know why, I just don’t like them.

  • Michigan. I’m not quite sure why I hate Michigan so much. I think they’re the evil villain of the Big Ten. I went to the Big Ten Tournament last year, and as they were listing of the schools, each school would get booed by the fans from its biggest rival. The whole entire stadium booed Michigan.

  • Chicago White Sox. Growing up a Cubs fan, the Sox were always an afterthought. I would go their games if I had tickets and root for them, but I didn’t really care too much. They seemed so unimportant. I think my dislike for them started once inter league play began and the games between them started to mean something. I honestly think that the obnoxiousness of the White Sox fans, and their sheer hatred for the Cubs is what turned me against the Sox. It seems like the whole focus of the Sox is just to be better than the Cubs everything else is secondary. To make matters worse, my best friend, my brother (just to spite me), most of my co-workers and my wife’s entire family are Sox fans. It’s like I personally know every single Sox fan in existence. And I have to listen to them tell me how much better the Sox are than the Cubs all the time. Oops, got a little carried away there. Where was I?

  • Any ranked team, playing an unranked, or lesser ranked team. Unless that team is Illinois, or sometimes a Big Ten team against a non-Big Ten Team, or if the unranked team is Notre Dame. You have to root for the underdog.

I think that about covers it. I’m sure there are a few others that I dislike, but if the teams listed above are playing, you can bet I’m hoping they lose.

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PokerRoom Implements their own Poker Tracker

I got an email from PokerRoom today, as I'm sure all their customers did, and there were a few interesting items in it.

First, they now have a session browser where you can view all your poker sessions, analyze hand histories and track your results. At first glance, it looks to work similarly to PokerTracker. I think they pull the data off of your local hard drive rather than their server as the hand history has a disclaimer stating that there may be some inaccuracies in the data and that the server data takes precedence. Here's a screenshot if you are interested.

It is lacking many of the details that PokerTracker offers, suck as opponent information, and grouped stats by position, and starting hand, but it's a start. Hopefully they will add in some tournament support, and allow you to query their server to fill in data that may have missed when playing on another machine or with their java client.

I haven't played too much at other sites, so maybe this is nothing new, its the first time I've seen anything like it directly from the poker site.

The second thing in their email is that, they have a 30% reload bonus, up to $300, valid until Feb 27th. Use bonus code MONACO. I'd be tempted to drop some more cash in to chase the bonus, except that I tend to lose about as much cash chasing bonuses as the bonus covers, so there isn't much point. Maybe its good practice.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Playing at Party Poker

I finally made it to Party Poker, land of the many fishes, or so I’ve been told. My first day’s experience however did not quite go as planned. I decided I would try out the $25 buy in NL ring game to see if I could work of my deposit bonus.

Things went poorly from the very beginning. In the third or fourth hand, I’m dealt rockets, and raise the one limper, I’ll call him Captain Suckout, to $2. The flop looks innocent enough, [ Tc 8s 2s ]. He bets $2 and I raise it to $4. Maybe he has trips, but I don’t think so. Maybe he thinks I have overcards and I’ll just go away on that rag flop. The turn is [ 3s ], so now our board looks like this: [ Tc 8s 2s 3s ]. He bets $2 again, and I put him all in for his remaining $2.30. The river is a [7s], and he turns over [Qs 7d] for a Queen high flush. I don’t understand what he was thinking. How could he not possibly think he was beat every single time he called one of my raises? He wasn’t even drawing to the nut flush. He could have hit his flush and still lost.

He started that hand with a little over $10. He would go all in with just about any two cards at any point in any hand regardless of what was on the board, and he just kept hitting his hands. It was absolutely ridiculous. His stack grew all the way up to over $115 just by hitting his two outers on the river over and over again. I’ve never seen so many runner runner straights and flushes in my life.

I lost my initial buy in when I flopped two pair with [Q 6] out of the big blind. The third card on the board was and ace, so I figured one of the two remaining players would have one, and bet for me. I check, and the other player bets $1 into a $2 pot. Captain Suckout raises to $6. I’m thinking that at best he has an ace, most likely he has nothing, so I go all in. They both call. The good captain would have ended up beating me, because his [K T] would hit on both the turn and the river, but I got some satisfaction out of seeing the other guy turn over aces, giving him the set, and taking the captains chips, along with my own.

I’m sort of on tilt here, but I decide to re-buy anyway because good old Captain Suckout still has over $100 and I know his luck can’t stand up forever. Sooner or later, as long as I am patient, I’ll get those chips from him.

At one point, a new player joined our table, and called it a “dream table” after seeing how horribly loose and aggressive people were. It took about fifteen minutes for the Captain to dispose of him.

My second buy in wasn’t going much better than the first. I made a few bad plays and before I knew it I was down to about $10 again. Big Slick helped me double up when a king came on the turn and I was finally able to relax a little.

Shortly after that I’m dealt [ K J ] and I limp in. Five of us see the flop of [ K 4 K ]. The first guy bets $1, and the Captain raises to $6. Just what I have been waiting for. I’m a little worried that he has wired fours, or K4, but knowing him he has ace rag. I go all in knowing I’ll at least get the captain to call. Both blinds drop and both the original bettor and Captain Suckout call. The original bettor is cause for concern, because he could easily have me beat. I didn’t expect a call from him. Fortunately he had [ K 7 ] and I out kicked him. The Captain had [A T]. So I had now doubled my second buy in and was back to even on the night. The Captain left shortly after that hand, and I made one stupid move after his departure where I bet into a flush that I didn’t notice had become possible on the river. If it wasn’t for that I would have finished ahead.

In summary, if this one experience at Party is any indication, the players here are indeed worse than the other sites I have played at. That makes for some horrific bad beats, but should also make for a generally profitable experience. I probably need play a little bit more before I make my final determination.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Book Review: Chance...

Chance: A Guide to Gambling, Love, the Stock Market and Just About Everything Else by Amir D. Aczel.

I first heard of this book when recommended it to me. I guess all those poker books that I have either purchased or added to my wish list tipped them off. The concept sounded intriguing; how does chance play a role in our everyday life?

I’m not sure what exactly I expected out of the book, but this wasn’t it. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. It was basically a cleverly disguised statistics and probability text book. Now, having said that, if you had told me up front that I was going to read a statistics and probability text book, I never would have imagined that it could hold my interest as well as this book did.

Chance starts innocently enough, going over some of the origins of probability theory and how randomness in every day life, and before you know it you’re looking at some rather complex formulas attempting to make some sense out of seemingly random events. Everything is broken down to layman’s terms and is actually relatively easy to understand, although I do have a math background, so perhaps that helped.

Here are some of the more interesting topics discussed:

  • The Birthday Problem: With 23 random people, there is a 50% percent chance that two of them share the same birthday. With 56 people that number jumps to a 95% chance. It sounds unbelievable, but once you do the math, it makes sense.

  • The Bus Arrival Problem: If a bus comes every 10 minutes, then on average you should have to wait for it for five minutes, right? Wrong. You are much more likely to arrive at the bus stop in the middle of a longer interval between buses than a shorter one, so your average wait time is actually going to be greater than five minutes.

  • The De Finetti Game: This is method to gauge someone’s confidence in an event. Say for example a friend claims he is 95% sure he aced a test. Is he really that confident? Offer him a hypothetical choice. He can either get the result of the test, and if he aced it, he wins one million dollars, or he can pick a ball out of bag. There are 90 red balls and 10 blue in the bag, and if he picks a red ball then he wins the million. Now if he doesn’t choose his test score then he is at most 90% confident. Adjust the ratio of red to blue balls until he chooses the test score to find out how confident he really is.

There’s a lot more, and the majority of it is pretty interesting. The only real poker content is in the appendix where he talks about pot odds, and when to bet. Unfortunately he loses points when he says your opponent has a four flush and has 4-1 odds of drawing the fifth card for his flush to beat your full house. Doh. For a split second I thought that I had been playing wrong all this time, and maybe a flush does beat a full house.

Over all, if you are looking for something interesting, and don’t mind formulas, I would recommend picking up this book. It’s only about 150 pages, and makes for a pretty quick read. There is a fair amount of gambling related content, but not much of it is specifically related to poker. If you are expecting a lot of poker theory or advice, you should probably look somewhere else.

Dogs Playing Poker Sells for $590,400

Thanks to my friend John for pointing out this article. Two of the famous "Dogs Playing Poker" paintings have been auctioned off for $590,400 to an unnamed buyer. Just to give you an idea of how popular poker is these days, they were expecting somewhere between $30,000 and $50,000. Check out CNN Money's website for more details.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Heads Up Poker Tournament on NBC

The major networks are starting to cash in on the poker bonanza as NBC has announced that it will air the 2005 National Heads-Up Poker Championship in May. The tournament will pit 64 of the best poker players against one another in a heads up tournament. Once everyone gets done with their college basketball brackets in March and April, they can start filling out their poker brackets for May. Gambling on other people gambling, now that sounds like some good clean fun. I wonder how they determine the brackets, if its just random seeding, or if the players are somehow ranked. I wonder how much more publicity promotion poker can sustain before people get bored and move on to the next big thing. Anyway, check out the article from the Las Vegas Sun.

Poker Tracker

I finally downloaded Poker Tracker. I've held off so far because I'm lazy and because I wasn't sure that it would work with PokerRoom, which up until recently was the only site I played. It turns out I was wrong. PokerRoom is supported, although only ring games. I play sit and go tournaments the vast majority of the time although I did play enough ring games to get some useful stats. Now that I am branching out onto other sites, I'll be able to track those sites as well.

So far I only have the free demo version. It allows you to load 1000 hands, which I was surprised to find that I had actually played. I'm still trying to learn how to use it, but I'll probably purchase the full version later this week. The software is amazing. It tracks just about everything you could possibly want to track (not counting PokerRoom tournament play, although it is on their to do list, I've been told). It tracks your stats by session, by table, by position, by starting hand, by time of day, by phase of the moon, by limit type, and by blind amount and more. It also tracks every single player you've ever played against and whenever possible it records their hand histories as well. You can pull up any hand of any game you've loaded into the poker tracker database, and replay it. You can see all the players you've won money from and those you've lost money to. You can even define player profiles, to keep track of players you want at your table and those you want to avoid.

Needless to say, I'm a bit overwhelmed with all of the information right now, and I'm still trying to analyze it and figure out all the other features. If you regularly play at any of the supported sites, I would highly recommend that you at the very least download the trial version and check it out. I think you'll be impressed.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Progress Report: 4th Set

I finished a set of ten SNGs at PokerStars tonight, so I figured I'd give you an update. I know you've all been dying to hear how I've done since the last set. Well wait no longer because here it is:

PokerStars Games 1-10

Total Invested $100+$10 Fees ($110 Total)

Total Winnings $171
Net +$61
Finished in the Money 6/10 times

1st Place 1
2nd Place 4
3rd Place 1
4th Place 1
5th Place 1
6th Place 0
7th Place 1
8th Place 0
9th Place 1

Average 3.7


Total Invested $400 +$40 Fees ($440 Total)
Winnings $491
Net +$51
Finished in the Money 16/40 Times.

1st Place 4
2nd Place 7
3rd Place 5
4th Place 5
5th Place 4
6th Place 6
7th Place 6
8th Place 0
9th Place 2
10th Place 1

Average 4.475

As I said in my last post, my heads up game obviously needs some work, and I really need to finish in the money a whole lot more frequently. Four out of ten isn't going be good enough. I also need to play more. Maybe not as much as some people, but at least an average of one tournament a day should be sufficient.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Finally, a PokerStars Win

I finally won a PokerStars SNG. It took nine tries, but I managed to do it. The one thing that is obvious from my recent play at PokerStars is that my heads up game needs some work. Of the nine games I've played, I've made it to heads up play in five of them, yet only won one. And in that lone victory, I started out with a huge chip lead and then almost blew it before battling back for the win.

I think the biggest reason that I am struggling in heads up play is that I'm still transitioning my style from how I played on PokerRoom. I'm used to playing at PokerRoom where by the time you make it to heads up play, the blinds are so high that if you ever make to a showdown its going to be for all of your chips. At PokerStars, the blinds don't get nearly as high, so you have quite a few more hands to work with. I really need to be more patient and not try to force it if I don't have to.

On another note, I don't know how people can play four tables at once. Especially no limit. I can barely keep up with two. I guess after enough practice it becomes second nature, but there were a couple of times today when I had to seriously think about what I wanted to do on both tables at the same time. Its bad enough debating one all-in call on a timer, let alone two. Add on another table or two and I think my brain would lock up. Guess that's why I'm not a professional.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Reverse Tilt

I think I went on reverse tilt last night. Usually someone on tilt will start making horrible raises, or calling bets even though they know they are beat. Often this is caused by a bad beat, or an otherwise tough loss. Yesterday something similar happened to me, although it was caused by a hand that I actually won, and rather than playing too many hands I just folded all the time.

I was playing two SNG’s simultaneously and had just busted out of one of them in seventh place. The blinds were at 50/100 in the other, and I wasn’t getting any cards. I had been dealt a few marginal hands, and tried raising with them, only to have to fold pre-flop to larger reraises. I was starting to get impatient when I was dealt KTs under the gun. I figured that I’d try to take a stab at it, and if I missed the flop, I could still get out, so I raised to T200. It folds around until the small blind who bumps it up to T500. I only have about T1200 left at this point, but I call anyway. I think he thinks that I’m trying to steal the blinds, and that he thinks his raise will scare me off as has happened in a few earlier hands. So I called.

The flop was 9A4 and he checks. I think that ace scares him, or that he really was bluffing, and I bet T500 of my remaining T800. He thinks about it until almost all of his time bank has run out and then raises all-in. I call even though I know I’m beat because what am I going to do with T300? He turns over QQ. At this point I pull out my stat sheet and start marking down the place that I’m about to finish in and get ready to shut down my computer. All of sudden the turn is revealed, and it is king. The river is ten, not that I needed it.

"U CALLED 500 W/ THAT ??? WOW" he types. I admit to myself that I was embarrassed. I had played that hand pretty poorly and yet somehow managed to come out on top. I felt bad. I know I shouldn’t because that’s just what happens some times and I should be thankful that I was on the winning side for once, but it still bothered me.

For the rest of the tournament, I played like crap. I folded just about everything. I couldn’t bring myself to play anything. There were two reasons for this. One is that I was afraid that I would end up in a show down with crap cards and be labeled a fish. The other, and I’d like to think bigger reason, was that I still wasn’t getting great cards. I didn’t think anyone would believe me if I tried to represent any hand that was better than what I held. Knowing that you aren’t going to be able to pull of any sort of bluff can put a significant damper on your game.

I guess if I was a better player I would be happy that the rest of the table thought I was so bad. When I would eventually get a good hand, I could expect to be paid off well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the patience to wait out and watched as my chips dwindled away. I went all in with A7 on a semi-bluff, even though I had enough chips to last a few more orbits. Fittingly, I got out kicked.

So that was lots of fun. Nothing like winning a hand to lower your confidence.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

WPBT Summary Part 2

WPBT VI Summary part 2.

I probably should have posted part 2 first so that it would show up chronologically, but when I first started I didn’t think this would require two posts. Oh well. If you missed the first half you can find it here.

I came out of the second break in third place with 12,280 chips. Frankly, I’m surprised I’ve made it this far. I’m even more surprised that I actually have some chips to work with. Normally if I manage to make it this far, I’m clinging on for dear life just looking for a chance to double up.

Round 9 300/600 Blinds 50 Ante.

This round starts out kind of slow for me. I basically just sit there and watch my chips dwindle away. Finally I get A9s on the button and call a preflop raise to 1200. The flop is the always scary 72J, none of which is my suit. It’s checked to me and I bet 1800. Only in a blogger game can someone be worried about a 72 on the flop, but my bluff works and he folds.

It’s nice to actually have the chips to be able to take some risks and still recover if they don’t work for me. I’m finally able to get me obligatory hammer bluff in. I get 72o in early position and raise it up to 1200. I get one caller. Doh. There goes 1200. The flop is AK9, all clubs. My two is club, so I have the lowest possible flush draw, but that could be a scary flop for almost any hand that didn’t include two clubs so I bet 3000, and he folds. Unfortunately, I had it set to auto-muck my hand and couldn’t show it. You’ll have to take my word for it. I feel like I’ve passed some sort of blogger initiation and now I can officially call myself a poker blogger.

Now I really start bulling the smaller stacks as we’re getting closer to the bubble. I knocked a few of the shorter stacks out w/AQ against A5 and AT against KJ.

Round 10 400/800 Blinds 50 Ante

There are 21 players left and I’m in second place with a little over 22,000 chips. I’ve almost caught the chip leader who is seated two places to my right.

I’m dealt big slick in early position and raise it up to 2400. HonestAL1029 reraises all in for another 610. He has wired eights. The flop is bad news for him as two kings fall, and turn seals his fate as I get an ace to complete my full house, and move into the chip lead.

We are down to 19 players, and everyone tightens up even more, not wanting to be the last guy not to make the money. This works out great for me as I’m not worried about getting knocked out and get to steal lots blinds.

The railbirds keep us informed about the other tables as we’re playing hand for hand with them. They have a few all-ins, but no eliminations. Finally someone on one of the other tables goes out and we made the money.

Round 11: 600/1200 Blinds 75 Ante

Here’s where I start a little over confident. I have K2 in middle position and raise it to 2400. mirven goes all in for 2466 more out of the small blind. Mirven has KQ and doubles up. I think this is one of my weaknesses in tournament play. Once I gain the chip lead I try too hard to eliminate other players rather than making smart plays. I guess maybe I was pot committed at that point and it only cost me another 2466, but once mirven reraised should have known I was behind. One mistake like this won’t kill me, but I have a tendency to do this a lot, and with players who aren’t as low on chips as mirven was here.

After loosing that hand I start playing tighter again, hoping to let some of the smaller stacks knock each other out. Maybe I’m playing too tight, or my cards just aren’t any good but I don’t play many hands for a while. I’m starting to get a little frustrated as every time I have a somewhat decent hand it gets raised ahead of me, and I don’t feel like doubling anyone else up.

I’m moved to the other table and get A4o in first position. I raise it up to 3600. I need a steal here because I haven’t done anything for a while and I need to replenish the chips I’ve lost to the last few orbits worth of antes and blinds. A10419 calls out of the big blind. Crap. This is what I get for trying to be sneaky. I knew I shouldn’t have played this, especially from early position, but the cards I had been getting the last few hands made A4 seem like a monster. The flop is T8Q rainbow and a10419 checks. I bet 4800 and he folds. Deep sigh of relief.

Round 12: 1000/2000 Blinds 100 Ante

I start round 12 with 26,139 in chips and I’m in second place. There are 12 players remaining.

The first hand where I see any action post flop in this round is when I’m dealt wired tens in second position. At this point my cat decides that I’ve been playing on my computer for way too long without giving him any attention, so he takes matters into his own hands, and starts climbing on me, and my desk and my laptop. By the time I pick him and get him out of the way, it’s my turn to act, and I raise. What I didn’t realize was that on_thg had already raised it up to 4000 from first position, so now I had raised it to 6000. Oops. I still would have played the hand if I had known that I was entering a raised pot, but I don’t know if I would have raised it. As I’ve said before I hate pocket tens, I can never seem to play them right. This time it works out OK though as the flop was 82A and on_thg checked and then folded to my 6000 bet.

Now I’m up to 35,000 and I can really start pushing people around. Any ace or king or two suited cards are worth a raise. No one seems to want test me. Only one more player until the final table.

All of the sudden some one at the other table goes out and we’re at the final table. I’m not sure how this happened, because I don’t think I’m nearly good enough to come anywhere near the final table, but somehow I made it. I have over 50,000 chips and am the table leader. Only WAXMAN13, is close with just over 44,000. The rest have around 20,000.


Round 13: 1500/3000 Blinds 150 Ante

I’m slowly building on my chip lead when I get wired sixes in middle position. It’s folded to me and I raise to 9000. PokerLife calls from the button. The flop is rags, 437, and I can’t imagine that helps him so I bet 12,000. Pokerlife calls for 9246 and is all in. One of the mistakes I think I started making here is that I didn’t take into account other players chip counts enough. I’m trying to make a pot sized or half pot sized bet not noticing that my opponent doesn’t have the chips to cover. I’m not sure if I should have been more or less aggressive with that knowledge, but I probably should have taken it into account at the very least. Regardless of what I should have done, I put him all in and he had pocket rockets. At least I had enough chips to be able to go against a hand that had me totally dominated, and live to play another. That play did knock me back to the middle of the pack however.

It this point it really only takes one good or bad hand to either put you back in the lead, or knock you out. I got a little lucky when I was dealt T7 in the small blind. A10419 had limped from early position, and I thought I could make him fold by raising to 9000. He called. The flop was T8J rainbow and I was able to take the pot right there. I moved up about 13,000 from that hand and put a comfortable distance between the top of my chips and the cyberfelt.

The very next hand I was able to win the blinds and antes with a preflop raise on the button. I had climbed back to 48,000 chips and second place with seven players remaining.

I take the chip lead back when I get big slick on the big blind. The chip leader, and my nemesis WAXMAN13 limps from the small blind, and I raise it to 12,000. He calls. I’m pretty good at misplaying big slick so I figure there’s a reasonable chance that I’m going to mess this up and go out seventh by picking a fight with the one guy who can completely knock me out. The flop goes my way however with KJ9 and WAXMAN folds to my 18,000 bet. Back in the chip lead.

Round 14: 2000/4000 Blinds 200 Ante

There are still seven of us left when we enter round 9. I’m in the chip lead with 58,000. WAXMAN13 and pokerlife are close behind.

We lose a couple players, and I climb to 65,000 in chips when the unthinkable happens. Actually, I’ve been thinking this would happen for the past three hours but it sounded like a good thing to say. I think I played this hand as well as I could. Tell me if you think differently. I am dealt 65o in the BB, and the evil WAXMAN13 calls from the small blind. I take a free look at the flop. The flop was about as good as I could have hoped for. 645 rainbow. WAXMAN13 bets 4000 and I raise it up to 12000. I guess I could have or should have raised it higher, but I wanted him to stick around. If I could knock out the second highest chip stack, I’d be almost unstoppable. The turn was a jack and he bets 12000. I figure he has a jack, and that’s it. If he had just made a set, I think he would have been more aggressive prior to this. I reraise all in. He calls with J7. I guess you can’t fault him for this call. He has an open ended straight draw and top pair, so he’s got to be think he’s ahead, and if not he has plenty of outs. He hits an eight on the river to complete his straight and I’m all but eliminated.

So I finished in 5th place, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with my results. OK, I guess if I had finished anywhere from first to fourth I’d be a little more satisfied, but either way I played way better than I anticipated. I hope you enjoyed my summary. It took me way longer than I expected to write up, so I probably won’t be writing anything this detailed again. It cuts down on my playing time too much. If you want to check out the WPBT leaderboard, you can see it here.

Friday, February 04, 2005

WPBT Summary Part 1

WPBT Summary Part 1

The tournament finished up for me at about midnight last night. I was pretty tired but of coarse I couldn’t sleep because I was still wired from poker adrenaline. I usually need at least a half hour in between playing poker and going to bed, otherwise I just replay all the hands in my head. So if I start to ramble or babble more incoherently than normal, I blame it on lack of sleep.

Overall I was pretty satisfied with my play. I don’t think made any horrible plays, and what mistakes I did make were small enough that I was able to overcome them. Here’s a breakdown of how the tournament went for me. If I reference you and don’t link back to your blog, I apologize. I’m still a relative newbie and I don’t recognize everyone. That and there’s like a bagillion poker blogs out there now and I can’t remember who goes with which blog.

I realize that by now there are probably 150 other blog posts out there about this tournament, but I don't care, I'm writing it up anyway. So here goes. Warning this is going to be long.

Round 1: 10/20 Blinds.

We got off to an explosive start as the first hand gets folded around to the big blind. We have a new chip leader as pokerlife’s stack climbs all the way to T1510. Exciting I know.

In hand number two, we get our first player eliminated as lifesagrind and DropDHammer trade raises and both end up all-in pre flop. Lifesagrinds AK lose out to DropDHammer’s AA.

I then get moved to a new table just in time to see AlCantHang’s JJ lose out to RevModPoker’s TT when Revmod spikes a ten on ther river.

At this point I’m thinking “What have I gotten myself into?” Two hands have gone by and already two people are out. I wouldn’t be surprised by all-ins on the first hand in a normal SNG, but I was expecting a little more patience here.

Round2: 15/30 Blinds

I’m still playing tighter than I should be at this point, since I figure I’m way out of league. I’m afraid to try anything fancy because these are good players I’m going against, not the people I’m used to playing online. Usually I start off pretty tight, and then loosen up and get aggressive once I win my first pot. Once I get over that hump, I start to relax and play with more confidence.

The first hand that really played I had AK and it didn’t go so well. DuggleBogey calls my preflop raise and we see a flop of 89Q. I bluff at it, but he calls me. The turn brings another 8 and I fire again. DuggleBogey reraises and I have to fold. He shows TJ for the flopped straight.

Next hand I have Kh Jc and again find myself going up against DuggleBogey. The flop is three hearts, including the ace. I bet and he calls. The turn is a club, and we both check. The river brings the fourth heart that I was looking for. I’m tempted to check raise, but afraid that he will also check so I through out a pretty small bet, which he called. Woo-hoo. I won my first decent sized pot.

A few hands later, I’m in the big blind with J9, and get four limpers from middle position. The flop is 329, and I bet 60 into a 130 pot. Anisotropy calls and the other two drop. Turn is a Jack, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to win this one. I check, and Anisotropy bets 300. I bump it to 600 and he folds. Maybe I could have gotten more chips out of this hand had I seen the river, but I was plenty happy to take this pot right there.

That last hand definitely gave me some confidence to start loosening up a bit, and it didn’t hurt that I started getting some cards. I win a small pot with AA and a big one when my AQ turns into trip aces on the flop.

Round 3: 25/50 Blinds

DuggleBogey frequently reminds the table that min raises make the baby Jesus cry. He’s crying a lot due to our table as there’s a bunch of pre-flop min raises, most of which do not get called.

Not much happens for me in this round. I don’t really get any cards. I notice that a flop of 277 is a whole lot scarier when you’re playing with a bunch of bloggers. Anyone who tries to take that pot is just asking to get knocked out.

Round 4: 50/100 Blinds.

I’m still not getting many cards. Apparently neither is anyone else as its rare that we see a flop. I win some blinds with AK and AQ when no one wants to play with me. I get bored and steal some more blinds with 56o and A7o.

On the last hand before the first break on_thg goes all in with the hammer against RevmodPoker, who I think is the chip leader at the time, if not for the whole tournament, then for our table. Revmod has big slick, and its not looking good for on_thg. The flop is no help – Q93, but the turn brings a 7 and the river is a useless jack. Behold the power of the hammer, as on_thg goes carries this momentum on and eventually wins the whole tournament.


Round 5: 75/150 Blinds

My cards go cold for a while as I do absolutely nothing for this whole round. Every hand is raised ahead of me and I have nothing worth calling with.

Round 6: 100/200 Blinds

My cards are still cold. 89o in early position is starting to look like a raising hand. I start checking bloglines to see if there are any reports from people who have already dropped. I see that Pauly cracked AA and KK in the same hand with 72. Wow.

I finally get to play a hand as it gets folded to me in middle position with K9. I raise it up and the blinds are mine.

This is the part of big tournaments that I hate. I’m basically in the middle of the pack, but the blinds are starting to take their toll. Those below me are either dropping out or doubling up and moving ahead of me. So while my chips are staying at about the same level, I’m slowly moving from the top third to the bottom third of the remaining players. We’re getting close to the money, so I’m trying to play tight and hang on, but doing that prevents me from actually gaining any chips. On the other hand, I’m hesitant to enter a pot because I’m afraid of being raised, and having to fold, leaving me crippled.

People are starting to drop fast now.

Round 7: 100/200 Blinds 25 Ante.

I start playing aggressive now. I read The Venetian’s summary of a previous WPBT event and recall him talking about playing with antes. Stealing blinds just got a whole lot more profitable, and I start to steal more than my fair share.

I’m up to 4590 and in 16th place, and I’m starting to feel really good about my chances. I think to myself that I probably shouldn’t be watching the leaderboard so much. There’s still a lot of poker to still be played.

I keep pressing and building my chip count.

Round 8: 200/400 Blinds 25 Ante.

I don’t get many cards in this round, but its ok, as my chip count is high enough that I can absorb a few orbits of antes and blinds without having to feel too much pressure to make a move.

There’s five minutes left until the second break and I’m thinking to myself, “Just don’t screw this up.” I then get dealt Ac3c in early position, and decide that since I haven’t done anything for a while, maybe I’ll try to steal some blinds and antes right here. I raise to 1200 and get called by Riddim Killa in the small blind and tobyleah in the big blind. Uh Oh, looks like I might have screwed this up. The flop is Qc Jc 4h. I have the nut flush draw and that’s about it. Riddim Killa and tobyleah both check to me, and I go all-in. I was expecting to take the pot right there, but I figured if I got called, I still hand plenty of outs. Riddim Killa calls with KT for an open ended straight draw. Both the turn and river bring me clubs, and I’ve managed to double up.

I’ve got 12280 heading into the second break and I’m in 3rd place out of the remaining 30.


To Be Continued…

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

WPBT Tournament Results

Well, I just got knocked out. I have to say I finished about 100 places better than I thought I would. In total, there were 151 participants and somehow I managed to finish in 5th place. I took a lot of notes during the tourney because I thought it would be interesting to post my progress once I was done. I didn't expect to last nearly as long as I did, so I have way more notes than I want to post. I'll have to edit them down. Its a bit past my bedtime so you'll have to wait until tomorrow for any specific details. Hopefully I'll write it up tomorrow evening. Thanks to Iggy for setting everything up.