Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

WPBT Event #3

Well, this WPBT event didn’t go quite so well for me as I ended up in a disappointing 77th out of 109, not even making it to the first break. I don’t think I necessarily played badly; I just wasn’t getting the cards today.

I played in a SNG before hand to warm up and got absolutely zero cards. I finished seventh in that when my KJo saw a jack high flop, and lost to AJ. I was hoping that I got all the bad cards out of my system, but no such luck.

I missed the first hand or two of the tournament, because I suckered into watching Lost, and I think it went a little late. When I got there I saw that both BadBlood and Mrs Blood were seated at my table. I declare shenanigans.

Maybe I was playing too tight, but I just don’t think I was getting the cards. I played a total of ten hands out of the 56 that I could have played. Five of those were from the big blind, and two from the small blind. I think there were a few hands where my pre-flop bet earned me some blinds that aren’t included in those stats, but regardless, I didn’t play a lot.

Mrs Blood was to be my nemesis for this tourney. Whenever I was in a pot, she was there with me, usually calling my bluffs. I had AQo four times, and it seemed like every time, I was up against her. The first, time, she had just beaten KK with her AA, and on the very next hand, gets KK to beat my AQ. I probably didn’t play that hand right, but her check on the turn told me that she wasn’t too sure of her hand either, so I bet again on the river and lost. The next time I AQ, I missed the flop completely and bluffed at it. She called and then I had to fold when she raised me on the turn. At this point I’m convinced that she has a perfect read on me, and I’m afraid to enter a pot with her. The third time I got AQ, I raised her BB to 3x and after thinking about it for a while, she finally folded.

I won three other hands all night, and none of them were worth writing about. I finally went out when I had 99 in the small blind. I had T900ish remaining and the blinds where 50/100. It was folded to me, and I raised to 200. The BB raised back and I went all in. He had JJ and hit a third jack on the flop.

Bah. I really don’t expect to do all that well in these tournaments, given the fact that everyone involved should be a better than average player, but I’m still frustrated with the result.

Maybe next time.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I haven’t been playing a lot of poker lately, and that is likely to continue for the near future. This weekend my wife and I are taking a long weekend and going antiquing. Who knows maybe we’ll hit up the Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond but, I just don’t know if there will be enough time.

While antiquing is certainly not on the list of “top ten things I would like to spend my weekend doing,” I am taking Friday off, and it sure as hell beats working. As long as I can get her to agree to watch another basketball game this weekend, everything should be fine.

There is another blogger tournament on PokerStars on Wednesday (all are invited, details here) but that will probably be all the poker I get in this week. I’ve been sort of poker deprived lately, but that’s not too big a deal. While I certainly enjoy playing, I can live without it for a while. (I can quit anytime. No really, I can, I just don’t want to). Not playing all that often does make it hard to come up topics to write about.

On the plus side, as far as my poker playing is concerned, for the first time in a long time, there has been talk of an office game. I give it maybe a 50% chance of happening, but it has been brought up as a possibility on more than one occasion for next week or the week after. We had better get it in before the weather gets too nice, because I think that contributed significantly to the demise of our office game last summer.

The final monthly tournament in Chicago is also tentatively scheduled for early April. Aaron, our host has finally joined the rest of us, and is getting married and moving out to the suburbs, so, this is his last time hosting in the City. The good news is, his new house has a room/basement(?) that will be perfect for future poker playing shenanigans.

Depending on how I do in the WPBT tournament on I may have a post later this week, otherwise, probably not until after the Illini win the national championship on Monday. I’m such a slacker.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Final Four

So I owe the Illini an apology. I gave up on them. With four minutes left, the Illini down by 15 and playing like crap I thought their season was over. The Cubs fan in me figured that if there was a way to lose they could find it, and they did. Except, this Illinois team isn’t cursed like the Chicago National League Ball Club, and they somehow found a way to win it.

About a month ago some friends from work invited us over tonight. At the time I had no idea the Illini would be in the elite eight and attempting to make it to the final four on that same night. I should really plan these things better. We were supposed to get to their place at about 8, and since they live an hour away, that would mean I would have to leave my house during halftime to make it in time. Fortunately another coworker of mine lives a few minutes from them, and he is possibly the biggest sports fan on the planet, in addition to being an alumnus of U of I. The plan was to watch the game at his house, then carpool over to the party.

Well, as the Illini started to choke in the second half we started talking about leaving so we could get to the party on time. No reason to be late just so we could watch the Illini lose. As time ticked away, and they kept missing threes while giving up easy baskets on the other end, we got less and less interested in seeing the final few minutes. So with four minutes remaining in the game, we got in the car and left.

I think the fact that I wasn’t watching them was part of the reason things turned around. I seem to have that affect on games sometimes. The further we away we got, the closer the Illini got, until before I knew it they had miraculously tied it up. As overtime looks more like a possibility, my friend starts driving faster and faster, in an effort to get to the party before the game is over so we can at least see the end.

We get there with a few minutes left in overtime, and get to see Illinois hold on for an amazing come from behind win to earn their first final four appearance since I was in the sixth grade.

So, to the University of Illinois basketball team, I’m sorry I doubted you. It won’t happen again. At least until next Saturday.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

New SNG Strategy

So, apparently the new key to winning Sit and Goes is to ignore them until there are only five people left. What? Oh right, some context might help.

First off, sorry I haven’t posted for a week, the basketball tournament has occupied my free time that is usually devoted to poker related exploits. Secondly, I apologize if this post is significantly less polished than others (if that’s possible), but I have to get to the local drinking establishment before the Illini game, so I won’t be doing much proofreading. Now where was I?

Last week, I decided that I was almost ready to move up to $20 SNG’s from the $10 I have been crushing lately. I felt like I just needed to add a little more to my bankroll to be able to absorb a prolonged losing streak at that level and then I should be fine. I figured a week; maybe two at the $10 level would be more than sufficient.

I then went on to lose six straight. I also had the brilliant idea that a great time to practice my ring game skills was while watching the NCAA tournament. So that didn’t help the old bankroll either. In hindsight, I should probably learn how to win in ring games before trying to throw in additional simultaneous tasks.

I logged onto Party Poker last night, and saw my friend John just sat down at a $10 SNG. I tried to join him, but just the table filled just before I could jump in. So I fired up a few of my own, and pulled up his table to watch. He then noticed that I was online and started IMing me to join a 6-max table with him.

I can play two tables at once pretty effectively, but I’ve noticed a significant drop in my ROI once I add in a third table, so I told him I’d join up once I busted out of one of the SNG’s. That didn’t take long. Between playing two tables, and watching him on two tables, and IMing, my focus wasn’t quite as good as it should have been, and I made some not so great plays.

So I sat down at a $25 6 max. I generally don’t prefer NL ring games because I’m afraid of losing my whole stack on one bad read/stupid move/bad beat, but it was with friends, so what the hell? I sat down for a while. He ended up more than doubling up and I was about even when our table broke up.

We then decided to try to get into a SNG together. Either the way Party sets up new SNG’s makes it tough to coordinate with someone, or we’re retarded, or both, but either way, we had some issues. I ended up grabbing the last seat in one, thinking he had already joined, and he ended up missing out. After a few more tries we gave up and went back to a ring game.

Surprisingly, I made it through another ring game without losing a ton. I had one bad hand where my AKs hit a K on the flop and A on the river but someone else had flopped trips. Other than that, I did pretty well. Every once in a while I would check the SNG, but I didn’t really pay much attention to it. I was paying more attention to the ring game and my IM chat than the tournament. By the time we left the ring game to call it a night the SNG was down to five people. I have absolutely no idea how that happened. I don’t remember playing any hands and certainly don’t remember any else playing any hands that knocked them out.

I was short stacked, but not too bad. A couple pre-flop raises got me enough chips to be comfortable, and before I knew it I was in the money.

Given the fact that I have been on a losing streak, and before that I had been finishing in second or third way more often than first, I was determined to win this one. I actually scaled back the short handed aggression that has been getting me into trouble lately, and let the remaining two players back into second best hands. I still raised way more often than they did, but I didn’t bluff raise nearly as much, and that seemed to be the key. Anyway, I ended up winning the Sit N Go, so the moral of the story is if you ignore your SNG for at least the first half of the tournament, everything should be fine and you should at finish in the money at the very least.

On a somewhat related side note, my friend Noah has a theory that he could start up a $5 SNG on PokerRoom, and walk away, and still finish in third, or even second, but he’s too much of a pansy to try it. If anyone tries it, let me know how it turns out. I don’t think you have enough starting chips on Party, but it might just work on PokerRoom.

Go Illini.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Round 1

Stupid NCAA brackets. At least I didn't have Syracuse going to the final four. Oh wait, I did. That Kansas loss didn't help my brackets much either, but I think it hurt everyone else too. And I hate Kansas, so I won't complain about that. I'm not mathematically eliminated from my pool yet, but I might as well be.

At least I picked Texas Tech to upset Gonzaga so my round 2 is starting off nicely.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

March Madness Time

March Madness Time

I’ve never been a big basketball fan. I jumped on the Bull’s bandwagon during the 90’s, but I think the last professional basketball game that I’ve seen that I actually cared about was somewhere during their fourth or fifth championship season.

I’ve been getting more into college hoops though. It helps that most people I work with graduated from Illinois at about the same time I did, and that the Illini have had pretty good teams in recent years. At least one team I root for is capable of a prolonged winning stretch.

So anyway, the one basketball event that I’ve always enjoyed is the NCAA tournament, specifically the first two rounds. The first two rounds of the tournament is the most exciting sports event period. I’ve never done it, but I could easily see myself taking off work and just watching basketball at some sports bar for 12 hours straight, four days in a row. I’ve never even heard of half the teams in there, and the only way I know which teams are any good is that they’re seeded higher, but it’s exciting regardless. I’ve gotten a little better as I’ve been following it more in the past few years, but still, if you are looking for some tips on who to pick in your pool, you would probably do better by throwing darts at your bracket and picking winners based on who you hit than by asking me.

Despite my utter lack of knowledge on the topic, I still enter a pool every year. The pool that I’m usually in consists almost entirely of U of I grads. As a result, at least 75% of them pick the Illini to win it all each year. Since I’m the constant pessimist, this gives me an advantage, as I have no problems picking them to choke in the second round, which they often do. Even though they spot me one of the final four teams each year by, I still end up towards the bottom of the pool.

This year, I’m in real trouble, because I have to pick the Illini to win it. How could you not? Seriously? They’ve only lost one game all year, and it was only by one point. There were only a few other games that were even close.

So anyway, here’s a link to my brackets. Study it, and compare it to yours. If yours looks anything like mine, with the possible exception of U of I going all the way, then tear yours up and start over because you aren’t going to be winning anything.

Monday, March 14, 2005

WPBT H.O.R.S.E Recap

Somehow I finished in 26th out of 93. That’s somewhere in the top third, and not too bad considering how little I know about most of the games. I didn’t take very many notes this time, and I don’t think FullTilt offers hand history yet, so I’m probably going to be missing a bunch of details, but here goes:

Round 1. Holdem.

This is the only game that I know how to play. Things start of badly for me however when I limp from the small blind on the second hand with AJs. The flop is rags, and I check. The guy on the button min bets, and I call thinking that his min bet means he has nothing either, and he’s trying to see where he is in the hand. Same thing on the turn, and the river where I still call despite not improving. I think there are two pair on the board, and I figure if he made a full house he would have be more, so maybe my ace gives me the best kicker. Oh wait. This is limit poker. He was min betting because that was all he could do. Oh, and he had quad sixes. Oops.

I played the rest of this round like crap making a whole bunch of probably fishy plays, leading me to decide that I really suck at limit poker.

Round 2. Omaha Hi/Lo.

I really meant to do some research to figure out what makes a decent Omaha starting hand, but I forgot. I’m completely overwhelmed by the number of hand combinations that I can use, but I end up backing into more than my fair share of winning hands. In one of the early hands I was on a good low draw, and a straight draw going into the river. The river was a jack and paired the board. As it helped neither of my draws, I hit the check/fold checkbox, and waited for the next hand. Fortunately for me everyone else checked, and I ended up winning the hand with trip jacks. Good thing I was paying attention huh? So this is how all the fish on Party manage to keep their bankroll. They just close their eyes, push buttons, and cash in. I ended up winning a number of hands here, although I can’t claim that it was in any way related to skill.

Round 3. Razz.

I confess. I cheated. I actually practiced some Razz this weekend and I read –EV’s guide. So I had at least some idea how to play this game, which puts me at an unfair advantage against probably half the field. People were way tighter here than the play money tables though. Completing the bet was usually enough to take the pot. I think I took one big sized pot with a six high. Other than that, I don’t recall any noteworthy hands.

Round 4. Stud.

As if I wasn’t going to have enough trouble playing stud, playing razz just beforehand is bad news. I might not have even noticed the switch except people were complaining about how all of the sudden they were getting dealt low cards. The only thing I know about seven card stud is that I have no business playing it.

Round 5. Stud Hi/Lo.

First hand in I had a full house kings full of tens. I was called down to the river with exposed kings. I’m not sure why he was calling, unless he was chasing the low and the river screwed him. Other than that I tried to stay out of it since I didn’t have a real good feel for what makes a smart play.

Round 6. Holdem.

Should I be concerned that I lost a lot chips in the first holdem round, then went into top few places in the games I don’t understand only to lose them in the next holdem round?

1st Break. I’m in 11th place with 3195 in chips

Round 7 Omaha Hi/Lo.

I flopped trips twice in a row, but no one called my bets, so nothing much came of it. I lost a bunch. I think Omaha is too much for my feeble little brain to handle.

Round 8 Razz.

I’m started to fall in the standings now. No interesting hands.

Round 9 Stud.

I have rolled up 5’s but no one called. Should have slow played, but I don’t really know how aggressive you should be in that situations. I think best case they have to put me on a pair of fives, or hidden pair. I’m surprised I scared everyone away.

Round 10 Stud Hi/Lo.

The antes are starting to kill me. I’m not getting many playable hands, not that I know what a playable hand really looks like.

The worst thing about limit tournaments is that you can’t go all in very easily. At this point I accept my fate that I’m not going to be placing in the money, and I try to get all my chips in with a pair of queens. I finally get all in on fifth street with my pair of queens and a flush draw. I miss my flush, and the queens get beaten, but I win the low and I’m still alive.

Round 11 Holdem.

Once again my craptacular holdem play costs me. I try to defend a blind with Kx and flop a pair of kings. An ace comes on the river. I slow down but it’s too late, as he had AK, and had me dominated the whole way.

Round 12 Omaha Hi/Lo.

Is it a bad thing when I am hoping for the razz round? I don’t have enough chips to survive any Omaha hands so I pick one and go all in. My two pair get bested by a higher two pair. Booooo-urns. I'm out in 26th place.

All in all it was fun, and I’m glad in only cost me $5. If we do this again I’m defiantly going to have to learn how to play.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

WPBT H.O.R.S.E. quick results

Despite the fact that I played horribly, mostly because I had no concept of proper strategy for 4/5 of the games, I somehow managed to come in 26th out of 93. Top 18 paid. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t make the money, because I was pretty high up there in the beginning, but I honestly did not deserve to do nearly as well as I did, so I can’t complain. I’ll put some more details up tomorrow.

Birthday Tournament Summary

Well, my birthday game with the family is over, and everyone survived, although just barely. We only had 11 players. My wife’s cousin bailed to go to the South Side Irish parade, so I was the only one around that knew what they were doing. Not that it helped me much.

I think I finished in 7th or 8th. We started with two tables, and at mine, no one would bet. I couldn’t get anything worth playing, and every one else played any two cards, and there was no logic behind anyone’s bets, so it was real tough to even read anything.

My father in law was one of the most frustrating players. He was either a really good actor, or he wasn’t paying attention. When it was his turn he would act surprised that it was his turn, then check/call, no matter what. I think he actually bet once or twice all night, but I have no idea why. The worst was that he just kept hitting hands. He got real short stacked midway through, and I was just praying for him to go out, just for the sake of making the game move along better, but he doubled up two or three times and went on to finish in second.

My parents weren’t much better. The checking instead of folding concept just wouldn’t sink in. Now granted, I’ve folded a few times in my career when I could have checked, but it seemed like every time they would have to bet, they would try to fold, rather than just checking, and I would have to explain to them that they could just check. Everyone would then check around, and then, they would just do it again on the next card. The blinds also confused them, as they never knew when to stop the betting in the first round. Everyone would call the big blind, and the big blind would check, and then the UTG would check, and first position would check, and I think if I let them they would still be stuck in a loop checking around pre-flop even now.

I ended up going out when the blinds were 50/100 and I had pocket fives. I had about $T340 (We started w/$T400) and I figured if I went in they would be shocked by the large raise, and fold. My dad called with J8s, and my father in law called with A6o. He hit a six on the turn to knock us both out.

The other table seemed to go pretty well. Either my sister knew how to play, or she’s a quick learner because from what I overheard, she was doing a good job of officiating, and their games seemed to move along pretty smoothly.

By the time we finished, I think everyone was getting tired of playing, but all in all I think everyone had a good time. I never thought trying to teach people to play a game could be so exhausting. Next time I’m making them buy in.


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Birthday Tournament

My wife’s family gets together way too often. They have gatherings on anyone’s birthday or anniversary, or minor holiday, or pretty much anything else you can think of. And it’s not just her immediate family; aunts, uncles, cousins, everyone gets together. My family, not so much. Our birthdays meant you got to pick what was for dinner that night, and we would get gifts from our immediate family. The whole thing would last about a half hour. The only time we would celebrate any extended family member’s birthday is when they reach 60+ years, and their age is divisible by five.

Not that there’s anything wrong with her family, they are actually all really nice people and I’d say I lucked out in the in-law department. It’s just that they have gatherings all the time, and it’s a little more family time than I am used to.

So my birthday is this weekend, and I’m obligated to have a party. I’m not a big fan of throwing parties to start with, making it a birthday party is really not something I look forward to. It’s not that I’m self conscious about my age or anything, I just really don’t care. I don’t consider birthdays to be all that significant, at least until you hit 50. If you asked me how old I was, I would probably take me a while to figure it out. It stopped being important once I hit 21. I really don’t see what the big deal is.

But, I’m throwing a party. This year, it’s going to be a poker party. I’m going to attempt to get about twenty people who have no idea how to play poker to play in a tournament. At the very least it should be interesting, and provide me with some amusing blogging fodder.

I have some prizes for the top three finishers, and the person who knocks me out. If anyone has any ideas for gag type prizes for the first person out, and the person who goes out on the bubble let me know (Less than $10 please). I’m kind of stumped.

Of the 15-20 people that will be there, I think only two of us have ever played in a hold em tournament before, me and my wife’s cousin. I know my dad at least knows how to play, but I don’t know if he’s any good. He probably hasn’t played since he was in college. Other than that, my wife is the next most knowledgeable, based solely only on watching Celebrity Poker Showdown. So there’s probably going to be a whole lot of me officiating and explaining which hands are winners and why, and when you should bet and what a blind is, and who knows what else.

My brother also knows how to play but unfortunately, he’ll be in Texas on spring break. I was especially hoping to have him play, because the more people that know what they are doing the better and more importantly I wanted to put a bounty on his head. He gave us a set of Purdue wine glasses as a gag wedding gift (he goes to stinky Purdue, I went to Illinois), and they’ve been taking up space ever since. My wife wants to regift them. I thought they’d make a nice prize, but alas he won’t be participating. There’s always next year, as long as this goes well.

Anyway, everyone seems excited about so hopefully it will be a good time. Maybe I can get them all hooked and we can start having regular games. Now that’s an event worth gathering the family for.

If I have time, I’ll do a write up before the blogger tourney on Sunday. If not, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll get knocked out of the blogger tourney early, and I can write it up then.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


In an obvious attempt to knock me from the WBPT leader board, the next event is going to be H.O.R.S.E. And it’s going to be at FullTilt. Not that I have a problem with FullTilt, I actually really like the site, but I just cashed out of there, and I only have so much cash to spread around. Hopefully I can cash out somewhere else and back into FullTilt by then.

Even if I do manage to get some cash deposited in time, I still might not be able to play, as my birthday tournament is going to be going on earlier that day. (More on that later this week).

So H.O.R.S.E. I think the only thing that might save me is that apparently no one else knows how to play most of these games either, but I’m pretty sure I could just log in, check auto-fold, and walk away, and still do better than if I tried to play. At least it will only cost me $5.

H. Hold-em. This is the only part that I have a chance in. I consider myself to be a decent Hold em player. I’m not going to be winning any bracelets anytime soon, but at least I can hold my own. My plan is to quadruple up in this section and then fold for all the rest.

O. Omaha. I’ve played a total of ten Omaha hands in my life. They were all for play money, and in each of them everyone just went all in. I have no idea of what proper strategy is for Omaha and I certainly couldn’t tell you what makes a good starting hand. From watching the WSOP on ESPN, I think being two suited with connectors is good, but I could just be making that up. Oh and just to make it more confusing, it’s a hi-lo game.

R. Razz. Yeah. Maybe I should just turn in my $5 now and call it a day.

S. Stud. There’s a small chance that I end up doing ok with this one. I at least get the general concepts. The problem is that I have enough trouble remembering my hole cards without having to check them a few times. Trying to remember what other players mucked cards were, and trying to figure out if they help/hurt me/others is right out.

E. Eight (Stud). I think that’s what the E stands for. I’m not sure. It doesn’t matter anyway because I am sure I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. Why couldn’t they just call it H.O.R.S.O. and through in plain old Omaha? Maybe I’d have a chance at that.

So, if you want a good laugh, sign up with FullTiltPoker (bonus code POKERWORDS for a 100% deposit bonus) and join in the fun. You can’t possibly do any worse than I do. The event is this Sunday at 9EST. the password is thehammer.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

March Tournament Summary.

Since the last time we played out in Plainfield, our host built some really nice poker tables. I've seen table sell on EBay for $300 that are way inferior to the ones he built. I was very impressed, and it was quite a step up from the usual card tables that we have been using. He built three of them but we only needed two since out of the 25 people that had committed to playing, only 15 showed up. That's pretty much what I've come to expect from these things.

So we have two tables, a table of eight and a table of seven. My table is the following,

  • Seat 1. Me

  • Seat 2. Chad, a friend of the host.

  • Seat 3. Greg, our host

  • Seat 4. Noah, a co-worker of mine.

  • Seat 5. Aaron, a former co-worker, and the host of our Chicago game.

  • Seat 6. Doug, a regular at our monthly games

  • Seat 7. Smack, good friend of Aaron's, and a regular at our office game and monthly game.

  • Seat 8. Shmoo (sp?) a friend of Greg's.

If I had to pick four people that I didn't want to sit at the same table with, it would be Smack, Noah, Aaron and Doug, in that order, so of course they all ended up with me. Nothing like driving out to the middle of nowhere to end up at a table with the same old guys. On the plus side, if I picked three people I wanted at my table, Shmoo, Greg, and Chad would probably be my picks.

I wasn't in many exciting hands at this table. The only real big pot that I won, I had [J K] and the flop was king high. Doug bet into me, and I raised it up. He called and everyone else dropped. The turn was a rag, and he checked and called my bet. The river was another rag, and he checked again. I was afraid he was trying to trap me with two pair, so I also checked. He had [K T] and I out kicked him. Other than that, I stole a few pots with some well timed bluffs, but didn't do much else.

Shmoo, Chad and Greg basically dominated our table despite the fact that none of them really knew what they were doing. Shmoo had pocket jacks at one point and flopped a set. Even though there had been some big pre-flop raises, he made minimum bets on the flop, turn and river. He said he was afraid to be more because he didn't think anyone would call. I guess I can understand his logic, but when you have a hand like that, you need to get paid off for more than the minimum. Later he called a huge bet with a four flush, saying that he was hoping to get the flush, which was fine, except that he made the call on the river when he knew that no more cards were coming, and he had nothing except a busted flush. The one thing that did work in his favor is that it was impossible to put him on a hand. He, Chad and Greg would call with just about any two cards, and they kept just kept making their hands. It was ridiculous. I was fortunate to stay out of it because they didn't know enough to fold when they should have, and then they would end up wining the hands anyway.

Noah, and Aaron both got eliminated pretty early, followed by Smack, and eventually Shoo. Doug was almost eliminated when covering his $T100 big blind made him all-in, but he got rockets, and quadrupled up. He doubled up again on the next hand and went into the final table in pretty decent shape.

We combined tables with eight players remaining, and redrew seats. Our new seating was

  • Seat 1. Me

  • Seat 2. Andy, a regular at our monthly game in Chicago

  • Seat 3. ???

  • Seat 4. ???

  • Seat 5. Chris. A friend of Greg's, and the chip leader by far.

  • Seat 6. Doug

  • Seat 7. Greg

  • Seat 8. Chad

I don't recall who was in seats three and four, but they didn't last long as Chris took them out. Chad then took a substantial amount of my chips when his pocket queens beat my big slick. He was the next one eliminated though as his tendency to stick around for too many cards finally caught up with him.

So we're down to five players, and the top four pay out. Andy is in the short stack and I have just a little more than him. Doug and Greg both have a comfortable chip count, and Chris probably has more chips than the rest of the table combined. Doug keeps raising my big blind, and I have nothing with which to defend it. I shoot him a pissed off look the third time he does it, and he turns over big slick, so at least I feel a little better. I'm hoping to just survive long enough for Andy to go out so I can at least get my money back. No such luck however, as he goes all in a few times, and get no callers, stealing Chris's blinds and surviving for another orbit. I get nothing playable until [K Q] on the button. I don't even have enough to call the big blind. Andy and Chris call me, and I manage to triple up when I make a straight. Unfortunately, that was the last hand I win, as the blinds are too much for me, and my cards aren't very corporative. Andy outlasts me by a hand as I go out fifth, one spot out of the money. I have now gone out on the bubble in three of the last four big tournaments.

Chris ends up winning, followed by Greg, Doug and Andy.

We only have 12 people for the second tournament, as Smoo drops out and a couple of players from the other table have to leave.

My table this time around is as follows.

  • Seat 1. Me

  • Seat 2. Greg, who having placed in the money for I think the first time ever has started alternating between shots and beer and is rapidly becoming quite drunk.

  • Seat 3. Ed. A friend of Aaron's.

  • Seat 4. Aaron

  • Seat 5. Doug

  • Seat 6. Ian. A regular from our Chicago game.

Not a lot of early excitement from this table. Ed is a calling station, but Doug falls victim to him as when Ed's [5 2] make two pair on the river. Doug tilts and goes out soon after. Ian is one of the few players I can consistently and confidently read. I use this to my advantage and raise him when I think he is trying to force people out of a flop that misses everyone, and he folds a big pot to me. I'm also able to stay out of most pots when I am pretty sure he has me beat.

Aaron and I keep encouraging Greg to drink more, which he does. This comes back to haunt me when I raise his blind with my [Kd Qd]. I've been raising his blinds all night and he's getting pissed, so he finally calls. The flop is [6 5 6], and it's Greg's bet. He motions to go all in, then does a double take at the flop, checks his cards and after a moment goes all in anyway. I'm 95% sure that he has nothing, and he plays it up by asking me how drunk I think he really is. The fact that he could have anything from 72o to pocket rockets to quad sixes, and the fact that I missed the flop completely meant I had to fold. I couldn't risk such a huge percentage of my chips when I had no idea what he had, and I had nothing. He turned over [K T]. Oh well. Better not to enter a pot that I would have won, than to put most of my chips in and lose.

The hand of the night comes a few orbits after that. I limp in with [7 7] on the button, and see the flop with Greg and Ed. The flop is [6 7 T], two hearts. Greg checks and Ed bets $T60. I raise it up to $T120, confident that he will call and Greg will drop. What shocks me is that Greg goes all in over the top for $T195 more. What shocks me even more is that Ed calls. There's a possible straight and a flush draw, on the board, but I don't think either of them have it. Greg tries his drunk routine again, and Ed will call with just about anything. I go all in over the top, and Ed calls again. I have him covered. Greg has [6 7] for two pair, and Ed has [T 8] for top pair and an inside straight draw. The turn and river help neither of them, and suddenly I'm the chip leader at the table, and we are down to three.

One hand later, Smack knocks out the third member of his table, and we have six remaining. Time to combine.

Our new seating has

  • Seat 1. Me

  • Seat 2. Noah

  • Seat 3. Aaron

  • Seat 4. Ian

  • Seat 5. Smack

  • Seat 6. Chris

Notice how the four of us that regularly play together, Noah, Aaron, Smack, and Myself all make it to the final table since we didn't have top start at the same table and beat up on each other. I think the four of us are easily the best four players there.

Ian is short stacked and goes out on the first hand when his [A J] loses to Smack's [A K]. Smack then takes out Noah when Noah goes all-in with sixes. I don't recall what Smack had.

Only the top three pay this time, and we have four left. Everyone knows that I have been bubbling out a lot lately, and they are pretty much rooting for it to happen again. Ass holes. I'm second in chips behind Smack and playing pretty tight just trying to make the money. What sucked is that I couldn't get any decent cards to play. I think everyone just assumed I was trying to fold into the money, but I honestly didn't have anything that I felt was playable, and I didn't want to get into a pot where, I might not be able to call a large bet even if I paired one of my cards. I think I had [J 3] or [J 4] four times in a row in the small blind, and had to fold it to Aaron every time. On the plus side Chris was having similar luck and was frequently folding his small blind to me.

Aaron and Chris went all in a few times against Smack, but Smack folded, causing the railbirds to laugh at me because they knew I was going to end up in fourth.

Finally, Aaron goes out, and we are down to three. I actually made the money!! Woo-Hoo!

Unfortunately, its about 1 AM now, and I'm not quite the night person I used to be. My mental abilities start dropping fast at around 11, so I might be a bit fuzzy on how the rest of this turns out.

I barely cover Chris's all-in with [A-T] against his [A-6]. In what soon becomes a theme for the rest of the night, he his a straight. That leaves me with not even enough to cover the big blind. I go all in with [K x] and fortunately Smack had nothing, and I double up. I go all in with [K 9] the next hand, and Smack thinks about if for a while before folding. Chris also folds. I had expected one of them to call and to be eliminated there, but instead I double up. At this point, I figured I was due to get eliminated soon and I stopped caring about what happens, which is probably good because I start playing more aggressively. I double up again on the next hand, and now I actually have some chips to work with.

Chris finally goes out, and I'm heads up against Smack. Smack probably has more than four times as many chips as I do. At some point I go all-in against him with [K 4] to his [K x] and catch a four on the flop. I also double up with pocket queens against his [Ac Tc]. The result of those hands is that I now have the commanding chip lead.

I get him all in two more times, and both times I have his hand dominated, and both times his weak, pathetic, useless stupid kicker completes a straight, keeping him alive. At this point I'm pretty tired, and we're both ready to go home as we trade blinds and pre-flop all-ins. I think he was frustrated that I would either fold or go all-in on every hand because he made some comment about the lack of skill involved.

He actually lets me see a flop with [8 9] and we both check the [5 6 T] flop. The turn is a [7] giving me the straight. We both check. The flop is a [4], and I go all-in, but he decides not to call. That was the last time either of us saw a flop without one of us being all-in.

Finally, I go all in with [A T] and he calls with [J Q]. The flop has is [9 8 x] and I start counting out my chips because I know he is going to hit his straight. Again. This time however, luck was on my side as the turn and river provide no help to him, and I pull out a much needed tournament win.



Thursday, March 03, 2005

Monthly Tournament Coming Up

So, our mostly monthly big poker tournament is this weekend. By big I mean usually 15-20 people. At least that beats our 5-8 people weekly office game, that hasn’t happened since November. I think we can officially declare the office game dead as one of the three mainstays left for a new job starting this week.

Back to the monthly. It’s being held in the far south suburbs, (Plainfield for those of you familiar with the Chicagoland Area). Last time we played there, there were a significant number of bad players. There’s usually the same core ten or so players, but the others always differ. The people that show up to the Plainfield game are not so good. I’d be pretty confident going in, except that my play has changed significantly since the last live game I was in, and I don’t know how well that will translate to this game.

No one in our game is going to be a pro anytime soon. The game is much more passive than online, where I’ve put in a large number of hours recently. I think I play much more aggressively now, and I’m not sure what sort of reaction I might expect to this type of play. I guess the players can’t be any worse that what you run into on Party, but who knows.

The biggest adjustment that I’m going to have to make is remembering to keep track of the size of the pot. Without the Party keeping track for me it will be tough. I used to make bets based on the size of the blind, 1x,2x,3x BB bets, but lately I’ve been basing the vast majority on the size of the pot, which I think is a better plan. I need to remember to keep a tally going as the hand progresses, or I’m gonna be screwed. Or, maybe I’m just making stuff up to confuse my friends who will be playing in the game, and are reading this post hoping to gains some insight into my strategy.

Anyway, I’ll have a report up on Sunday to let you know how I did.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

ESPN Poker Club

ESPN has this new poker game on their site. At first I thought it was just one of their fantasy games, but it is an actual poker room, using a MicroGaming skin. Other MicroGaming skins include Royal Vegas Poker and 7 Sultans. ESPN's version is play money of course, but they are giving away one ticket to the 2005 WSOP championship.

Each week, players who play 750 hands, or win 3 single table tournaments, or win 1 three table tournament qualify for a weekly tournament. Winners of that tournament, or the top X players, or something like that get into the final event on May 15th, with the winner of that going to the WSOP.

At the very least, its a freeroll with a shot at the WSOP. And I'd have to think the play would be pretty weak. Its worth checking out maybe. I tried a SNG, and it was pretty much an all-in fest, but at least it went quick. If you are interested, go here.

Sometimes I hate ring games

I finally received my $50 cashout From FullTilt. It was just in time, because I think the February deposit bonus for Party ends today. So I got my deposit in and got a fat $10 bonus. You're all jealous of my vast riches I know.

I only had to play 70 hands to get the bonus. The good news is, I did that easily within an hour. The bad news is it cost me $20. I remember saying a few months ago, that I was never playing low limit ring games again, and if I ever did that someone should kick me the balls for being so stupid. This was supposed to be different. I'm a much better player now. And I had to clear a bonus. And I really want to be a better limit player because I get burnt out after too many tourneys in a row.

So anyway, I had a session that is probably typical of these limits. In one hour, I had pocket Jacks, Queens and Kings cracked. It wouldn't have been so bad except for the ways that it happened. An over card never came on the flop. In the case of the Jacks and the one of the Kings, I had top pair until the river when an Ace came at which point I knew I was beat. For some reason I was compelled to call their bets on the river, maybe so they would see my cards and see how lucky they got, I don't know. It was just one of those things where I knew I was ahead, but vulnerable, and did everything I could to get other players out of the pot, but to no avail. I'll spare you the rest of my bad beat stories, but holy crap am I frustrated.