Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Friday, April 29, 2005

Short Handed SNG

I logged into PokerRoom for the first time in a long time the other day. I was in the mood for some SNG’s, but didn’t really have all that much time, so I figured I try out their new shorthanded SNG’s. Actually, they aren’t really that new. They debuted a few months ago, but that was right about the time when I started playing at PokerStars and Party Poker, so I haven’t gotten a chance to try them.

When I first heard about them, they hardly seemed worth the effort. Five player tournament where top two pay 70%/30%. Sounds ok except that the entrance fee is 20% of the total prize pool. Originally, I discounted them as not having a high enough payoff to be worth my time, but I have heard that they are easy money. There is usually one, and sometimes two morons that go out in the first few hands, and then you only have to beat one or two more players to be in the money. I decided I’d give it a try.

The end result is I played in six, and came in third three times, first once and fourth twice. Not quite the results I was looking for. I obviously need to play a few more to make any sort of scientific analysis, but I don’t think I’m going to be playing them much.

I couldn’t really figure out an effective strategy. I alternated between super aggressive, “its going to cost you a lot to try to suck out on me” mode and “I’m going to try to see as many cheap flops as I can and try to outplay you on the flop” mode, and neither worked out quite how I wanted.

It was tough to get into a rhythm. Normally, by the time we are down to 5 players in a SNG, the blinds have moved up a few levels, and the chip stacks are not quite even. This alters my style of play. Here, everyone had 1500 chips, and the blinds were a measly little 10/20. I think this just threw me off and I just didn’t play smart. These tournaments are especially frustrating to lose since you start off only three people from the money.

I’ve been playing almost all ring games lately, but I think I’m going to try some multi table tourneys this weekend. A WSOP super satellite or two is sounding real tempting.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Not Noticing Flush Draws

I had an interesting session on Party Poker last night. I only played about half an hour, but in that span I saw AKo three times, and KK once and only won one of those hands. Despite my 25% success rate with uber premium hands, I still ended up 15BB. Like I said it was interesting.

The big hand of the night came on the final orbit, and while it was quite profitable for me, it did cause me some concern. I was kind of stunned at how the hand went down, and I actually had to review the hand history for a few minutes trying to figure out what my opponents could possibly have been thinking. I know, determining what people are thinking on Party is often futile, but there had to be an explanation for their play. Hindsight being what it is, once I finally decided what I think they had, it seemed obvious. The problem is I didn’t recognize it at the time, and if they actually hit their hand I wouldn’t have known until they had taken a fair share of my chips.

I think I’ve written before, when I make a pretty good hand, I have a tendency to overlook what hands my opponents could realistically have that can beat me. Usually this comes in the form of a turn or river card completing my straight while it also gives someone else a flush. I tend to get overly excited with what I hold, that I don’t give any one else credit for a better hand. This was hand was similar. I was afraid someone might beat me with a better version of my hand, while ignoring a completely different way to lose.

So, here’s the hand in question, along with what I was thinking at the time.

Party Poker 0.5/1 Hold'em (9 handed) converter

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with [Tc, Ks].

I went back and looked at PokerTracker and was surprised to see that I only play this hand about 2/3 of the time. It seems like one of those potential problem hands that good players would avoid, especially out of position, but one that I would tend to play all the time. Actually, counting this monster pot that I’m about to win, I’m up .62BB (total, not average) on with KTo, which probably means that I play it too often. Maybe I should reconsider playing it. Now where was I?

3 folds, Hero calls, 1 fold, CO raises, Button calls, SB calls, BB calls, Hero calls.

Things had been going well at this table so while folding the KTo crossed my mind, I figured, I’d try to see a cheap flop and see what happened. I wasn’t pleased with the raise behind me, but oh well.

Flop: (10 SB) Th, Ts, 5h (5 players)

Jackpot! I just hope no one had 55 or T5.

SB bets, BB folds, Hero calls, CO raises, Button calls, SB calls, Hero calls.

I figure that I’m going to win this hand, so I don’t want to scare people off this pot just yet. When CO raises, I think he might also have a ten, and I start to worry that he might hit a full house on the turn or river.

Turn: (9 BB) 8c (4 players)

Ok, so far so good. A full house still scares me, but I’m pretty sure I still have the best hand.

SB checks, Hero bets, CO raises, Button calls, SB folds, Hero 3-bets, CO caps, Button calls, Hero calls.

I’m not a fan of the CO raising and re-raising me, but I still can’t believe he has the boat. Maybe he has AT, or a ten with a weaker kicker, just please not a 5 or an 8.

River: (21 BB) Qd (3 players)

Great. QT and QQ are certainly possibilities for at least one of the two remaining players. If someone just rivered a full house to beat me I’m going to throw my laptop across the room. I decided to bet. I don’t want to look weak here, and in the event that they don’t have a full house I don’t want to let them check behind me.

Hero bets, CO folds, Button folds.

Final Pot: 22 BB

WTF? What could both of them possibly have had on the turn that was worth calling/raising to four bets, that they wouldn’t call a single bet on the river? I thought either they were both complete morons, or they had hit the wrong button. I don’t think there’s any way that either of them could have folded trips on the river to a single bet. Was the queen that scary? Did one of them have JJ and thought I stuck around with a Queen?

So I went back and looked at the hand, and I realized that there were two hearts on the flop. One of them had to be on the nut flush draw. What could the other possibly have had? I don’t know. King high flush draw? That’s a lot of chips to throw into the pot on a speculative hand, that even when it hits might not win. Either way, if the river card is Qh instead of Qd, I think I lose four more BB in addition to whatever I already put in there.

What would I have done differently if I realized that someone was probably on a flush draw? No much I don’t think. I probably would have reraised on the flop, but other than that I think I played the hand ok. The concern is that I would have completely missed the flush if it had hit, and plays like that have cost me a lot in the past, and I’m still not recognizing them often enough. So yeah. Note to self: Check for a possible flush before you get too excited about your trips/straight.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Bonus Achieved

I wrote on Sunday that I was in danger of claiming the Party reload bonus and still ending up down on the transaction overall. Well, I’m happy to report that in the few hands that I still had to play to qualify for the bonus, I posted a 27 BB profit, which put me back in the black even before applying my $30 bonus. Since I’m playing $0.50/$1.00, it took about 100 hands to get the last 40 or 50 raked hands that I needed. In that time, it seemed like every hand I played managed to hit. It was like Party felt bad for cracking every single high pocket pair that I had a few days ago and decided to make up for it by letting anything I managed to see a flop with connect.

I don’t know if this was me playing well, or everyone else playing badly, or me just getting lucky or some combination of all three, but for some reason I got to see a lot of free flops from the blinds and I got more than my fair share of big blind specials. Couple that with some calling stations, and Mr. ImGonnaRaiseWithMyWeakAceNoMatterWhatTheFlopLooksLike and you’re bound to come out ahead.

A few examples: I have 84o in the small blind and decide to limp in since just about every else was doing it. I flop bottom two pair. I make a bet here and it gets raised which causes me to slow down on the turn and river. I don’t know if that was the plan or not since he flopped top pair jacks with a weak kicker. Anyway, He doesn’t improve and I take down a nice pot that I wouldn’t have even played had anyone been smart enough to raise preflop.

I flopped a straight with 64o out of the big blind when no one felt like raising preflop.

I limped again from the small blind with 93o and made bottom pair with my three. It checked around and another three came on the turn. I paused for a second and then bet, getting only one caller. The river is an ace. I check here because a few hands earlier, with this same player, I had check folded on the river when we had followed a similar betting pattern on earlier streets. I’m pretty sure he’ll assume the ace scares me and that I’ll go away again when he bets. He bets, and I check raise him. He calls and I take down another decent sized pot.

The moral of the story here is that table selection and aggression are key. I found myself at a table with a bunch of passive players who would let me see a bunch of hands for cheap, and then pay me off when I hit them. A little more aggression on their part, and I don’t even see a flop on the above three hands. A little aggression on some of those flops and I don’t make it to the showdown.


Monday, April 25, 2005

NFL Draft Thoughts

It’s a few days late, but everyone else has their opinions, so here’s mine.

I don’t know a whole lot about college football, so it’s kind of hard for me to evaluate good draft picks, other than mirroring what others say about them. I was hoping the Bears would pick up Mike Williams since their passing game has been brutal for the last few years, but evidently the Bears didn’t value him as highly as I did. Apparently not many teams did as he dropped all the way down to 10. I guess they could use another running back, although I was satisfied with Anthony Thomas Jones combo last year.

I got a funny email from my brother who goes to Purdue in regards the Bears picking up Kyle Orton. He was wondering if the Bears were hoping to learn Purdue’s patented fumble formation. The sad thing is I responded that yes that is probably something that would fit quite nicely in the Bears offence. And I was only half joking.

A friend of mine pointed out that the Bears now have six quarterbacks on their roster. We put the over/under on number of Bears quarterbacks seeing significant (read at least one quarter) playing time next year at 4. I wouldn’t rule out the over either.

At least its still baseball season and I don’t have to worry about football for a few more months. Oh wait, the Cubs have already broken their starting middle infielders, and it looks like one of their top starters. And their closer couldn’t get me out in the ninth inning if I was batting left handed, and blindfolded. But other than that they should do real well this year.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Weekend Update

Well, I didn’t win the lotto on Friday as I had planned. That put a serious damper on my weekend plans.

On Saturday my wife and I had planned on doing a bunch of yard work. We were on putting in a perennial garden on the side of our house. Now, I’m not much of a gardener, but I am a big fan of perennials. First off, they make my house look nice and that theoretically helps the resale value. Secondly, I only have to plant them once, and they come back as long as I own my house or something like that. Annuals are for suckers. Finally, and most importantly, putting in more garden space means less grass which means that there is less I have to mow. Mowing lawns is also for suckers. I’m on a mission to eliminate as much grass as possible from my lawn, and this is big step towards that goal. By the end of the summer I think we will have decreased the amount of grass on our property by at least 25%.

As I was saying, we were going to do some gardening on Saturday. We changed our mind when it starting snowing. That’s right, we had snow. Granted I live in the Midwest, and snow is one of the hazards of leaving here. I can deal with that. I do have a problem when it is 80 degrees out one weekend and the next weekend it’s snowing. That’s just uncalled for. Unless the 80 degrees came late January. I guess I could live with that.

Instead of yardwork, I got to take advantage of Party Poker’s April reload bonus. And by take advantage, I mean I was able to use the bonus to cover my losses, and break even. At least I hope. I still have a few hands to go before I can claim the bonus. The way things have been going I could end up seriously in the red even after claiming the bonus.

My bonus whoring skills definitely need some work. I went back to multi-tabling to make sure I could clear the hand requirements in time, and proceeded to lose on just about every table I played. The frustrating thing about that is I was actually getting decent cards; I just couldn’t win with them. I had AA lose to two pair, KK lose to a straight and then later to a pair of aces, and QQ lose to A or K high flops. The one positive thing I can take away from it is that I am getting better at recognizing and accepting when I am beat, and getting out of those hands. Most of these losses weren’t bad beats. They were cases where I was way ahead preflop, but behind after the flop, and most of the time I was able to get away. For example when I had KK, and the flop was 679 and two other players capped, I knew I was in trouble. When an 8 came on the turn, I got out right away, and watched the guy who had flopped a straight take out some moron that flopped middle pair. I think a few months ago I would have stubbornly held on to my kings and thrown away some more chips. I guess you can’t necessarily judge your performance by how profitable any one session is. As long as you are making decent plays, eventually everything will even out, and you should end up ahead.

Today was somewhat nicer than yesterday, and my wife and I dug out a section of our yard for gardening. You wouldn’t think that clearing out a 15/15 foot section of grass would be that tough, but holy crap am I going to be sore tomorrow. At least that section is just about done, and we won’t have to do much more until later in the summer.

That’s about it for now, I have to finish off that Party bonus. I was hoping I could come out ahead before applying the bonus. Now I’m just hoping I break even after the bonus. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

Bloggers in the WSOP

Congrats to Bob from He beat out 77 other poker bloggers and will be representing the poker blogging community at the $1500 NL Holdem event in this year's WSOP. Congrats Bob.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Party Poker Bonus Codes

In case you haven’t seen it elsewhere, Party Poker has a new reload bonus for April. Use bonus code BONUSAPR for an 20% bonus, up to $100. The offer is only valid until April 27th.

If you don’t already play at Party, then you are missing out a real profitable opportunity. You know the saying that goes “if you can’t find the sucker at your table then it’s probably you”? Well I think there should be another saying: “If you are playing online and can’t don’t see at least three fish at your table, then you aren’t playing at Party Poker.”

If you haven’t signed up there yet you can use bonus code PKRWORD125 to get a flat $25 bonus on your initial deposit, or you can use bonus code PKRWORD120 to get a 20% bonus, up to a $100 bonus.

< / end party poker commercial>

I have some spare funds burning a hole in my pocket on Neteller, so now I’m pretty sure where that is going to. Unless I win the Lotto tonight.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

24 Hours From Retirement.

The Illinois Lotto Mega game is up to over $200 Million this week. I broke down and three coworkers and we each bought $5 worth of tickets. We think that by taking the lump sum payment option and by factoring in taxes and what not, we should each get about $15 Million. That should be enough to retire on.

It’s kind of funny, the more my job starts to suck the more appealing the lottery becomes. I’m sure that’s normal. I wonder if there have been any studies, on the correlation between nationwide workplace moral and lottery ticket purchases. In a similar vein, trying to get into the WSOP main event also becomes more attractive, even though I don’t really like my chances of ever qualifying. I don’t really have the time to play in satellites, and even if I did, I think I would be better served by entering an event that paid out in cash rather than a ticket to another tournament that I probably won’t money in. I could sure use the however many millions of dollars the main event is going to pay out though. Maybe it’s worth a try.

Regardless of my chances of success, as I become more fed up with the 9-5, I’m looking for ways out. I thought about quitting my job and becoming a poker pro, but it’s probably going to be tough to make a living on $0.50/$1.00 limit games and $10 SNGs, no matter how crappy the players at Party are.

So maybe I’ll try to win my way into the WSOP after all. The Party Steps tournaments seem intriguing. I haven’t looked at the details much, but what happens when everyone has a ton of tickets to WSOP Step tournaments, and the WSOP main event has already passed? Do they roll over until next year, or can you convert them to cash or free rolls into another SNG, or are you just SOL?

For those of you that haven’t seen it, FullTiltPoker has a promotion where you can win a stake of their poker pro’s take in the main event. Winning that is probably the easiest way to get a piece of the WSOP main event prize pool.

There is a blogger event on PokerStars next week. We are going to be sending a blogger to the $1500 NL Holdem event at the World Series. Unfortunately I’m not going to be playing since in the unlikely event that I win, I wouldn’t be able to make the $1500 event in Vegas, but it would be cool to see a blogger win that tournament.

So anyway, in a little over a day, all those worries will be behind me anyways as I prepare to collect my share of $200 Million.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Worst. Session. Ever.

I was all set to write about how I have been doing much better at limit poker lately. I’ve been up in most of my recent sessions, to the point where I could finally say that I was a profitable ring game player, and I had built myself a pretty large hole to climb out of. Then I went and had the worst session of my short poker playing life.

I spent most of Saturday working in the yard, digging out a spot for my wife’s vegetable garden. We actually finished that task in a reasonable amount of time (we are real good at underestimating the time/effort these types of things take), but being the lazy out of shape guy that I am, I was pretty sore and exhausted when we were done. What better way to relax than to fire up some online poker and take some money from suckers?

I planned on playing at Poker Room, since it has been a while since I’ve played there. I sat down and had a full orbit before the blinds would get to me, so I opened up Party Poker just for the hell of it. My friend Noah was playing, so I figured, what the hell? I’ll sit down with him instead.

Once I sat down, almost nothing went right for me. I didn’t any decent hole cards, and when I did, they almost always missed the flop. In the rare event that I actually got a piece of the flop, I would either have the second best hand, or someone else would be drawing to a hand that would end up beating me on the river. For the most part, I think I played pretty well. It was just one those times when the cards don’t fall your way.

There were a few instances where I could have stopped the bleeding, and not given away quite as much as losing. Cases where I probably should have known I was beaten, or at least considered it, and not bet as hard I did. For example I saw a flop with 96o out of the big blind. The flop was 789 rainbow, giving me top pair and an open ended straight draw. The turn is a 5 giving me the straight, and I execute ye olde check-raise, getting two callers. The river is an Ace, and I hope someone stuck around with Ax. I bet out, and get raised. A couple of reraises later, and my nemesis turns over TJ for the flopped nut straight. I probably should have seen that coming since he bet on every street, and raised on river. That could have saved me a few bucks. Instead I was focused on my made crappy hand.

I think I found one other leak in my game, and that is defending my blinds a little too aggressively. I found myself calling preflop raises out of the big blind with just about any two cards, and out of the small blind with way too many crappy hands. This leads into the situation where I hit middle pair on the flop, and can’t call a bet anyway, because I know at least one person has me beat. I need to go back and review that past session, to look for some other mistakes that I may have made.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Limit Practice

Limit Practice

I have a confession to make. I don’t calculate pot odds. *ghasp/shudder*. I know; what kind of self respecting halfway decent poker player doesn’t calculate his odds before every move? In my defense, I probably play no-limit tournaments 95% of the time I’m playing poker, and I would contend that playing exactly as the odds dictate doesn’t necessarily lead to long term profitability in those circumstances. I may be getting the correct odds to call with some long shot draws, but if nine times out of ten, I’m going to lose and bust out of the tournament, then I don’t see the expected value being very high, even if I take down I ginormous pot that one time. Betting based on the odds the pot is giving you assumes that eventually, if you make that play enough, you will come out ahead. I don’t think it quite works like that in a tournament setting. If you make that play and lose, you might be out of the tournament, and don’t have the opportunity to let the results swing back in your favor. Granted not every choice you have to make in a tournament has the possibility of knocking you out, but it can have an impact on how you have to play the rest of the tournament. You don’t have the option to rebuy when you get short stacked in tournaments like you could in a ring game.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a very good ring game or limit player. The fact that I never really learned to figure out pot odds probably has something to do with that. I would also blame it on the fact that there are always one or two players playing any two cards that always seem to suck out on me. I thought that if I could go up in limits I would do better because I would be less likely to take so many bad beats.

I was reading Phil Gordon’s book and he made a comment that struck a nerve, something to the effect that if you can’t beat the players at the lower limits, you won’t be successful at the higher limits either. I thought about it, and it made sense. It shouldn’t be that hard to beat the low limit game. It’s all just math right? As long as play hands with a higher expected value, and learn to make the right plays based on the odds, I should be able to beat this game. No excuses about bad beats or lucky opponents.

I’ve decided that I am going to force myself to learn to calculate the odds. I cut back to one table at a time, so I can focus on the action there, and once I have that mastered, or at least under control, I’ll start increasing the number of tables and limits.

I started off this Sunday, and played for about an hour. I played about 60 hands total. There were a couple of things I noticed. First, very rarely did I need actually to calculate anything. I only played about 20 hands, if that, and of those, most of them played themselves. The second thing I noticed is that PokerTracker really helps. There was one situation where I had a good starting hand, AK I think, but missed the flop completely. I bluffed a bet on the flop, and was called. I checked on the turn, and would have folded to a bet, except that I knew that this player played over 60% of the hands, and saw the river on almost all of them, so I didn’t think he had anything either. I check-called him to the river, and took down a decent sized pot when he had nothing. Later, I was in the big blind with an average hand, and someone from middle position raised. I normally would have defended my blind and called, but according to the PokerTracker stats, that was the first time he raised pre-flop in over 100 hands. I folded my blind and watched his aces hold up against two other players. That saved me at least a bet or two. If you don’t already use PokerTracker, I would highly recommend that you at least try it out. You can load 1000 hands into the demo version. I think you’ll find that it’s easily worth the price. You may also want to pick up a copy of the Poker Tracker Guide which I’ve also found to be quite valuable.

So anyway, I’m trying to become a better limit player, and learn/relearn some of the fundamentals. I think that will help my game overall. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Why Didn't I Think of This?

We went to the mall for lunch today, and as we were walking around noticed a new store hidden away in the corner of the mall. I don’t recall the name, but it was basically a poker supply store. It had some nice tables, t-shirts, a pretty good selection of poker chips and other assorted gambling paraphernalia. It definitely wasn’t a very flashy store. There were no fancy displays or anything. It looked like one of those “As Seen on TV” type stores, with the merchandise kind of haphazardly arranged.

But it really didn’t need anything fancy. I have to think poker supplies sell themselves these days, so the store concept was probably a no brainer. But here’s the brilliant part. They had promotions where you would get some free poker package of chips or a table or something as long as you signed up with Party Poker through them. Depending on their affiliate deal, that could be a gold mine. Selling the chips and other supplies becomes irrelevant to being able to sell their customers on online poker. Honestly, I don’t know why they didn’t hype some of the other sites that offer pretty good affiliate deals, such as Pacific Poker or even PokerRoom. The salesman tried to get us to sign up with Party, but we already all played there. It would have made sense to have a backup site or two, especially since chances are if someone plays online, they play on Party.

The other genius thing about this store is that the salesman was just sitting there behind a desk when we first came in. We were the only ones in the store, but he didn’t get up to talk to us until we had looked around for at least five minutes. I have to believe that he was just sitting there playing online poker. How great would that be? Compare your standard crappy mall job to one where you actually get paid to sit around and play online poker. Hmmm, tough choice. And if he wasn’t playing poker, then he should have been. What better way to get people to sign up than to let them see how well you are doing?

If only I’d thought of this a few years ago…

Sunday, April 10, 2005

April Tourament Summary

Last night was the last tournament to be hosted at Dirty Ned’s Bungalow, as our host Aaron and his roommates affectionately call their apartment. Turnout was disappointingly low. We had been approaching enough players for three tables at our recent tournaments, but for some reason tonight we only had ten people tonight. I would probably have preferred that we had more, but the low numbers allowed us to get in three tournaments and still have me home at a reasonable hour.

Game 1. $30 buy in. 9 people.

I was going to list off the players, but it wouldn’t have really mattered because not a whole lot went right for me in this game and listing off the players and their position won’t help me explain anything.. I didn’t get many good cards this game, and when I did, my pre-flop raises wouldn’t get any action, so I would end up just winning the blinds.

As I started to feel the pain of the increasing blinds I made a few weak plays that cost me big. In one hand I limped with 88 and saw a flop of 664. or something like that. It was checked to me and I bet pretty big. About pot size I think. I got one caller. The turn is a King, and he checks to me again. I think if I had be here he would have folded, but instead I check because that king scares me. The turn brings a nine and he bets right away. I’m almost positive that he just hit a nine. Either that or he sensed weakness by my unwillingness to bet the turn. I couldn’t bring myself to call and I fold, very disappointed with my play.

Nothing much happens after that. I make my final play when I have $T295 remaining and I’m in the big blind with JTo. Blinds are 100. Early position raises to $200, and I go all in. I can tell he wants someone to reraise him, and I am certain that he has me dominated, but if I lay this hand down, I have to go all in next hand in the small blind, or I will only have $145 left which barely covers the cost of the blinds. So I all in, knowing he has me beat. He insta-calls with Cowboys, and I’m knocked out in 7th.

Game 2. $30 buy in. 10 people.

Seat 1 Shane
Seat 2 Greg
Seat 3 Ted
Seat 4 Andy
Seat 5 Shmoo
Seat 6 Eric
Seat 7 Aaron
Seat 8 Me
Seat 9 John
Seat 10 Smack

Smack, Aaron, Shane, Greg, Andy, Shane and I are regulars. Shoo and John have played with us a few times, and I don’t think either are very good. Ted is Aaron’s brother in law, and this is the first time we I have met him.

I get hurt pretty bad early in this one. With the blinds at 10/20 I get AK on the button. There are a few limpers, and Aaron raises to 40. I reraise to 80, and only Aaron calls. The flop is ATx, and Aaron bets 40. I raise to 100 ecstatic that I finally hit something on the flop. He hesitantly calls. The turn is another ten, and he checks to me. I’m a little concerned that he just made a set, but I really don’t think he has it. I bet 100. He goes in the tank, trying to figure out I have, and reluctantly calls. The river brings a queen, and he checks again. I have a bad feeling about this. For some reason I think he either has AQ, or a ten with a low kicker, but I don’t see him raising and then calling a reraise with Tx. I check and sure enough he has AQ and wins most of my chips.

At this point I’m pretty pissed. I finally got a piece of the flop, and got someone to call all my bets, and then he spikes a three outer on the river to cripple me. I really don’t think there was much I else I could have done with that hand. I think I played it pretty well, the cards just didn’t fall my way.

I’m in serious trouble now, but I force myself to be patient and just wait until I can double up. The blinds are going up every 15 minutes, and we’re playing about 5 hands in that time, so I’ve only been paying a blind every other level. The blinds are up to 50/100 and no one has yet been eliminated. (We started with about $600). I’m down to $250ish and about ready to make a final stand. I have one hand left before I’m the big blind, when Shmoo gets knocked out. Now, Admittedly we probably don’t do this right, but its not worth trying to figure out and explain to everyone, so the dealer button passes Shmoo and goes to Eric, which means I end up in the big blind one hand earlier, giving me almost no leverage for a raise.

I look down and see JJ which is about as good a hand as any to go out on. Had I still been in first position, I could have raised all in and possibly stolen some blinds or at least limited the competition. Instead, Smack raises to $200. Greg then calls $200, and Eric goes all in over the top, for a little more than what I have. Talk about stealing my thunder. I go all in. Smack calls, and Greg folds. Smack has AKs and Eric has AT. The flop pairs Eric’s ten, but the rest of the board offers no help, and my jacks hold up. I nearly quadrupled up on that hand.

There are a number of short stacks now, and three or four people get knocked out pretty quick. There’s a flurry of all-ins, and I find myself in the position of big stack, with the ability to call those all ins and knock people out. It comes down to John, Greg and I in the final three spots. I let John and Greg battle each other for the most part, and John eventually knocks him out.

We are about even as we enter heads up play. John is too passive and allows me to steal all sorts of pots from him. He wins a few back by reraising some of my bluff raises, but I was never really in danger of getting knocked out. I finally win it with big slick against his KQo when he calls my all in on a completely ragged flop. For some reason everyone likes to really favor the winner of these things, so the payouts were $190/$80/$30. I guess I shouldn’t complain. If it had been up to me I would have only taken $150.

Game 3. $20 buy in. 6 players.

I probably shouldn’t have stayed for this one, but there were only six of us, so I figured what the hell. How long could it take? I decided to change my strategy a bit. It seemed like I was letting the blinds kill me by playing too tight in the previous games so I decided to loosen up and try to limp into a lot of flops. I probably played more hands than I would have in the other games, but I couldn’t get a card to save my life. I think I went 10 to 15 hands in a row without seeing paint. Despite the fact that I wasn’t getting any playabe cards, I must have been playing something because my chip count kept going down. It didn’t help that I was pretty tired and distracted by Svengoolie which for some reason was on TV.

The blinds are 20/40, and I get AQ on the button. I raise to 100, mostly because I only had $100 and $25 chips left and I didn’t want to get change to bet $80. I was pretty sure that bet would get folded around but I was ok with that. At least there would be some chips coming my way. Surprisingly Ted calls. The flop is 678 rainbow and I go all in. Ted thinks about and then calls with AT. Of coarse he hits a ten on river. I had him covered by $85, so I’m still alive.

The very next hand I get KQo and go all in. Smack really doesn’t want to call, but he’s in the big blind, so he does anyway. It was barely more than a min raise that he had to call, so why not? He has Q9 and hits a queen high straight. I flick him off, and say goodnight. I got knocked out first, but at least this means I can get home at a reasonable hour, and not end up sleeping through all of Sunday.

I ended up ahead $110 for the night, so I'd say overall it went pretty well.


Friday, April 08, 2005

Some Random Comments

I finally caught an episode of WPT this week. I usually forget to watch it because we just got the Travel Channel on my cable system, so I never remember when it’s on.

I think it’s almost as much fun to watch Mike Matusow lose a hand, especially via a bad beat, as it is watching Phil Helmuth.

You would think with all the money PokerStars makes they could and Party make they could afford to have some decent commercials. I’ve seen local cable Menards commercials that were done better. Oh wait; these are the free .net versions that are in no way affiliated with the evil real money gambling sites out there.


I changed the default notification wav on my IM client to be the sound Party makes when someone adds chips to a pot. It really annoys the guy sitting next to me because he thinks I’m playing poker, and wants to play/watch. Is that sound recognizable to people that don’t play online? Could it be the universal sound for placing a wager?


The new WPBT standings are up, and despite my poor showings in the last two events I’m still in 6th place. A lot of people are close though, so I better finish in the money again soon if I want to stay in the top 20.


There’s a poker game in the city tomorrow. Looks like there will be a low turnout. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Hopefully I’ll have a report on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Illini Loss

It’s been about 20 hours since the Illini lost and it’s still sinking in. I guess I should be thankful that since they had a pretty incredible season, which most teams could only dream of. Still, they came so close. They were only 6 seconds away from a perfect season, and one game, you could probably argue two or three minutes since they were tied at the end, from a National Championship. The worst thing is that they will probably never have another team that is this good, and coming up short of the National Championship is quite frustrating. Hopefully their success this year will convince some top high-school players to go to U of I in the near future and they can become a perennial contender.

Oh well. Time for baseball season. I’m sure the Cubs will provide me with plenty of things to bitch about in the next few months. Is a sports fan complaining about their team worse than a poker player complaining about bad beats?