Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Back From Vacation

As I mentioned in my last post, I went out to North Carolina this past week to visit some old high school friends. Before meeting up with them my wife and I spent some time on the coast at a Bed and Breakfast. I was hesitant at first about the whole B & B thing thinking it was kind of weird but after trying it a couple times I have to say I am a fan, especially when you are just staying a few days in a small touristy town. It certainly beats a hotel.

Friday afternoon we headed up to Raleigh for a weekend of excessive drinking and the Jedi Olympics. Our first event was poker. As I predicted, I won this event, although to be honest I probably didn’t deserve it. I inflicted two pretty horrible bad beats on my way to winning. The first came when I raised preflop with wired tens and had only Derek call. The flop was JQT and I though I had him. I bet about half the pot (in what will be a theme for this weekend, I was drunk so some of the details are a bit fuzzy). Derek raised, and I went all in. I figured if he had the straight then good for him otherwise, he’s getting knocked out. He calls and turns over AK for the nut straight. Crap. I was just kidding. Not good for him. This would all but knock me out first, earning me zero points in the one event I expect to win. I’m sure you can just about guess what happens here. The turn is a blank, but the river brings a queen giving me the boat.

Before I forget, scoring for the Jedi Olympics works as follows. 3 points for first, 2 for second, 1 for third and zero for last in each event. Person with the most points at the end of the weekend wins bragging rights and some prize yet to be determined. As an added incentive not to lose, the person coming in last in each round has to do a shot of White Lightning. White Lightning is a Virginia Corn Whiskey and quite possibly the most vile substance any human has ever willingly ingested. John decided that one year he would give us all a taste of Virginia as a Christmas gift one year, and decided that White Lightning would be a good choice. I think he was actually trying to kill us.

Back to the poker, my wife decided after a while that she doesn’t like poker and dumps all her chips to me, which didn’t make the others too happy. She would have dumped her chips to anyone in that particular hand, I just happened to have good cards at that point. Not that the others would believe it.

Matt went out shortly after that, leaving John and myself. I had about a 2:1 chip lead at this time, when I inflicted my second bad beat. Again, I’m not completely sure of the details, but John is one of my few regular readers so I’m sure he will correct me if I get this wrong. We had been going back and forth for a few hands, when I flopped middle pair on what was I think an 8TA board. I had TJs and the board didn’t have my suit. I had raised preflop I wanted to stay in control of the hand, so I made a half pot sized bet after the flop. I expected him to fold, but instead he reraised all-in. Now, here’s the problem with playing against people who you know read your blog. I know that he has read about my playing style and how I react to certain situations. He knows how I play and how I expect others to play. Against anyone else I probably would have given them credit for the ace and folded, but with him, I thought that he thought that I was bluffing and that a huge reraise would get me to fold. He had done it to me earlier when I was in fact bluffing and that had me a little on tilt. I decided that he was trying to out bluff me, and called. Even if I lose I still have enough chips to have a decent shot and winning. And I consider myself to be a better player anyway. (Sorry John). Well he turns over A8, and I’m not too happy about it. As I start counting out my chips, I proceed to hit a runner, runner straight knocking John out. I feel a little bad about it, but too bad. I think he’s still complaining about it thought. At least he didn’t lose any money.

We played a few more small tournaments over the coarse of the weekend, but the stakes were all real low and we were all real drunk, so I didn’t really take them too seriously.

Event number two was Bocce Ball. We augmented the normal scoring rules slightly. Each player had two balls and all four of us threw at the same target. The closest ball was worth 3 points, second closest 2 points, and third closest was worth 1 point, and we played to 50. I didn’t really know what to expect out of this one as Bocce isn’t really the sort of thing that any of us play all that often. At least I don’t think so. Things started out badly as John and Derek jumped out to big lead and I didn’t get on the board until the fourth or fifth throw. I managed to catch up though and was winning as late as the 35 point mark, but John and Derek both overtook me and I finished in third. White Lighting for Matt.

Event number three was Phase 10, which is a rummy type card game. You have to go through ten phases (thus the name) where in each phase you have to collect different things such as two sets of three, or a run of seven, or a set of four and a run of four. I was way in the lead after the first few rounds, but unfortunately that made me a target for the skip cards. Combine that with some crappy cards, like having two sets of four when I need a run of nine, and I earn a last place finish. I don’t know who won, and I don’t care. White lightning for me.

Event four was Disc Golf. I certainly didn’t expect to win this, but I was hoping for a second place finish. Derek first got me into disc golf and is pretty good. Plus it’s his home course so he was going to be tough to beat. He did choose the course with shorter holes, which somewhat cuts down on his advantage since he can throw way further than the rest of us, but he still won easily. Matt was also familiar with the course, and as it turns out he is a better disc golfer than I, as he was able to beat me by three or four strokes. At least I didn’t throw out my shoulder. John gave up after nine holes and earned his first ever shot of the good stuff.

Bowling was in store for event number five. I consider myself to be a good bowler. I’m not going to beat anyone that bowls in a league regularly, but I feel like I should beat your average bowler. In the summer between out junior and senior years of college, John and I found a cheap new bowling ally with $4 pitchers of beer. We would seriously bowl about 10 games a night three times a week. Derek actually ended up winning this one. I would have picked him for third but he just kept picking up spares, and I choked often enough to let him win. It came down to the tenth frame after I had spared in the 9th. I needed nine pins on my first ball or a mark to win. Yeah. 1 pin. Biggest choke in Jedi Olympic history.

We were supposed to play mini-golf, Settlers of Cattan and Mario Party at some point, but John and his wife had to leave early Monday morning, and we ran out of time. It probably wouldn’t have mattered as Derek had a comfortable lead by then. We did golf later on Monday, and since it didn’t count, I kicked ass. But then Derek won Settlers later on. I’d tell you about it but I don’t want to sound like any more of a geek than I probably already do.

So that was Jedi Reunion Weekend. Now I have to read a bajillion emails a hundred or so blog postings, and get ready to rejoin the workforce tomorrow. Yay.


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Jedi Reunion

Jedi Reunion

Just in case you were under the misguided impression that I’m not a complete dork, this coming weekend is Jedi Reunion. What is Jedi Reunion you ask? Well first off, it in absolutely no way involves dressing up as storm troopers or any other assorted Star Wars character. I’m not that much of a dork.

It all started after high school. I had three real close friends who all went our separate ways after we graduated. I spent four years at U of I in Urbana-Champaign, but other than that I stayed in Chicago or the nearby suburbs. The other three have bounced around to all sorts of places, Indiana, Arkansas, Austin, Atlanta, Raleigh, and Richmond. Once a year over Memorial Day weekend we meet somewhere and have a reunion of sorts. Being dorks we would occasionally refer to ourselves as Jedi, thus making our reunion a Jedi Reunion.

Usually Jedi Reunion involves a whole bunch of drinking and making asses out of ourselves. We also tend to alternate between an extended weekend at one of our houses and a more elaborate weeklong get together at some exotic location. My wife and I never have get to host because everyone’s family is still in Chicago, so if every one else came back here they would have to spend half the time visiting with family, and not drinking, which is lame.

The official reunion doesn’t start until Friday, but my wife and I are heading out tomorrow. She prefers vacations where you get to take in some of the local culture/attractions, as opposed to just hanging out and repeating the same drunken stories every year. Sometimes I just don’t understand women. So, in an effort to keep her from strangling me, we’re going to go early and do some touristy things for a few days. That should make it possible for her to tolerate my friends and our shenanigans.

Now, the best part about this year’s reunion is that we’ve decided to have a Jedi Olympics. This is not to be confused with the Special Olympics even though they will probably look similar to the casual spectator. So far, events include…

  • Poker. I should win this one. If I don’t then I was either drunk, or suffered a horrific bad beat, or both.

  • Disc Golf. Not my specialty. I’m ok at it, but apparently I throw like a retard because about once every other time I go disc golfing I mess up my shoulder. I don’t know what my problem is. I’m really not that uncoordinated. Seriously. I’m not. Shut Up.

  • Bocce Ball. This one could be anyone’s game. I think I’ll do ok, but I wouldn’t put myself as the favorite.

  • Settlers of Catan. I told you we’re dorks. Seriously though. This game is pretty fun. You should check it out if you ever have the chance. Tough to predict a winner, but I’ll predict myself unless the others form an alliance against me due to my huge lead in overall Olympic points, which is a likely scenario.

  • Mini Golf. The trash talking has already begun on this one. I think I can pull of a win.

Some other likely events that have not yet been confirmed:

  • Bowling. I will win this. I have mad bowling skills. And drinking only makes me better.

  • Darts. Probably not something I’m going to do too well in, unless none of them have played since last year. Then I might stand a chance.

  • Five Crowns. Similar to Gin except there are five suits and you have a different number of cards in your hand each round. Fun game.

I don’t know what the prize is for winning. I’ll let you know when I get it.

So yeah. I’m out of town until Wednesday. Hopefully I’ll have some funny stories to tell when I get back or at least a recap of our poker tournament.


PokerRoom Update Update

So, now Pokerroom has refunded a total of $88 out of my total $62 as a result of their Sunday night fiasco. Maybe if I complain som more they will up it to $120. I still don't understand where they got their numbers from. So that's that I guess.


Monday, May 23, 2005

PokerRoom Update

As I wrote yesterday, I was playing in the $20,000 Guaranteed on PokerRoom, when most, but not all of the remaining players suddenly found themselves unable to connect to the server. At the time I was near the bubble, and had to watch as I got blinded out in 87th place with the top 70 paying.

I emailed them asking for a refund and got this reply

Hi Michael,

Thank you for your recent e-mail. We apologize for the inconvenience.

We regret to say that PokerRoom experienced minor technical difficulties on May 22nd, at 11:30pm ET. Unfortunately, some tournaments were interrupted as a result. However, we are pleased to inform you that the problem was quickly resolved.

Please be advised that refunds will be issued to the affected players who did not finish in the money within the next 24 hours. If after that time you have not received a refund, please contact us again and we will investigate this further.

We hope this explains the situation, and hope you continue to enjoy our games.

We also wish you good luck at the tables in future games.

Should you have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Stephanie Support Team

I checked my account today, and found that they have refunded 44 of the $62 that I used to pay for the tournament. How they determined that 44 was the correct amount I don't know. Unless there was a $2 fee on the rebuy or add on that I wasn't aware of, and they opted not to refund that.

I told them that they had better refund the remaining $18, and then some if they wanted me to ever play there again. Not that I have much leverage since this was the first time I've logged onto their site in months. Oh well. I can always point out the fact that I have a website/blog, and that if they don't make sufficient amends for their error, I will make sure that everyone who reads it will know what a crappy site they have. All two of the people who read this that is. Its really too bad because they added a couple of nice features that I was going to tell you about.

I'm going on vacation starting Wednesday so I probably won't be able to update you on the status of my refund until I get back. I know you are probably on the edge of your seat awaiting the result, aren't you?


$20,000 Guaranteed

I tried the $20,000 Guaranteed at PokerRoom last night. It was a $20+2 with one $20 rebuy in the first hour and a $20 add on at the end of the first hour. I’ve never played a tournament with rebuys before so I wasn’t sure of the proper strategy. I assumed people would be real loose for the first hour when they would be able to rebuy and then who knows after that.

I won a few a few hands early, but then made some bad/loose plays and found myself at about $T1200 as we neared the first break. We started with $T1500. I then noticed that I had the option to take my rebuy. I originally assumed you could only rebuy when you busted out, but it looks like you can use your rebuy as soon as you drop below the starting chip count. The add on was coming up in a few minutes and I couldn’t decide if I should take the rebuy or the add on, or both or neither. Blinds were about to go up to $T75/$T150. I opted to go with both, and I’m glad I did. That put me at almost $T4500 which was about the tournament average at the time.

With those extra chips I was able to relax a little. Rather than worrying about having to go all-in or fold, I was able to make some preflop raises and steal some blinds, which I did quite often. I was amazed that no one got fed up and called just because I kept raising. Now, when I say I was stealing a lot of blinds, what I mean is that I was raising a lot pre flop and no one ever called. I almost always had a hand that warranted a pre-flop raise, but usually it was the type of hand where if someone called I would be quite worried, and if someone reraised me I would probably cry like a little girl. Fortunately I was only called a couple of times, and whenever I was called, I was able to claim the pot on a flop that missed my opponent.

Coming out of the third break I had a chip stack of about $T9000 which was about average. I was in 100th place out of 200 or so remaining. (666 entered the tourney). I was holding my own, winning a few pots here and there, and generally staying out of trouble when the problems began. I think I was down to 80th place, and the top 70 paid. I was confident that I could last at least until the money. Then, all of the sudden the servers went down. I watched everyone at my table “sit out” and then I too got disconnected.

Judging by the flurry of chat on the ring game window, I wasn’t the only one with problems. It seemed like just about everyone had lost their connection. What really sucks is that a few people still seemed to be playing. I could see the tournament standings on the website, and some players chip counts were continually increasing, while most of the rest of us gradually went down. I tried a few times to reconnect, but to no avail, and I had to sit there and refresh the web site watching my chips dwindle away. I ended up busting out in 87th place.

I sent an email to support requesting that at the very least they refund my money. Hopefully I wasn’t too drunk and that email was somewhat coherent. I’ll let you know what happens. At the very least they better refund my money. Anything less and I will take by business elsewhere. I’m pretty pissed off though, so I’ll probably be taking my business elsewhere anyway.


Friday, May 20, 2005

More on Party Poker IPO

I found another story on Party Poker's IPO.

Check out the article here

One line I found discouraging is the following:

The line-up indicates the offer is likely to be pushed hard in Continental Europe as well as Britain, as gaming restrictions mean shares cannot be offered in the United States.

From that I read that I won't be able to purchase shares should they go public, which might eliminate my early retirement plan D. (A was tech stocks, B was winning the lotto, and C was WSOP-- 0 for 3 so far). I'm sure there will be ways to buy shares, but say I wanted to use my Ameritrade account or normal US brokerage or something. Would they block me from purchasing shares? Anyone in the U.S. own shares in whatever that company is that owns Paradise Poker?

The article also mentions that, the people behind Pacific Poker are also thinking of going public.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Some Probably Useless Statistics.

A few days ago I was playing a ring game on Party Poker, and it seemed like every time I was in the big blind I would be dealt 52o. Once I was done playing I pulled up my stats in Poker Tracker I saw that sure enough out of the 200 or so hands I had seen in that session I had 52o eight times, and five of those I had in fact been in the big blind. Interesting. I’m not claiming any sort of conspiracy theory, and I’m not bitching about always getting crappy cards, I was just curious to see how the randomness of cards manifested itself. So here are some more potentially interesting facts that I have gathered based on my Poker Tracker stats.

I have played the vast majority of my ring games at the $0.50/$1.00 level at Party Poker, so I’m only going to include those stats. I’ve played some at Poker Room, but I had a filter on my data when I started writing this and I’m too lazy to go back and update the post to include that data. Too bad. Maybe next time.

I have only played a total of 2827 hands at this level. I usually play SNGs and only recently started playing ring games with any regularity. I’ll put up some tournament stats later. Note that 2827 is not a real big sample size, so you can’t too many conclusions based on these facts.

Of the 2827 hands, the hands that I’ve been dealt the most are 52o and AQo at 38 times each.

Following that, I’ve had a number of hands 35 times. (AJo, A2o, T5o and K4o).

The hand I’ve had most often when posting a blind is 52o which I’ve had 15 times.

Second is KJo at 12 times.

The hands that I have the best winning percentages with are AA, followed by JJ and then KK. I’ll get to dirty QQ later.

I’ve had KK 21 times, compared to 9 times for AA.

My most profitable hand in terms of average BB/hand is AA at 3BB/hand.

After that comes KK and JJ at 2.55 and 1.85. (Can you guess what’s missing? I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with UU. )

The hand that I’ve lost most with on average has been TT at -1.83BB/hand. Following that is Q9s at -1.13BB/hand, A7s at -1.10BB/hand and stupid QQ at -1.02BB/hand. The Q9s and A7s don’t bother me too much. I don’t play them all the time, and when I do I don’t seem to win with them. That tells me I should probably play them less than I do if at all. The tens I’m probably overvaluing and playing more aggressive with them than I should. The QQ really piss me off because it’s one of those hands where I feel like I should win more often than not, but I always seem to run into an A or K on the flop. Or even worse the turn or river. And some asshole is always sticking around with his A3o hoping for that river ace. Its frustrating because this should be one of my more profitable hands, and I think I am playing it correctly, it just doesn’t seem to hold up enough. Not that I’m bitter.

My most profitable position is two off the button where I average .17BB/hand. Least profitable is the big blind where I’m down an average of .28BB/hand. I’m actually down .01BB/hand on the button and I’m better two, three, and four seats off the button than one seat off. That should probably tell me something, but I’m not quite sure what.


Tournament play.

Since I gave some useless ring game stats, how about tournament play? This will be limited to Party Poker and Poker Stars, since I don’t think Poker Tracker supports PokerRoom’s tournaments yet. That kind of sucks because I’ve probably played more tournaments at PokerRoom than anywhere else. I’m going to combine the stats for all blind levels. I have a larger sample size here with 4,493 hands. Oh, and they’re all NL.

The hands that I have been dealt most often? ATo and Q6o, 60 times each.

The hand I’ve had most often when in one of the blinds is also Q6o at 27 times.

The hands that I have the highest winning percentage with is AA at 93.33%, followed by QQ at 91.67% and KK at 80%. See I can win with queens damnit. I think the fact that its no limit helps. I can convince those jackasses to fold their week ace with decent sized bets where as in limit there isn’t much I can do.

The most profitable hand in terms of BB/hand are KK at 4.21, 88 (?) at 3.53, AA at 3.2 and then QQ at 1.9. I think the 88 is skewed due to one hand where I flopped a set, and some moron with big slick called me down all the way through the river despite never improving.

My least profitable hand is TT at -.90BB/hand. TT again? I’m really going to have to reevaluate how I play this hand. On the plus side, I average losing less than 1BB/hand with my worst hand, so that has to be good, doesn’t it?

I’ve been dealt wired sevens 33 times while I’ve only had eights 11 times.

The four most profitable starting pairs for me AA, 88, QQ and KK are the four pairs that I’ve been dealt the least.

That’s about all I have. If anyone else feels like sharing, I’d be curious to what hands other people always get.


Sunday, May 15, 2005

May Tournament Summary

We had our monthly tournament last night, and I think I have to declare myself the best poker player in the Chicagoland area. The details from last night are going to be a little more fuzzy than normal (yes that’s possible smartass). I usually try to write these things up as soon as I get home while its still a bit fresh, but I didn’t get home until after 3 AM. My normal bedtime is about 11 these days, and I had gotten up early and spent all day trying to run a ¾ inch piece of electrical conduit from my basement to my attic, so I was a bit tired when I got home. So, anyway, here’s approximately what happened. Warning, this is long.


Things started off badly. Someone (thing?) didn’t want this game to happen and tried to block nearly every road into Plainfield from Chicago. There were overturned semi’s causing miles worth of gaper’s block, followed by numerous fender benders and other assorted accidents. I think I could have gotten there faster if I had walked. I was a little worried because they said they were actually going to enforce the “If you aren’t here by 6 we’re starting without you and blinding you in” rule. Luckily most people had to take the same route as I did, so hardly anyone made it on time and we started late as usual.

We had 22 people for our first game which made our host real happy since he made three really nice tables and we haven’t had enough people to use all three yet. There were a lot of new players, since the guy that organizes these games switched jobs a while ago and has recruited a bunch of his new co-workers. Since I suck at remembering names and such I’m not going to list off the seating arrangements. I started out at the center table along with three new people, my project manager, Paul, Eric, who is a regular at these games, and The Shmoo, who is semi regular-despite not having any poker knowledge other than knowing the rules, and what beats what.

I played some of my best poker in memory at this table. I pretty much destroyed it, taking out three or four players. There wasn’t anyone at the table that concerned me, so I was able to relax a bit at the start which helped. Paul and Eric are both decent players, but have I played with them enough that I know what to expect, and I’m sure I can beat them both. One thing that I did much better in this tournament than in previous ones is claiming pots that no one seems to want. Usually when I miss the flop I’m not real aggressive, but this time I would make decent sized bets and usually everyone would fold which earned me quite a few extra chips.

The first big hand of the night for me came against The Shmoo. He had just tripled up from his super short stack but he still didn’t have much left. I was dealt big slick, which I got way more than my fair share of that night. I made my standard preflop raise, and only he called. A couple of limpers and the blinds dropped out. The flop was Ace-rag-rag, and he bet. I raised, and he called. Now he could honestly have any two cards here. I’ve seen him min bet his trip jacks all the way through the river when he know he had the best hand, and I’ve seen him call a pot sized bet on a busted flush draw on the river when he knew he wasn’t getting any more cards. So I’m not as confident as I would be against a normal player. He could have two underpair, or trip aces for all I know. The turn is another rag, and we do the same thing. He bets, I raise, he calls. I think the river was Jack. He goes all in and I call. I give him decent chance at having two pair, Ax or even xx, but he turns over A7, and I out kick him.

My next victim is a new guy. I’m in the small blind with J5o and he’s in the big blind when it’s folded around to me. I’m raise, hoping he’ll just fold, or that I can convince him that he’s beat with a follow up bet on the flop. The flop is 6?5. I bet figuring that if he calls, I’ll probably check fold the turn. He does call, but the turn is another 5, so now I’m way ahead. I bet and again he calls. The river brings a 6 which I’m not too pleased with. I could see him sticking around with x6. If he just made a full house and I screwed myself by not pushing harder on the turn I’m going to be upset. I put him all in anyway and he calls with nothing. I really don’t know what he was thinking, but he’ll have a few hours before the next game starts to replay his decision.

My third or fourth victim was Doug, who is a regular at these events. Doug is a decent player but he tends to go on tilt way too easily and often, which doesn’t help him much. More on that later. He got moved to our table a few hands earlier and apparently he had suffered a beat beat or two at his previous table. He was short stacked and on tilt. I’m dealt big slick again, with him in the big blind, and I raise it 3x. He goes all in for a little bit more, and turns over A2. Neither of us improves, and Doug is eliminated. I’ve got the majority of the chips at our table, and I think I’m second in the tournament overall.

When we get to 16 players we condense down to two tables and redraw for seats. I end up at table two. Seated immediately to my right is Chris the chip leader. I haven’t played with Chris a lot, as he only attends the events in Plainfield, but he always seems to have a ton of chips when we get to the final table. At least he’s on my right so I can try to avoid pots that he enters. To my left is Noah, who I’ve probably played against more than anyone else here. I’m pleased to see that he’s about down to the felt since he has probably won more tournaments than anyone else.

I try a few times to push Noah all in when he’s in the blind, but he doesn’t bite. He’s down to $T100 with blinds at 30/60 when he goes all in with AQs getting three callers. He wins that pot and quadruples up. I’m not a fan of this occurrence. Noah is the type of player who won’t play a hand for the first five rounds of the tournament, and then all of the sudden he’ll double up two or three times, and before you know it he has more chips than everyone else combined. I’d much rather see him on the rail than seated at my table.

A few hands later I get AQo in the big blind, and Noah limps. Everyone else folds, and I raise T$150. He goes all in. Either he thinks I’m trying to steal or he has a pretty good hand. I give him credit for AK, AA, KK or maybe QQ. None of those hands leave me in good shape, and I can’t afford to let him double up, so I lay it down. Anyone else and I might have called. He later claims he had wired tens, which I guess I believe. At the time I told him I would have called if I knew he had tens, but now I’m not so sure.

I’m glad that I didn’t call him because a few hands later, after the blinds went up to 50/100, I get JQo in early position, and decide to play it for a raise. Everyone except Chris in the BB folds. The flop is JxQ. Chris checks and I bet $T300. He thinks for a second then goes all in. This is exactly the situation I don’t want. I just made a pretty good hand against the chip leader and he went over the top of me and went all in. If he has a set and I call I’m out of the tournament. If I fold I can probably coast to the money. This is why I try to avoid going heads up against the chip leader, because I don’t want to be in a position where I might have to play for all my chips without the absolute nuts. What could he possibly have? I can’t rule out a set, but really don’t think he has it. Maybe he has kings or aces and thinks he’s slow playing me. I end up calling and he turns over Kx where x was not on the board. He said he figured I was going to keep taking $T300 chunks from him so he’d decided to be the one to make the move. I guess folding wasn’t an option for him? It turns out I had him covered and now I have a mountain of chips.

We break for pizza and combine to one table with eight remaining. I don’t remember a whole lot happening at the final table. I continued to get some pretty good cards, and then was content to sit back and let the smaller stacks knock each other out. A couple of the players from the other table that I originally didn’t think were very good made a couple of strong reraises on pots I was trying to steal, which caused me to play a little tighter than I would have liked. I did put a pretty good bad beat on one of them when I called his all in my AJo against his AQo. I made a flush on the river to knock him out in fourth place.

Andy knocked off the third place finisher, and we were down to heads up play. Andy is a pretty good player, although I don’t have a good read on him other than that. He is frequently at or near the money, although usually it is just barely holding on to get there. He has also knocked me out quite a few times that I can remember. Still, I have a huge chip lead over him, so I’m not too worried.

Despite the fact that I seem to be a horrible heads up player online, in live games I’ve fared pretty well lately. I think I did exceptionally well here. I stole blinds and ragged flops at will, and basically just ground down his chip stack. He really didn’t stand much of chance and I went on to win tournament number 1. First place paid $325.


For the record, I’m usually in favor of paying out more people, and making the payouts a little more balanced. We paid out four with the fourth place player just getting their money back. I would have liked to pay at least five, or have fourth win more than their entrance fee. Whenever we have to decide on the payout structure there is always someone who pushes real hard for paying out as few people as possible and giving as much as 75-90% to the winner. The person pushing for this is usually someone who has almost no chance of ever making the money, let alone winning the whole thing, so I’m always confused because I think they would want to pay out as many people as possible. I don’t know why I care, since I’ve been the beneficiary of this arrangement three months in a row, but people are stupid.


We only had 20 for game number two so we only had two tables. I didn’t expect to do too well in this one. I usually play looser and more carelessly in a tournament after winning one. I tend to gamboool it up a little too much. Things start off badly when I get big slick for like the twentieth time in the night. I know you hate getting big slick too and you feel real sorry for me, but you have to play the cards you are dealt.. Well, I make a big raise preflop and get called by Kaiser. Kaiser is usually pretty willing to give his chips away, so I’m not too worried about that. The flop is jack high, and I bet $T50. He looks pained and confused but eventually calls. The turn is another jack. Kaiser checks and I bet $50 again. He thinks about it for a while, grimaces and eventually calls. There’s no way he has a jack. Maybe he has bottom pair or something, but a jack is out of the question. The river is a queen. I think that if I bet again he’ll fold, since he really didn’t seem thrilled with calling before. Maybe another overcard will convince him that he is beat. Well, he checks, and I bet. He calls and turns over the queen that he just paired on the river leaving me in bad shape.

I don’t do much to improve for awhile. At least I have Doug sitting next to me going on uber tilt. He’s still mad from last game, and he’s playing way too many hands trying to get a piece of a flop. The funny part is that he keeps limping and someone inevitably raises him and he folds without getting to see the flop. This then makes him more angry which makes him play more hands which repeats the cycle. Of coarse he finally when he finally does get good cards a queen high flop sees his AQ taken down by Smack’s wired aces. A few hands later he goes all in preflop with AT and gets busted by another guy’s bullets.

I’m slowly bleeding chips away when I dealt a couple cowboys, and see them hold up with an all in. I nearly double up again when I get a pair of aces, and my all in gets called on a king high flop by a guy with AT. I don’t know what he thought I had, but I certainly appreciated his call. Back in business, I get AK once again and again only Kaiser calls my raise. The flop misses me completely and contains to spades. Neither of my cards are black. Learning my lesson this time I go all in when he checks. He says he has four flush but doesn’t want to risk going out to chase it, so he folds and I take down the pot.

A few more players go out, and I make it to the final table near the chip lead again, when the railbirds turn on me. Aaron has been rooting for my demise since he busted out early in the tournament, but now everyone else is starting to think I might end up winning again, and they decide it should be someone else’s turn.

I’m absolutely card dead at this table. I think if you added up my cards, 95% of the time they would add up to eight or less. I don’t have much to say about this part of the tournament. Paul stole my blind every single time and there was nothing I could do about it. Fortunately I had enough chips that I could just sit and wait for a good spot. Every so often Aaron would come up from playing pool in the basement to taunt me and see if I had been eliminated yet. I would usually win a big hand or two while he was watching just to piss him off.

As we slowly eliminated players I got closer to the money. Top four paid. There were a few instances where I had to go all in or I was out, but I managed to survive them. With five players left, there was a three way all in preflop, and the middle stack won the hand, knocking out the fifth place finisher and putting me in the money again. Shortly after that the fourth place finisher went out and we were down to three. Smack was the chip leader by far and Noah and I were clinging to what few remaining chips we had. Blinds were up to 300/600 and I only had $T380 when I was in the small blind. I went all in dark, and managed to win with whatever crappy hand I had. I don’t recall. Two hands later I post a big blind of $T600. Someone points out that the blinds went up to 400/800 last hand so I owe 200 more. At this point I just like “what the hell” and I go all-in dark again for something like $T1100. Smack calls with I don’t know what, but it doesn’t matter because I turn over two Kings, and they hold up. Next hand I push all in again with AKs. Smack calls with a little ace, and again I win.

Somewhere in there the blinds finally get to Noah and he gets knocked out and it’s down to me and Smack. The first hand I have something like J4 and go all in. Smack has me so out chipped that I don’t really think I have much of a chance. To be honest I’m completely happy with finishing second. He calls with K9. I hit a jack on the flop and the railbirds go crazy. The people at work call me horseshoe. Maybe I’ll tell that story one day. I think everyone there might start calling me that too after some of the hands they’ve just seen me win. Anyway, I think that hand gave me the chip lead. A few more hands and I’ve knocked Smack out. To be honest, I don’t remember the exact sequence, but I have the important part down. I won. I won and added another $275 to my winnings on the night. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get to my car without getting mobbed.


I’m sure that in payment for that night I’m going to have to endure months of brutal bad beats but oh well. Hopefully I’ll get invited back.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

WPBT WSOP Qualifier.

I just got knocked out of the WPBT tournament on Noble Poker. What an uneventful tournament for me. I only saw the turn four times in the entire thing, and in all four cases I was either all-in or calling an all-in pre-flop. But, I took notes to do a tourney play-by-play and dammit that’s what I’m going to do. Boring or not.

We had 81 players register. Not a great number, most likely due to the fact that it’s at a new site. The tournament had 15 minute blinds, which was nice, and we started with T$1500.

Round 1. 10/20 Blinds. T$1500.

In the second hand I get QQ and raise to T$60. Everyone folds. That makes just about the most action I get all night.

Later in the round I limp with 96o from the small blind and see a flop of 627. I bet the pot (T$60) and the big blind raises to T$180. I don’t feel like risking a lot of chips with middle pair and a crap kicker, so I lay it down. He turns over 72o. I was almost brutally hammered. Thank god I didn’t push.

Round 2 20/40 Blinds. T$IDontRemember.

I steal a few blinds but that’s about it. Exciting, I know.

The consensus at the table is that the software sucks. I don’t think it’s that bad. There are two modes, a standard top-down mode and a first person 3-D mode. I think it was the people using the 3-D mode that were having problems.

Round 3 30/60 Blinds. T$1650.

I don’t think I played a hand this round. Is this intense or what? This has to be the most thrilling report you’ve ever read. Just wait it gets better. And by better I mean more of the same.

Round 4 40/80 Blinds. $T1560.

I actually play some hands this round. I steal some blinds with KQs.

I see a flop holding AQo when the BB calls my raise. I fold when he bets on a flop that completely misses me.

I have TT in the small blind. I plan on raising, but as I am taking notes on the previous hand, someone else bets. Before I realize he bet I raise. The big blind and original bettor call. Doh. Stupid notes. There’s an ace on the flop and I don’t have balls to try to claim it, so I fold when the big blind makes a pot sized bet.

1st Break. I have $1240 and am in 39th place. There are 55 players remaining.

Round 5 50/100 $1240

One of the players has no idea what this tournament is. He didn’t understand why the top two finishers both got $1500. He just saw WSOP qualifier on the tourney description and signed up. It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have five times as many chips as I do.

I’m dealt AJs in first position and raise to 200. The BB calls, and we see a flop of TTT. He checks folds to my bet.

CoolDog1029 (sorry I don’t known the corresponding blog) reraises a T$400 bet all-in pre-flop for $T1100 with a soooted hammer. He then hits a flush. And people claim 72 is a bad starting hand.

Round 6 100/200 $T1340.

I try to steal some blinds with K7o from the cutoff. The small blind reraises, and I have to fold. That sucked.

Shortly thereafter I get KJs and go all in for $940. After your avatar declares all in there is this chip noise that happens, similar to Party’s calling noise. It sounds like your all-in just got insta-called, and causes an unnecessary level of anxiety when you don't really want to get called. Of coarse the player immediately to my left does end up calling and he has KQ. I manage to hit a jack on the flop and I’m still alive.

I call someone’s pre-flop all in for $T640 and watch my AJ lose to his AQ when neither of us improve.

Later I call an all in for $T550 with KJ. He had just taken a bad beat so I figured he was on tilt. He had A5 the board helped neither of us. Now I’m down to T$605. Not my best performance.

Round 7 150/300 $T605.

I’m happy to see a number of other players go all-in and get eliminated, moving me up in the standings. It seems to be go-all-in-or-fold time. Not that I have much choice.

I make my final stand with JQs and get called by the big blind. I think if I had any sort of stack he would have folded, but he turns over his K4, and then proceeds to hit a 4 on the flop while I fail to improve.

So I finished 35th place. Yay.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

PokerProf's Noble Poker Freeroll

I played in the PokerProf’s freeroll at Noble Poker tonight, finishing 29th out of 193 players that registered. Top 15 paid. Not a horrible performance overall, but not great either. It was a freeroll, so the play wasn’t outstanding, although it was still better than most play money games you’ll find.

The early theme for me was trips. I was in the big blind with K5o in the first hand of the tournament, and saw a flop of [ 5 5 6 ]. A third heart showed up on the turn, but no one made their flush, and I took down a pretty big pot to start things off.

Shortly thereafter I was dealt a pair of jacks and flopped a set. There was one other player that seemed like he wanted to go all in with me, but he ended up folding to my post flop raise. I don’t remember exactly how it went down and I don’t feel like looking up the hand history.

A few hands later I’m dealt rockets, and the same player calls my large pre-flop raise. I get a third ace on the flop, and we both check. He leads out on the river with a small bet, and I raise. He reraises, and I go all in, thinking I’ve got him. But he lays it down. Oh well. I guess I have to tone down the aggression a little bit.

After that it was a lot of folding. I had a pretty good chip stack, and didn’t have to make any drastic moves.

I would like to nominate myself for the most retarded use of the hammer ever. We’re approaching the first break and blinds are 100/200. I’m in the small blind. Someone from early positions limps, as does the dealer, leaving him with only 40 chips. I haven’t played a hand in quite a while, so I figure I can make a huge raise, and steal the big blind, and the limper’s chips, and then worst case lose 40 to the super short stack. What I didn’t realize was that he had already put in $200 so if the big blind and limper fold, then the main pot includes their chips, and there will be no side pot. Doh. He wins the hand, tripling up, then double or triples up on the next hand. Oops.

After the break, I was at a table where over half the players were sitting out. My goal was at the very least to outlast all of them. One of them was stubborn and kept winning his blind all-ins, but I think we finally took him out. I really didn’t have much worth playing here. I stole a few blinds, but that was it.

The blinds were up to 400/800 and I only had about 3200 left when I got 66 in the big blind. The dealer and small blind limped, and I pushed all-in, hoping to take it right there. Unfortunately the small blind called with K9o and hit a king on the flop to knock me out.


Noble Poker’s site is decent. Its not the best site around, but it’s also not the worst. They have a standard top-down view, as well as a first person view, similar to True Poker. They don’t have many avatars yet, but I assume that will change over time. The voices get annoying after a while, although I’m sure you can turn them off. Play also seems to move slower than at most sites, but that could have been a function other player’s connections or just slow decision making.

One thing I did like was the hand history. They show what each player had, and the bets/calls/raises etc, in a graphical timeline type view. I don’t know that they store the history on your computer so you can review later, but at the very least it looks cool at the time. I don’t think I’ve seen that elsewhere. Most sites jus put up a text summary of the hand.

Their multi-tabling interface needs some work. All the tables share the same window and you have to toggle between them, which is somewhat confusing, and rather annoying.

Overall I’d say the site is better than average. They are promoting it really hard, so we’ll have to see what kind of player base they can achieve.


Still haven’t decided if I’m going to play in the blogger event tomorrow. The max number of entries has been dropped down to 100. If it was for cash and not a WSOP seat, I would definitely play, and if it was at PokerStars again I’d play. I still think I’m going to play but I haven’t completely made up my mind yet.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I'm a Super Hero

I have a super power and I’m going to auction off its use to the highest bidder. Actually, I’ll sell it to whoever wants to pay for it, so get your money ready.

What is my super power you ask?

Well I have the unique ability to cause the Chicago Cubs to lose any game that I happen to watch.

But Mike you say, the Cubs suck. They always lose. How is that a super power?

Good question. I would argue that the only reason they suck so bad is because I watch so many of their games. I can draw a direct correlation between the point in the game where I start watching them, and the point in the game where they blow a lead, or get the tying runner picked off first base, or walk seven guys straight.

For example, I tune in to the end of the game last week. The Cubs are up by one in the eight or ninth inning. Less than 10 minutes later, LaTroy Hawkins gives up four straight hits and the Cubs are losing. Last Friday, I’m at work minding my own business when I notice the Cubs are ahead in the eight. I pull up ESPN’s game cast, and watch as Hawkins loads the bases. He then catches a line drive up the middle and throws to first to double off the runner. Of course I am able to use my super powers to cause the ball to bounce off the runner’s helmet and carom into the stands, allowing the eventual winning run to score.

While you could argue that these are all just examples of Hawkins being the worst closer in the history of the game, and you’d be correct, I would like to think that without my influence he would saved at least one of those games.

Hawkins isn’t the only pitcher who I have this affect on. I tuned in during the fifth inning of a game this weekend. Glendon Rusch was pitching a great game in his first start until I started watching. He doesn’t make it out of that inning, and the Cubs go on lose their sixth or seventh straight. I could go on but I think you get the point.

So what am I going to do with my fantastic powers you ask? Never watch another Cubs game ever, like a good Cubs fan? No, and this is where fans of other National League teams come in. For a small fee, I will be willing to watch the Cubs game when they are playing against your favorite team, thus ensuring your team a victory. Or, for you unfortunate Cubs fans out there, you could pay me not to watch any more games, thereby giving the North Siders a chance to actually win once in a while.

Now, I’m not sure if my powers work for other teams, but I’d be willing to try. Any of you Minnesota fans out there want me to start rooting for the White Sox? Maybe I can snap that winning streak of theirs. I’ll give you a full money back guarantee, just in case it doesn’t work.

What’s that you say? Using my super hero powers for fun and profit and not the good of the people isn’t very super hero like. How could I do this to my fellow Cubs fans?

Hmm. You sure do ask a lot of questions, don’t you? Maybe I’m not a super hero after all. Maybe I’m a super villain. Now leave me alone, I have to go find a cape, and maybe a mask. And I’ll have to start working on my villainous laugh.

In the meantime, check your schedules, and figure out when the Cubs are playing your favorite team, and get your checks in the mail. Otherwise I won’t watch them and your time will lose. And it will be your fault.



So I have a dilemma. There is a WPBT tournament at Noble Poker on Wednesday, and I’m not sure if I should play or not. Assuming we get the full 150 participants, the top three finishers will earn a ticket to the $1500 NL Holdem event at the WSOP on June 2.

The first problem with this is that I am not planning on going to Vegas for the blogger convention. If I managed to win, I would certainly go, but right now I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Secondly, I don’t have any money deposited with Noble Poker yet. I don’t have a huge poker bankroll, and I don’t know if I want to deposit into another site just yet, especially to such a new site. Of course, I could just put in the $30 for the tournament, but then I’d miss out on the 100% deposit bonus. I could also just win the PokerProf’s freeroll tomorrow. That would solve the money issue.

On the other hand, blogger events are fun, and this is worth points in the overall standings. I have to defend my current 6th place standing. And I really do need an excuse to go to Vegas. I’m leaning towards playing. I'll see you in Vegas.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Fancy Play Warning

A warning to low limit players.

Don’t try to get fancy. I’m not sure who coined the phrase “Fancy Play Syndrome” but I think I first saw it in Gary Carson’s Complete Book of Hold’Em Poker. Fancy Play Syndrome involves an overuse of sneaky tactics rather than just playing simple ABC poker. Check raising, bluffing at scare cards, and slow playing are all fancy play tactics are all symptoms of Fancy Play Syndrome, and they will end up getting you killed in a low limit game. I would guess that many players overuse the above in higher limits as well, but not having played them I don’t know for certain.

When I first started playing limit, I was the fancy play king. I would slow play my top pair/top kicker every time I could. And then I would watch someone suck out on me with two pair. Or I would try to check raise someone only to watch them check behind me and pick up the straight or flush they were chasing. And I couldn’t understand why I was such a losing limit player.

Recently, I’ve made an effort to play simple straight forward simple poker. If my hand hits on the flop I can almost guarantee you that I’m betting it. At low levels there is no need to be sneaky. Chances are that there are at least four other players seeing the flop with you. If you make a hand, and bet it, you are almost assured of getting a caller or two. This means three things. First of all, don’t bluff. With that many players in the flop someone is probably going to have hit something, and they are not going to be smart enough to fold even when you represent a better hand. Secondly, if you hit, and have the better hand, they are going to pay you off. There is no need to be sneaky, or greedy. Thirdly, with that many people on a flop, chances are someone is on a draw of some sort. You have to bet and make them pay for that draw. If you allow it to check around, then you almost deserve to have someone hit make their hand.

As I mentioned, lately I’ve been trying to play simple aggressive non-tricky poker and have been significantly more successful. I still take my share of bad beats but, no where near what I used to. Last week, I slipped back into my old habits and it caused me to get a whole bunch of really good second best hands. I lost twice with a full house, my high pocket pairs got crushed by flushes, and my flopped trips turned into someone else’s straight.

Here’s an example. I have A3o in the big blind and a bunch of players limp. The flop is A3x. I follow my advice for a change and bet it. A few players call. The flop is another 3, and I decide to get sneaky. I figure I more or less have the nuts here, so I just check. I wouldn’t want to scare anyone off. Let someone think their ace is good. Well no one bets and everyone gets to see the river for free. The river is an innocent enough looking ten. I can’t let it check around again, so I bet, and I get raised. I couldn’t believe how lucky I just got. I reraised, thinking how clever I was to have lead him into my trap. He capped, and my full house was revealed. I think Party intentionally waited a few seconds to reveal his wired tens just to make my loss more painful. Needless to say, I wasn’t too pleased with that. My threes full of aces just lost to his tens full of threes, which he picked up on the river.

Now, would he have folded his tens if I had bet on the turn? It’s tough to say, since the ace didn’t scare him on the flop, but I didn’t give him the opportunity to fold either. Unless you have the absolute nuts, you are only asking for trouble when you let your opponents draw to their hands.

So anyway, the moral of the story is not to try to get tricky. You are only going to end up costing yourself chips.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Noble Poker WPBT Event

Iggy has announced a WPBT event for next Wednesday, this time at a relatively new site: Noble Poker. The number of entrants is going to be capped at 150, and assuming we get that many, the top three finishers will win a spot in the $1500 WSOP Holdem event.

I haven’t played at Noble Poker yet, so I can’t tell you much about it, but they are offering a 100% signup bonus up to $300, so it’s worth a try.

This event is open to bloggers and readers, so if you are reading this blog, and I’ve got a feeling you are, you can play. Go sign up now.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Turnout for the 2005 WSOP

While I was watching the WPBT WSOP $1500 Holdem qualifier on PokerStars I happened to look around at some of their main event qualifiers. Those pointed to a holding tournament where they listed all the players that had qualified for the 2005 main event. I think there were over 450 people. I was a little amazed at that number, since the tournament is still a few months away, and I can only assume that number will start growing exponentially as the tournament approaches. I meant to go back and verify that number because it seemed rather large, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Well, today, in this article on the PokerStars blog they mention that PokerStars alone has now qualified over 512 players for the WSOP main event. That is more than the total number of players for the 2000 event. From one site. They estimate PokerStars’ contribution to be 1000 players, and the total to be 6600. Unless they cap it, I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if they end up with over 10,000 people overall. PokerStars might supply the most players of any site, but PartyPoker, Ultimate Bet, and PokerRoom, can’t be that far behind. Plus there are about 100 other smaller sites that are probably going to be sending a player or two.


Poker Spreadsheet

Chris Halverson just released his poker spreadsheet for download. Its excel file that can be used to track your poker bankroll across any number of different sites. While Poker Tracker is a great tool for tracking your play, Chris's Poker Spreadsheet, looks to be the perfect tool for monitoring your cash flow, especially for those of you that play at multiple sites. You can track your SNGs, Ring Games, Bonuses, and Rakeback for any site you play at, all in one spreadsheet.

Entering in all my back data is going to suck, but once I have that done, I think this tool will prove to be quite useful. Go check it out here.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Bloggers in the WSOP II

Congrats to ABVidale from who won the second blogger tourny to get into the $1500 holdem event at this years WSOP. ABVidale Beat out 62 other bloggers to win the seat.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering. Playing in a side game while watching a blogger tournament is most definetly -EV.


Weekend Tournament Frustrations

I almost forgot how frustrating tournament poker can be.

I ended up placing in the money in two out of three tournaments that I entered on Saturday, but I was still disappointed with how each one turned out.

I started off with a $4+$0.40 SNG at FullTilt. The winner qualifies for a $24+$2 satellite into a $200+$16 tournament, with the top finishers of that going to the WSOP main event. I don’t quite like the odds with the $24+$2 enough to put money down on that, but I figured, I’d try my luck at the $4 to see if I could win my way in.

I was able to take a few pots big pots early in this one, including one where I got a big blind special, flopping two pair with my 84o. I took a big chunk out of another guy’s stack when he picked up a pair of aces on the turn. He pretty much went on tilt after that. He made huge pre-flop raises and went all in on just about any flop he saw. That approach was working out well from him as he was second in chips. I knew he’d run into someone with a decent hand sooner or later, and that he wouldn’t be long for this game.

Sure enough, a few hands later, I look at my cards and see two aces staring back. I make a standard raise, and Mr. Tilt makes a huge reraise. Every one bails, and I go all in. He calls with 84s. Two more of his suit came on the board just to make me nervous, but I knocked him out hand took a huge chip lead.

I pretty much sat back and let everyone else battle for most of the rest of the tournament. I took out some key flops, but didn’t go out of my way to enter any questionable pots. By the time we were down to two, I still had my chip lead, although not by much.

I then proceeded to play my typical horrible heads up game, and managed to come in second. As it turned out second place paid $10, so it wasn’t a complete loss. At least I doubled my money.

As that SNG was going on, I enrolled in a $5 multi table tourney, also at Full Tilt. There were only 50 players, so I didn’t think it would be that bad. Unfortunately, I realized that it was a limit tournament after it started. I seem to do pretty well in limit tournaments, but they take way too long to finish. Three hours later I found myself in the chip lead at the final table, with the top 6 paying.

I took a pretty bad beat to get knocked back down to the middle of the pack. A few missed flops followed by a horrible decision to push with wired fives, and I find myself eliminated in 5th place. This was especially disappointing. I spent three hours playing pretty good poker only to screw it up in the end. I had also decided that if I won, I would use the $100 to enter the “Win a piece of Erick Lindgren tournament.” I had wanted to try to play a satellite to get into that one, but there weren’t any on Saturday so this became a make your own satellite event for me.

Later on, still on Full Tilt, I entered a $10 tournament with about 200 other people. Things didn’t go very well at all for me in this one. The very first hand I had AJ on the button, and everyone folded except the cutoff who tried to limp in. I raised to 3x BB and both blinds folded. The cutoff called, then check called my half pot sized bets on a raggedy flop and turn. The river was an eight which put three to straight, and not much else on the board. He lead out with a pot sized bet, and I had fold. After that I tightened up and couldn’t do much else. I won a family pot with TJ in late position when everyone limped. The flop was ten high and it was checked around to me. I took it down there and had a littler room to breathe again.

A few more missed flops and I was starting to feel pressured again. I had AQs in late position and raised it up. I had two callers. The both checked on a flop of T9T, and I went all in, trying to take it there. One of them called and turned over 9T for a flopped full house, and I was out in 130th or something.

So yeah, even though I finished in the money in two out three, I was still incredibly frustrated by my performance. I felt like I should have had at least two wins. Maybe next weekend will work out better. Time to check on the second blogger WSOP qualifier.