Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Card Dead

I wasn’t going to write about this because I didn’t want to sound like a whiney bitch, but I haven’t really had too much else to say about poker lately so if you don’t like it too bad.

I’m sure everyone has gone through sessions where they are absolutely card dead. Last night was one of those for me. I played for almost two hours. For the first hour I saw a total of two aces and four kings, with the highest kicker in those hands being an eight. What was especially frustrating about it was that there were some of the fishiest fish to ever swim in the poker sea at my table and I could not get any sort of hand worth playing against them. I would watch in utter amazement as this guy would call down a board full of paint with 74o. He couldn’t even beat a bluff, and yet he was calling the entire way. Over and over again. And there was nothing I could do to get his chips before he donated them to the rest of the table. Actually I did take one decent sized pot off of him, but it one of the first hands I played, before I had a read on him. I had to play cautious when I raised with QQ and he called and then continued to call even with an ace and king on the board. Had that hand happened twenty minutes later I wouldn’t have been as scared of the AK and could have taken more from him.

Hour two was a different kind of punishment. I actually started getting cards. I had a bunch of AK, AQ and KQ and a whole bunch of pocket pairs, often in good position, but not once did I actually hit a flop. You know how every once in a while you fold your 64o and then watch the flop come 664? Or had you not folded your 56o pre-flop you would have made a six high straight allowing you to destroy they guy with A5 who picks up the wheel. I didn’t even have those situations. It was like FullTilt was making 100% sure that there was absolutely no way I was walking away from the table ahead. Even if I played some garbage hands there was no chance of me accidentally winning a hand. I looked back at my poker tracker stats, and had I played every single hand to the river I would have had three of a kind or better only nine times.

The ultimate kick in the balls came when I was just about ready to leave. It was the final big blind that I was going to post, and I was dealt AA. I was just waiting for someone to raise me, as just about every pot had been raised preflop in the last hour or so. But no. It folds all the way around to me and I earn fifty cents out of the little blind. Why can’t it fold around to me when I have crap? I swear I have a severely disproportionate amount of hands folded to me when I have aces in the big blind. It’s like the poker site is mocking me. I declare shenanigans.

So despite having crap for cards I managed to finish down only $8, which I think is pretty good. For the most part I was able to get away from hands that I wasn’t going to win, after the flop and minimize the damage. I think a few months ago with the same cards I would have chased a lot more, and probably dropped a buy-in or two. I’ll take that as a positive.


Fantasy Football Draft

My fantasy football league draft is tomorrow and I have absolutely no idea who I should pick. I have the fourth pick overall. I know exactly who I would take if I was in spots one two or three, but after that, the fourth through tenth guys on my list are all pretty much interchangeable. I’d much rather have a later pick so I’d be in better position for the second round. Maybe I’ll get lucky and one of my top three will slip through. As for the later rounds, I haven’t even thought about them. When it comes time to pick my third receiver, I might as well draw names out a hat. I don’t have time to worry about them; they never do what you expect anyway.

This will be the fourth year of our league. It started three years ago when my friend’s soon to be wife told him that she didn’t think fantasy football looked that hard. He took that as a challenge which he then put in front of all of the men involved in the wedding. Everyone was challenged to join a league with them, and beat the bride. I think my friend and his wife both ended up in the super losers game at the end of the season. I started out that year 0-4 as I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and I drafted horribly. I think I took a kicker in fifth round. I managed to recover and tied for the last playoff spot, winning the tiebreaker. It was the year of Priest Holmes, but he had an off day when going against me in the playoffs, and somehow I managed to win the league. Figures there was no money on the line that time.

Year two saw the league expand to 10 teams, and I went into it pretty confident that I knew what I doing. I was wrong. I overanalyzed a few too many games, costing myself some valuable points as I watched my bench players do the exact opposite of what I though they would do when I benched them. Overall the league was pretty even that year. I think there was one run away leader, and one guy at 0-14 and everyone else was tied for second or a game behind. For the second year in a row I tied for the last playoff spot, but this time I didn’t have nearly enough points for the tiebreaker.

Year three was the year of Payton Manning as his owner ran away with the league. Going into the final week, I needed two teams ahead of me to lose, and the one tied with me to either lose, or just score fewer points than me, and I would be in the playoffs. One of the teams ahead of me lost, as did the team I was tied with. The other team that I was behind was losing by like 50 going into Monday night when Eddie Kennison caught 12 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to give him the win and knock me out of the playoffs. What a bunch of crap that was.

So yeah, this year who knows what’s going to happen. I think the outcome is more decided by whoever has the least amount of injuries than anything else. Depending on how the draft goes, and how the Bears are doing I might post the draft results and comments tomorrow. You don’t actually want me to write about poker do you?


Monday, August 29, 2005


We had a double header volleyball match tonight. The first match we of coarse got swept even though the other team really wasn't that good. We should have beaten them. The second match put us against the one team in the league that is actually worse than us. And we actually won the match, earning us our first free victory pitcher of beer. Go Team.

Our court was free after the second match, and there was another team around that wanted to play a pickup game. Or two. Or three. Or maybe four. I don't know how much we played, but I can tell you it was at least three games more than I should have played. I'm too old, and out of shape for three and half hours of physical activity. Even typing this up is proving to be quite challenging, as my fingers aren't quite responding respond all that well.

I'm already starting to feel the pain from over exerting myself. Tomorrow is gonna be rough. Think I can call in out of shape and sore? I think I might have to.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Free Stuff Rocks

All the hard work I’ve put into this blog is finally starting to pay off.

I got an email from a publisher the other day. He wanted me to (If are guessing that the next words in this sentence are “write a book” then I'm flattered, but you are way overestimating both my writing and poker skills. If you weren’t guessing that then screw you. I could write a book if I want. Why do always have to try to hold me back?) review a poker book. Illustrated Guide To Texas Hold'em: Making Winners Out Of Beginners and Advanced Players. And he was offering to send me a copy.

Sure, why not I say. I’m a fan of poker books, and free stuff, so I’d be more than happy to review your book. Two days later I have a brand new poker book delivered to my door.

Just in case anyone else out there has thought about sending me some free stuff, but was afraid I might get angry, let me assure you that on the contrary, I would certainly appreciate it. The more related to poker the better, but if you feel the need to send me other things to try out, I’d be more than happy to review them. And it doesn’t have to be a book. I’d also enjoy music, movies, clothes, computers, an HD TV, a new car, whatever. I promise I’ll mention whatever items I receive on this here blog. The resulting purchases and publicity that you would receive from the huge amounts of people that read this blog, will more than make up for whatever the cost of the items you send me. It’s a win-win situation as far as I can tell.

Anyway, I’m about halfway through the book so hopefully I’ll have a review out later this week. Although I said the same thing about Harrington on Hold’em a month ago, and I’m still only halfway through that. Although I blame Harry Potter, and my wife for claiming first dibs on reading it. Plus the fact that I feel some responsibility to actually review the book since I did receive it on that condition might inspire me finish it sooner rather than later. In the meantime, feel free to send me more stuff.




I went camping in Wisconsin this weekend, the Kettle Moraine area to be specific. It’s just a couple hours North of Chicago and I’d highly recommend it for anyone within driving distance. My wife had planned an art/camping weekend with some of our more artsy friends. I agreed to go along on the condition that I wouldn’t have to participate in any of the art related activities. I’m a big fan of camping, but not such a fan of art projects. As you can tell by the awesome layout/design of this here blog and website, an artist I am not.

The trip didn’t start out so well. My wife and our friend who would be driving up with us have half days on Friday, so the plan was for me to work at home, and them to get everything ready so that we can leave as soon as I was done. I got up early so that I could have my necessary hours in by three and then we could leave. Of course the one day I opt to work at home in the past year is the same day that Comcast decides to mess with their system, resulting in me getting disconnected about every five to ten minutes. That made for a real productive day let me tell you.

Three O’clock finally rolls around and I shut down my laptop and get ready to jump in the car and go. Only problem is that my wife and our friend haven’t made to our house yet, and nothing has been packed into the car. A few minutes later she calls saying that they just got on the expressway from downtown, which means that at best they won’t be here for twenty minutes, at worst an hour. It was the latter. So much for getting on the road early enough to beat the Friday rush hour traffic. Good thing I got up early to get my done so could leave.

We finally make it on the road at about a quarter to five, and surprisingly don’t hit run into too much traffic. Our other friend calls to say that she’s getting close the campground but to warn us that there was an overturned semi blocking all lanes of the expressway near where we have to exit. No problem I think. We’re still at least an hour from there, they have to have it cleared off by then, and the traffic in Wisconsin can’t be nearly as bad as around Chicago so I doubted that we’d even notice.

Yeah wrong. As we approach the area where the semi was supposedly overturned, traffic comes to a halt. Not just slow moving, an actual halt. We didn’t move at all. Judging by the signs telling us how soon to the next exit, it took us over an hour to move two miles, and as far as we knew we had at least two more to go before we made it past the semi. Luckily we were able to exit the highway, and follow some middle of nowhere country road back to where we needed to be, but that put us at least another hour behind schedule.

By that time it was already dark. One of my biggest frustrations with camping is arriving after dark. You would think I would learn, and just take the day off so I could arrive in the early afternoon, but no, we usually leave after work on Friday, and arrive at our campsites somewhere between ten and midnight. It makes it a pain in the ass to actually figure out where you are going since there aren’t too many streetlights out in the wilderness, and it makes a real pain in the ass to set up camp. There are few things that piss me off more than trying to set up a tent in dark, and I end up doing it just about every year.

Anyway, our friend had already set up a tent that claimed to sleep four. It looked like their claim was actually legit and that we could all comfortably fit in there. At least one thing went right. That is until it started raining. And the so called water-proof tent started leaking. By the end of the night we were all soaked as was just about all of the gear that put in tent. I think I got about twenty minutes of actual sleep.

After that, everything went pretty well. Our stuff dried quickly, we got some hiking in, and they did their art projects while I caught up some poker reading, and the weather was great. Despite the rough beginning it was quite the relaxing weekend. Now I just have to catch up on the poker playing that I missed.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Quick Hits

Some quick random comments.


Poker Tracker support for FullTilt is no longer in beta. I think FullTilt will be my site of the month for a while.


Why does everyone complain that limit tournaments take too long? I was in one this weekend with 187 people and it only lasted like 45 minutes. Of course I didn’t win a single hand and was knocked out in 150th or so, but so what?


Played some Razz on FullTilt while I was waiting for my wife to be ready to be ready to watch a movie we rented. I’m not sure I’d consider myself a good player by any stretch of the imagination, but I think I can at least appear like I know what I am doing. I ended up ahead for the session so I can’t complain.


Watched some of the Bears on Saturday. At least their defense is looking good. I didn’t hear what the reason for sitting Thomas Jones was, other than he was resting. Maybe they were trying to show Cedric Benson that they don’t need him, Peterson will do just fine? Still way too many penalties. Every year a friend and I have a bet, one of us picks the number of Bears wins and the other takes the over/under. It’s my year to pick. I think 6 1/2 sounds about right. If I was offered 6 ½ I would take the under, but I’m I pessimist when it comes to my sports teams. Living in Chicago will do that to you.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Actual Poker Content

Don’t look now, but there is actually going to be some poker content in this post.

Damn it, I told you not to look. Now you’ve gone and scared it away and I’m going to have to resort to complaining about how much the Bears are going to suck this year.

Ok, fine, Poker. A little something for all you “Online Poker is Rigged” conspiracy theorists out there.

I played a little bit on Pokerroom this past weekend. I was doing ok, I was down a bit for the session, but I had taken some tough beats and hadn’t been getting great cards, so I wasn’t too upset with finishing down for the day. Now, unless I’m really having a bad session, or I’m late for something, or I’ve just run out of chips I normally exit a poker game by unchecking the auto-post blinds option on my small blind, and then waiting an orbit until the big blind reaches me. This way I can play just one more orbit without getting tricked into posting another big blind when the guy to my right pulls the same trick.

I’m pretty sure similar things have happened before, but I might not have attributed it to the fact that poker is rigged. Previously I would have thought that I was just good, or lucky or something. Anyway, here’s my theory:

When you uncheck the auto-post blinds feature, you are signaling to the poker software that you are about to stop playing. In an effort to keep you at the tables, and thus keep extracting its rake from you, you are given some monster hands for that final orbit. You wouldn’t want to leave when you are on a rush would you? That would be crazy.

So as I was saying, I uncheck the box after posting my small blind and I’m dealt 83o. Doesn’t help my story much does it? At least until the flop comes T83. And one of the other guys had aces. Unfortunately I had folded that crap to the aces pre-flop raise, but how was Pokerroom supposed to know that this guy would play aces fast? I bet most online players would have tried to slowplay them at least until the turn.

Two hands later, I’m the one with aces. Unfortunately someone before me raised, and no one else wanted to play. He only had $2.50 left. I called hoping the blinds would stick around, but it was not to be. I ended up with a full house in the hand, but it was overkill since I had the guy all in and basically drawing dead on the flop. Again, good effort from Poker Room. Tough break that the blinds didn’t stick around. I bet they would have gotten a piece of that flop had they stayed in.

A hand or two after that and I’m dealt wired tens. I decide that if no one raises before me I will, otherwise, I’m just going to call. Sure enough there is a raiser and a caller before me. I’m a little nervous about that but I call anyway. The flop was 33T. I smooth call as the pre-flop raiser bets, and is raised. They check call on the turn and river, and before I know it I’m back to even for the night.

Thinking that it’s done its part to keep me around, I don’t get any more hands worth playing for the rest of the orbit, and I finish just about where I started.

So the next time you’re running bad, try tricking the poker site into thinking that you are going to leave. Uncheck the auto-post option and see what happens. I bet it tries its best to keep you around.

As a disclaimer, I’d like to point out that I have just established this theory and have not really tested it yet. I think it works regardless of how you are doing during the current session, but I also think it works better if you are losing, as a means to get back to even, or at least close to it. Also, if you are multitabling, you will probably have to signal your exit on each table, not just the one you are getting crushed at, but who knows.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Sweet Sweet Victory

That's right, the Fighting Banana Slugs won our first game tonight, and I'm going to Disney World.

Ok, so we didn't win the match, just one meaningless game, and the other team only had three players show up, but I'm focusing on the positive.

We actually had a full team tonight. We even had two extra players. In the very first game, we made it to double digits, losing 15 to 10 or 12 or something. In the second game, we managed to tie them at 14 before losing the final point. (Apparently the win by two rule doesn't apply. Lame.) By the third and final game, we finally wore them out, and we were able to achieve our first victory. Go Slugs.

Since we had two people sitting out, we were able to get a ton of pictures and video. I'm guessing that our captain will spend the majority of his work day getting those online, so check later for actual footage of our history making first victory.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Still No Poker

Its getting tough to justify calling this a poker blog anymore, as I’ve only really played poker once in over a month now, and I really don’t have very much poker related to talk about. Hopefully that’ll change soon.


We had a few people over last night to play some Cities and Knights of Catan. I employed a “build lots of knights strategy” that worked quite well, as I was able to accumulate quite a few victory points by defending Catan from the barbarians before anyone else could do anything to stop it. By the time they figured it out it was too late, and I was well on my way to victory.

Apologies to everyone but the three people reading this who have any clue what that last paragraph was about. One of my friends who has zero interest in poker has requested that I change the focus of this blog from poker related topics to things that interest him. So, since I have nothing poker related to write about, even if I wanted to, that was for him.


We also played some Set, which is a another game I would recommend if you are interested in unique games that you won’t see every day. I’ve heard great things about all the games that company makes. You should check it out. Then check out one of these pages for their daily online puzzles.


Still reading? You must be bored.


When I predicted that Kyle Orton would get more snaps as the bears QB than Grossman and Hutchinson last week, I was just kidding. It wasn’t meant to be some sort of prophecy.

I was watching the Bears game on Friday, and my wife, who is less than thrilled that football season is starting again, was asking why they play exhibition games. Aren’t they worried about their players getting hurt? I explained how they need to see how their players perform in actual game situations, and how it’s good to practice against someone other than your own team, and how the starters really only play about a quarter. The risk of injury is just something they have to accept. She comments on how she thinks it’s a bad idea, and no less than two plays later Rex Grossman goes down. Turns out he’ll miss just about the whole season. Great.


Fantasy Football draft is in two weeks. I should probably start preparing, although that’s a topic for another non-poker related post.


On a final note, I saw a preview for the movie Transporter 2 last night. Are you kidding me? The Transporter was just about the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life. We rented it a few years ago due to the scene in the previews where he rings the doorbell then kicks open the door as the unsuspecting villain looks out the peephole. My wife thought that was hilarious, and I figured it would be a good action movie, and was happy that she had consented to renting it instead of pushing for some artsy chick flick. Holy crap did that movie end up sucking. In the words of Homer Simpson, “That was the suckiest bunch of suck to ever suck”. It was painfully bad, the plot was horrible, the acting was brutally awkward, there was just nothing good about it. And they’re making a sequel? If anyone is planning on seeing this movie, let me spare you the trouble. Instead of spending $10 to go see the movie, send me the cash, then stab yourself in the eye with a pencil. You will get extra enjoyment for your money, and I’ll get $10 for helping you out. Sounds like a win-win to me.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Things that suck for $100

I’ll take “Things that Suck" for $100 Alex.

A. Last week this volleyball team managed to score only7 points across three games. This week they managed 8 (count them 8) points in both of the first two games they played, before only putting up two in the final match.

Q. Who are the Fighting Banana Slugs?

Actually we didn’t really play all that badly, but I’m working on a theme, so bear with me.. We only had four people show up. We have like 12 people on our roster and four showed up. People are out of town, or they had their wisdom teeth removed, or they came down with poison ivy, whatever excuse they can come up with to not show up. Despite our poor attendance we played ok and actually held a lead on more than one occasion. At this rate, maybe we’ll actually win a game next week. I wouldn’t bet on it though.

Moving on, “Things that Suck" for $200.

A. This genius decided to only bring half of his laptop to work today, opting to leave the power supply and mouse at home.

Q. Who am I?

That’s right, I decided that since my battery lasts about half an hour, I didn’t really need to bring my power adapter to work today. And the mouse? Who needs it when I have a touchpad? Any other day of the week, this would have been fine, I could have just gone home and worked from there. Today I had the previously mentioned volleyball game which is a half hour in the opposite direction from my house. So instead, I had to trade batteries about every hour with the other people in the office with the same laptop and the common sense to actually bring all the needed parts to work.

How about “Things that suck” for $300?

A. Despite having what appears to be a pretty good team on paper, this Chicago baseball team has put on quite a display of suckyness. Whether through injuries, or crappy play, they just keep finding ways to lose.

Q. Who are the Chicago Cubs?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Cubs suck. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. That winning streak they were on a few weeks ago. That was just to set you up for the current bout of absolute crap that they have been calling professional baseball recently. Just when I start to think they can’t suck anymore they let a runner score from first base on a single. And can someone explain to me why their backup utility infielder is playing center field while they have three left fielders on the roster? Anyone? Bueller?

“Things that Suck" for $400

A. This once proud Midwestern football franchise seems destined for yet another year at the bottom of their division.

Q. Who are the Chicago Bears?

OK, fine, I didn’t actually watch the game tonight. I was busy getting my ass kicked in volleyball for most of the first quarter, and I listened to the rest of the quarter on my drive home. By the time I got home the first string was out, and I stopped caring. Although if the past few seasons are any indication I should really be watching the third and fourth stringers since chances are they‘ll be starting halfway through the season. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kyle Orton takes more snaps this season than Grossman or Hutchinson. If they stay healthy I would guess eight wins this year. Since they won’t, I’d be pleasantly surprised with five.

Lets finish it off. “Things that Suck" for $500.

A. After not being used for about a month, this seems to have reverted back to a state of some horrible combination of fishyness and tilt resulting in a moderately large dent being taken out of the writer of your favorite blog’s bankroll.

No not that blog.

This one. Smart ass.

Q. What are my poker skills?

Yeah. I tried playing some ring games on Fulltilt this weekend after busting out of a tournament. Just for the record, playing while slightly drunk and pissed off: not a good idea. I love it when I put repeatedly put someone on a hand that has me practically drawing dead, yet I call all the way to the river just to make sure I was right. And I was. A lot. I played a little more later on when I was less intoxicated, and tilty, and played just about as poorly. I think a lot of it had to do with getting crappy cards and some really good second best hands, but I still should have done better. Fortunately two hands before I left I had pocket fours and flopped a set, with an ace on the board. The turn brought a second ace, giving me the full house and someone else trip aces. I almost broke even thanks to that hand.


Sunday, August 07, 2005



Warning: I may just be stating the obvious in the following post, and I’m sure someone else has brought it up before, so if I’m restating the obvious, I apologize.

I think it goes without saying that the two most popular poker shows on TV right now are the World Poker Tour, and World Series of Poker. In general, I feel like the WSOP is a more interesting, and prestigious event and all things being equal I think I would choose to watch the WSOP over the WPT.

Despite my obvious preference for the WSOP, after watching a few episodes of both recently, I’ve realized that the WPT is a vastly superior show. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that the WSOP was THE World Series, I don’t know if the show would even be watchable.

Here’s the problem. In the WSOP telecasts, they feature a final table of nine players, and determine the winner by the end of the hour long show. Assuming after all the commercials, and features, and other fluff in the show, there is maybe 40 minutes of actual poker broadcast that means they have to eliminate one player every 5 minutes, or maybe three hands. With such little time to actually show game play, the show becomes a highlight reel of the hands people went out on. The ratio of hands where someone is all-in, to those where someone is not is disproportionately high. You aren’t really watching poker, its more like bingo.

Now, on the other hand, WPT has only six players at its final table, and a two hour long show. I’m going to assume between 80 and 90 minutes of actual play, after the commercials and other crap, which means someone gets eliminated about every 15-18 minutes. This allows them to show many more interesting hands, rather than just those where someone gets knocked out. You actually see strategy and table image, and you actually feel like you are watching players try to outmaneuver one another as opposed to just pushing all-in and praying.

It’s tough, because there are so many events to televise, but ESPN really needs to rethink their format. They really need to change it so that they have less people at their final TV table, or increase the length of their shows. Or better yet both.

So it that might have been obvious to everyone, and if so I apologize, but after watching some poker shows recently it became really apparent. And if it was obvious, then why hasn’t anyone at ESPN figured it out?


On a somewhat related note, Phil Hellmuth was in the last episode of WPT that I watched. Is there anything more enjoyable than watching him lose a hand? Especially one where he was the favorite going in? Could anyone possibly to be a worse loser than he is?


Monday, August 01, 2005

Go Fighting Banana Slugs

So, today marked the first volleyball match for the Fighting Banana Slugs. As far as volleyball goes, we make pretty good poker players.

Let's just say that we aren't going to be taking home any first place trophies this session. In three games, we scored a total of 6 points. Yeah. We're not good.

Now, in our defense, we only had five players today. On the other hand, in our (what's the opposite of defense in this context?) I don't think an extra player would have helped because we suck. That whole bump/set/spike thing... Yeah, not so much. We were lucky to get any one of the three, and if by some chance the ball made it over the net, we were considered it an accomplishment.

The only good thing is that after we got our asses kicked, we hung around to play with another team, and I am pretty sure they are worse than us. And they said that last session they won 2 games. So we should be able to take three from them and two from some other team, thus finishing three games higher than I previously would have guessed.

Oh well. It was fun, and I certainly needed the exercise, so I should probably stop complaining.