Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Friday, December 30, 2005

2005 Year in Review

The year in review

OK. I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this post. I’m going to start just summarizing my results and then hopefully look at some other interesting statistics/trends for my year. We’ll see how motivated I am.


I started the year as a Sit-n-Go specialist. In April I switched over to mostly ring games and only played the occasional small tournament. In all, I played 132 SNG’s most of which had $10 +1 entry fees. There were a few $5s and $20s but the majority were $10. I’ve grown my bankroll quite a bit since the beginning of last year, so I anticipate the $20 to $30 level as my starting SNG size. We’ll see. I’m hoping to get back into them more as I’ve been getting frustrated with ring games lately.

After adding everything up I wound up down $80 in my SNG adventure. I think the bulk of that came in late March when on Party when I pretty much playing constantly on tilt because I felt like I should be ITM much more often than I was. As I result I played worse finished in the money less often, played worse, etc. until I switched to ring games.

Here are my place totals: I hope they add up. The 10th place is a bit skewed because I played a fair amount on PokerStars and FullTilt where there are only nine players.

Place Finishes Percent

Ring Games

I really started playing in ring games around April. I think bonus chasing started it, and then I grew to prefer ring games to tournaments. I played no limit and pot limit very rarely. In fact I think I only had 10 sessions all year at those levels. I finished down about $16. Whatever.

Limit ring games are where the most interesting things are going to come up. According to my PokerTracker stats I played 13,511 hands over 203 table hours. I’m not sure if that’s a lot or not. I guess if you are a hardcore player, four tabling three or four nights a week its not much, but if you are just starting, it probably seems like a lot. It seems like a lot to me anyway.

I started at $0.50/$1 and eventually moved up to $2/$4, although I think I’m going to move back down to $1/$2 as I didn’t play too well at $2/$. Overall I was up $549 for the year in ring games. Here are some other stats to go along with that:

LevelTotal HandsTotal WonBB/100

Multi Table Tournaments

I have a love/hate relationship with these. Sure they’re fun, and the thought of the huge payout is hard to resist, and they are what got me into poker in the first place, but on the other hand, more often than not you just end up frustrated after spending a decent chunk of your time and money with nothing to show for it. And often it wasn’t due to a particularly bad move on your part, its just bad luck/timing. I think I would play more of these but I don’t often have the 3+ hours of free time to spend on them. I did find time for 30 MTTs with buy-ins ranging from $6 to $30 and participants ranging from 64 to 666. Surprisingly, the best results that I achieved were in a couple of the blogger tournaments where I placed 5th out of 151 and 4th out 67. I think if I played often enough I could win one or two, but as I said I don’t usually have the time. I cashed in 7 of the 30 tournaments, and netted $37 overall. Not great, but its better than being down. Like I said before, if I play enough I’ll eventually win one, and if I can play better than break even until then, I’ll be way ahead in the end. I’d like to play more tournaments next year. We’ll see.


What good would all that bonus chasing be if I didn’t get anything out of it? I’m certainly not a great bonus whore, as I usually only have time to chase one or two site’s bonuses in a given month, but I did manage to claim $385 worth of bonuses for the year which is especially nice since I was ahead overall before taking the bonuses into account.


So here we go

SNG 80
MTT 37
NL/PL 16
Limit 549
Bonus 385
Total 875

Not too bad for a hobby huh? Especially considering the fact that I started the year with a bank roll of about $200. To be fair, I did earn a fair amount of affiliate commissions and some earn some advertising revenue that helped pad the bank roll and enable me to move up faster that I probably would have otherwise.

I had planned on doing another year in review type post where I do a summary of hand stats. Things like which hands are my most/least profitable, which hands I’m dealt most/least often, how I do in various starting positions. Stuff like that. I started it and to be honest it seems really boring. I can’t imagine anyone other than me caring enough to read it, so I decided not to finish it. If anyone really cares, let me know, and maybe I’ll put it up.

[***Edit. sorry for the way the tables are showing up. Either I'm a retard, or blogger sucks. I wouldn't rule out the first option but I'm leaning towards the latter. It doesn't seem to support tables very well, and I don't have the patience right now to mess with it, so sorry. It looked realy nice in Word before I uploaded it. Trust me. Oh, and since that post I was debating about putting up had like 90% tables and stuff. I don't think its going to happen.]


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Victory is Mine

I have mostly resisted the urge to write about my fantasy football team for a number of reasons. First off, I’m surprised that people come here for the poker content, I can’t imagine that anyone would care about my football team. Secondly, for the first half of the season, I was doing shitty. I had scored the second most points in the league, but I was in 6th or 7th place. Every week I would play the only team that scored more points than me. Any other scheduling arrangement and I would have run away with the lead. So I didn’t want to write about it because I didn’t want to seem like a whiney bitch. At least any more than usual. And finally, writing or bragging about your team is just asking for your star running back to break his leg and be out for the season.

Now as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, I turned things around and won the league. That means I have won twice out of the four years we have had this league. I’m pretty sure that qualifies my team for dynasty status. Since I am obviously a better fantasy player than the other members of my league, I think I’ll impart some wisdom on them. The rest of this post is mainly directed at them, and is my why of bragging, but feel free to continue and revel in my success. You might want to bookmark this for when you are preparing for next year’s draft. Here are some pointers you might find useful:

1. Unless you have some real odd scoring rules, the single most important thing to a good team is a strong running back. They get the ball more than anyone other than the quarterback, and are going to score the majority of your points. Sure QB’s can throw for a lot of touchdowns, but the difference between the top QB and the tenth best isn’t nearly as significant as the top RB and the tenth best. I had Eli Manning as my QB, and still managed to win. While I’m on the subject, make sure you actually get a good RB if you have the chance. This year I got Shaun Alexander with the fourth overall pick. Alexander and Ladanian Tomlinson are the only two players you should have even considered picking with the number one or two picks this year. Depending on your league Peyton Manning may have been an acceptable choice, but you had to figure that he wasn’t going to repeat his 283 TD season. Brian Westbrook and Priest Holmes went one and three in my league. Thanks guys. I hope you draft ahead of me again next year. Speaking of next year, unless some fluke career ending injury happens in the next week, only Alexander, Tomlinson and Larry Johnson should be considered as top three picks.

2. Defenses and Kickers are extremely underrated. Sure you don’t pick one until the last few rounds of the draft, but that is because it’s tough to tell what kind of season they are going to have. By mid season you should know. The key is bye weeks. People hate keeping a spot on their bench for kickers and defenses on bye weeks, so they drop them thinking they can pick up any old replacement. Bad move. I picked up Neil Rackers when someone dropped him mid season and I’m pretty sure I won a game or two because of it. Last year I got Pittsburgh’s D the same way and they scored an average of two touchdowns a game. Ok fine, maybe not that much, but it was a lot more than an other defense. If you have a top D or kicker, drop your fifth or sixth WR to make room for a substitute during bye week. You have a much better chance of picking him up again.

3. Don’t pick injury prone players early. Do pick backups to injury prone players in the late rounds when there is only garbage left. As I mentioned earlier, Priest Holmes went number three over all. I picked up his replacement Larry Johnson in one of the later rounds. Holmes struggled and then got hurt while Johnson scored the second most points in the league even though he only started half the games. I’m not saying that I’m some fortune telling genius, but the evidence doesn’t lie. Once Holmes went down I could have benched my whole team with the exception of the running backs and still won most games.

That’s all I have for now. Be grateful that I was willing to divulge those secrets.


Speaking of kickass teams, who’s going to see the Bears in Detroit this February?


I don’t think I’m going to get any more poker playing in this year, but there is home game tournament scheduled for the first weekend of the new year. From what I have heard there could be a pretty good turnout. Also, I am planning on doing some sort of year in review type post where I actually sit down and summarize my winnings/losses/tendencies/other things. I not get it done until next week though. Man I’m a slacker.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Poker Slowdown

Poker Slowdown

As I’ve mentioned a few times I started my new job this week.  Between getting up to speed there, and Christmasy activities, I haven’t done anything poker related in the past week, thus no poker related posts.  Sorry about that.  It looks like there are some pretty aggressive deadlines on the project I got assigned to at work, so that will likely eat into my poker time as well.  The posts are probably going to be few and far between in the next month or two.  You’ll just have to find some way to get by.  Be strong.  I know you can do it.

I had a week off before starting at the new place and I had laid out a few poker related goals just prior to that.  A few people have asked how that worked out, so let me give you a brief recap.

  • Play Ring Games for a Day.  I almost accomplished this.  Monday morning I played for a few hours, two tabling at $2/$4, but not with great results.  I broke for lunch and then played for about three or four more hours, making back some of my losses, but not a ton.  At that point I had to stop to go grocery shopping.  My wife had given me a huge list of tasks to do while I was on vacation.  She figured if I wasn’t going to be working for the man, then I should be working for her.  So the list ate into my poker time.  I’d bitch more, but by that time, as I predicted, I was starting to lose interest and focus, and stopping was probably a +EV move.  I did play a ton of ring games in short one or two hour spurts throughout the rest of the week though.  

  • Play Tournaments all Day.  I definitely got my tournament fix during the week, but I wasn’t able to dedicate a whole day to it.  Late Tuesday Night I entered a $10 rebuy on PokerRoom and one of the 180 player SNG’s on Stars, and I cashed in each.  I had also won a $5 MTT on Poker Champs over the previous weekend, although I think technically it was before I had laid out my goals for the week.  I had planned on dedicating Thursday to full out tournament play.  In the morning I entered another 180 SNG and one of FullTilt’s guaranteed tournaments.   I played ok in each, but not great and ended up finishing in the upper half of both, but well out of the money.  By that point I was satisfied with my results, but I could tell that I was stating to get impatient, and the thought of dedicating a few more hours to another few tournaments just wasn’t appealing any more.  

  • Finish Harrington.  I don’t know what my deal is with this.  I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book.  I feel that what I have read has certainly helped me, but for some reason I just can’t finish it.  I read a chapter, or maybe only half of a chapter, and I credit my cashes in the tournaments I mentioned above to thinking about what I read, but for some reason I still can’t motivate myself to finish it.

So that was that.  I’ll do my best to get some new posts up in the next few weeks, but I’m not promising anything.  Although FullTilt has another 50% reload bonus going, so I might have to try to take advantage of that.  


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Casino Night

Even though I don’t start on my new job until Monday, I was invited to their Christmas party last light. The theme was casino night. Hmmm tough sell. I guess I’ll go. If I have to.

There are two other guys who used to work for my old employer working at my new one. And one more who will be starting with me on Monday. For those of you scoring at home, that means there are twice as many ex-employees at my new company as there are employees at the old one. We had planned to meet up at one of the guy’s houses before the party to hang out for a bit and so that we could all arrive together, since some of us didn’t know anyone there.

Just before my wife and I were about to leave it started snowing. By the time we left it was all out blizzard conditions. It was the worst kind of snow. Big fat thick flakes so you couldn’t see ten feet in front of you covering everything with a slippery layer of sludge.

We pulled out of our neighborhood, and to a stoplight. Then BAM! Some kid plowed into the back of our car propelling us into car in front of us. Great. That’s just what I don’t need. Of coarse this is my wife’s car, our good car, that got hit. My car is a POS ’93 Oldsmobile that I’ve had since high school and taken shitty care of, but since wife usually takes the train to work, so I rarely have to drive it. And I’m a cheap bastard, so I’m not going to buy a new car until this one stops running. And it’s a stubborn SOB so it won’t die. Now I’m going to be forced to drive my car while hers is in the shop. Also, I have to wait here in the cold for the cops to show up and I’m going to be quite late to the holiday party if I make it all.

About 45 minutes later, the cops have finally finished writing up the accident (I certainly don’t envy them since we were probably the first of about 400 that they would have to write up that night) and it is still snowing a ton. I want to say it was pouring, or a torrential downpour, but I don’t think those descriptions apply to snow. Anyway it was really snowing. I was very close to just turning around and going home, but I wanted to meet some of me new coworkers, and plus there was the gambling that I always enjoy.

We missed the pre-party at my friend’s, but we were able to make it to the actual party at about the same time they did. When we first got there, we were given five raffle tickets to enter into drawings to win prizes such as an x-box, an iPod, a digital camcorder, an entertainment system, and some other stuff. I split my entries between the iPod and the entertainment system.

The dinner was nice. They had a variety of meats and pastas, and salads and drinks and things. Definitely like the free drinks, although I didn’t partake too much since I’d be driving home in a blizzard. Although my car was already messed up so what’s the worst that can happen? Kidding.

After dinner they announced the winners of the raffle and I managed to win the iPod, which my wife immediately claimed. The rest of the people booed me since I won one of the better prizes and I don’t even technically work there yet. Ha-ha. Suckers. That iPod means that I got more of a Christmas bonus at the company I haven’t started at yet than I did last year at the company I had been at for five years. Although I could have said the same about the fact that we had free drinks.

After that it was onto the casino. They had a number of blackjack tables, a couple poker tables, a roulette wheel, a big wheel of fortune looking wheel thing, and a game that looked a lot like craps, but apparently wasn’t.

My wife is not much of a gambler, so we went over to roulette, which is probably the easiest to explain and doesn’t really take much stategery. I think she hit her number on two of the three spins. Before I get ahead of myself, I want to point out that at every table I sat down on the dealer/operator didn’t know some of the rules. In this case, he claimed we could only bet ten chips on any spin of the wheel, and that was state law. Never mind the fact that we were playing with play chips. It wasn’t just ten on any number, which might make sense because it could break the bank if you hit, it was ten chips total on the board. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I’m pretty sure that the few time’s I’ve played roulette, you had to wager at least 10 on each spin. If you are at a $10 table and you have $1 chips that means you have to spend at least 10 of them. Anyway, we eventually lost our buy in as you are prone to do playing roulette, so we moved on.

I sat down at the blackjack table and my wife went to the spinning wheel of fortune thing. The blackjack dealer was old, and senile, and would have been much better served spinning the wheel thingy than having to play a game where you had use math. Now I’m not great at totally up the cards either, but it’s also not my job.

You know how when the dealer has a face card or ace showing, he will check to see if he has a blackjack before continuing with the hand? Well this guy kept doing that, and whenever he wouldn’t have a blackjack, he would turn over the cards, and start dealing them out to himself as if we had already played. Once or twice would have been fine, but he did it almost every time. He also paid out blackjacks at 2-1 instead of 3-2. Not that I’m complaining. He was a nice guy though, just not the best dealer.

My friend Noah was just about broke from blackjack, so he wandered over to the poker table where he figured he could make it back. I wasn’t going to play poker because when I walked by the table earlier they were explaining the ranks of hands to people. While I love poker, playing against people who have no idea what they are doing for play money is probably not going to be all that great of an experience. I’d be better served playing roulette. But, my wife abandoned me at the blackjack table, and a seat opened up for poker, so there I was.

In keeping with tradition, this dealer also didn’t quite know the rules. The blinds were last to act on all streets, not just preflop. And I had to correct him on a split pot situation when neither player’s kicker played. Sorry Noah. Other than that it was a typical loose passive game. I really wanted to gamboooool it up a bit, but I didn’t have a ton of chips, and I kept getting cards that were unsuited, added up to less than twelve, and had at least a two gap in between them. I wanted to wait for a monster to try to double up.

My “monster” came in the form of [Ks Td] and a flop of [Ts 4s 6s]. I lead out, and there was some raises, before Noah sitting on my right puts me all in. I think there were two or three other people still in the hand but I’m the short stack. I figured I have top pair, decent kicker and a draw to the second nut flush. Maybe no one has a flush yet, and if they do, maybe no one has the ace and I have outs. And if no one has the flush, I do have top pair, so maybe no one else will improve later on. Right? Lets gamboool. [2s] comes on the turn and I win the pot. I’m sure there was betting after I was all in, but somehow I won those chips too. It probably wasn’t worth the effort to build a side pot. I gave Noah a handful of chips since I had just taken all of his and we kept playing.

Eventually Noah and I had taken almost all of the chips on the table, and were down to four handed poker. Then Tracy, I think that’s name, who will be my new project manager, stopped by to do a team bonding success celebration shot. Apparently last year her team had just finished a huge project before the party and did a number of group shots in celebration. In keeping with tradition we would do one this year too. Except the bartender wouldn’t do shots. I think last years celebration got a little carried away and that had something to do with it. Tracy talked the organizer into letting us do shots just this once. Of coarse they didn’t have shot glasses so we did a tumbler full. I’m going to like my new team.

There were some other drunken foolishness, but since I don’t really know the people that well, I think I’ll hold off on commenting for a while. Besides this post has grown quite long and I’d be surprised if anyone is still reading. Plus it’s almost time for football, so I have to wrap this up.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mmmmm Cheeeese

Mmmm Cheese

I spent $75 on cheese this afternoon.

That’s right, $75.

See, I had to order these cheese knives for my wife’s aunt’s Christmas present, and the site I ordered from also had this cheese that we had in Spain a few years ago that my wife really liked. So I ordered some of that too.

So the total came to like $35. Now shipping costs a ton, because they would only ship fancy two day express uber shipping. Some crap about keeping the cheese fresh or something. I don't know. But if I would spend $75 then shipping would be free. So I either had to spend $55ish for $35 worth of cheese, or for a mere $20 more, I could get $75 worth of cheese. That’s how they get you. Bastards.

So yeah. That’s a lot of cheese.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Qauds on Board

Here's something you don't see everyday.

I'm dealt [ A A ] under the gun. Ok fine, I do get aces every once in while, so it's not all that extraordinary.

Great I thought, I really needed a premium hand as I was not doing so great this session. I bet and get four or five callers. Not so great. This is how aces meet their demise more often than not. Fold jerks. Except one or maybe two of you. You two can pay me off.

Flop is [ T T T ]. Now on the one hand, that's pretty good, I just flopped a full house. On the other hand, the way it seems my luch has been running someone else has the other ten. I bet only getting one caller. I guess I should have checked to let someone else draw into a worse full house, but I figured anyone with a high kicker might stay in.

The turn, and I would have to think this is pretty rare, is the other ten, giving us a board of [ T T T ] [ T ]. Now I'm glad I bet last hand, because I'm going to have to split this with any other clown who has an ace and hopefully I chased them away. I bet and he calls as expected.

River is a meaningless 5 and he turns over [ 8 8 ] after calling my bet.

Yeah it sucks when you flop a full house and then you lose the hand anyway, but how do you not realize that the fourth ten counterfeited your hand? How do you call a bet from the guy who raised or bet every street when all you have is an 8 kicker? What I could I possibly have raised with UTG that he can beat? 77? 23s?

Not that I didn't appreciate it, and not that I’m perfect, but the bad choices some people seem to make continually amaze me.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

High Stakes Poker on GSN

So I got this what I would normally consider spam email this afternoon from the Executive directory of publicity for the Game Show Network.  I’m not really sure why I received it.  Looking at the list of recipients are some of highest profile bloggers out there and how I managed to get grouped in with them I’ll never know.  I almost deleted the email without reading because they are almost always garbage, but then I realized it was actually legitimate and the content something you, the reader of this blog may also want to see.  So, even though its not normally the type of thing I do, here is Press Release from GSN.    For those of you not interested in a commercial about a new poker show, I’ll try to have something better up tomorrow.



Millions Of Dollars Of The Player’s Own Money Are At Stake As The First ‘CASH GAME’ on Television Debuts

Legends Doyle Brunson And Johnny Chan Are Joined By Rising Stars,
Cash Game Specialists And Elite Businessmen
Such as Lakers Owner Dr. Jerry Buss

AJ Benza and Gabe Kaplan Call the Action in Biggest Cash Game in Town
Beginning January 16 at 9 PM

(Santa Monica, CA) – GSN is bringing viewers the first true cash game of poker on television with a $100,000 minimum buy-in. Unlike other poker shows where the most players can lose is their initial buy-in of up to $10,000, the stars on GSN’s newest series, HIGH STAKES POKER, have millions of their own cash at stake and will win and lose several hundred thousand dollars. HIGH STAKES POKER premieres Monday, January 16 at 9 PM ET/PT.  

“High Stakes Poker is groundbreaking in that it is the first-ever look into the biggest private no limit Hold ’em cash games in town,” said Rich Cronin, President and CEO of GSN.  “This show is intense because players are winning and losing hundreds of thousands of their own dollars on single hands.”

The new hour long series features players from diverse backgrounds from all over the world.  From the legends, to cash game players, to the young superstars that have been featured on “The World Series of Poker,” HIGH STAKES POKER is going to be the first ever cash game that viewers will see the ‘true’ game of poker.

Legends of the poker world are joined by elite poker playing businessmen in the 13-episode series recently taped at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  

The all-star line up features:
  • Doyle Brunson --considered by many the greatest poker player of all-time.

  • Johnny Chan --tied with Doyle for the most all-time World Series of Poker bracelets, 10.

  • Barry Greenstein --legendary cash game player.

  • Phil Hellmuth --one of the most recognized and successful players in the world.

  • Daniel Negreanu --2004 Player of the Year.

  • Dr. Jerry Buss --Los Angeles Lakers owner.

  • Jennifer Harman – the only woman professional who competes in the highest cash games in the world on a daily basis.

  • Ted Forrest --five World Series of Poker bracelets.

  • Bob Stupak --one of the most legendary entrepreneurs in Las Vegas.

  • Antonio Esfandiari – A magician and the youngest ever to win over $1 million in a tournament.

  • Eli Elezra --cashed in 12 World Series of Poker events since 1999, owns several Las Vegas retail stores and partner in a construction company.

  • Todd Brunson --one of the top cash game players, son of Doyle.

  • Sean Sheikhan – “Sheiky” a high stakes cash game player and businessman.

  • Dr. Amir Nasiri --successful Las Vegas physician.

  • Freddy Deeb –a career poker playing professional, recently won $1 million at a WPT tournament in Aruba.

  • Daniel Alaei --up and coming star, who’s cashed in several tournaments and won the Heavenly Hold’em tournament at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.

  • Mimi Tran --ranks in the top 10 among women on the WSOP all-time leading money list.

  • Fred Chamanara --Chicago restaurant owner.

  • Sam Farha --professional who specializes in high stakes cash games and was the runner up to Chris Moneymaker in 2003 World Series of Poker.

The cash game has been called the true version of poker due to the fact that players are allowed to buy-in and continue playing with more money if they lose their initial buy-in of $100,000.  The chips on the table represent actual dollars compared to chips in a tournament that don’t equal the actual value of what is bet. The intensity is taken to a higher level when someone raises $50,000 or $100,000 which is more than the average American’s yearly salary in one hand.

Henry Orenstein of HSOR, L.L.C. serves as the Executive Producer of HIGH STAKES POKER.  Mr. Orenstein invented the in-table cameras that give the viewers at home the ability to see the player’s hole cards.  This innovation is credited for paving the way for the explosion of poker’s popularity on television.

“For the first time ever in the history of poker on television, viewers will see players playing with very large amounts of their own money,” said Orenstein.  “This is what makes it exciting, the players can win huge pots that are worth nearly a half million dollars on a single card.”

Calling the high stakes action at the tables are two newcomers to GSN, AJ Benza and Gabe Kaplan.  Benza will host the series and Kaplan, the former star of “Welcome Back Kotter” and a world class poker player, provides the analysis.  Benza has hosted a variety of television shows and has appeared in movies including “Ransom,” “Conspiracy Theory,” and “The Deli”.  He is best known as one of the most controversial New York columnists in the 1990’s as well as an author who published his memoirs, “Fame, Ain’t It a Bitch”.

Kaplan has previously provided analysis for the “World Series of Poker” and the “National Heads-Up Poker Challenge.”  In addition to his hit television series, Kaplan is a successful stand up comedian and has starred in feature films, “Fast Break,” “Tulips,” and “Nobody’s Perfect.”

In addition to the play at the tables, HIGH STAKES POKER will also include a look at the players behind the scenes.  It will include a look at Doyle Brunson’s lifestyle, going with Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss to a game and traveling with Barry Greenstein to be a speaker at Michigan State about being a professional poker player.  Each episode will also feature a behind the scenes look at one of the players away from the poker room.

GSN, the Network for Games, is the only U.S. television network dedicated to game-related programming.  For further media information, visit GSN’s press website at

--GSN --

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Drunk Mike > Sober Mike

Apparently Drunk Mike is a better poker player than Sober Mike.   Sober Mike has been getting his ass kicked playing ring games for the past week or two.  Drunk Mike decided to play a $5 MTT on PokerChamps a few days ago and came in first out of 38.  Drunk Mike returned tonight to play in a 180 SNG on PokerStars and a $10+1 rebuy on PokerRoom.  Drunk Mike came in 14th in the SNG paying out $43.  Drunk Mike also cashed in the $10 rebuy, placing 13th out of 299 for $55.20.    

Apparently Drunk Mike also enjoys blogging in the third person.  

Unfortunately, one of the problems with playing while intoxicated is that I don’t really remember enough details to do a decent play by play recap.  

I can tell you that in the SNG, I was stuck around average stack for most of the tournament, doubling up in key situations when my stack got low.  I was also able to steal the blinds and antes pretty effectively in the later stages.  In the final hand I went all in with wired tens and had two callers.  One had my other two tens and the other guy had AK.  Both an Ace and a King came on the flop, so we were just about drawing dead.

In the rebuy I got QQ twice and AK once in the first five hands, which helped me start off pretty well.  I played real tight after that and let the monkeys knock each other out.  I drifted down below average as we started to approach the bubble, and I couldn’t get any cards I felt I could play.  I didn’t think I’d make it but pocket kings allowed me to double up at just the right time, and then I was able to start using my chips to steal pots more effectively.

One move that worked well in both tournaments was the reraise all-in after an early position min-raise.  Stealing those extra chips really helped, and I’m happy to say that all night was able to avoid making minimum raises from early position, so I didn’t put myself in that situation.  When the blinds start getting real high, you have to be willing make more than a minimum raise if you want to play a hand.  You can’t afford to show weakness and then have to fold when some one comes over the top of you.  Make a decent sized raise or fold.  Stealing the blinds and antes is often better than getting called and having to risk missing the flop.

Now that I think back on it, I’m not too pleased with how I went out in the rebuy tournament.  I was short stacked, and opted to push with A9o from early position.  The blinds were going to cripple me so I felt like if I didn’t push then I might not be able to force anyone out of a hand again.  I got called by 99 and didn’t improve.  Probably should have waited.  

I was able to make the money twice tonight, now I need to work on not just getting to the money, but making it to the final table, where the payouts start rapidly increasing.  Sure doubling my buy in is nice, but there are probably easier ways to do that than playing poker three hours.   On the other hand, I’ve been pretty frustrated with my tournament play recently and being able to outlast a fairly large field definitely feels good.  I really needed something like this to get my tournament confidence back.
On a somewhat related note, 299 players turned out to be perfect.  One more and the top thirty would have been paid, meaning less of a payout for those of us that finished in the 11-20 range.  And the rebuys padding the prize pool didn’t hurt either.


Sunday, December 04, 2005


I have a week off before I start my new job. I guess I could call this a vacation although since I don’t really have a job right now I think I’m technically unemployed. Either way I have week off, and not a whole lot to do since everyone else I know has the crazy “work” thing going on during the week. What’s up with that? So I’ll have some free time on my hands which should be nice. Among the other things I have planned there are a few poker related goals for the week that I guess I’ll fill you in on.

Play ring games all day. While I may have mentioned a desire to become a professional poker player some day, I don’t really see that as being a realistic goal. I would however like to try it out for a day just to see how I like it. I also have some unclaimed bonuses to finish, so what better way to take care of them than just sitting down for a day and pounding them out? In all honesty I don’t think I’ll make it for a full day. I’m guessing that I’ll get bored or frustrated, or I’ll notice myself losing focus to the point where it no longer makes sense monetarily to keep playing. I usually play in increments of an hour or maybe two, so I don’t see myself lasting much longer than that. Still, I’d like to live through a day in the life of an internet poker pro.

Play tourneys all day. Yes this is similar to the other goal, but as long as I don’t get knocked out of a number of tournaments real early I think I could do this one. I would like to play big tournaments more often, but I rarely have the time needed to finish them. I would say you should expect any tournament with more than 50 players to take at least three hours, and I don’t have very many blocks of free time that are three hours long. So I’d like to take a day and see if how I can do playing in some big tournaments. Of course playing during the day means that there probably won’t be as many other participants, but I think I should be able to finds enough to keep me busy. I’m especially interested in the 180 SNGs at PokerStars, and the various $26 guaranteed tournaments at FullTilt. My no limit game isn’t the sharpest at the moment, but I’d like to at least make a final table or two.

Finish Harrington on Hold’em. I started Harrington last summer, but for some reason I never got around to finishing it. It’s somewhat ironic that when I first started playing poker I played no limit tournaments and all of the books I read focused on limit ring games, and now that I primarily play limit ring games I started reading a book that focuses no limit tournament strategy. I need to finish reading this, and I have the time this week to do it, so I hopefully I can do it.

So that’s how my week is shaping up. It’s going to be rough. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get through.


Tourney Win

I finally won an online multi table tournament.

So what if it was on PokerChamps, which deserves consideration for the "worst players in the history of online poker" award?

And so what if there were only 36 players?

And so what if it was only a $5 tourney?

And so what if I was pretty drunk through most of it?

I still won and I've been needing a win like this pretty badly.

I wish I had some exciting plays to relate, but as I mentioned, I'm pretty drunk so I haven't really been paying attention. For the most part I managed to get cards when I needed them, and stay out of trouble when I didn't have cards. I don't think I ever had to put all my chips in. I was the chip leader when we were down to 8 players at the final table, and got to play some big stack poker, which is always fun.

The heads up battle was longer than any other I have been in, but I'm pretty happy with how I played. I don't consider myself to be a good heads up player, but I feel like I dominated this guy. We both had plenty of chips in relation to the blinds, and he was way too timid. He folded pre flop a lot, and also opted to fold rather than check a few times after the flop. I made one bad call where I doubled him up, but fortunetly I had such a huge lead at the time and was able to recover.

I guess the cool thing to do now is to post screenshots of your victories, so here it is:

go me.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Back at PokerRoom

I had a late volleyball game last night.  Since volleyball is an hour away from my house, and work is halfway in between, I stayed late and got in a few hours of poker.  Let me just say that after basically staring at a computer screen for eight hours straight I found it really tough to focus on the poker tables.  It wasn’t that my concentration was off, or that I couldn’t think about poker, it was more that just that my eyes couldn’t focus on the screen any more.  Not that it stopped me from playing; it was just somewhat of a struggle.  

I was planning on playing at FullTilt, where I usually play these days, and where I’m trying to finish off a reload bonus, but their servers were down.  This actually worked out well for me though because the reload bonus period for PokerRoom was about to expire, so I was able to deposit there and start on another bonus.  I’m becoming quite the little bonus whore these days.  I think moving up in limits helps that because I can actually claim the bonuses in the allotted time period.

Anyway, its been a while since I’ve played at PokerRoom, and one of the things that kept getting me was the fact that the avatars are constant.  For the past two or three months I’ve played almost entirely at FullTilt or PokerStars where you can either have your very own unique avatar, or choose one from a pretty decent sized list.  So what was the problem?  Well at those sites, it is considerably easier to recognize players, especially when they are multi-tabling.  You see the same icons, on different tables and you can recognize the players.  On PokerRoom I was playing two tables and there were three other players that were also on both.  But I had a hard time getting a read on them because they looked different on each table.  Player x was the drunk business man on one table and the stripper on the other and I was having a hard time associating the tendencies of one with the other.  Yeah I know they still have the same name, and I have my PokerTracker stats to compare them too, but I still found it difficult.

So besides that the actual poker play went not so well.  I couldn’t do anything right.  It was like the software was programmed to inflict the maximum level of frustration possible in the designated time period.  My big pocket pairs wouldn’t hold up, my big aces would never get a piece of the flop, I’d hit top pair in a big blind special only to lose on the turn or river.  And the jackass calling station who had a VP$IP of over 70 kept winning.  

I’m not usually prone to tilting.  I don’t mind a bad beat or two, knowing that in the long run I’ll come out ahead in situations.  And I can live with losing sessions, as long as I’m playing well.  What usually gets me though is losing a number of hands that I feel I should have won after I’m already down a lot.  The following sequence of hands put me over the edge.  First I have big slick and raise it up, getting one caller.  The luckbox calling stating I mentioned earlier.  Flop is rags, ten high.  He checks, I bet, he calls.  Turn is another rag.  Check, bet, call.  River doesn’t help me either.  He checks and I also check.  He has a wired eights.  Next hand, I have wired sevens, and call.  Luckbox is in the BB and is the only one to join me for the flop.  Its rags but they don’t help me.  He checks, I bet, he calls.  Turn, same thing, Check, Bet, Call.  River is an ace, and we both check.  Sound familiar?  This time he has A6o.  The very next hand I get QQ and think to myself finally, a chance to win some chips back.  The guy before me raises, I three bet and he caps.  Excellent.  I just hope he doesn’t have kings or aces.  Flop is king high and we end up capping it again.  Hmmm.  I don’t like where this is going.  The turn and river don’t help me, and I just call his bets and he shows AK.   Losing any one of those three hands would have been fine on their own, but losing all three in a row, when I was already down a bunch didn’t make me a happy camper.  What really gets to me is getting beaten with hands that I just lost with a minute ago.  At least I was doing ok on the other table.

Speaking of the other table, just as I was about to call it a night, I found myself with a beautiful pair of aces under the gun.  The betting is capped three ways pre-flop.  The flop is queen high and I lead out, and get immediately raised.  The other guy drops and we cap the betting again.  Nothing on the turn and when I bet he raises again.  At this point I figure he has QQ and just call.  River doesn’t help but again I bet.  Even though I’m pretty sure he has QQ, its also reasonable that he has AQ, or KK and I always seem to let aggressive betting scare me into checking the river when I have the best hand.  Of course he does have the queens, and I decide I should probably stop playing now before I do some serious damage to my laptop.


In other news, our volleyball team won its first game last night.  We still lost the match, but at least we got rid of that goose egg on the standings.  Never mind the fact that they only had four players and that we should have easily won all three games.  

I somehow managed to hurt my knee.  It felt fine while we were playing, but by the time I got home it stiffened up and I couldn’t bend it or put much weight on it.  It feels a lot better today as long as I don’t have to go up or down any stairs.  I’m going to have to get some of those stupid looking volleyball knee pads.  


Oh, and I don’t know if anyone cares, but PokerRoom has a magazine that they put out.  It’s nothing great, but as far as I know it’s free so who am I to complain?   I think if you log into your account on their website and go to the personal settings tab of your account page there is an option to have them send you the magazine.  Although maybe the option to receive the magazine is selected by default because I certainly never signed up for it and I get it.