Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Monday, January 30, 2006

Travel Channel to Air Professional Poker Tour

The WPT has created a poker circuit comparable to golf's PGA tour. The Travel Channel will be airing the events which will feature the top 200 players in invitation only events. This will make sure they have know players at their final tables which will theoretically make for better TV. According to the article there will be 44 weeks worth of WPT and PPT programming on the Travel Channel next year. Between this, and the WSOP circuit, GSN's high stakes game, and the crapload of other large tournaments around, I don't think poker players are going to get many days off.


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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Fun With Search Terms

Fun with search terms.

I’ve seen some other people post about some of the more unusual things that people search for in order to end up at their site.  I figured I’d have a look at my logs and see if I was getting massive hits on some obscure term.   The answer is pretty much no, although I did find a few interesting results

I Hate TicketMaster”.  It seems I’m not alone on this.  Maybe I should form a club or something so we could have some community outlet to vent our TicketMaster frustrations.  Remember in the mid 90s when Pearl Jam accused TicketMaster of monopolistic practices but then lost their case when they planned a tour without using TicketMaster?  Then they ended up canceling most of the tour anyway.  Yeah, I went to the last show on that tour at Milwaukee’s Summerfest.  And I got my ticket though TicketMaster.  Ironic huh?  Anyway, TicketMaster sucks and I wish there was some other company to compete with them and help limit some of their ridiculous fees.  Someone really ought to try to break them up again.

“Cubs Suck”.  I’ve had a number of people stumble across this blog looking for confirmation of the fact that the Cubs suck.  I can only assume that it is some mentally challenged Cardinals or White Sox fan (redundant I know) trying to find evidence to back up his perception of the Chicago National League ball club.  You know, as much as I hate the Cardinals or the Packers, or Duke or Notre Dame, I don’t think the thought has ever crossed my mind to search the internet for like minded people.  And I’m not talking about your average run of the mill hatred.  I truly despise those teams, and take great joy in their misfortunes.  Still, I’ve never searched for “such-and-such team sucks”.  What’s the point?  Are you looking for stats to back up your claim?  To those of you that stumbled across this blog looking for evidence of the Cub’s suckiness I say kiss my ass.  We all know the Cubs suck. They always have and they always will.  You don’t need the some website to tell you that.  Now worry about your own damn team, because I’m pretty sure they also suck.  Except for that whole winning of the division and/or World Series thing.

"Jennifer Tilly Nude". I’ve received a couple variations on this search which means that my plan is working.  Pretty soon I’ll have the number one ranked site for tricking people into thinking they might get to see a famous actress/poker player in the buff.  Suckers.

I also get a bunch of hits for people looking for Poker Nerd’s SNG strategy.  I’m not sure why.  You could try Poker Nerd’s Site.  He can probably explain his strategy better than I.  

I get a fair amount of hits looking for poker spreadsheets as well.  For the past year I’ve used an excel spreadsheet that Chris Halverson put together, and I highly recommend it.  Its great for tracking your progress, and bankroll management, especially if you play at multiple sites.  He talks about it here, and has a permanent download page here.


Sunday, January 22, 2006

PokerTracker Postgres Conversion

I converted my PokerTracker database to Postgres this afternoon.  It’s something that I have been meaning to do for quite a while, but I figured it would end up being a huge pain in the ass, that would only end up getting me pissed off.  I also figured it would take a while and I would have to baby sit it and with the choice between trying to mess around with database conversion issues, and just playing poker, the playing poker part won.

My laptop is three years old and quite well used.  It’s also starting to flake out on me and I fear that it is approaching the end of its days.  I’ve been trying to offload as much important information from it as possible in the eventual event that it decides it is no longer going to act as a functioning machine.  So today I moved my poker data to my linux box.  The process was surprising simple.  It took all of one command and a button push or two and then I just let it do its thing.  It took over two hours, but I didn’t have to baby sit the process as I had feared.  It just chugged away inserting data into my new database.  I observed some FullTilt tables to do some data mining after the fact and didn’t notice any significant performance issues one way or the other.  So if you have been thinking about converting to Postgres but you’re worried about how it will work, I’d say just do it, its pretty painless.   Instructions for doing so can be found here, and the general PokerTracker Postgres support forum is here.


Bears Free Sunday

Bears Free Sunday.

Not having the Bears to watch really frees up a good portion of my weekend.  I used that time to not money in a $10+1 on FullTilt.  I always question the notion that the players are significantly different on one site than another, but comparing the two tournaments I played this weekend, I’d have to say that FullTilt’s players quite different than the one’s on Stars.  They push hard early and often. There’s not much use in bluffing them because they’ll call preflop with 93o and then think their hand is good when a three hits on the flop.  The other side of this is that they will pay you off when you make a hand.  

For the most part the early stages of this tournament is an exercise in watching horrible players pick each other off.  Its insane the amount of all-ins I saw.  There’s not much use in trying to get a read on your tablemates because chances are they’ll be gone in a hand or two.  

One play that I made early on that I was kind of proud of saw me calling a larger than usual pre-flop raise with wired tens.  One other player called.  The flop was 883 and the original raiser goes all in.  Now, I was real close to folding this hand.  This is a hand that I usually get in trouble with.  I’ve hung myself by betting in to larger pairs with pocket tens on more than one occasion.  But this time he acted first and bet way more than what any normal player would consider reasonable.  Ultimately I decide that if he has a higher pair than me, he is going to slowplay it rather than chase people out of the pot.  I call and find out I’m right when he turns over AQ.  The turn and river don’t help him, and I double up.

From there on I played pretty solid, chipping up gradually, and winning a few big pots.  I was around the average chip stack for most of the way.

I then decided to throw it away in three hands.  Down to 54 out of 305 players, top 36 pay.  10 minutes till the second break and I’m in the small blind with A9o.  The dealer limps and I try to chase him away with a 3x BB raise.  I been stealing the player to my lefts blind often and I expected him to fold.  Unfortunately both called.  The dealer had played just about every hand for the last hour so it was tough to put him on hand.  The flop didn’t help me and I checked, not wanting to risk more chips in a three way pot.    BB also checks and dealer min bets.  I call.   I also check call the turn and river.  He wasn’t showing strength and the bet was so small compared to the pot that I figured I could call and see what happens.  I should have raised or folded, but I was afraid that he’d come over the top of me if I raised and it seemed so cheap to call.  A few hands later another steal attempt got blocked when I was called and I missed the flop.  I finally went out when I went all in pre-flop with K7.  I got called by the tourney chip leader.  He had 77 and caught the case seven on the flop.  My thought at the time was that I had to win some blinds before they got to me, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to scare anyone off a pot again.  Oh well.  


Saturday, January 21, 2006


I almost accomplished one of my poker goals for this year, but I came up just short. We were pretty even when we got down to three players but I went on the most brutal run of bad cards in the history of poker, and could hardly defend my blinds. The only thing that saved me was that I folded so much they had to respect my bluffs. The most frustrating thing was that the other two players kept putting each other all in and the one with the fewer chips kept winning. When we finally got down to heads up play he had over 200K and I had 50K. I didn't last very long after that.

Early on in the tournament I tried real hard not to get into big pots with anything less than the nuts. One of my big problems in these things is that I play too fast early on and get myself into trouble when I don't make a hand. I one a few relatively large pots early on, but not as big as they could have been since I didn't want to bite off more than I could chew. I hovered around the middle of the pack for most of the first hour.

About halfway through the second hour, I was starting to get worried as the blinds were increasing but my chip count was not. Then I got AA and had a short stack go all in ahead of me. I called and then had another player go all in behind me. My aces held up. I won another large hand after that and all of the sudden I was in the chip lead.

I lost my chip lead shortly after when someone at another table must have tripled or quadrupled up. I was never lower than fifth in chips after that though. Ok that's a lie, I made one bad play where I called an all in with my A9. I had middle pair and figured there was a good chance he was bluffing, and if not, I still have plenty of chips. He had top pair, and berated me for my poor call. I doubled him up, I don't know what his problem was. Although I watched him after our table split up and he did that to everyone. It actually became somewhat amusing. Anyway I won the hand after that to reclaim my spot near the top.

Nothing else major to report. I got to play some big stack poker which is always fun. Its nice to know that anyone at your table can double up through you and you can still have plenty of chips. It makes bluffing a lot less stressful.

So, this tournament turns my crappy January poker performance back into the black. It is also the most I have won in any one tournament, and the highest I've placed in a tournament with more than 50 players so I'm feeling pretty good. Go me.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

I’m going to pull an Iggy and do a little shameless plugging of a poker room.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll let you know what’s in it for me first.  I’m an affiliate for a new poker site and they are having a little promotion among affiliates.  Basically the people who get the most new sign ups this month get an increase in commission payments as well as free merchandise (a T-shirt and cards).  I didn’t think I’d have much of a chance at this, but right now it doesn’t look like anyone has gotten very many people to sign up, so with a little help from my friends, maybe I could win something.  That’s where you come in.  You know you want to try out a new site.  I can tell.  

Actually, it’s not really all that new.  It’s a PokerRoom skin, it shares the same player base and the software is identical.  Personally, I like the site.  It’s not quite on the same level as FullTilt or PokerStars, but after those two it would be my next choice.  

Now, the important part.  What’s in it for you?  Well, for starters, sign up using this link, or bonus code POKERWORDS and you get a fat 100% deposit bonus, up to $100.  

But wait, there’s more! Deposit before January 22, and you are eligible for a 2000 player free roll, with the winner getting an entry into the 2006 WSOP Main Event.   How can you pass that up?  


In other news, have you tried GamesGrid poker yet?  Me neither.  It looks cool, but the lack of PokerTracker support has stopped me from trying it out.  They do have a 1000% deposit bonus promotion which unfortunately they are stopping on the 20th.   I dropped $50 in this evening and I think I now have a year to claim my $500 bonus.  They release it incrementally, so if I only get halfway there, oh well, 250 free dollars is nothing to complain about.  


Ok, enough of the shameless promotions.  I promise I have a couple of good posts that I’m working on, and I’ll hopefully get them up soon.  



Sunday, January 15, 2006

Playoff Reaction

You would think someone could have cued the Bears defense into the fact that they had a game today.

Any time they want to make a play is fine by me.

If you had told me that the Bears offense was going to score 21 points I would have guaranteed a win.

Hey look Steve Smith just gained another 30 yards.

As much as the offense sucked in the first half, they kept the Bears in the game and if the defense had played anywhere near at the level they are capable of this would have been an easy win. Other than Smith the panther’s offense is not anything to brag about and you would think the Bears could have stopped them every once in a while.

I guess it could be worse. I could be a Colts fan. At least they legitimately expected their team to win a Superbowl.


Snapping Out of it.

I think I’m snapping out of whatever poker suckiness I had gotten myself into.  It started last weekend when I thought I played pretty well in our home game tournament.  I lost a few coin flips at the end that prevented me from cashing, but overall I played pretty well.  I didn’t do so well in the second game but my early exit allowed me to get home at a reasonable hour.

Since I had planned on playing pretty late that night, I fired up a few tables on PokerRoom once I got home.  I played a ring game where I continued my losing ways, although just barely.  I also played a short handed SNG which I won.  

Later in the week I played a few SNG’s on Stars, cashing in the first two and ending up in fifth in the last one.  In all three I felt like I was making good decisions and reads, so I’m starting to feel more confident about my play.  

This morning, I broke my losing ring game streak as I was able to quit while I was ahead on both tables that I was playing.  

So hopefully I’m cured, and I can start playing with confidence again.  I think moving to Stars really helped as their tournament structure seems to work a lot better for me.  I don’t know if the blinds increase by smaller amounts, in larger time intervals, but Stars pace seems to work much better for me. I’m too lazy to look up the exact blind schedules on the two sites, but I always feel like I’m playing catch up in PokerRoom’s tournaments.  Even when I lose a big pot early on Stars I’m usually comfortable and I don’t feel pressured to try to double up right away.   Maybe its just psychological, but I really think I do better on Stars.  

The other thing that I think helps is that I haven’t been bonus chasing this last week.  I think when I’m trying to reach a certain number of hands to earn a bonus I tend to play more often than I should, and I make poor decisions that I wouldn’t normally make.  And when I’m playing poorly I tend to keep playing because I want to reach a certain number of hands, rather than just stopping and playing another time when I’m less tilty.   Of coarse that’s not going to stop me from chasing bonuses, I just have to be more careful when I do it.  


Friday, January 13, 2006

Playoff Predictions

Bears Defense . . . . . 42
Bears Offense . . . . . 17
Panthers Team . . . . . 03

Bring on Seattle.


Props for Noah

So, my friend Noah is upset that I didn't give him enough props last week for playing well in our monthly tournament, and busting me in the second game.

So congratulations Noah. Way to get good cards in the big blind when I decided to push. I'm pretty sure that any one else at that game would have busted me in that same situation but you deserve credit for being in the right place at the right time. Good job. Way to hustle. We're all really impressed. No really. Me especially.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

January Tournament Summary

January Tournament Summary.

After a six month or so hiatus, our monthly tournament resumed tonight.  Even though we were missing a fair amount of our regulars, we still managed 25 players which is the most we’ve ever had.  Pretty soon we are going to start having to rent out space to fit everyone.  

I wish I had some exciting stories and hands to relate about how I won yet another live tournament, but alas, tonight was not my night.  


Game number one had 25 participants.  We started with $T550 and blinds at 5/10.    Thing started out real well.  I was the small blind first hand, and I was dealt the hammer.  It folded to me, and my raise to $T30 forced the big blind to fold.  I figured that was a good omen, but unfortunately I really didn’t do much in this game.  I would win a few small pots here and there, and lose some blinds and more or less stay at the same chip count that I started at.

When we condensed down to two tables with 16 players remaining, I still had around $T600 and the blinds were up to 50/100.  I wasn’t too worried, since I figured I could double up fairly easily, as people tended to be a little too loose with their all-ins.  I just had to be patient enough.  I also had the Shmoo to my left.  Somehow he had lucked himself into the chip lead and I was fairly certain that I could get a bunch of chips from him.  I’ve talked about Shmoo before.  He’s nearly impossible to read.   I’ve seen him check-call with the absolute nuts, and also call a huge bet on the river with a busted flush draw and nothing else.  The randomness of his play would be brilliant if I thought that he was doing it on purpose, but I really think that he has no clue what he was doing.  There were certainly other players who I would rather not have that many chips.  Him I didn’t mind.  

First hand at the new table and I’m dealt big slick.  I raise to $T300  and Shmoo calls.   One of the blinds comes over the top, and I end up all in.  As does Shmoo.  This is one of those rare times when Shmoo’s play actually corresponds to the hand he has, as he turns over wired jacks.   The blind had a pair of nines.  The flop was no help to anyone, 2, 3, 5.  The turn gave me my ace, and I was going to triple up.  Until the river brought a four to complete the straight on the board and create a three way chop.  Boo.

Nothing else exciting until we were down to eight players and the final table.   Shmoo was still in, as was Noah, Chris, a new guy named Mike, Jim, some girl whose name I don’t remember, and I guess two other people who I’ve forgotten about. I had made it up to over $T1000 but I was currently at $T670ish and the blinds were up to 100/200.  I saw a free flop in the big blind with T3o.  The flop was garbage, something like 37x.  It checked around and the board paired on the turn.  I went all in with my fancy bottom two pair, and Shmoo was nice enough to call with absolutely nothing.  The very next hand I limped from the small blind with J9s and caught a nine on the flop. Again it checked around, and this time the turn gave me a third nine.  All of the sudden I was up to around $T3600.  And I don’t want to hear it if that doesn’t add up right.  There may have been a few other hands in there before I remember counting my chips.  Somehow I was the chip leader.  

We were down to six players and the blinds were up to 150/300, and I was feeling pretty good about my chances.  Until I again ended up all in with big slick, although this time it was suited.  I was all-in pre flop against Chris who had wired jacks and Mike who had ATs.  Mike hit his flush to triple up. I was pretty much crippled after that and went all in with Q9s out of the big blind.  Mike put me out of my misery when he called with the AJ of my suit.  Neither one of us improved and I was done.  Mike took my chips and went on to win the whole thing.  

And I guess it had to happen sooner or later, but miracle of miracles, Shmoo actually made the money, coming in fourth place.   We should all be ashamed of ourselves.  Other than that, I was reasonably happy with how I played in that one, even if I didn’t make any money playing.  Can’t win them all I guess.


Game number two went considerably worse for me.  21 people stuck around for it, and I think I exited in 18th place or so.  Blinds were at 15/30 when I had A8o.  I tend to play a much different strategy in the second game, usually loosening up a lot and trying to see a bunch more flops.   And we were down to six people at our table, so I figured my A8 might very well be good and raised to 60.  Everyone else folded except Noah who called out of the big blind.  The flop was AK6 and he lead out for 100.  I’m thinking that his bet was a little large, trying to scare me out of the pot.  It wasn’t, but for this game it seemed bigger than most people would bet.  I also thought he didn’t think I had and ace and was trying to represent one himself to protect his blind.  He’s a pretty conservative player, so I figured my reraise all-in would make him reconsider and fold.  He cursed me out for raising him and called anyway, turning over AQ and I’m out.  That’s why you don’t play medium aces.

Hopefully this event will once again become a monthly occurrence and next month will work out better for me.

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

2006 - Not so Good

2006 hasn’t exactly started out as planned.  I’ve been playing a lot a PokerRoom.  They have this promotion going where for every 100 player points you earn, between Dec 27th and Jan 8th you get a raffle ticket for a drawing where the top prize is a ticket to the 2006 WSOP main event.  Do you like how I don’t tell you about the promotion until it’s almost over?   I don’t need you jerks playing there and earning raffle tickets and thus decreasing my odds of winning. Sorry suckers.  Better luck next year.

So anyway, the way things have been going, it might just have been cheaper to buy my way into the main event directly.  My bankroll has pretty much taken a nose dive. I’ve been playing a variety of ring games and SNG’s and nothing has been working.  Well, I take that back.  I did win a $5 short handed SNG which paid out a fat $17 or so.  In the first week of this year I already surpassed my number of last place finishes for all of last year.  Rock.  

I don’t think I’ve been playing all that poorly in the ring games.  I’ve found myself making a few stupid mistakes, but nothing out of the ordinary.  I think more often than not the cards just aren’t falling my way.  I guess when luck is on your side you can afford some bad plays.  When its not, then you better be playing some damn good poker, and I haven’t been.  The most frustrating thing is that in two separate instances this past week, some clown at my table was playing over 80% of the hands, and he kept winning.  I was card dead in both cases and had to watch as he lucked into more than his fair share of pots and then just gave away his chips to the rest of the table.  And then the one time he would actually have a hand is the time I would get a piece of the flop.  And of course I couldn’t put him on any sort of decent hand, so I donated to the rest of the table through him.  Fun.  

SNG’s are another story.  I’m definitely not playing well in those.  I’m having issues controlling the size of the pot when I’m not certain how strong my hand is, and I’m getting impatient way too early.  In one case I had wired tens in relatively early position and over the coarse of the hand proceeded to bet my entire stack into someone with pocket kings when the board showed all under cards.  The fact that he kept calling should have set off warning lights and caused me to slowdown, but I figured it would be much more fun to lose all my chips and start over in another tournament.  Brilliant.

Another problem is that I’m not focused enough.  In the early stages I’m playing maybe 20% of the hands so I get bored, and watch tv/surf the web/write blog entries.  As a result I don’t have a very good read on any of the other players, or the table in general.  I think that’s killing me, and I have to either stay focused or stop playing, because more often than not I’m not making good informed decisions.  

That’s enough bitching for now.  The monthly home game tournament has been resurrected after a six month or so hiatus.  I’ve done quite well in these in the past, so hopefully that trend will continue.  I’ve already taunted a few of the other participants, so I should probably back that up.  I’ll have a recap of my victory tomorrow.  


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Poker Goals for 2006

I’m not usually one who makes New Years resolutions. In fact the whole practice rather irritates me. However, the start of a new year does provide a convenient way to measure your progress towards any goals you might have, so what the hell? I have a few poker related goals that I would like to achieve in the upcoming year.

Move up to $3/$6

I’m currently a $1/$2 player who has stared dabbling with $2/$4. I would think that making it to $3/$6 in a year’s time should be a relatively easy goal to attain. If I don’t make it there then either I’ve stopped playing regularly or I’m just not improving as a player. To consider this goal met, I would like to be playing comfortably at $3/$6 most of the time, with occasional steps up or down, depending on what games are available.

Play more SNG’s

Admittedly, this isn’t a very well defined goal, but I don’t really have a specific number in mind for what would constitute “more”. Last year I played 130, but most of them were earlier in the year. I’d like to use a couple days each month to play SNG’s, just to mix it up and to keep my no-limit game from getting too rusty. I’ll say 10-15 a month, so 120-180 for the year, but more importantly it’s more than the three or four per month that I’ve been playing lately.

Win a tournament with at least 100 players

I’ve cashed in a decent amount of big tournaments, and made the final table in a few, but I think the biggest tournament that I’ve won had only 35 players. I have no doubt that I am capable of winning a big tournament, I think I just need to play in more of them. With PokerStars new 180 player SNG’s I think I’ll be able to play in bigger tournaments more often so this should be attainable.