Poker Words - A Poker Blog

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

Monday, July 31, 2006

WSOP Field

There were a few more than 8500 participants in this year’s WSOP main event.    Unless the US government actually succeeds in stopping online poker, and as a result the way the majority of the field found $10,000 to spare for a poker tournament, the size of the field is going to become unmanageable in the next few years.  Already its broken down into four heats of 2125 players who play down to about 800, before combining into two more heats before playing down to 800 again.  Soon you are going to be waiting a week in between your day one and two sessions.  

I know this isn’t going to be a real popular option, but I think automating the process via online play for the first day would make everything easier.  You could even use those electronic tables.  Everyone would still show up to the tournament, the cards and chips would just be virtual for a while.  This eliminates the shuffling dealing and chip counting/stacking from the process and I imagine it would greatly speed up the whole tournament.  You wouldn’t have to play for 20 hours straight on day one just to get 2500 players down to 800. You could probably take your field of 10,000+, play for 10-12 hours and be down to 1600, or maybe even 800 by the end of the day.  From there you would still have a weeklong tournament before crowning a champion.  And yes I pulled those numbers out of my ass.  Where did you think I got them from?  

True, the event changes drastically when you do this, but I think it would be worth it.  Plus, it’s more indicative of today’s game.  Poker is played more often than not on the internet, so wouldn’t it make sense to have the championship event also take place, at least somewhat online?  After day one, you should have a reasonable enough field to go back to the old fashioned dealer method.  

The question now becomes, is it easier to manage multiple days worth of qualifiers with live dealers and everything that goes with it, or to set up a bajillion poker terminals in one place and have to deal with make sure every single one of them is functional.   Now that I think about it, setting up a network of at least 10000 poker terminals in a few days without running into any issues is probably impossible.  And somehow I don’t think players that put down $10,000 for a tournament would be overly forgiving of technical malfunctions.  Maybe the live method would be easier after all.  Just be prepared to take a month or two off of work if you plan on advancing very far.  That’s about how long it will take to make it to day three.

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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Yet Another Wasted Freeroll

I qualified for another one of those FullTilt Fantasy Poker freerolls, and yet again I was unable to play in the tournament. This time we had a team meeting for work. I had to choose between a freeroll with a shot at $250 best case, but $0-$5 most likely case, and hanging out with friends from work and free food an beer. The food and beer won.

I didn't make it home until after I was eliminated in 259th place. On the plus side, thats a lot better than when I let my friends play for me.

So yeah. Even when I actual play poker anymore, I'm not actually playing poker. Lame. I know.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

PokerChamps Closes US Player Accounts

I received an email today from PokerChamps informing me that after a recent software upgrade they are able to implement a long standing policy not permitting access to individuals from the U.S. I have to withdraw my funds by tomorrow at 12PM EST when they will lock out the accounts.

For those of you who don’t know, PokerChamps is the site affiliated with Gus Hansen, although I think I saw his name as a Friend of FullTilt, so I’m not sure what the actual relationship is now. Anyways, it was a small site with low traffic that never seemed to get off the ground, other than a ton of people playing their freerolls. I don’t think it will be around much longer.

I have a few hundred dollars there that I accumulated through affiliate commissions and winning a few tournaments. When I try to withdraw my funds I’m told that I don’t have a real money account (since I never deposited) and I have to deposit before I withdraw. Since I don’t think making a deposit in hopes of it clearing and being able to cash it out again in about 18 hours is a good plan, I’m probably never going to see that money.

So is the first in a series of sites shutting down their US players? Is it time to start panicking? Probably not. I would think that the big sites, aren’t going to go away, but for those smaller not so profitable sites, it may no longer be worth the hassle to stay in business. I might think twice about playing at smaller sites for the time being, and maybe not keep as much cash at sites I don’t regularly play. Not that I think these sites are going to shutdown and run away with my money, it might just save me a headache later if they do shutdown and there’s rush to cash out.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Fantasy Freeroll.

I finished among the top 500 fantasy poker players in the $50,000 HORSE event in FullTilt’s Fantasy Poker League which earned me entry into another freeroll. This one had a prize pool of $5000, and with probably less than half of field actually showing up could be a chance at some easy cash.

Of course tonight was the end of the season volleyball tournament, so I couldn’t play in it. I recruited a friend to play in my stead, at least until I got home. I correctly assumed that we wouldn’t last too long in the volleyball tournament, so I could pick up for him once I got home if needed.

I was about three minutes from home, and I get a phone call my friend, who informs me that he just busted out. Apparently those players sitting out were too much for him, as he probably lost to every single one of them, finishing a dismal 432/500.

Too be fair, he did have aces when he went out, and had the best hand when all the chips went in the pot, but his opponent spiked a second pair on the river to send him home. At least that’s what he claims. All I know is who’s off the list next time I need a stand in. Maybe I should just sit out for the first hour and take my chances. At least I would have done better than 432nd.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Poker Players Alliance

If you read this blog, chances are you enjoy poker. In case you haven't heard congress is attempting to to pass legislation outlawing online gambing. This includes poker. But not horse racing or state lotteries, because you know that might be consistant, and we wouldn't want that.

The important thing is that they are making it more difficult to play the game I and I hope you enjoy. The Poker Players Alliance is an organization aimed at helping educate people on the merits of poker, and at defending the legality of the game. You can join the PPA for as little as $20. You even get a shirt out of the deal, and I think Party Poker will give you $10 in your account if you join the PPA while cashing out of Party Poker. So it almost costs you nothing and you would helping make it possible to play poker years from now.

Even if you don't join, at least check out their site. They have a lot of great information on other ways you could help.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Fantasy Poker Freeroll

Fantasy Poker Freeroll

If you are looking for a freeroll with a very strong likelihood of cashing, you might want to check out FullTilt’s Fantasy Poker League.  For just about each event of the WSOP you pick a team of 15 players, 5 A, 5B and 5C.  You get 3x points for A, 2x for B and x for C, where X is that players prize money for the tournament.  Top 500 fantasy players in each event win an entry into a freeroll with a $1000 prize pool.  Top 20 in that freeroll also get an entry into another freeroll for a seat at the 2007 WSOP ME.

Now, I was a particularly skilled fantasy player for event 14, which Allen Cunningham won for my A team, earning me a spot in tonight’s freeroll.

I normally loathe freerolls because the #participants/prize pool ratio means I have an expected value of about 3 cents with at least 5 hours worth of play to claim it.  This is different.  Since you don’t actively enroll in it I don’t think very many people even knew they play.  There was no email notification or anything that I am aware of.  I think about 200 out of the 500 showed up.  At least one table had all no shows, which was rather comical to watch.

My table had 4 players and 5 dummies, but the live players were all to my immediate left, which meant I was out of position all the time, and had very few steal opportunities.  None the less, I made to the first break  with a little over 4K in chips.  

Unfortunately for me, I had to take a break for about an hour so I could pick up my wife from work.  I hoped that I had enough chips left to survive the blinds and sneak into the money.  Maybe I’d even have enough to fight my way back and win some decent cash.

When I arrived back still had almost 3K in chips and blinds were at about 100/200 with a 25 ante.  I’m 72nd out of the remaining 80 players.  54 pay.  First hand I get JQ and push all in thinking to myself how amusing it would be to get rush home, play one hand and bust out.  Everyone folds and I’m ready to take over.  

After a few orbits of folding garbage, I then proceed to go on a rush with a series of high pocket pairs and perfect flops.  I even flop two pair in a multiway pot with the big blind special.  

Then I’m dealt pocket cowboys and get one caller to my 4xBB raise.  I’m already counting my chips, just praying I don’t see an ace on the flop.  I don’t. The flop is KQ7 rainbow and I have the nuts. And he puts me all in.  I think I would have done one of those Hellmuth insta call before your opponent can get his chips in and jump and down looking clever for making a fool out of my opponent things, but I was really confused as to what he might have.  I rechecked the board to make sure he couldn’t have anything, and sure enough, I still had the nuts.  

I call, and he turns over JT.  Oh shit I think.  This has bad news written all over it.  Sure enough a nine on the river gives him the straight and I go out in 72nd place.  I guess there is some honor in that.

It wasn’t really a bad move on his part.  It was some sort semi-bluff and he had a fair amount of outs, so what are you gonna do?  I had an uphill battle anyways.

One thing that does piss me off, is that it seems like every time I am in a tournament lately some assclown at the table has 30 friends railbirding him, and they decide to use the poker chat window as their personal IM client.  Occasionally its amusing, but I really don’t need to read about how great your next semester of school is going to be, or how you are about to do you first beer bong, or how your double dates have gone with that blonde chick.  Especially when none of you are playing at my damn table.

Yeah I know, I could turn chat off, but sometimes the bickering between other players amuses me, so I like to leave it on.  So anyway, moral of the store is, you can sit out for the second hour of this tournament and still come in the top 15% of the field.  Go sign up for fantasy poker.  Or wait.  Don’t.  I need to qualify for some more free tourneys and I don’t need you getting in my way.

Its actually probably good that I busted out when I did, because there are still 55 people in, and its starting to get near my bedtime.   The last thing I need is to not get enough sleep so I could win $3 in a stupid tournament.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Half Way Through the Year

Half Way Through the Year.

Well, we’re at about the halfway point of the year, so I figured I’d post an update on my Poker goals for the year.  Back in January I defined a few things I’d wanted to achieve, so let’s see how I’m doing.

Goal #1.  Move up to $3/$6

I started the year as primarily a $1/$2 player who dabbled in $2/$4.  My goal was make $3/$6 my limit of choice.  Right now I’m at $2/$4 so theoretically I’m halfway there. In all honesty though I don’t know if I’ll make it.  I might be at a point where I’m starting to test the $3/$6 waters at the end of the year, but I don’t think I’ll have actually made the full move.  

I kind of cheated to get to $2/$4.  Rather than playing a ton of hands at $1/$2 and feeling confident that I could beat that game before moving on, I took about a month break from poker due to a vacation and the preparation for/recovery from that vacation.   When I started again I decided I’d jump right in at $2/$4 and see if I could do well.  Overall I’m down a little at $2/$4 this year, but I would attribute a lot of that to chasing VIP status at Stars during their 5 billionth hand promotion.  I admit I played a lot more than I should have during that stretch, and played more tables at a time than I’m capable of playing a at successfully.  I’m not tearing it up, but I’m not loosing my ass either.  Either way I don’t have nearly enough hands in to consider it a good sample size, so another move up would not be based on any scientific analysis of my skill level.

Since I’m currently in the middle of my second month long poker absence of the year, I’m guessing that another move up in limits isn’t likely.

Goal #2.  Play More SNG’s

I had a loose goal of playing 10/15 SNG’s a month or 120-180 for the year.  I know, 10-15 is a days work for some people, but I find it difficult to find the time required for tournaments, and when I do, I usually opt for the MTT variety.  

I actually met my goal in January, playing in 15 and cashing in 6 of those.  I’ve played 11 since.  I only managed one in March and didn’t play any in June.  

This one doesn’t look like its going to be reached, but you never know.  Maybe I’ll find myself addicted to them again later this year and reel off 100 or so in a month.

Goal #3.  Win a tournament with at least 100 players.

Last year I more or less broke even in my MTT play.  I had enough small cashes to cover the entrance fees for the year, but no big wins.  I figured as long as I could stay at even with the small cashes, eventually I would win one and be way ahead.  In the long run I thought these tournaments could be +EV as long as I didn’t go broke waiting for the win.

I actually met this goal pretty quickly.  In January, I came in second in one of the PokerStars 180 player SNGs (note, these do not count for goal #2) for what I thought would be my biggest score in quite a while.  I would have been content with just that but I followed it up a few weeks later by winning one of the 180 player SNGs.  Unless I go crazy playing at stakes way over my head, that basically guaranteed me a profitable year.  Overall I’ve played 22 MTTs so far this year and cashed in four of them.  I’m certainly pleased with my results in that regard.  Of coarse my success at large tournaments is making it difficult to achieve goal number two because I’m finding that when I used to sit down for three or four single table SNG’s in a night, I’m now playing one larger tournament.  Oh well.

We’ll see how I do in the rest of the year.  Maybe I’ll actually play some cards this month.  Won’t that be interesting?