Archive for March, 2004

Sick and tired

Monday, March 8th, 2004

Well, it seems like my cold is just getting worse. I ended up staying home from work today, but I’m feeling enough out of sorts that I’m hesitant to sit down at a poker table online. I’ll have to be satisfied with the $18 I pulled out yesterday. I guess I should probably throw some money in my TruePoker account though, so there won’t be any problems for the tournament Wednesday. Ugh, I think I’m going to go crawl back into bed.

Here fishy, fishy, fishy…

Sunday, March 7th, 2004

Looks like winter isn’t quite over. Weather’s been pretty nice for the past few weeks, but the snow’s back today.

Didn’t play much poker yesterday feeling as sick as I was. And I woke up feeling even worse this morning, though I’m feeling a bit better now after some food and some Firefly. Only problem is that even though I really enjoy watching it, I still can’t help getting a little depressed thinking about how such a great show got canned.

I did play in a 10+1 LHE SNG last night and managed to get nearly wiped out early. Had the nut straight on the turn against a set (actually, 2 sets in the end) and the river pairs the board. Was quite disheartening.

But when I went back to the .5/1 ring games nursing my wounds, the cards hit me like I haven’t seen in months. Playing the straight draw with 43, runner runner 3s for a set. Top pair (kings) vs. 2-pair (kings-fives) and hit runner-runner straight. A4 into an AKQ flop hits a 4 on the turn. And as I’m playing my final orbit of the night, not planning on playing anything but premium hands, what do I get but pocket aces which, for a nice change of pace, stay good to win me a nice pot.

But, as I go review the hands in Poker Tracker now, I see that I owe my thanks just as much to the mighty fish of Party/Empire as to the run of good hands. People were calling – and raising – with only marginal hands. A few of the times where I thought I was lucky to have improved, I didn’t even need to improve. I suppose what I should really be grateful for is that the fish haven’t been getting their miracle cards on me like they have in recent weeks.

I also realized that because of my run of bad luck (and bad play) I’ve been running a bit scared. I’m always paranoid that every card is the miracle card someone has been hoping for. I’m very quick to give someone credit on making a hand. Reviewing the hands form last night, people will bet and raise with the stangest things. I think I need to start playing my own hands and my own draws just a little bit harder. Often it’s not going to cost me too much, and there are some big pots to be won out there.

Friday night tourney

Saturday, March 6th, 2004

I’m feeling horrible this morning. I knew yesterday when I was noticing that my throat was starting to get sore that I was probably coming down with something, but it was confirmed this morning when I woke up feeling even worse with a nice little cough to boot. But the doctor’s advice is a little poker blogging, or it might have been if I consulted a doctor and they knew what poker blogging was.

Last night was my bi-weekly pot limit Hold’em tournament. I’ve been putting these on for the past two months and have an average turnout of about a dozen guys. Buy-in is 20+2 for 1000 in chips. We had twelve last night and started at two tables of six, with a merge at eight. I got a lucky draw and ended up at a table half filled with our traditional dead money boys. But, they managed to surprise us this night.

Everyone was playing much tighter than usual. Often we see a few people limp to see the flop, but this there was a lot of folding going on. Except for Mr. Dead-Money himself, who started the night very aggressive, stealing the first 3-4 pots. He continued to play aggressive and picked up small pots throughout the first level. I wasn’t too concerned because I didn’t have the cards to call him down, and I knew I could outplay him later, even if he had the chip lead.

The first player (3s) busted out at our table during the second orbit. He had made an ill-conceived call a few hands earlier. The board was KQQT and he had put in a sizable bet (I figured him for a Q) and was called. I wasn’t sure what his opponent (1s) had, but was thinking probably two pair. The river came a K and the 1s put himself all-in for a good chunk of the 3s’s remaining chips and most of the pot. I was convinced that the 1s had Ks over Qs full, but the 3s thought for a good long while and eventually called, putting himself in terrible chip position. Now, I asked him afterwards what he thought the 1s had and he said was hoping he had the other Q. I told him that it probably wasn’t worth risking most of his chips just to split the pot, which would only have earned him a couple hundred in chips. A light went on in his eyes and he spent the rest of the night cursing the call.

My first hand of interest was QTo on the button, blinds were 20/40 I believe. There were two folds and Mr. Dead-Money limped. Since I was in position, I doubled his bet. The blinds folded and Mr. DM saw the raise. Flop came AJ6. Mr. DM bets and I have to figure him for an ace. But, I know that I intimidate this guy, so I decide to play. Besides, I have the inside straight draw. I raise his minimum bet 100$. He calls and we see the J turn. He checks and I think perfect, he doesn’t have the J, probably has the A. I represent a J myself with a 200$ bet. He thinks and he thinks and finally calls. Now I’m a bit nervous, he may be too invested at this point to fold. I pray for a K but the river comes a 9. He checks immediately and I start fingering my chips. I don’t want to put myself all-in because I’m pretty sure he has me beat. But I really think I can bluff him off the pot. I put in a 200$ bet and sit back waiting for him to act. He starts squirming in his chair, looking for some sign from me. Of course, I don’t quite have my emotions in check for live games yet, so my heart is pounding and I really hope he doesn’t see too much of my nervousness. Then again, I am nervous with both good and bad hands, so he probably wouldn’t know what to make of it. Eventually he mucks his cards, showing A3. He tells me he figured me for an A with a bigger kicker, which wasn’t really such a bad call. Of course, he forgets that later when he calls me with a pair of tens, 2 kicker, when he should have figured me for at least tens, which were second pair.

The bluff hand brought up a bit of a dilemma. I had brought a notepad to take a few notes, but I couldn’t very well write that I bluffed this guy, particularly while sitting at the table. I ended up just scribbled some poorly written notations that hopefully I’d be able to interpret later, but that was the last chance I had to take any notes between playing cards and handling my tournament director duties.

The good news was that the two-time defending champ when out second on the night, followed by a player who had busted me out in third a month back.

The next few levels were pretty forgettable. The fourth player busted out and we merged to one table. The big surprise was that Mr. Dead Money and his friend – who was wearing sunglasses in a hilarious attempt to improve his game – had made it to the final table. And even more surprising, Mr. Dead Money was close to the chip lead.

Even though Sunglasses was severely shortstacked, he managed to survive long enough for the 7s to go all-in with his 2-pair vs. a set a queens. Apparently at the other tables queens had been cursed and had done a lot of damage to different players. This would hold true throughout the night.

Sunglasses fell soon after, but then the table tightened up a bit. The two chip leaders were hemorraging chips and I was stealing pots left and right. Mr. Dead Money was the next to go, followed by equally dead that had started at the other table. They had come to the table with the chip lead, but their style of “Well, you never know” sunk them quickly. Fourth place went to a pretty decent player who went all in with pocket rockets and was called by presto. First card flopped was a 5 and no help came.

Then I had a couple more memorable hands. I was stealing pretty often, but I had cards enough that it might hurt when someone decided to call me down. Blinds were 200/400 and I had about 3700 in chips. In the big blind with A9o, I raise to 1000. I get called by the small blind and we’re going to see a flop. It comes 873. He checks and I bet 1500, figuring the flop didn’t hit him, but when he comes back over the top of me to put me all in, I figure maybe he a pair in the hole. I’m certain that I am beat at this point, and I don’t want to go all-in on a draw, so I fold. Immediately on folding I realized I had made a mistake. I should have called just based on the horrible chip position I was now in. If the turn or river hit, I was in great shape to win and as it was with my short stack, I didn’t have much chance at anything but third. I eventually learned that my opponent had A7, so I would have been drawing to the one card, so it was probably just as well, but I still think it was the wrong play.

Two hands later I am on the button with 77 and decide this is it. I put in my last 1000 and I am called by the big blind. He flips Q2 and I’m feeling pretty happy about doubling up. Of course, I had forgotten about the curse of the Q, and the flop slaps me in the face. No 7 on the river or turn and I’m out third. I already had a third and fourth place finish in the first three tournaments, so I was really hoping for a higher finish, but thems the breaks I suppose.

Heads up play went on for a while until J3h went all-in against Q9, and well, the Q reared her ugly head one more time to finish the tournament. It had been an impressive comeback as the winner had lost most of their chips 10 hands earlier on a bad suckout. But, his aggression against his notoriously tight opponent brought him the victory – though I’m not sure what notoriously tight was doing going in with J3. All in all, it was another successful tournament. And now I’m collecting fees to pay off my recent purchases for the game, so it’ll be nice to have that cash back.

The good:
– my aggression at the final table.
– intimidation play early.

The bad:
– too much aggression with premium hands at the final table scared people off.
– bad fold on a huge pot.

The ugly:
– busting out in third … AGAIN.

The highlight of the night was our new table. One of the guys who showed up at our last tournament makes his own tables and offered to build us one for cost of materials. A week later he sends me an email that he is moving to California and is looking to get rid of one of his tables. He offers to bring it to our next tournament so we can give it a test drive. He dropped it off yesterday morning and the table looks and feels great. I host our game at my office (with permission) and we usually use the lunch tables to start and then we play on the pool table when we merge. It’s not the most comfortable table to sit at, but playing on felt makes up for it. And the pool table is so old and mistreated already, we aren’t too worried about doing more damage to it.

But what a difference the new table makes. The rails were perfect and finally we didn’t have to worry about hitting our knees on the pool table. Now I just have to find out how much it’s going to cost me.


Friday, March 5th, 2004

Anyone else have trouble coming up with titles for their blog posts? I usually try to think of something at least halfways clever, but sometimes nothing comes. So “Thursday” it is.

I just got the password for the Poker Blogger World Poker Tour II from Iggy, so I guess I’m officially going to be donating to playing in the tournament this time around. I have no illusions about my chances at making the final table, but I am looking forward to being at the same table as some of the great poker bloggers out there.

Geek that I am, I was just poking around the webstats for my site and I noticed that the hits on this site have rocketed (relatively) over the past week or so. I figured that being mentioned over at Iggy’s site would increase my traffic I bit, but I think I can thank Jeremy at Love and Casino War for a lot the new hits. Since many of the browsers hitting the site show up as Syndirella, I think being included on his great poker blog collection is probably my biggest source of new readers.

I managed to get some time in at both Empire and Party last night. I played a lot of good poker (and some bad), but a handful of bad river suckouts left me down on the night. Having my connection to the internet drop mid-hand didn’t help much either. But, I’m going to try follow Felicia’s advice and not spend too much time focusing on results from one table or one session. I do have Poker Tracker and a handrolled Excel spreadsheet that I use to track longer term results, but it’s still hard not to get excited about a good night. That being said, I’m not letting bad sessions get me as down as I was, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Only a few hands of note last night. After some frustrating losses, I peeked at my cards and decided that the 72o I saw there was good enough to play. That’s right, I had The Hammer and chose to use it to smite my opponents. Of course, I was really just on tilt and a bit desperate for something to turn my luck around. The flop came A73 and I bet into it, hoping that the A was not out there (did I mention I was tilting?). The turn was another 7 and I just keep right on betting. I’m heads-up going to the river where a blank falls and my opponent folds to my bet. Unfortunately I forgot to uncheck the muck cards box and the other appropriate etiquette for playing The Hammer, but it still brought a smile to my face and helped me shore up my play afterwards.

It also helped that shortly thereafter, my A7h in the big blind turned into the nut flush on the flop (it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen a made hand on the flop). Unfortunately, there were only two other players still in the hand. But I still slowplayed it, getting the bets and flat calling the flop and turn before check-raising (and capping – I believe he thought I was bluffing with the check-raise and wanted to push me out) the river. The 16BB pot was the biggest I’ve seen in a while. Every time I’ve tried to grow the pot with a good hand recently, a miracle card hits an opponent on the river and it slips through my fingers. Or everyone folds early, which was what I was worried about with this hand. I wish I’d have had a better read on the two players in with me so I could have judged whether they would have kept betting into my raises.

I have some notes on a few other hands I was going to write about, but they make me look pretty stupid, so I think I may just skip them. (sure, my trip tens looked good, but when the almost made straight showed on the river with 6 people in the pot, maybe I should have been more cautious – for the record, I didn’t even see it, but I’m not sure if that makes it better, or worse. And with a K88 flop, who would think that the turn 5 gave someone a boat 5s over 8s.)

Tonight I have my bi-weekly home PLHE tournament. I’ve changed the buy-in to 20$+2$, so I can pay off the chips and cards I recently bought to upgrade the game. And a buddy that is moving to California just dropped off a homemade poker table that he wants to sell to me before he leaves. It is very well-made, and I’d really like to buy it off him, but it’ll take a while to pay off with the 2$ tournament fee. We’ll see how nice it is to play with tonight.

The last game was my first out of the money, so hopefully I’ll revisit the final table again tonight. And I’m going to try to take some notes if at all possible so I can put together a good trip report, even if the trip is to my own home game.

The wide world of poker

Thursday, March 4th, 2004

I had a great dinner last night at a Portugese restaurant with an old friend I hadn’t seen in far too long. The BBQ chicken, roast potatoes and rice was pretty simple, but the hot sauce it comes with to dip is to die for. I’m looking forward to going back in the summer when they have the patio open and apparently they have BBQ pig on a spit that they serve while you are waiting for your meal. And I have to order some of the other delicious sounding things on their menu.

I came home late and sated and decided to forgo poker for the evening, so no poker tales today (for which my friend Chris is probably grateful. Instead, I’m going to update my link list to the right with a few more of the great poker blogs that I read on a regular basis. I still haven’t listed everything yet, but I’ve got most of my favourites up. Of course, davidross doesn’t have an official blog of his own, but I love his weekly updates over at 2+2.

tp at TP

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

I played in my Tuesday night Ultimate game last night and we won handily. Of course, the other team was short a player, so it wasn’t much of a contest. But it was good to get the female players some more action. They were making a lot of good catches and throws and were learning how to move to space.

Because of the game, I didn’t get home until a later in the evening. At first I was going to forgo poker for the evening, but when I saw that I had my cashout confirmation from Empire, I decided that maybe I would test the waters at TruePoker. From what I had read from other bloggers, I was looking forward to the experience.

Unfortunately, when I got it installed, I saw that the lowest real money stakes were 1/2. I’ve always promised myself that I wouldn’t move up a limit until I hit 200BB, so I decided I would just play around on the play money tables to familiarize myself with the interface. I played for a good 2-3 hours (losing 10BB or so) and I’m still not sure that I like it. I went from enjoying the novelty of it to disliking all the extraneous features to a comfortable satisfaction. I’ll have to put in some more time before I decide if I want to put some money in when I get my bankroll to the 200BB mark. I’m also going to have to check out what the formula is for unlocking the 20% sign-up bonus.

Of course, with that 200BB goal looming over me, I started up a table at Empire so I could try to make some money while getting used to TruePoker. Of course, it didn’t quite work out like that. I was 12BB down before I knew it. I shouldn’t have started up another table when I was paying so much attention to the TV and already distracted by a foreign table. I was down at 2$ of my 20$ buy-in at one point but managed to claw my way back up to 15$ with some solid play with some pretty unspectacular cards. Unfortunately, I fought a little too hard to get back up to even and ended up at 5$ when the table broke. If it weren’t for my bad play at the start of the session (which cost me 12$ and an additional 3-8$ when I went to the felt on a good flop) I would have posted a small profit on the night. Instead I’m another 15$ distant from the 200BB mark. Hopefully I’ll be able to hit the nice run I’m about due soon and I’ll finish off the difference quickly. Then I can move to squeaking out small profits at a slightly higher limit. Still, I’m averaging 6.5BB/hr according to Poker Tracker, and that’s not accounting for me huge wins when I first started playing online before I realized I could request hand histories.

Wil’s Odessa Room Odyssey

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

Wil Wheaton just posted the fourth part in his four part (1 2 3 4) serial story about his experiences at a underground poker tourney. It’s really a great read and comes complete with a relatively happy ending. The characters you meet in a live game tend to make much better fodder for poker blogging than simple online play. And it doesn’t hurt to have a published writer behind the keyboard either.

I have my bi-weekly PLHE tournament this Friday and I’m going to try to take a few notes to see if maybe I can put together a more interesting post. I just hope that no one there stumbles across my blog. Or at least I hope that the dead money at the game doesn’t stumble across it. Or maybe I just hope that I’m not the dead money.

Monday night poker

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004

My volleyball team handily won our game last night, so I was in a pretty good mood when I got home. After a quick shower I decided to play the rest of the hands I needed to unlock my Empire bonus.

Things started off pretty poorly. I had QQ cracked early when an A fell on the flop, but I didn’t waste any money pursuing it. I actually went 25 hands or so before I found some cards. And even then it was a small pot as no one wanted to bet into me when I slowplayed my flush.

After 40 hands of this, I started to bluff at some pots, as I am wont to do when cards are running cold. Though my first play worked out, my second attempt ran into the hand I was trying to counterfeit sitting immediately to my left on the button. So much for my profit from the first bluff. But all of this was giving me a bit of a better read on the rest of the table. There were a few individuals who would call my aggression all the way to the river only to fold when they didn’t hit their cards. I was able to use this to my advantage to steal a couple 8-10$ pots. Unfortunately my cards continued to run cold, and what few cards I did see were ruined by some bad turn cards. I bounced between 10$ up and 10$ down, finally calling it quits with a 2$ profit on the night.

The good news was that I had played the required hands and 30$ had been added to my account. I pulled my 300$ rebuy back out and I’m going to use it this week to chase a bonus at a new site, probably TruePoker as I’ve been hearing advertisements for it on the radio when I listen to the Senators games online. (and wth? Tampa Bay is leading the Eastern Conference? How did that happen)

It seems a bit silly to be spending so much time playing at such low limits (and more strangely, writing about it), but I want to progress slowly (well, I want to progress quickly, but I figure slowly is smarter0. I’ve only really been taking the game seriously since New Year’s, with a few books under my belt and a couple months of online play. I’ve been playing in a home game regularly for a few years, but I haven’t even played in a live poker room (yet!). Still, I like that I am learning more and more about the game each time I play, and winning money doesn’t hurt either. The money isn’t everything though, as I am only using it to finance my bankroll at higher limits, none of it is finding its way back into my pockets. But most importantly it has been a bit of an impetus to resume writing on a regular basis, something which I enjoy immensely, but which I have neglected in recent years.