Archive for February, 2004

Oscar, Oscar

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

Of course, since I was watching the Oscars, I decided I should play some more poker, when I couldn’t devote my full attention. I figured the servers would still be wonky, but at least I would have tried. If you have no interest in poker, please skip the next paragraph to read my thoughts about the Oscars.

As is always the case when I tell myself it’s ok if I don’t get to play, I get on quickly. Another 40 hands towards unlocking my bonus and another 7BB of profit. I would have kept going, but I knew I was going to be completely useless as soon as they got to the important categories. The one hand that netted me most of my winnings came when I was dealt TT one off the button. I limped along with 7 others – I have to mention that I love the hand replay feature in Poker Tracker, I had half of these details wrong when I first wrote this up. The flop came 4T6 rainbow and I prayed for someone to bet. Second off the blinds obliged me and the next three players see the bet. With three players to bet, I decide to slowplay and call. Unfortunately, the button and big blind fold. But, I figure there are still two or three players who may see the next bet. The turn comes Kc, completing the rainbow. The same player leads off the betting and the table folds around to me. Here’s where I made a mistake. I raise thinking that it’s down to the two of us and I might as well try to grow the pot. Of course, I almost instantly realize that a single bet may have kept the small blind in. And in addition, the initial bettor may have lead off on the river. Unfortunately, I only get the 1BB call on my raise, and second 1BB when my bet is called on the 5h river. I lost a likely 2BB by a bad play. At least I was able to spot my mistake afterwards.

Starting this post a little early. Just watching Tom Cruise announcing the Oscar for Best Director. I’m a bit worried after the landslide Lord of the Rings has won so far.

YES YES YES! Peter Jackson was probably the most deserving director for the past three years. I would have been devestated if he had not been recognized for the last part of the trilogy. Part of this is my inner-geek speaking, but it is mind-boggling to imagine how they were able to bring Middle-Earth to life, particularly in a way that can satisfy life time fans and Tolkien noviates alike. My only disappointment was not seeing Sean Astin nominated for best supporting actor. I don’t know that I think he should have won, but I really would have liked to have seen him nominated.

One of the thing that is really strange to think about is the level of Peter Jackson’s (and cast and crew) accomplishment. To be acknowledged by all these awards, they had to not drop the ball for 5+ years of the movie’s development. If the second or third movies had failed, the incredible achievement of Fellowship – which is still probably my favourite of the three films – would have gone unrecognized.

Fast forward 20 minutes and I’ll echo my previous sentiments. YES YES YES! I am so glad that the fantasy stigma did not prevent the academy from recognizing the best film of the year, and really, one of the best films ever (yes, I fully acknowledge my inner-geek). It’s great to see everyone up there on the stage. And it’s great that the movie tied the record for Oscars for one movie. And if you consider the three films as one, as I tend to, that record has been blown out of the water. I really don’t want to have to listen to Barry, but I guess the night can’t be perfect. Boy, the half of the stage that wasn’t in Lord of the Rings doesn’t look quite as happy to be there. Well, except for Charlize, her smile is radiant. And now I get to go to bed feeling happy and satisfied.

15 seconds of poker

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

It’s hardly even worth posting about, but since I’ve given up on poker for the day, I decided to keep my promise and make a poker post. Immediately after my previous post I hopped on Empire to try to finish off unlocking my reload bonus. I needed 100 hands or so. Unfortunately, it looks like the DOS attacks are still playing havoc with the servers and I was only able to get 21 hands in before everyone at the table ended up disconnected. I tried to get into another game, but after five minutes with no success I decided to give up for the day.

Unfortunately there wasn’t much interesting in my -1BB session. A flush draw that backdoored into the nut straight won me a decent pot early, but I managed to throw most of it away trying to make some fancy plays. Why would I try to make any plays at .5/1? Beats me. Why would I think I’m even capable of making fancy plays at all? Hmmm…perhaps that’s a better question.

Hopefully the sites will be a litte more stable during the week.

15 seconds of fame

Sunday, February 29th, 2004

I just got back from visiting some friends in Cambridge and instead of taking the nap I meant to, I took a quick shower and sat down at my computer. First thing I do is start the poker blog tour, catching up on the weekend’s posts. Since I took Friday off from work, I was anticipating a bit of a backlog, but I didn’t get any farther than checking the first poker site listed to the right. Iggy at Guinness and Poker is probably the king of poker bloggers, and a strong supporter of the blogger community. But, today when I visited, I didn’t even get through his first new post.

There it was, near the end of Thursday’s post, a link to my very own small weblog. I had hoped that one day I might get mention on Iggy’s popular blog, but I didn’t expect that it would happen already. In fact, I’m not even sure how anyone would even have found this site, as it’s been up only a few weeks and the only people who know it’s here were the few friends that I mentioned it to.

Of course, getting added to the blogroll at Guinness and Poker merely helps to reinforce my unworthiness of mention. So, it’s time to put the WPT on the TV (CityTV, a local station, bought the rights to rebroadcast the first season) and finish earning my reload bonus at Empire. Then maybe I’ll have some good poker to write about.

Another abbreviated night

Friday, February 27th, 2004

Again tonight I only sat down at the tables briefly, but I had some decent cards that held up that I played for maximum value and managed to walk away from the table 17BB up after just half an hour, and it would have been more except for the AQ split pot I shared with an identical hand. I also unlocked another 5$ of my bonus money. Of course, I probably should have stuck around to try to ride my streak a little more, but I also shouldn’t have been sitting down at the table so late, so my decision probably wasn’t too costly.

Back on track

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

I stole a little time at the poker table and was running very lucky. Unfortunately Empire is still being rather flaky, so it was too painful to play for very long. But in 30 hands (6$ of unlocked bonus, which was 10% instead of the 20% I thought it was) I managed to be up 18BB. Of course, that put me back over the 300$ hump, and is the first winning session of more than 10$ in a few weeks, so that contributed to my decision to call it a night early. Didn’t have too many interesting hands, but I really should have played according to Brunson and respected my rush, as my 8-2 would have turned into quad 8s against a couple boats. That would have really made my night. Of course, the title of the post is “Back on track”, but really, 30 hands is only a lucky run, but since I felt that I’ve been playing well over my losing streak, it feels pretty good.

New Horizons

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004

Well, I’ve taken a bit of a break from poker playing – and keeping up with my blog, apparently. After the weekend, I was under the 300$ mark, giving me a loss of 100$ from my maximum bankroll. That’s still 300$ profit, but it has been disheartening taking so many losses recently with only a few 5 dollar wins. But, a lot of it has been the cards, as many sessions I’ve ended up with a 3-4% winning percentage. Not much I can do with cards like that. And of course, I’m not disciplined enough not to start tilting after a while, playing marginal hands. And it’s been bad enough that I’m having problem extracting maximum value from my winning hands. And I can’t remember the last time I hit one of my flush draws.

Also, I had pulled out my starting 300$ from Empire last week and this week I got an email with a deal for a 20% reload bonus, so I guess it’s probably going straight back in to earn another 60$. I was thinking about starting a Pokerstars or UB account, or maybe even a TruePoker account in a vain attempt to get in on the next Poker Bloggers tournament after reading about the first one hosted by Grubby. Of course, to do that I’ll need to start playing and posting a bit more regularly. But with the 60$ bonus to earn at Empire, I imagine that won’t be difficult. I just have to make sure that I don’t lose the 60 in trying to earn it.

So, Saturday afternoon I was looking for a break and decided to download the 7-day trial of the Horizons for a little MMORPG action. Now, my SWG account is still active, but I haven’t played on it for months now. I really should just shut it down and save myself 20$ every month. But, I always think maybe I’ll try it out again after all the fixes they’ve made, say hello to a few people. But I will probably give up the ghost soon, as people are planning on jumping ship to City of Heroes or Worlds of Warcraft.

I actually had quite a lot of fun in my play time. There is a ton of quest content and the crafting system is a lot of fun. And the early level progression is fairly painless with a lot of earned abilities. Only problem is I started in on all the basic craft schools and have been running to many low level missions to earn formulas. I think I may refocus on combat and try multi-classing my warrior with a little cleric to reduce my downtime between fights. That is if I don’t end up playing poker in my free time.

Live Hold’em

Saturday, February 21st, 2004

Friday night was the third EPT 20$ buy-in pot limit Texas Hold’em tournament that I’ve organized. We had 13 people show up, which is a new record. But I think we will smash it in two weeks at the next one.

We also had our extra chips (50 green) arrive at long last and I bought a set of 2 KEM decks off someone who had picked up some extras off eBay. So we were loaded for bear and ready to go. Everyone bought in and received their 1000 in chips. No buy-ins, no add-ons, just elimination play with the top 4 taking home money.

I drew the short table and had a good balance of experienced players and dead money. One of the new guys actually plays 5/10$ on-line and has a fair amount of live experience in both home games and casinos. Thankfully he never really had the cards to be too much of a threat. The hand of my tournament was early on, a free play off the BB solo against the SB. I had Q9o I think, and the flop came 932. I figured I was good and bet 100$ into the 100$ pot after the SB checks. SB calls and I put him on a couple of overcards. The turn comes another 3 with no real flush possibilities. The SB checks again and I decide to try to take the pot down here instead of of giving him a chance at catching one of his overcards. So, I bet the pot back at him and he flat calls. The river is a 4, which he checks. I check figuring I am not going to get any more money from him. Of course, he has K3 for the set and I’ve just lost a large pot, putting myself in very dangerous chip position, at risk of going out first in the tournament.

But, I batten down the hatches and try to find an opportunity to double up. I can’t remember the cards I had, but I managed to double through once and pulled a sizable chunk on another pot so that I was around 300. I had some decent hole cards, but I kept missing the flop and was being forced to put a large percentage of my chips in to see more cards. Eventually I end up with A5 in late position. I forget the exact sequence that isolated myself against one opponent, but I figured him on two high cards, but no ace. So, I figure that now is a good a chance as any and re-raise all-in back to steal his bet (and the blinds) He’s in decent shape chip-wise, so he calls. We turn our cards over and he has KJo like I expected. So, I am the favourite, but not a big enough to feel very comfortable. The flop comes 74T rainbow and I’m feeling much better. I figure myself to be about a 2-1 favourite at this point. The river is a blank, but unfortunately the river brings a J and I’m out in 11th. And quite annoyed.

Unfortunately, the night ended with someone winning their second back-to-back tournament. He’s played pretty well, but he tries to make plays from position, but will keep following up on the plays even if the situation doesn’t warrant. He was bailed out a few times this week and last when behind to pull some big pots after his big pre-flop raises. Oh well, I suppose that is the way it goes. I was just unhappy to not only miss the money for the first of these three tournaments, but to miss the final table completely.

We played some dealer’s choice afterwards and though I managed to win a hefty 20$ pot early on, my chips proceeded to bleed away the rest of the night as I kept going in with quality hands to turned out to be second best. Ended up down 13$ in the dealer’s choice to put me -33 on the night. I was hoping for something a little more positive after the way my online play has been going, but I am looking forward to getting to play a bit tomorrow while watching the Sens game.


Thursday, February 19th, 2004

I love my company. Tonight the glee club had arranged an outing to go curling at the Leaside Curling Club. Not many people knew how to play so I ended up skipping one of the teams, but we all had a lot of fun. We managed to win 6-1 over the other team on top of that, and we had free beer and pizza afterwards, so all and all, it was a great night. Of course, when I realized it was only 10pm when I got home and I’d have a little time to go online for some poker, even though I was a little toasted and should have known better. But, fortunately I was in and out and pulled a 5 dollar night. (which works about to a 6BB evening) Of course, I managed to drop 40$ last night, but with a winning percentage of 3%, I’m pretty sure it was the cards. And without any kind of cards, there was no way I was going to win the 3 SNGs that I entered.

Fortunately, tomorrow is my home hold’em tournament. For the last month, I’ve held a 20$ buy-in pot limit texas hold’em every second friday and it’s been a lot of fun. We had 12 people the first night and 11 the second. I finished 4th and 3rd respectively, so it’s been pretty good, but I’m looking for a 1st place finish. I just hope that the weather holds out tomorrow so that we don’t have any cancellations.

Crystal Chronicles

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004

Well, at 7:30 yesterday, we gave up our 20+ hour quest to finish Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles. It began at 11am Sunday morning and ran pretty much through until Monday evening with a few stops for food and 7 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, with only 3 players left, we couldn’t get by what we assumed was the end boss. We kept getting paralyzed and bombed repeatedly while trying to get off the cures and lifes that would have kept us in the game. Looking back at it, I should have taken cure, life and one attack spell, filling my last 2 slots with phoenix downs. This would have given me better odds to resurrect the other two. Also, we should have used our deaths to set up some additional phoenix downs for when we were revived, as there was no one to get them on the run. Ah well, hopefully we’ll get another chance.

My thumb hurts

Monday, February 16th, 2004

Running time is 12 hours and 45 minutes and my thumb is killing me. But my Yuke is spell slinging with the best of them. *sigh* I think this solidifies my geek status.

One last tournament

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

I had told myself I was going to call it a night, but after a bit more tidying up, I ended up back at the tables for another 10+1 LHE SNG. I figured I had to make up some of the loss today since I won’t be able to play for the next few days.

Jumped into the chip lead early and managed to keep building on it. Unfortunately, when I hit 2300, I could not get any support to start throwing my weight around. But, I’m trying to play patiently, and aside from a few attempts early to feel out the table, I just sat back to wait for some cards.

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter how many times I promised myself to be patient, I continued to play aggressively, stealing with every opportunity. Fortunately my plays were scaring people off, and I had the cards when someone decides they want to see what I have. I regain the chip lead with 3700. They are 5 left and the blinds are up to 100/200. I make a mistake staying in to to try eliminate two players and drop 1000. Then I manage to take it back on the next hand betting at low pair, which would likely have held up, but the other player folded on the river. Then 2 hands after that, pocket TT holds up and I pull a 2900 pot. I’m in a commanding chip lead and start bullying the table, knocking someone out to bring it down to 3.

At 5200 in chips, I quickly donate 1200 trying to run someone out. The hand after that, the two other players clash and one drops. It’s now heads-up and the chips are even. I kept hitting decent down cards and keep betting. My opponent is running scared – though I will allow that they probably didn’t have cards – and kept folding the blinds to me. After a handful of steals, I finally call in the BB to see a wonderful flop. 5A8 rainbow to my 58o. I bet hoping against hope to be up against an ace and I smile when I am raised. I re-raise and after the call, my opponent has only slightly more than one bet left. The turn is a Q, which is a bit worrisome, but this is my chance, so I bet here and put him all in after the K river. Thankfully he had only A3 and I took first place and the 50 bucks. That leaves me at -3 for the day and the temptation to hit a ring game for a quick 5 bucks is pretty strong. I start watching the third period of the Vancouver game and try to resist the sirens call.

Of course, even though I know I shouldn’t sit at a table if I don’t intend to spend some time there, I can’t resist the temptation to try to eke out a small win on the day. Of course, what do I do on the first hand? I chase an open-ended straight. But, it was a big multi-way pot and the big stack of chips was too tempting to resist. So, instead of 3$ to be up, I need 6.

I few hands late I have 55 and limp in to see the flop. It comes 5Q3 and one of the 4 other players in the hand bets into me. I raise, and all but one call (I love Party sometimes) . The turn comes 6 and someone bets into me again. I’m slightly worried about the straight here, knowing some of the crazy hands people will see the flop with. I still raise, since the odds are still good for me. The river comes a lovely offsuit 3 and I’ve filled a boat. People still see my bet and I take down a 13.5$ pot. That puts me up for the day, so I play out the blinds that just hit me the next hand – I hate winning a big hand and then leaving without paying the blinds that were just coming around to me – and watch the next orbit for irresistable cards. I’m grateful when nothing shows up and I finally call it a night. It’s much later than I intended to go to bed, as I have some guests showing up at 10am tomorrow morning. But, at least I brought back my -53 from a few hours ago to a +5 on the day. And even with all that poker, I managed to get my place cleaned up pretty thoroughly, minus vacuuming and washing the floor. I’ll probably vacuum when I get up tomorrow, but I think the floor washing may not happen. And for the topper, my Sens won 5-3.


Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Just busted out in 5th at the tournament. Some bad plays were the main reason. I just need to find some more patience playing in these tournaments.

Bad decision

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Of course, instead of going back to another tournament, I decide that maybe I’ll try 2 tables of .5/1. I was holding my own, winning a few small pots to keep up with the blinds. But I was getting bad cards and I started losing patience folding everything before the flop. And we all know what that means. Well, it didn’t look too bad to start with, but then I ran into a few people who drew out on me. I don’t know what they were still doing in the hand, but I suppose that’s a familiar refrain. This didn’t do much for my patience and I continued to hemorrage money. Then I started throwing money at my nut flush draws, saying to myself “I haven’t hit a flush in hundreds of hands, I’m due” like that had some effect on the probabilities. In the end I dropped 30 bucks before I took a break to do some chores.

But, I’m currently back at a 10+1 LHE SNG and just took the chip lead on a big bluff.

Bad beat

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

Just finished a 10+1 LHE SNG. Things started well as I slowly pulled the occasional pot to climb into the chip lead with 3000 in chips. I was able to coast to the last 4 players on the back of my large stack. I really should remember the next few orbits better, but all I know is I put out the 4th place player and took a bad beat from my 5K stack when I ran into a river flush coming over my straight. I really should have bet it out instead of being scared of the nut straight being out there. I keep playing aggressively though and just barely missed putting someone out in third. Then I found pocket KK just as the table was starting to catch on to my rampant stealing (blinds were 150/300). Perfect for me. I’m in the BB and the SB raises into me trying to steal and I raise right back at him. The button folds, SB calls and we see the flop. It comes up Jc7c10s. SB bets and I figure he might be on a straight or flush draw, but figure it’s more likely he’s just bullying with his big stack, knowing I’d been stealing left and right. Fine by me, I raise another 270, putting me all in. My opponent calls and it’s on to the turn. Another K…oh wait, it’s the Kc, he has the flush, doesn’t he? Sure enough, the river comes quickly and I’m out in third to the Ac6c. Well, that’s twice I went in as the favourite against that guy and managed to lose about 5000 in chips between the two beats. Still, I couldn’t really fault my play (well, the no bet of the low straight was a mistake, but still) and managed to make up half the money I lost earlier in the afternoon before cleaning my apartment. I’ll probably head back in for another tournament while I listen to the Sens game.

SNG success

Saturday, February 14th, 2004

I just installed the new Pokertracker patch and finally got my tournament from last night successfully imported. At the 5+1 limit SNGs at Party and Empire, I’ve got 5 1st place finishes, and 4th+. Helps reaffirm my impression that I am a little smarter than the average bear in the world of low stakes online poker. After the weekend’s pounding, I was beginning to think that perhaps I had just been riding a lucky streak. I also have a 3rd place in a limit 10+1, and 3rd in a PL 5+1. And then 3 non-places in some PL 10+1’s I played to warm up for a home tournament I hosted last Friday (in which I finished third after a painful river suck out followed by an unfortunate set of 7s that slaughtered my all-in pair of kings).

So, in 13 tournaments, I’ve placed in 7 (in 5 of those I finished 1st), for a profit of 57 bucks. Not too bad considering the limits I’m playing at. And if it wasn’t for the practice PL games, it would have been 90.

On a unrelated note, I just finished From a Buick 8 by Stephen King on the subway ride home from a friend’s birthday party. Far from his best book, but it was still oddly satisfying. I managed to exchange my strange copy of Positively Fifth Street at Indigo today, so I’m looking forward to digging into that next. I could not find a copy of Orson Scott Card’s Xenocide however, even after hitting a few different stores. I should really have thought to check the stock online this morning, as I was hoping to get a copy from my friend for her birthday, since she just finished reading the excellent Speaker for the Dead.

Upward swing

Thursday, February 12th, 2004

Sat down at a 5+1 SNG tonight to try to bring myself up past a 200$ bankroll at Party Poker again. Made some good and some bad plays in the early rounds as I tried to build a bit of a chip lead. Of course, they balanced themselves out and I hovered within a few hundred of the 800 start. As usual, half the table was burning chips as fast as they could, and eventually we ended up down to 4 with myself around 2000 in chips, a couple at 1500 and the chip leader at 3000. I didn’t get too many hands, but it was easy to buy out the blinds with raises pre-flop, so I didn’t move too much up or down until the 4th place player went out. I kept my patience and played my good cards hard to capture the chip lead and to bust out the third place player.

Then it was heads up. I know this is a part of my game that is pretty questionable, as I play a bit too conservatively with the chip lead, not wanting to give away the farm. It went back and forth for a while until I two paired my K9 on the flop (K89) and my opponent called my raise. Two pair looks good so I kept on betting when another low card hit on the turn, my opponent raises and we end up capping. Still, I don’t believe he’s got cards to back it up. River comes an 8 and he goes all-in with the rest of his chips and I call. Of course he turns over 86o for the set. I’m not sure what he was doing betting, but suddenly I have only 1000 of the remaining 8000 chips. A painful, painful suck out. But, I claw my way back to a 2:1 chip advantage, but with a 600BB, things are already becoming a matter of luck more than good play. So, when my K6 pairs the 96A flop, I bet. He pauses for a while and then raises. I don’t think he has the A and I re-raise. He re-raises right back for a partial bet that puts him all in. I decide to call, what the hell. I hit the lucky 6 on the river and take the 25$. I would have felt worse about winning on the massive suck out – though I still would have had enough chips to make a go of it if he’d won the pot – but he’d survived on luck earlier, so it just made us even.

Of course, with my Party account 200+ again, I decided I’d get in some ring .50/1.00 action at Empire to see if I could bring that account up past 500 (after a 300 buy-in) so that I could pull 400 out to put up at either Pokerroom or UB for a juicy bonus. Of course, I was feeling pretty good, so I grabbed a beer and was watching a bit of TV. As usual, that made for some sub-optimal play, putting me down 10$ at one point. But at least I realized it and when I hit a few hands in a row to draw up even again, I bailed for the night. So, +19 on top of the +5.5 and +4 the last two nights has me almost halfway back through the 65$ I dropped on the weekend. I’m hoping a good session on Saturday might put me back to growing my bankroll.

Positively what?

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

The strangest thing happened tonight. A few weeks back I order a copy of Positively Fifth Street, and it was shipped on Monday and showed up at the office today. It was written by James McManus, about his experiences at the World Series of Poker in 2000. With my recent interest in poker, I was really looking forward to reading it.

I found my seat on the streetcar on my way home and opened it up. I read the forward and something didn’t sound quite right. I checked the dust jacket and then the spine. Yes, it was the right book. I read the acknowledgements and I knew something wasn’t right. Sure enough, I flipped to the first page and discovered that you really can’t judge a book by the cover. Instead of a book about poker, all I had to read was Longing to Tell: Black Women Talk About Sexuality and Intimacy. Not exactly what I was looking for. Must have been some freak printing/binding error, though I can’t really see how it would have happened.

Speaking of poker, I was looking forward to a little chinese food and online play at Party Poker tonight. I enjoyed the chinese, but was up and down all night with fairly ho-hum cards. Ended the night up 4BB. Not a good showing for 4 hours of work. I really think I need to start paying a bit more attention to table selection. The fish weren’t biting quite as much as they had been the past few weeks. But, as a consequence I was able to develop a tight-aggressive table image and then start making some plays to bluff out some pots. Unfortunately, those pots tended to be small, and the risk was large, so it wasn’t a particularly profitable tactic. Still, I was able to register a second steady, if unspectacular, night after the thrashing I took over the weekend. Bad cards and impatience were not a good mix for me.

First post

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004

Just bought a new domain (, should be propagated over the next couple days) and some web hosting services. An hour later I had server access. 15 minutes after that I had wordpress configured and up and running (thanks to Chris for indirectly recommending it.