Archive for May, 2004

May recap

Monday, May 31st, 2004

Well, May is over (at least there’ll be no more poker in the next hour) and it has been a good month. My first four months of poker officially ended in the second week of May. Since then, I have tripled my poker bankroll, from about 500USD to about 1500USD. I have moved from the .5/1 limit tables to 2/4 limit and 25PL and I’m considering testing the waters at 50PL (The dollar amounts are slightly misleading because they do not account for the 150 buy-in and 143 profit from Choice Poker that I was forced to write off from my first four months). But still, my move up in limits was met by an increase in my gains and improvements in my game. Of course, I was humbled this evening when I was slapped around at the tables, but I consider it another lesson learned in my poker education.

I’m looking forward to June and some more poker. I don’t expect to keep up the same pace of improvement as I’ll be spending more time out and about enjoying the nice weather, but I’m hoping that I can continue to build my bankroll and move up in limits as appropriate. I wish all you (if you play poker) continued good luck at the tables as well.

Free money

Monday, May 31st, 2004

Now, I’ve done a fair amount of bonus hopping in my time as an online poker player, but I’ve never received money that was quite this “free”. This morning when I logged into my email before heading out to work, I discovered a message from Party Poker. “Lucy has chosen your account today (31-May-04) and added $50 into your account.” Wow, that’s great. What do I have to do? “To claim the money, simply login in to the party poker software before 23:59 hrs EST today and play 1 raked hand or 1 real money tourney .” I’ll do that right now. And as easy as that, I have another $50 in my account. And an extra $4.75 from a hand that I couldn’t resist betting before my half orbit was up. :)

Apparently they have a promotion going on right now where they randomly choose 1000 accounts every day between May 27th and June 10th to award some money to. It’s not as if I’m going to complain.

I also want to send a shout out to John-Paul. He played in the $6000 Freeroll Barcelona Heads-Up at MultiPoker and finished 2nd out of 340! While he barely missed out on a trip to Spain when his pocket twos failed to hold up against a the flush draw. But, he did manage to pocket $300 for his efforts. Congratulations John-Paul! Here’s a bit from his another part of his post:

In the Intertops freeroll I had the pleasure of meeting and playing with Travis from TP’s Table Talk, a fellow Canadian Poker Blogger. Funny enough, we were both playing the freeroll and watching the Stanley Cup Finals, Calgary vs. Tampa Bay Game, at the same time. We threw in a what a goal and awesome shot into the comments when Calgary scored. The other players probably thought we were colluding… or retarded.

I couldn’t help but laugh at that. I’ve been quite enjoying his posts recently and he will be added to the blogroll with a few others when I finally get around to updating it. How can I not, he’s another Canadian poker blogger. He also mentions that he wasn’t too upset with me calling him weak in my post on Saturday. That’s good because there was certainly no offense intended. I just wanted to point out the one flaw I saw in his game when we were playing at the same table. Of course, it should have occurred to me that perhaps e-mail or IM might have been a better forum for that message. Sorry John-Paul.

Sunday afternoon at the tables

Sunday, May 30th, 2004

Same old, same old at the tables this afternoon, but that’s not a bad thing.

Played a little 4-table 25PL at Party this afternoon. Started off badly slow-playing a set of queens and throughing all my money after it when the flush hit. Another 30 minutes and I managed to dig the hole all the way to $50. But, a several hundred hands of solid play brought me up to +$75 before dropping down to $50. My food was ready, so I decided to call it a session. And that should be the hands I needed for Party to send me a free cap and jacket.

Didn’t intend to play any more today, but a few hours later I was tempted by the soft 2/4 tables at Pacific. With my short sessions I’m not sure if I’ve just been lucky or if these tables were as beatable as they seemed, so I was curious to find out. Well, my first session was pretty short, but I managed to win 9BB in a few orbits. I owe this more to the bad play of others at the table than I do to any particular quality play of my own. I’m not playing badly, but there hasn’t been any call to play well either.

After a short break I was back at it and this time I was around for a while. The table was weak-passive and I told advantage to the tune of 12BB in the hour I was there. And it would have been a lot more were it not for K that forced me to split my flopped broadway straight. I can’t imagine what the guy was thinking staying in until the river with JT. He can’t have thought he was good with my pre-flop raise, so I guess he was playing the gut-shot draw. Frustrating in this instance, but this is definitely the kind of player I want at my table. I did hit some lucky cards in this session however, so I still can’t firmly say that I’m good at this level.

Actually, who am I kidding? I may not be a great player, but the competition at 2/4 at Pacific is horrible. Play some solid tight-aggressive poker, don’t get too fancy, and there’s a fair chunk of change to be made. Now if only you could play more than one table.

Intertops $1500 freeroll

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Well, this post will be much shorter than yesterday’s. The tournament had 218 entries, but I think just about half of them were no-shows and were slowly blinded off for the first five levels. I busted out in 117th. I could have folded two orbits to finish closer to 60-70, just by virtue of all the dead seats finally being blinded off, but I called an all-in bet with KhQh. I figured him for low pocket pair, and with the chip leader at 10 times my stack, I’d decided to try to get lucky and double through. No dice and I was out. Now that I think about it a bit more carefully, it was still a bit early to make that move, but it probably saved me another hour of tight poker just to make $10. I needed to start amassing chips to finish in the top three.

The only real point of interest was that I had John-Paul Constales at my starting table. He’s a fellow Canadian poker blogger and I’ve been reading his journal for a month or two now. I just wish his site had an RSS feed so I could keep up with it better and comments so that I can harass him more. :) He was playing a little bit weak (sorry John-Paul), folding many of his bets in the face of a re-raise. It was noticeable enough for the few live players at the table to take advantage of that habit (including me). But overall he played well and went in with AQ vs. 79 and lost when a 7 hit on the flop. Getting in with the best of it is all you can do.

In other news, I dipped my toes in at the Pacific 2/4 tables agian. In 45 minutes I saw three good hands, the first I don’t remember. The second was AQ, which I raised and bet the whole way, even though it didn’t hit for a 6BB pot when the last one in folded on the river. The other was QQ that I raised and bet the whole way even with a K on the flop for a 10BB pot. So, I ended the night up 15BB on the night, which I must admit is a much more satisfying number when playing 2/4.

And I just have to add “Go Flames Go!”. They played a great game tonight in front of a boisterous crowd. And it looks like they finally solved their powerplay problems.

Congrats Fossilman

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

My lord I can be long-winded, can’t I. I apologize to anyone who read my monster tournament report from last night.

But the one important thing I did forget to mention is congratulations to Greg “Fossilman” Raymer for winning the biggest of the bigs last night, collecting a $5,000,000 payday at the WSOP No-Limit World Championship. I saw him hit some pretty good cards, but no one gets to the end without playing well. Congratulations Greg!

Intertops $3000 freeroll

Saturday, May 29th, 2004

Well, tonight was the night for the $3000 freeroll at Intertops I qualified for by playing 1500+ raked hands in the past month. Not that difficult when 1050 of those hands were required for bonus retrieval purposes.

The tournament started off – with everyone at T1000 chips – pretty slowly. My table was very tight and it was often folded all the way around to the big blind. A small raise was usually enough to steal the blinds. Unfortunately, I was getting some decent starting hands so I was having trouble getting paid off.

Aggressive play without a lot of action has me at double the average stack at T2800 at the first break. There are 65 players left in the tournament out of the original 93. I have a pretty good read on most of the people at my table, so I’m feeling pretty good going into the fourth level (25/50). I’m liking the reasonable blind structure for a change.

I get 87h in the big blind. Middle position raise to 175 and I decide to call and see a flop. With the super-tight table, people are raising with any marginal hand, so he might not like a confrontation. The flop comes 34T, two spades. No good for me, but I can’t imagine it hit him either, and I’ve got a 3-1 chip advantage on him. I come out betting half the pot and he obliges by mucking his cards. My first “play” of the day that actually feels like a play. Everything else was aggression with good hands hit or miss the flop.

In the next five hands, it folds to the button three times. I may need to lower my starting hand requirements here.

I raise with a decent hand and the get called, but by the big stack. He raises my bet on the 3-flush flop and I decide discretion is the better part of valor. Was stupid to tangle with the big stack when there were much more accomodating targets at the table. I managed to blow enough chips that I have to start looking for some good opportunities to make more chips than just off a steal. At this point I checkthe recent summary and notice that the last 18 hands were won by one of only four people. The other five are too scared of any aggression.

Blinds are up to 50/100 and I see 88 under the gun. This is something, I raise, knowing that might buy me the blinds right there and not wanting to limp and call someone else’s raise. I get two callers. I check and the big blind kindly puts out a small bet which I eventually call along with 1s. The turn is a K and a second diamond. I try to decide what to do here. I don’t want to give the free flush draw, but I want the big stack to donate some more chips. I decide on 500 and hope that the big stack, who’s been a bully for a while, might reraise me. The 1s folds as I expect, but the big stack flat calls. Oh well, better than a fold I figure. The river is a blank and I push all-in. I probably should have bet for value here, but I thought the big stack might make the bad call. No such luck, but I still drag a decent pot to move well up in the standings.

Lost money again to a big stack who check-raised me on the 3-flush flop. This time I have a bit of an excuse as he had just moved from another table and I hadn’t realized he was there. We’re down to 40 now and people are playing a bit more desperate now that they’ve woken up to the fact they’ll need to win some hands to make the money.

I decide to mix it up from the small blind, re-raising the 400 bet from LP to 1000. I get the call and the flop comes 74Q. Pretty raggedy, nothing he can feel too good about, so I bet another 1000 and LP folds. I can understand how Daniel Negreanu gets into so many pots with garbage starting hands. With the right flop, you can really hurt someone. I get the urge to start dancing around in some pots but manage to quell the impulse.

50/100 – someone goes all-in pre-flop for 800. I peek at JJ and think, sounds good. Unfortunately he spikes a 3 on the river for his set. At least it didn’t cost me as much as it could have.

75/150 – the guy to my immediate left pushes all-in after I raise with AQ. He’s been throwing his stack around the last few hands so I decide to call for half my stack. He flips AQ to chop the blinds.

75/150 – find AK in EP and double the blind. Get called by one of the big stacks. Flop comes AT8, two diamonds. I bet the pot to discourage the flush draw. I get the call and the turn is the 5s. I push all-in, almost equally the pot. Stacks folds and I’m up to T4800 and feeling more comfortable.

75/150 – find AK again in EP and double the blind. Called by the other big stack. Flop comes 456 rainbow and I bet out T400. Stacks raises me to T800, but I figure him for a bully and re-raise to T2000. He types “oh…you were serious this time” and mucks his cards. I’m going to have to remember that. Unfortunately, a couple hands later I’m moved to another table. So much for my good reads.

Twenty-five players to go now in the second break and I have the chip lead with T7852. My notes say “This is where it’ll start to fall apart.”

Button goes all-in with AK and is called by someone else with KK and suddenly I’m no longer chip leader. At least the T12,500 stack is to my right. I need to be careful now, we’ve fallen to 18 and I can probably just fold into the money. I hate to do it, but it’s a freeroll and the tenth place $90 is not insignificant for my bankroll.

Who am I kidding, I can’t not play hands, even marginal ones. I get KJ off-suit in mid-late position and go in for a small raise. I get a few callers. The flop comes KQJ, all diamonds. I’m pretty sure I like the flop and since I have everyone covered, I bet the pot. I get an all-in call from AK and I’m thinking happy thoughts, until the A hits on the river. A big chunk of my bankroll has gone missing.

A few hands later I get to see a free flop from the big blind. I flop the open-ended straight draw and a bet and a call give me odds to chase. The straight hits on the turn and I check to let the first bettor do my work for me. Unfortunately he checks it and we see a third diamond on the turn. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give up my straight and my T2000 bet went to the gentleman on the button with the 56 of diamonds. Suddenly I’m down to T3000 and I’m no longer sure if folding into the money is even an option.

At this point I get an IM from Felicia, who points out that I didn’t mention she was the one who told me that my fellow countryman, Dave Scharf, busted out of the WSOP on Wednesday in my last post. I had completely intended to, but spent so long collected links and reading his diary that I rushed out the rest of the post so I could get back to work. I know that she doesn’t really care about the snub, but I still need to thank her for turning me on to his writing.

I take advantage of a sympathetic ear to vent about my bad beat followed by my stupid play. Of course, talking about just makes me realize how stupid it was. Oh well, I needed to refocus and adjust to playing with a small stack. Only 15 left and I still had a good chance at the money.

At this point Intertops died on me and I missed a whole orbit trying to get back in. But in that time two more had fallen and we had only 13 to go. Checking the leaderboard, I saw that five had a small stack than I did, so folding into the money seeemed a good idea. Unfortunately a few people managed to double up and there were only three shorter stacks left. I made a few all-in moves (including a stupid MP all-in with AKo) and survived to the final table. Now I was guaranteed $90 and it was time to mix it up.

Or it was time to mix it up after the T555 was blinded off in the first three hands. Now I’ve won at least $120 and I’m just waiting for an opportunity to push. It comes with ATo in the big blind. I’m down to T2300 after paying the blind and with one limper, button+1 raises to 2400. This was probably the best hand I’d see for a while, and now I had a chance to double up with it, so I pushed in the rest of my chips. Even if I was dominated, I was going to need to get lucky a few times to get back into competition. And there was a very good chance that he was just bullying the short stack in the blind. The limper folds (what he later said was also AT) and button+1 calls the remaining T300 chips. He flips 99 and we have a coin flip. I hit an A on the flop and I’ve more than doubled up.

Then this guy starts going off on me. I’ll cut a bit of the transcript just to illustrate:

JAY17434: terrible call
Farmer_Ted: okay then
JAY17434: just horrible
proffelt: I’ve got no chips.
Farmer_Ted: yep
JAY17434: you had 4000
proffelt: You could just be bullying me out of the blind.
JAY17434: you didnt suspect i was ahead?
proffelt: I had 2700
JAY17434: dude, it was a horrible call
JAY17434: period

There was a bit more as I tried to explain to him all the possible reasons to make that call. Now, maybe I’m just a clueless fish here, but I can’t see how this is a terrible call. I mean, at worst it’s not a great call, but a T2400 raise, particularly with the texture of the game, was just screaming “don’t call me”. And even assuming he had a hand, any low pair is a coin-flip which I’ll take with my short stack. If he had me with a bigger ace, then I was in trouble, but that’s a chance I think I have to take. And in the end, he had 99. Had I known what he had, I would have made the call, so I can’t see any problem with it. He continued to bitch out any player making a marginal call, even though he was bluffing on half the occasions.

Two hands later I’m at it again when I find TT. The intervening hand eliminated another player, so I was at least $150. With two limpers at 200/400, I push all-in. Everyone folds and I suddenly have chips again, with T8200. No longer the short stack, but still only half of what the leaders had. And I didn’t want to slip into the next money spot. I was playing for the win.

A short time later I’m in the big blind with AQo. There’s a MP raise then re-raise (for the minimum amounts). I probably should have hesitated a bit longer here, but I decided to take a chance that I wasn’t up against AA and force them into a decision. The first raiser folds, but after a bit of a think, the re-raiser called. Unfortunately, his KK wasn’t much better for me than aces. The flop came KJx, giving him the set and me few outs. No ten on the turn or river and I’m out in eighth. I probably should have smelt something fishy with the minimum re-raise and backed away, knowing I did finally have some time, but I was still half in small stack mode. Still $150 is not a bad free payday.

I apologize for the long-winded post, but it’s been a while since I’ve played in a MTT and with the WSOP final table happening at the same time, it was a lot of fun. But now I really must hit the sack.

WSOP Final Table Start

Friday, May 28th, 2004

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve been sitting at the Pokerstars “simulcast” table for the past 45 minutes waiting to see the results of the first hand from the 2004 WSOP No-Limit Hold’em World Championship event. By rights I probably shouldn’t be this exciting about seeing a simulated hand of cards representing a game being played a few thousand kilometers away. But, there is 16 million dollars to divvy up among the final 9, and they just announced that there are 11,000+ people watching at Pokerstars right now, a pretty large number of viewers for a “simulated” table. I guess I’m far from alone.

And the first hand, it’s folded to Hughes who raises to 200K. Arieh calls from the big blind (antes are 50K). The flop comes Jd5h4h and they both check. The turn is 7d and Arieh’s 375K bet wins him the pot. Just wanted to be able to post the first hand.

UPDATE: Wow, two out in the first hour. Crazy stuff. I hope everyone doesn’t busy out before I get home after running a few errands tonight.

Dave Scharf at the Big One

Friday, May 28th, 2004

I discovered last night through an ad in Canadian Poker Player and was happy to find a nice Canada-focused poker forum. Still not firm info on some of the local tourneys I was hearing rumours about, but more than I’ve been able to find elsewhere.

I also discovered Dave Scharf’s (editor of Canadian Poker Player) WSOP journal posts. A great read for anyone interested in a first hand account of the big game. He got a few of the facts wrong (he said Chris Ferguson busted out on Day 1) but with all the trouble the media is having getting a clear picture, it has to be even more overwhelming for someone in the middle of it. After I posted this the first time, I realized I should include a little teaser to whet a reader’s appetite. Here’s a sample from his day 3 report on a hand he played with Annie Duke:

Two hands later it is my big-blind. Annie raises on the button. I call in the big blind with Q-8s. The flop is A-J-8 and the A-J are spades. I have bottom pair and a flush draw. I have A LOT of outs. I check. Annie bets $4K. I check-raise to $16,000. She thinks for a while and re-raises me ANOTHER $37K. I believe she is capable of making that bet with a lot of hands… She could, I think, be bluffing. She could have an ace. I re-re-re-raise all-in. The combination of “annie might be bluffing” plus “I have at least 9 outs and probably 14 outs” was enough for me to put the pressure back on her. Annie thinks for a long while. She has about $25K in front of her. So, she is facing a call of $25K into a pot of about $110K. I think she had an ace. She counted down her stack and was, I think, trying to figure out if she had enough chips left to carry on or if she needed to call and hope I was bluffing. Eventually, she folded.

I tossed my hand face up in the middle of the table and said, “Make sure you tell Gus about that hand too.”

I feel bad about it today. It is not my style to talk trash but I just sort of snapped. Maybe I am feeling more of the pressure than I realize.

Of course the Gus he mentions here is Gus Hansen, whom Annie had been bragging to earlier. A good read if you still can’t get enough WSOP, and with the final table starting in not too long, I imagine everyone is pretty excited. I know I am, and I’m nowhere near Las Vegas.

May 20 (arrival)
May 21
Day 1 (early)
Day 1 (recap)
Day 2 (Dave’s first day)
Day 3
Day 4

Pokerstars simulcast

Friday, May 28th, 2004

Pokerstars is apparently hosting a simulcast of the WSOP final table today. Sounds like they are plugging in the hands to a special tournament table so that members can review the action. Only problem is, I don’t have an account at Pokerstars yet. And I feel bad signing up to a site without any kind of bonus. It seems…unnatural. So, this is my call out to any bloggers who read my site who know of any kind of sign up bonus (aside from the free book deal). Please let me know if there is anything else. Thanks!

Not-so ultimate ultimate

Thursday, May 27th, 2004

I managed to make my second ultimate game tonight (third game for the team) and I was to make another decent showing for myself. I had heard rumours that our competition was going to be pretty stiff, but I figured we would hold on own, even if we lost. Boy was I wrong. They ran us in circles and we didn’t manage a single point for the entire first half. We managed a few points in the second half but if anything we looked worse overall. I just couldn’t seem to manufacture anything with the disc and was a little slow on the defensive side of the disc. Just not the game I was hoping for. And after the rough night at volleyball yesterday, I’m feeling battered and exhausted. With that in mind, I’m going to tie this post off and read a little of the latest Canadian Poker Player before sleep. It’s funny, the cover of the new issue isn’t even posted on the website. I guess Dave Sharf (the editor) is too busy at the WSOP.

First foray in 2-4

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Wednesday means volleyball and unfortunately I missed out on an online tournament I was invited to play in so that I could knock the ball around. At least the exercise was good for me. Unfortunately, my team once again managed to drop a game we should have won to finish 1-1 on the night. That puts us at 2-2 for the season and although we’re playing a division higher than we registered for, we probably should be undefeated right now, or at worst 3-1.

We finally took advantage of the $50 gift certificate we got for winning our division last week, so we at least got to enjoy some mostly free beer and pub grub.

But what I really had a taste for was some poker. After reading all the WSOP coverage today, I really had the urge to hit the tables. And I’d read about a Party Poker reload bonus, so I was anxious to get back to familiar ground to start working off some more bonus. Alas, this was not to be, as my deposit was not greeted with a new bonus to unlock and I read that the bonus offer was account specific. And the money was locked in for at least eight hours, so I couldn’t pull it back out and move over to try out Multi Poker.

So I actually returned to one of the outstanding bonuses I’ve yet to work off and logged into Pacific Poker. I’d lost a few extra dollars at the .5/1.00 tables there after the blogger tournament, but with the bonus conditions being that I needed to wager 20 times the bonus amount, it was going to play a lot of .5/1.00 hands to secure it. So, I decided I would test the waters of 2/4. My bankroll is at a safe 300BB, and Maudie told me that the 2/4 tables were reasonably soft, so I figured it was time to take the plunge.

Probably not the best idea as it was nearly 11pm and I was hoping to get to bed by 12. But, I was anxious to see what it was like. The first thing I noticed was that it was slow. After playing 3-4 Party family tables, 1 Pacific table is a painful ordeal. But I figured I was playing a new limit, so it was good that I had to pay attention.

I didn’t hit any hands for the first three or four orbits and quickly realized that a higher limit meant it was possible to lose chips more quickly. On the fourth orbit I try a middle position raise with K5 to see how much respect I’d get. None it seems, as I get called in four places. Flop comes 323 and I bet at it and I’m raised by the player on my immediate left. I re-raise thinking there’s no way that flop hit him and he calls. By this point we’ve lost all the others in the hand and the turn comes a 4. I bet and get raised again. Now I think maybe medium pocket pair, but I’ve got the odds to call with my overpair. The river is a blank and I figure I had to give him credit for at least ace high, so I fold to his bet. The guy stunk of fish, but I didn’t I don’t like calling a bet with king high.

A few hands later I get AQ in late position, catch a Q on the flop and pump the pot each chance I get, even after the K hits on the turn. I’m heads-up on the river and my pair of queens takes a nice 6BB pot (wow, that has a bit more meaning when not playing .5/1.00)

I get another small win the following orbit on the button and decide that I was going to pocket my $2 win to call my first 2/4 a winning won and get some sleep. But of course I need to play out my orbit first.

Two hands later I have AJ and raise from late position with two limper ahead of me. The above mentioned fish calls, as does the small blind and the limpers. Flop comes 9J9 and with three checks in front of me, I decide it’s time to bet. I get a call from the fish, small blind folds and both limpers call. Another 9 on the turn and I’m thinking that the hand is mine. Unfortunately I end up chopping the pot with the second limper who had JT.

Now my profit of $8.50 can be measured in BBs and I’m feeling even better about my night. And I’ve bet enough to work off at least a tenth of my bonus. But two hands later I look up to see KK and I raise again as third in the pot. I only end up with one caller, which is fine by me. The flop comes 79T, two hearts, and I confidently bet out at it. I’m called. Turn is a scary A, but I figure he’s got to put me on a good hand, so I bet again. Another call and I’m less happy. Another T hits on the river and I bet again. I don’t know if he figured me for the paired ten on the flop, or just didn’t hit his flush draw, but he folded and I managed to increase my winnings to half a dollar under 6BB. Next hand I see QJ and after the initial urge, I fold them like a good little early position player. The flop comes Q3J to taunt me, but my orbits out and I cash out with a tidy little run of $23.50 in 40 minutes. I benefitted from good cards, but it was nice to know that I wasn’t in over my head at the 2/4 tables.

Of course, my plan to be in bed by 12 didn’t work so well when I decided to write up this post, but that’s something else entirely.

Tuesday Meltdown

Wednesday, May 26th, 2004

Well, I knew it was bound to happen. If you don’t count the 20+2 buy-in to the WBT3, I had been on a winning streak going back over a month. Not one losing session in …let me go count…13 sessions. Well, I guess that explains it, unlucky 13 and my run at the PL25 tables finally hits a roadblock. And what a roadblock. I manage to get pocket kings all-in before the flop heads-up…and he rivers a 4 to make his set. In the big blind with 52 that sees a rainbow flop of T52, seems like a time to get my money in. Oh, but he likes his J5, so why not stay in to hit his 3-outer on the turn. I lost most of my money ($80 on the night) in the first hour or so of play and I was never able to dig my way back out of that hole. Now, I’m not too upset because I know these same fools are the ones who double me up on other nights, but combined with a very cold deck it made for a long evening.

And I hate to admit it, but I started playing scared. Aggression has served me extremely well at the pot-limit tables, but I began to fear betting and getting hit with a big raise, or heaven forbid another check raise. Even worse than that, I could see the people at the tables start to sense it. I was suddenly getting hit with large raises on marginal hands I was forced to lay down. At least I had the sense to leave the tables where I saw that happening. I guess it’s just another chapter in my ongoing poker education.

I also wanted to give pokerprof over at LasVegasVegas Texas Hold’em and Poker Blog a shout-out for the great work he is doing reporting on the WSOP. Conditions haven’t been great for the media trying to cover the event, but he has persevered. I particularly like the searchable player database he has put together, updated through Day 5. Want to find out how your favourite player is doing without scanning hundreds of names? Head on over to find out.

Long weekend

Tuesday, May 25th, 2004

This weekend is a long weekend in Canada (Monday is Victoria’s Day) and I managed to book Friday off, so I was able to get a much needed break from work. I decided to visit some friends (a couple with an 18-month old) in Cambridge (Ontario) to get away from the city and decompress. It was a great visit as usual and it was amazing to see the difference in their child’s vocabulary after only a couple of days. By Sunday she had started saying thank you when you gave her something, a behaviour she had not exhibited the previous two days. Of course, that earned her two very proud parents, particularly as her grandmother and a house full of guests showed up Sunday for a BBQ and little Maya got to show off her new talent.

Of course, it seems like poker is creeping into more aspects of my life. Maya’s father has caught the poker blog after watching the WPT on TV and listening to my poker exploits (and reading of them here on my blog). So I spent a fair chunk of my weekend talking to him about poker, giving him some pointers on where to begin. We even sat down at the play money tables for a while so that I could explain some of the finer points of the game. Of course, most of the finer points of the game are lost at the play money tables, so I’ve also sent him some poker literature to read to prepare for his jump to the micro-limit games. I also managed to few hundred hands towards my Empire bonus as I showed him what the PL25 tables were like. He was very excited to see tables where there weren’t eight people seeing capped betting to the river. I am interested to see how mentoring someone about poker will help my own game.

Since I got home late Sunday, I had much of the day Monday open to do whatever I wanted. Unfortunately, there was some apartment cleaning required, so I didn’t get a chance for poker until later in the day, and that was only because the documents I sent home to work on ended up being corrupt. But, I managed to finish the hands required for Empire, with an extra $50 in profit for good measure. Then I started in on my bonus from Aztec Poker. The .5-1 limit HE tables at Aztec are just about as bad as play money tables. Four-five people would see capped betting pre-flop and many would call to the river with nothing. Of course, this means I managed to bleed off slightly more than my bonus amount in the 250 raked hands that I played. In my defence, I was cold-decked, not only in terms of bad starting hands, but unfortunate river beats. But if all goes well, I should end up with a case of decent chips for $8, which is a positive result in my books.


Thursday, May 20th, 2004

Wednesday night means beach volleyball again. After our good showing last week in the ranking games, we actually ended up placed in the Competitive division instead of Advanced like we signed up for. This was probably a good thing because we’ll end up playing fewer games against teams we completely dominate. There will be some rough nights, as we will be playing against the best 6s teams signed up for the spring season, but I’d rather play a challenging game and lose than not even having to work on the court.

Last night we were again without one of our regular female players and we couldn’t line up a replacement like last week. Fortunately, both teams we played against (we play 2 50-minute games in a night) allowed the game to count even though we only played with five. We weren’t looking particularly strong in our first game, but managed to win 2-1 against an inferior team. Unfortunately, the second team we played was pretty good and our performance just got worse and worse as the night went on. We lost 3-0 in a rather embarassing showing. Hopefully it was just us trying to get our beach legs back after playing court volleyball all winter.

Haven’t had any time to spend on the poker tables, but my money has finally gotten from my Intertops account to Neteller, so I put it back into Empire for their 15% reload bonus (code SUMMER15). So, I have another $100 just waiting for me to play 500 hands. Gotta love free money.

Monday night’s alright for poker

Tuesday, May 18th, 2004

There’s something about a Monday night at the poker tables that is good for my bankroll. It could be because that is the only night I’ve really had to spend in the past couple of weeks, but the fish were definitely out in full force last night.

After my embarassing performance in the WBT3 on Sunday, I was looking for a bit of redemption in the cash games. Anyone who has been reading my blog knows that I’ve been running very well on the Party/Empire/Intertops PL25 tables. With a win rate greater than 10BB/100 hands and a $150 deposit bonus waiting to be unlocked at Intertops, I had no reason to stray. Not many details to speak of. I played 3-4 tables and went down quickly before I calmed and started a slow and steady climb. I was being very aggressive, not really a concious decision, but I was very successful pushing people out of pots. And some of the questionable big bets I made were called down by little fishies anxious to give their money. The best example was on a board of AT55x my $10 bet was called by someone who couldn’t beat my pocket jacks. Why I was betting $10 with JJ in that situation is another discussion entirely, but it paid me off quite well.

I ended the night up $143, and managed to get through the remaining 500 hands I needed to unlock my $150 in bonus. Conveniently this matches the amount I lost to the bastards at Choice Poker, so it helps to balance my bankroll now that I am forced to give up on that money. I would be in excellent shape right now if it weren’t for that lost, but I’m happy that my recent run has at least prevented me from taking a step back.

Anyone who has visited this site without checking out The Cards Speak first has got the poker reading priorities all wrong. Hdouble has written up another excellent article, this time discussing the first year in a poker player’s career. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d strongly suggest you go now. I think my play right now is around the six month mark in his timeline, even if it’s only been four since I’ve started playing.

Tournament Poker

Sunday, May 16th, 2004

Two weeks have gone by since my last home hold’em tourney so this Friday it was time for the next one. It’s just a basic $20 pot-limit hold’em tournament, with T1000 in starting chips. On top of winning the cash (divvied 50/25/15/10 with 10+ people) points are awarded for the top five finishers (10-8-6-4-2 for simplicity sake). These points accumulate over the course of a “season” (defined as 10 tournaments) with some prize being awarded to the points leader. There’s a lot of excitement about winning EPT points (as they are called) even though everyone’s been told that I’m not going to be able to get a very good prize for our first season.

And that’s the set-up. I don’t know how much of this I’ve explained previously (and I’m too lazy to scroll back and check), but I thought I’d provide a refresher for my hordes of three readers.

Friday night was the 8th event in the first “season”. It was also our biggest turnout with 19 bodies. Now, early on, one of the players won two tourneys back-to-back, which had, along with a couple other money finishes, put him well ahead in the points standings. Even after finishing in the money five out of seven times, included a first place finish in the last tournament, I was still 10 points behind, tied for second in points.

But I managed to change that Friday night, beating the field and finishing first for a nice chunk of change. Unfortunately I’ve been too busy to make this post before now, so the details are a bit hazy. There were a few key hands that my night hinged on that I can relate.

Just before the tables merged, I went in for a decent raise with AQ and got two callers. The flop came AQx, 2 diamonds. I can’t remember the exact sequence of betting, but eventually I pushed the other two all-in. One showed AJ, one showed two diamonds. So, I just had to hope for no diamonds. The turn came a safe blank, but the river was another diamond and the crowd that collected around the table started hollering. But I had been paying attention and yelped a bit louder and reached to protect my pot when I saw it was the Qd. This put me in good chip position as the tables were merged to the final eight.

Second important hand was a crazy affair when I held KQ. The flop came Qxx and I liked it and bet accordingly. Nothing of much note on the turn and river and then the guy I was heads-up against pushed all-in. I had him covered, but the whole sequence had halfed my stack. He flipped Q4 and left the table to eat dinner. This was a nice influx of chips that put me well ahead at the table.

But all was not good fortune. I lost a nearly T10000 pot when A2 rivered the pair of twos against my bigger ace. He had called a T1000 bet on every street, with just A2. Now, I may have been broadcasting a tell that I was trying to bully, which I was with only A6, but I also read that the flop missed him. That gutsy call knocked me well back at the table. In fact, I was just about ready to give up on making it to first.

But I kept up with my aggressive play. Raising and reraising to steal pots, and hands held up when I needed them to. I had some good reads on my opponents and managed to take advantage of their styles. In fact, I felt really good about my play when I realized I had clawed my way back into a small chip lead. I carried that through to the final two, though it was still a small edge. I stole a few pots and then found 55. At this point I was getting a bit tired and was willing to gamble so when my opponent raised my limp, I re-raised him back and he put all his chips on the line pre-flop. It turned out to be 97 vs. 55. I guess he was even less patient than I was and my fives held up for the victory.

So, I’m now 6 for 8 in the bi-weekly hold’em tournaments, the money leader and tied for the points lead, and I’m feeling pretty satisfied with myself. Of course, since I organize the tournaments, it doesn’t necessarily look great, but I’m not going through all this effort and not even getting the opportunity to play. It’s not as if I am making any profit beyond what I win at the tables.

Then again, I managed to make a complete fool of myself at the blogger tournament tonight. I was out in 27th (of 30) 15 minutes into the tournament. I got into an ill-advised confrontation with Mean Gene early while I was sorting out the betting interface. I ventured a good chunk of my chips but was forced to back away when the flop didn’t hit and he put the pressure on me. Ten minutes later I went all-in with my short stack when I found AQ. Blinds were going up to 25/50 in less than five minutes and with only 300 in chips, I figured I wasn’t going to get many more chances. Unfortunately, I ran into Gene again and was out of the tournament.

I have to say, I’m not a big fan of Pacific Poker. Some people at my table were saying that the games were really soft – and I can’t disagree from my short time at the .5/1 table – but I don’t know that they are more +EV than my PL games at Party/Empire/Intertops. Still, I suppose there is a bonus to unlock, even if the method of doing so is a bit extreme. Maybe Pacific is where I should start my 2/4 dabbling.

But that’s enough about poker, it’s time to call it an early night.

T minus 15

Sunday, May 16th, 2004

Fifteen minutes until this week’s poker blogger tournament, organized by the poker blogfather himself. When I logged into Pacific Poker, where the tournament is being held, I was surprised and disappointed to find that my name wasn’t on the list of participants. I’d had some problems with my deposit there, so I thought maybe my registration for the tournament didn’t go through. But it turns out that the pre-registration only gets you on the invite list, you still have to sign up prior to the event. Hopefully we don’t have too many of the usual stragglers who find they can’t get into the game.

Choice Poker stole my money

Sunday, May 16th, 2004

I’m taking a page from Tao of Poker and recounting my own experience with Choice Poker (not going to bother linking it, as no one should be giving them money at this point). A few months ago I signed up at Choice as part of my usual bonus hunting and managed to nearly double my $150 deposit with the sign-up bonus and a 3rd place finish in their $1000 new player freeroll. They were looking a little shaky even then, so as soon as the requisite 10 days passed to release my bonus, I tried to pull my money out into Neteller. For the first free weeks I got the run around about them having some financial difficulties with a partner and they should be able to pay me within a few weeks. For the past 3 weeks or so, they haven’t even bothered returning any of the regular messages I send them asking for an update. At this point, I don’t know what other steps I might be able to take to get my money back. So if anyone has any suggestions or managed to get some money out of them in the past month, please leave a comment or shoot me an email with advice.


Friday, May 14th, 2004

Well, I’ve been busy, busy, busy. Haven’t had the time to keep up with blogs let alone post to my own. Spring sports season started this week and I had my first beach volleyball game Wednesday and first ultimate game on Thursday.

The first night of beach volleyball is usually a ranking night, as they split up each division even further to match skill levels. From the looks of things this year, it looks like they had both competitive and advanced (our division) teams playing each other. The way it works is we play 5 20-minute games against different teams, and then our record is used to determine which sub-division we should play in. We actually did fairly well until the final game, where we gave up a 23-24 loss when the whistle went early and the current point was stopped because of a stray ball in the court. We should have beat that team handily to keep our perfect record, but instead we finished 4-1. Hopefully that will still be enough to seed us in the highest division, as I’d rather play my ass off and lose than have an easy game where we don’t really have to try. But the one thing I couldn’t complain about was the weather. It believe it actually got above 30°C with the humidex, and it didn’t cool off too much until the last game.

Last night I was playing my first game of ultimate with a new team. I had heard good things about them and the league, so I was a little nervous going in. And it was a return to 7-aside, as opposed to 5-man, which I had been playing for the last few years. I prefer 7-man, but the larger fields make for a bit more running, and my endurance isn’t the greatest.

Fortunately, all my fears were unfounded, at least for the first game. I was able to play the position I usually do (handling the disc) and was able to keep up with the running without keeling over. That being said, our opposition wasn’t that strong, so there wasn’t as much running as there likely will be in future games. And I managed to avoid making too many mistakes. I did drop a couple discs (which I very, very rarely do) so I was a bit angry with myself, and there were a few throws that fell short, but overall, I couldn’t complain too much. And think I demonstrated some good down-field vision and a good arm, so hopefully I’ll continue to play deep on defense, though I wouldn’t mind moving to the front on occasion to make some runs, with the other strong throwers we have on the team. We handily trounced the other team 15-3, but afterwards I learned of a startling team tradition. Because there are points awarded for the team with the most spirit, a post-game cheer for the other team is not uncommon. My new team goes a step beyond, writing a song that we sing to the other team after the game. This week it was a rip on I Think We’re Alone Now, with ultimate themed lyrics. I managed to survive the game just fine, but I almost died of embarassment “singing” that song.

Monday at the tables

Wednesday, May 12th, 2004

I’m back with another time delayed post, this time from Monday. Had another great night at the pot-limit tables. I finally got around to opening an Intertops account to take advantage of another Party skin. Due to some Neteller balance management, I only loaded with $300, which translated to only $60 worth of bonus to work off. I will be depositing the full $600 this week to earn the 25% birthday bonus they are offering now. And the best part is, I get to swim with all the same fish from Party and Empire

My play on Monday was slow and steady, raising pre-flop with good hands, and playing them hard post flop to pick up small pots when I failed to hit.

Big hand of the night was a limp with 99. The flop comes perfect, 229. It’s all I can do not to get up and dance a little jig. But I still need to work some money out of it. Fortunately, everyone to the left of me folded pre-flop, so I’m last to act. Small and big blinds check, UTG throws in .50. Not what I might have hoped for, but I call his bet, as do both blinds. The turn comes A and the table checks around to me. I throw in another .50 to have a bit more of a pot to work with on the river. I get two calls and a fold. River comes K and I’m hoping that someone likes the board. I’m happy when the big blind bets $2, which gets UTG to fold. I raise the pot, hoping that he has a hand to back up his bet. He comes back over the top, raising the pot, making it $40 to go. I spend half a second worrying about AA or KK, but it doesn’t take me very long to put him in for his last 1.10. All he had to show was 2J for the flopped trips, which I suppose he had been slowplaying until the river. Works for me, the $108 may be the biggest pot I’ve pulled in my brief poker career.

At the end of it all, I had unlocked my $60 bonus plus earned an extra hundred from all the little fishies. Pokertracker says that my BB/100 hands is around +10, which ain’t too bad.