Archive for May, 2004

Thursday night poker

Monday, May 10th, 2004

After the art shows, I managed to get a little bit of poker in. The PL25 tables have been treating me well for the past while so I was wondering how long I could hold out without before I hit a losing session. Not long after I start up I see the flop for a dollar with 44 and the flop comes 3Q4, rainbow. The 6 seat is the first to act and puts in $2, is called, and I call. I figure one of them for AK or KQ, and other for a weak Q, or maybe just 2 face. Feeling safe enough to wait for the turn, which comes A. Possible that someone hit two pair here, and a $4 bet from the 6s makes me feel confident in that read. I put him all-in and he calls. River comes the dreaded A and he flips AQ for the boat. And we’re less than 10 minutes into the session and it’s time to rebuy.

I have to confess that this beat put me a bit on tilt. The next hour had it’s share of bad beats, but it was my own stubbornness that was my biggest leak, and I dropped nearly 100 bucks all told. Not a promising start at all.

Once I did some quick math and realized that I was closing in on that -100 mark, I mentally slapped myself and started focusing again. I had pot odds on a draw that hit and that started my comeback. Two hours later, I’ve made back my losses and then some. Ended up $32 at playing 3-4 tables. And it would have been 40+ if not for a bad bet into a rivered flush. I have to remember just because I price the flush draw out, it doesn’t mean they are going to fold.

That brings me to a interesting strategy question that I’ve been mulling over for the past couple of days. Now, pot odds are easier to manipulate in a PL-NL game, because you can control the amount of your bet. So, often with a hand like top pair you want to price any flush and straight draws out of the hands. Now, as I understand it, just by denying them pot odds for a call you are making it a -EV move for them to call. So, that should make it a +EV move for me, assuming we are heads up and I am indeed ahead. But there are implied odds to consider as well. If they hit the flush, it’s harder for me to put them on making the -EV call on the flop or turn, so they have the potential for hitting me with the big bet. Now, because of that, I’ve been trying to determine a good strategy for bet sizes when I feel ahead on a hand, but want to price the flush or straight out of it. I’ve tended to make the size of the bet 150-200% the amount that would give them correct pot odds, but I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t be protecting the hand more, particularly when I can get burned when the flush hits. I suppose it depends on my read of the player. I’m curious if anyone else has any rules of thumb for this.

I’m talking myself in circles a bit and it’s far too late to be sending my head through loops like this, particularly after working the weekend. (ugh…12:30, I’m not supposed to still be awake) I had a hand on the other side of the argument tonight, so I will probably post about it more tomorrow, when I finally get caught up on all the half-written posts.

The win on Thursday puts me past another milestone. Eight hundred dollars in the bankroll matches the 200BB mark I wanted to play the 2/4 limit games. But I don’t think I’m going to be leaving these pot-limit games until I hit a bad session and start looking for a change of pace. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I pretty much have to give up getting my money out of Choice Poker. That means the $150 I deposited, $30 in bonus, and $113 for the freeroll win. That means nearly 300 dollars comes out of my theoretical bankroll, and I’ve got a wait a bit longer for the 2/4 tables. I kept holding out hope that maybe I’d get some of it out, but it looks like I have to give up the ghost. It doesn’t look so bad right now, but as soon as I hit another losing session, it’s not going to seem so easily made up for.

Art shows

Monday, May 10th, 2004

I had been getting back in swing of regular posts last week until work came back and kicked me in the ass. I did have a few half written posts that I didn’t have the time or energy to get completed last week, so they are coming now.

On Thursday night, last week, I had a few friends opening some small photography shows for Contact, the Toronto Photography Festival. Both were in different venues, but only a few blocks apart and both within a twenty minute walk of my apartment. So, the plan was to grab some dinner with a friend and then hit both locations for some schmoozing with artist and friends.

Started the evening at a nice dinner at a little italian place in the area, Vesuvio’s Pizzeria & Spaghetti House, that my co-worker recommended. I had the linguini with clams & mussels and they were the best mussels I’ve had in quite a long time. In fact, the whole meal was pretty darn good. Not gourmet fare by any stretch, but a good, reasonably priced meal with great service. If it weren’t for the rain that prevented us from walking over from my apartment, it would have been great start to the evening.

Next stop was my co-workers art show. She had some great black and white photos. I particularly liked a couple of the stone architecture shots. But probably best were the glass studies that looked black and white, but actually proved to have a hint of color on closer examination. It was a great effect. But almost as good as the shots themselves was the amazing job Jen did printing and framing the pieces. She explained the process to me, but I can’t remember enough to describe it here. Suffice to say, it looked great. I was sorely tempted by a couple of the pictures, but right now my apartment has a particular decor, which might generally be described as “pop art” or more accurately as a few posters and some odds & ends, so I think I may wait until my eventual move before I start buying any art.

After that, we walked down the street to see the show put on by another friend, who happens to be the partner of another co-worker. Mary Ann actually reads my blog occasionally, when she can wade through all the poker talk. On top of some excellent pictures, she also had a few pet portraits that she has done, which you can probably see samples of if you visit her blog. Again I was tempted by a few of the pieces, but my earlier decision held up.

Another matter was altogether all the great furniture they had there. She was showing in a very large furniture store and they had some great stuff. Just down the road from me for the past couple years and I didn’t even know it was there. Probably for the best. And probably for the best if I can avoid visiting again, but I don’t think that’s terribly likely.

And as an example of the continued popularity of poker – yeah, you thought I was going to make a whole post without mentioning it – Mary Ann introduced me to one of the other guys showing at her venue, who had a great series of shots of B&W shots of Manhattan taken a few years ago. He actually has become a huge fan of the WPT, now that it’s being broadcast in Canada, and has been playing as much poker as he can manage. Mary Ann and Kirk had also mentioned the home poker game that I host to him and he seemed interested in finding a game. My blog was also brought up in conversation, but mostly with reference to the impenetrable poker lingo (sorry!). I told him he should come out some time, so I may see him again one of these weeks.

All in all, it was a great night. I’ve never really been to an art opening before, let alone one where I knew the artists. It proved to be a lot of fun to pretend to be cultured for a little while. Well, almost cultured.

Bad calls

Thursday, May 6th, 2004

What is it that causes us to make a call when we know that we are beat? We are virtually certain we are behind in the hand and our outs of so few, they might as well not be there at all. And even still, there’s some little voice in the back of our head that somehow gets us to throw our chips into the pot. Or maybe it’s just me.

Last night at the tail end of a pretty profitable PL25 session, playing out my last orbit on my last table before cashing out, I found QQ. I raised a couple dollars pre-flop and then was re-raised another 5. Immediately I became suspicious of AA, maybe KK. I knew I should get out, but somehow my mouse pointer found it’s way to the call button and clicked. I said to myself, well, I can make a lot of money if a Q flops. Of course, it doesn’t, only 3 undercards. I bet a couple dollars again just to make sure he doesn’t have just AK, and he re-raises all-in. Now, here is where things get fuzzy. Somehow I manage to think for a split-second “Maybe he’s bluffing” and suddenly the rest of my chips are in the middle of the table. Two cards later they are pushed to the gentlemen with pocket kings. At every point of that hand, I knew what the correct decision was, but I still managed to avoid making it and threw all my chips away. So much for discipline.

I still managed a respectable take for the night, but it was such a waste that I spent 15 minutes agonizing about it as I tried to get to bed.

WSOP ’04 Coverage

Wednesday, May 5th, 2004

For those of you interested in the month-long string of WSOP tournaments this year, you should be reading the great tournament write-ups by Andy Glazer and Max Shapiro at Final Table Poker (free registation required) and the great daily anecdotes at Alan Bostick’s blog, As I Please. You’ve probably already seen these two sites mentioned elsewhere, but if you haven’t visited and you have any interest in poker, I strongly recommend you head on over for some good reads.

Go Flames!

Tuesday, May 4th, 2004

What a hockey game! Almost worth staying up until two in the morning to finish watching.

Unfortunately, my poker play was not quite as exciting, unless you are a fan of big swings. From the +50 I reached almost instantly I was up to +85 and all the way down to -25 before finishing up 17. There were a few bad calls and some bad beats. I lost with AA vs. AA vs. KK when a K came on the turn, though that was only the most memorable hand, not the worst beat. Not a horrible night in and of itself, but I should have just walked away from the tables with my 50 bucks and done something else the rest of the night.

PL craziness

Monday, May 3rd, 2004

I just sat down at a $25PL at Empire to break another long streak away from the table. I throw 50 cents in to sit and get dealt 43 of hearts. No one raises and I get to see the flop for free. It comes 2A5, 2 hearts and it’s off to the races. It’s raised to 2 ahead of me by the big blind and I make it five, getting calls from both blinds. I’m not completely comfortable because the flush could burn me. The turn comes 6 of clubs, looks good to me. The big blind tosses in $2 again and I decide that the $18 pot is good enough for me not to risk getting sucked out on, so I throw my remaining $19.50 into the middle. Both blinds call (one for only $16 of that) and the river comes a lovely 3 and I manage to nearly triple up on my first hand. For the curious, they both flopped aces-up and thought it was good enough to call with. Oh well, chips for me.

Had to be shared

Monday, May 3rd, 2004

This news story gave me a much needed laugh in an otherwise frustrating day. Hopefully it may do the same for you.

Party Barge Flips Over Near State’s Only Nude Beach

Friday night victory

Saturday, May 1st, 2004

Golden GonzoJust a short post for now, as I have to get to work to avoid being in the office too long on a beautiful Saturday.

Last night I managed my first victory at my bi-weekly hold’em tournament. Numbers were down due to a late invite and the Leafs game being on, but we still had 10 for a single-table freezeout. And the old adage held true, as I had one lucky suckout when my ill-advised all-in with K4 paired the 4 against AJ. I went from being the short-stack to nearly chip leader. I was able to take the victory a few levels later when my last opponent wanted to go all-in with A8 versus my AA. Even though I don’t have the time to make the entertaining tourney report I’d like to right now, I also have to be careful not to reveal how I played too many hands now that a few of the other players have stumbled across my blog.

I owe this victory to Palisades Toys for making the Golden Gonzo (pictured at left) which I used as my good luck chip topper this week.

Hopefully Michael at Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week doesn’t mind that I stole the image from his site, though it is hosted locally. My net etiquette isn’t *that* bad, I just don’t have a digital camera handy.