Archive for July, 2004


Thursday, July 29th, 2004

Internet is dead again. But after 45 minutes on the phone this morning things are in motion and hopefully they will sort out the problem further up the line. Of course, I’m hoping for some miracle that gets it done in time for the weekend so I can take advantage of some more of the reload bonuses that are hitting me (got an email from Empire for another $100 5x reload). And of course there’s the Intertops $3000 reload on Sunday and the $1500 on Monday. *grumble*

Don’t get cocky, kid!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004

You really would think I’d learn my lesson one of these days. I continued my confident play on Tuesday by winning some big hands early and then having my sense of invulnerability severely battered. I only ended up down 12BB in the 150 or so hands that I played, but that was after being up nearly 40BB at one point. Each time I think I have my game in good shape, I surprise myself with another session of undisciplined play. You’d think I’d learn.

Poker Weekend

Tuesday, July 27th, 2004

Managed to get some decent games in over the weekend. Played the 500 hands necessary to unlock my Empire reload bonus and managed to snatch another 100+BB from the 25PL tables. I’m feeling very strong in my game there – then again, that could just be because I am winning. But, most times when I sit at the table I can get a pretty good read on how other people are playing and can avoid most unprofitable situations. That’s not to say I don’t make some boneheaded plays (like pushing my AK pre-flop when I *knew* my opponent had the KK) but most of the large pots I’ve lost I’ve known that I was making a questionable. Now, if I could couple that knowledge with the discipline to fold in those last few situations, I’d be golden.

Didn’t play much Sunday, but I had a good session Monday night, hitting 130+BB in about 400 hands. I probably should be exploring the 50PL and 100PL games at this point, but with win rates like that, it’s hard to justify leaving the table. It’s also getting harder and harder to justify bonus hunting at non-Party sites. I’ve got $270 waiting for me at Pokerstars after the last reload bonus, but while I am still in the black there, it’s a pretty low win rate, considering the time invested. And I’ve only got 186 of the first 750 FPPs that I need. Still, I suppose I am planning on hitting some casino tables any time soon, some of the higher caliber play at Stars could be good practice. Not that I expect top players at the casino (or the charity casino that I hope is running at the CNE again this year) but my limit game is getting a bit rusty.

The felt is greener…

Saturday, July 24th, 2004

I finally got my internet problems sorted out earlier this week (fingers crossed) so I was looking forward to getting back to the virtual felt this weekend. June was a short month because of my vacation and July has been slow because of Internet outages, so I have not been growing my bankroll at the pace I had expected back at the beginning of June. So, when I logged in on Thursday to a few different clients and noticed I had a 15% reload bonus available at Empire, I was stoked to get back to the tables.

But first I had my bi-weekly PLHE tournament on Friday. Unfortunately the summer months continue to be slow and we again only had 10 people show up. But that’s still ok, a full table and a nice $100 payout to the winner.

The game starts slow as usual. Between chatting, slow deals and slow calls, we usually don’t get through much more than one orbit in the first half hour. Of course, I didn’t see any kind of playable hands until my first big blind (I started the night on the button). Even still, it was only K9d, where I got to see the flop for free. The flop comes queen high with two diamonds, so I throw in a small bet. Only get called in one place, and it’s a hesitant call, so I’m thinking he doesn’t even have the queen. The turn brings another diamond, so now I don’t even have to worry about that. I check

A few hands later I’m looking at JTd on the button. Blinds are at 20/40. It’s folded to me, so I raise. I know I’m going to get called by the aggressive player to my left, but I figure I can work with it after the flop.

Now, just to set this up a bit, I run through tournaments in a season format. There are 10 events in the season, and the top five players at every tournament earn points towards winning the season championship. Last season one of our players – Alex ‘The Roti’, a name he earned for his meal choice in his first victory – won the second and third events and was in a commanding point lead for the majority of the season. I managed to bring it back to even by the 8th event, but he pulled ahead for good in the ninth week. So, there is bit of rivalry between the two of us. He is a super-aggressive player that will sometimes go on his gut, so he can be a bit unpredictable. But his aggression can sometimes be used against him.

Back to the action. I’m in the hand heads-up with JTd and the flop comes 9oQdKd and I barely catch myself before I start chuckling. I throw in a small bet, just T50. My hopes are fulfilled when it’s made T200 back to me. I hem and haw for a few seconds and everyone starts making comments that I’m doing the math to see if I should call. Really the only thinking I’m doing is about how I can extract the most money from this hand. Eventually I throw in my T150 and we see the turn.

It’s a rag and I quickly throw in another small bet. Again, my opponent comes over the top of me, this time for even more chips. I almost beat him into the pot with my all-in call. He quickly calls my re-raise with top pair. No help for him on the river and he is down to the felt. After our hard-fought battle for the points championship last season it was very satisfying to knock him out first tonight.

Unfortunately I’m not nearly so lucky when my pocket threes dont’t get much action on a 993 flop. Probably should have let it ride until the river, but I wanted a decent pot to bet against when we got there and scared everyone out on the turn.

The rest of the night was a bit of blur down to the final two. I was playing very aggressive but got caught when pocket sixes called my all-in bet with A5o on a 983 board. I don’t think my read was completely off on this play, as he wasn’t really sure about the call, but I still lost the chip lead and put myself in a precarious position. But I kept the pressure up, sticking to large bets and forcing him to make the decisions. After nearly doubling my stack grinding, I managed to double it again into a serious chip lead when my 9 outkicked his 6 when we both hit a pair of kings on the flop. After a few more small bites out of his stack, he went in with K5 and I was forced to call with 92. The first card flipped is a 2 and the third was a 9 and my unlikely two pair holds up for the win.

So, that puts me at 8 money finishes in 12 tournaments, with 4 victories. I’m beginning to get a bit concerned that people are going to stop coming out. Also, with two wins in the first two events of our second season (ah, All About the Twos, just like one our homebrew dealer’s choice games) that puts me well into the points lead for the second season, which can’t be a bad thing.

We played some rather sedate limit hold’em after that for a while, but when everyone was getting ready to leave for the night, the gamblers started coming out. It was time for a little high card action. People were playing for nearly 10 minutes and at the peak of the action we had five players trying to draw the highest card. And even though we set the rule that you could only bet with chips, that was quickly circumvented when players started buying chips off other players. One of the more entertaining finishes we’ve had in a while even if it was a bit crazy.


Wednesday, July 21st, 2004

Well, it looks like my ADSL modem was not the problem as it works fine at a buddy’s place. So, I’m trying a second one tonight and if that doesn’t work (as I expect) then I’ll be able to coerce my ISP into finally getting the line fixed. But who knows how long that’ll take, so I may be without internet for a while longer yet.

Still alive…

Monday, July 19th, 2004

But my home internet access is decidedly dead. After being up and working for nearly a week, it was back down for four days and counting. Trying to sort out the problem with my ISP, but it’s been a bit of a pain and it looks like I’ve got a few more things I need to do before they’ll send out anyone to test the line.

Hopefully I’ll get things sorted soon.

Slowplay lesson

Wednesday, July 14th, 2004

I managed to drop a few bucks playing online Monday night (mostly due to losing my buy-in with a set lost to an unlikely flopped straight) but I had some pretty strong hands, including two flopped full boats. Of course, the flopped boat is a difficult hand to extract money on, and I thought I’d share a specific hand I misplayed.

I was at the $25 PL tables, in the big blind, with KQo. With 3 other limpers in the pot, I was good with seeing the flop and going from there. It came down KQQ, two hearts. Very nice. It’s checked to me on flop and I check, hoping someone behind me has a queen or even a king. No dice, but I don’t think the play is wrong (at least, it’s not wrong to sometimes make that play, but many of the same issues I discuss below apply here as well, with the difference that hands may improve). The turn is a rag, and again I check it through, hoping someone might be braver with their king, or even a bluff attempt. This decision is a bit questionable, as the pot may be very small come to the river so even if I get action, there won’t be many dollars involved. But I feel there is a good chance someone behind me will play with a marginal hand, flush draw or even a pure bluff, so it has potential. Unfortunately, it’s checked through once again. I know someone people like to get some money in there so the pot is larger for later streets, but even a .5 bet would have thinned the field, and I needed someone to make a hand.

The river brings a third heart and I hope that someone just made their flush. UTG checks and I follow suit. Stupid, stupid play, though it took me a few minutes to realize how a pot-sized bet was pretty much the only play to make at that point.

Checking is a bad play for many reasons. It’s possible no one will bet and I’ll take a tiny pot with a great hand. And everyone will know that I’ll slowplay a monster, something which can work to my advantage, but trapping tends to be a very effective tool for extracting money in pot-limit, particularly when many players feel they need to follow through when they lead the betting. Even if someone has hit the flush, my re-raise is likely to put them off their hand, with possible higher flushs and a paired board, so I only double the pot, which is still far below expectation with a hand like that. Of course, it is possible I may get a bluff bet for money I could not have extracted any other way, but the odds of that are probably pretty near to the odds that someone would call me down just to see what I have, at least at the $25PL tables. And even if they do try to bluff, I am extracting only another $1.9, instead of

Now, if I bet the pot there is the chance, as I just mentioned, someone with a poor hand may call me out just to see my cards, so even if no one has a hand, I may still get paid. But, if someone hit the flush, they are likely to come back over the top of me anyways, and this gives the small blind a chance to play back at me if he was slow-playing the river flush. And if anyone hit the top (or near top) flush, they may even call my final re-raise, giving me the double-up opportunity you hope to see with this kind of hand. In the very worst case, where everyone folds, at least I have the advantage that no one sees my hand and will be no more wary of my trapping them in the future.

Of course, it turned out that small blind had hit the flush and was hoping to check-raise, so the proper play would have at least quadrupled the amount I could have won and perhaps even more. Not only did I make a mistake on the hand, it was a very unprofitable mistake.


Monday, July 12th, 2004

I know this is a bit of an strange request from someone who talks mostly about poker, but I thought I’d put the question to my small non-existant audience anyways. I’m getting together with a few friends soon for an afternoon of multiplayer gaming (XBox and Gamecube) and I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for group of 4 competitive guys to play?

Saturday night poker

Saturday, July 10th, 2004

Yesterday I got back to the real felt, tonight I renewed acquaintances with the virtual variety. I hit a few small hour-long sessions throughout the afternoon in between doing chores, posting reasonable gains in both. Then this evening I played a longer session this evening while watching a movie. I made some seriously bone-headed plays, but the fish at Intertops were kind enough to keep me afloat. But near the end of the evening I started finding my rhythm and felt like I was playing a very strong game. I managed to avoid any mistakes and posted a nice 100BB victory on the day, renewing my confidence. Now, if only I can find my rhythm for writing, then I’ll be set.

Back in the saddle

Saturday, July 10th, 2004

Well, after nearly two weeks without seeing a single card dealt, I finally had the opportunity to sit back down at the felt tonight. The bi-weekly tournament I run was thrown a bit off-kilter by the Canada Day long weekend, but we were back at it this week. Unfortunately, things are slowing down because it’s summer so we only had ten people show, including a buddy of mine who I was backing for his (belated) birthday. It’s a $20 buy-in for T1000 in chips, blinds starting at 10/20 and going from there.

Things started off not too bad, saw a few big aces in the first few hands for some small pots and then limped in with ducks. The table was pretty passive, so it was fit or fold. But the flop came KJ2 rainbow so it was definitely fit. I bet the whole way down and ended up losing a good chunk of my stack when someone showed pocket jacks for the overset (that he never bet or raised with). I was not pleased with the result, but was actually pretty happy I didn’t end up losing more money on the hand. I was visibly tilting for a few hands after that, right down to the bit of steam coming out my ears, but I calmed down soon after and began to work at building my stack back up.

Later on I peel KK and hit KJx on the 3-suit flop. People had started to get suspicious that I was stealing pots, particularly the guy still in the pot, who believed I bought him out of a hand earlier. I bet the pot, trying to play it like a bluff. I get the call and the next when I go all-in on the turn. The hand holds up and for the first time in the tournament, I’m in comfortable chip position. Not quite the big stack yet, but not too far off.

But the big surprise is the friend I was backing, who is doing pretty well for himself. He’s been working the play money tables for the past while as he works on finding his game. He hit a few good hands, but he was certainly holding his own at the table. Only made one mistake all night, though it unfortunately put him out on the bubble when he called the bluff I wasn’t making. Oh well, I’m sure he’ll be back and making a play at the prize money in the future.

His exit brought it down to three and I had a reasonable chip lead on second place and the third man at the table was going all-in at every opportunity to try to turn his small stack into some real ammunition. It doesn’t take long for him to run into a real hand and I’m heads-up with blinds at 100/200.

I have a small chip lead, but it was close. After trading the blinds back and forth for 10 minutes or so, I manage to squander my lead with a couple of ill-advised bluffs and am outstacked about T6000 to T4000. The big handwas a J2 of clubs in a passive pot where I made a 1000 bet at the turn with a four-flush. I really expected to take the pot after the passive flop play, but my opponent was smart enough to call and I had to hope for a club to avoid the uphill climb with my dwindling stack. Fortunately another club came on the river and my opponent wasn’t quite smart enough not to call my all-in bet and suddenly I was in the driver’s seat. Everything ended up in the coming down to my QT against his 33. The flop came 9xx, turn J and river 8 for the unlikely flush and the victory. That puts my record at 3 victories and 7 money finishes in the 11 tournaments I’ve held. Not too shabby, but I just need to hope that everyone else will keep coming out.

Not dead

Thursday, July 8th, 2004

Despite the appearances of this blog, I’m not dead. Nor have I abandoned this blog. I’ve just been busy with both work and life, leaving me little free time (and even less energy) to post here. I’ve not even booted up a poker app in nearly two weeks, or been able to make one of my sport teams for even longer. But, things should be slowing down over the next week as we turn things over to our client, so I hope to be back to my old self soon.