Archive for August, 2004

CNE Casino

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

I finally managed to sneak out of the office a bit early (4pm) to try my luck at the nearby CNE Charity Casino. As I suspected, the list was much shorter than my last attempt, so I was seated at one of the 11-seated 5/10 tables within 15 minutes with my $300 buy-in.

A few hands in I had identified about half the table as players I should look out for and a few others who I knew I wanted to be in hands with. Unfortunately, my luck was not too good as my AK ran into KK on a K-high board and my own pocket kings went down in flames when someone hit their flush on the river. Combined with the fact that none of my draws hit (and with 7-9 people regularly seeing the flop, there were always odds to draw) and some pretty unspectacular cards, this was enough to ensure an unprofitable evening.

Five and half hours at the table for -18BB. Not a great showing, but I felt pretty confident that it was a game I could beat. Now if only I’d been smart enough to stick around a bit longer as many new players were coming into the game at 10pm, when I assume many of the players that had been there since noon were calling it a day. This new influx of players were probably mostly the home game heroes looking for some action after work, so there was likely money to be made. Then again, there was no way to win a pot without the goods with all the calling going on, so the situation wasn’t going to be much different than it had been. The only time I should have known better was when I was in there against the KK. I just hadn’t seen a good hand all night, so I didn’t expect my TPTK to be up against a flopped set, even though every indication was there.

Monty Memorial

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Well, my performance in the Monty Memorial was not terribly memorable. The blind structure was horrendous. Even though we started with T1500 stacks, 30 minutes in nearly everyone is forced into short stack play. My raised hands missed the flops badly most of the night, so I was left with few chips and ended up all-in with AQo with my last T320 with the blinds at 75/150. I was called by kodies‘ big stack in the big blind and his Q6 hits trip sixes on the flop and that’s all she wrote, out in 61st place. At least this means I can get to bed at a reasonable hour.

Thanks again to Iggy for going through the ordeal to get this set up. Here’s hoping that next time there might be a chance to sit at the tables a bit longer and enjoy the competition.

Back in the game

Sunday, August 29th, 2004

Due to some inclement weather, my conflicting plans for Sunday night have fallen through, so I will be attending the great Monty Memorial blogger’s tournament tonight at Pacific.

I’m even getting some good pre-tourney practice as I’m currently battling in the final six (of 350) in the Sunday 1K freeroll at Multipoker. Sittng at 3rd chip position at the moment with T50K, but the blinds are up at T4000/8000, so there isn’t a heck of a lot of room to manuever.

UPDATE: Just took over the chip lead when my minimum pre-flop raise with KK was re-raised all-in by the chip leader with QQ. It held up and I’m sitting much better than I was, even if I still have only 20 blinds in my stack. As I’m typing this I call a short stack’s minimum raise with A5. An ace on the flop and I put him all-in and he has little choice but to call with pocket fives. Five left and I have nearly as many chips as the rest of the table. Time to fall from grace. Ugh…doubled up a short stack.

UPDATE 2: Blech! Went out in fourth for $75. I made a few mistakes near the end and the cards just weren’t cooperating. At least now I’ll be able to take a bit of a break to rest up for the Blogger Tourney.

Quick Update

Wednesday, August 25th, 2004

Ended up not hitting the Charity Casino last night. Just didn’t have the energy or patience to wait for an hour or two in the smoky haze.

And now I’m not even sure if I’m going to be able to play in the rescheduled Blogger tournament on Sunday. Real life plans look to collide and they will have to take priority. So, I guess I’m likely to miss out on the enhanced prize Pacific was kind enough to offer us. Ah well, I hear this real world type stuff can be fun sometimes.

Friday Home Tourney

Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

It’s coming a bit late, but I finally have a few minutes to piece together my notes from Friday’s home PLHE tourney. The big difference this week was the $5 bounty added to the regular $20 buy-in. Another nice change was the fact that we had 15 players instead of the 10 we’ve been getting out for most of the summer.

I played mainly solid tight aggressive poker in the early rounds. Most people didn’t know how to deal with large raises so I won most of my pots uncontested on the flop or turn. In fact, I didn’t go to showdown until after the tables merged.

I got a bad draw when we merged at 9 and ended up in the big blind. I got to see a free flop with with rags. The flop came down 852 rainbow and I thought I had an open-ended straight draw. I checked and the minimum bet was folded around to me, but I had pot odds for the call. A 2 came on the river, which wasn’t much help to me, so I checked again. The other player in the pot is very cautious and after going into the tank, checked. The river was a beautiful ace and I was excited to have hit the straight. I checked again and got the bet which I quickly re-raised all-in. Suddenly I realized that my hole cards were not connectors and I couldn’t have the straight. I peeked at them and was relieved to find 42s for trips, but it didn’t matter as my opponent folded.

Next hand was 85 of clubs in the small blind. Multi-way pot gives me the excuse to complete and see the flop. It comes down with two clubs and I again have odds to chase the flush for a minimum bet. Another club on the turn and I bet out, getting called there and on the river for my first showdown of the night.

Forty minutes later we are three-handed and I’ve got a little more than half the stack of the chip leader. I come in for a pot-sized raise with A9. The chip leader thinks for a bit and then calls from the big blind. The flop comes AJx and I push all-in, not putting the chip leader on an ace, of if he is, it’s an even weaker ace than mine. He eventually calls and turns over Jx for second pair. I could have hoped for better, but I’m still a big favourite. But not when the jack hits on the turn. I’m cursing myself for a fool for busting out before the short stack in third when the river comes down beautiful with my two-outer ace. I can’t even feel too bad about the reverse suckout.

Unfortunately, that’s the last bit of fairness I’d see on the night.

I made a mistake heads-up ending up all-in with A4s against J8s. I thought the ace would be a bigger favourite than it was pre-flop against a marginal hand (I could read my opponent fairly well and was pretty confident I had the better hand). Still, not many people would have risked all their chips (which was still a playable stack) with J8s, so the play wasn’t completely awful. But when the flop didn’t hit him I was a 2-1 favourite and was disappointed when the jack hit on the turn. No help on the river and suddenly I’m no longer the chip leader.

A few hands later I push with 66 in the small blind, thinking I’ll take a coinflip situation at this point, and his blind is nothing to sneeze at. He calls down with A5, which again makes me a 2-1 favourite. He hits his ace on the river however and I’m out in second. I should probably have waited for a better moment as I had a great read on my opponent, but the blinds were 300/600 and I had only 4K in chips, so I couldn’t afford to be too patient in case I didn’t hit any hands.

Still, 2nd place and two bounties is a decent night, but it was disappointing to lose the game after I was so much in control and was consistently making the correct read on my opponent. But, it’s difficult to knock out a calling station when he’s hitting cards.


Tuesday, August 24th, 2004

I went to the Charity Casino at the Ex last night, but after an hour of waiting, I decided to head home to take care of some laundry. Only a quarter of the names in front of me had been called and I didn’t expect much movement between 7:30 and 10:00. The room is not great, and is ridiculously smoky, as I have read elsewhere online. But it is a live game and only a ten minute walk from my office. I’m going to try to get out there a few hours earlier today when the list should be a little shorter as most people won’t have time to get there from work.

Pacific restitution

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

Well, you have to give Pacific Poker some credit. They have said that they will be making up for the missed Monty Memorial tournament by crediting all the entrants with $25 (the buy-in was $20) and offering to add $500 to the prize pool should we reschedule. So, essentially they are giving us a nearly $2000 freeroll to try to make up for missing the originally scheduled time. That goes a long way in my books and though I’m still frustrated that the tournament didn’t come off yesterday, this is suitable restitution and I will not be taking any special measures to boycott Pacific.

Now if only they’d been able to give us an adequate response last night when everyone was still trying to figure out what was going on then perhaps we could have given them full marks. As it is, many people made a special effort to attend the event and while it’s nice that they are trying to make it up to everyone, it’s still a mark against them.

Still exhausted

Monday, August 23rd, 2004

I’m still very tired after two full days of volleyball this weekend. In fact, I was so tired last night that I didn’t even harass Pacific Poker about dropping the ball on the Monty Memorial bloggers tournament. We had 75 people registered and when we all showed up to play, the tournament was nowhere to be found. I was so tired that after it became clear that problems were unlikely to be resolved last night, I crawled back into bed and passed out. I do plan on giving them a piece of my mind tonight, however. I don’t know if I am going to cash out right away as I am three quarters of the way there in working off a $100 bonus, but I can guarantee that once that money is safely earned, I will not be returning to their site again.

I still have my tournament notes from Friday, but that post will need to wait until I have just a bit more energy. And I’m sure I’ll talk about the awesome weather we had for the volleyball tourney this weekend, but again, I’m just too drained at the moment. Hopefully I’ll wake up enough by this afternoon to visit the charity casino at the Ex like I planned.

Beach Volleyball

Friday, August 20th, 2004

I managed to catch the Women’s Beach Volleyball match today between Canada and Cuba. I got my laptop hooked up on the wireless network at the office and brought it up to the TV so I could pound out the documentation I was working on while watching the game.

Dumont and Martin managed a pretty solid game to win in two sets. I was very impressed with how they kept their cool and didn’t fall apart even after some big errors. It really got me stoked for this weekend, where I’m playing a 6s beach tournament for two days. It’s always a lot of fun and with all the volleyball I’ve got to see this week, I’m itching to try to take my game up a notch.

Of course, a weekend full of volleyball is going to leave very little time for any poker play. Well, except for my bi-weekly home game tournament tonight and the Monty Memorial bloggers event on Sunday. I guess I really won’t be stinted in that respect. But, the CNE is in town now, so I’m going to have to find some time next week to get over and try out the tables there. I’ve never played poker in a casino, so it should be an interesting experience. (if I can find the damn place and get on the list)

Anyways, hope everyone has a fun weekend. I probably won’t get another post in with everything going on this weekend, but I should have many tales to tell come Monday.

Olympics junkie

Wednesday, August 18th, 2004

It’s been a few days since I last posted and there’s a very simple reason for this. I am an Olympics junkie. I’ve probably watched in the neighbourhood of 30 hours of Olympics coverage so far. Everything from Women’s Softball to Synchronized Diving (yay for Canada’s only medal so far!) to Beach Volleyball (and congrats to both the American and Canadian men and women teams who played some spectacular volleyball on Monday) to Women’s Water Polo. And well, at least a small piece of just about every event so far.

And while I have no small amount of patriotic pride for any event in which Canada is competing, regardless of the countries involved, I appreciate any hard fought athletic contest and since these are the Olympics, nearly every contest is hard fought.

It doesn’t mean I haven’t played any poker, and despite a disappointing afternoon at the tables on Sunday, I’m up a decent chunk over the past few days, though that likely wouldn’t be the case were it not for two large bonuses released at Pokerstars (3 and 4 tabling at 1/2 proved to be a profitable endeavor, and moved me through the last 900 or so FPPs I needed for both bonuses) But, most of my recollections are much more vivid from watching Olympics than my time at the poker tables, so there isn’t much to write about.


Sunday, August 15th, 2004

I hit another milestone this evening, though it took longer to happen then I had hoped. My bankroll now sits at $3084 (US). The last grand took just over two months to achieve, mostly at the Party family 25PL tables. I had hoped to pull that jump in about half the time but with the combination of vacation and internet outages adding up to nearly 3-4 weeks, I suppose the pace is reasonable. Either way, I think this puts me in a reasonable shape to take a shot at the 5/10 tables at the CNE casino starting in a week. My bankroll works out to approximately 4K Canadian, so that gives me a solid 400BB to support myself in this reputedly high variance games.

I’m still holding on to my outside chance dream of hitting 10K Canadian by year end (7500 US). That’s going to take a bit of doing however, so instead I’m just going to focus on playing my best poker (and I feel that I’ve been shoring up my limit game recently) and hope the profit follows. Then again, I’m going to have to start thinking about when to make the next jump. Maybe playing the 50PL tables more regularly as well as dipping my toes into some of the 3/6 games out there.

Ultimate hit & run

Thursday, August 12th, 2004

When I got home from volleyball last night (1-1, for 6-2 on the season) I decided to sit down at the poker tables for a little bit after I washed all the sand off. Just a short session while I watched another episode of this year’s WSOP coverage (ep 8, the ?K seven card stud event). Managed to pull off a very nice little hit & run session when my pocket aces held up at a 2/4 Pacific table for a 26BB pot ($104 for those who don’t want to do the math). Biggest limit pot (by far) I’ve pulled and a happy $70 profit quick. Also managed to finish up 6BB at two 1/2 Pokerstars tables when I managed to bust AA with T6 from the big blind when I hit runner-runner straight. I just wouldn’t believe that he beat my flopped top pair after limped from the small blind. Oops.

Spoke too soon

Wednesday, August 11th, 2004

I mentioned on Monday that I came across a new poker portal and was disappointed that I wasn’t listed among the many poker blog links. Well, apparently word got back to the guy running the site and this morning I noticed listed among referring sites in my webstats. Visiting the site, I noticed my name had been added along with another handful of other poker bloggers. My ego has now been stroked and I can die a happy man. Thanks!


Tuesday, August 10th, 2004

It’s always nice to follow up a bad session with some solid cards. Monday night I got right back in the saddle at Pacific and posted a +17BB run at 2/4 in a little over an hour to bring my overall Pacific numbers back to the green (if only barely, and far too little for the amount of games I’ve played there).

I also two tabled (and eventually three tabled) 1/2 at Pokerstars. The clearing rate is 50% better than at .5/1, but I was worried that the better players at Stars compared to Party would cause me some difficulties. Not so. I managed a nice 15BB performance in a few hours. The CNE charity casino is coming in a few weeks and I’m trying to play more limit poker to prepare myself for the reportedly crazy games there. They only spread 5/10 and 10/20, so it’s a bit more than I’ve played for. But it’s well within my bankroll and I’ve read this games can be very lucrative (though very swing-y). I’m very much looking forward to it.

A blow to the ego

Monday, August 9th, 2004

I was just going through the daily slate of blogs and over at College and Poker I read about a site he stumbled across (Poker Portal) that has links for just about every poker site under the sun, including many of the poker blogs out there. Unfortunately for my own ego, my blog was not listed. I will have to comfort myself with the fact that my webstats are hovering around the 90 daily visits mark for August, so while many of those probably come from me dropping by checking comments and posting, I probably more than five people who read this on a regular basis, regardless of what some cheesy tripod site might indicate.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Monday, August 9th, 2004

Pauly, what does someone get when they have their pocket aces cracked by the Hilton sisters? On the river no less. Lost more than a buy-in worth at the 50PL table at Multi and it was a sign of the way my day was going to go.

For once I can lay my woes at the feet of bad cards. Nothing was holding up and I took a beating. I managed to claw my way back as the day wore on to post a small profit after the $125 Multi bonus was taken into account.

But then I decided to play a table of 2/4 at Pacific and 2 1/2 tables at Stars. I got slapped around pretty bad at the Pacific table and managed to throw good money after bad trying to get people to lay down their hands. I eventually recovered from a bad start at the Stars table, but managed to dump a full $100 bucks at Pacific, ruining any chance of a profitable day. This is the second weekend closer in a row where I posted a huge loss that was bearable only because of large bonus. And these bonuses were even on Party skins, where I’ve made a large chunk of my profit. Oh well, everyone is supposed to have bad runs. Hopefully these are some of mine.

Saturday poker

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

Started in today on my new bonus at Multi Poker. I told myself I was going to stop chasing bonuses, but since it’s a Party skin I won’t be giving up any of my usual juicy games to work off the bonus.

Unfortunately my usual juicy games were a little tougher than usual. Actually, the games were normal but my play was substandard. I was struggling with my decisions and played impatiently when cards didn’t hit. I quickly went through 4 buy-ins at the 25PL tables.

So, for a change of pace I joined one of the daily $100 freerolls. The payout wasn’t great, but I figured it would be good practice. And it definitely was, even if the level of play wasn’t that high. I went from T2500 when the chip average was T10000 with 20 left in the tournament to heads up with nearly a 3-1 chip advantage.

The third hand heads-up was the last. I was in the small blind with 89o and I decide to limp and try to see the flop. My opponent obliges and the flop comes 2Q2. Check, check. Turn is a J. Check, check. The river is a T and my opponent quickly pushes all-in. I waste no time calling with my straight and he flips A2 for the flopped set played a little too slowly. Only $30 for first, but it’s always nice to beat a large field (241 in the case) in tournament play. If only I could contrive to get one of these final table finishes in a real tournament.

The later afternoon/evening went a bit better for me as I continued to run well on the Pacific 2/4 tables and I waited for a spot at the sole 50PL table. It was there that I managed to win my largest ever pot.

I was sitting with about $75 in the big blind. I’m dealt KK and five of the first six players limp into the pot. Then the seventh player raises to $4. It’s folded to me and I decide I want to make things simple and re-raise the pot ($17.50) . UTG calls my re-raise and everyone else folds. The flop comes perfect, Kxx rainbow. Only trouble now is how to get him to call me. The one thing I had noticed about this player was that he was very suspicious. If he thought you were bluffing, he would call you down. So, I wait about 20 seconds and throw $20 into the $43 pot. He pauses only a second before re-raising me another $20 and I nearly beat him into the pot with an all-in re-raise. He calls and shows 8c5c for second pair. No miracles for him and I rake $159, my biggest pot to date.

I’m slowly getting more comfortable at the 50PL tables, now if only they’d spread just a few more of them at once.

The Experte

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

I forgot another funny incident from the game last night. At one point, shortly after midnight, the security guard for the building came by on his rounds and we asked him if he wanted to play.

“Wait, how much do you know about poker?” asks one of the other players, laughing.

“I am an experte,” he answers, with a bit of a French accent. Everyone laughs. “I play online,” he continues.

“What sites do you play?” I ask.

“Party and Pacific,” he replies. “I like Pacific. I just cashed out $2000 yesterday.” Suddenly we aren’t laughing quite so loud and we’re a bit glad that he’s on the job and can’t sit down with us (though I suppose that might have made for the better story). Still, I was drunk enough that I would have wanted to take a shot at anyone over the green – well, blue in our case – felt. Probably an even better reason to appreciate his dedication to his job, at least for that night.

Friday night poker

Saturday, August 7th, 2004

It’s Friday night. It’s been two weeks. My ten two regular readers know what I’m talking about. Except it didn’t happen. With a lot of last minute bail outs, my bi-weekly home PLHE tournament didn’t happen this week. Not enough people, so I had to pull the plug. But one of the regulars was really jonesing for poker and kept pinging me on IM all afternoon. So, at 5:30 I made one last concerted effort to try to get enough to at least play a little dealer’s choice. In the end I could only line up four guys, but they were the hardest of the hardcore in our group, so I figured we could get a few hours of poker in before people decided to bail.

Instead, we had the most fun I’ve had at the poker table in a long time. Part of that may have been the beers that were flowing freely (often during the tournaments I’ll drink a couple beforehand while I wait for people to arrive and then a bunch afterwards, but I try to stay pretty sober during the actual tournament). Part of it may have been trying out some new games (we ran the gamut of WSOP event games with a few specialty dealer’s choice thrown in)

The most interesting hand of the night, by far, was an Omaha HiLo hand. I had AA27, triple suited if I recall correctly and I raised and was called by the three others. The flop came A55 and I was giddy. I call the flop bet in front of me and it’s called by one other to take it to three-way. The turn is a second ace. I’ve hit quads and there may not even be a qualifying low. I just called the opening bet (a mistake) and we were again three heading to the river. It came with the third five, which was potentially the best card I could have hoped for. I expected the guy behind me to have the case five after his previous, so I checked the bet to me. I realized that was a huge mistake when he simply called the single bet.

But here is where things got interested. I started moaning about not raising and the first guy in the pot said he would have re-raised. I said “Really? Well, I’ll bet a side-pot that I’ve got you beat.” He immediately agreed and re-raised me in the side pot. I re-raised him and asked how far he wanted to go and he pushed the rest of his chips into the middle. At this point I felt I may have been taking advantage and said we could just bet on the first $2 after his re-raise (we generally play .50-1.50 stakes). He was adamant that he wanted to play like this and then flipped his hand, declaring that he only needed one card. Of course he had the five. I told him I actually needed two cards and turned my aces. The stunned look on his face was classic. Thankfully he was satisfied with the way the hand turned out (unorthodox side-bet and all) and he bought right back in to continue the night. The other player in the regular hand had KK, which was certainly a reasonable call with the size of the pot (though I guess he should have expected at least one ace out there, in which case he was drawing dead, well, except to the low. Lord, there’s too much to think about in Omaha HiLo)

So, in the end it was a great night of beer, pizza and cards. I was the victor for the night, even after a brutal game of Murder By 7s early on (which we vowed we would never play again) It was a combination that it is difficult to beat, particularly with the great core of guys I have in my regular game. And it reminded us how much fun it could be to toss the cards without the constraints of a tournament. (Special curses go to Pauly for the Anaconda rules I kept reading about. We had a simpler version we tended to play but when I told them I read about some other rules online, we adopted something similar to the Blue Parrot version which we quickly dubbed Fuckedaconda. I leave it to the reader to fill in the details)

Pacific 10K

Thursday, August 5th, 2004

I’ve had this post half-written in my queue for the past couple days, but this is the first chance I’ve had to finish it off.

I haven’t played much at Pacific Poker recently. I still have a $100 bonus sitting there that requires a lot more play before I can withdraw it. I had a great run at the 2/4 HE tables when I started, but after giving much of it back in a string of losing sessions (courtesy of some extremely cold cards) I hadn’t visited in a while. Monday changed that when I stopped by for a little Omaha Hi action in my quest to master learn a new poker variant. A $20 profit in less than an hour at .5/1 reminded me of how crazy the fish can be.

Of course, that lead me to the $15+$1.50 Pacific 10K guaranteed NLHE tournament. Pacific holds one of these every night at 10 and I played a couple back when they were still giving a small overlay on them. Now they tend to get 700+ entrants so the overlay is gone, but the bad players remain.

After playing for one night, I was reminded of why I stopped playing these tournaments months ago (and why they are still tempting for all that)

My very first hand is dealt and the client freezes, leaving me unable to see any cards. But neither can I exit because that message may go through and I’ll lose my entry fee. For the first time since I started playing poker online over 6 months ago, I called support. I explained my problem and the CS rep told me they had just received a call from someone with the same problem, they said someone would be with me shortly and then put me on hold. For 20 minutes. Then someone comes on the line and tells me that I need to go in and stop the application in Task Manager (basically circumventing the regular exit procedure, a tactic of choice for all-in protection abusers) Then restart the client and I should be fine, if not, send them an email and they’ll refund my entry money. Then she hangs up. Of course, this has to be the worst “fix” I’ve ever heard of, but I don’t want to lose my entry fee, so I give it a shot.

That’s all well and good, and a restart gets me connected back to the tournament. But by that point we’re a few levels in and I’ve already lost more than 10% of my stack. And the limits are rising fast.

The structure for these tournaments are ridiculous. T800 to start, blinds going up every ten minutes. And not only do blinds go up that quickly, there’s a break 55 minutes in that takes the last 5 minutes of the 5th limit. That’s just ridiculous. Now, I might understand this when they were still giving an overlay on the tournament and they just want to get the tournament over quickly so that people head back to the ring games, but now that they are getting full entry fees, they could run the tournament at a more reasonable pace.

But even with all that nonsense, it’s still very tempting to play. The play is generally awful and there is potential to make the money (as long as you hit a few hands). Unfortunately, the small hit I took to my stack combined with the fact that blinds were already getting significant meant I had to play my whole tournament in “short-handed mode”. I managed to steal a few blinds and even doubled up to keep ahead of the blinds. At the 150/300 level with only T1350 chips UTG, I went all-in with 77. When it folded around to the big blind, I was feeling pretty good because he had just doubled up on the previous hand and had only a few hundred more in chips then I did. Unfortunately he decided to call with AT and hit two pair on the flop. And I was out 165 of 720. Not horrible, but still a ways from the money.

165 of 720 If I’d had an opportunity to play a few hands before I was in a short stack situation, I may have actually made the money. But my 77 was called down by AT in the big blind with myself UTG with T1350 at 150/300. The structure at these tournaments is awful, but so is the level of play, so it’s still a very tempting opportunity.

I feel a bit better now that I’ve aired my grievances. I’ve since been playing Pacific a bit more and have been having good success at the 2/4 HE tables. But I cannot help but hear the siren call of the 4-digit payday and horrible players of the Pacfic 10K guaranteed, despite all these issues.