Archive for January, 2005

A little home game action

Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Well, I’ve already started getting my game back in shape this year with a third place finish in the my first home tourney of the year. I should probably have locked up first with the chips I had, but my cards went cold when it got down to five and I lost too many chips trying to make moves. Nothing feels worse than getting called down with queen high.

I did implement my plan and pushed marginal edges much less than I usually do at these games. I can read some of the players pretty well and know when the flop has missed them. Unfortunately, I was still getting called down by trailing hands a lot of the time, so I wound up getting bumped from the tournament when people hit their draws. I know I’ve got a large edge on most of the field, so I’ve been choosing my spots far more carefully to stack the odds even further in my favour.

This week some buddies of mine got together for an impromptu H.O.R.S.E. ring game. It was only five of us, but it was old time boys who have been playing in the game for three years now. And they have all latched on to H.O.R.S.E. as a way to avoid the monotony of a night full of hold’em without resorting to any wildcard games. But short-handed play can really alter some of these games. In the case of this week’s game, it was some very peculiar Omaha and Omaha/8 hands. I was surprised by the number of pair or 2-pair hands that one the pot. But the most peculiar hand came in Omaha Hi where we had three 4s up in the middle. I was expecting a full house, but of course you need to play two cards from your hand and since no one had a pocket pair, the pot went to ace high, even though other players had paired the board. Understandably, the guy who folded AK to the river bet was upset that he didn’t realize the strength of his hand. In the end, I managed to nearly triple my buy-in playing some decent poker and capitalizing on other’s mistakes.

Of course, I followed up a night of solid poker with some pure gambling at the end of the night where I managed to throw all my profits away. I keep figuring that I’m due for some luck playing a little high card, which has almost become a tradition at the end of a night of poker, but somehow I keep flipping twos. Ah well, Doyle says you have to give action to get action. I can justify it that way, right?

2005 Poker Resolutions

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

I’ve finally finished assembling my poker resolutions for 2005. 2004 was my first year as a poker player and while I made a lot of progress – and a not insignificant amount of money – there is still a lot of room for improvement. So these are my resolutions for the next 12 months.

One post a week
In the last few months of the 2004, this blog was extremely neglected. Now, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to maintain the same frequency as I did earlier in the year, but I do plan on making a minimum of one post a week from here on out. This is not so much a poker goal, but I believe writing about the game can be a powerful learning tool.

Improve other games
One of the things I enjoyed most when I started taking poker seriously last year was reading up on the game and learning all the ins and outs. These days the lessons come much slower and I miss that process. Also, we’ve been playing HORSE just about every time we start up a side game, for the variety without getting into any wildcard games. So, the plan is to pick up a few books on Omaha and Stud to get a bit more in-depth with those games. It will help to satisfy my urge to study as well as improving my HORSE game. Actually, if anyone out there has recommendations for Stud or Omaha books, I’d love to hear them.

Get comfortable at the $5/$10 tables online
I’ve been sticking at the comfortable $2/$4 and $25PL tables for a while now. It’s past time that I stepped up and took a shot at the higher limits. Most of my money is being made off people playing bad poker instead of playing good poker myself. (like the AQo that just re-re-raised my KK and who I put all-in for all his chips pre-flop) Not that I’m a particularly poor player, but I can get away with playing lazy and making too many mistakes while still being profitable. If I want to improve at all, I’m going to have to take a few risks and play a bit outside my comfort level.

More live play
The extent of my live play last year was my bi-weekly $20 buy-in home tourney and five hours at the $5/$10 table at the CNE. I’ve got a few invitations into games and underground rooms around town. It’s past time I took some of those offers up. And there’s two casinos with poker rooms about an hour away. I don’t have a car, but I’m going to have to work out some visits. And who knows, maybe this will be the year I get down to Vegas.

More multi-table tournaments
I really enjoy multi-table tournaments and even finished in the money a few times last year (mostly freerolls). But as I committed less time to poker, I avoided tournaments and the longer time commitment required for them. I think my tournament game is pretty decent, and if I can manage to improve my late tournament play, there’s some money to be won there.

Originally I also had some financial goals for the year, but then I realized that is not a very good poker goal. All I can do is pick +EV spots or opportunities to improve my long-term EV. The above will do so, but setting a dollar target will not.

Sunday afternoon

Sunday, January 16th, 2005

It feels good to stretch those poker muscles. I managed to put in a good two hour session 4-tabling 25PL at Empire. I should probably be looking to move up the limits and the bankroll certainly supports it, but I’m comfortable and profitable at this level, so it’s difficult to find the impetus to switch. It also felt good to be playing some good poker instead of the mediocre game that marked my last few forays onto the online felt. It didn’t hurt that I was seeing some great cards as well. Managed to post a reasonable gain while working off a third of the hands towards my bonus there.

But, there are more pressing reasons to post. Some overdue congratulations are in order for a few hard-working poker bloggers. First, a huge shout out to Otis from Up For Poker for the tremendous job he did blogging professionally for the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure. He spent a week in the Bahamas reporting on the WPT event taking place there and did an amazing job.
Second, kudos to hdouble from The Cards Speak for landing a sweet job working for Full Tilt. It’s a programmer job, not a writing gig, but it is great opportunity nonetheless. He’ll still slings words on poker with the best of them at this blog. Congrats Hank!

Still coming, 2005 Poker Resolutions.

Poker Year in Review

Saturday, January 15th, 2005

The new year is already a few weeks old and still I have not made good on my New Year’s resolution to post to my blog. I was almost there last week, but was laid low by one of the nastiest colds I’ve had in recent memory which I am only now recovering from.

So, without further ado, let me begin tp’s Poker Year in Review. I’m going to talk about some of the notable poker related things that happened to me over the course of the year.

January 2004
My poker career dalliance began a year ago. I’d run a bi-weekly home game for a few years at this point, but with the all the poker coverage on TV, I was having some serious poker urges over the holidays. I did a quick bit of research and loaded $50 into Party Poker. The night I turned my $50 deposit into $98, including my bonus, and I was quite pleased with myself. I had dreams of turning it into 4-digits by the end of the week. The very next day I managed to blow through all $98 courtesy of some poor play and some really bad beats. When I put the first $50 in, I told myself that would be it, I would either win, or that would be what I pay to learn that online poker was not a profitable proposition for me. I was very wary of addiction, fearing that it is in my personality. But I still managed to justify adding another $50 to my account and I haven’t looked back since. Nor have I lost more than that first 100 bucks.

January also marked the beginning of the EPT, a tournament home game series that has been running for nearly a year now. It’s just a bi-weekly $20 buy-in pot-limit hold’em tournament, but it has been my only option for live poker, and I have managed to work on some of the skills that you just cannot hone at the online tables.

February 2004
Poker was now in my blood. I thought about it all the time. I bought read books. I read Card Player online. And I followed more poker blogs than was healthy. And in February I decided that I would also write one. I purchased a domain and started this very blog. Not two weeks passed before, from out of nowhere, I was mentioned on Guinness and Poker. Iggy had stumbled across my blog somehow and given me a small mention as well as a spot on his blogroll. Suddenly I had readers.

March 2004
I participated in the World Poker Blogger Tour II event. I finally got to chat with some of the other poker bloggers out there and my finish of 14th out of 28 was better than I expected. Afterwards I got to chat with Felicia and hdouble, two of my favourite bloggers.
March also marked my first multi-table cash and 3-digit win. I won $120 in the Choice Poker new player freeroll, but it would be over six months before I would see a dime of that money. But even sweeter was my cash in the first weekly blogger game organized by Felicia. Finishing ahead of a bunch of chumps in a cheesy freeroll is one thing, but finishing ahead of a bunch of chump bloggers was quite another. *grin*

April 2004
Full steam ahead. Still playing poker, still growing my bankroll. April did feature the post that has received the most search engine hits over the lifetime of this site. I’m glad people come for the poker content.

May 2004
I finally took first in my bi-weekly PLHE home tournament. I believe I had four cashes prior to this, but it was my first victory. It was followed two weeks later by my second. There was other big news in the poker world this month (I wonder what that was), but I was just plugging away at the low limits, growing my bankroll.

June 2004
For the first time, my ill-gotten poker gains were put to another purpose besides driving chips across the table. They funded the purchase of a new laptop, which is on its way to paying for itself.

July 2004
Internet outages at home introduced less frequest blog posts and even less poker time. The withdrawal symptoms were not pretty.

August 2004
My first live casino experience. Well, not a real casino, but played at the CNE Charity Casino down the street from my office while it was in town. Managed to drop nearly $200 in five hours of $5/$10. I think I played well, but I really need to get a bit more casino experience.

October 2004
Another Poker Blogger event this month, and the bloggers and readers tournament attracted 133 participants. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I played excellent and horrible poker, managing to accumulate the chip leader mid-way through the tournament before making a few bad decisions to bust out in 29th, nine places out of the money. The highlight of the tournament was busting out Wil Wheaton when my TT hit a straight on the river to beat his JJ. It occurs to me now that I never did receive the bounty he promised, though I did received a signed book from Coach, of Blue Parrot fame over at Tao of Poker.

November & December 2004
My poker was falling off a bit in October, but it takes a nose dive in November and December. Other interests keep me away from the online poker tables and without tales to tell this blog languishes.

At the end of the year I have played over 50,000 hands of poker at 15 different online sites and have posted profits of nearly $5000 US. I have played great poker and I have played horrible poker. I’ve learned many lessons and made a few friends along the way. I want to say thanks to anyone who’s read this blog over the past year. I write for myself, but my ego appreciates the attention. Particular thanks to all those who have offered poker advice and support the past 11 months. I have to single out Felicia Lee for all the help and kind words she has shared over the year. For someone who refers to herself as a no-nonsense bitch, she is one of the nicest people I know. It is my intention to renew my commitment to poker and this blog in the new year, but I’ll take talk more about that next time.

For now, it’s time to catch a nap for a couple hours so that maybe my cold isn’t so bad when I go out later.

Coming soon, Poker Resolutions for 2005.