Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another day, another cash.

First of all: congratulations to Chris Fargis, who made the money at the Borgata Winter Open. I know he was hoping to go deeper in the tournament, but it was still a good showing.

On to my not-so-high stakes play: last night I just played a single 180 SnG. Managed to get away from Q-Q post-flop when it turned out I was up against A-A and A-Q suited (diamonds, with two diamonds on the flop), which was fortunate. A-Q ended up rivering the flush, and was one of two times during the tournament that I witnessed A-A going down.

Near the bubble things were looking dicey, but then I managed to get all my money in a blinds war after the flop when we both had TP but I had my opponent out-kicked. Unfortunately the board paired and we split the pot; that would have put me in good shape going into the money. Right on the bubble I was in dire straits, but was lucky enough to hit a gutshot straight draw to propel me into the money. I ended up busting in 16th when I got all my money in with A-Q against A-7 suited, A-7 flopping two pair and a Q refusing to hit on the turn or river. But hey, it's another cash, right? I've put up a little table on the right as a record of my 180 SnG results which I will try and keep updated at least for my own edification.

As a final note: Wil's weekly tournament is on tonight at PokerStars, 8:30pm EST. Hope to see you there, unless work decides to crush my spirit (again).

UPDATE: Work is indeed crushing my spirit. But I am determined to make it home in time to play.

Monday, January 30, 2006

You Know What Monday Means: Sleep Debt!

Ah yes, Monday morning. I had trouble getting to sleep last night (this happens reasonably frequently), and eventually decided to check exactly what time it was. I thought 1:30am, maybe 2... oh, 5:30am. Um, that isn't good. When I lived in Sydney, my apartment was a ten minute walk from work. This was outstanding for those days when I was tired/hungover... a 45 minute nap at lunchtime was a definite plus.

The weekend's results were a little mixed for me. I did try to satellite into the 700k guaranteed but due to drinking commitments I was very sleep-deprived when the one I attempted kicked off at 11:30am Sunday morning. Perhaps not the smartest move, but hey, your bankroll only exists once, right? My suited A-K went down to Presto, as the flop gave me two clubs but made Presto a set, and a third club didn't come.

My PLO8 results were up and down, though I finished down. A little disappointing as I was very strong at one point, but made a couple of misplays and hurt myself. I am considering performing a hit-and-run if I take down a humongous pot when I play, even though this strikes me as a bit of a weak move. I may do this if I think its a reasonably tough table; if there is someone performing the duty of ATM it would be silly to leave.

I ran a couple of 180 SnGs, crashing and burning early in one, and cashing (but not final tabling) the other. So the current stats are: 8 attempts, 4 cashes, 3 final tables, 0 wins. If I get my act together I might throw up a little box score on the side to keep tabs on my performance. But still, I am doing well in these. I am considering concentrating on these for the time being. Yes, all of you out there (both of you) are allowed to say: "Well, duh!".

I did manage to cash in a couple of micro-limit tourneys, including one that Waffles and I swapped 10%, though the amount I won was so small he declined his cut. I also entered the 10k guaranteed at FullTilt last night, and again mis-stepped on the bubble to be out in 70th with 63 getting paid. *sigh* This is becoming a trend in tournaments on FT.

Alright! Enough about me. You should be going to Dr Pauly's to check on the status of the Borgata Winter Open. Chris Fargis is still alive, just above par with 165 left. 75 get paid apparently. I urge everyone to send Chris your poker mojo! Chris has also been updating his blog here and there during the tournament, which is tres cool. Oh, and don't forget to keep an eye on Ryan's LA Commerce adventures.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Weekend Action.

Ah, to be free of (most of) my sleep debt is a wonderful thing. So depending on what I get up to this evening (getting my drink on in some form or other) and Saturday night (uh... probably getting my drink on again in some form or another), I should be set for some weekend pokering.

Here are a few aims for the weekend:

1) To try and satellite into the PokerStars 700k Guaranteed on Sunday (especially since there is no football). The kind of satellite I usually favour is the "10% of entrants" get in, as opposed to the one table satellite. The only thing is I had a gander this morning, and the "10%" variety of satellite seems to be $50+ which seems a little steep to satellite into a $215 buyin tournament.

2) To have a tilt at some more 180 SnGs on Stars. Let's face it - since going nuts in my first few of these, I have been strangely tardy in playing more of them. I think my current stats are: 6 attempts, 3 cashes, 3 final tables, 0 wins. I'm trying to remember to record my finishes etc. in these, though I think I forgot to do so for my last shot at it. Funnily enough, this may be because I didn't cash.

3) Play some more PLO8 on the cash tables on Stars and FullTilt. I'm still working off a bonus on FullTilt, and even though I haven't played heaps on Stars I'm considering having a shot at at least qualifying for Silver status for January. Essentially I'm just a status whore, and assume that achieving this status will brighten my teeth, add 3-4 inches to my vertical leap, and make me nigh irresistible to the opposite sex. Has anyone run in any of the free-roll tournaments? What was the turnout/play like?

4) To finish ahead of Sir Waffle if we end up swapping 10% in any tournament. I am only 1 out of 4 or 5 in this, and let's face it, the odds of us playing another Razz tournament are probably not good. He is crushing me in O8 tourneys.

5) To maybe play Veneno heads-up. I am scared, but you must learn to face your fears, right? Right. *deep breath* Right, right. Yeah.

If I end up cashing large-ish in any tournament, or have a really good session on the cash tables, I may consider just buying into the 700k on Sunday. What do I have to lose, besides a chunk of my bankroll and my dignity and self-respect? And let's be honest, my dignity and self-respect fled the premises a long time ago.

UPDATE: Looking at PokerStars today I noticed that the buy-in for the Sunday 700k is actually $500 + 30, which explains the 10% satellites being $53 + 5. This pretty much rules out me buying in directly, though I may still play a satellite.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Australia Day!

On January 26th, 218 years ago, the first English settlers (most of them convicts) landed in Sydney Cove. Instead of celebrating by drinking a few stubbies of VB and maybe watching some fireworks, I walked to work freezing my ass off. I guess the Australian Embassy (conveniently located crawling distance from my apartment) might be doing something, but I rarely go there for anything; voting and watching the Grand Final is about it. About the extent of my celebration is to parade about in my Australian one day cricket jersey, and annoy people about it all day. And drink beer, of course. So go out there and do something Aussie today! I suggest using liberal use of the word "mate" and boycotting Outback Steakhouse. And please, for the love of God, don't drink a Foster's.


Played a little bit of poker last night, though I didn't do much. Got into a PLO8 tournament on Stars, and even managed to last a couple of hours. Sir Waffle and I then jumped into a micro-limit O8 limit tournament. Sir Waffle was in the money, with 22 left out of 590-odd when my laptop battery died. I busted in about 120th or so. My high point was 16th or so out of about 200 left, but then proceeded to get crushed when holding A-A. I severely over-value that hand in limit O8; usually in PLO8 I can thin the field pre-flop, but in limit it can be hard to push anyone out. That'll learn me. I am also continuing my streak of busting before Waffle when we swap 10%, so Sir was threatening to bubble just to spite me, and at one point it was looking possible. But he is in the zone right now, and I tip my cap to him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Fun with Wil and CJ

There was a good tournout last night for Wil's Tuesday Night Extravaganza, with 78 people registering. I managed to take down 5th, fuelled by Trader Joe's two buck chuck. After all the tournament junk-kicking he has been taking recently, it was cool to see Drizz come in 3rd - and cash in another tournament as well.

I started off at Wil's table, and managed to drop the hammer twice in the early going. During the second hour I had a comfortable stack, and was feeling fine... right up until CJ materialised directly on my left. Oh dear. I have a history of giving all my chips to CJ, and recently had moved to new "pre-emptive" strategy where instead of waiting for him to outplay me I would just make some retarded lemur move and give him all my chips first. Last tournament I was happy when I spent a fair whack of time on his table and didn't haemorrage chips to him.

Many people will tell you that there is only one tried and true method to playing CJ: suck out on him before he has a chance to suck out on you.

In the pivotal hand between us I look down and see K-K. Nice. I pop it for a pre-flop raise from earlyish position, CJ calls, and we go heads up to the flop. The flop is 9-10-J, with two spades, I think. "Crap," I think to myself. "There's a chance CJ has a set here. I don't think he has K-Q, since I have two Ks, but this _is_ CJ. Hmm. Well, I do have an overpair, and a Q could always fall..."

Alright, maybe my thinking wasn't that coherent. It was probably more like "Aiiee! Push!" And push I did. CJ calls, I flip up my cowboys, he flips up A-A. Of course this means I am in excellent position for the suck out, and before I can even call for it I spike a Q and suddenly have all of CJ's chips.

This is not a position I am used to being in.

That hand gave me a nice enough stack to slide into the final table, though I was short-stacked for most of the time. At one point I got it all in against Drizz with K-J (I think) versus his J-8 (maybe... the two buck chuck was really kicking in at this juncture), but the board threw down 5 spades and we split. A little later when I was getting really short-stacked I looked down and saw 2-2, maybe my least favourite hand to go all-in with. But I was in late position, reaaaaaaalllly short stacked, and needed to do something immediately... and so I went out in 5th when I was called and one of caller's cards paired.

I had also jumped on the blogger 1 cent/2 cent PLO8 table. Had a good time playing and chatting, and managed to run my $5 to $12.75 or so. I also agreed to play a late night micro-limit Limit O8 tournament with Sir Waffle, and donked out of that one without wreaking too much havoc. He must be wondering how I am cashing in these other tournaments when I don't do much whenever we swap 10% of each other.

UPDATE: I'm a moron, I actually finished in 6th place in Wil's tournament. Just sayin'.

ADDENDUM: If you haven't been already, run, don't walk, to Ryan's blog. He has been laying down some must-read posts about his adventures at the LA Commerce Classic, including his 6 figure first place tournament finish. Woo!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Poker Tips with Andy Bloch

Like a lot of you, I receive Full Tilt's "Poker Tips from the Pros" emails periodically. Some of these are pretty interesting, if just to get the opinion of people who actually know what they are doing. A couple of recent articles that have caught my eye are Kristy Gaze's "Stepping up, Stepping down", and the group effort "How Big a Bankroll?". If you are interested, here are the archives.

Andy Bloch has just returned from Tunica, and is sharing his experiences in the latest article. First of all, I don't want to seem like I am taking a shot at Andy Bloch, I just found this amusing. Let me boil the article down for you: "A lot of people in No Limit Hold'Em tournaments play like donkeys; don't play like a donkey". I get the feeling that Andy was coming home from Tunica, maybe sitting in the airport bar and nursing a Gin an Tonic, going over various plays and going to himself: "What the hell are people thinking?!" I know this is blindingly obvious, but it just reminds me that established pros must still shake their heads over how the general standard of play has fallen through the floor in the last few years. And I say this is a contributor to that fall.


I didn't play much poker last night. After throwing $20 away on the cash tables, I realised I was really tired, and the best thing to do was hang up the keyboard and do something else. Like maybe watching a movie. Amongst other things I am one of the Worst Netflix Customers of All Time. Or maybe in their eyes it's "Best". Whatever. Despite having a subscription to NetFlix for three DVDs, I think I have watched a grand total of 3 NetFlix movies in the last 6 months... and that is only if you include me watching "12 Monkeys" last night.

"12 Monkeys" is a movie that I had seen bits and pieces of, so I basically knew the plot and ending etc., but I really wanted to watch it from beginning to end. Which I did, and throughly enjoyed, just a pity it took me a few months to sit down and watch it.

One small thing I get a kick out of the longer I live in the US is watching movies and going "hey, I've been there/recognise that!". "12 Monkeys" starts off with a quote from an inmate of a Baltimore County mental institution. I go "cool, I live in DC, and have been to Baltimore heaps of times." In the movie, which begins in the future, the human race lives underground. The first part of the movie has Bruce Willis' character forced to go above ground to collect some samples. He goes above ground, and the first thing that pops into my head is "huh, looks like Philadelphia, not Baltimore." It was strangely gratifying for me to discover that yes, that was Philly. Small things I guess.

In case you think this kind of thing is an isolated incident, I still get an inordinate amount of enjoyment from watching "The Matrix" and picking out all the locations from Sydney. I have no defense for this lameness, except to say that I can be, well, lame.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Mixed Up

It turned out to be a Mixed Game weekend. After the HORSE fun on Friday night, I played a little micro-limit Razz on Full Tilt with Veneno. At one point our aggressive play emptied out the table, which was very amusing. Unfortunately a couple of other people turned up who actually knew the game, which should be made illegal in Razz.

Over the weekend I played a slew of HE tourneys, and a few other non-HE tournaments with Sir Waffle and Veneno, including some limit O8 and some more Razz. I didn't hit any of the tournaments after the HORSE tourney - my best effort was derailed when I got cute on the bubble in a FT 10k guaranteed. Whups. I'm actually taking a shine to Razz, even when I get into a big pot and manage to draw three successive 2s, or (my personal favourite), having someone beat 7 ways from Sunday, and having them hit an Ace on their last card to get me. I think I am getting a better feel for the game, but I can't forget to be aggressive when the situation warrants it. On at least one occasion I let someone have a free card which lost me the pot. I must remember to embrace the Aggression Monkey.

Of course yesterday was Championship weekend in the NFL. Prior to the Division round I opened up an account on Bodog and put $100 in there, figuring I'd use it to bet on the remaining NFL playoff games for a bit of fun. My logic was that I'd bet on maybe 5 games, so even if I lost all the bets I could have $20 apiece on each. Last week I talked myself out of betting on Seattle (boo!), was scared silly of Denver/New England, laid $20 on Carolina (yay!), and $20 on Indy (boo!). Taking out the juice, it meant I had $96 going into this week. I figured that since there were 3 games left I'd bet $33 on each of yesterday's games, so even if I lost I had $30 to throw at the Superbowl.

Early in the week I didn't have a good feel for either of the games, but during the week I read everything I could, and waited patiently for my betting muse to kick in. On Thursday I decided that Pittsburgh and Seattle felt right (yes, it's very scientific), and put down $33 apiece. I was even lucky and got Pittsburgh at +3 without any juice taken out.

Before heading off to the bar to watch football I had a really nice PLO8 session on the cash tables, picking up $160 or so. It would have been even nicer if I did make a couple of $40 mistakes, when I got a little frisky. The good session set the stage for the afternoon, as both Pittburgh and Seattle came home in a canter. So all in all I was up $250 or something on the weekend, with all the profit coming from non-Hold'Em gambling. I'm just hoping my good run from the last couple of weeks continues.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Aggression Monkey

Here was the Friday night plan: as I was still fighting off the remnants of a cold, I wasn't about to go out drinking, which left me at home for an evening of poker goodness. I figured I would locate some good looking tournaments on Stars or FullTilt (eschewing the 180 SnGs for one night), play O8 cash games until they started, and hopefully still be in there when the blogger HORSE tourney started.

So, the 8pm FullTilt tourney looks good, and I keep my eye on a couple of low-limit rebuy tourneys at Stars. I jump onto a few O8 cash tables, and displaying my newfound prowess quickly give a buy-in to the fine gentleman on my left. Berating myself for my lemur-ish play, I fight my way back and end up down $3 or so for the session.

Psyched up after my recent rush, I jump into the FullTilt 10.5k, and get ready to rumble. It turns out that Bdr (can't find his blog) is at my first table. I didn't recognise his FullTilt handle, and he probably didn't recognise mine, though this could be due to me being eliminated almost immediately. Out in 419th of 476. Clearly I rock.

OK. Alright. So that didn't go as planned. I register for the $3 rebuy, and decide to join the $10 single rebuy as well. Despite breaking my new rule "when in a NLHE tourney, play that and that only", I figure since these are rebuy tournaments it's just crazy play initally anyway.

I decide to concentrate mainly on the $10 single rebuy. As it's a single rebuy people should be playing relatively normally (i.e. horrendously), and I have a restart button in case I make a mistake. While the $3 is a study in craziness (of course), I manage to chip up in the $10 rebuy. By the end of the first hour I have a healthy stack, putting me in the top 25%. I add-on, and am into the tourney for $21. In the $3 rebuy, at the end of the first hour, I have zilch. I rebuy and add-on, and am into the tournament for $18.

After some toing and froing, I go down in the $3 tournament. I am fighting for my life in the $10 rebuy. At one point my stack is seriously dwindling and I am in the big blind when most of the table limps in. I look down at Q-2 suited, and jam. One of the early position limpers calls, and everyone gets out of the way. He has a mid-pair, but I manage to spike a Q. The caller goes ballistic, calling what I did a horrendous play. The monster stack of the table starts ripping into the caller, defending my play. Which was nice.

As we start approaching the bubble the HORSE tournament kicks off. I have extremely low expectations, and am looking forward to it for a bit of fun and to chat with some people. Why the low expectations? Let's do a self-analysis of my abilities in the various disciplines.

H - Like everyone I can play this game. But I don't play Limit tournaments. Ever. I am one of those people who accidentally join a Limit tournament, thinking it is a No-Limit tournament, and may as well have a sign stapled to my forehead saying "FREE MONEY". My strategy is simple: play only premium hands, and try to get the hell out of everyone's way.

O - I actually like this game, and figure it to be my best of the disciplines. I first got into Omaha Hi/Lo, funnily enough, when I played a low-limit HORSE tourney on a whim. With that experience, and reading many of Sir Waffle's posts about it, I began playing it on cash tables. It actually helped resuscitate my bankroll and inject some confidence into my play. I've only played one tourney of O8, one of the DADI tourneys, and did OK.

RSE - I grouped these together because, well, I have played them all the same amount (i.e. in that previously mentioned HORSE tournament). I assume I will blow at them.

So, not that optimistic. The tournament kicks off, and I am seated with the lovely Veneno, Drizz, and Bobby Bracelet amongst others. As predicted I do exactly nothing during H. Though this is what I expected, I start experiencing this sinking feeling. During O I manage to win a hand out of pure desperation. I cheer wildly.

And then begins R. Ah Razz, almost universally loathed. Red-headed step-child of the poker world. I know the rules, but that is about it, and decide that this is a good time for me to concentrate on the tournament I am still in at Stars. As I'm not paying ultra-close attention and don't really have much of a clue about strategy, I decide to let my inner Aggression Monkey out of his cage. And the monkey goes berserk, slamming "Raise" whenever he senses weakness. As I am focussing on fighting for my life at Stars, that's all I can see my monkey doing in the HORSE tournament. Raise, raise, raise.

A curious thing happened. After Razz, I had chipped up to be amongst the leaders. That was strange. So I decide that at least for RSE I'll let the Aggression Monkey take the reins.

Eventually I go down in the $10 rebuy tournament, a respectable 32nd out of 793, netting me just over $80, or about $60 net removing buy-in. I am happy I did that well, but am tantalised about the big money that was coming within my reach. Maybe next time.

This would have been the time to concentrate on the HORSE tourney, but the whole "doing two things at once" seemed to have done well for me. Veneno convinced me to jump into an 18 person SnG. I started off like a rocket in the SnG, chipping up immediately. In the HORSE tournament my Aggression Monkey was going crazy - and I noticed that I was the chip leader. With over twice what 2nd place had. WTF?!

The escalating blinds starting doing damage in HORSE, and soon we were at the final table. The monkey used my stack as best he could, and eventually we were down to three-handed, with myself scurvydog and biscutblocker (does anyone know his blog?). 20 minutes later we were still three-handed. 20 minutes later? Still three-handed. I had completely lost track of time. We were going back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.... railbirds were complaining... At one point I noticed it was after 1:30am. I wasn't really paying attention to the SnG at this point, but fortunately the early chipping up put me in good stead.

And then it happened. The thing I had been dreading.


I couldn't play tight now, could I? The blinds would eat me up in no time. So I did what I could, which was gird my loins, and go for it. And play extremely badly. And finish in 3rd. I returned to the SnG, and proceeded to make it to Heads-up with Veneno, who used her 7:1 chip advantage to bounce me in about 4 hands.

After it had all finished, I got up from the couch, stretched and took a deep breath. 3rd in HORSE?! Craziness. I definitely got lucky, but the Aggression Monkey was my secret weapon. I sometimes blame him for getting me in trouble in short-handed play, but I think my recent success in NLHE tournaments can also be attributable to me using him more.

It was also extremely cool to meet up with all the bloggers again, and a big congratulations out to biscutblocker for taking home the title. Thanks to April for setting it up, we all had a blast.

Now maybe I can convince someone to make an ORSE tourney?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Rub Me for Luck

Another day, another 180 SnG. Actually, since I got home early, I decided to play some O8 on PokerStars and FullTilt. This turned out to be a good idea, as my first hand on FullTilt I tripled up, and on one of my poker tables on Stars I not only hit a straight flush (which was a wheel), but hit another one as well... this time a royal flush.

This is how well I am running.

Putting aside thoughts of staying on the cash tables, I decided to book my $160 profit for one hour's play, and attack another 180 SnG. Here's the bad news: I didn't win. Here's the good news: I finished 9th. Yes indeed, another final table in one of these things. I'm kind of beside myself... in 5 attempts at them, I have final tabled 3 times with one 3rd and one 2nd. That isn't meant to happen. But hey! I'm not complaining.

This time I started out slowly, hanging around par. I managed to double up (thanks to a complete lemur) towards the end of the first hour, which put me in decent shape. From there I managed to drag a huge pot when I flopped a set. I had been applying the blowtorch to this poor guy who ran into my trip 7s, and we had another memorable hand where he made a fantastic call under great pressure of my attempted bluff. He almost laid it down, which would have propelled me to almost top of the leaderboard.

Yes I know, close is for horseshoes and hand grenades.

I was then forced to keep fighting to make the money, which I was able to do, upon which I was cold-decked. Saw absolutely nothing, and was only able to squeak into the final table by judicious stealing of blinds, antes and limper's chips when the situation presented itself. I lasted a good four hands into the final table, when I saw a real hand (presto) when I was in the small blind. I raise all-in, but run it into pocket 7s. I don't improve (despite calling for the suckout), and I'm done.

Wil's Thursday night warm up tournament starts in half an hour as well... I doubt that I am going to jump into that one, but you never know. Time to eat something and reflect on another good day on the tables.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Final Table Time or How to Suckout Like CJ

As promised, I played another 180 SnG at PokerStars tonight. Unfortunately I didn't fare so well, and limped out in 126th. Oh well, I thought. Guess I may as well jump in the next one. This turned out to be a stellar decision, as I finished in 2nd - my second finish in the top 3 in my four attempts at the 180 SnG. Unfortunately neither of those finishes is No. 1. I can feel mollified by the fact that I had my heads up opponent all-in and behind, but he managed to suckout on me. Hey, at least he apologised.

But let this be a lesson: as CJ would say, sucking out should be part of your arsenal. I have tried to take this onboard, and was able to use it to my advantage. A suckout sparked a rush that put me in place to play heads up. As you can see below, I followed the rules for sucking out, including calling for my card.

PokerStars Game #3682513013: Tournament #18271419, Hold'em No Limit - Level XIII (1000/2000) - 2006/01/18 - 22:29:53 (ET)
Table '18271419 13' Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: rc II (41901 in chips)
Seat 2: weimoxer (6977 in chips)
Seat 3: GrazzH0pper (23670 in chips)
Seat 4: bling 75 (53136 in chips)
Seat 5: JwKnight (26541 in chips)
Seat 6: Duece xx (19375 in chips)
Seat 7: baeringss (43388 in chips)
Seat 8: MiamiMac (22584 in chips)
Seat 9: Garthmeister (32428 in chips)
rc II: posts the ante 100
weimoxer: posts the ante 100
GrazzH0pper: posts the ante 100
bling 75: posts the ante 100
JwKnight: posts the ante 100
Duece xx: posts the ante 100
baeringss: posts the ante 100
MiamiMac: posts the ante 100
Garthmeister: posts the ante 100
Duece xx: posts small blind 1000
baeringss: posts big blind 2000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Garthmeister [Js Ah]
MiamiMac: folds
Garthmeister: raises 4000 to 6000
rc II: folds
weimoxer: folds
GrazzH0pper: folds
bling 75: folds
JwKnight: folds
Duece xx: raises 13275 to 19275 and is all-in
baeringss: folds
Garthmeister: calls 13275
*** FLOP *** [5c 6d 6s]
Garthmeister said, "Ruh roh"
Garthmeister said, "A!"
Garthmeister said, "A!"
*** TURN *** [5c 6d 6s] [Ts]
Garthmeister said, "A!"
*** RIVER *** [5c 6d 6s Ts] [Ad]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Duece xx: shows [Qs Qd] (two pair, Queens and Sixes)
Garthmeister: shows [Js Ah] (two pair, Aces and Sixes)
MiamiMac said, "YES!"
Garthmeister collected 41450 from pot
bling 75 said, "ouch"
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 41450 | Rake 0
Board [5c 6d 6s Ts Ad]
Seat 1: rc II folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: weimoxer folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: GrazzH0pper folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: bling 75 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: JwKnight (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Duece xx (small blind) showed [Qs Qd] and lost with two pair, Queens and Sixes
Seat 7: baeringss (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 8: MiamiMac folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: Garthmeister showed [Js Ah] and won (41450) with two pair, Aces and Sixes

I should add here that it was MiamiMac, the player who cheered after my suckout, who ended up taking out the tournament. Truly a Sultan of the Suckout.

As for the tournament itself, I had the best start to any tournament I have ever had. Every move I made worked out perfectly, and I was able to benefit from judicious flops and the poor play of my opponents. By the end of the first hour I had 11k, just over 7 times the starting stack! I ended up being chip leader for a good two hours, before we all bunched up as we got into the money. I went from the hand where I had A-J to clear chip leader with 4 left, and went into heads up with a small advantage (and only because MiamiMac had taken out both other players on the same hand).

When we were heads up I was chipping away before a hand where I flopped two pair, and his Ace hit. We got it all in on the turn, but his kicker paired on the river. That brought us back to about even, and we jousted a bit more. I dropped a couple of hands before the killer: my K-J hit a Jack on the turn... unfortunately his set of 7s was made on the flop. No more suckouts, game over.

Overall I am more than happy with my play, in fact I'm pretty damned pleased. It's also gratifying to have managed to convert such a white hot start into not only a final table finish, but a top 2. Obviously I am going to keep playing these 180 SnGs, and hopefully my good run will continue.

And soon I will get that No. 1.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday Tourney Action

After last week's 3rd place effort in my first ever 180, I figured I would definitely try a few more. My plan also was meant for me to only play one tournament/table at a time, to try and improve my focus.

Of course I instantly disregarded this once I saw that Wil's tourney was running tonight. I decided to run a 180 at the same time I was playing Wil's tournament, though I intended to concentrate on the SnG mainly. This went awry almost immediately, as I bluffed away almost half of my stack in the 180. Suitably chastened I knuckled down, and by the first break I was up to 3.2k. Some of the play I saw was pretty terrible, and only further encouraged me to play more of these, not to mention to also play solid poker in the future especially in the first hour of tourneys.

Unfortunately I proceeded to get completely cold-decked in the second hour. I didn't see a hand, and soon I was getting short-stacked with antes underway. Then the following hand occurred. I was in the big blind, holding 10-6 off, when only the chipleader called. The flop came A-A-10, and I had a little bit of hope. The chipleader bet almost the pot, which lead me to believe that he didn't have an Ace... which also meant that I felt there was a good chance that my 10-6 was best. I pushed, the chipleader called (which I felt he might do with any two anyway)... and I see K-10. None of my outs hit, there was the added insult of seeing a K on the river, and I went out in 37th. Overall I was happy with my play, considering the cards I saw, especially in the second hour.

Wil's tourney was fun as always, and I got to spend quite a bit of time on tables with BadBlood, CJ, Jaxia, Ingoal and Nickerson, amongst others. Pauly suffered the ignominy of being "Gigli" for the evening, getting busted out first. I started out well, pushing around a few people who I hadn't played with before.

My big hand happened during the second hour, after my stack had dwindled (once more). I was in the big blind when DeadMeek, in early position and with a stack a little smaller than mine, raised to 4x the big blind. I looked down at 9s-9c as everyone folded to me. I thought a little bit, and decided that DeadMeek could be holding two big cards, or maybe even a mid-pair. I decided to jam, figuring that there was a good chance he would lay down his hand, and even if he called that I would have a decent chance to win the hand. I was right. DeadMeek held Ks-Qs, and called. I could do worse than a coin flip, and I even had one of his spades. Of course a Q on the flop put me in trouble, and a 9 didn't materialise, despite my calling for it CJ-style, and all of a sudden I was seriously shortstacked.

That was when "Operation All-in" began, as I judiciously pushed when I thought my hand was good enough, and that I was in a decent position to steal the blinds and antes. I lucked out at one point when I was on the button and almost down to the felt, pushed, and managed to survive the blinds checking me down.

And then came the dream. Q-Q, in early position, with everyone knowing I had been pushing with less than premium hands. Naturally I push, hoping someone figures me for getting frisky again, and Kaellinn obliges... but shows K-K. Oof. Once again my CJ stylings fail, and I'm done in 19th of 67. Overall I was happy with my play though I still have to think about my move with 9-9, and whether it was worth potentially crippling myself at that stage.

Other than that, I think I am going to make a serious effort to play a 180 SnG whenever I can. The quality of play seems pretty ordinary, and if I stick to playing solidly in the first hour, and with a little more luck and a few more cards in the second hour I think I can have a decent shot at making it into the money. I also have a bonus at FullTilt to work off, so I intend to get to that , but this second I'm hankering for 180 SnGs.

Quick Wil tourney alert!

I haven't seen anyone mention it (though I am notoriously unobservant), but Wil's Tuesday night tournament on PokerStars is running in a mere hour and a half. Only 22 people signed up so far, so get to it and sign up!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Aussie Rules Footy in LA? Of course!

For those of you who don't know, I'm an Australian who is currently living in Washington, DC. Over here I play Australian Rules Football (one of the major sports in Australia) for the Baltimore Washington Eagles. This is the sport that has brought to the NFL such legends as Darren Bennett (former punter for the San Diego Chargers and Minnesota Vikings), and Ben Graham (1st year punter for the New York Jets). OK, so that really really doesn't tell you much (and potentially makes the sport sound lame), but stay with me. Bennett was a really good punter who actually tackled people. Both Bennett and Graham were famous in Aussie Rules for being able to kick the ball a mile, and when they started to get too old to play in Australia they decided to have a shot at the NFL as a punter.

Too old? Well, yeah. You may have caught some Aussie Rules on TV, maybe on some weird channel at some strange time of day. I'm not going to try and explain the game here (though you can check out the Wikipedia entry for the sport). But yes, there is a lot of tackling, and no we don't wear pads, though most do wear a mouthguard. Dangerous? Well, the worst injury I've ever had was a broken eye socket, and I once fractured a guy's face requiring titanium plates to be inserted... but those are freak injuries, and you could suffer worse from trying to cross the road. It's a great game, and over here I get to play with a bunch of good Aussies and Americans, and travel to different cities to play games. Every year there is a national tournament. 2004 was in Atlanta, last year was in Milwaukee, and the rumour is that this year it will be held in... LAS VEGAS! This probably means I am going to be playing games on no sleep after donking off chips to tourists all night on a poker table somewhere.

Wow, just found www.nflaussie.com, a site brought to you by Darren Bennett that doesn't look like it has been updated in a while. Scary.

Anyway, if you want more info about Aussie Rules in the US, go to the US Footy website.

This weekend I'm off to LA to watch two Aussie pro teams play an exhibition match as part of Australia Week, which means no poker for me in all probability. The Sydney Swans, reigning champions, are playing the Kangaroos (the Kangaroos used to be called the North Melbourne Kangaroos, but are trying to branch out of that region) at UCLA. I'm also meant to be attending a coaching clinic with the two coaches of the teams, which should be cool. Not to mention going out in LA, a city I haven't been to in years, when I was under the legal drinking age. I also hope to meet up with a friend of mine who I haven't seen in a long time. It looks like tickets to the game are sold out, but if you're are in the LA area and want to know if there is anything to check out, go to the Australia week website.

Hell, as long as they have meat pies and VB at the game I'll be fine.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


The DADI Omalympics were a lot of fun. It was my first ever Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament, and a good change up from the normal Hold 'Em tourneys. I have played a little bit of Omaha Hi/Lo, having been previously inspired by Sir Waffle to take a shot at the cash tables. But let me emphasise this: I have played it only a little. I started off on the same table as Felicia, who proceeded to give me pointers on my extremely flaky play.

As Wes pointed out in a comment on my previous post, at one point he gave me most of his stack, yet he made the final table. What did I do with his stack? Ran it up to almost 5k, and then proceeded to donate it to a fine gentleman who insisted on being dealt pocket Aces every few hands,
who also made the final table. (Note: so what was I doing tangling with that fine gentleman? Uh... I thought he was bluffing?) Me? Finished 19th out of 47. Respectable, while still being underperformance given my position when my lack of Omaha skillz was exposed.

One theory is that I had too much to drink before the tournament. This is clearly a stupid theory, and even if one was going to try and use it the drinks were work-subsidised and therefore exempt. The second theory is that I didn't drink enough. This holds a lot more water, given that my only deep run in a blogger tournament was fueled by 2 bottles of wine (I still can't quite remember how I busted out in 4th - or whatever place it was - but I am imagining I was being stupidly aggressive). Of course the extra drinking may have resulted in me busting out sooner, but the point is I would also have been drunker, so it evens out. The third theory is that I suck at Omaha PLO8. I think I will let history decide.

Congratulations to Sir Waffle, Felicia, Veneno and the rest of the final table, especially the winner, Jestocost.

Not sure if Wil is running a tournament on Stars tonight, but at any rate I am meant to be going out to dinner for my belated birthday. If it's on, I still might be able to make it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Joe Speaker & Sit n Gos

One day after reading Joe Speaker's guest post on Pauly's blog regarding low-limit MTTs, I enter my first ever 180 SNG on PokerStars and finish 3rd. Coincidence? I'll let you decide. My first final table appearance since an extremely drunken Wil Wheaton sponsored tourney a month or so ago.

Overall I was happy with my play - which is a statement that could earn me the title of Captain Obvious. I finished 3rd! I mean, come on! But nonetheless, I was more than happy with my play. I do have to admit that when I play MTTs on PokerStars and FullTilt I tend to find myself more shortstacked with relation to the blinds than I really feel comfortable with, which I'm not sure is a reflection of my playing style, the structures of the tournaments, or my mental makeup.

During the tourament I managed to play very solidly the first hour, accumulating chips when I could, and not getting too frisky with marginal hands. I seemed to pick the right people (and opportunities) to steal blinds and antes during the main body of the tournament, which helped. I really didn't get a lot of good hands; in the almost 4 hours of play I got A-K twice, A-Q once, J-J three times and 10-10 once... so getting to third was nice. I also managed to win two coin flips (one hich vaulted me from "about to bubble out" to "got some chips to play with"), twice had all-in situations where my higher pair held up over a lower pair, and even had a Q-9s versus J-10s break my way to put me into contention for the final table.

I think Joe's "don't be a pussy" mantra definitely helped me steel my resolve in making moves when I had to - taking the "if I do this I have a much better chance of success; if I lose, I lose, but this is still the right move" is very liberating. Making moves as required with that mindset is great, though of course it helps if those moves come off!

I do seem to have a little problem with bluffing on the river, which I may have to examine more closely. There was one hand in particular where I read the other player as weak, making a far-too-small bet on the river. I re-raise, he calls, I suck. I did this another couple of times during the tournament, one time where I actually had a hand (albeit pocket 2s) that managed to hold up even though when I saw the call I expected to lose.

My biggest disappointment was my final 3 play. When we got down to the last 3 I was actually at my high water mark, just in the the chips lead, though all three of us were extremely close. Unfortunately I managed to blow through my stack in short order, capped off with losing to an Ace high flush when I held a King high flush. This doesn't sound like I completely sucked, but trust me, it was worse than it sounds. The villain in this case had been annoying me quite a while - this player had been on my left for most of the time, and I had noticed that he would always limp or cold-call raises before the flop. I can't recall an instance of him leading out pre-flop, he was happy to get into the pot and then outplay you. Which he did to me most of the times we were in a pot. I never knew where I was in a hand, and only got him to lay down one hand when I just kept firing bullets until he gave up. Which I was proud of doing, but definitely was harrowing. And I lost in the long run, of course.

I definitely am not that confident in shorthanded play, and is probably an area I should work on. And yes, I see you over there, screaming at me to read "Harrington II - Electric Boogaloo".

But overall, I was pumped to get to 3rd, and while once I was there I would have liked to win the whole show, it was not to be. Amusingly Joe's advice about being a good guy also worked. Normally I am pretty happy at the tables (see and ), but I can get ticked when people are just dicks. Well, at the final table, on my left, was one of those. I took a pot away from him, and he congratulated me on the bluff, warning me that he would nail me if I kept it up. I ignored the comment, and kept working away. Mr Dick then tore into other peopel on the table, including one guy who I had watched luckbox his way around for most of the tourney. The Luckbox natually put Mr Dick out on a bad beat, which caused Mr Dick to go ballistic. I congratulated Mr Dick on playing a good game, and this guy proceeded to thank me for being a gentleman, ripped intot he luckbox, and cheered me on from the rail, though I am afraid I let him down. Sorry, but you're a dick.

So my first 180 SNG was a success, and I will have to try another one. Not sure about tonight, as I am going to try to be at home in time for the Omalympics on Pokerstars. Remember, PLO8 is your friend! I am not that great at the game, and have never played it in a tournament like this, but it should be fun. I look forward to giving Drizz, or one of the other people who can actually play the game, my stack.

DADI: Omalympics PLO8 tourney (PokerStars 8pm CST: password blogsaregay)

See you there.