Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Homeward Bound

In a scant few hours I will be winging my way across the Pacific, heading for the Southern Hemisphere, and hoping myTemazepam kicks in. I hope to be in touch semi-regularly during my visit home, and I might even find the time to post now and then.

And only time will tell if I choose to confront the beast that is the Star City poker room...

Catch ya later!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Fun With the Bankroll

As I have been mentioning (incessantly), I have been playing a lot of Triple Draw on Ultimate Bet. One of the annoying things about the game is that there is huge void between levels. You might (might) see a 1/2, 2/4 or 3/6 game, but the next semi-regular game seems to be 10/20. Until recently I was a little uncomfortable playing 3/6, but recently I have gotten over that, and been playing well in that game. And this I have been thinking... when should I have a tilt at 10/20?

I had tossed around the idea of waiting until my UB bankroll had grown to a reasonably level and then having a shot at the 10/20 game, and seeing how I go. I have watched a bit of the play there, and thought I could mix it up at that level. Of course given the variance of the game the roll could take a bit of damage quickly, so that would be the worry. But I felt that eventually I should try it.

So today I was doing stuff in preparation for going to Australia on Wednesday, and decided to see if any TD games were running. No 1/2, 2/4 or 3/6... but there was some 10/20 going. I was feeling nice and alert, and hell, a little bit frisky. So why not take a shot?

OK, OK, we know there are a large number of reasons for me not to sit down. But I ignored all of them, sitting down at the table with 1k. And got shelled almost immediately.

I punched on, logging a 4.5 hour session, but by the time the game broke I was sitting at just over $500... meaning I was down almost half my buy-in. My low point, after a seemingly endless streak of being outdrawn and missing my draws, was $200 or so. Here's the thing - I felt I could beat the players there. There was some extremely marginal play being shown, even though I recognised where I was making mistakes in places. I missed a few bets, and paid off a few I shouldn't have. I kept my marginal plays to a minimum, and was able to elicit extra bets, and won hands when I stood my ground instead of breaking my hand as I gained reads on my opponents. In fact, I felt the game was good enough I would have played for even longer if the same players stayed around.

But nonetheless, a loss of $500 is a not-insignificant hole in the roll.

I have been continuing to think about where my poker is going. I find myself playing NLHE tournaments and TD almost exclusively, with decent results until today's attempt to step up in Triple Draw. The amount of poker I play in the near future will probably be minimal due to my trip home, so it will probably be good to step away and think about my game. I do feel that if I am serious about my game that shots at higher limits should be part of my development... I just have to ensure that I do it intelligently, as a calculated risk rather than a rash decision. No guts, no glory, right?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I am in the middle of work crushage, which is not keeping things terribly pleasant. But hey! these things happen.

Despite such burdens I have not been able to stay away from the tables. Monday night I was feeling a bit blah, but then recalled that the new HORSE tables on Stars were going, so I decided to have a tilt. I played 2/4 for over an hour, and ended up down about half a buy-in, mostly due to two hands were both times someone called me down and hit their hands despite my scary exposed cards (uh, my mastery of mixed games jargon leaves something to be desired). Mind you, I did get lucky in an O8 hand where I thought I was pumping the pot for a probable split but it turned out my over-aggressive opponent had air. I may still play some HORSE in the future, though I may move down to the 1/2 tables until I get properly acclimatised.

Towards the end of my HORSE session I decided to jump on a 2/4 Triple Draw table (of course), though the table quickly broke and I ended up down a bit. A little later, as I began inhaling a bottle of red wine, I joined SoxLover on a 3/6 table. Which turned out to be not such a hot idea as I lost a few big hands, some I should have avoided, but one in particular was galling. A fishy player decided that my bet on the end was worth calling with K high... and he was correct. Erk.

The table broke a little later, and to my dismay I realised that my night's messing around had cost me in the realm of $150, which took a chunk out of my hard-won weekend winnings. I was annoyed with myself, as I felt I played when I didn't necessarily feel like playing... and then didn't play well. I knew that I could beat the 1/2 Triple Draw tables, but even taking variance into consideration it seemd I was underpeforming at 2/4 and 3/6, with too many sessions where I seemed to lose more than I should. I was also aware that with my Aussie trip looming I may not have too many opportunites to play some cards, but given my performance maybe it was time to pack it away for the duration.

Yesterday I got killed at work, figuratively and almost literally. I managed to flee the premises in time to catch the last 5 minutes of footy training, which meant I was just in time to join the boys in going to the bar. I travelled there in style, jammed into the back of a tiny restored Austin convertible, flying through the streets of Washington, DC. At the bar I consumed a bunch of 10 cent wings, many Yuenglings, and even managed a dial-a-shot to AlCantHang before I weaved my way back to my apartment. It was late, and I hadn't had much sleep the night before. Clearly it was time to have a shower, grab a beer, and play some 3/6 Triple Draw.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. This can't end well.

Surprise! The table was fishalicious, despite a couple of the Triple Draw regulars trying to get in on the action. But I noticed something in my play - something had clicked, and I was able to steer clear of marginal hands that I had found myself previously playing and chasing. I stayed in hands where I had odds, but was able to dump them if I did not improve enough early in the hand. And I was able to abuse people when I made what I felt was the best hand.

I have had similar sessions before - I recall one a couple of weeks back where I seemed to be in the zone, picking off people's bluffs, being able to bluff when I felt people were weak, and breaking hands that needed to be broken. That didn't mean that that session resulted in a win (breaking a hand correctly doesn't necessarily mean you win the hand, for instance), but it felt good to have such a good read of the table.

Last night was a different story, results-wise. In about two hours I ended up $290, plus bonus worked off, plus rakeback. The only reason I stopped was because it finally got down to three-handed, with the latest chip-leakers not being replaced by other people keen to donate... and one of the remaining players was one of the solid regulars (who was down).

It was also 2am, and I was smashed.

This all paid off wonderfully when I was called just after 5am for a work issue - and I am not even on call at the moment, I just happened to be the sucker that answered their phone. 2.5 hours later I was able to return to my bed to catch some sleep, but on the back of Monday I am not exactly firing on all cylinders. And I am still getting killed at work. And I have loose plans to catch up with one of my ex's for a drink.


All this probably means that come 1am tonight I'll be squinting drunkenly at a Triple Draw table, trying to work out if I am being snowed, while taking a swig from a beer.

Sure hope I'm winning.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Monday Morning Pit Boss

Hallelujah! I have internet access and cable again! I was able to duck out of work early on Friday to ensure I was home for the "4pm to 7pm" Comcast slot... and the techie arrived 30 seconds after I got home. And reconnected my incorrectly disconnected cable within 5 minutes.


What's a man supposed to do once he has internet action restored after a one week absence? Play a bunch of poker, that's what. Here's a breakdown of my weekend:

  • To celebrate my internet connection being restored, I join Weak_player in the $11 Rebuy tournament on Stars, kicking off at 5pm. At the beginning of the 3rd hour I have the robust 2250 chips, giving me an M of less than 2. In 40 minutes I work this up to 16k, and am feeling good as there are 300 left out of the original 1100, with 99 getting paid. And that's when I get my AK pre-flop raise and continuation bet called by the table big stack (32k or so). The turn gives me a K, but I get check-raised all-in. I am pot-committed so call... and the big stack rolls over 22(!). Guess what the river is? Yes, I owe you a dollar. Well played sir.
  • Being eliminated at an important juncture in a tournament with a large prize pool, while a 95% fave, plus my lingering flu, leaves me unmotivated for more poker. I watch "Half Baked" and get hit by intense fatigue. I decide to turn in early. It is 10:30pm.
  • I can't recall the last time I went to bed at 10:30pm on a Friday.
  • Saturday I am up early to play Aussie Rules football. I inform everyone that I am still under the weather, so I need to be lazy. They put me up forward and I proceed to kick 4 goals.
  • After the game we head to the bar for food and drink. I do not drink any alcohol.
  • I can't recall the last time I went to a bar after footy and did not drink.
  • Home, shower, and then some Triple Draw. I post a good win at 1/2.
  • Nap time! Seriously, naps are the bee's knees.
  • More Triple Draw. I post a loss at 2/4.
  • At midnight I go and meet some friends of mine at a place near my joint called The Brickskeller, famous for having an insane number of beers. I consume beers from Australia, Russia, Belgium, England, and Germany. The last beer I consume, EKU 28, is 11% alcohol.
  • At 3am I make it home. Time for 3/6 Triple Draw!
  • I take an absolute pounding in Triple Draw. Despite being down a bunch I am too stupid/stubborn/drunk to leave the table. Somehow I manage to fight back. Finishing in the black(just): $12. Fighting back from being down $150: Priceless. Well OK, not priceless: $150.
  • I hang up Triple Draw and join Ryan and Joe Speaker on a 0.25/0.50 Razz table. I manage to drag a $9 pot.
  • Speaker and I agree to a $50 bet on the English Premiership finish: I am giving the Reds 5 points. I like my Blues' chances of winning me money.
  • I finally go to bed at 5am on Sunday morning.
  • I then proceed to wake up, for some stupid reason, at 10:15am. This gives me plenty of time to decide if I am actually awake enough to get up or not, so I can play the 11:30am satellite to the Stars 1M Guaranteed.
  • People, I have said this before, but I heart the Sunday 11:30am satellite. SoxLover was unfortunate enough to have his KK cracked by Q8 (!), but I managed to get right to the bubble. I was right on the edge of elimination, but figured that I should be able to slide into the $$$ as a couple of short stacks would not be able to make the big blind, and should get called down by everyone. Case in point: a short stack is all-in in the BB on one table... which proceeds to fold around to the SB, who calls... and the BB triples up. I am swearing at the collection of morons who do not know what the hell they are doing, and realise I need to double up. UTG (when I will be all-in on the BB next hand) I decide to push with JTo, hoping that a) people are retarded and won't call my bet, and b) if I do, I am live. I get called in only two places(!), and the board comes all clubs. I have the Jack of clubs and quadruple up. I cash.
  • My rakeback crew then have a free-roll on at Interpoker. The tournament is short-handed (6 max) for some reason, and the blinds escalate wildly - both things are not good signs for me. Despite this I go for the gusto and manage to final table the tournament (78 started). During the tournament I saw 7 or so Ax versus Ax confrontations, and in every single one of them either the smaller Ace won or it was a split pot. This counts my bustout hand, when AJ s00ted beat my AQ s00ted. 6th of 78 nets me $50 free dollars.
  • I then take a break, and actually leave my apartment. I know, shocking.
  • The outside world is scary, and I retreat to a bar to have a beer at one point.
  • But I eventually return, and play some 1/2 Triple Draw. The table is fishtastic, with three confirmed fish willing to donate. I stay on for a long session, booking a decent win. Triple Draw being what it is one of the biggest fish manages to be a big winner.
  • Sunday11:30pm: I pass out, amazed that I was able to keep functioning for that long on 5 hours of drunken sleep.
So that was my weekend! Some people say that I play too much poker, but those people are obviously crazy.

* * * * * *

I missed the Sports Guy's write-up of his WSOP adventures when it was first posted, butI can't say I was very impressed when I got around to it (though obviously my expectations were low). Mean Gene continued his series of critiques with another nice takedown of Simmons. Check it out.

* * * * * *

A good friend of mine is also a co-worker, and was speaking to one of the manager's in our group (who is a great guy) on Friday night. The manager was about to play some poker with his buddies, and All-star (my mate) outed me as a poker player. This morning the manager (let's call him C) came around to my cube to chat about cards. I was initially reticent to talk much, but C is a great guy, and clearly only starting to come to grips with the game. We had a little chat, and he asked if I had any books that he could recommend for him. He has picked up HoH, which I said was a good one (though he and his buddies play mostly cash). I will probably lend him Sklansky's Texas Hold'em as it is a good introduction to hand rankings, position, pot odds etc., and Phil Gordon's Little Green Book. I am currently reading doubleas book, so I might pass that onto him as well once I am done - or better yet, get C to purchase it himself.

I am mixed about being "outed" at work. I don't know if C will tell anyone else, but I am pretty happy not being known as a poker player at work. Anyone else had much experience with it?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Things to Do in DC When You're Dead

Or, alternatively, what am I doing with my time now that I am sans internet connection and television?

Normally this would be a no-brainer. Clearly I would be out getting sauced every night at various houses of ill-repute. But as I am just coming off a bout with the flu this has been "somewhat" taken off the table (I say "somewhat" because I did hit a bar on the way home last night, if only to give a dial-a-shot to Donkeypuncher and the Bracelet).

So what else is there?

Fortunately, being a top class nerd, I had recently received my copy of the expansion pack for Civilization IV, which allowed me to spend some time grinding the world under my jackboot. But even I can't play that full-time when I am at home. I'm sad, but not that sad.

So what does that leave me? DVDs. I am potentially the worst (or best, depending on how you look at it) NetFlix customer of all time. This is not an idle boast. The DVD I watched on Tuesday night I had at my apartment for approximately 18 months. I am not making this up. Yes, I know I could cancel my subscription. Or something, anything. It's like I am donating to them for having such a great business plan.

But I really have been meaning to watch more movies, as I know I have let too many slide past for too long. And the movie I watched on Tuesday night, which I had been meaning to see for the last six years, let alone the 18 months I have had the DVD in my apartment, was awesome.

Anyone else seen "Requiem for a Dream"? Just unbelievable. Took my head off. Extremely, extremely intense. Yes, these meaning-free sentence fragments are almost the only way I can describe the film. I have seldom watched a movie that has been so infused with the sense of impending doom, yet I was unable to look away - even as I felt the urge to cover my eyes with my hands. Yes, it was awesome. But I'm not sure if I want to watch it again, if that makes sense.

Interestingly the director Darren Aronofsky's previous effort, "Pi", I also found extremely powerful. I remember seeing that in the theatre when I had just moved across the country for my first job out of school. At the time I was feeling lonely, and a bit depressed, which is pretty much exactly the state of mind not to be in when you see that film. I think I drank for three weeks straight after that.

Nonetheless, if you think you can handle it, I urge you to see them both. And hey, if you're not sure, pick a nice sunny Sunday morning to watch them.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Out of Action

If you were wondering about the lack of activity from me recently, it's all due to a company (to paraphrase Joe Speaker) that shall go nameless, but rhymes with "Comcast". Last Friday evening I lost my cable and internet service, rather abruptly. Despite my attempts to remedy the situation, and calls to the Comcast helpdesk, no dice. So I scheduled an appointment for a technician to come around and have a look. The 9am to noon slot on Tuesday (today) was the earliest I could get, and I figured it would be best. After all, once I was sorted out I could work from home - and even if the techie got waylaid at someone else's I had less chance of getting bumped altogether.

At least, that was the theory. Today, after many calls, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth I was informed that the technician's truck had broken down and that they wouldn't be able to look at my problem today.

They informed me of this at 4pm. After many "he'll be there in an hour" type excuses.

Don't get me wrong - they offered me 30 days free service as recompense. But I had to reshedule my appointment, and I don't really want to trash another day at work. I settled for Friday evening, so I can duck out of work early and begin drinking heavily. The drinking should take the edge off of my anger if and when the techie doesn't appear. Maybe.


* * * * * *

I have been remiss in not mentioning the auction item of a lifetime For Peyton. That's right, it's possible for you to bid for DonkeyPuncher and Bobby Bracelet to crash your home game. Or just do Soco shots until you pass out. Or have DonkeyPuncher instruct you on the finer points of waxing.

Bid here. There is only just over a day left! You're not afraid of trying to beat my bids, are you?! GO GO GO GO GO

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quick Addendum

I didn't want to bump the "For Peyton" post off the top of my blog (see the next post down, ya maroons!), but I couldn't resist this. I was reading one of the articles that Iggy linked to in his latest uberpost, and came across something I found quite amusing. It seems that Bob Stupak once offered Todd Brunson $10,000 to date his daughter.

I don't know where to go with this. So I'm just going to let it lie here for a while.

* * * * * *

Looks like post-work drinks are off. So I'll just have to get drunk at home instead.


You may or may not be aware that Bobby Bracelet has got more goodies up For Peyton. This batch features a great selection cool stuff. My personal highlights are a signed Kenna James cowboy hat ( I am the current high bidder - yee haw!) and an autographed Layne Flack Full Tilt jersey plus an autographed photo of the man they call "Back-to-back". There are also other framed autographed photos of some of your favourite poker players: Daniel Negreanu, TJ Cloutier, Antonio Esfandiari (who appears to be quite the accomplished cash game player from what I have seen on High Stakes Poker), Carlos Mortensen, Erick Lindgren, Michael Gracz, and everyone's favourite foot-fetishist David Williams. And if you have missed out so far, there is another Card Player package and poker DVD package.

Bid early, and bid often.

Poker Pro's Donate Items for Charity Auction

* * * * * *

Last night I played a lot of Triple Draw. I think I am starting to become an addict. ("Starting?!", I hear you cry. Shaddup.) Last night I played a fair whack of 3/6 Triple Draw, which had it's ups and downs. The skill levels between various players can be huge, and pigeon-holing your opponents is of paramount importance. Even so, things can get messy when one of the better players gets hit in the face with the deck... I watched one guy win 5 or 6 straight hands for a nice $200 or so run. Please notice that I am not displaying bitterness over being one of the donators when I check-raised on the end with what happened to be the second best hand. Exactly.

It's true that I can't really complain; my first session I ended down a couple of BB which I probably made back on worked off bonus and rakeback. The second session was more swingy, and I was nicely stuck at one point. The beautiful thing is that sometimes all it takes is one hand to get you back, and so it was with me when I made the best hand possible (23457 in 2-7 Triple Draw) with multiple people in the hand, taking down a pot worth $110 or so. Mind you, I was so stuck that that didn't quite get me into the black.

I continued to play even when the Mookie started, much to my detriment in the tournament. I have discovered that it appears I suck at tournaments when I am multi-tabling, and last night was no exception... a quick flame-out was on the books. I find it interesting, as it appears that I can single table tournaments fine if I am distracted with chat or TV, but if I am doing something else that takes concentration (for example, playing another table of poker) I suck completely.

By that stage I was being heckled by a particular princess to join a lower limit Triple Draw table, so after I dragged a pot that finally made me unstuck (and then some) I left to fling some less-serious chips about.

Going from 3/6 to 0.25/0.50 was a little of a shock to the system. These people were bad. So Maigrey and I set about having fun. Drizz got word and wanted to play, demanding that we bust one of the peeps on the table. This took longer than expected as the first guy we busted insisted on rebuying, but eventually we had a semblance of a blogger Triple Draw table going.

Finally, just after midnight, we finished up. I had taken down about $12 or so, but it was Maigrey who was the big winner, more than doubling up her $25. Taking $40 or so off a 0.25/0.50 table in 90 mins or so is a pretty decent effort.

I don't expect to be playing too much tonight, as I have a post-work happy hour to go to, happily within crawling distance of my apartment. Of course this probably means that I will be logging on drunk and gambly later in the evening, but that's a threat, not a promise.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Return to the Scene of a Crime

(OK, there was no crime, I just decided that was going to be my post's title. So there.)

I have probably mentioned that I have had my Aussie Rules footy training moved from Wednesday to Tuesday nights, neatly preventing me from being able to play the WWdN. This is not necessarily because training goes too late to prevent me from getting home and playing, more the drinking at a bar afterwards gets in the way of me playing. Those familiar with how I set my priorities understand that the WWdN suffers in comparison.

Last night, due to spotty attendance and even spottier enthusiasm for a bar outing post-training, I actually found myself back at Chez Garthmeister J. with plenty of time to sign up for the WWdN. Not to mention time to stock up on beer, since my reserves were seriously depleted from the weekend for some reason.

It had been a long time since i had played a WWdN, so it was good to see some familiar faces at my starting table, including Falstaff and Aquaverse. Aquaverse will always have a special place in my heart (and I a special place in his nightmares) for potentially the greatest Hammer I will ever play.

To be honest I wasn't really paying attention too closely, as I was watching WSOP coverage and chatting. I got paid off like a slot machine when my KK picked off JJ and a KT s00ted who had hit the flop. With a few plays to ensure the blinds didn't eat me away, I was looking good to make the final table and the $$$. With about 14 left Astin (a short stack) pushed all in. It folded around to me in the BB. Given the discount it was going to cost me 900 or so more to try and win about 1300. I had wired 4s... but I just felt Astin only had overs. His potential range has to include pocket pairs, but I decided to call anyway. Overs it was, but the board produced a higher two pair that conterfeited my 4s, and all of a sudden I was in trouble.

By this time I had long since stopped being distracted by watching the WSOP and had begun being distracted by The Contender (yes, I have become an addict - it's the show that is on ESPN, my default channel, when I get home from footy training).

I pushed a couple of times when I had to, though I resorted mostly to being patient, feeling I wasn't in too much trouble. Without much fanfare I managed to slip into the final table as the short stack. Once there I stayed mostly out of trouble, though I did lay down AQo when a short-stacked Jules made a standard raise in EP. Probably a weak fold, as if I pushed over the top she may have folded or at least be in a raise, but the raise looked scary to me.

As the odd person was eliminated I was unable to get paid off for my monsters. KK only got a little, and everyone folded to my AK. Suddenly there were only 5 of us left, and I was the tiny stack. I finally got to see a flop for free from the BB with two diamonds in my hand. When the flop also had two diamonds I felt it was time to get in. Kaellin raised from the SB, I pushed all-in, and he called. Unfortunately he had paired his K on the flop... and even worse he had the King of diamonds with the Jack of diamonds. Very few outs (running outs at that), and I was done in 5th.

All in all, a nice return to the WWdN, though I am doubtful of how often I will be able play it in the future.

After the WWdN I played some of my beloved Triple Draw on UB, picking up a few bucks. It was a nice little return for the evening, especially considered I had a brain explosion while playing NLHE cash on Monday night which cost me quite a bit. NLHE cash games and I are not currently speaking, though I don't know if it will develop into a prolonged separation or if we will kiss and make up.

* * * * * * *

You may have noticed that I have thrown up some Amazon links on the sidebar. No, this does not necessarily mean I have become a fully-fledged whore - I am more like an apprentice whore. I actually decided to become an Amazon affiliate after I was reading a website that mentioned that Amazon had this new service which automatically populated the links based on the web page content etc. I am a sucker for that kind of stuff, and so decided to do it just to see what got put up.

It didn't seem to take too long for it to start to become tuned to the blog, as it begain displaying a bunch of poker books. Amusingly it also started showing items related to Giuseppe Verdi, who composed the Opera "Falstaff".... information scraped, no doubt, from my post about doubleas-Vegas.

And that is why I put up the customized Amazon ads. I look forward to seeing what it decides to show me in the future.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Real Life Intervenes

The title says "intervenes", not "interventions", so don't worry that a group of concerned group of friends and family have ambushed me with the agenda of informing me that they think I am playing cards waaaaaaaay too much. Mind you, that might only be because my family are thousands of miles away and that I have ensured that "friends" won't appear by studiously avoiding striking up friendships so I can concentrate on the virtual felt... so all in all it's a win/win.

You might be wondering if I played the Stars 1 Million Guaranteed on Sunday (though you also might not be). The answer, in short, is: no, I did not. Real Life got in the way, ensuring that not only did I not play my favourite Sunday morning satellite, but that I did not get a chance to play with the big boys. I'm taking a rain cheque, and hope to be able to have a run at the tournament some time in the future.

I did get to play some poker this weekend, however. On Friday night, after coming home wasted in the early am, I finally had a nice little run in Triple Draw before crashing hard. On Saturday night I played a few tournaments - a spectacular crash and burn in a $10 single rebuy tournament, and a marathon effort in a retardo sized $10 freezeout. I managed to finish in 28th of 1200+, which (thanks to the 20% payout structure) was good enough for just below minimum wage for time spent. But it was a lot of fun. I also busted myself out of Paradise trying to earn enough for a buy-in+rebuy+add-on for their 11pm Lemur Spectacular... so I guess I don't have to worry about that site unless something strange occurs.

Last night, once Real Life had finished poking her nose into my business, I played another couple of tournaments. Once again I had a spectacular flameout in a retardo sized $10 tourney, in which SoxLover and Weak_player went deep, but it was Kaellin's night as he finished in 8th of the 1700+ runners... and the not-20% structure gave him a nice payout.

I also had a deep run in a 180, but managed to push into a monster when it was pushing time. I might have been able to slip into the money and then try and bust some moves once past the bubble, but I decided that I wanted to try and build a stack there and then... and KQ s00ted looked fine to me. It did not look so fine when the BB woke up with AA. I hate when that happens.

That 180 was the 50th that I have played. As it was my 50th, I felt it was probably time to have a closer look at my stats (conveniently located on my sidebar). Though I have cooled off in these a little as of late, they still look good. I have invested $1100 for a total profit of $1586.68, an ROI of 144%. I am cashing about 1/4 of the time, and final tabling about 1 in 7 attempts. I have only the one win (though I don't know if I am allowed to use words like "only"), though I have also taken a 2nd and a 3rd. In other words, my numbers are still pretty sick in these, even though the lion's share of my winnings in these have come from the 3 top 3 finishes... which is not unexpected.

Looking at my online bankroll I can attribute almost my entire profit to these 180s, which means I have been about break-even in everything else I have played. Of course that's a gross generalisation, but it does reinforce the points I made earlier about considering myself a better performer in tournaments versus cash games.

If nothing else, it looks like I should keep plying my trade in those mid-limit tournaments and satellites (on Stars especially - I <3 their structure). Though I'll probably keep mixing in a little HORSE and Triple Draw. You know, just to keep it fresh. Word.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I'm not going to lie to you people out there in blogger-land: I have multiple email addresses. As has also been previously established, I am a Master Procrastinator. When these powers combine it is possible for me to totally miss emails that I really would have liked to have read... if I had gotten off my ass to actually look and see what is there.

That's how I almost missed an email from the inestimable doubleas, who was having a home game that neatly coincided with Falstaff being in the DC Metro area. Never being one to let logistics or good sense get in the way of gambling I immediately set off for doubleas-Vegas to see what I could see. I arrived fashionably late, which allowed me to do my best Hellmuth impersonation. To be honest I had no idea what to expect... I was wondering if I was about to swim right into a shark pool.

doubleas' mates were a good bunch, and immediately let myself and Falstaff feel welcome. They also did not seem to mind when we both made the final four of the first tournament (top 3 paid). I was sitting pretty, right up untilt he point I bet aggressively into the monster stack's flopped set (this is an advanced play). I then managed to survive going all-in with Falstaff, when his AA was unable to defeat my KJo - board came down KTQJA. Live poker is rigged! It wasn't too long after that effort that I decided that pushing with my pocket 4s seemed a sensible idea, but the monster stack was happy to enter a race... which I lost. Yay for being the Bubble Boy!

I then entered the cash Dealer's Choice game upstairs, where we played some Badugi, PLO8, French Hold'em (a split pot game, with two boards being dealt simulataneously) and Screw Your Neighbour. I had played Badugi once before (while drunk at SoxLover's place), but for the life of me could not remember how to play it. This did not prevent me from taking down a monster Badugi pot, good for (maybe) $5+... not bad in a $0.10/0.20 game.

Soon enough the first tournament ended, with Falstaff defeating the monster stack. We immediately set about the second tournament. I got involved with doubleas in a hand when I noticed that he hadn't looked at his cards pre-flop (though he noticed me noticing). As the flop came out I put my hand over my face, so I couldn't see the flop. He checked to me, I went all-in, and he folded. I decided to show my KK anyway.

I then busted another guy when I was dealt AA in the BB, EP raiser, LP re-raiser. I pushed, EP called, LP folded the hammer face-up. Despite getting such horrible cards I eventually managed to make it to HU play, where given the time of the night and the fact that my opponent had roughly equal number of chips we decided to chop. A fine ending to a fine poker evening.

Falstaff was staying in Arlington, so I caught a ride back with him towards DC. Based upon Falstaff's rough description of where he was staying I attempted guide us to his hotel. This was no mean feat considering that a) I have never driven in the USA, b) I have no direction sense, and c) I am pretty shaky outside DC proper... and DC has a grid road system. But despite all the obstacles in my way my luck continued to hold, and I was able to see Falstaff off safely. I just hope he's enjoying the 7 hour drive home.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Whither the Sports Guy?

If you were wondering about how Bill Simmons, aka the Sports Guy, went in the WSOP, apparently you are not alone. At least if I can judge by people coming to my blog via search engines (hitting this entry here), that is. I had kept an eye out for any mention of him in WSOP Main Event coverage, but hadn't read anything. This was mildly interesting, as he isn't exactly an unknown (and people should know what he looks like) - I was kinda sorta wondering if the Worlwide Leader has instituted a press gag to ensure he would write about his effort first. At any rate, I came across a post on Deadspin that mentioned as a throwaway that he busted on the first day (source being an ESPN chat (I am assuming one of the WSOP chats, though I am not sure which one)). So now you know.

Of course his run in the WSOP somehow be turned into a 5000+ word multiple-article run on Page 2. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

And in case you missed it the first time, go check out Mean Gene's original commentary on the matter. Crush.

UPDATE: I actually managed to find the chat which mentioned the Sports Guy. And guess what? Apparently he busted early on his first day. Of course without knowing the details, who knows... but I'm definitely curious as to how he went out. But no wonder he found the time to pound out thousands of words comparing Ortiz to Larry Bird for today's Page 2...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Sunday Morning Routine

It sounds strange, but one of my favourite regular tournaments kicks off at 11:30am EST every Sunday. An unlikely time, to be sure, particularly when the odds dictate that I am probably hungover and/or sleep deprived. Even stranger, this is not a tournament with a large guaranteed payout. Nor is it a crazy rebuy tournament featuring donkeys and lemurs beyond count.

Actually, it's a satellite. You read that correctly.

At 11:30am EST every Sunday, PokerStars features a satellite into the 1 Million Guaranteed tournament that is to be played later that day. It comes in two varieties, depending on whether the Guaranteed tournament is a 200+15 or 500+30. If it's 200+15 the buy in is usually 35+3 and 1 in 6 get seats, while if the buyin for the big tournament is 500+30 the cost of the satellite is 53+5 and 1 in 10 get seats.

Why do I like this tournament? First of all, I like tournaments with a flat structure, as I feel they suit my style... and you don't get much flatter than a satellite. Second of all, despite the fact that "cashing" gives me a buyin to another tournament, PokerStars lets you unregister and keep the buyin as "tournament dollars", good for use as buyins for any other tournaments... tournaments such as WWdNs (when I could actually play them), Mookies, and 180 SnGs. Handy. Thirdly, I truly believe that not only am I a better tournament player than the majority of people in the satellite, but that I have a much better grip on satellite strategy than others. You know, those people who are prepared to go all-in with a decent-sized stack against another decent-sized stack, despite the fact that there are only a few eliminations to go before cashing.

Last Sunday, as per normal, I registered for the satellite(this week a 53+5), changed my IM status accordingly, and pottered about the house. Normally Ido a few chores to clean up the results of my Saturday night, maybe put on some coffee... you know, the usual. I came back to my laptop just before kick-off, noting that SoxLover had also thrown his hat into the ring (Weak_player is often another satellite companion). And we were away.

I'm not going to bore you with too many details: just let me say that I doubled up early, while Sox turned into a card rack and extracted maximum value. As there were 360+ people entered in the satellite it was a marathon, not a sprint... but when it was all said and done I not only played well, but got fantastically lucky on three separate occasions when I needed it. That, plus a little mismanagement by others, was enough to see SoxLover and myself through.

Just in case you needed an example of people misplaying, here's one. When we were down to one elimination required before we won seats (the person eliminated would get some cash in lieu of a seat), there was a micro-stack in the small blind who would be all-in if he completed (though he would be anted out before hitting the blinds again). As we were in hand-by-hand, it was possible to keep an eye on all the tables remaining. The micro-stack was busy squealing about what to do, while on another table someone else went all-in, was called, and then eliminated. Which meant all the micro-stack had to do to grab a seat was fold. Of course, he calls. And then busts. Ensuring that he misses out on a seat.

Cha-ching! That's a way to get your Sunday started right.

Though I have cashed in 35+3 satellites before, I had never done so in a 53+5. I had recently decided that if I ever cashed in a 53+5 that I would buy myself into a 200+15 with some of the tournament dollars.. and it appears that this Sunday's 1 Million Guaranteed tournament is a 200+15. So unless something changes I am planning on playing it. If I do end up doing so I'm looking forward to it, if for no other reason than it's the biggest buyin tournament I have played for quite a while. Not to mention the fact that I like deep stacks.

And if I do end up playing the 1 Million Guaranteed this Sunday, you had better believe I am playing the 11:30am satellite as well. Count on it.