Friday, April 28, 2006

Something Abusive About QQ

Last night I "accidentally" ended up going out for a few beers with a couple of friends of mine. Just a quick one, right? So, I rolled back into my house about 10pm, natch. This, of course, is an optimal state of mind to be in to play poker.

I recently reloaded on Full Tilt to take advantage of their 50% reload bonus. I may end up playing a few tournaments (including their "race for bracelets" tourneys), but my main objective is to exercise my NL cash game. I don't believe my cash game is anywhere near as strong as my tournament game, and it is something I'd like to work on.

So, last night I jumped onto the NL tables to begin my assault. And assault it was. In my short session I managed to run QQ into AA twice; one was against a short stack where I made the right play, he just had a bigger hand, no biggie. The second time I ran Qs into slowplayed Aces, with a Jc-10c-x board. For those of you with long memories this is extremely similar to the situation where I got stacked in AC. Pre-flop I raised it up to 3xBB from EP, and got two callers. Flop is as described above, I raise the pot, get called by the first pre-flop caller, and then re-raised slightly over the size of the pot by the second pre-flop caller. In retrospect think I can probably fold here - I am only ahead of hands like AJ or A10, and it really looks like he is protecting a set, or an overpair. Naturally I push, first caller folds, and then the re-raiser takes a long time to think, before calling. AA is goot. Whups!

Anyway, here is my new and improved plan to rehabilitate my NL cash game:

1) Get PokerAcesHUD (finally)
2) Play $50 NL on Full Tilt
3) Only play one table at a time
4) Try not to suck

Other suggestions will be taken on board.

I won't be playing NL cash games exclusively by any stretch, I just want to mix some into my normal tournament schedule (not to mention my short term goal of improving my non-existent stud game for Sunday's WPBT-POY tourney). I may also lean on some of my more seasoned cash game colleagues for a little coaching. The only way is up, baby!

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After my NL shellacking last night I joined the "WWdN: Not" with 17 other people - apparently a major attendance increase from last week. Besides the usual suspects we had Joe Speaker and Wil Wheaton show up. I had a good time chatting and picking up pots early as we slowly eased people out of the running. I ended up going deep, but I couldn't crack the cash as I ended up going out as the Bubble Boy. *sigh* I hate it when that happens, but there were just too many outs to dodge.

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Not sure how much poker I'll be playing this weekend. I have rough plans to have drinks with a friend tonight; my footy club is having a "Girl's Night Out", so all the girlfriends and partners can hit the town and complain about their Significan Other's... the friend in question has been saddled with babysitting, so being the Good Samaritan I am I may end up keeping him company.

Tomorrow I have to work all day, starting at 9am and going until 7pm or later, probably. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee! Other than that I am (currently) free, so you should be able to find me on the tables somewhere. If you dare.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mookie Misses and Fractured Fingers

Wednesday nights I have footy training, when I get to run around and do something very Australian on the National Mall. Quite surreal really... kick a ball, "hey there's the Capitol building", catch a ball, "hey there's the Washington Monument."

I was one of the people advocating training Wednesday nights, freeing up Tuesday nights for WWdN action. Mookie's tournament runs on Wednesday night, though at 10pm local time I can usually make it. Last night I happened to get home a few minutes late, and so I had the brilliant idea of pre-registering for the tournament - a great thought to have a day late. But I'll look at doing it for next week. If I remember.

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Typing is a little strange for me today. I managed to break my right little finger (it seems) at footy training last night. Since I have a crazy typing style it's not so bad, though I do use it for hitting the enter key. Co-workers who have seen the finger keep asking if I am going to see someone for it - I don't see the point really. It's only the little finger, and it's kind of straight. I have some mobility with it, so it should be good. I just will probably tape it to my right ring finger during games.

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I just noticed that the next WPBT-POY event is this Sunday... and it's 7 card Stud. Let me put it this way: I think I have more experience with Razz than I do with Stud. Looks like it's time to dip into Super System and play a few sessions as a warm up. Does anyone have any good resources or links to help me get up to speed quick-like?

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

2 x 180 = 0

First of all, thanks to everyone who commented on my last post. Always interesting to get other people's opinions on a hand, and I definitely appreciate the feedback.

Last night, given the lack of a WWdN tournament, there was only one option. It's 180 time baby! Yes, I am serious about returning my attention to this tournament, a definite favourite of mine. Early in the evening I jumped onto Stars, jumped into a tournament, and had Kat and Weak along for the ride.

And what a ride it was. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that it was one of the crazier 180s I have played. First hand there were three people all-in. Second hand there were two people all-in. Aiiyah! I battened the hatches down tight, and managed to double through some lemur who insisted on betting into my flopped set with nothing but overs. Nice!

Unfortunately Kat and Weak bowed out early. I watched Weak miss every draw possible to go down to a pair of Jacks. Overs? Check. Flush draw? Check. Gutshot? Check. Busted? Check.

Despite playing nary a hand to the first break, I was still just under par. After the first hour there were 69 people left, a record low for a 180 I have been in. After the resumption I continued to play tight, but continued getting cold-decked. Well into the second hour my "flops seen percentage" was as low as 8%.... eeks! My stack size decreed that I had to begin making moves, and as I did. With about 30-odd people left, my stack was still tiny, and I needed chips. In the small blind I saw the donkey, K-J. Three limpers into the pot, and I decide to push. A stack in EP pushes to isolate, and I feel ill, though I feel better when he turns over Q-Jo (?!). I feel worse when the flop comes J-Q-x. No K for me, and I am done.

Not to be put off by this unfortunate turn of events I gird my loins and leap into the fray once more, this time with Weak and SoxLover in tow. Early on a baby flop gets SoxLover to run his pocket 10s into a maniac who turns out to have pocket Ks. Weak also managed to get violated again when he got all his chips in with two pair versus TP K kicker... only to have an Ace on the turn and river counterfeit him.

I again played extremely tight, and manage to get to the break above my starting stack but still under par. SoxLover has noticed that Wil is playing the same tournament, so I go and say "Hi", thus ensuring my Tuesday Wheaton quota is fulfilled.

After the break I get a little frisky when someone min-raises my 8-8... I push and get called by A-K s00ted. A K on the flop is nasty, but I nail an 8 on the river. That's why they're coinflips.

Fold fold fold fold fold fold... until I pick up AA. I raise from EP, everyone folds. Too bad. Fold fold fold fold fold... until I pick up AA again when I am in the BB. UTG raises it up a healthy amount. I'm at about half par, and decide to try my new move of re-raising all-in when holding this kind of hand. UTG calls, registers his dismay upon seeing my AA vs his KK... and a K promptly hits on the flop. No joy for me, and I am done.

I can't be too dismayed here. I played extremely tight, and though the cold-decking wasn't helpful (especially in the first tournament) I got all my chips in when I was way ahead. A little annoying since in both cases I would have ended up with a healthy stack as we approached the bubble, but that's how it goes. Next time, right?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Going to War with Kournikova in a Short Skirt

As most of you know, last night was DADI 5, a WSOP satellite event. $28+2 entry, and a $1500 entry to a WSOP event for every 54 people entered. 78 people eventually entered, which meant 8 people got paid; $1500 for first, $100 for the next 6 and $80 (and change) for 8th... not to mention the various bounties up for grabs.

The event at PokerStars had double the normal starting stack (3k), and slightly longer levels of 20 minutes. I was pretty happy with that structure as I believe the deeper stacks and longer levels favour my style of play. Naturally I managed to bust in 76th of 78.

"How did that happen?" I hear you ask. I'm glad you did, because I'm going to tell you. I discussed the hand afterwards with SoxLover, but would also like to hear other people's opinions. I am also hoping I got most of the hand details correct.

First level of the tournament, 10/20 blinds. I'm in MP. With two limpers ahead of me I look down and see KQ of diamonds (or as I like to call it, Kournikova in a short skirt). Ooh, pretty! I decide to bump it to 5xBB. It's folded around to StB, the second limper, who calls.

At that point my network dropped out. Yay! I reconnect and see that the flop was Qh-Jd-3d. I really like this flop. StB has checked to me, and I bet out the pot, 250. StB re-raises to 750. My Spidey Sense tingles, and I am worried he has a set. I think for a little while, before deciding to push. StB calls and flips over a set of 3s. I curse, and hope a diamond shows up. No such luck, and in fact a Q falls making StB a full house. My tournament is done.

Here are some of my thoughts:

- I'm not folding KQ s00ted pre-flop there, though I could have just limped. I don't have a big problem with my raise.

- I hit the flop just about as hard as I would have liked.

- StB checked to me, which could have meant that a) he missed the flop and is planning to fold to a raise or will try and take the pot away from me later, b) he would like to see another card as cheaply as possible, or c) he hit the flop and is pretty sure I either didn't hit it as hard as he did, or that I am going to make a continuation bet, which he can either call or raise.

- I could have checked and seen another card on the turn, but with my hand I wanted to get more chips in the pot. If the bet took the pot down there I am fine with that.

- I interpreted StB's re-raise to mean either a) he had hit a monster b) he thought I might be trying to buy the pot with my action pre and post flop and wanted to see where he was at in the hand, or c) he was trying to buy the pot himself.

- Given StB's raise I felt I either had to raise or fold. I didn't feel that calling was an option. If I called and a diamond didn't hit I was probably going to face a big bet on the turn; I wanted to see both cards.

- On one hand it's still early in the tournament, I haven't committed too many chips, and one of the things I enjoy about these tournaments is playing against the competition. I can lay this hand down.

- On the other hand, I have a strong hand with a monster redraw. By raising (including pushing) I am putting maximum pressure on StB. And even if he calls me and is ahead on the flop I have a lot of outs... and this is a top heavy tournament payout structure. Gambling early is not necessarily a bad ploy.

So tell me... do you like my play? If so, why? If not, why not?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Monday Morning Pit Boss

I actually managed to squeeze in some poker after arriving back in DC after my North Carolina Aussie Rules Odyssey... but since I'm lazy I'm going to describe it all with a series of number-related factoids.

Number of times I slipped in the mud pit we were playing on: 23,451
Number of goals I kicked: 0
Number of extremely talented Australians temporarily playing for North Carolina: 2
Number of points we were beaten by: a lot
Number of times I rode a mechanical bull: 2
Number of times I rode a mechanical bull because a girl asked me to: 1
Number of Country & Western songs I heard: uncertain (I think I blacked out at one point)
Number of times I had to share a bed with a guy: 0 (a new football trip record!)
Number of times I shared a bed with anyone: 0 (boooooooooooooo!)
Number of road rules broken: too many to count
Number of hours spent on the road: 13 (approx.)
Number of beers consumed: just pick a really big number

Despite the result of the game, it was an enjoyable trip. I hadn't spent any time in North Carolina before, and I really had a good time. Southern accents rule.

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A couple of quick shout outs to SoxLover and Jules. Sox managed to finish 2nd in a 180 SnG on Stars yesterday, continuing the hot streak that bloggers are having in these lately. Jules also kicked ass in live poker competition, finishing in 5th in the Pot Limit Tag Team Tourney during the Melbourne poker championships.

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I only played a couple of SnGs last night when I got home. Took down 4th in a 20+2 2 table SnG on Stars, and bubbled in a 5+1 I played later. Hey, I still booked a profit, right?

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If you want to melt your brain, go check out Sir Waffle's "100 things". You have been warned.

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I was alerted yesterday by Flux of my amusing rating on Shark Scope, a web site that allows you to search results for particular players on PokerStars and the onGame and Cryptologic networks. If you want to see my stats, search for "garthmeister" on PokerStars, then have a good laugh.

I did notice the site was down when I went to check while writing this blog entry. I can only assume the ridiculousness of my entry crashed the site.

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Just in case you weren't aware, tonight is the latest DADI tournament, with a $1500 WSOP entry fee being awared for every 54 entries, plus a bunch of other prizes. All the details are here. I plan on attending, and hope to see you there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Friday Token Post

Yes! It's the Friday Token Post! A tiny snippet I throw on the blog when I have been busy, and will continue to be so! Now with more exclamation marks!

I've only played a little poker the last couple of days: I finished 13th in the biggest Mookie tournament to date (recap here), which was good fun as always. I also played in a 180 SnG on Stars with Weak. I finished out of the money, though the real person to watch was Hoyazo - he had unwittingly joined the same tournament. He chipped up nicely and was looking in good shape as the bubble approached... before tilting and finishing in 19th. Yes, only 18 pay. Ouch.

I also played some late late night LHE with Waffles after I got home from having a few drinks. A short session at which I broke even... can't complain at all.

I'm off to North Carolina for the weekend to play footy, and will be returning to DC on Sunday to pass out. If I spend much time fully conscious, I'll probably throw a few chips around. Might see you then.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Since I Haven't Played Poker For a Few Hours...

I read Joe Speaker's last post, and it lit a little spark... so this is all his fault if it doesn't pan out. If you're really not interested in hearing me navel-gaze for a few-too-many words feel free to come back tomorrow when I'll probably be talking about how someone managed to issue me with a good junk-kicking in Mookie's tournament.

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In Joe's latest post he mentioned having a run at NaNoWriMo, otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. I believe I read a post recently from the Good Doctor about him doing it as well. What is it? To be honest you would be best served by going to the website and reading about it, but essentially it is about challenging yourself to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in a month (November). Their website lets you have your own account which includes your current word count, message boards where people can bitch and moan, all sorts of goodness. But let me step back for a moment.

Like many others, I enjoy keeping a blog because it lets me write regularly. As anyone who has read a book on creative writing knows, one of the "top tips" for aspiring writers is to try and write every day. This doesn't mean that you need to slap down pages for that Great American Novel 365 days a year, but rather that you are regularly writing something... be that a journal, a diary, or, I don't know, a poker blog.

Once upon a time I fancied myself an aspiring writer, despite what is generally displayed here (that would be quickly churned out gambling reports featuring too many hypens and ellipses). The thing is, not only can it be difficult to ensure you are writing as often as possible, but producing something like a novel is damned hard. The best way to avoid this fact is to, of course, not write. Or only attempt the odd short story or essay.

In 2001 I got wind of NaNoWriMo, and was immediately intrigued. Writing 50,000 words in a month without stressing over each word, each sentence. Just pound it out, and go from there. It sounded like the perfect vehicle for my to test my writing ability, a fantastic way to get myself to really knuckle down and write dammit! I was so excited by the idea that I went out and used a chunk of my meager savings on an out-of-date used laptop that I could lug about the place. I spent the week before November 1st (I had totally bought into the "month of November thing") writing ideas on index cards while sitting by myself in Sydney pubs.

I began writing at 12:01am on the 1st of November. I wrote 15,000 words in three days. I took my laptop with me to work, and wrote during my lunch hour. As soon as I finished at work it became my habit to head down to a local bar, order a beer, bring out the laptop, and tap away. I discovered that while writing furiously it took me about 45 minutes to consume a schooner of Tooheys New, which was about how long it took to listen to a cd. After that time period I would get up, go to the bathroom, change the cd, and order another beer.

The best part about writing in a pub was the reactions of other people. It was blatantly obvious with the way I was attacking the keyboard that I wasn't crafting a spreadsheet for work, and a surprising number of people came up to ask what I was doing. When told that I was writing a novel people's reactions were universally amazingly positive. Even when I informed people that, no, I wasn't published, nor was I expecting to in the near future, that I was doing this as a personal thing, they all expressed how impressed they were and how cool it sounded.

I had also decided early on that if I was going to finish the 50,000 words I was going to embrace my budding alcoholism. When I wrote at home, I drank like a champion. The local bottleshop began to recognise me. I was so pumped about my writing that every now and then when I had drank enough alcohol and was happy with the day's output I would go out and drink at a pub I liked to frequent. I can directly point to NaNoWriMo and say that without it I wouldn't have gone up to a girl on a Tuesday night and uttered the immortal lines: "I saw you here last Friday night. I just finished a chapter, what's your excuse?" Ann Marie and I started dating shortly thereafter.

The writing avalanche just didn't stop. An online friend (yes, I had online friends before poker) who was also doing NaNoWriMo for the first time asked to see some of my writing, said she loved it, and asked to read some more. This only served to feed the beast, and I kept pounding away on my poor laptop. I passed 50,000 words sometime on the 18th of November. I celebrated by having a drink. I finished my tale, all 74,000 words of it, on November 28th.

I can honestly say that I have seldom felt that sense of accomplishment. To be so excited by an idea, embrace it whole-heartedly, and have it bear such fruit was just fantastic. To vomit that many words in a month, while still holding down a full-time job, is tough. I knew going in that to be able to make the deadline was not going to result in a masterpiece... or even something that was in the same zip code. Still, re-reading what I had written in an alcohol fuelled fenzy I was a little surprised at how much I liked it. It needed a lot of work before it was going to be anything truly readable, but I liked the foundation.

I had every intention of revisiting it, giving it an edit, rolling out a second draft. After all, I had put so much work in, enjoyed it so much, I owed it to myself. Right? I studiously put the manuscript away for a few weeks before getting out a pencil and giving it a going over. I then put it down again.

I never really picked it up after that. I still have a hard copy of it somewhere, and I know I have it in digital form, but I really haven't looked at it seriously since then. I emailed it to a friend of mine who once showed interest... but that's really it.

The next November, while Ann Marie (who was still my girlfriend) was travelling, I had another tilt at NaNoWriMo. This time I decided upon a setting and style that just didn't feel right. Instead of the words issuing forth in an unstoppable torrent I had to wring them out, drop by drop. But damned if I wasn't going to finish, and I managed to stagger to the finish line just before the deadline, knowing that what I had just devoted a month to was probably destined for the trash. Even so, the feeling of accomplishment was there, if not reaching the euphoric heights of the previous year. In retrospect that shouldn't have been surprising; even if I had matched the output of the previous year, there is no way I could imagine the second time being as sweet as the first.

Since then I haven't really done much writing on that scale. In July 2003 I began a month-long holiday to London and Ireland (where I would travel the country with the lovely Ann Marie) immediately prior to my leaving Australia for the US. I figured that it was a really good idea for me to start keeping a diary. After all, if you don't record your thoughts and experiences while travelling around a country with an ex-girlfriend before moving countries, when are you ever going to? I managed to keep my diary for almost a year before it fizzled out. I picked it up again for my trip to Paris, but I only kept writing for the duration of the trip.

I didn't try and three-peat with NaNoWriMo in 2003, giving myself the excuse that I was still acclimating to my new life in the US. In 2004 I don't think it even registered with me. Last year an old friend of mine in Perth mentioned it in passing, and I half-heartedly offered to join him if it helped make him take the plunge. Much as I had hoped, he didn't take me up on the offer.

Last year was when I really started to read poker blogs (you can blame Wheaton for pointing me at the Good Doctor). I knew that I wanted to start my own blog, but managed to put it off until early this year, sparked by a great finish in a tournament. While recognising that a lot of my fellow bloggers were aspiring writers, or in some case were currently being paid to write, it never really occurred to me that I was flexing those same muscles. After all, just amongst poker bloggers there are so many talented writers, not to mention those out there that don't spend time describing bad beats to a virtual audience. Sure, every now and again the words came like they did in 2001 (this post being one that jumps to mind), but I never thought much of it. Reading that post today from Joe just kicked open those doors in my mind that had been closed for so long.

It's not just NaNoWriMo the idea, not just the reminder that I was able to do it and how great it felt, but that I have so many stories intertwined with completing the damn thing: hunting down and buying the laptop at a dodgy Asian lap top store, the full story of how I met Ann Marie, how I began to be a big Dandy Warhols fan, my rundown apartment in inner-city Sydney wedged between the red light and gay districts... which just reminds me of all the stories I have tucked away, and how much I love telling a good story.

Does this mean I am going to start writing again? If I am going to be honest with myself I don't know if that's going to happen, at least not in the short term. But I get the feeling that somewhere deep down a fuse has been relit. Let's see if the bomb goes off.

In Case For Some Reason You Missed It...

We all know that the number of Poker bloggers who like "Rounders" approaches 100%. We also know that the number of sport-loving Poker bloggers who like The Sports Guy (aka Bill Simmons) also approaches 100%. So for all you "Rounders"-loving, Sports-Guy-reading people who somehow haven't read it already, and even those who just like hearing script-writers tell their stories, go to The Sports Guy's page NOW.

I quite liked the article (Part 2 is coming tomorrow), and the Rounders' writers gave a few insights as well. Bill also refrained from making any statements which suggested he has the Poker skill of a dead skunk, therefore lessening the chances that Mean Gene writes another smackdown. (But please do it anyway, Gene!)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Full Dance Card

This week looks like being jam-packed with *gasp* non-Poker. Here's the rundown:

- Tuesday: catching up with a friend to see a movie and grab a drink
- Wednesday: footy training (though I'm hoping to play in Mookie's tournament)
- Thursday: tentative plans to meet my ex, her boy and another of her friends for drinks
- Friday: head down to North Carolina for the first inter-city footy match
- Saturday: footy, drinking and shenanigans
- Sunday: return to DC, pass out

Last night? Well, unless you count me joining a free-roll on Stars with Sox to see how deep we could go into 10,000 people by jamming every hand, there was no poker. (Oh, and the answer for Sox was "one hand", for me the answer was "five hands, and almost 2000 people deep"). Instead I scored a free ticket to the last Washington Capitals game of the season. I actually quite like hockey, having spent a couple of years in Edmonton (it's in Canada... no, really) when I was in high school.

Ice hockey is one of those games that is much better live than on TV. It's also a sport that is almost unique in that no matter where you sit in the arena you get a good view of the action. Near the glass you can see all the hitting up close and personal, while up higher you get a better appreciation of the flow of the game, how line changes are made, etc.

The tickets we scored were close to the glass, but just at a level where it was a little difficult to see the other goal (I shifted a row down to have a better view). The tickets were sussed out by an organisation that deals with my company, so naturally having to organise two groups of people meant we were cutting it fine with getting into the arena on time. Once we got our tickets and got in, myself and my two friends made a bee-line for the stand with good beer. As they waited in line I made a quick trip to the bathroom, where they had the commentary playing over the PA. While I was there I heard the game start, which I was pretty happy about, as I was afraid we would miss more of the game. But then the bad guys scored, after 11 seconds.

That's right. 11 seconds. I should also mention that this is not the first time I have been mere moments late to a Caps game, and they were down by a goal. Yes, they suck that badly.

I emerged from the bathroom and told my incredulous friends that the bad guys had scored after 11 seconds. As we collected our beers from the vendor, sirens blasted and cheers went up. That's right, the Capitals had scored. On our way to our section, the Capitals scored again.

We missed the first 4 minutes and 15 seconds of the game, and 3 goals were scored. Insanity.

Fortunately the rest of the game was also highly entertaining, the crowd was large, loud, and into it, and the good guys won. My friends and I kept a steady chain of people going for more beer, our antics no doubt disturbing the rest of the work people. But screw them. The only things missing from the game were an all-out fight (there were a couple of skirmishes that were broken up early), and it would have been cool to see overtime and maybe one of those new-fangled shootouts. But that's being greedy.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Rebound

I now officially have to shut up about my recent run of results.


It also appears that my recent statements that I should play more 180 SnGs have been reinforced. If you look at my table of 180 SnG results on the right sidebar, it looks pretty clear. They appear to be my sweet spot.

Don't get me wrong, I had to get lucky to get there. With 19 left, right on the bubble, I was in the SB with an M of less than 1. That's right, I did not have enough chips to last one orbit. A guy in EP raised, I called, and we went to the flop. He had A-8o, I had Q-6 s00ted. Flop? Q-7-7. Turn? Q. Three hands later I went all in with A-Ko. I was called in two places. Flop? A-3-A.

And I was on my way.

I was never a large stack until late. Even when it was 4 handed I was a short stack. I only got myself a stack when it was three handed. The big stack did me the favour of busting out the other stack, and I got heads up with a 2:1 chip disadvantage.

I can say honestly that I have never played as well heads up. The other guy did not have a chance, his over-aggressive call station behaviour played right into my hands. I got paid off on the maximum with every big hand I had. I flopped a straight with 5-8o and got him to pay me off. I doubled up when I flopped a flush with K-6 s00ted and he couldn't fold his A-K on the river when he hadn't hit anything. I had one piece of luck when I already had a massive chip lead - we got it all in on a K high flop when I held K-7 and he held K-8; the resulting chop was really it luckwise for me. Heads up lasted 34 hands, and he only won one large pot.

Lastly a big thanks to my railbirding crew: Weak, SoxLover, Amy, Mia, and Canadian Double Trouble (also known as Jules and Kat). The support was much appreciated.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

How To Go On Work Mega Tilt

1. Have to work on Saturday.

2. You are not comped for working on Saturday.

3. You have to start at 9am. At least you can do the first bit at home and then go into work for the rest.

4. Leave work to go home at 3:15pm as co-workers have to do something before you can finish up. You can do that from your apartment.

5. At 5pm the co-workers are finished. This gives you plenty of time before the maintenance window closes at 6pm.

6. Discover that your remote connection from home isn't working, despite it working that morning.

7. Call your co-worker, who might be able to do the work. He is nowhere near his home.

8. Call your boss (who is not capable of doing the work, but they should be told about the problem), who is meant to be reachable during the maintenance window. Of course, they are not. Home phone and cell phone are not answered.

9. Recall that your boss summarily decided to take Friday and Monday off with no warning. Get even more annoyed.

10. Recall that your boss works from home Tuesdays and Thursdays. Get really annoyed.

11. Call a cab (which if history is any guide you will not get reimbursed for) and race into work.

12. Finish the required work in 15 minutes, finishing at 6:30pm, a half hour past the scheduled change window time.

13. Leave work to go home, which will probably take about an hour or so.

Not happy, Jan.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Garthmeister J. Esq., Master Procrastinator

Ever experienced that feeling where you thought you had extra days to pay a bill, or get an assignment finished, only to find that you got the deadline incorrect... and it's due NOW? I ran into that yesterday with the 45 SnG Challenge (also, my electricity bill). Sure I had been tardy in completing the things, but hey, as a Master Procrastinator you expect this to happen. I had only completed 8 of my 15 SnGs, but as of last night I figured I had two days more to go, one of them a Saturday. I was not worried.

Make that not being worried right up until Jordan informed me that the last day was April 13th, actually, not the 15th as I assumed. Whups. So I immediately unregistered from the 180 SnG I had signed up for and got cracking with multiple SnGs, trying to finish them all before the midnight deadline. And then I entered Veneno's 9pm HUC Lounge event. And got talked into entering a 10+1 Rebuy event.

As I have mentioned I haven't exactly had my A game happening recently. In fact, calling it my Z game might be being kind. So was I out of mind doing this (easy answer: yes). However, I knew that playing multiple tables at once would tighten me up, which it did. So far so good. Now I just had to stop making ridiculous plays, and I seemed to have a handle on that. Unfortunately once I had sorted out some of my stupid play I had a succession of having my pocket Queens and Kings cracked. Funny how that happens... you begin eliminating those elements of your game contributing to your bad run and then variance appears to ensure you stay down.

Let me make this clear: I much prefer losing due to the fall of the cards than due to bad play. But on balance I sure as hell prefer winning.

In short, my SnGs were not going well. I persevered, being the stubborn, bloody-minded person I am. In my lucky 13th SnG I was dealt A-A first hand. My mood being what it was, I pushed from MP, hoping for a caller. No dice. Second hand I received A-K. A couple of limpers ahead of me, I raise it up to 5xBB, I get two callers. Flop is As-x-7s. Checked to me, and I push. And get called by A-8o. And I am on my way, cruising along, picking up pots here and there.

I am by far the biggest stack at the table, with about 4.6k and in the BB when a bunch of people limp in. I look down and see Q-Q. Having already been brutalised with this hand I decide to raise it up large, to 800 (I believe the Blinds were at 50/100). 2k stack UTG thinks.... and pushes all-in. Everyone runs away, and I am left with a decision. If UTG has A-A or K-K, well, I just have to break something inexpensive. The problem is I am scared of any two cards she could have, that's how well I was running. But I suck it up, and call. UTG has 4-4. I then announce this into the voice conference I was in:

"If I lose this hand I am not sure what I am going to do."

OK, so I'm going to owe all of you a dollar. River card was a 4.

Despite this setback I still had a decent chip stack, and got back to work. People were busting, and busting... and I found myself on the final table. By this stage all my other SnGs were done, this was my last effort, and I was not going to make the top 3 in the Challenge; nonetheless I wanted to have a good final showing. I didn't have a big stack, but I dodged and weaved as I could. I got dealt A-A twice in a row when it was 6 handed, and only got the blinds and antes both times (once when it was folded around to my BB). But then a strange thing happened.

My 3-3 stood up against over cards. Then my 4-4 stood up against over cards. My 5-5 all-in was called by three people, including a big stack who raised after the turn, making me ill... but he was on a gutshot(!). Presto stood up.

All of a sudden I was second in chips with 5 people left. Then there were four left, then three. Finally I was heads-up against... the person who had cracked my Q-Q with her fours.

I extracted my revenge, and it was sweet.

Does this mean I am over the hump, have turned the corner, have stopped sucking the big fat one? Maybe not. I am hoping I have sorted out my bad case of Retarded Play Syndrome[tm], and it would be nice for Miss Variance to take a ride on the Garth Train. All aboard!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

If You're Going To Tilt...

at least do it in a freeroll, right?

Well, OK, I also played horrendously in the WWDN. First time I can really remember sitting out of a tournament because I felt I was playing so badly. Since tonight I have footy training, the only poker I (might) be playing is Mookie's tournament. Though tilting in that tournament is always a possibility. Must remember to bring my cup.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Because All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

Poker Savvy

Fluxer, feel free to make fun of me now.

*hand signs*

After a hiatus, I finally returned to the $20+2 180 SnGs on Stars last night. As you can see by my record detailed on the right side-bar, I do OK in these... but for one reason or another I hadn't played any recently. Monday evening I came home armed with some "English cheddar with caramelised onions", some crackers and a case of red wine. Verily I was ready to do battle with the hordes of online foes.

Every time I join a PokerStars table I like to have a quick squizz at the different avatars. As most of us know, the breakdown of avatars on PokerStars is roughly something like this:

35%: Fucking baby pictures
20%: Picture of pet
15%: Some kind of school or sports team picture
15%: Some random crap
10%: Something designed to try and psyche you out (including eye close-ups)
5%: Alleged picture of self


I enjoy going through them Mike Matusow style, for example: "Anime donkey, Notre Dame donkey, Poodle-owning donkey, Ugly Motherfucker donkey, Head Case donkey, Alcoholic donkey (that would be me)".

On last night's table there was someone with the N.C. State symbol as their avatar. Fair enough. Recently I had met a random person in a bar, and then ran into them again the very next day (which was St. Patrick's Day) in an insanely-crowded bar in a different part of DC. This person had attended N.C. State, and we had amused ourselves by doing the Wolfpack cheer, which goes as follows:

Take each hand, and press your thumb to your fingers, as if about to manipulate a sock puppet. Extend your for forefinger and little finger back to their original positions, so only your middle and ring fingers are touching your thumb. It should now look like this:


Now go "Wolfpack!" while moving the "mouth" of your hand sign. Congratulations, you look like a douche.

After noticing the N.C. State symbol I naturally had to salute them. But how? It's not like he can see me looking like a gimp (well, not by me doing the cheer). Drawing upon the red wine I had consumed, I compromised:

garthmeister: Go Wolfpack! *hand signs*

CTsomething thought that was amusing, and so I proceeded to do it after every hand they won. I also informed the table at large that they were going to get sick of it before I did. CTsomething co-operated by winning a bunch of hands early. I celebrated by playing like a donkey and throwing away a third of my stack.

Things were all fine and dandy, until Chips_on_fire and Dnice, two other table inhabitants, got into a verbal jousting match about a large hand they played. I couldn't really call it trash talking, as I have heard 5 year olds smack talk to more effect. I couldn't help but chime in, not taking sides, just generally skewering people. Dnice informed me: "you don't want to make me mad, garth". I took that as an invitation to slam him ad nauseum. I really wish I had some chat transcripts, but I made liberal use of the Duke lacrosse team after Dnice kept talking about raping people at the table.

It was about this point that I found a hand, took someone to the house, and then got a newly arrived big stack to think I was blind-stealing and come over the top of me while they held 2-2... my A-A proved the victor, and all of a sudden I had a stack. It was about this time that the penny dropped for Dnice, and he realised I wasn't just a drunk trash-talker who was there to dump $20. I was a drunk trash-talker who might just be better than he was. Needless to say he didn't have a go at me for there on out... he actually decided he wanted to be my best friend.

Finally CTsomething and Chips_on_fire busted, and it was Dnice and myself. Immediately the table became way more boring. I misplayed a hand and dumped some chips, and to add insult to injury, was immediately moved.

Up and down, up and down I went, until with just under 30 left, lo and behold Dnice arrived back into my life. I took that as a sign to receive A-K s00ted in the small blind, when 5 people limped into the pot. As Dnice celebrated his return in the chat I pushed my less than 5M stack into the middle, and was called down by A-J.

To avoid myself paying all of you a dollar, let me just say that after that hand I could no longer talk to Dnice as a fellow tournament participant. I will play another one of these, however, I can promise you that.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over

After 102 hands I finally managed to win a Heads Up match against Veneno. Prior to the match I had given her two warnings: 1) that I felt my HU play had improved, and 2) I was planning on doing my taxes today. OK, I wasn't that worried about the tax thing, but V figured that I would be ornery and harder to play.

I felt I played a really good game - I think every time I got all my chips in I was ahead (albeit only slightly a couple of times). It seemed that I had her all-in and behind 3 or 4 times, but she managed to dodge the axe each time - the best (or worst if you like) being when she cracked my Aces with a runner runner flush.

As you may have guessed with 102 hands there was still a lot of ebb and flow; I intially jumped out to a lead when my full house took Veneno down to 400 chips... but she fought back. After my Aces were cracked, I was down to 560... but I fought back.

After the way this match went, if I had gone down I think I would have been pretty discouraged. Either that or start willfully putting my chips in when I think I am behind, just to give myself a chance. OK, maybe not that bad, but you get my drift.

Following the epic HU battle I also played a couple of 45 SnGs for the challenge. Must have been my day, since I managed to bag 4th in one and get on the scoreboard. I was glad I moneyed, though I did feel like I should have won. The biggest hand I was involved in would have given me a massive chip lead with 6 left... but one suckout later and I was almost down to the felt. I fought my way back, but one more suckout and I was done.

____________________________

On a completely different, non-poker note, I would like to send out a big "Fuck You" to the people attending the fair/demonstration/gathering that was held down my street, who thought it would be a good idea to throw all their trash into my bin. I wouldn't mind so much if they stopped trying to put trash into it when it was full and overflowing. And throwing trash in the general vicinity of the bin isn't really effective. I really do not enjoy spending time on my Sunday afternoon cleaning up after morons who somehow failed Common Sense and Courtesy 101. Douchebags.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Aussie Bands and Drunken LHE With Waffles

When I am home on a Friday night, and in a pokering mood, I like to play some crazy stuff. Last Friday night was a gorgeous one in D.C., and I decided to try and set myself up outside at least for a little while. Despite some intermittent pain with my network connection, it was awesome: beer by my side, music playing on my laptop, people wandering past and saying Hi... all while I play against donkeys. Nice.

As the night wore on, and drunkeness set in, I finally found myself out of the various donkfest tournaments I had entered. Idly searching through Stars I located Waffles on a 2/4 LHE table. As I regard my LHE play as weak, and since I haven't played it in forever, and never that high online (I once played it that high in Vegas two years ago when I had the poker skill of a turnip, now I have the skill of a rutabaga)... well, it was a natural fit for me to sit down.

Surprisingly I did OK, as Waffles and I did some damage. I managed to drop the hammer twice in quick succession, which is a reasonable achievement on a 2/4 table. The hand after I dropped the second hammer I looked down to find K-K. "Cha-ching!" I thought, hoping to get it paid off large after managing to put the table on tilt. I raised it like a beast, and had several people along for the ride. It was heads up by the time we got to the river... and the lemur I was playing against hit a gutshot straight. Pain! But I still was up, and I was drunk and happy.

After that table we played at a 2/4 speed table... which was nuts. Loose and crazy, and I managed to dump my (small) buy-in as people hit all kinds of crazy hands. Nonetheless I felt I was holding my own.

I've tentatively started playing a little more LHE, to see how I go, and exercise some of the under-utilised limit muscles I possess. It's quite amusing, as I'll sit there and get A-J in middle position and freeze... what am I meant to do here again?! Re-education, or in my case probably straight out "education", is in order. I also think I am going to stay clear of the speed tables, the style on those tables (a little looser, and call-y) doesn't fit my style that well. Either that or I just have to tighten up more, but still I think I'll avoid the higher variance for the moment.

Not sure where I'm really going with the experiment, but we'll see what happens.
________________________________

I also realise I am way behind on making up my complement of 15 45-person SnGs in the challenge (much in the same way I haven't started doing my taxes yet... Hi IRS!). I hope to clock up a few this weekend to try and beat the April 15 deadline. Again, ditto for my taxes.

_________________________________

Last night I attended a "John Butler Trio" concert. For those of you who don't know (which is going to be everyone), they are a "jam" band from Australia, originally from my hometown (info here). They have a reputation of being a great band live (turning 4 minute songs into 16 minute jaw-droppers), and after last night I heartily agree. They were just fantastic, the crowd was great, just a good time all round. If anyone is in a city which they are touring, I really recommend you go if you are into that sort of thing. I was going to mention it to the Good Doctor as they are going to New York in a couple of days, but of course he is in Vegas. I turned up wearing my Aussie cricket jersey, which identified me to a few other Aussies in attendance. I made sure I put away a few beers, and got nice and loud... which also identified me to some more Aussies. Good times. It all gave me the slightest pang of home-sickness, which is something I don't get too often, cold bitch that I am. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Small Request

To my co-workers in the Japan office:

If you insist on calling me at 11:30PM my time to ask me to try and troubleshoot a problem that occurred two days ago (but needs to be fixed NOW), could you at least have the courtesy of calling 20 minutes earlier, thus ensuring I don't dump $40 on cash tables?

Yours sincerely,
Garthmeister J.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Garthmeister J. and the Poker World Cup

After reading Otis' post about the event, I thought I'd have a tilt at joining one of the Poker Heads Up World Cup teams. Reading through the rules etc. I couldn't work out how I would apply to be part of the Australian team, which left me with no option but to try out for the D.C. team. I figured that if I made the D.C. team, and then the D.C. team made it to Barcelona, and then we won the whole thing... well, at the trophy presentation I could rip off my US shirt, reveal my Australian One Day International cricket jersey, hit my team-mates with a steel chair shot, and make off with the trophy.


To have this plan come to fruition I of course had to work my way through one of the qualifiers. The first qualifier had been run at 2pm, so that was a no go. But the 8pm qualifier beckoned. For the princely sum of 50 FPP I could try and represent my adopted territory, despite it having no member of Congress.

Some of the State fields were pretty large. Massachusetts had something like 60-odd people in it. Lord knows how many California or New York got. D.C. had 7 people register. Delaware (State Motto: We know you are driving somewhere else) had more people registered.

My 1 in 7 chance of getting a first round bye failed. Instead I had to play a freshman attending Georgetown University. Apparently he built up his bankroll initially in Heads Up play, which was a bit worrying. We went back and forth intially, but I managed to get slightly ahead. I managed to get him all-in with my 10-10 vs his A-2. Whups, there's an Ace. That gave him a 2:1 chip advantage, but I managed to fight back, leading him to say:

"This isn't going how I planned."

I finally, finally put him away and looked forward to my next challenge. I was in the Final Four.

My next opponenet was a complete douchebag who instantly rubbed me the wrong way. I apologised for taking so long (my first round match was the longest, natch), explaining that my opponent managed to hit an Ace to survive and I had to fight back. This guy informed that this wasn't going to happen in this round. I asked if that was trash talk, and if it was I was going to cry. Douchebag.

The douchebag crept out to an early lead, but by the first break it was pretty even, which lead to this exchange:
MadHatters99: go all in but one chip then fold ok
MadHatters99: i'll send you 2 real dollars
Garthmeister: WTF?
Garthmeister: 2 real dollars? American?
MadHatters99: yep!
Garthmeister: Whooooooooooooo.
Garthmeister: A tempting offer.
MadHatters99: this was free to enter
MadHatters99: and there is always tomorrow
*sigh* After battling some more, we got all the chips in. I had K-K, he had A-J s00ted. And there was that pesky Ace on the board again. I managed to fight back (again), much to my opponents dismay, but this time I wasn't able to complete the comeback as DC lost it's chance at having a fine representative. If I do say so myself.

While I was tussling with the douchebag the WWDN tournament started up. I was clearly concentrating on the heads up event, but managed to chip up nicely by the time I could fully focus. I was shortstacked approaching the bubble, and with J-Q s00ted attempted to steal the blinds and antes against someone I just covered. They had A-K (I seem to recall), but I managed to river a straight to storm into the final table. At the final table I had my dreams shattered when Hoyazo and I got into a blind stealing war. I had K-Q s00ted, and wasn't going to fold to Hoyazo's re-raise all-in. He had A-2, there was no help for me, and I was crippled. I finally was put away in 6th position. Not a bad result really.

On the back of my play in the WPBT satellite on Monday night, and this effort in the WWDN, I'm pretty pleased. Hell, even my Heads Up play didn't suck too hard. Nice!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Who Likes the Hilton Sisters Anyway?

There is one thing that separates the NLHE tournament from most forms of poker, namely the fact that any given hand could be your last. Often the end of your tournament life comes quickly and mercilessly... and those few moments after you have seen your chips slide away from you are very strange.

Such was my fate in last night's tournament. Unbeknownst to me it was a deep stacks tournament. 5k chips, 30 minute levels. I love this structure, as it allows me to play my game and be patient. This helps me avoid being rash against some of the fantastic players who play these events. The flip side is that if I went deep it was going to be laaaaaaaaaate night.

I started out on a pretty stacked table, with CJ and StB. Gracie joined soon afterwards, as did Bobby Bracelet. I began making out my last will and testament. Despite the competition I managed to fight on, and eventually got moved away from this table full of sharks with more chips than I started with. Then my Aces got cracked by the Hiltons, but a few hands later my Kings took down Q-Q... and suddenly I was in the top 3. Jules was tired and made a mistake pushing into my better hand, and I leapt into the chip lead with 40 or so remaining. SoxLover was moved to my table, two spots to my right, and he and the guy directly to my right (easy_wind) were constantly raising pre-flop, and Sox and I had a couple of memorable confrontations (including once where I dropped the hammer). Sox managed to dodge my set of Queens (when he had the other Q) when the board made a straight. A couple of hands later he turned a better two pair to take down StB, and he and I were #1 and #2.

Once I had hit 25k in chips I oscillated between about that amount and my high water mark of just over 40k. Up and down, ebb and flow. Right until this hand. 17 people left out of the original 93. I'm sitting in about 7th or so place. UTG I receive that hand, those Hiltons. I make my standard raise, and it folds around to easy_wind, who pushes. He has me slightly covered, and flustered.

What could he have? I doubted him having A-A or K-K, as I'd expect him to raise to try ensure more money went in the pot. A big Ace looked really likely (especially A-K), or potentially something like J-J or 10-10. I take a breath, and call.

He flips over K-K. No help for me, and I numbly watch as my chips slide away.

Could I have laid the Queens down? I suppose so - I really felt like A-K was his most likely holding, and I don't exactly have a massive edge against that holding. Of course if he holds J-J I am sitting pretty. And I didn't have a lot of chips invested, I could have waved them goodbye. I'm just not good enough to lay that hand down.

I am still suprised by his push move, though it got him the desired result: a call from a premium, but weaker, hand. In bed, trying to sleep, I kept thinking: "Why did he push?" If he was paying attention he knew my range was pretty solid, plus the Hammer (of course). He had seen me push people off pots as well... all I can think of is he wanted to avoid me outplaying him after the flop. That sounds a bit arrogant, but that's all I can really come up with. Pushing ensures that he either a) gets some chips while avoiding seeing a flop, or b) sees all 5 cards with position no longer mattering. At the end of the day if I had A-A he is probably toast, or crippled, anyway.

I still wouldn't have played the hand the way he did, but you can't argue with his results on that particular hand. I would love to hear other people's thoughts.

At the end of the day I have to be very happy with the way I played, and my finish was very respectable. It's just that hollow feeling where I know from the position I was I could have made a run at the final table, and maybe a bit of glory.

Congrats to SoxLover, Gary and Kaellin who also made the final two tables. Too bad one of us couldn't have taken home the gold, but that's how it goes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Season Commences!

Not just baseball season, mind you. This weekend also marked the kick-off of the Aussie Rules footy team I play for. We had our first local league game, with DC neatly accounting for Northern Virginia in a tightly contested affair. Today finds me a little tired and rundown - I'd expect those kind of aftereffects from the first game of the season, but it was all compounded by the game being held out of town. We all headed to a place called Sailsbury, located near the junction of Delaware, Maryland and Virgina, which the locals call "DelMarVa" (this is amusing the first time you hear it, tired the third time you hear it, and enough to make you commit homicide by the fifth). This involved me getting up way-too-early Saturday and way-too-early Sunday. Despite a nap yesterday afternoon I am still in a bit of sleep debt.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that I am hoping to play in tonight's WPBT WSOP satellite tonight (how's that for back-to-back acronyms?!). I'll try to stay awake while battling blogger celebrities and keeping one eye on the NCAA Men's tournament final. Hope to see you there!

What: WPBT WSOP Satellite #2
When: Monday, April 3rd @ 9PM EST
Where: Poker Stars
Tournament #: 21868191 (see private tourney tab)
Buy-in: $30 +3
Format: NL freezeout
Password: socoshot
Restrictions: Bloggers only