Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My WWdN Report, by Garthmeister J.

Short but sweet: After dumping a huge chunk of my stack to the Wil-slayer (when she refused to bow to the power of the Hammer) I was the second smallest stack. With the final table fast approaching I needed to make a move. The action was folded to me on the button. I looked down, I saw an Ace, I pushed... and 55 in the BB slapped me down, hard. Presto! Or, put another way, here is a pictorial representation of my finish:

I'm bringing the titanium cup with kevlar lining to The Mookie tonight. Consider yourself warned.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Short Announcement

I have pre-registered for The Mookie. That is all.


There had been rumblings for some time that there would be a blogger home game up in NY some time over the Memorial Day weekend. As the date approached, I realised that I might actually be free - something of a luxury during footy season. Finally last week I bit the bullet and booked myself to travel up on Friday. It meant I would be busting out of work early, but I am always prepared to make such a sacrifice. Not to mention that the office would probably be morgue-like anyway.

Friday evening found me at the lovely apartment of SoxLover and SoxWife, beer in hand. I had previously met SoxLover during our run to Atlantic City a couple of months ago, but I hadn't yet met his better half, she of the infectious laugh. She was lovely, of course, and prepared to put up with me (more surprising), and I was glad they let me into their home. Suckers.

Jordan showed up, McDonalds and poker table in tow. A little later Dawn and Alceste rocked up, as did a non-blogger named Scott. Weak Player and Mrs Weak Player had unfortunately had their flight delayed, so they would be missing out on the beginning of festivities. We all had a bit of chat, knocking back drinks during the quasi-getting-to-know you that occurs when you are talking to bloggers who you have actually known, virtually, for a while.

The night began with a single rebuy tournament. The very first hand I was dealt wired 8s, and four of us saw the flop. Naturally I flopped a set, but with straight possibilities and two to the flush. Checked to me, I bet the pot, everyone folds. No one wants to get stacked on the first hand.

While I waited patiently for anything else resembling a hand, fireworks were going off. Dawn managed to almost bust in one hand, but instead of rebuying she proceeded to push prodigiously, working her stack way above the starting amount. Jordan proceeded to bust, rebuy, and bust again, eliminating him from the tournament. Being the lovely people we are, we decided to let him buy in again, though he decided to wait until the end of the first hour.

Right at the end of the first hour I had just over the starting stack. Deciding to take a shot at the last hand, or else rebuy and then add-on, I managed to pick up a small pot which ensured I couldn't rebuy. Just after the break Dawn "accidentally" raised to 75 in early position, instead of calling for 15 like she thought she was. I do think it was accidental, as I saw her do something similar in the cash game. Folded around to me, and I look down and see AK s00ted. Feeling this is a good spot to take the pot, I move all-in, which Dawn promptly calls. It's a race, with my AKs against her JJ. Unfortunately for the good guys no A or K appears, and I am Gigli.

I helped deal and shuffle as the rest of the tournament continued. Jordan, naturally, was chipping up nicely, and Dawn was also sitting on a pile of chips. SoxWife finished in third, and Dawn and Jordan decided to chop. As this was going on Weak and Mrs. Weak arrived, and it was great to meet them in person. Once they got squared away we started the 0.50/1.00 NL game.

I took a bit of punishment in the game, when my QQ ran into AK with a K on the flop, and on another hand when I held an overpair to a baby flop, except someone had a set. Jordan made a bit of cash, and SoxLover cracked Scott's set when he hit his two-outer on the river. Jordan had to leave early, healthily up, and a little later Scott, Dawn and Alceste floated away. That left SoxLover, SoxWife, Weak, Mrs. Weak and myself. All gamblers, all staying at Chez Sox that night. Which is how we gambled into the wee hours of the morning, bolstered by SoxLover's friend, the gambly Korean ATM. We played dealer's choice, and in turn dealt Triple Draw, Omaha, Omaha Hi/Lo, Stud, and maybe even Razz at some point. I was simultaneously attempting to destroy the apartment's supply of Red Stripe... a tough job, but I am nothing if not enthusiastic.

We finally finished up with a little freeze-out tournament, which SoxWife won. And I should mention that "we" is everyone who isn't SoxLover or the Korean ATM, who apparently played heads up for a while longer. But not this little duck; I curled up on the SoxCouch at 4:30am or something, down a few bucks, but after having had a great night.

Reviewing the previous nights events, I realised a few amusing things. 1) I could not win a coin flip all night (hey, it happens). 2) Some of the biggest pots I won all night were with the hammer. 3) The game with which I had my best results was Stud. What does this mean? Hell if I know. Bring me another Red Stripe!

We arose way-too-early the next morning, and we sat around chatting and drinking coffee, while I had the SoxCats (in particular Felix) draped all over me. The Soxs and the Weaks were off to a friend's house-warming, while I was going to meet another friend who I would be spending the rest of the weekend with. All in all I had a fantastic time, and it was awesome to meet other bloggers who I've spent a lot of time chatting with. There was another blogger game on Sunday night, which I was unable to attend as I was attending a BBQ and attempting to eradicate all Yuenglings on the premises. I was still able to send SoxLover a dial-a-shot, so I felt I contributed at least. It's the thought that counts.

After meeting a few bloggers now I am looking forward to July so I can catch up with them, as well as meet others in the flesh. And I promise I will be readier next time to play Triple Draw. That's not a threat, that's a promise.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Only When I Lose Myself

I have a confession to make: I am extremely absent-minded. Despite being outwardly competent in some (2) areas, remembering little details is not my strong-suit. I have left numerous toothbrushes in hotel rooms, abandoned piles of reading material in planes and waiting rooms, forgotten untold numbers of pens in conference rooms. Once I managed to lose my keys in my own apartment for three days. Really.

Wednesday nights I have footy training, which we actually hold on the National Mall. It's quite surreal to be playing such an Australian game while flanked by the Smithsonian, one end featuring the Captiol building, the other the Washington Monument. It's a good excuse to run around a bit, followed by a beer or three. Beers usually wind up around 9:30'ish, which means it can be touch and go for me to make it back to my apartment by 10pm.

For all these reasons it has been necessary for Mookie to remind me to sign up in advance for his weekly tournament (cunningly called "The Mookie"). So far it has worked out fine, though the system breaks down when Mookie forgets to remind me not to forget. Here is a brief rundown of what happened last night.

4:30pm I remember about "The Mookie", and recall that I did not sign up in advance. Curse.

4:31pm Forget about "The Mookie".

*repeat previous two steps periodically*

6:00pm Start footy training

8:00pm Finish footy training and head to the pub.

8:15pm Receive first beer.

8:40pm Receive second beer.

8:45pm Nachos make an appearance.

9:00pm Receive third beer. Remember that I want to try and get home in time to register for "The Mookie". Curse.

9:30pm Despite protestations that I have to leave momentarily, receive 4th beer.

9:35pm Finish 4th beer, and head for the Metro.

9:37pm Consider the merits of grabbing a taxi.

9:38pm Start looking for a taxi while moving in general direction of Metro station.

9:39pm Waste time attempting to flag down a taxi that has someone in it already. Curse.

9:42pm Say "Screw it!" and run to the Metro station.

9:45pm Get lucky and have a Metro arrive straight away. Start calculating how much time I will have left to register.

9:48pm Realise that I have to account for the amount of time it takes for the laptop to boot up. Curse.

9:49pm Realise I need to go to the bathroom. Badly.

9:54pm Metro arrives at Dupont Circle. Leave the train and commence running up the escalator leading to street level.

9:55pm Remeber that this is an insanely long escalator. Legs start aching.

9:56pm Hit the street and sprint for my apartment.

9:58pm Burst through my front door, punch the power button on my laptop, run for the bathroom.

10:00pm Race back to the laptop and log into PokerStars.

10:01pm Can't find the tournament! Search for Waffles, find him and "The Mookie". Realise the tournament registration has closed. Curse.

10:02pm Realise the registration closed early because Waffles busted someone on the first hand. Curse loudly.

10:03pm Open my first beer.

10:05pm Start chatting on the girly chat thing.

10:06pm to 10:15pm Almost get talked into loading money onto UltimateBet so I can play Triple Draw with SoxLover.

10:25pm Eventually start up a couple of Full Tile $100 NL tables.

12:30pm "The Mookie" gets heads up between Waffles and JJOK.

12:45pm "The Mookie finishes". Congrats JJOK!

12:50pm Log off my cash tables. Realise that I have a booked a win that is equivalent to winning "The Mookie". Feel better about missing it.

12:55pm Remind myself to register in advance for next week's "The Mookie".

12:56pm Forget about registering in advance for next week's "The Mookie".

So I was bummed about missing the tournament, but my play on the cash tables made up for it. I still got to chat to the crew while they played, and it was nice to speak to a few new voices, including CarmenSinCity and MiamiDon.

I'm serious about registering early for next week's tournament though. Really.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

An Important Announcement

Just saw this via Drizz.

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

This Online Poker Tournament is a No Limit Texas Holdem event exclusive to Bloggers.

Registration code: 7330476

Since I just purchased an iPod Nano yesterday, I would have a good laugh if I finished 21st-40th.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Never Let Me Down Again

Ah, Monday mornings, when I sit in my cube with heavy-lidded eyes and a head full of cotton wool. Not heaps of poker content, but I'll serve up what I have to offer.

Friday night, as I kinda-sorta-predicted, ended up being poker-free. I did get to catch up with my mate who had been out of town for three weeks or so. This ended up being a pretty massive one... resulting in my playing Aussie Rules Saturday morning after having no sleep whatsoever. Please do not try this at home, I am a trained professional.

For some reason once I arrived home I was pretty tired, and so proceeded to crash for a few hours. Saturday night I was feeling pretty ordinary, but decided I would break out the laptop and play something low limit. Stars has recently started offering the $4 + 0.40 180 SnG tournaments 24/7, so I decided to try one of those. I figured that even in my damaged state I should be able to do OK and be able to sling a few chips around.

OK, you probably all know this is coming, but "Aiiyah!". I have had 41 attempts at the $20 + 2 180 SnGs, and the least number of people left after the first hour has been 69. In my first shot at the $4 variety there were 68 people left when we got to the first break.

I didn't do anything fancy, played my hands accordingly and stole any pots that looked like they needed an owner. Without receiving any cards better than a pair of 10s I made the money. By this stage I was getting pretty short-stacked, and I was well into the red zone. With an M of about 3, and the blinds two hands away I decided to push with Q7o to just try and steal the blinds and ante, or maybe get lucky if someone called me. I ended up getting called by a mid-sized stack, thig guy called heathbar43, who had been getting into a lot of pots. He shows 99, but I managed to spike a Q on the turn. This was about the point where heathbar43 decided to start deriding my play. I didn't really bother arguing too much with the guy... after all, it's a $4 tournament, and I don't really want to explain to the guy my reasoning just in case he at least recognises that there was a method behind the madness. (Yes, Q7o is not a great hand at all. No argument there.)

After he made a couple of lame remarks, which Weak and I were giggling about, Weak wondered aloud what heathbar43's sharkscope numbers were. So I looked them up. This allowed me to start questioning him about his $580 loss after playing almost 400 SnGs. Funnily enough, this did not go down well. It was with great joy that I saw him go out in 10th, as the rest of us were whisked to the final table.

Unfortunately I was next to go out, as my own pair of 9s were cracked when I pushed from LP, and the BB called me down with AJo. heathbar43 jumped into the chat to give me a serve, which I had a bit of a laugh at. The best part? While researching this post, I looked up heathbar43's stats again... since Saturday night he has played another 6 SnGs and lost about another $60. What a persistent little donator!

I managed to get a reasonable amount of shut-eye Saturday night, but still woke up feeling a little worse for wear. For those of you that don't know, Sunday morning features one of my favourite little tournaments, the Stars satellite for their big Sunday guaranteed tournament. Depending on the week the satellite is either $36+3 and 1 in 6 gets the $200 + 15 entry, or it is $50 + 3 and 1 in 10 gets $500 + 30. I might be slightly off with the amounts, but close enough. I like playing these tournaments because it is a nice payout with a decent percentage paid (especially the 1 in 6), plus I think there are enough people who don't know how to play these properly to give me extra equity.

Weak and I jumped in, and within 15 minutes of playing the satellite I had managed to obtain better cards than I had for the duration of Saturday night's 180. Again I played fairly standard poker, and was able to get a little stack early, though I did have to bid adieu to Weak who got his AK in against QQ and didn't hit. The tricky part with these satellites is discerning when it is a) time to take the foot off the pedal, playing only premium hands, and b) when to start stalling and auto-folding to make the money. Weak and I are working on some rules of thumb to help us out.

The previous time I had played the satellite I managed to time it nicely, auto-folding easily into the money. This time it was a little closer... by the time there were only a few people left to be eliminated my stack was on life support. With one more person to go, I watched on one table as the big stack pushed all in with a horrible hand (9-2o) to protect the small stack who was all-in in the BB with 9-4o. With 3 hands until I was all-in in the BB I was dealt AK s00ted... and folded it. Finally, when I was UTG, the last person was eliminated. Technically I finished 81st of 85, with 830 chips or so... when there were 1000/2000 blinds with 75 (I think) antes. Nice!

This gave me plenty of time to do things like eat, and do laundry, and nap, before going out to see Depeche Mode in concert. They were great, the only real shortcoming being that they didn't use these big sidescreens that were available at the venue they performed at. Nonetheless, good stuff. I really wish I had the day off from work today...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Enter The Donkeypuncher

Donkeypuncher is one of the blogs I read quite often. There is something about his style I quite like, and posts like this one still make me crack up. He once made the mistake of talking about baseball... and I was forced to actually contribute substance to his comments. This lead to him inviting me to join a blogger fantasy baseball league, where I am enjoying holding down 7th spot out of 10th. At least I'm ahead of Donkeypuncher himself, who is currently sitting in 9th (and in case you are wondering, the current leader is CJ, who is proving that poker is not the only at which he excels. Or gets really lucky at, your choice ;) ).

Given this newfound brotherhood in sucking at fantasy baseball, it was only natural that when Donkeypuncher had to swing through DC he decided to look me up. Since I have already met one blogger in the flesh I am over any "Oh my God, I am about to meet someone who I only know from the internet, I think I suck" thoughts I may have once harboured. I ended up meeting Donkeypuncher, his pink shirt, and his friend at this place called Perry's. I had never been to Perry's, not even for the drag brunch, so I was looking forward to checking somewhere new. It was a nice place, featuring bartenders who enjoyed fucking with me. When I first wandered up to the bar (after appraising their beer selection), the bar tender sized me up and said "Sapporo?" Uh, yeah, that's what I want actually. This started me wondering what a Sapporo guy looked like, but I decided that they must look awesome, and left it at that.

We stayed for a few drinks as the three of us chatted about this and that. We talked cards, and swapped tales of other bloggers, while attempting to give Donkeypuncher's friend (man, I think the guy's name was Mark or something, but I suck with names) some pointers on his poker game. When I went to close my tab the second bartender glanced at my bill, and informed me I had purchased 8 Sapporos. WTF? Seeing my quizzical expression the bartender handed me the bill, and I saw that this was Part 2 of "fuck with the customer". My expression must have been priceless, as both the bartenders had a good laugh. I had a giggle, thanked them for their time, and left them a good tip.

We then hit a couple more bars on the Adams Morgan strip, our last stop being a divey (in a good way) joint called "Toledo's". "Toledo's" features a pretty good jukebox, though we had to raise our voices a bit to be heard. Donkeypuncher was relating a fine story involving a friend's bachelor party and an over-aggressive stripper (I mean, really, how can such a story suck?), and reached the punchline just as the current song finished. And that's how Donkeypuncher ended up shouting "Slap his ass back to Mexico!" into the ensuing silence.

Of course TGWNMBM (The Guy's Whose Name Might Be Mark) and I thought that was hilarious, and we both burst out laughing while an attractive blonde at the bar registered her disapproval. Donkeypuncher professed his innocence, claiming to be a victim of circumstance, and we managed to get the girl to join our table so we could explain the story in full to her.

And that is how we ended up being in the middle of recounting the over-agressive stripper story to a hot blonde when the blonde's boyfriend returned from the bathroom. He was a little surprised to find his girlfriend seated at a table with three other guys, while being regaled with such a tale, but he took it in stride. We had a bit of a chat to the couple before they headed off to get their fortune's read (I mean, what else are you going to do at 2am on a Thursday night?). That signalled the end of the night for us as well, as Donkeypuncher was getting up hideously early... but don't feel too sorry for the guy. After all, he is heading to Vegas today.


Not sure of my plans for tonight. A good friend of mine is back in town after a few weeks away (and his girlfriend is in San Antonio for the weekend), so the odds are good that we will have a few too many. I might hit the tables later, though I do have to wake up way-too-early to play footy tomorrow morning.

Playing poker on Friday night is always a little bit of a dilemma for me. Part of me wants to get drunk off my ass and play retarded tournaments. The other part of me wants to get drunk off my ass and play cash games since the fish should be schooling. Of course I might just end up getting drunk off my ass, and not make the tables at all. The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Musings Upon That Movie

One of the things I love about living in the US is having cable, which means access to ten bazillion channels, almost any of which might happen to be playing one of those movies. You know the ones. The guilty pleasures. We all have them, a selection of movies that we can't help but sit and watch if we come across them accidentally, but which we might disavow completely if we were ever questioned about it. My personal collection includes such "classics" as Point Break, Top Gun, Predator and The Matrix (the first one, the others can fuck off).

Of course one of those movies that might fit the bill for most of the people who read this blog is "Rounders". I came across it (again) on cable last Sunday afternoon, just before the final poker showdown between Mick McD and Teddy KGB. Which meant I wasn't going anywhere for 15 minutes... and also means I should probably just buy it on DVD already.

While I was watching it this time, something occurred to me. How pissed off is Ben Affleck that it was Matt Damon, and not him, who starred in "Rounders"?!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mommas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Dealt Cowboys

If you play enough poker, you're going to see some pretty unlikely (and possibly heart-rending) things. 32o cracking Aces, perfect runner runners to lay a bad beat on someone. As part of working off my Party Poker bonus I have put in a bit of work on the cash tables, and during the last two nights I have witnessed KK being run into AA 6 or 7 times. For large amounts. Four times in those two nights it was poor Weak_Player taking it on the chin, which is just obscene. I benefitted from one of those situations last night, when some guy pushed his entire stack into my Aces. Easy call there, and I made a large chunk of cash while I was ordering pizza.

I was just speaking to Weak_Player this morning, and apparently to start his day he took down someone's KK with his QQ. There was action pre-flop, though not all the money went in until the flop came down Q high. Ow.

Weak has therefore declared Cowboys the new Hiltons. And frankly, I'm inclined to agree. Consider yourselves warned!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Party Boy

Fresh off a weekend of drinking and violent sport, I have returned to the grind of being a Bonus Whore. Grind, grind, grind. Actually, I can't really call it a grind as I have been enjoying it, but I believe calling it "grinding" is in my contract somewhere. I have worked off most of my Party Poker 15% bonus, and I think the time spent on the cash tables has been a good use of time. I've made mis-steps, but I've also chopped out a few pots here and there.

Last night I had a lengthy session with Weak and SoxLover along for the ride. It was one of those evenings... Weak ran KK into AA three times, losing and losing large each time. The biggest hand I lost is when my opponent's boat filled up on the river and I paid him off. Later on we decided to hit a couple of SnGs as a change of pace, which seemed like a good idea right until SoxLover slow-played his AA into trouble on the second hand, reducing him to 20 chips. These remaining chips were put to good use when he was dealt AA the very next hand. I pulled the slow-play move with AA later on, but managed to get all my chips in pre-flop against KK. I'm not going to tell you the rest. I still thought it was pretty funny though.

A couple more sessions and my bonus will be worked off on Party, at which point I will have to decide where I want to spend time in the future. Work off the bonus on FT? Head back to the sanctuary of the 180 SnGs? Become a rodeo clown? The possibilities are endless.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I had quite the eventful Thursday night at the tables. I kicked off with a little Party $100NL with Weak, and got kicked in the teeth for $45. Oh well, it happens. We then decided to jump into Rebuy Madness. Let's just say that it got expensive for me, and I didn't go anywhere. Wheeeeeeeee!

I then decided, you know, screw it - back to Party. The deck proceeded to hit me in the face, and I encouraged the donkeys on there to donate money to me. In just over an hour I was up about $200. And that's when it happened. The hand.

Interestingly enough it was almost a mirror image of the hand Waffles posted on his blog. I was dealt AA, and bumped it up my standard raise, and received one caller. Flop came down 7c-6h-9c. I bet out the pot, and was re-raised to almost twice the pot. I thought about folding. I really did. There were so many hands out there that could have me beaten (a set, a made straight), but after deliberating I re-raised and we got all our chips in. The opponent turned out to have a flush draw and a gutshot draw. The gutshot hit on the turn, and I shipped my stack over.

After doing the math it's basically a coinflip (slight edge to me) on the flop, and the fact is given that there were so many hands he could be holding that had me beat, I think it was a laydown I should have made. Easy to say in retrospect I guess - if I had won the hand maybe I would feel differently, and be congratulating myself on my read and my guts. Love to hear your opinions though.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


All of us have flaws at the poker table; none of us play perfect poker. You might overplay mid-pairs, chase flush draws, or just like to bluff too often. Since the start of this year I've played more cards more regularly than I ever have before, and I have watched my game steadily improve. Having said that, I am still very aware that I have numerous holes in my game (discovery of these holes are left as an exercise for the reader). One of them in particular might be a little tricky to fix.

Kat actually touched on this issue the other day. When I was discussing my problem with Weak (who was witness to an episode in all its glory) he came up with a wonderful term for my condition: Self-Tilt.

It's quite funny. I am usually able to absorb bad beats in stride. It is something I pride myself on. For the most part I am able to convince myself that yes, I just lost to a bad play, but it was a bad play I wanted my opponent to make. It can still be wrenching to get kicked in the junk for a large pot on a cash table, or to be eliminated from a tournament in such fashion... but at the end of the day I wanted my opponent making that play.

And let me be clear - I do make bad plays (I can see the folks I play with often nodding in agreement). At this stage in my poker development I am usually able to recognise that I am about to do something stupid, or that I just did something which committed me in a way I didn't desire. Step 1, of course, is to try and eliminate making these bone-headed plays. Step 2 is a different matter: when I make a bad play, and it gets snapped off or beaten, I get angry. Not at the cards, or the dealer, or my opponent who had the balls to punish my bad play. I get angry at myself. And let's be clear - I have a temper. A few weeks back during a tournament I was so mad at myself I actually had to go outside and chill out for 15 minutes, blinding down all the while, because I was playing so badly and getting so mad at myself that I was locked in a death spiral of suckitude. I had to stop and get myself together to try and salvage my situation.

Similarly last Wednesday I completely misplayed a hand and got bounced from a 180 SnG. I was completely livid that I had made such a retarded move, but I proceeded to jump onto a $100 NL table, get dealt QQ twice in a row, and got punished on both of them. To say I was a little annoyed would be understatement of the year. To my credit at that point I actually made a good decision: it was time to log off for the evening.

I realise that I can recover from such a funk. Sunday before last I played in a couple of tournaments early on Sunday, and didn't go anywhere, and I could feel my blood pressure rising. Instead of jumping into something else in my state of mind I decided that it was a gorgeous day outside, and that my time would be better spent wandering down to my local watering hole, sitting outside, drinking beer and chilling. A couple of hours later I returned home, fired up a 180, and with my new frame of mind proceeded to make the final table for a tidy profit.

So, for my own edification I am going to make myself a little list.

1. Recognise when I am about to make a bad play, and STOP!
2. While realising that 1. isn't going to happen overnight (or that I am ever going to completely eliminate the odd dodgy play from my arsenal), when it does happen, try and move on as soon as possible. Don't dwell on it during that session.
3. If I feel that I am starting to get self-tilty STOP and take a time out.
4. Do not be afraid to completely walk away if I do not think I am in the right frame of mind.

Obvious... but I still need to work at it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

WWdN Action

I was feeling a little under the weather yesterday, and I wasn't too amped about registering for the WWdN tournament. But I'm glad I did.

That is actually my best ever finish in a WWdN tournament, and my equal best finish in a blogger tournament (I also finished third in the HORSE tournament earlier this year). Making it sweeter was the fact that a bunch of us (Surflexus, SoxLover, Weak, Kat, Jules and Mookie) had entered into a "Last Longer" bet. UPDATE: Whups, forgot to include Waffles there as well. UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: And drewspop. Yeah, I'm absent-minded. Just a tad.

My play reminded me of the "Survivor" motto: Outwit, Outplay, Outlast... except you need to scrub the first two. I kept out of harm's way for most of the tournament, benefitting from a couple of timely suckouts. The first one occurred when I was feeling the pinch and I got to see a flop from the BB. I hoped that no one had hit the raggedy flop (containing two hearts), so I pushed in the hopes of nabbing the pot without a fight. No such joy, as someone called me down with their top pair. I thought I was done, but I managed to spike my 3 outer on the river. The second suck out occurred when there were only 12 or so left. I was the small stack by a margin, and needed to double to stand any chance. Given those parameters pushing from the button with T4 s00ted seemed OK, as stealing the blinds was good, but if I was called I was probably live. Called I was, but I managed to nail a flush to help propel me to the final table.

On the final table I tried to do my thing with my short-stack; try and keep out of the big stacks' way when possible, not being afraid to push when I think it was warranted. I did get some cards, but I didn't extract maximum value from them; I got AA in the BB twice when we were 5-handed - the first time it was folded around to me, and I thought it was going to happen the second time as well, but I managed to grab a few chips from CarmenSinCity.

My dodging and weaving paid off, as I eventually found myself down to the final three... except I had a tiny stack in comparison to the big boys. With the blinds humoungous I couldn't really bide my time, and ended up getting all my chips in with QTo vs A9o. No suckout this time, and I finish in 3rd. Rico played a great game... and you might recognise that Troublecat guy. Also known as Ryan (aka Absinthe), he has a 6 figure win to his name. I implore you to check out his blog, where he has the best tournament write-ups in town, as he mo-blogs while he is at the table. I understand he has got the set-up cooking for his new blog, so I am waiting in anticipation of some more goodness while he attends the current tournament series being played at Commerce. Go Ryan!

There were two moments during the tournament which I found terribly entertaining. Just after Surflexus busted, winning me the Last Longer, I had a succession of playable hands. Given my extremely short stack I proceeded to go all-in 5 times in a row, winning the blinds each time. This caught the attention of some of the railbirds in the gay IM thingy. I wish I had a transcript, but I'm going to paraphrase instead:

SoxLover: Woah! Talking about changing gears!
SoxLover: Garth has just gone psychopathic.

That got a giggle out of me.

The most entertaining (for everyone who is not Mookie) occurred earlier. Go here to check it out. Very good stuff.

UPDATE (yes, another one): I forgot to mention that I did not receive the Hammer once last night. Amazing. I guess that's what happens when you bust out the previous week re-raising all-in with the Hammer and getting it cracked by AQ. Karma, baby.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday Morning Pit Boss

First off, you may have noticed a few layout changes on Ye Olde Gay Online Diary. The wonderful and talented Katitude has presented me with a banner to help spruce up this corner of the interweb. I may be messing about with my blog template some more, but the major and most delightful change is in place.

UPDATE: It appears the banner is visible in Firefox, but not IE. I will have to investigate.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: OK, banner is now visible in both, but I am going to continue messing about.


Wednesday found me tilty and cursing at my computer, so it was probably a good thing that I had a couple days away from the virtual felt. I've already talked about Thursday, and if you thought that common sense would prevail and that I would take it easy on Cinco de Mayo... well, you just don't know me very well.

On Friday night I went up to Baltimore to attend a friend's Cinco de Mayo bash. I had a great time, knocking back way too many Mexican beers to count. I ended up crashing at 4:30am, after playing a masterful prevent defense on a drunken slapper who decided that a piece of Garthmeister J. was what she required. A scant three and a half hours later I was back on the road, heading back to DC to play a game of Aussie Rules. After which we all headed to a pub for food. And more beer.

You may not be surprised to learn that after returning home I had a lengthy nap. Mmmmm, naps....


So, poker! After emerging from my nap I was more than itching to fling some chips about. SoxLover and I jumped into a $10 single rebuy on Stars, a tournament I quite enjoy. I quite like these tournaments because there is a lot of dead money: there are those people who only buy in once, there are those people who aren't able to make it to the first break, and there are those who continue to give chips away once the rebuy period is over. 879 players signed up, and I managed to fight my way through a bunch of them, aided by being dealt AA four times and getting paid off (to varying degrees) each time. I finally went down holding the SuperDonkey (KJ s00ted), when I was unable to improve versus AT s00ted. When the dust had settled I had managed to finish in 17th place, which was worth almost $200.

While we were playing the Stars tournament I realised that Joe Speaker's favourite tournament, the 11pm $10 rebuy on Paradise, was about to start. I had long been interested in it, due to his unflattering description of the play he found there. Unfortunately for me I played like a lemur during the first hour, and including the add-on I was into the tournament for 6 buyins. Looking at the payout structure I realised that I would have to go through a whole bunch of the remaining players to finish in the black. With almost the bare minimum of chips I was into the second hour, looking to go as far as possible.

It is always hard to judge the quality of play during the rebuy period of a tournament. After all, trying to judge what is a retarded play versus what is an attempt to garner a huge stack is difficult to do. It becomes easier to judge once the rebuy period is over. And OH MY GOD were these players bad. I can not recall being in a tournament where the play was this woeful.

My favourite player of the tournament was the (at the time) biggest stack in the tournament who sat down on my direct left during the 3rd hour or so. I watched as he proceeded to play almost every hand, loving any draw... and proceeding to hit most of them. I was a smaller-than-average stack at the time, and I began praying for a premier hand to double up with against him. Finally my wishes were granted when I was dealt QQ in the SB. It was folded around to me, so I pushed my chips in, assuming the Big Stack Moron would call me from the BB with anything. I assumed correctly, as I was called down by the premier hand of 92o.

He did not suck out.

That was the last premium hand I saw, as I was delivered a might cold-decking. Nonetheless I was able to dance through the field and its ineptitude. What looked like a longshot at the end of the rebuy period became an eventuality, as I made the money. Despite my cards, I was feeling like I might actually be able to make some money. I hung on, and hung on, waiting for that hand that never appeared. I finally was forced to push with a hand, but was called down and eliminated. Somehow I had made it to 34th of 829 players, though that was only good for $20 more than I bought in for.

I will play this tournament again.

By the time I busted out of the second tournament it was 3am, and it was clearly time to crash. I didn't sleep that well, and I was conscious much earlier than I wanted. At 10am I eventually dragged my carcass out of bed. One of the tournaments I try and hit each Sunday morning is the 11:30am satellite for the 1M Guaranteed on Stars. Depending on the week it is either $53+5 or $36+3, with the top 10% or 15% respectively cashing. I have always felt that this tournament suited my game... and when you factor in that a lot of players in it do not grasp the finer points of cashing in this kind of satellite, I like my chances. Of course that means I have struck out every time I have tried this tournament, but it doesn't mean I don't like it.

SoxLover and I both entered the tournament, and despite dumping half my stack early on I was able to hang in there and make chips off my better hands. My two pair dodged a bunch of outs, as did my flopped straight, and all of a sudden I was sitting on a pile of chips. That is when I went into Operation Squat and Stall. Everytime it was my turn to act I waited until my initial 15 seconds were up before I folded. Didn't matter what my cards were. Stall Fold Stall Fold Stall Fold Stall Fold.

You would think that this kind of behaviour would be obvious to even the dimmest of poker players. Apparently not. At least three times the blinds were folded around to me. I was also able to cherry pick the blinds when I was in the SB and the BB was sitting out a couple of times (again, what the person on the Button was thinking, I have no idea). And thus I was able to coast into cashing.

I contemplated actually playing the 1M Guaranteed tournament. After all, I felt that I was playing very well, and I had won a satellite that would pay for it. But on the other hand, unregistering for the tournament would put $215 tournament dollars into my pocket. As my 180 stats suggest, I would have no problem finding tournaments to spend this on.

At the end of the day I decided to take a nap and bank the tournament chips.

After my nap I finally got around to playing Veneno in match 4 of our best of 5 series. After V had leapt out to a 2-0 lead I had pegged one back, but I was still facing elimination. As is my trademark, it turned out to be an extended affair. The pivotal hand occurred when Veneno got all her chips in on a J high flop with two diamonds. I was holding AQ s00ted, and two overcards with a backdoor flush draw turned out to be too tempting. I thought Veneno might be on the flush draw, but as her cards flipped over I saw she actually had J9o. For a moment it looked like Veneno would be poisoned herself when an Ace hit on the turn, but the river was a 9 to give her a series win. Congratulations to V! Veneno is now owed a poker-related item, though I informed her that she would receive it once she got around to sending her outstanding bounty to Weak... I'm not sure how long that bounty has been outstanding, but given this post it is at least a couple of months.

I rounded out my weekend pokeration by entering one of my beloved 180s. For a while it looked like I might continue my cashing streak, but I was dumped on the bubble when I misread a big stack's play. I was deep in the Red Zone, in the BB, with 21 players remaining. It was folded around to the SB, who merely completed. If he raised I was folding, as my Big Lick wasn't a great holding (hey, that rhymes). The flop came down A-9-x... and the SB checked to me. I read the SB's actions as revealing he doesn't have an Ace. The blinds and antes are worth a lot to me, so I push my stack in to ensure that a card he likes doesn't come later. All sound thinking, except the SB thinks a while... before calling me down with A3o. Well, fuck. No help for me, and I'm done in 21st.

Despite missing against V and in the 180 I still cashed in 3 of the 5 events I played over the weekend, finishing $300 or so to the good. I am hoping that I am going to hit serious paydirt in one of those bigger tournaments sooner or later. Who knows, I might even play the 1M Guaranteed some day soon. Stay tuned.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo... wait, I'm already hungover.

Yesterday was a little out of the ordinary for a Thursday, as I was able to duck out of work early and go with some others from my footy team to meet the Australian Ambassador at the Australian Embassy. The Embassy is within crawling distance of my house, which can be handy when I attend functions where they serve VB. An Australian friend of mine knows one of the Ambassador's relatives, and had dinner at his residence last year. Apparently the booze was flowing, and after knocking back more than a few His Excellency made a prank phone call to my friend's girlfriend. He followed this up by making a prank phone call to Australia's representative to the UN. The Ambassador is a Top Aussie. (Follow that link if you want as much Aussie as you can handle - I've actually met David Boon, and yes, he was drunk).

The meeting with the Ambassador was fine - no prank phone calls, just shooting the shit and talking sport. Unfortunately there was no VB, but you can't have everything. The meeting finished at about 5pm or thereabouts, so our only option was to go and have a few drinks. A few drinks turned into a few more drinks, which turned into a few shots, which turned into repeated dial-a-shots and text-a-shots with Big Mike and Al, which turned into a very hungover Garthmeister J. this morning. I don't normally suffer bad hangovers, but this is a beauty. I tried to nap in the park at lunchtime, but I didn't really fall completely asleep. It's at times like this I miss living walking distance from work - lunchtime naps rule.

I am meant to be going up to Baltimore tonight to a friend's Cinco de Mayo party, so I am hoping to get a little sleep at home before heading up. The plan is to stay up there tonight, and then drive down waytooearly tomorrow morning to play footy. Urgh. Of course this all means the odds of me playing poker tonight are remote. Egad, two days without poker! I'll just have to make up for it on Saturday and Sunday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Recently I have been experiencing a ludicrous run of cashes, including final tabling the WPBT Stud tournament. Last night I jumped into a 180 SnG with Weak and Gracie. It had only just begun when Weak started talking us into registering for the Rebuy Madness tournament on Stars, which started a few moments later. Being the strong willed characters we are, Gracie and I folded instantly to his reasoning.

I got off to a nice start in the 180, taking down a big pot when the flop came down 2-2-x, with two hearts and four players to the flop. I had Q-2, and at least one person was on the flush draw it seems, but more importantly the pot got built to a large enough size that I was able to use my "push all-in raise" overbet and get called by someone who thought 2-3 was good.

In Rebuy Madness, the rebuying was... well, maddening. Didn't have a lot of joy in the first hour, and for having 5 or 6 rebuys I went to the break with just under 4k. I grabbed the add-on, and then was fortunate early in the second hour to outplay a lemur and stack him, doubling me up. With 12k just after the first break, I was in a position to do some damage.

In the 180 I never built a huge stack, but dodged and weaved, and before I knew it we were on the bubble. I had about the magic number of 7k (that seems to be about the stack you need to cash), and a couple of blind steals got me into the money. Playing down to the final table was tense, and I needed to get lucky once when I pushed from the SB against another small stack in the BB. My J3o got called by K7o, but I hit the board hard... and that was enough to see me through. Once again I found myself on the final table of a 180 SnG, albeit with a small stack.

Unfortunately I didn't do much with the opportunity, busting out first. I got frisky trying the same SB all-in with, yes, J3o. This time I ran into AJ, and there was no minor miracle for me.

Back in Rebuy Madness I was busy moving through the field. I never really found myself over par, but people were steadily dropping, and without sweating it too much I found myself in the money. Every so often there was a money bump, adding $3 to my winnings. With under 200 people left of the original 2230 I looked down and saw QQ. The person to my left pushed, I had them covered, and so I pushed to isolate. The initial raiser showed AQ s00ted, but once again my QQ was not able to beat that hand. That definitely hurt me, but I still had some chips.

Using my short stack I began pushing judiciously, keeping my head above water, and people kept busting. With 107 left I got a little frisky and pushed from MP with JQ s00ted. One of the giant stacks, who I had been friendly with, was in the BB and reluctantly called with his AQo. I managed to turn an OESD, but the probabilities held, and I was out.

Going as far as I did in both tournaments was definitely gratifying - a final table in a 180, plus finishing 107th of 2230 in a rebuy tournament is nothing to be sneezed at. I do feel like I did miss an opportunity to go deeper in both of those, especially the 180, by being a little push-happy when I could have waited for a better spot. Nonetheless I can only hope my run continues.

Thanks to all the railbirds as well: Weak, Gracie, Drewspop, Mookie, SoxLover and Flux (hope I didn't forget anyone!). Always nice to have a cheering section when you go deep in a tournament.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Return of the Aggression Monkey

A couple of posts down you might be able to see my brief comments about how I planned to prepare for the most recent WPBT-POY tournament. Stud is a game I have hardly any experience with, so a little planning was in order.

Well, screw planning. Here was what I actually ended up doing:

1) Do no reading
2) Don't play any Stud at all prior to the tournament
3) As the Stud tournament starts, make sure I am deep in a 180 SnG
4) Let the Aggression Monkey out of his cage
5) Make the final table of the Stud tournament, while finishing 7th in the SnG

Simple, right?

I took the same tack as I did in the blogger HORSE tournament from earlier in the year - whenever I had a hand or when someone was showing weakness... BET BET BET BET. This strategy actually had me second in chips when we were one off the final table, but just before we made it to the final eight I lost two big hands. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

I was pretty stoked with both final tables (Stud and the 180), though the Stud final tabling carries a little more cachet. My 180 SnG stats (see sidebar) are continuing to look tasty.

Congratulations are due to SoxLover, who gets to christen his newly revamped blog (thanks to the talented Katitude) with his inaugural blogger tournament victory. The victory in Stud launched him into the top 10 in the POY race, where he is sitting pretty at #7 (I am in 27th place). Nice work!


Other notable poker happenings this weekend: I had my first foray into the Party Poker NL waters, playing a couple of one hour sessions on Friday night. First impressions? SOFT! I know this isn't a suprise to a lot of you, but nonetheless, I was pretty amazed. I made a few modifications to my normal style - don't slow play, always make pot-sized bets when there are draws on the board and you think your hand is best, don't be afraid to play fast when you hit the board hard, and always value bet on the river. That, mixed in with avoiding confrontations with the better players, seemed to be a recipe for success. I will definitely revist those tables and see if the success continues.

I also played Rebuy Madness on Saturday night (the $3 rebuy tournament on Stars). Weak, Sox and I made a pact to go all-in on the first two hands if someone didn't push ahead of us. Weak and I both stole the blinds both times, while Sox doubled up. I managed to make the money, and finally went out in 50th of 2000+. I would have loved to have gone deeper (of course!), but I had my QQ called down by AQ... and I don't need to tell you the rest. I can't complain too much as I think the call was warranted, but if I win that pot I am sitting in 12th with 50 remaining and a big score looming...