Monday, January 29, 2007

Moving Target

One of the most common questions I am asked is "Where in England are you from?" Once I correct the inquisitor and inform them that I am in fact Australian, the next most common question I am asked is "What are you doing here, then?"

My stock answer is "I can always go back", which is of course true. I know this will disappoint many of you out there on the eBays (hi Mum!), but I am not in the US because I was framed for a crime I did not commit. If I so desire I can up stakes at any time to head back to Oz.

Some people ask if I ever get homesick. The answer is, if I am being truthful, "extremely rarely". I have moved around so much, and so regularly, that I tend not to dwell on where I used to be, but just on where I am. Maybe it's just a self-defense mechanism. When I was a kid we used to spend an average of two years in one place. My Dad was a teacher, and the way to get ahead in the Western Australian Education system was to nominate for some school way-the-fuck-out-there. Essentially you were bribed with a promotion to even take a position in a place that no one sane would choose to go. So, we'd head out to some country town for two years, then spend the next two years back near Civilisation, if you use the term "Civilisation" loosely. Mind you, anything looks like a bustling city when the last "town" you lived in was technically comprised of the following: four wheat silos, a teacher's house, and a schoolhouse for 15 kids (not a joke: some time after we left the school shut down, and the town was wiped off the map - you can't have a town which is only made up of four wheat silos, apparently).

These trends continued into my secondary education. I was accepted into a school which was a 90 minute commute from where we were currently living ("Civilisation") which was a pain... but it was a good school. After my first year there my Dad accepted another position which was way-the-fuck-out-there... so I ended up spending the next year living with friends of the family so I could attend the same school. Naturally I managed to get myself in even more trouble than normal, and after that year I moved up to rejoin my family in the latest and greatest country town. This turned out only to be a six month stretch, as my Dad was accepted into a phD program in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, so we all set off on another journey. Not so much a crappy little country town as a North American city with a Super-Sized helping of snow.

(Amusing sidenote: we got to Edmonton in late June. The third day or so we were there it got close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. We were thinking, "Oh, this is OK. Pleasant". It turns out that it was the second hottest day on record - a day that would pass for "warm" in Spring where we just came from. I think that's when Mum officially wondered if she'd agreed to do something extremely painful.")

Those two years were a lot of fun, but after that it was back to "Civilisation", where I spent the very end of year 11 and my final year of High School at a dodgy institution. I think we had 75 in our graduating class, of which 5 of us went on to Tertiary Institutions. As far as I know I am the only one to receive a degree.

After High School I moved to the city to attend University. Four years of that, then one year working in Canberra (the capital of Australia, and an extremely boring place to live). Just over three years in Sydney, and so far I have three and a half here in Washington DC.

I've lived in cities in three different countries. I've lived a five minute walk from a secluded waving beach. I've lived on a farm, and I've lived on a street frequented by pimps, pushers, and prostitutes. I've lived in a place where you needed to drive for 45 minutes to be able to buy a carton of milk, and I've lived walking distance from the White House.

Every place is different, and every place has at least one thing that's both memorable and unique. Which is why I always giggle when someone asks me if I get homesick - it sort of seems strange to think in those terms. Where is home? I've been living here for almost the longest time I've lived in one place for an unbroken chunk of time. Isn't this home now?

Except here's the thing. Pauly's posts are making me homesick.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Personal Best

Due to my period of getting reacquainted with Triple Draw I have been racking up the Frequent Player Points on PokerStars. Not quite enough to get to Gold Star, but definitely enough to get to Silver. Naturally I hadn't been able to attend any of the free-rolls they have, for one reason or another, until Saturday afternoon. I took it so seriously that I actually played my Playstation at the same time for almost the entire duration of the tournament... which was probably why I received the following email 4 and a half hours later:

PokerStars Tournament #39384725, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: 100 FPP
4538 players
$20000.00 added to the prize pool by
Total Prize Pool: $20000.00
Tournament started - 2007/01/20 - 14:30:00 (ET)

Dear Garthmeister,

You finished the tournament in 10th place.
A $104.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Thank you for participating.

(I actually took a screenshot of the tournament results, but I forgot to email it to myself. Yes I suck.)

Not surprisingly to go that deep I got robo-lucky: I hit two 20% hands, was forced to move in when I was first to act with 89s and getting four callers and still winning (on the river no less), and winning a couple of 60/40 hands when I was the 40. That luck was offset to a degree by my not getting QQ,KK or AA in the entire 270 minutes - I did get AK twice, AQ twice, but that's not exactly a good run of cards. Add to the fact that the levels went up every ten minutes (as opposed to the normal 15 minutes Stars has) and it made things very interesting.

Finishing ahead of 4528 other people is my personal best in a tournament, though I can't help but feel like I would have really preferred to have beaten that many people and received a bigger payday. Of course you can also make the claim that the fact it was a free-roll gave me a large assist in making it as deep as I did. But hey! free money is free money. And free money after beating 4000+ people is sweet money. And free money after beating 4000+ people and playing Playstation at the same time is the sweetest money.

Hugs and kisses to the CBGCs aka Canadian Double Trouble aka Kat and Jules who appeared when we were down to less than 200 and rail-birded as I made my run. A bit of moral support was definitely appreciated. We'll get 'em next time!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What? A Year Already?

A few posts ago I mentioned my blog's pseudo-birthday, which I referred to as the anniversary of my first post, though it was just a placeholder. It somehow seems appropriate that on the morning of the real anniversary of my first real post I am extremely hungover as a result of drinking with one of my Imaginary Internet Friends who I met through this thing.

It also seems appropriate that I managed to get the anniversary of my first real post wrong. It was actually a week ago. Yay me!

I'm not going to get too schmaltzy here, but nonetheless it has been a pretty crazy year since I finally completed the move from lurker to commenter to blogger. The trips to Vegas, AC, and home games, the development of my poker game (such that it is), the continued enablement of my alcoholism.... all these things have come from the fact there happen to be a lot of very cool people on the ebays.

Who knows where it will go from here? I know some people might be worried about what the future holds for our little "community" - and again, the timing of the Neteller announcement also seems appropriate - but I have never got too worked up about it. Though it's true that the vast majority of us have met each other because of poker, that's not the be all and end all of it. I used to play poker with people who I was friendly with; I now have friends who I occasionally play poker with. Removing the poker isn't going to remove the friendships.

Fuck - I said I wasn't going to get schmalzy. I better go check-raise someone, pronto.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Running Well

I am probably going to jinx myself by saying this (hmm, did my reverse-jinx work?), but I am currently doing well at the tables. I am playing almost exclusively Triple Draw at the moment, with a few big MTTs mixed in (and maybe some random stupidity to boot), and that is treating me alright. I have been playing a mix of 2/4, 3/6 and 5/10 Triple Draw on Stars. Lately I have taken to a new strategy of table selection. I open up Stars and check the tables that are running. If none look juicy, I put my laptop nearby and play my Playstation. If I notice a good table I either jump on or get in line - if I am in line I keep playing Playstation until I get on the table. If the table no longer looks good when I get on it, I just stand up. If I am playing on the table for a while, and the table no longer looks good, I get up.

Using this method over the last few days I played two "sessions" like this on Friday and Monday night, both extremely profitable. On the other hand, I played a conventional marathon session on Saturday (while keeping an eye on the NFL games), and I suffered a reasonable loss. I guess that speaks for itself, no?

I'm glad it's only taken me this long to embrace table selection in Triple Draw...

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Long have I been waiting for someone, somwhere, to have a Triple Draw MTT that I could have a shot at. Once Stars began offering Triple Draw cash tables, I figured tournaments wouldn't be too far behind, but I had been disappointed thus far. In fact, I had essentially given up on seeing them, until Waffles pinged me with the news that he was playing in one. WOO HOO!

Waffles then began asking me for advice, which he seemed to disregard almost entirely. I guess there are no surprises there. But this did mean thatI was alerted to the existence of Triple Draw tournaments.

Stars is currently offering them at 2:45pm EST (10 + 1) and 10:30pm EST (20 + 2). So last night, tired though I was, I dutifully logged on at 10:30pm to play. I hadn't thought much at all about TD tournament startegy really... my thoughts were either "slow down at the start" or "play my normal cash game" and go from there. Since it was my first tournament, I figured I'd just play my normal game and see how we went.

Cold-decking in a cash game can suck, but cold-decking in a Triple Draw tournament BITES. The blinds seemed to get pretty big pretty fast, and since you're six-handed in TD, it got messy quickly. Adding insult to injury was a big hand where I had a monster draw, had someone drawing but betting out at me out of position. On the last draw we both took one card. I drew #3. He bet, I raised, he-reraised... yes, he had drawn #1. That put a huge hole in my stack, and I busted soon thereafter.

Though I have to think about modifying my strategy, I do think that the TD tournaments need to either increase the level lengths, decrease the blind increases, or increase the starting chipstacks. As it stands now it's just too streaky. Hopefully Stars tweaks them somewhat in the near future... and the current things I'm moaning about probably aren't enough to keep me from playing the odd tournament anyway.

Why don't you check one out?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Things I Missed Mentioning Inbetween Posts

In chronological order:

Work Stuff Blowing Up And Sucking My Will To Live
My Blog's Pseudo-Birthday
My 30th Birthday
New Year's Day

Four of those things were worth celebrating, though one was not. Huzzah!