Saturday, April 30, 2005
I'm still hovering around $100 on Full Tilt. Its better than losing, but I wouldn't mind some upward progress. I placed 2nd in a $10 NLHE SNG. Overall, I played solid. Tight hand selection, broken up by some random action to keep them all guessing.
I was dealt 55, utg+1. Utg folded. I call 30. Two players in Late Position call. SB folds. BB calls. 4 Players in the Hand.
The flop is 4c 5h 9s, giving me three of a kind. SB checks. I bet 120, a pot sized bet. One of the players in late position (MonkeyTrap) raises to 240. All other players fold. I raised it to 510. Monkey called.
The turn is Jc. I bet 450. MonkeyTrap calls.
The river is Kd. There is no fear of a flush and a very slight chance of a straight. I bet 480, all in. Monkey calls, and pays me off. He had 9T. Sucker. I win the pot (3,045) with three of a kind, Fives, and take the lead.
I am the SB with 2c 9c. MrStealth in middle position calls 60. Ritalin, on the button calls 60. I call and BB checks.
The flop is 9d 2s Qc. Its the small blind special. For half the price you get a chance to flop a premium hand. I bet a small 180. BB folds, MrStealth raises all in for 1,355. Ritalin folds. Opportunity knocks and I kick the door in. I call and show my two pair. He has Qs Kd. Neither the turn, nor river help him and I take out another player. Love that small blind special. I triumphantly announce: Didnt expect the 29!
The Last Hand
I've been suffering from suckout syndrome. Its happening a shit load, but I feel good about it, since it means that I am putting my money in with the best of it. During the tourney, for instance, I checked my stats when it was down to 4 players. I had won 100% of the showdowns I had played until that point. Not too shabby.
For the final hand, I held KK, and was 2nd to act. The slight chip leader raised to double the blinds, 400. I doubled that to 800. He raised to 4200. I had no choice but to go all in. He held AJ suited clubs. The flop was three clubs. The turn and river were two Js. I lost, but I had no choice in the matter. At least I can't hold myself accountable.
Thanks for reading people. Good luck to all of you, and hopefully good luck to me as well.
Damn Suck Outs
Friday, April 29, 2005
Last night, I was playing some more Full Tilt working off the bonus. I placed 3rd in a two table $5 SNG after my internet connection went out. I was definitely short-stacked, but I'd like to think that I still could've made a comeback. Those are the pitfalls of wireless Internet though.
I had a horrible suckout which cost me a $30 pot during a .25/.50 NL game. I looked down to pocket 10s. I raised to $2. Some guy after me pushed all in for $13.50 or so. I thought for a second. A Vegas flashback reminded me of the time I folded 10s to a guy who re-raised my $7 bet to $54 preflop. He had 8s. I would've hit four of a kind.
I then thought about something I read in Grubby's old posts (pokergrub.com). I love reading Grubby's old posts. Anyway, he was saying how when someone pushes all in too early, they usually are bluffing. Otherwise, they would limp and try to extract more money from you. Sound reasoning to me.
I called. My pocket 10s went agains Ace Ten. DOMINATED...until two aces come up and I'm drawing dead. What a load of crap. That's poker, but it sure ain't pretty.
On the positive side, at least I keep getting sucked out, rather than fooled into giving up my chips to a better player. Its a weak consolation prize, but hopefully its one that will pay off long term. I'm beginning to get good at taking disappointment at the table. Eventually, when the suckouts die down, I will be unstoppable. Or so I hope. Until then, happy poker.
From Hammers to Bullets
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Here are two back-to-back hands in the $5 two table NL Holdem SNG I took 3rd in. I found this to be an interesting couple of hands. Remember they were literally back to back.
Hand #1- The Hammer
I look (figuratively) down to see the hammer, 2 7 offsuit. So, of course, I limp in. Cause thats how I do. There are four other players in the hand.
The flop came down: 842 with two hearts. Someone made a timid raise of 120. I called with bottom pair. One other person called as well.
The turn was a 2, giving me three of a kind. It's checked to me and I raise 480. There was one caller.
The river is 9 hearts (making 3 hearts on the board). The guy before me checks. I check. He has Q6 of hearts for a flush. I show my hammer and type HAMMER! in the chat box. While I lost the hand, I set a table image. Now, they all thought I was the crazy guy.
Hand #2- Bullets
This is the very next hand and I am utg (under the gun, i.e., to the left of the big blind). I look down to see AA. I raise to 480 preflop. The BB called.
The flop is 448. I bet 480 again. He raises all in. I call quickly and happily. The fool had 55. With no 5 on the turn or river, I take down the pot. BOOYA!
Hand #3- Taking it Slow
One last hand that I was very proud of. I was on a string of luck and decided to play it out. With Q9o on button, I limped in. 120/240 blinds. I was the chip leader and hitting everything.
The flop was 997. Someone in mid position a weak 240. I call. SB and BB fold. Just Bettor and me now.
The turn is a 4. Bettor bets 500. I call.
The river is a 4 . Bettor checks. I bet all in, which is about T4000 more than he has. It was my way of looking like I was overplaying the hand. T5000 chips looks like more than his T1000, so by betting it all, I was hoping that he would think I was acting strong to steal the pot. He called. I dont know what hell he had, other than a hurting.
I've been able to log a decent amount of time into Full Tilt today. After all of my play on their site, I'm up $6. I can't seem to have any significant wins. Plus, I change my game so often (I hate full tables) that even when I am doing well, eventually I run into the wrong room. Tonight the 'wrong room' was a no limit holdem room. I thought that no limit action might help me with a significant win. Instead, I left down $6 or so bucks. Its not a lot, but it was still a loss.
Now, for this 'You Decide' I'm going to switch things up a bit. Here's the deal. I know that I could've played this hand better. But the other guy, I don't know. At first, I liked his play, but now I'm not so sure. Here is the hand.
Six-handed .25/.50 NL. I'm on the button with QJo. The players before me fold (maybe one limper). I called on the button. The small blind calls. Big Blind checks.
Flop: QK7. BB raises to $1. If anyone was between him and I, they fold. I call with middle pair. SB folds.
Turn: 8. Rainbow board. BB checks. I consider a raise, but ultimately check.
River: Blank (i.e., unimportant). BB raises to $4. I call. He shows K6, for top pair. I have QJ, for middle pair.
So, at first I thought, nice check on the turn. He gets some info on me and knows that he is good with top pair with a poor kicker. On the next card, he can raise into me knowing I probably don't have top pair with a better kicker.
On the other hand, I may've bluffed him out when he showed weakness. Worse still, if I raised, would he have timidly called with top pair. If so, he may as well raise. I don't know, but there is definitely a tough decision there. Overall, he won the hand, but could he have won more.
Post it up! I'll catch you all later. I have to get back to my bonus-whoring on Ole' Tilty.
Man, Full Tilt really makes you work for those bonuses. Granted I play low stakes, but after probably 6 hrs of play or so, I think I earned .86 of the bonus. Its very different from Empire, where I received my full $25 bonus in a little over a day. Now I'm working my ass off for $10 out of $100 possible.
Regardless, I've committed myself to only playing on Full Tilt. I've removed all of my money from Golden Palace and Empire so that I could limit the amount of money in poker limbo. The result was an immediate $165 increase to my winnings, which still leaves me shy of the $400 mark I was hoping to reach by April 30th. Oh well. I wouldn't have taken out the money if it would've cost me a transaction fee. But since it doesn't, I might as well bank it. I could use some new shirts and ties anyway. And Kim never has difficulty spending money.
As for Full Tilt, I'm still not a huge fan of their site. As I've said before, there are too few players. They have a plethora of games, but no one playing them. Its more than a little annoying. If a Razz game starts in the woods but there is no one to play it, does it make a rake?
Last night, I had some computer problems. While I was working on it, Kim fell asleep. So, even though we had a poker moratorium for one day...I broke it. The way I see it, the purpose of taking the break was to enjoy Kim's company. Once she's asleep, there is no point to the moratorium.
So, last night I won about $10. Its nothing spectacular, but its better than losing. I was playing .25/.50 limit holdem, .25/.50 stud, a $5 limit tournament (in which I placed 7/10) and a couple of other random tables. I didn't mean to play a limit tournament, but after the tournament started, what could I do. What the hell is the point of a limit tournament anyway?! I mean, I guess some people like that sort of thing, but to me the point of a tournament is to play in a controlled environment where you knock out other players. With limit, its a friggin' hour before two people are knocked out. Its just too damn long. So, excuse me limit tourney players, but it isn't for me.
I don't have much in the way of exciting hands. I did try to pick up one hand in the tourney with the hammer. I raised pre-flop, planning a bluff anyway, as I was on the button. I hit my 7, the middle pair (8 was the high card), and raised. I got a call. The next card was an A. I raised again and was called. The final card was a 2. I raised and was called. The other guy had A8. He was playing extremely passively. But I guess I deserve it for playing the hammer.
Good luck to everyone out there. Thanks for reading. I now have to get back to the day-in-day-out of lawyering. If you are on Full Tilt, I'm the gnome with the name HighOnPoker. See you there!
The Morning After
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Like a poker hangover, I woke up today tired, groggy and with a general malaise. Losing in poker sucks, plain and simple. When it's a significant loss, like last night's $90 debacle, the malaise can stick around for a while. Fortunately, tonight there is a poker ban in my household, suggested by fiance Kim. I've been playing so much, it seems like we don't have time together...even though we live together. In the end, this is good for me. One day off will give me perspective. Already, I am beginning to see the errs of my way last night. They are mostly two-fold.
ONE: Getting away from good hands that are definite losers. On two occassions I called big bets with a great hand when, in my heart of hearts, I knew I lost. In the first instance, it was Robbie Hole, Randy, and me in one hand. I had AQ. The flop was rags, all low. There was a small raise preflop ($2) from Rob. Rob raised on the flop for another $2. I had him on a small pair. Randy called, I called hoping to hit my overcards. The next card was an A. I believe that Rob bet $5. Randy, who is very loose, called. I called as well, with a sinking suspicion I was going against an AK or some other hand. The river was a blank. It dawned on me then. One of these guys probably has A and a low card that paired the board. My AQ had lost to a two-pair. Rob raised $10. Randy folded. I thought for a while. I was pretty sure I was beat, but I only had $7 in front of me, so if I folded I was in trouble anyway. Knowing Rob is loose, I called...and lost to A5, a two-pair. I knew it. But I could not fold my AQ. Stupid me. I have said in the past that this is a major flaw in my game. I must work extra hard to end it.
TWO: Walking away from bad games. As I said in my last post, my table image was crap. Even if I had the nuts, I was going to lose. So everyone was calling me down. My style is generally agressive in live games. I try to make it so no one can call me down. It doesn't work with a crappy table image. I kept buying back in, and each time I was in a losing state of mind. I should have stopped after $60 or even less. But home games are not very often and its hard for me to walk away. To make matters worse, once you've lost a couple of buy-ins, your $20 rebuy is a pittance compared to the other stacks at the table. That means they can call you down EVEN MORE. So you have to be extremely patient. When the clock is ticking, patience is not my strong point.
On a final note, Gamblor, the god of gambling, was really messing with me yesterday. In one hand I folded pocket 3s after calling one raise and being re-raised. The flop had a 3. I was upset until someone showed their trips 7s. At least I got away from that one. Aside from that, it seemed that I hit every flop I folded to hard. I mean, at least two straight flops, and several other sweet hands that would have won if I played marginal or even crappy cards. Gamblor, your rebuke is harsh. But I will pray to you (tomorrow) anyway.
On a second final note, I may play in an underground poker room this or an upcoming weekend on Long Island. My little brother's friend works there and he told me about a $30 ($20 rebuy) tournament at 2:30pm on Sat and Sun. Sounds good to me. I think $10 goes to the house, which is high, but I guess underground rooms have a lot of overhead. Rumor has it, 1st place takes about $3000. Would be nice.
Happy poker everyone. May your protecting raises be folded to, and your value raises called.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Robbie Hole's game was less than successful. In total, I bought in four times and lost a total of $80. It was an odd night because, overall, I don't think that I played poorly. Rather, my luck was horrible.
In my first bust out, I was on the button with 89 of hearts. We were six-handed. Dre, to my left, raised it to $2 total. I called. Maybe one other person called. The flop was 7h9x4x. I hit top pair. Dre raised $2. I called. The turn was 8x. I hit two pair. Dre checked. I raised $5. Dre called. The river was a 6x. With two pair, and confidence that my man did not have a straight, I raised all in after Dre checked. Dre called. My 89 was running against his pocket pair of 8s. With three of a kind to my two pair, I lost the hand. I don't see how I could have laid it down. Dre later told me he wanted to check it down with me. He was afraid I had the straight. But my all in was not expensive enough to make him back down. Damn!
In a later bust out, I held AQ in the big blind. I raised to $1.50. With three players in, the flop was Q27, with two diamonds. I checked, and another player bet out $2. I reraised to $5, in an attempt to push out flush draws. One player folded. Randy, the original raiser, called. The turn was an A. I bet $5 again. Randy called. The river was a K. I went all in for about $7. Randy called with pocket KKs. Again, my two pair was beat by a three of a kind. Only this time, I was ahead, and my competition hit their 2 outer.
This was how the night went. I realized after my second bad beat that I couldn't win. My table image sucked. Even if I had cards I couldn't win. So all of my bets were called down. Plus, when buying in with $20 against players with $100+, its hard to get any respect when betting.
I have a lot of topics I'll save for another post. I'm sure things will turn around, so I'm not concerned. Even so, what a kick in the balls.
Hole is where the heart is. Of course, "Hole" is Robbie Hole, fellow poker degenerate and all around fun guy. And "heart" is poker. In other words, Robbie Hole is hosting a game tonight! Very exciting.
I've only played at Hole's place on two occassions. The first was a long time ago. It was a six-handed tournament, consisting of Hole, me, Rouss, Aps, Randy (Hole's cousin) and Marc (Aps' friend who I consider the best player in the bunch). Marc ended up winning each tourney that night. Uncanny! I have the best time playing when I sit next to Marc. He and I will predict other players' hands when we are both folded. He's had some great reads. Truely inspiring.
The second time at Hole's was for Hole's recent birthday. Check out earlier posts in which I discuss my last minute $40 win on a hand I had no right to be in.
Tonight, I look forward to another loose, fun game. I should be able to walk away a winner, but I don't expect to see that much money in play, since I only figure there will be 5-6 players, and no high rollers.
Here's a thought: When you most often play poker against friends and acquaintences, how do you deal with constantly winning?
This is not exactly my problem, but still, there is a line between friendly games and games played for profit. There should be a balance. In the end, the truth is, you have to play to win, even if you are up against your grandma and you are playing for her heart transplant money (note: Grandmas, I love you both. Thank god you don't need a heart transplant.). But the other aspect is that even if you play to win, eventually the game will dry up, because no one wants to be a steady loser.
Last thing: In my poker-whoring mode, I signed up for Full Tilt. I used FirePay to deposit money because, apparently my debit cards have a moral objection to online gambling (note to self: I really should post my online gambling paper). They charged me about $5! I hate paying for depositing money. At least the bonus is 100%, awarded in 10% increments. I deposited $100 (more than usual), but I feel that it is worth it if I can earn the bonuses.
A few quick thoughts on Full Tilt. (1) The tables always seem empty. What's the point of Razz if no one is playing. (2) The avatars are clever [you can change their emotions], but the graphics are difficult to read and cluttered. I never know when it is my time to play.
That's it for now. They'll be a Hole recap tomorrow (or tonight) and then on Wednesday, there is a self-imposed poker hiatus due to some not-so-subtle-but-oh-so-accurate statements by fiance Kim. Love that girl!
Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?
Monday, April 25, 2005
My home game has folded due to a poor response and last minute cancellations. Its enough to make a man consider ending all future home games. Where have all the poker degenerates gone? I think I know the answer.
For me, poker is not only fun, but, more often than not, profitable. For others, this is not necessarily the case. Some of my past regulars were losing. I don't know how much, and I don't know how often, but we couldn't all win. Some of these players could handle the losses. Others, unfortunately, took it too personally and stopped playing. It's a shame for me, but I can't blame them. Poker is not for everyone. So, there goes some of my players.
Poker is definitely my number one hobby. During the workday, when I am bogged down in legal work, I spare a thought for poker and look forward to my future play. Others, however, don't have that love for poker. Simply put, these people came to my home games to try it out. Some of them won. Others lost. But overall, these players did not see the need, nor the want, to come over to some guy's apartment for beer, pizza and poker. Simply put, these guys did not catch the poker bug.
On a related note, some players did catch the bug, but it didn't stick. These 'fad' players liked the game for a while, but eventually just moved on. So, the regulars stop being regulars. They became distracted by other pursuits.
Finally, there is definitely a population that has moved on to other games. Maybe it was closer to home. Perhaps it was a softer game. Possibly, they did not like one of my regulars (which I know has occurred).
In the end, I don't blame any of these people. I do, however, find it disheartening that home games take so much effort to set up, and lately don't seem to pan out. I need to find some local poker-focused compadres. Until then, I'll travel to Queens whenever a game pops up (I am nudging some friends out there for a Tues game), and to the Upper East Side to Desi's game every other week. Maybe my home game has dried up, but my poker has not. Thank god for online poker and my poker-friendly friends.
I'll like to wrap up by admitting that my posts have lacked direction as of late. That will change shortly. I plan on paying better attention to hands that I am in, and relaying them here. I find that limit, in general, is a lot less exciting than no limit. But even so, I will keep my eye open for any exciting hands. Thanks for reading, and happy poker.
What a turnaround. I used to be a big fan of Golden Palace. Read some of my posts from one or two weeks ago and you'll see what I mean. Now, however, after playing on Empire Poker for the weekend, I must say that I don't see myself playing on Golden Palace for a while.
My bankroll on Empire started at $50. It is currently at $86, after I withdrew $75. Yesterday, my account reached $100 (until late-night loose action caused me to dip). So, overall, I am running roughshod over the competition at Empire. Keep in mind that I am playing .50/1 exclusively, albeit in a number of different games. My new favorite is 7-Stud Hi/Lo. Stud isn't available of Golden Palace, so it is a new game to me. So far, so good.
I feel like the competition at Empire is weaker too. At Golden, I was up and down. At Empire, I've barely lost in any of my sessions. Often, I leave with twice my money, which is quite a task, given the limits.
So, thank you once more Empire, for sending me that CD in the mail. I look forward to trying some other sites in the near future, in order to earn some bonuses.
On that note, if anyone knows of a central site that lists bonuses, or any other service similar thereto, or knows of any other way for me to find out about the many bonuses out there, please let me know via email (email@example.com), or by leaving a comment. Thanks folks. My bonus-whoring has just begun.
Finally, my home game is scheduled for tonight. Right now we only have 5 people (including me) at start time with another coming shortly after, and a few 'maybes' out there. Damn it people, just commit. If you can't commit to poker, what can you commit to. Flakes! Happy Poker everyone. Wish me luck.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
I earned my bonus on Empire, and I have to say, I think I love the site. The .50/1 game has been easy pickins so far. It seems like some players don't know how to fold. I'm just following my usual patterns (with minor variations throughout to throw off savy players, and I haven't had a losing session yet. With the $25 bonus, my Empire bankroll has reached over $125 from my original $50. I'm very tempted to withdaw $50, but I think I'll wait till I hit $150, or maybe $175. Right now, neither goal seems too out of reach.
In addition, I am thinking of taking advantage of their referral bonus. I'm thinking of referring my brother, who is also my roommate, but doesn't play poker (wink wink). Its an easy $50. I almost wonder why I've not been bonus whoring before this venture. I suppose in the past, I could never clear my bonus. But that was before I was playing low limit hold'em (as opposed to no limit ring games and tournaments). Now, I was able to clear 125 raked hands in a day, collecting my bonus with ease. To receive the referral bonus, brother Keith will have to play 125 raked hands as well. No problemo.
On a final note, if anyone wishes to sign up for Empire, please feel free to leave a comment or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to use me as a referral. I could use the bonus, and I think you get a 20% bonus as well. ParOtherwise, good luck to all. A happy Passover to all Jewish readers. And a happy weekend to everyone else.
The Empire Strikes Back
Friday, April 22, 2005
Thank you Empire Poker. Empire sent me a CD with a $25 bonus on it. I signed up for an account, and abandoned my "Brodybanky" handle for "HighOnPokr". Notice there is no "e" in Poker, because apparently someone beat me to it. Jerk. They also got HiOnPoker, but I think my variation, sans the e, is better.
I deposited $50 initially, so the $25 bonus is really a 50% bonus, which is pretty sweet. Now I have to play 125 raked hands to be receive it. So far, I've played 36, and am up $5. Not bad for 10 minutes. Let's hope its all North from here.
Wow! I just withdrew another $50 from my online account, after bringing my online bankroll to $200. My logic is this: I won the tournament and left $125 in my account. I figured that once I reached $200, I could withdraw $50, and have $150 in my account. This will allow me to continue at my higher stakes and build my bankroll, while taking a definite profit out. So, my next goal is to reach $220 or $225 (I haven't decided yet). Then I will withdraw another $50 and be left with $170 or $175 online. My bankroll will expand, but I will still have my $50 profit locked away. Hopefully, I can continue my recent success.
On Monday, I have my home game, assuming I can scrap up enough people. Usually, I don't win at my own home. There are too many distractions to play solid poker. But, at least my online poker is turning profitable (slowly). Thanks for reading, and Happy Poker!
Hey folks. After last night's Aps loss, I decided to play some .25/.50 NL, to win back my money. Generally, this is never a good idea. However, by the end of the night, I won $60 online. I don't count that in my winnings for the year because I have yet to withdraw the funds from Golden Palace. However, it was a great moral victory, and brought my online bankroll to $144.
To make matters better, I was playing this morning on two .25/.50 NL tables. On one, I eventually lost my $20 buy in. In one miserable hand, I had about $12, and someone pre-flop went all-in with $11. I called with my QQ. He had K8 suited...and hit the flush! Dumba$$.
However, on the other table, I doubled up. I was at about $40, when the chipleader with $60 raised all in. Interestingly, a raiser before me raised to 1.50. I called with JJ. Chipleader came over the top with all his chips. I've seen him go all in before with 66. I thought about it. I had to call, but $40 was a lot of dough. I called...and he had 99. Ka ching! He didn't hit his cards, and I was up to $80.
My Golden Palace bankroll is now at $187 or so. I plan to withdraw $50 when I hit $200. My winnings for the year are at $264, so the $50 (if I hit $200) will allow me to break the $300 mark again. Even so, I am behind my goal of $100 per month. Hopefully my online success will continue. Thanks for reading. If you get a chance, respond to You Decide #4. I really could use anyone's opinion. I'm still not sure if I should've called the pre-flop raises. I'm fairly confident about my all-in, but others may think differently. Holla back and happy poker!
You Decide #4
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I lost both of the $40 tournaments at Mikey Aps tonight. In the 2nd one, I was the first to lose the tournament....in the third hand. The hand went like this:
8 players, 100 chips each, 1/2 blinds. I am the BB. I look down to see 44.
Most fold. Tony, UTG, calls. All fold to Mikey Aps, who is on the button Aps raises it to 8 total. I call, thinking that Aps is a loose player trying to steal. Tony raises it another 6! Wha? Aps calls. Should I call? Well, I did.
The flop was: 874, rainbow. I check. Tony raises 16, Aps folds. I go all in for 70 more. Should I have pushed so hard? Tony called. I triumphantly announce, "Trips 4s." He says, "Sevens." As in, Trips 7s! To make it worse, he hits the 4th 7 on the river. And I'm out.
Did I play this wrong? Advice and opinions are appreciated.
Woe! I'm playing online. .25/.50 NL, with $20 buy in. In an oddly paralell and creepy hand, I was on the BB with QQ. A player raises at me, and I raised back. He called. The flop was Q8x. I raise. He goes all in. I call. I have the nuts, trips Q. He has...trips 8s!. Its practically the same situation as in my home game, except this time I won! He, of course, left the table immediately. I can't blame him. I was out of Mikey Aps' apartment as fast as my legs would carry me.
Anticipation is not just a fine Carly Simon song (I have to admit an odd fascination with some of Ms. Simon's music). It's also how I feel right now.
Tonight is Mikey Ap's home game $40 tournament. He expects 8-9 players, most of which, I am sure, are decent players. I plan on getting my confidence up throughout the day by reminding myself of my recent tourney win and my overall genius ability at poker. In my humble opinion, there is only one thing that is more helpful than confidence when playing poker. That one thing is luck. Since I can't control luck, I'll settle for confidence.
Last night, I ended up even for the night (although I thought I was up, so my starting number may have been off). I now have about $82 online. I placed 3rd in a $5 STT. I also played in several limit tables (.25/.50 and .50/1). Finally, I lost $10 in a .25/.50 NL.
The NL table sorta screwed me. I lost the majority of my money when I was Big Blind with J2, and the flop came out AJ3. I thought, now or never, and bet at it. I had one caller. I think I checked to him on the turn and called him, and then moved all in (for my remaining $1.50 or so into a huge pot. I knew he didn't have the A. What I didn't know is that he had QJ. I should have known, but at that point, I think I was just giving my money away. Next time I sit at .25/.50, I'll bring a full $20. I knew that starting with $10 was the wrong move, but I didn't want to expose myself to bigger losses. Plus I was multitabling, and was not paying enough attention.
I think .25/.50 NL might become my new game of choice. Its the same stakes as my usual home games. The only glaring problem is the variance in a NL game. But, overall, I think I will work it into my poker routine. Limit has been good to me, and has kept me from blowing large stacks. However, I am still, in my heart of hearts, a No Limit Soldier.
Finally, I was comped a free room at the Resorts Casino in Atlantic City for any weeknight (Sun.-Thurs.) until June 30th. I plan on going on Sun., June 5th, with Rouss and Robbie Hole. Rouss is definitely in. Robbie is probably. We might take a fourth. My plan is to go and play poker until my eyes bleed. This will be a guys-only trip, as opposed to the last AC trip, which included my, Rob's, and Rouss's ladies. So, we won't have anything stopping us (me) from playing lots of poker. Resorts is right next to Trump Taj Mahal, one of the few casinos in AC with a decent cardroom. The others (offhand) are Tropicana (which I have enjoyed in the past) and Borgata (which I've never played poker at). I wouldn't mind playing at the Borg, but part of me is anti the high life. Borgata feels like it is a whole lot of hype. It's secluded from the boardwalk. It's definitely beautiful. But I always find it crowded and overpriced. Of course, all of the "rich" people might be good for their card room. So, maybe I'll put my prejudices aside...but not likely.
Wish me luck for tonight. A win would be a big deal for me. The $$ would be good, and the confidence boost even better. Happy Poker.
Poker, the New Baseball
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Not too long ago, I was on the phone with Mikey Aps (or maybe it was Robbie Hole) discussing my current life’s dream: to be a professional poker player.
I’ve read a couple of postings from professionals that warned people that it was not all that it was cracked up to be. Obviously, there are losing days. I suppose, it can be very stressful, too. But there is one positive that, to me, beats out all of the negatives. As a professional poker player, I could spend all day and make a living (hypothetically) by playing a game. It’s every kid’s dream. No real work. You make your own hours. And your day in the office consists of a freaking game.
When I was discussing this with Aps (or Hole), I came to the conclusion that being a professional poker players is akin to most kid’s dream to be a professional baseball player. I never was the athletic type. But we all, at one point or another, had that dream to be a professional basketball, football, hockey or even a lowly soccer player (just kidding, soccer fans).
Now, when I watch most any professional sport (except for golf), I am older than a good portion of the players. At 25, I’ve found a new athlete to aspire to…professional poker player.
So, for anyone who thinks that my dream to be a professional poker player is a pipe dream…that’s the point a$$hole. I like my pipedreams.
The Sound of Poker
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
I play online poker. And while I play online poker, there is inevitably something else going on in the background. Most of the time, its the t.v. Usually, Kim is watching one of her programs that I am willing to watch, but not willing to give 100% attention to. Otherwise, I sometimes turn on the t.v. myself, and leave a show on in the background, usually poker.
But lately, when I'm playing and alone, I've started turning to the music channels. My cable company offers channels which play different music genres. I've lately been listening to the Rap station. As a suburban white boy growing up in the eighties and nineties, I practically grew up on rap music. I remember at the lunch after my jr. high school graduation, my mother got me a CD, Dr. Dre's the Chronic. My father, who had no involvement in the purchase, began reading song titles off of the back of the CD. I can vividly remember the shock on his face when he read titles like N****** with a Gun aloud. Classic.
Anyway, my point is, listening to music in the background, and Rap specifically, helps my game. There are less distractions. I don't have to half-pay-attention to the t.v. The music recedes into the background, and I can reach a poker zone.
Now, if I'm playing in person, I can't see myself as one of those players with their ipod at the table. I think there are too many audio tells to miss, like the tone in a person's voice. But online, those issues are nullified.
So, kudos to rap music. I'm sure other people can suggest different types of music. I personally listen to rock as well, but I'll dabble in just about anything (jazz, classic rock, techno, but not country or jam bands). I need to get more mp3s on my laptop, but I want to avoid opening the laptop to the perils (read: viruses) of file sharing programs. I'm thinking of signing up for one of the pay services. $1/song isn't bad. I might even buy a CD (something I haven't done in years). 50 Cent first, and who knows what after.
Oh, and last night, I had my second winning night in a row. I think I took another $10 or so. My online bankroll is $84, which is a nice recovery from when I was dipping below $60. Upward and onward.
So, if anyone wants to suggest some music to play poker to, please do. Leave a comment, or email me. I'd like some advice about techno music, since the trance beats work well for hitting a rhythm. But otherwise, I'm interested in any suggestions. And if you know a good file-sharing program (I am only familiar with Kazaa), pass the word along. Finally, to all NYers, enjoy the weather. And Happy Poker.
Online has continued to be a disaster. For the first time in about a week, I've ended the day up, about $10. However, overall, I went from 125$ after my tournament win, to about $59. Not good. I'm getting shit hands, and worse flops. But that is okay by me. I understand that it is inevitable in poker.
On the home game front, I was seriously disappointed when Desi's home game, planned for tonight, was cancelled due to a poor response. I used to host home games regularly, and a lot of work goes into setting up a game. I guess if the players were as poker-focused (read: addicted) as I am, then it wouldn't be an issue. But that is not the case, so every once in a while, a game folds. Or worse, a home game dries up totally, like mine did a few months ago.
In order to make my own action, I've set up two potential home games. I called Mikey Aps, aka Duesche Boyd, to see if he was holding his usual Thursday game. Duesche got his nickname due to his obnoxious poker demeanor (think Hellmuth) and the visor and sunglasses he occassionally wears (think Boyd). Regardless of his style, he is a great player. He runs with a crew of work friends who are also solid players.
Aps (I will avoid calling him Duesche) got me into poker in the first place. His was the first home game I attended. I started bringing friends and his games exploded. Unfortunately, I was looking for a steady game, and Aps couldn't commit as much as I'd liked. So I started throwing my own games. His games were still happening, but less often. Now that my games are done, I guess his are back to running. By attending, I could bring in a bunch of new players. Plus, I would bet that all of the usual players know each other's game pretty well. I can roll in as the enigma.
The only shortcoming to Aps' game is the distance. Aps is deep in Queens, so travel via subway takes 30-45 minutes. It can be tough on weeknights. But I love poker, so I'll make due.
The second game that I am arranging will be at my apartment, this upcoming Monday. This is a big deal to me, since I have not hosted a home game in about a month. If any readers would like to attend, please post a comment or send me an email. I am in NYC, in the financial district (near Wall St). Its a .25/.50 cash game, where players usually buy in for $20. I don't think anyone has lost more than $100 for a night, but players usually don't win much more than $100 (it has happened though). Its a friendly drinking atmosphere. Game time is 7pm.
Keep leaving comments. It's always good to see that someone is reading. And good luck with all of your poker pursuits.
Who Do I Have to #@*& to Get a Normal Game?
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Man, I must be playing at the wrong places. Lately, whenever I am at a home game, I am playing with loose rookies. To make it worse, they never play in any shape or form that is discernible. It makes my head spin. Who do I have to shtup to get a normal game with experienced players?
Okay, now that the complaining is done, let me add this. I won $40 at Robbie Hole's Birthday Poker Extravaganza. The players were mostly newbies. There is nothing more tedious than explaining the blind structure on every hand...EVERY hand. It's like, "Guys, its nothing new by the 40th hand!" Fortunately, I know how to play against rookies (usually). The key is to do nothing fancy. Bluffing should be minimal and saved for situations in which you know no one has anything. I mean anything, including bottom pair.
One player in particular, T-Money, was driving me and most of the table nuts. He would bet $6 pre-flop in a game with .25/.50 blinds. In fact, he bet $6 relentlessly. 9 times out of 10, we all folded. T was apologetic and even offered to stop doing it, but I told him to just play how he wants. It was his money, he had already won a big hand early on, and he had every right in the world to bully. Plus, I was waiting for him to bet into me when I was holding the nuts. It didn't happen, but he did eventually lose it all in a hand in which he flopped two pair, As and 3s. Another player made the wheel (A2345) on the turn, while someone else made a 7 high straight to take a monster hand. The 7-high straight guy had called a $4 pre-flop bet with 6-7 off suit. See what I mean? Crazy.
On the final hand, I was down $2. I took the hand, and won $40 for the night. Here is a basic rundown of the hand. I held QJ under the gun. I limped in, because I was getting antsy, and I had to leave. This is never the way to play, but it did pay off. There were 8 players at the table. Rouss called, T-Money (who was now short-stacked) raised it to $2.50. Andy and Randy (no joke), the SB and BB, called. I called, just for the hell of it.
The flop was TT9. I had an open-ended straight, which I've been overplaying lately. I checked. Rouss checked. T checked. Andy raised $4. Randy folded. I begrudgingly called. Rouss raised it to $8. T-Money called and was all in.
The turn was 8. T-Money, who lacked all poker decorum, announced, "I can't lose now." Rouss seemed to feel the same way. I hit the nut straight. Joy of joys. But I was certainly aware of the full house possibility. Even so, I felt confident enough. T-Money was already all in, and I didn't have much left to lose anyway. I raised $4. Rouss raised it to $8 and was all in. Andy called (surprisingly) and was all in. In case you haven't figured it out, at this point we were all a little shortstacked. I called, fearing the full house.
R0uss had KT. T-Money had Tx. Both had a set of tens. Andy was smart enough to not show his cards. I took down the monster pot with my straight.
I shouldn't have played the QJ with a pre-flop raise and out of position. I shouldn't have called the $4 flop raise, and the $4 re-raise, with an open ended straight in my hand and a possible full house on the table. I got lucky, I suppose. I can't say it any other way. But at least my winnings for the year gets a bump. I'm at $345, and looking to get to $400 on Tues, at Desi's game.
One last thing. My fiance, Kim, came to Robbie's with me. She hung out and waited patiently while I played. I am very lucky. I know she would've prefered spending the night doing just about anything else. But she was a trooper. Thanks Kim.
Good luck everyone. I'll be back soon to discuss more poker mayhem.
You Decide #3
Saturday, April 16, 2005
Woe is me. I entered a $20 rebuy because it was $2000 guaranteed and only 50 players. I later realized that with rebuys and add ons, the guarantee would definitely be surpassed. But que sera.
I rebought once, right before the add-on. I skipped the add-on. So, my online bankroll has dipped south of $100. To make matters worse, I then lost about $12 on .50/1 limit, and $10 on NL Omaha. Boo hoo. I'm already over it. Its part of the game.
So, in my last hand of the $20 tournament, I may have messed up. I was in the small blind with a mere 1100 in chips (start w/ 2000) and SB/BB of 300/600. One player went all in, and all others folded. With 1100 in chips and a BB with a mere 1500, I thought the all in player was probably not holding anything dominating. I held Q9, suited diamonds. I decided to call. The BB folded. The All In guy had KT. I did not hit my pair, and lost.
Did I play it wrong? Should I have been more patient and waited for a better hand? I thought, at the time, that an All In call by me would allow me to double up, on top of the 600 BB, without worrying about a lot of callers. What do you think?
Wish me luck. Tonight I'll hopefully play at Robbie Hole's birthday poker extravaganza. I'll be showing up late, and not drinking, so I expect a loose, sloppy table. On Tuesday, I'm playing in Desi's bi-weekly home game. That should be good too. Lots of poker. So little time.
An Automatic 20
Friday, April 15, 2005
I just finished sitting at two 6-person limit tables, .25/.50 and .50/1. I was playing both tables at the same time, in order to get in as much action as possible. I am about to head to LI for a friend's fiance's surprise birthday party, and the rest of my weekend was looking pretty booked. It seems like Kim is cool with me going to Robbie Hole's birthday poker bash alone. It will be a delicate situation. After dinner with her mom and family, for her mother's birthday, I will head over to Queens. Kim said that she expects to be tired, so she will probably go back to her dad's place and call it an earlier night. This was after I asked her if it was cool for me to go to Rob's house...alone. It was kind of a dick move, but it was also a realistic question. Kim is an early sleeper, and as packed as my weekend is, her's is much worse. So I doubt that she would be okay with going to Queens, arriving around 10, sitting around while I play poker, and leaving after 1 (ideally for me). I'm very lucky to have such a supportive and understanding girl. But I digress.
So, I was playing in the limit tables. At one point, I was down to half of my stack on both tables (my stacks started at $10 and $20). But I got into a groove, and was able to turn things around. Hand selection was key. I also paid attention to players' actions, so that I could vary my play from player to player. Once I was in the groove, I was bluffing, betting, calling, and folding pretty much whenever I needed to. The result was a quick $20 upswing in under an hour. That'd be 20BB and 10BB on the two tables, as I won about $10 on each table seperately.
The win is an important one because after my recent losses, I was concerned that (a) I couldn't hang it with the higher limits compared to the tiny limits I was playing and (b) I couldn't hang it in limit tables at all and the tourney win was a fluke. Well, neither of these scenarios are true. They weren't true before I won the $20, and they aren't true after. Poker is a game of ups and downs. That's all there is to it. You can't win all the time, but you can be a winner all the time. So, I've decided to think, and be, a winner. Let the money flow.
After my last post, I played a $5 single table tournament and came in 5th. For a good portion of the tournament, my computer was acting up (damn wireless internet), so my blinds were being chewed down. That really is not so bad, because yesterday, I lost another 10-15$ by playing too many hands...again. So, I'm better off not being there and automatically folding everything, at least for a little while. I have to be more hand selective. This will save me problems when I limp with QT, hit top pair 10s, and then come up against KT, AT, an overpair, or overcards that hit later. Hand selection is key. Unfortunately, I need a locksmith. All that said, my online bankroll is now at about 121$, which is down 3$ from my big tournament win. Not too shabby, considering the amount of sloppy, under-the-influence poker I've been playing.
This weekend is looking bleak. I've gone over 10 days since my last home game. Hopefully, Desi is holding his bi-weekly (every other week) home game this week. His email to the group, which stated that the game will be "next Tuesday" left me bewildered. Is next Tuesday the one coming up, or is it the one after that. I know it is a stupid question, but for some reason I can't get my head around it.
On Saturday night, Robbie Hole, a fellow Degenerate, is having a birthday bash/poker game at his place in Queens. I've been looking forward to it for a while. Unfortunately, that is the same night that Kim's (my fiance) family are doing dinner for her mother's birthday. I know my role. Poker will have to wait (maybe I can get there late, but that opens a whole other can of worms). Besides, I love Kim and my future mother-in-law, so this is a no-brainer. They come first.
So, my 2nd love, poker, will have to wait. Because the rest of the weekend is booked with my buddy's fiance's surprise party (tonight), and a 1st birthday party for my little cousin (Sunday). I hate obligations. Of course, if I didn't have these plans, I wouldn't know what to do with myself. Actually, I do know. I'd be playing online. Go figure.
Have a great weekend everyone. Oh, and if any readers are near the NYC area and are having or attending home games that need players, I'm your man (depending on time, place and stakes). Hook it up! Likewise, any interested players in the area, let me know. I can throw a game in NYC and/or I know of other NYC area home games.
How is Golden Palace?
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Good question. Golden Palace is great! I'm not just saying it because I just won the freeroll either. I'm saying it because, no matter what other sites I've tried, I always go back to GP. Let me go through the reasons:
1. My Online Poker Virginity
Let me get this quickly out of the way. I first played online poker on GP because of Howard Stern. If it wasn't for Howard, I don't know how I'd wake up in the morning. Anyway, GP was advertising on his radio show, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'd seen GP advertised on boxing a lot, so that and the Stern ad led me to believe they are a reputable company. So far, GP hasn't proven me wrong. Since I used GP first, I may be biased towards it. It is what I cut my teeth on.
2. The Stakes: Most websites, such as Party Poker, require a $50 deposit to start. When I first started playing online, I was a student. My income was about $200/wk from part time work. I did not have $50 to spare, especially when I was a new player and did not know how god-gifted I am/was. I could, however, rationalize spending $20. It was one restaurant meal. Or a night of drinking (but not much drinking in NYC, home of the $6.50 beer). Or half the price of a videogame, which to me was the dealmaker. I saw online poker as a videogame. I still do when I get down to peanuts in my online account. The 1.50 becomes tokens in my head. Which is the other half of the stakes argument. On Party, or most other sites, the cheapest SNG is $5. On GP, its .10. Or even free, with .10 up for grabs (when you are really desperate). I don't know about Party's limit or NL ring games, but on GP the limit starts at .02/.04, and the NL starts at .05/.10, with a $2 buy in. Not bad for broke people.
3. The Avatars: I like choosing my avatar (symbol) on GP. On Party, I can sometimes choose my character, but it goes by seat. I like the fact that I can choose an American flag if I'm feeling kinda Americanny one day. The next day, I'm a dolphin...okay, never a dolphin, but a monkey. If I'm feeling pompous, I'll choose the crown. Right now, I am a black child, for the pure irony of it all. I can't imagine many black children playing online poker. Isn't that illegal? Some people may think that the Avatar is a tell. I suppose it is. But really, what is it going to tell them. Not enough to take my money.
4. The Games: First off, GP has 9-person tables, whereas other sites (tend to) have 10-person tables. Its a minor difference, but I've noticed that I do better at GP, due in some part to less players at a table. Also, in general, the amount of players on the site is less than the major sites such as Party. Some people may see this as a negative. I disagree. When I played in my freerolls, I was playing against 180-300 people, give or take. If I was on a site such as Party, I could be facing near or more than 1000 (I think...). The less people to run through, the better. I know that payoffs are better when there are more people, but I don't have 5 hrs to play a MTT. 3 hours is enough for me.
5. Access to Tables: Recently, I was playing on Poker Room with fellow Degenerate Betsy. After she busted out at our SNG, I typed to tell he to stick around to chat. She didn't respond. I later found out that as soon as she lost, she was booted from the room. At GP, she could've stuck around. Also, GP has a buddy list, on which you can add players. If your buddy is online, you can find out which room he is in and go there immediately from the buddy list. So, if anyone buys in at GP, look me up, under brodybanky. And shoot me an email, so I can add you to my list.
6. The Money: I haven't had problems depositing at GP, whereas recently I couldn't deposit on Poker Room. PR wouldn't accept my debit card, but GP was cool with it. When it comes to withdrawing, I get my check in 1-2 wks. No hassles.
The Shortcomings: I think there are two that I can think of, one of which isn't that big of a deal. The first thing is I don't know of any bonuses on GP. But I am so used to that, and, honestly, I wouldn't even know how to earn a bonus. I tried once on PR and once on Party, and lost all of my money before I could collect. I know it isn't that hard, but what can I tell you. It just ain't me. The second thing is kind of a shortcoming. GP is a predominately British site. I don't know what that means, other than there are a lot of Brits and foreigners on the site. There are a lot of USA'ers too, but I thought I'd just mention the foreigners, while I'm at it. This is sort of a non-issue for two reasons. (1) Poker is poker. I don't care whose money I am winning. (2) Foreigners can be fun. If you don't believe me, put "I hate playing against Brits." in your profile. I've had countless hours laughing at Brits and their stupid reactions. Stupid Brits.
So, there you have it. Why I love GP. I believe some sites, like's Doyle's Room (see SuperSystem for a ridiculous amount of not-so-subtle advertising), use the same skin/format. If anyone can suggest a similar site to me, please do.
So, check it out. GP baby. Hopefully I'll see you there.
**Note: GP is not paying me for this post...but they should.
Me, George, and Wheezy
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
I'm moving on up,
to the .25,
(moving on up),
to a deluxe table,
with high blinds!
So, I've played a $10, 6 person tournament and came in 2nd. I played very solidly. In one of my favorite hands of the tourney, I was in the big blind. All of the remaining 5 players limped in, for a 100 blind. I had pocket tens. The table was pretty tight, but I had a feeling that no one had me beat. Otherwise, they would have raised to protect their hand against the many callers. I overbet 800. All folded except for one guy. The flop was QQ9. Perfect. I put the caller on AK or AJ, since they did not reraise my 800 pre-flop raise. After much deliberation by my opponent, he called. He had about 2000 chips left. If I lost, I'd be down to about 500. Luckily, I was right. He had AK. The turn and river didn't help him, and I took him out and the chip lead.
After the tourney, I played in a heads up .50/1 limit game. I sat with 20$ against a guy with $10. I took all of his money, with about three monster hands in a row. Pocket pair hit a set. 89 offsuit hit two pair on the flop and then a full house on the river. And some other hand, which paid well, was the nuts or close to it, but for some reason is eluding my memory.
I left that table up another 10, for 20$ total. I am now at a .25/.50 limit table, but my concentration is shot, so I am taking a break. I lost about 1.50 at the .25/.50 table, but thats a drop in the bucket. Ironically, 24 hrs ago, a 1.50 loss would have severely hurt my dwindling bank roll.
One final thought: All day today, I wanted to tell people about my big tourney win. Unfortunately, there aren't that many people who care. I mean, the money isn't astounding (if I won 1million, then I'd get everyone's interest). And most people don't see online poker as a serious hobby, challenge, or pasttime. So, I'm glad I have this blog. At least it is one outlet for my verbose, bragging self.
BOOYA! Still riding the high from yesterday's win. Ah... Peace be unto you, readers.
Yo yo yo! I am sorry to dissappoint, but I won myself $270. BOOYA! I came in 1st out of over 250 people (if I'm not mistaken, there were more than 300 players). From my last post, you know that in January 2005, I came in 2nd. In February 2005, I took 1st. And now, after a bumpy March, I was victorious when I took 1st place once again.
Victory is mine.
This is why the site is called High on Poker. There is that moment, when you win a hand and everything is rosey. I'm still basking in the afterglow. Tomorrow, I am going to want to tell everyone I know about how I kicked some poker ass. Ah...
Okay, so I've decided to withdraw $150 of my winnings, bringing my yearly total to +$304. I only count online money as a win when it is withdrawn. A deposit into an online account is an instantaneous loss, according to my accounting. Its a system that keeps my numbers easy.
With my $150, I can play in larger games than .05/.10 limit. I'd like to try my hand at limit a little longer, since I've only played limit at the lower levels. I'm not sure what my bankroll can handle. I'm thinking .50/1 tables. If I sit with 20$, it will be similar to sitting at .05/.10 with $2. Realistically, I probably should, and will, sit at the .50/1 with more (like $30, which is 20x the BB and SB together).
The best part is, this win has given me a new sense of confidence. First off, with more money, I can play higher tables. I won't feel like the bottom-feeder that I have been as of late. Second, I can now say, with pride, that I took 1st in a 200+ person tournament twice in three months, and took 1st or 2nd three times in four months. That consistency reminds me of why I dream to go professional. It makes me feel like I have a legitimate chance. We will see how that actually turns out. Finally, my yearly bankroll is healing from the Vegas hemmorage. This is crucial, as it helps my poker self esteem to know that I am up a significant amount (or at least getting there). I was worried that my humble $1200 goal for the end of the year was out of reach after Vegas. Not so, anymore. I'm about $100 behind schedule, but I'm moving faster than expected.
So, that is all. I feel validated and renewed. Look for more big winnings in future days.
$1000 Freeroll In Progress and Looking Good
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
I am in the middle of a $1000 freeroll (i.e., free) tournament on Golden Palace. I came in 2nd in January, winning $170. In February, I came in 1st, winning $270. I don't think I played in March. If I did, I lost.
April 2005. I decided to play tonight after returning from a night of $1 beers at Third & Long (an old Tuesday tradition), and Kim and my favorite burritos (and sangria) at Baby Bo's. I lost $2, playing drunk poker in a .05/.10 limit game. I also entered the $1000 freeroll. And while it isn't over, I'm looking good (come back for my later post in which I complain about the suckout that made me lose, out of the money!).
I was playing the tournament half-distracted watching TV with Kim and playing in the limit ring game. But when I lost all of my cash in the ring game, I was able to focus on the tournament, with about 1000 of the 2000 in chips with which I started the tournament. Somehow, with some luck, and some amazing play (thanks to my selective hands), I was up to 20,000 by the break, with only 58 of the original 240 people still in the running. Payout starts at 27.
So, here is where it gets good. In the first hand after the break, I took out a player with 10,000 chips and moved to the overall chipleader. There are now only 34 players left.
The hand that placed me in first went as follows. I had 20K in chips and KQ off suit in my hand, in middle position. The table was playing really tight. I usually hate KQ, because its an easy hand to overvalue. Even if you hit a pair, an Ace on the board can give someone a better pair. Even worse, a person with the same pair and an Ace in the pocket (AQ of AK) can beat you and fool you into betting big. Somehow, though, with the chiplead and a hunch, I felt like playing it. I called the 800 blind and raised another 800. All folded to the big blind, BOC. BOC called.
The flop was Qh Tc 6h. BOC bet 8,655 and was all-in. I called 8,655. It was like taking candy from a baby. BOC had A8. The turn and river were 2s and Ts. I won the hand and took the chip lead.
Wish me luck. Of course, by the time you read this is, it will be over. I'm no longer the chipleader, so my attention is needed. Adios.
For the past couple of days, I've been lightly reading Dutch Boyd's blog. I've never been a particular fan of Dutch, but I've never disliked him either. When I've seen his Crew on ESPN, I always thought they look like a group of tools, but I think that is typical young male territorial pissing. In truth, I'd be glad to be in a crew like theirs. In a sense, my poker buddies and I make up our own loose crew, as we at one point all considered ourselves Poker Degenerates (Fun Fact: 'The Poker Degenerate' was almost the name of this blog).
So, I've been reading his blog from the first entry (Nov. 2004, I think) working forward. Its fairly interesting, as it gives insight into who he is outside of the poker room. It's also great to read about his interaction with other pros. Pardon the crappy analogy, but the way he talks about playing in the large tournaments sounds like Toon Town from "Who Framed Robert Rabbit?" All of these iconic figures are interacting in ways that seem so absurd. He seems to constantly bump into or correspond with other major pros like Marcel Luske, Phil Laak, Gregg Raymer (just to name a few) and a whole slew of others. The interaction between the pros is the best part. Apparently, he met his ex-girlfriend through Evelyn Ng. And Paul Phillips apparently had some not-so-nice words regarding Mr. Boyd. Oh, drama.
I have to say, I respect his format. He doesn't seem like the prick that many people assume he is (at least, according to his own website, many people think he is a prick).
So, respect to Boyd.
Also, respect to my readers, for linking me up to other blogs, and sending me emails. Check out DNasty13's Poker Blog, which is brand new and clearly has a lot of potential. Also, the Poker Gamer is a blog with some great in depth analysis. I look forward to reading future postings from both bloggers. Also, to Alvin, and anyone else who is interested in Golden Palace, check out GoldenPalacePoker.com and look for me under my account, brodybanky (its a long story). I'll be trolling the cheap rooms, most likely.
Finally, in law school, I wrote a paper on the legality of Internet Gambling, as a way to avoid doing any real work in a Computer Law class. My professor gave me a C+, which is a low grade for me. But, screw him. I guess my paper was more poker than computers. I'm thinking of posting the entire paper on here, but its pretty long (15 pages). Does anyone know how to set up a seperate page with a link? Holler back.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Hey all. Here is a quickie. I started playing my usual .05/.10 limit game after work, attempting to get my Golden Palace bankroll back up to $20, eventually. I think once I hit $10, I will consider playing the .10/.20 game.
I was once told a formula to determine if you are short stacked. Add the small blind to the big blind and multiply that number by ten. If you have less than than number, you are short stacked.
Let's apply the formula to my .05/.10 game. .10+.05=.15x10=$1.50. So, when I sit at the table with $2, I'm in good shape, but I could be in better shape.
Now, I would like a formula to determine how much of your bankroll you should risk on a game. I'd like to think that I need at least 50% of my bankroll off of the table when I am down to a low bankroll. When my bankroll can handle it, I only want 25% on the table. When I am in great shape, I don't think 10% on the table (90% in reserves) is unreasonable.
So, anyway, my Quick Update got sidetracked. But here is why I signed on. From $4.11, I am now up to $8.05. I basically doubled up. Not bad. I'll probably play a little more tonight, once the fiance hits the sack. Or maybe while we watch the rest of the Bachelor. That's right. I am watching the Bachelor. Don't you judge me! Besides, its good wholesome family entertainment. Love that ABC.
I was looking at a bunch of different poker blogs today. It seemed to me that each player had at least a thousand dollars in play, whether playing online on 6 different sites, $8/$16 limit games, or some other limit that makes my online bankroll look like chump change. Of course, chump change would make my online bankroll look like chump change, so that isn't saying much.
It got me a little down. How can I take myself seriously as a poker player when my contemporaries have hundreds or thousands of dollars to play with, compared to my $20 (give or take) monthly online buy in and my weekly or evey other week $20-$60 home games.
Ironically, my brother, a non-poker player, used to joke a lot about me being a poker degenerate. He'd leave notes around the house with the number to GamAnon (Gamblers Anonymous), or some other addiction comment to get under my skin. Ribbing is part of brotherhood, but after a while it got to me.
I suppose, in a sense, I am "addicted" to poker. If there is an accessible home game, its hard to say no. If I'm at home and bored, I'll go right to Golden Palace Poker. But I never, and I mean never, play with more than I should. Even when I lost big in Vegas ($460), I had previously won $505. For the year so far, I have rarely been in the red, and have never been in the red since mid-January.
The reason why I do not play with bigger quanitities (regardless of my urge to do so) is because of my anal rententiveness. I am too practical to enter $50 tournaments online, because if I lose, I'm screwed. Even with a decent job as a NYC lawyer, I am practically living pay check to pay check in an attempt to prepare for my upcoming wedding and pay down debt incurred while I was a broke student. So, my anal retentiveness would never allow me to spend a lot of money on poker, regardless of my (alleged) addictive personality.
So, to recap, I am "addicted" to poker, but I am too "anal retentive" to spend a lot of money on my addiction. My pathologies are in perfect balance. Thanks ma! And thank you too Golden Palace, for the access to uber-low stakes action. It's little more than playing a video game, with rare real-world consequences (my $170 and $270 wins are the exception), but it feeds my need.
As for the sites by people who play with thousands of dollars, I commend thee for your success, or alternatively, I commend thee for not caring about your money (someone has to be free-spirited). I hope to one day join your ranks...once I am out of debt, married, and making enough money where $1000 is not a big deal. Tick tock. Just waiting it out.
Fortune Cookie Advice, and an in Depth Look at Big Slick
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Fuck the Chinese fortune cookie industry. Last night I went to Hop Kee, my parents’ favorite restaurant in Chinatown. The food was decent, but the fortune cookie is what really stuck with me. It stated, “You will be showered with good luck.” My immediate thought was to play some poker. I finally got to it this morning.
I was doing very well in the .05/.10 limit tables. My GoldenPalace bankroll came back from the brink (1.50) to over $11. Then I played in a $6 Omaha tournament and came up short. And now, the .05/.10 tables have dealt me a blow as well. I have, in my estimation, found the reason: playing too many hands. Unfortunately, my fortune cookie didn’t say, “Patience is a virtue,” or “Good things come to those who wait.” I could’ve used some of that advice instead. In the end, I was reminded of the need to play tighter online, which is a decent lesson for the $2-3 I lost.
But now, I turn your attention to something else. I received big slick (A K, for non-poker savy readers) 4-5 times during my most recent session. It did not pay off once. I started thinking about how tricky AK can be. In one case, I even hit the A and K, for two pair, but on the river, someone made the straight. I personally felt I played the hand well, but bad luck is bound to happen.
Doyle Brunson in Super System 2 (and probably Super System 1, since 2 is basically a reprinting), stated that he would prefer to have AK than AA or KK. His theory, which I partially subscribe to, is that AK pays off better, because it is a drawing hand. AA or KK can be cracked. The are hard to improve and hard to fold. Overall, I think this is an accurate statement.
Please note that I am about to got into detail about a bunch of different possible AK scenarios. The stats I give are merely for the turn. So, if you are trying to figure out the chance of hitting your pair or draw on the turn and river, double my figures, as you will have 2 chances to get your pair/draw. Also, please realize that I am assuming that your opponent has and only has paired the board. If he hit a set, two pair, etc. then all rules are off. If he missed the flop and doesn’t have a pocket pair, you are ahead, so play differently as well. And, of course, there is no hard and fast rule. So, here we go:
Playing AK Post-Flop with No Draws
Now, as a word of advice for amateurs, when you have AK and neither hits and you have no draws, seriously consider folding. Many novice players, myself included (in the past mostly), think the AK is still good. But if some schmuck at the table paired his 2 5, then you lost to a 2 5, plain and simple. No amount of betting or calling will save your loss (usually).
Without any draw, there are only 6 cards that can give you an advantage over a bettor who has paired. That’s a mere 6 cards out of 47 [52 cards in a deck – 2 cards in your hand – 3 cards on the flop]. So your chance of hitting your A or K on the next card is 13%, roughly. If the bettor makes an extremely weak bet, you may call. But otherwise, this is foolhardy. Oh, and for the record, I called in this situation at least once today. Now that I did the math, I can see the error in my ways.
Playing AK Post-Flop with a Draw
If you’ve hit a draw, you may want to call a post-flop bet, because, even if the bettor paired, there are a lot of cards that can assist you. If you end up with an inside straight draw (flop a QTX), then you have 10 cards to beat a simple pair (3 As, 3 Ks, 4 Js), which makes it a 21% chance you hit your cards on the turn.
If you have a flush draw, then you are in even better shape. You have 14 cards (3 As, 2 Ks, 9 flush cards), about a 30% chance to hit your pair or flush on the turn.
With a straight and flush draw (for example, you hold AK of hearts, and flop is Qh Td 3h, you have 18 cards that will help you (3 As, 3Ks, 4Js, and 8 flush cards [actually 9, but we already counted the J of hearts]), for a 38% chance. A straight flush draw works the same way. If you are willing to go to the river, you now have almost an 80% chance to hit your pair, straight or flush. Not bad odds when facing someone with top pair who thinks they are in great shape.
So, overall, AK is a tricky hand. When it doesn’t hit, don’t overcommit yourself. When it does hit, figure out how far you are willing to go with the hand; are you willing to take it to the river if you miss on the turn? And then, good luck.
Fun with Omaha, and Penny Fractions
Friday, April 08, 2005
Hi readers. I think I might actually have some readers. I've been spreading the word amongst friends and fellow bloggers when I find a good blog. Hopefully this will blossom into something worthwhile. Otherwise, this is little more than literary masterbation. Oh, and feel free to post comments, even if just to say hi. It's always nice to know people are reading.
I just finished playing in a 14 person pot limit Omaha tournament on GoldenPalace, in which I came in 6th place. In my last hand the blinds were 200/400, I had under 2400, in the big blind, and all players folded besides the small blind. I held 55TT, and decided to push all of my chips in. The small blind had AAXX (X = I don't remember). Bad timing on my part.
I swear, there must have been 20 all ins in a row in which the small stack won. It's very un-online-like, in which it seems like any time you go all in, the person with the bigger stack will win. I used to feel like it was a conspiracy. My theory went that the site wants you to lose a tourney so you buy into another one or a ring game. But then I realized that bad luck happens everywhere. The only difference is that online you can blame the computer program. It sort of reminds me of why I don't like video poker at casinos or elsewhere. I always feel like the video poker computer program is programmed against me. This is totally unfounded. Meanwhile, I will play roulette, one of the worst odds in the casino, without a care in the world.
On that note, let me relay something that a friend said. My fellow poker degenerate, fraternity little brother and good friend Dre once explained to me why he doesn't play online at all. Now, he is far from poor, and he loves poker, so I just assumed he'd play online. Our conversation went like this:
Jordan (me): Hey Dre, sign up for Golden Palace and we can play together.
Dre: Nah, man, I don't play online.
J: What?! Why the hell not?
D: The online casino steals from you.
J: What do you mean? I never saw anything missing.
D: Every month they take fractions of pennies from all of the players. You don't notice it but thats how they make their money.
J: (stunned silence) You are joking right?
D: No, I swear.
J: They can have my penny fractions. I just want to play poker.
So, the moral of the story is, if you want to steal penny fractions from me, go right ahead. What I don't know won't hurt me. And besides, GoldenPalace performs a great service for me...instant poker access. The penny fractions are well earned.
One last thing. My online account was up to 11$ earlier, but has dipped to $5.50 after the $6 tournament. I should not have technically played in the $6 tournament, because I risked more than half of my online bankroll. However, online is more of a game than a profit-making venture. So I will go back to the low limit games, which I can't seem to lose, build up my bankroll and play smarter. Happy poker everyone.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Playing .05/.10 limit hold'em is working out just fine for me on Golden Palace Poker. I'm slowly building my bankroll, which at one point was down to a dollar and is now up to 8$. The best part is that it is seemingly easy. If I have something good, I bet. If I have something bad, I fold. Something decent, I'll call. I can do it in my sleep.
I called this and the last posting Back to Back because of the game I played on Tuesday night. I rarely play more than once weekly, but I made an exception as it was a last minute situation and my friend needed a player.
The game was at a stranger's house, named Chris, a co-worker to my fraternity brother/college friend Lean. When I arrived, shortly after a long day of work, the game was 5-handed. I bought in for $20 (.25/.50 NL ring game) and played relatively tight to start off. I eventually won two huge hands, nearly back to back off of the host, Chris. Chris was a newbie. It was his third time playing, and his only time losing.
In my first big hand (my memory is a little weak, due to the 40oz of OE), I preflop raised to 2 dollars. Apparently, this is unheard of there, because the table groaned. I held KJ suited spades on the button, and was looking to push out some players and/or look stronger than I was. The flop was ATX, with two spades (one of which was the Ace). With a flush draw, I bet $4. Only Chris called. The next card was an K. I hit the Ks. Chris checked, I bet $6. Chris thought for a while and called. On the final card, a blank, nearest I can recall, Chris checked and I raised $10. I thought I had him beat, because he would have come out stronger if he paired the As. He certainly wouldn't have thought over the previous calls as long as he did. Correctly, I pegged him as a rookie who would not yet know to act at the table. He reasoned aloud that I must have had a high pocket pair, because I raised preflop. I was not going to argue with him. Surprisingly, he called, and I showed my pair of Ks. He had pocket 9s. I told him he did a good job, reasoning that I probably had a pocket pair. I encouraged him by saying that the post-flop call was a good one, as he had me beat before I got lucky. Essentially, I was trying to reassure him that he was playing correctly, so that I could benefit in the future. And that is what I did.
The next hand was a quick fold. But just after, I looked down at two Kowboys winking at me in the big blind. With pocket Ks, and the memory that everyone had of my recent rare preflop raise followed by a big pot win, I repeated myself and raised to $2. Three people called (Chris, Lean, and one other). The flop came down K93, with two clubs (including the K). The table checked around to me. I thought of copying my earlier betting structure, but decided that I wanted to keep people in the hand against my set of Ks. I raised $2. One person folded, Chris and Lean called. The next card was a 9 off suit. I was looking at a full house. The table checked to me and I raised $4. Both called. The final card came off, J of clubs. I was a happy man. If someone hit the flush, they'd have a hard time laying it down. The table checked to me and I raised $9. Chris thought long and hard. Again, he started thinking aloud. He asked, what could someone possibly have with a board like that. I explained: a flush with two clubs, a straight, a full house, and anything else besides a straight flush. Interestingly, he asked, how could someone had a full house. I explained, a 93, a K9, a 33, a JJ, etc. would do it. Note, I didn't mention KK. He said that those hands were very unlikely. I acted casual. He called, and Lean called too. I showed my boat, and heard more groans. Both other players showed their hands. Chris had the nut flush and Lean had a straigh (QT in hand). Ouch. And KACHING!
By the end of the hour, we lost two players and were playing 4-handed. Less than an hour later, and we were 3-handed. Eventually, it was just me and Marcos (friend of Leans and semi-regular at my home game). We ended up playing PL Omaha heads up. It was a good change of pace, and I made some money. Eventually, however, two other players entered the game, and a couple of weak plays later, I was up only $25. It was time to call it quits. My 2 day total was $139, bringing my 2005 total to $154, a far cry from my former peak of $505, but a fine comeback a weak after being down to $15.
Back to Back (Part I)
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
On Monday night, I had my first homegame since my Vegas setback. The game was Desi's usual Tuesday night game, only changed to Monday because of an email typo. The game was loose as usual, with a certain player almost giving away money. This player called down at least two early hands after betting on each round with a mere pair of 2s (from the flop). I won two monster hands in a row with KT.
In my first KT win, I limped in for 2$ against two players. The flop was KKJ. I was on the button. The first player bet $3, the second raised to $6. I sat for a while thinking. I was thinking about going all in and pushing out the other players, but something didn't feel right. I called. In hindsight, I was acting on instinct. Even though I could have won the pot right away with a re-raise, I would also be inviting in disaster if a player had me beat (AK, KQ, KJ, JJ). If they did not have me beat, then I was better off checking anyway, allowing them to continue to bet into me. The next card was a Q, which scared me minorly, but not enough to fold. First player checked, second player bet 6$. I thought for a minute and checked. First position folded. The river card was a blank. The second position raised 10$. I called him down and won a nice pot against his AJ. I was playing conservatively, not betting out my set of Ks, but I was proud of the hand because my delay on the first call ($6, consisting of a bet and raise) made the table think that I was weak. Hence, I got more action as the hand progressed.
This was a perfect example of acting at the table. From Caro's Book of Poker Tells, I usually presume that the other players at the table are acting too. So, if they look weak, they are probably strong, and vice versa. But, I think at this table, the players weren't actors. I should remember that next time that I am there. Weak means weak, strong means strong...usually.
The second KT hand was against a good friend of mine, Rouss (pronoucned Roose). I had KT, suited hearts, in the small blind. Rouss raised to $2, and one person called. I called as well. The flop was AXX with the A of hearts and another heart on the board. I was drawing to a nut flush. Rouss raised $5, the other player folded and I called. The next card was a blank. Rouss raised $5. I hesitated, but called, looking forward to some good implied odds. The last card was a 5 of hearts. Rouss claimed that he saw my smirk. At that point in the game, I had just finished a 40oz Budweiser, and may have smirked. This is to be watched in the future. In this particular hand though, it proved of no consequence. Rouss checked. I raised $15. Rouss thinks I bluff a lot. He may be right, but on this night he was wrong. I was rarely bluffing. I can't complaint though, because I like the table image of a bluffer. He called my $15 and lost to my monster flush.
That night I won $114, bringing my 2005 winnings to $129. While not the $505 I had pre-Vegas, it was a good start to my resurrection.
Playing With, Not Against, Your Bankroll
Saturday, April 02, 2005
Last night, my friend Betsy and I played on PokerRoom, an online poker site I never played on before. While I liked the game play, I was dissappointed with how difficult it was to deposit money. It would not accept my debit card, which works on Golden Palace and other sites. And I swear that Neteller has a personal vendetta against me. So, Betsy was nice enough to deposit $22 into my account, enough for four $5 SNGs.
By the end of the night (2am) I had lost it all, mostly in a .25/.50 limit game. This is a shame. However, I learned a lesson. I like Golden Palace because of the low stakes. Online is not a profitable game for me. Its because of my light bankroll. I'll start with $20 and play $5 tournaments or NL ring games. This may not sound bad, but in fact, its a foolish move. My bankroll, online at least, at $20, cannot handle those quantities. It isn't a horrible ratio, but if I had a larger bankroll and/or played lower level games, I would be in better position to ride out the losing streaks.
I was reading somewhere (don't recall where exactly) that many players online play at a level, win some money, and then go up to a higher level. They do this hoping to compound their winnings. But in fact, what they end up doing is going broke. It is because the players are creating a psuedo tournament style game, where the blinds (or in this case, the buy-ins) are getting higher and higher, thus forcing players to go broke at some point or another.
It was an interesting article. After playing last night I realized that I was one of those players constantly raising my stakes with my wins. I have to start playing WITH my bankroll, rather than AGAINST it.
This morning, I had about $2.90 in my Golden Palace account. I've been playing .05/.10 limit, with $2 buy in. Its very low stakes, but with a $2 buy in, and my short bankroll generally, it is a smart move. I sit at a table with 40x the big blind, and I know that in a given hand heads up, I can limit myself to losing .30, about 1/10 of my total bankroll. (Of course, I play to win, but exposure should be considered).
So, there you have it. I'm now at about $5 on Golden Palace. My limit game is improving, hopefully. On Monday, I go against Desi's game, which will be my first real post-Vegas trial. I can't wait.
Vegas Steak Dinner
Friday, April 01, 2005
In Vegas, we were told of a place with a $4.95 Steak Dinner. Well, we went to that place, called Ellis Island, and we were happily surprised. This was the best meal of the trip. Note, the Soup or Salad is not pictured.
Yesterday, I dipped my toes into the poker waters, for the first time since my ego-crushing, profit-draining trip to Vegas. I played in an extremely low-limit limit hold'em game. Low limit as in .05/.10. Granted, such amounts are ridiculous. But I only have about $3 in my Golden Palace account, and given my recent Vegas loss, I was not anxious to put in any more (we'll see about tonight, though). After about 20-30 minutes of play, I was interrupted by Kim, my fiance'. This was fine by me, as my playing was merely an effort to dip my toe into the pool of poker to see if I was ready to get back to swimming. I ended about even, which is fine by me, since limit isn't my game, and at one point I had been down a whole $1.50!
Let me take this time to apologize to Limit Hold'em. In a past post, I insulted Limit as being checkers to no limits chess. I still agree with that statement, generally. However, I see a great benefit in limit, especially after my casino play. In limit, I can control my losses. Note, I can't control my winnings, like in no limit, when I can push players out for a small pot, or push them in, for a large pot. But in limit, I can call down a player without fear of losing too much. I can know, more or less, that if I keep check-calling, I'll lose x amount, if my hand doesn't hit, or I'm playing against the nuts. So, it seems to me that Limit has its uses. I will play some more in the near future, hopefully, and see how it goes. A little limit, a little no limit. A virtual shmorgesboard of poker flavors. I can't wait. Happy Poker!