Showboating (AC Trip Report Pt. 2)
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Friday, 5:30 am. Bro-in-law Marc's cell phone alarm went off. Unlike the rest of us, Marc didn't have the freedom to take some time off from the office, especially since his office is pretty much wherever Marc is. So, like a good soldier he planned to wake up early and get some work done before the festivities recommenced. I was not so inclined. I believe my exact response was, "Turn that shit off!"
Friday, 9 am. So I wake up feeling chipper. Time to get to business I think. Roose, still sleeping, had to get back to NY to pack and move, so I lightly nudged him and woke him up. I stood up to check my balance and general constitution. Feet away, Robbie Hole was sleeping on a cot. His eyes peaked open. At the same moment, Marc, who had returned to bed, started to stir. Much like a house of females with synchronized menstral periods, as soon as we enter a casino we all naturally synchronize our internal poker clocks...and it was going to be a heavy flow day.
I did something a bit out of ordinary on a usual casino trip. I showered. After that, we headed to the car to dump off our bags. We checked for comps and I had the only significant amount, $5, but the left over $20 from the night before paid for most of our breakfast sandwiches at Showboat's Chelsea Market. Just before that, we had swung by the poker room to see if anything was going. Nope. But there was a table out that said Tournament Registration. If you look at Showboat's website, it says that they hold tournaments every Tues and Thurs at 11am and 7pm. In reality, its every weekday at those times. We didn't know this, so we planned to go to the 2pm at the Hilton. But once we saw what Showboat had to offer...
You see, Showboat has a great tournament. For $50 ($40+10) you get 5000 chips with blinds starting at 25/50. They go up every 20 minutes and it can get a bit steep as time wears on, but you get a decent amount of bang for your buck. The last time I played, there were 59 players, and I bubbled in 9th or 10th. This time, I was hoping to beat my old score.
I didn't. Roose was the first out of the group, even after his early chip lead (amongst the four of us). Hole went out at around 27th. I lasted to 20th. Marc placed 13th. All out of the money.
But I had a great time. At my table, I kept quiet getting a feel for the table. I guess I have a look that says that I am a bullshitter. People were paying me off like I was a crooked cop busting a prostitution ring. In one hand, I have QQ. I raise preflop and get called. The flop comes down and its all unders. I believe that I bet and he pushed. I called. He had KQ and failed to improve.
In another hand, my Ace, which paired the board, was called down by two players. My kicker was nothing special, but that didn't matter, because the other players were calling my bets with middle pair of Tens.
All the while, a Sri Lankan on my left (or at least he looked like a Sri Lankan guy I know) kept shaking his head in disgust whenever I won a hand. I kept an eye on him and knew right away that he was going to be a bad player. I finally got fed up with his disapproval of my success. I turned to him after winning a hand and loudly, in front of everyone stated, "You can't stand when I win, can you?" "You so lucky. You keep getting paid off." Now, I heard it, and I probably shouldn't have said this. Everyone was looking at us as we chat because, frankly, I made sure to get everyone's attention when I called him out. "Its all in the looks. People see me and say, 'Look at that shlub. I'm going to call him. He can't have anything!" I was wearing olive-brown cargo pants, a light blue hooded sweatshirt, a hat and sunglasses. I have a beard. I hadn't shaved my neck, so I looked scruffy. And I gave away my secret.
No problem really. I set Sri on tilt and took his money a couple of hands later when my flush draw hit. I also changed my game to work with my speech, running the table as much as possible. I eventually lost a big hand, which I can't really recall. I believe it had something to do with someone else's pocket Aces to my pocket high pair, but I don't recall rightly. I made friends with my new neighbor, an Internet player who was a female of about 50 years. Don't expect that. She didn't know how to bet and whatnot and I gave her tips. I like making friends at the table. Plus, while it isn't my conscious goal, once you make friends you can exploit that friendship.
I eventually was short and pushed with KQ. I was called by two players and missed the board, ending my run. I had a great time though, and I'd play that tournament again in a heartbeat.
So, going back to my look. I should probably mention that under my hoodie was my Superman shirt. If you read my prior trip reports, you'll note that I always have the shirt on my AC trips. When I lost my hand to become shortstack, I unzipped my hoodie, which until then was closed to the top. "Okay, guys" I announced. "I've been taking it easy on you but I can't be doing that anymore. It's time for Superman." Yes, cheesy. The table loved it, cracking up. I pretended I could see through their cards with my x-ray vision. Yep, I'm the comedian at the table. It gets me paid. Maybe that tourney wasn't especially successful, but by playing the role of bum and wise-cracking kid, I control the table's perception of me, and I exploit it the entire way. This is why I love live poker. Chatting it up, playing a role (which of course MUST come naturally), are all integral to maximizing your play. For me, I play the wiseguy punk kid who's smart but overly aggressive. I can evoke fear to make people lay it down because they see that I am bright and playing it up. I can evoke frustration that brings action by appearing cocky and overly aggressive. I can evoke good natured soft playing by being fun and light. In the end, its the last one that I do best. For all of my joking, leave me long enough at the table and people will seemingly give their money to me and smile while they are doing it. But we'll get to that later.
On the subject of playing a character at the table, let me say that it must come from who you really are. You can't complete fake it. And you don't have to go my route either. People see stereotypes at the table, and you just need to embody your stereotype and then use that to your advantage. There are wide varieties too. Hole plays the role of maniac, constantly betting and showing down crap cards. But when he wants action, he gets it because he plays the role. He wears comfortable clothing, is unshaven and has a cap. He's sorta like me, but much more manic in his betting style. Marc plays the role of the successful young man about town. Someone you want your daughter to date, or someone you can have a beer and a good conversation with. He also comes off as smart and analytical, which frightens his opponents, but not in a way that involves intentional intimidation. It's all about not wanting to play against someone who is so well-rounded and apparently successful. He wears clean jeans, shoes, and button down shirts. He's clean shaven and well groomed. Roose plays the role of goomba jock, with his gold chain, shirt with subtle Nike swoop, and overshirt left unbuttoned. In reality, he is paying close attention and exploiting the players, while they think he is bumbling along.
Post-tournament, Hole and I considered walking the casino floor. The 1/2 NL game was stacked, with players having way more than the $300 max buy in. Even so, I put my name on the list. While Hole and I were on a bathroom break, I heard my name called. I didn't plan on playing at that table, but then I heard some great words from the loudspeaker "new table starting."
Boom, I'm in the room, sizing up my competition. Hole also sat down, in the 2s or 3s. I was at the 8s. This is where we perfected the technique that would net me the good payout later that day/night. Since it was a new table, I was even or above everyone in chips (I maxed out at $300). The game went smoothly, with laid back players. There were a couple of mid-west overweight females who were atrocious. Their male companion was too. The tough guy on my right was, well, in the right place for me. It wasn't a coincidence either. I saw the young Asian guy and immediately used my amazing reading skills (read: racial profiling) and the fact that he bought in for the max to know that he meant business. Rob and I bantered across the table, while chatting up our friends. Often in poker, one side of the table forms a sort of loose coolition against the other. It was Rob's team and my team. But Rob and I, well, we were a team onto ourselves. No, we didn't collude. Not one bit. You'll hear more about the lack of collusion later. But I know how he plays, and he knows how I play, and we were able to control the table's tempo. I won $65 before Marc came over after his tourney loss. Robbie Hole and I got up after sitting for barely an hour. We cashed out and headed to Trop, where I had a poker rate room, which costed only $112 if I played 4 hours of poker. HAHAHA! Pull my arm, why dontcha.
Time for a hand history. This was one hand that I would really like people's opinions about. This took place at the Showboat table with Rob and I after the tournament. Robbie Hole was in the SB and had AA. There are several limpers before action gets to a player in MP who raises from $2 to $7. He was tight. Another player raises from $7 to $15. It was the only reraise we had seen preflop. That player was, well, one of the chicks. She was tight, seemingly, but not bright. She coulda had anything. It gets to Rob and I see him reach for chips. Nothing new there, as Rob plays the role of the maniac (all well orchestrated). He bumps it another $30, an unheard of bet at this table, and the first re-re-raise we had. He got both of the initial betters to call. And then he checks, in the dark. The flop comes down Ah7sAs, and Dems Quads Beeches. Because of the check in the dark, the action moves to MP who checks. Mid-west checks as well. The turn is a King, and Rob bets right away, practically before the King hits the felt. $15. The pot is way too big. Tight folds, surprisingly. Mid-west calls. The river is a blank, and Rob bets $30. Mid-west lays it down. Rob flips his cards. DEMS QUADS BEECHES! No, he didn't say it. It would be way too harsh a thing to say live. But I mumbled it.
Next stop, Tropicana, where I juiced the competition. Get it? Tropicana, juice. Ah hell, stay tuned...
Here we go again. Thursday 5:30, and I'm out of the office, already in my civilian gear. Atlantic City is an interesting place, and its gotten to the point where I know all of the ins and outs of a great trip. In #1, get there as soon as possible. This involved leaving work a bit early and getting picked up near bro-in-law Marc's apartment. In #2, dress comfortably. So, basically I left the office looking like a bum. So far, so good.
Once at Marc's Robbie Hole was short behind. We all hopped in the car and away we went. The drive was going well when Rob got a call from Dave Roose himself. Roose is moving this weekend, and felt a tad off that he wasn't going to be joining us. On my end, if felt weird too. Degenerate gambling, Roose, Hole and I are like four suits in a deck. Without the Roose of Spades, it'd feel like a weird weekend, but one that a degenerate like myself could deal with.
But then again, peer pressure is a bitch. It took all of 60 seconds to get Dave, fresh off of work, to turn his car around and start making his way to AC. Packing could wait, and I had convinced him that we could get to AC by 9pm, gamble until 4am, hit the sack, and he could hit the road and be home to pack by noon on Friday. Didn't take much convincing. Not much convincing at all.
We ended up meeting Roose halfway at a rest stop. A little while later and we were pulling into my own personal paradise, Atlantic City. The first stop was the Showboat, where I got a free room. I shmoozed with the check-in clerk, but no upgraded rooms were to be had. "Then give me the best room you can." "Okay, I got a nice King-sized bed with all new formica and a plasma TV." "Wait, one bed?" "Yes." "I'll take a room with 2 Queens." "But it won't have a plasma TV." "Buddy, I don't plan on watching much TV."
Once we were in our two-bed room, the beers came out. Marc had packed some with him, so we all started the evening with a quick chug, and then off to the poker room.
On the way, we passed by a slew of machines and table games. Robbie Hole was tempted to play some Roulette, his table game of choice, but I kept charging ahead. I had one rule on this trip, and I was going to stay on it: I was not going to gamble, I was going to play poker.
At the poker room, I was able to immediately sit down at a 1/2 NL table. The interesting thing is, I don't remember the table at all. Roose and Marc eventually were seated at my table. Hole, lagging due to table games, eventually decided to go to the second table, which looked like a who's who of white males. Call me what you will, but if I see a table of diverse ethnicities and genders vs an all white male table, I'm going for the diverse table. It has a lot to do with profitability, and even more to do with having fun. All white males can tend to be over aggressive (personality wise) and can, at times, be too serious to have fun.
I don't remember much of the game. I was up for the most part. Roose busted on some less than optimal flops for his high pocket pairs. I just sat tight watching the players and making moves when they seemed right. One player at the table, dubbed Daryl for the robot boy in the self-titled movie, was playing the role of the poker sage at the table. He was my only real competition, so I made some nice chit chat and proceeded to keep my eye on the bub. Aside from him, the rest of the table was a forgetable crowd. A rotating case of players in the 2s (I was in the 1s) became my friends as they sat down. It was either that or the two foreigners with leather jackets in the 3s and 4s. I have to say, those guys were pretty horrible, and while I don't remember many hands, I do remember this gem. I raised from 2 to 12 with 6h7h, trying to deceive players with my preflop raise. One of the foreigners decides to push all in for 30 or so more (somewhere in that range). It folded to me, and I decided to call, mostly because I was confident that I wasn't that far behind. As it turned out, he had KTo, and I hit my 6 to take his stack. I knew the table as looking at me sidelong after that. Darryl had to pipe up though while I was soothing the foreigner ATM. As I said to ATM, "Hey man, sorry, I knew I was behind, but I felt like gambling." Darryl: "You weren't that far behind." All I could do was shoot him an evil glare.
In the end, I left that table up $44. It wasn't much, but the guys were done playing there and the table wasn't the most exciting. The foreigners left too, and I was left with relatively good players. So, off we went...to Pai Gow Poker. Must...Not...Play...Table Games! I was able to check myself before I wrecked myself, but I can't say the same for Roose and Marc. They sat down with a combined bankroll and proceeded to enjoy the merriment of Pai Gow. I railbirded, while bouncing between the Pai Gow and a Mini-Baccarat table where Hole was learning the ins and outs as a railbird. It was an interesting thing to watch, but it never really grabbed me. Mini-baccarat seemed like a coin toss game to me. Without all of the game rules, you bet on the "banker" or the "player" (there is only one "player" per table, but bettors can each choose to bet on banker or player). The players had these cute scorecards, probably for keeping track of cards in the eight-deck shoe, but no matter what, there was nothing particularly exciting about it.
Pai Gow was a net loser (big surprise) so we headed upstairs for some brews and food. We ordered every appetizer from the room service menu, planning to pay with the $20 comps of Marc and Roose from Pai Gow (Marc can sell a ketchup icicle to an eskimo with white gloves, so getting a comp after an hour was no hard task). As we waited for our 3am buffet, we played a 4-person tournament. This was the plan as soon as we left Pai Gow, and since we had cards but no chips, I came up with an idea. Go to the cashier's cage and get 100 $1 chips. I handed the money to Marc, with a prop bet that they'd say no. After all, there were no $1 games that took chips, and it was an odd request. I knew he'd win, but it was more just letting him do the heavy lifting. When he returned to me, he had a wad of bills. Apparently, he thought I wanted $1 bills. Those $1 bills and $20 per player made up our chips. Playing a tourney with cash as chips was a weird experience. I was overly aggressive since we didn't have much chips and the dollar bills caused play to be more conservative. In the end, the food came before any of us busted out, a good 45 minutes into our private hotel room tourney. We gorged on fried foods at 3am and wrapped up the game. I took 3rd/4, but was happy to chill out and watch some late night TV. When we finally hit the sack, visions of poker chips danced in my head. The plan was to hit the Hilton tournament ($40+10) at 2pm. But we would never get there...
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
ithdtThe blogosphere is an interesting place. Together, blogs have created a media net unlike anything before it. Independent sites, each with independent voices, have come together to create a network where cooperation and openness can only lead to greater strength.
I recently came across a great article in New York magazine (article available HERE) about blogs. I saw a lot of things in the article that gave me some interesting insight into blogs in general, and poker blogs specifically. I encourage you all to read the article yourselves, because I plan to rely on it greatly in this post about poker blogging's past, present and future.
I'll be borrowing a lot from the article, so understand that some of the concepts behind this post were taken from that source. I have not done any independent research, aside from reading a bucket load of blogs and blogging at this very site for, oh, a year or so. In general, when I discuss poker blogs or the poker blogosphere in general, I'll use the term "poker". Otherwise, I'm discussing general blogging principles.
The popularity of poker blogs and blogs in general is closely related to the concept of network theory. The article discusses network theory lightly, but here is a further explanation. The value of blogs come in the networking between blogs. Think Page Rank. By linking to each other, we build a network. The network is stronger when there are more of us. We do not advertise in magazines, TV or billboards. This is it. We advertise through links and through word of mouth. If there are 2 blogs out there, the casual reader may not find them without intentionally seeking out poker blogs. Thanks to the sheer amount of blogs, our page ranks are higher (thus returning our sites in regular Google searches) and also increasing the chances that someone will stumble on a mere corner of the poker blogosphere which will introduct them to the rest of the community. When I first started reading blogs, I was searching for "Card Player" on Google in an attempt to thwart my old firm's website blocker. I accidentally stumbled upon the now-defunct Intrepid Card Player, what I would consider a lesser-known blog, and I was off to the races. From Intrepid, I found Pauly, and from Pauly, the floodgates opened.
So, more is more, right? To expand the poker blogosphere is to expand outreach, and that is the number one way to get more readers.
In the process, a natural hierarchy occurs. According to the article, the hierarchy follows a power-law distribution. The article explains that the power-law distribution is a common trend in any situation. That is why the 40% of the country's wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population and the rich keep getting richer. It's also why certain movie stars can command the most roles and publicity. An elite few rise to the top, because, frankly, when people are confronted with an overwhelming amount of choices, the individuals tend to fall in line, relying on subtle social cues as to who IS an A-lister and who is not. A-listers are also usually forerunners in the field. I'd be interested to see who were the first poker bloggers. My guess though, is that they include such poker blogging household names as Dr. Pauly, Iggy, and Linda from Table Tango, three of my (and just about everyone else's) favorite reads. By being forerunners, these people were able to get ahead of the crowd and grow an audience without the extent of competition we see today. In addition, they've had the time to hone thier skills and, frankly, put out vastly superior product than the average blogger. So, their popularity and A-list status is well-deserved. The network theory comes in when I link to Pauly, and then someone sees my site and follows the link. They begin to read Pauly and since (a) they were exposed to him, (b) there is subtle social pressure to like him since I have already sang his praises, and (c) Pauly is established, both content wise and historically as a blogger and A-lister, the "new reader" is likely to like Pauly also and may link to him if the new reader ever starts a blog. Hell, I just described how I found and eventually linked to the good Doctor. This, my friends, is referred to as homeostasis (also from the article), the tendency of networked systems to be self-reinforcing. It's also the same reason why people jump on a particular stock or follow a particular fad.
The article doesn't discuss B and C-listers in detail, but I think in this context, we must delve into the topic. I consider myself, loosely, as a B-lister. I started after the poker blogging community was well-established. By social networking, which was never a plan but rather a natural outcome of my desire to socialize, I was able to gain readers through interactive ideas, such as the Challenge events and, more recently DADI events (of which, I am still sometimes overlooked in the credit department, but not by you, my kind readers, just by some of those out there that play in the DADI but don't read this humble blog). I had my largest spikes when interacting with other bloggers, including my first significant spike after meeting Dr. Pauly himself. I'd like to think that my product is pretty good too. I don't just provide hand histories, but I do analyze play and hands, such as the You Decide posts. I'd like to think that my dry wit carries me a little way too. My real life exploits, such as my Trip Reports, hopefully interest the reader in a way that mere strategy cannot. Above all, I pride myself on writing often. I do it for the passion, but I also know that consistency is important, because without content, a blog ceases to be a blog.
The vast majority of the blogs out there, however, are C-listers. Good news, though, C-listers. There ain't nothing wrong with Cs. First, you can break the barrier, mostly by being consistent and finding your niche. Rub some elbows, but don't do it because you want more hits. The hits will come. Do it because you are interested in poker and you like to interact with people. Also, I'm sure a lot of you are happy on the C-list. There is no pressure. Don't feel like posting? Don't. Want to write about something off-topic. Go for it. Like hand histories? Have at it! In other words, have fun with it. Because in the end, that's all this blog thing is doing for the vast majority of us. It's an outlet for a little bit of fun.
Financially, all of the aforementioned concepts have a lot of implications. The A-listers can actually get advertising revenue. They can also make some dough with referrals if their readership is willing to send some attention their way. B-listers are also able to scratch out a little dough, but because of smaller readership and the fact that their readers are probably also reading the A-listers, referals and offers for ad revenue will be less. C-listers will probably have the hardest time of all, but those in the C-list generally are not expecting any revenue.
This is where freerolls have become an issue. For A-listers (and I'm speaking in generalities, here), the freerolls are a bad idea. They don't need the freeroll because it devalues their blog to those willing to pay for space (via referrals or flat rates). B-listers ride the line because some of them worry about valuing ad space and others just like freebies. C-listers, though, are the ideal candidate for accepting a freeroll in exchange for ads. It's flattering when anyone will do something for you because of your blog, freerolls included. To you, I say, sign up and enjoy. In fact, it may benefit you if the A and B-listers ignore the freerolls. You get more value for your freeroll experience. And frankly, you deserve it. Power-law distribution is a tough law to fight. Breaking into B or A level is not easy. I would also add that it shouldn't be your goal either. I don't mean to be a purist, but I don't think blogging in order to make money is a sound business model. Now, if you blog and consequently make money, then by all means, reap those rewards. But those who enter the field for the dough are fooling themselves.
Which leads me to what I think is one of the most interesting points of the article. Even though the hierarchy is set, and it's not easy to change, it isn't impossible either. Mostly, it's very easy for an A-lister to drop down, basically by failing to post. As they put is, a blog is like a shark (not a poker shark, you numbskull!). When it stops moving, it dies. Content is king, and if a blog stops posting, people stop coming. Once you let a couple of weeks pass, people stop checking. Dutch Boyd's blog, for instance, was rarely updated for a while. I really enjoyed it at first, but then, forget it. He happens to have more name-recognition than the usual Joe Blogger, so he has more of a likelihood of retaining readers. I still check him out a lot of the time. But if an A-lister stopped posting for a month, their A-list status would be put in Jeopardy (although, I would suggest if they started posting again with consistency, the site could be revived through word of mouth, due to an A-lister's already high status).
On the reverse side, this is more reason for me to emphasize the importance of daily posting to build your blog and readership. And content that builds readership is not just daily hand histories, although there is nothing wrong with that. People want to be engaged and interested, so your content quality matters too, lest anyone think a daily post of poop will get results.
Where do we go from here? The future of poker blogging is wide open. I think we can assume that there will be new additions to the C-listers and a fair share of C-list dropouts. To keep an A-list and B-list status takes a lot of work (often moreso for the A-listers). You all see what stress Pauly goes through. Eventually, some of those A-listers will hit burnout or will get bored of blogging or will find better opportunities. Likewise, some B-listers will move up, and others will move down and/or out.
The WPBT will continue to grow in numbers, but "power" will be concentrated at the top. We must strive to remain inclusive, rather than exclusive, because one of the best part of the poker blogging community is the openness. Unfortunately, it is easier to be open to your close 20 brethren than it is to the 300+ we have today. There will be the usual group dynamic infighting. It's the same thing you saw in high school, or in a fraternity, or in any other group of people. There will be people jealous of A or B-listers, and there will be A or B-listers who do not want to let some of the smaller guys come up. These are the facts of life.
I don't mean to paint a bleak picture though. With continued expansion comes continued network power. The first fax machine was functionally worth crap because there was no one to send a fax to. The millionth was worth a whole lot more. Similarly, the spread of poker blogs will build the community and allow A-listers to have even greater exposure and presence outside of our community. This can only be a good thing. The rest of us will be legitimized as well, as a result. Hopefully, we'll even all progress as poker players, and maybe, just maybe, in the future we could have a presence at the WSOP 2012 that is unrivaled in sheer mass. I say 2012, but it could be much sooner.
I hope I didn't ruffle any feathers, but I probably did. Just understand that I am not talking about anyone in particular. I'm talking about the way of the blog, and the idea of popularity and power distribution. I'm not trying to start a revolution either. I don't mind the way things are. Not one bit. The A-listers deserve to be A-listers. They've worked hard and have made a product that we all find appealing. We'd only suffer by losing any of them (as we all recently feared during Pauly's contemplation of hanging it up). Their writing is beyond most and I appreciate everything they do for us, as a reader and a fellow-blogger. I also appreciate the C-listers, and their often unrewarded efforts. I thank them and I would be glad to offer support to anyone who I felt had the skills to succeed in the blogosphere.
And finally I thank all of my readers. I never expected to even make it to B-list status (although some might suggest that I'm still a C). It was never my intention. Now, I find myself reading Hemingway (no joke) with the hope that it will make me a better writer. I'm really enjoying the craft of blogging. At times, I fear where it is leading. What is the point? Am I wasting this valuable time throwing my thoughts up there for people who I don't know. But I'm kidding myself. I'm not riding this blog anymore. It's riding me. All I can do is see where it's taking me and enjoy the view along the way. So far, it's been pretty good.
Stupid poker. Lost another $30 or so last night. Most of the problems surrounded my Internet connection. It kept cutting out for brief periods of time, messing with my gameplay and sometimes freezing the sites I had open. Because of it, I got a case of the awfukits and was willing to push with suboptimal hands for fear of raising and then being timed out.
As a result, I'm really deciding whether or not to play tonight at all. I'd like to play, especially since my main man GCox will be playing, but the Internet connection, or lack thereof, and a few other factors are really telling me to skip it. First off, I've got AC tomorrow. I'm already angling to leave work a bit early (5:30) to get the show on the road. Right now, the trip looks to be me, Robbie Hole and bro-in-law Marc. The plan is to play a $40+10 tourney at the Hilton (Fri. 2pm), and play cash games the rest of the time. Robbie is also interested in the $20+10 at the Sands, but I think that is a bit too slanted for me. I mean, come on! A 50% fee! But then again, if you win the damn thing, the $10 won't really matter. Come to think of it though, the Sands tourney is Friday night, and I have to get in 4 hrs of poker at the Trop to get my weekend discount rate, so Sands is looking less and less likely.
But, this is about why I won't be playing tonight. Well, Internet connection, and packing for AC, and spending some time with wifey Kim. Those are really the reasons. Wifey Kim has been an angel lately. Never a peep from her about my poker degeneracy.
Which leads me to my next topic. I was chatting two nights ago with SirWaffle. Waffle is an interesting player, mostly because I think he's got it. I believe that there are some people who just have the core of a poker player within them. These are the people who can think a certain way, and can analyze the game in a way that is beyond the casual player. Poker is not just a passion to these people, but also a pursuit. I consider myself to be one of those people. I believe that Waffle is one too. I have some other names I could add to the list, but I don't want to insult anyone or leave anyone out. Suffice it to say, I think some people have a natural edge in poker, especially when they are able to interact with the others at the table. Online poker takes some of that away, and I think that there may be another personality type that particularly excels there.
What's my point? I'm getting to it. So Waffle and I were talking about how we respect each other's game, and I thought about something that popped into my head recently when talking to wifey Kim. "Waffle, do you have a long-term poker goal?" "Not really." That's when I realized that I did have one, and it wasn't what I originally thought.
I'm a lawyer, plain and simple. My parents sometimes wonder about me. They get worried that I want to be a poker player and not a lawyer. Years of school and tons of dough would be down the drain. Well, I have some good news for them. I will always be a lawyer. I could not become a non-lawyer any less than I could become a non-human. I have a degree. I have the ability. And I have the desire to continue.
I used to think I wanted to become a professional poker player. Law is interesting and it pays the bills, but poker is enthralling. As time wore on, I became so entrenched in this goal, but I also agreed with myself that if I do it, I'd do it slowly, turning $50 into the stake I needed to subsist on poker alone. I could see myself playing in major tournaments. Maybe wifey Kim and I would move to somewhere in NJ closer to Atlantic City. I'd be flying out to Vegas and CA, and wherever an interesting tournament would be. What a fantasy life. But, also, what a nightmare.
All that travel and insecurity suddenly became real to me recently. Wifey Kim and I won't be having kids any time soon. But when we do, do I want to be traveling around the country betting my kid's college fund in tournament after tournament with degenerates. Did I want to risk growing apart from my wife? I'm a gambler, but I'd never gamble that.
So I have a new goal. I will remain a lawyer. But I will know that I have made it in poker when my annual poker winnings matches my lawyer salary. That is my new goal. Part-time pro, with real dough to show for it. I'm miles away. Years away literally, and maybe decades, depending on how this experiment goes. But it's something real to me now. Something I can work for and towards.
My goal: To make as much playing poker as I do as a lawyer. It's a lofty goal, but one I'm happy with.
Look for a future post, in which I analyze the history and future of poker blogging. It's something I've been mulling over for a while, but it's a tricky subject and I have to make sure that it is good enough to post.
Thanks for reading. If you feel like it, share your poker goals in the comments. I'd be interested to see what people are striving for. Good luck!
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Stupid me. I was in 1st place after about 5 minutes, and the screenshot didn't work.
DADI 5 was a rousing success yesterday. I'm a bit pokered and blogged out, but I'd be doing this vast blogosphere a disservice if I didn't post today. For a screenshot of the leaderboard taken this morning (crack of dawnin now I'm yawnin), check out the official DADI poker website.
My play was fantastic to start, until I went head-to-head with my QQ vs another player's KK. I then proceeded to do my best in keeping the pressure on the rest of the table. I was aggressive, and rightly so, but eventually, with a short stack there wasn't much I could do, and I went out at a miserable 41st out of 78 people.
So, who is going to the WSOP thanks to you fine players: SNGMachine, aka TonySopran0. Congrats to the Machine. I was playing against him for a bit last night, and he was playing a solid game.
There were bounties galore, and mine was won by none other than Steeler Josh. Now I've got to get his info and send my Copag cards to him. Congrats Josh!
DNasty was on a tear, taking out both Surflexus and Kaellinn and winning both seats in their 4-person freeroll Heads-Up SNG bounty.
I don't remember who won Daddy's pecan roll, but enjoy! Likewise to the winner of the HU match bounty offered by TripJax, and the poker chip shower curtain offered by Hoyazo.
I thank all of the bounty-providers for adding a little bit extra to this tournament.
After losing, I played a little bit of NLHE cash at Stars with assorted bloggers. Jestocot soured my mood by daring to have AT in the Small Blind after I limped with A3s in mid position and hit an AAX flop. After that, I feigned having connection problems just to leave the room. I then went on to win a Rio, and then...wait for it...lose one immediately after in the very first hand when three players were all-in. These Rio players are loose, and I thought my bottom flopped two pair were good. They weren't, as my opponents had top two and a set. I turned off the computer in disgust and couldn't even finish the DADI. Oh, but the Rios are still my cash cow. No doubt about that. And if you want in on the action, there is no better way to do it than by signing up for Noble poker, home of the worst players around and the juiciest SNGs and cash games. Omaha H/L is a particular donation fest, with all sorts of bad players bitching me out for playing draws. Silly Alpaca, Omaha is for kids!
Lately, losing $20-60 a night is common for me online. It's following my usual pattern, where I get crushed in cash games while I whoop ass online, and vice versa. Never both though...at least I hope not, since AC is definitely happening this Thursday through Saturday.
Once I was done with the poker, I sat in bed next to a sleeping wifey Kim and flipped on the TV. She stirred, so I decided to keep in on mute. I watched an entire episode of Prison Break on closed captioned and it was still great. Thank god TV is still +EV for me...
That's all for now, folks. Good luck to you all and thank you for playing at the DADI. It was a great time, and I'm glad that we succeeded in our goal, sending a blogger to the WSOP, while paying out up to the 8th place.
Monday, April 24, 2006
- Knock out me (HighOnPokr) and get two decks of high-quality Copag playing cards.
- Knock out Wil Wheaton and get naming rights for a future WWdn tournament.
- Knock out Hoyazo and get a poker chips shower curtain.
- Knock out TripJax and get a freeroll heads up match against TripJax ($10+1).
- Knock out Daddy and get a Stuckey's Pecan Log Roll.
- Knock out Surflexus or Kaellinn and get a freeroll 4-player heads-up match ($10+1) against the aforementioned bloggers (take them both out and the fourth spot will be filled by a special guest blogger).
You Decide #32
Sunday, April 23, 2006
My weekend output is through the roof! I've got a You Decide post that I had been thinking about since the home game. This hand took place during the .50/1 NL Cash Game. By then, we were four handed. I was in the Big Blind and had AKo. Mikey Aps was the dealer and SoxLover was the SB.
Mikey was on semi-tilt. He was raising a lot, and was very aggressive. All said, though, most of the time he was taking down pots without showing his cards, and when he did show (i.e., was called down), he had the goods. Sox was also raising a lot, but he didn't seem on tilt at all. Rather, he was selectively aggressive and making smart plays.
SoxWife folded, and Mikey on the button, made his standard raise from .50 to $3.50. Sox, to my surprise, raised from $3.50 to $12. Now, this was a very uncommon raise for the table, and when the action go to me, I really had to think. Mikey was representing a decent hand, but the range was wide. Sox, however, represented a monster. He could have been faking, but at that moment, I had him pegged for a pocket pair. Whether it was Tens or Aces, I didn't know. Hell, it could've been 6s or 4s, and the net effect was the same. At best, I was a coin flip for $12. Meanwhile, Mikey had yet to act, and he, too, could have a pair. My nightmare would've been calling the $12 only to have Mikey raise on top. I had won a good amount of dough at this point and I didn't need to donk it off. In the end, I decide to fold AKo at a four-handed cash game facing a raise and re-raise from two aggressive players.
After the hand, Sox and I discussed the play. At a normal game, you don't tell you opponents how to play better, so I was glad that this was a open crowd. According to Sox, in cash games you need to push what little edges you have. AKo in a four-handed game is a monster, and I should've considered pushing. Mikey was raising a lot, so Sox's was willing to put him to the test with less than optimal cards. That did come to mind during my hand analysis while it was happening, but I still thought it would be stupid to risk $12 on a drawing hand. If I miss the flop, I'm screwed.
So, what do you think?
You're In My World Now, Bitch!
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Kudos to anyone who knows what movie today's title is from. Now onto the action.
Poker Blogger homegames are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you are going to get.
Early yesterday, it looked like the homegame was on the chopping block. The game came together conceptually during an SNG involving myself Hoyazo and Drewspop. Drewspop was going to be in NYC this weekend, in from the Boston area, and wifey Kim was conveniently going to be on Long Island. With Hoyazo also a NYer, it was a recipe for a homegame, albeit, one in which the ingredients were unknown.
With Hoyazo and Drewspop in tow, I called out the rally cry, "BLOGGERS ASSEMBLE!" Unfortunately, a last minute Friday night game is a tough sell. The ladies from I Had Outs had a regular Friday game, so they were out. Joaquin the Rooster was otherwise indisposed due to work obligations. I contacted Lady Falcon, but she too was unable to attend. Fortunately, SoxLover and wife were available and interested, and we had our core group of 5.
Now, I don't know about you, but 5 is too small of a group to me, at least for a successful home game. I got on the horn and contacted a bunch of my 'real world' poker-playing friends. The response was, well, silence. With too few players, I was resigned to cancel the game, but two things stopped me: (1) A blogger game, even shorthanded, would be worth playing; and (2) at the last minute, there is always a bunch of calls from people trying to be squeezed in.
Sure enough, before game time, the original 5 grew to 9. Aside from the aforementioned players, the rest of the crew consisted of blogger Kid Dynamite, bro-in-law Marc, Mikey Aps, and Timmy Bones (aka Mike Delpino).
The interesting thing about hosting a game like this is, I didn't know what half the players looked like. I'd hear the doorbell, and then I'd open the door and see a stranger there. Picture taking a box of assorted chocolates, mixing them up, and then looking at the list of flavors. Yeah, that looks like a peanut cluster, but it could be cashew. Hell, it could be coconut. So instead, you take a bite ("Hey...Hoyazo") and hope you are right ("Ew...coconut...er, Drewspop [no offense Drewspop]).
The thing was, thtere was no coconut (have I driven the analogy into the ground, yet). We all got along well, because in the end, we already knew each other, if not from our blogs, then in the fact that we were all poker players, serious poker players.
The tournament went well. I should thinks so, seeing as I won the thing, breaking the curse of the host. Early in the game, I made a bonehead play, that I'm still on the fence about. With KK, I raised to 3x the BB, trying to keep players in the hand. Marc and one other player stayed in. The flop had the dreaded Ace, and I decided to make a slight bet. Marc came over the top for a decent chunk of change, and after some deliberation, I decided to fold face-up. I wanted him to show his cards, and I guess I also wanted the table to see my folding prowess. The line of the night came from Kid Dynamite, "Why don't you just get some lipstick and draw a bullseye on your head?" Later in the night, Marc admitted that he had 44 and my Kings were good. But that early in the tournament, I didn't want to lose all of my chips, and KK with an Ace on the flop and an MP and MP/LP caller preflop is a recipe for disaster.
At one point, I called SoxLover's wife's all-in preflop. I had AK and she had AJ. Sure enough, the J came, and I was down to about 4-8x the BB. The blinds were high, and we were already out 2-3 players. But, as I've said many times before, I'm dangerous on a short stacked. I slowly chipped my way up, and within 2 orbits, I was in a respectable position.
Soon, it was down to SoxWife, Kid Dynamite, myself and Marc. Drewspop, who was an early chipleader, had eventually been blinded and (I believe) sucked out on, to the point where he had to push with less-than-optimal cards. Hoyazo was out a bit earlier, after a hand with his 9s against my Qs preflop. It was another one of those hands where my over-sensitive Spidey Sense told me to fold to his huge pre-flop raise. Fortunately, I ran the hand through my head and determined that I had to call.
So, back to the bubble. I can drag this out, but lets get to it. I took out SoxWife with my AJ v. her A6, all-in preflop. I called her all-in re-raise and was glad of the outcome. I know that she was card dead all night, and I felt a tinge of guilt for knocking her out, but I was in the money and that tinge went fast. Marc eventually fell in 3rd to Kid Dynamite, leaving him and I heads up. We both played well heads-up, picking our spots and folding generously. Finally, I felt fed up with it all. I raised with JQo and Kid Dynamite decided it was time to push. I was tired of his aggression and called, only to see that he had JJ. Suckout time, with a AKTK5 board, and he was crippled. In the very next hand, we both went all-in blind. He had JJ again, and lost to my Q8. Sorry, Kid, it wasn't meant to be.
A cash game (.50/1 NL, $50 buy-in) started up while we were four-handed in the tournament, and I took some time to bask in my glory and clean up before I sat down to lose my winnings. But then a weird thing happened...I didn't lose. In fact, I made some great plays and got very lucky on one particular hand.
Mikey Aps is an aggressive player, and a raise pre-flop from .50 to 3.50 was becoming standard. So, I decided to call on the button with T3. I loved the flop, T67, so I bet out from the blinds $6. Mikey decided it was time to put me to the test and raised $19 on top. Now, that's a decent chunk of change, so I ran through the possibilities. In the end, I settled on Mikey holding two overcards. The bet was so large that it seemed that he wanted me to fold. I considered pushing back into him, but decided that I would only get called if he actually had a superior hand. Instead, I called, hoping and expecting to make my move on a scary turn card. Well, the 8 came out, creating a straight if either Mikey or I had a 9. Now, I was several beers in, so I don't recall the hand with precision, but I believe I check-raised all-in. Either that, or I just raised something like $25 right off the turn. Mikey hemmed and hawed for a while, mumbling about how I caught my straight. I was trying to figure out if he was faking or not, but when he folded, I gladly mucked and raked in my pot. I later admitted my hand to him, but Mikey didn't believe it. He claimed he had 2-pair, but frankly, I don't believe him either. That's poker.
My lucky hand came via SoxLover. I had QQ and was in the BB to Sox's SB. It folded to him and he raised it up to 3.50 or thereabouts. I flat called, hoping to disguise the strength of my hand. The flop was AQx, and it looked good for me. Again, memory sucks, but I put out a bet of $4 or so, and he called. The turn...Q. DEMS QUADS BEECHES! If Mike Sexton was there, he's be whispering, "Jordan is trying to stay calm, but you better believe the Star Spangled Banner is playing in his head," or some other such nonsense. I decided to bet $8, and Sox, to my surprise decided to raise me back to $20 or so. Now was the time, and I bet $20 on top. To my surprise, Sox pushed all-in and I called with my quads. Done and done, the chips shifted to me.
In hindsight, I realize something about that hand, that oddly relates back to the KK hand. Sox was trying to represent a Queen. He must've had me on an Ace. He knew I was willing to fold premium hands from the KK laydown. So, in a sense, that table image helped me get the action I did with my quads. He was encouraged to represent Queens because where most people would hold onto their Ace steadfast, I was the type of player (according to table image) that was willing and, hell, looking to fold my big hands.
In the end, I won $111 in the cash game. That with the $210 profit from the tournament meant that I had a HUGE boost to the live bankroll. And just in time for Atlantic City...
Thanks to all of the bloggers who came out. It was a pleasure. When you open your home to people you don't know (in person), it can be a...touchy situation. We are poker players, which is different from gamblers, but in the same genre. In general, I wouldn't trust the average Joe, let alone the average degenerate gambler, in my home. But we, whether as bloggers or as poker players, are a different breed. The game is foremost, and is above any other agenda (albeit, not including priorities like family and such). I didn't have much concern for my apartment or the people I was inviting, but it was there. And I'm glad that it was quiet. Because once that door openned and Hoyazo, the first to arrive, came in, I knew that we were all poker players, and that, alone, made us brethren.
Friday, April 21, 2006
GOD! MUST...PLAY...POKER...MUST...WAIT...UNTIL THE END OF THE DAY...MUST...HAVE...BLOGGER GAME OF 7 PLAYERS (including two of my local cohorts).
And finally, MUST...PLAY...DADI...ON...MONDAY...
I can't freaking wait. GET ME OUT OF HERE!
Now I remember why I rarely have home games. Tonight, if all goes well, there will be a NYC blogger home game tonight at Casa del High, aka the 5 Diamond Club. We have 5 people right now, so let me first ask this general question: Would you host a home game if only 5 people could attend? If so, what games would you play? It's not really about telling me what to do. Right now, I'm still not sure, going back and forth between "5 is too little for a good game" and "With this crowd, 5 is fine." It's more just a matter of curiosity.
I got some decent reaction from the Poker and Pets post. I expect more emails to be sent in the future, both from owners and their pets (thanks Trip). It's good to be offering up some great advice to the public.
I got my ass handed to me again last night. Bubbled in a Rio and then placed 3rd. I couldn't get anything going. Card dead and with bad luck is not a way to win a Rio. But I try to shake it off as a bit of variance. More importantly, what is done is done. I'll have to return their later to take my money back.
I then jumped into Mini-Step 2 on Party (foregoing Step 1). I placed 5th, pushing me back to Step 1, a Step I was hoping to avoid all together. The last hand was a suckout, where I decided to call a minimum raise from the BB when I was the SB with 59o. I hit my 5 and bet, hoping he missed the board. He calls. The turn is a 9 and I push. He calls with two random cards that happen to have comprised top pair, shitty kicker. He then rivers trips, and I go home. Some people may say that 59o is a poor hand to play. I know, I know. But how I played it was excellent. Results, however, don't always fall in line behing my greatness.
(Variance, I keep telling myself. Variance.)
Damnit, I love this poker thing, and I plan on playing all night (home game or not) to satisfy what ails me. Wifey Kim is going to be on LI tomorrow for some other thing. I try not to ask too many questions, lest I sound like I want to join. That means more poker tomorrow morning/afternoon as well. And with wifey Kim out of the house tonight, I may just uber-degenerate it up by not sleeping at all! Okay, I'll sleep some, but probably at some ungodly hour in order to convince myself that I'm a wild and crazy guy. How sad.
I ended up sending a text message to about 8 people to drum up more players for tonight's game. There were some people I considered texting that I haven't seen or spoken to in months. I never know what to do. On one hand, it looks like I'm just texting them for the sake of poker. On the other, poker is just something that we have in common and that we enjoy. To me, its the same (and in fact, preferable, entertainment-wise) than calling them up to go for a beer. Hey, I got beer at my place.
That's where I'm at. Holla back if ya hear me!
Poker and Pets
Thursday, April 20, 2006
After CC's great series on Poker and Relationships, and his recent series on Poker and Children, I became inspired. How does poker affect our pets?
In order to understand this issue greater, I spoke to players far and wide to discover the negative effects poker has had on many a family pet. For the sake of privacy, all of the players have remained anonymous.
One poker player wrote:
For me, personally, poker has greatly affected my life with "Sparky" [the anonymous player's dog's name has been changed to protect the innocent]. I found that when I played, Sparky would sulk off into a corner. Before I discovered online poker, Sparky and I used to sit and watch TV while I petted or combed his coat. Now, most of the TV time has become online poker time. As a result, Sparky's beautiful mane has looked somewhat scraggily. He doesn't seem to mind, or so I tell myself, but when I take him to the dog park, most of the other dogs are so better kempt. I worry that I might make Sparky the trailer-park trash of the dog hierarchy. I already see that he has become one of the pack followers, rather than the leader he once was. I plan on cutting down on online poker in the future, but right now, I just can't seem to pull myself away, no matter how sad Sparky is.
Wow. What a bold statement. Poker can sometimes distract us from the more important things in life. Neglect is a terrible thing for anyone to suffer. Luckily, Sparky seems to be a strong dog, and appears to be understanding of his owner. I also received an update, and Sparky is now on prozac and doing well. Let's hear from someone else.
When I first got my kitten "Fluffy", we spent lots of time together. There is nothing cuter than a little gray cat playing with a ball of string. Unfortunately, Fluffy got some bad habits, and in the end, they have come into conflict with my poker game. I like to have homegames about once a week. Mostly, it was just friends from work who came over to gab, drink some wine and play some cards. Fluffy was generally very cautious at first, but then she started getting into the game. The problem occurred when she got a bit too into the game. Fluffy started climbing on the table. Then she'd go after players' cards if they moved them around too much. In the end, she'd splash the pot, expose cards, and cause a ruckus. That's when I let Fluffy out to roam free on the streets. At least there, she can find a pick-up game with the other alley cats.
It is truly sad what poker can do to an otherwise well behaved pet. I don't know if I would've left the cat out in an alley. I'd like to think that my humanitarian self would've been kind enough to sell the cat or at least dump him at the dog pound, or wherever cats go. Finally, one last letter.
Hey Jordan! I heard about your article on Poker and Pets and thought I'd add my two cents. When I started playing poker, it was mostly live. I found myself out for days at a time, since the nearest poker room was several hours away. My goldfish, "Sanford", took the brunt of it. I wouldn't be around to feed him for days on end, and I noticed him looking sickly. I had just moved to town and didn't know many people, so I didn't have anyone to look after him. I knew what I was doing was wrong, so when I found out about online poker, I found the solution to my problem. I started playing online, and actually set up my comp right by Sanford. It was fun at first. I'd notice that he would swim closer to the screen when I was playing. I found a good job and was out of the house more, but I still found time to play poker. Meanwhile, I noticed, here and there, that my account online would fluctuate. I mean, I didn't notice it directly. But I wouldn't play for a few days and then when I returned it was off by a couple of bucks. I then noticed that my harddrive had filled up. I took a look around and found several other poker sites downloaded. I figured it was damn spyware or something, so I erased them, but they kept coming back. Then I got this email from Party Poker: "Dear Mr. 'Sanford': It has come to our attention that you have opened several accounts with Party Poker, which is against our policy. As a result, we are confiscating all funds, totalling $104,000 from your accounts." I was shocked, but then I noticed that my mouse was wet! Sanford had been secretly playing on my account, and eventually ran up my credit cards starting 6 different party poker accounts. I was shocked, and flushed Sanford that night. So, poker and pets don't mix! Signed, ZeeJustin."
Whoops! Forgot to edit the end of that last one.
But as you can see, poker can have a very harmful effect on your pets. So treat them well, and remember, pets and poker don't mix!
I played last night at Robbie Hole's home game. In my last two forays there, I came out winner, but this time I was taken out early in both tournaments to lose a whopping $30. That's the beauty of the Hole game. Even when you lose, it barely stings.
As usual, it was a social game. I got to talk some strategy with Peter, one of the newer players, a 40-something guy who loves the game but still hasn't grasped some of the nuances. But hell, he doesn't need nuances, because he ended up kicking my well-studied ass all over the place.
In the first tournament. I watched Pete carefully as he looked at his cards and started to ponder. He looked like he was planning something, and to me, I read it as him having some quality cards. The thing was, I wasn't sure how much quality there really was. I decided to call his minimum bet from the small blind with AT.
The flop was T high, and I decided that it was time to make a bet. $3 to Peter, only to be raised $3 on top. Now I'm thinking, ok, he has me beat. He has JJ-AA. But I don't know. Pete doesn't have the best grasp of the game, and maybe I can make something happen here. I called and the turn was a J. I bet out $5 and Pete called. Good, I thought. He is slowing down. Next card out was a blank, and I decided to bet $5 more to control the pace. He called and I showed my pair of tens. He had 88. I was already doing well...
Yeah, but things didn't go well after that. I don't remember the exact situation, but Pete eventually took me out when I held A5 in the blinds. I was shortstacked after losing a hand to Pete that I, for the life of me, can't remember. The flop came down AhKx6h and I decided that I needed to protect my top pair. Pete raised, but I didn't fear Pete. Again, his betting range is so wide that he could easily have made the move with Kings. It's a loose game, and the two limpers didn't scare me. They could've had anything as well, which is the theme of the Hole home game. If they had an Ace, I was willing to lose. I guess it was partially a case of the awfukkits, but I seriously believed that I could take the hand. I push, Randy Hole calls, and Pete calls. Uh oh, I think, I'm in trouble. The next card was another K. I knew I was cooked. Now I was hoping that they had an Ace and that I could maybe chop the pot with another high card. But Pete bets big, and Randy folds. Randy had QJo, and Pete held K9h. For the hell of it, he also happened to river his flush, and I was out.
Oh, and please, no need to comment on the stupidity of my play. I know it, you know it, Pete knows it. But it was one of those games...
In the second tournament, I ran into trouble from Pete again. Lord, I wish I remembered the situation. I think I hit top pair of Aces with a good kicker. Pete, on the other hand, had 99 and hit his set. The worst part was when I pushed all-in. Pete took a long time to call, giving me false hope. When he called and showed it, I actually gave a mini lecture (I know, bad Jordan). "Pete, when you have a great hand and you are going to call anyway, you don't need to pretend like you have a crap hand. Just call." My error. He really was debating the call, fearing an unlikely straight. Either way, that burst my bubble and I resigned myself to dealing the rest of the night.
It was just one of those games. I couldn't get into the groove. I lost a hand to Robbie Hole where I called his hand. I called it! But I couldn't let go of my AJ on an Ace high board (A65). Sure enough, when we were all in, I said, "you have A6". He did. Reading your opponents, though, doesn't count for shit if you don't act on your reads.
So, I'm not really complaining. I had a great time. Tonight, wifey Kim will be going to LI to pick up a car. She has to drive into New Jersey tomorrow, so that means I'll be free to play until she returns to NYC tonight at about 9:30. Look me up!
The home game set for Friday is coming together. Right now the roster is a bit short though, so I'm doing what I can to up attendance. We have currently 5 players: me, Drewspop, SoxLover and wife, and Hoyazo. Any other NYC-area bloggers are invited to join. The plan is a $40 tourney with one rebuy in the first hour. Afterward, we'll probably play cash games.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
After losing $60 Monday night, I was glad to end up $15 yesterday. The difference in my play seems to have come down to that topic I mentioned about a week ago: feelings.
Rather than go to my Rios, as I have been prone to do, I decided to play what felt right. This led me to the .25/.50 NL full table at Noble Poker. I hadn't played a NLHE ring game in a while, so I settled down, eyeing my competition, and got ready for some folding action.
And fold I did, for about an orbit. If I had something playable, I played it, but that wasn't happening, at least not that I could recall. The max buy-in at .25/.50 NL is $50. I noticed that there were more than a few shortstacked players. My assumption is that they bought in for the minimum ($10) or neat to it. Some players don't like to see this. To me, it is gold. I know that players like that are more likely to push with marginal hands. They lack confidence and only have so much to lose (and to manuever with). In addition, they can only hurt me so bad.
With this in mind, I kept an eye on my competition, noticing that one player, who I shall dub the Fugitive, was shortstack and ready to push. He was across the virtual felt from me, and open minimum raised from .50 to $1 in MP. The table folded around to me, and I decided to call his minimum raise with T5o. I knew that if I hit, and if there were no Aces on the flop, I was probably in good shape. I also knew that he only have about $5.50 left, so I could take that gamble anyway.
The flop, KT6. I decided to check, hoping that my opponent would push all-in. The pot was $2.25, and a push meant fear. I had him pegged for two high-cards, but not necessarily the King. If he had it, I would expect a bet from him of about $1 - 2. A push meant he missed.
Push, he did and call I did. The result: My T5 hit two pair on the turn...against his AJo. When he was busted, I immediately thought, "rebuy, rebuy, rebuy." But instead the Fugitive fled for greener pastures, and I went on a donkey hunt.
The first stop was to the Find a Player function. I typed in the Fugitive's name, and found him, surprisingly, at two .25/.50 PLO8 tables. Well, I can do that, so I kept the NL table opened and found one of the Fugitive's PLO8, which was shorthanded with about 4 players. I sat down and decided to see if he was a poor player or just had made a poor play. To make sure the Fugitive didn't escape, I tagged him as a buddy (in the future, I plan to Search for Buddies at Noble, and when I see Fugitive and my notes, I'll know what I have to do.
Well, Fugitive and I got into a hand not too long into my stay. I held 5h4dKhKs, a decent hi/lo hand shorthanded, but by no means a lock to win. The flop, however, was 567, for bottom two pair. There was one other player in the hand, and I decided that the best move was a modest bet of $1 into the $1.50 pot. The other player folded and Fugitive called.
Now, here is the problem. If Fugitive has any two low cards besides 5,6, or 7, he's made the low. I haven't. So, most likely we are going to chop...unless he also has 89 in his hand, in which case I am dominated for the hi and lo.
The horseshoe in my ass shifted, and another 4 came down, giving me a full house. I felt confident in my high, and decided to bet again. I didn't think that I could push him off of his presumed made low (A2 was one of my predictions for him), but I thought a bet could give me some information. He called me again, and the river came off, K, making me an even better full house.
Here's the thing. The Fugitive bought in short at this table too, so by now, he had about $6 in front of him. I decided to play a little mind game, and bet $1, which was less than my earlier bets. The goal was to look scared. I knew that Fugitive liked bluffing when he sensed weakness, so I induced his all-in (again) by showing weakness. Sure enough, he pushes all-in over the top...and I call, scooping the pot. I don't know what he had because as soon as he left the room, I got up too.
I followed the Fugitive to one last NLHE room, but once I arrived, he busted out. Checking the Search feature, I discovered that he was hovering in the lobby. I had enough hunting for tonight, and turned my attention to the Yahoo IM window.
As usual, I missed the WWdn tournament. I discovered this when I got home from dinner with the High clan at 9pm (start time is an ungodly 8:30). After my donkey hunting exploits, I hunted down some recently-busted bloggers for some SNG action. The SNG's lineup included GCox, Mookie, and Hoyazo. Using my "feeling" technique, we decided on a 18-person SNG on Stars. My compadres all played well. G suffered an early exit, a rare occurrence for the solid player. Mookie and Hoyazo stayed near the top of the leader board until we were combined to one table, and then one player seemed to just spin gold. I mean, luckbox is an understatement, catching three outters like it was his job. As for my play, it was fairly sturdy. I avoided confrontations. Most players folded to my bets/raises, so I didn't get much action on my premium hands. I was able to call one player's hand exactly (JJ), and was happy to see Mookie double up against him with Mook's KK. (Side note: To me, there is nothing better than calling a player's cards and being correct. I consider it my greatest accomplishment and, when working, asset.) Eventually, however, I made some stupid plays once ITM, and went packing with 4th place. In my final hand, the blinds were 100/200 and I had 2,500. I decided to push all-in UTG with AJ. The BB woke up with AQ, and I lose. Stupid stupid stupid. After I pushed (and before I was called), I even said it to my cohorts. "Stupid move. I should have made a smaller raise." Sure enough, the only person calling that raise would have me beat, and in the end, my impulsive act cost me some dough.
But I won last night. And that is pretty sweet.
Now, I can't make Mookie's tournament tonight, even though I had planned to. It's at 10pm EST at Stars. I'll be at Robbie Hole's homegame, trying to increase my live bankroll before Atlantic City.
On Friday, I also have a home game at Casa del High, aka the 5 Diamond poker club. But you'll get more details on that later.
Have a pokerific day!
Calling All Cards
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
First off, a quick update/change to the DADI 5: WSOP Satellite event.
The person who knocks out Wil Wheaton will get to name a future WWdn event (as opposed to the winner of the entire DADI event, because, frankly, that lucky bastard will be getting enough).
In addition, I have offered a bounty on myself. If you take out the man known as HighOnPokr, you win yourself two decks of plastic, high-quality Copag playing cards. So, come and get um!
I expect more bounties to follow...
Also, I am trying to gather some bloggers for a homegame this Friday at casa del High. If you are in the NYC area and would be interested, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). I'll tell you right now that it is not open to anyone, basically because it's my home we are talking about here, and I don't need you degenerates filling up the place. But I put it out there as a general invitation to my friends who read this, and to bloggers in the NYC area who I may or may not know. At least if you have a blog, I can take a perusal and see what I'm dealing with. The plan is probably a tournament ($40-60) and then some NL or Limit poker. Depending on the crowd we can even have mixed games.
Okay, a bit misleading. If you've read this humble corner of the blogs-and-crafts center, you know that I am anything BUT weak tight. However, in my neverending quest to kill the beast called Rio, I've adapted a bit of weak tight strategy into some preflop play. I don't even know if I'm using the term "weak tight" right. I'd expect all of you Poker Tracker junkies to have more insight, so feel free to leave a comment.
First let me start by saying that yesterday was a -$60 disaster. I placed 3rd and 2nd in two out of four Rios, therefore suffering a net loss (3rd pays $1 profit only).
I played two non-Rio SNGs (first with Iamhoff and DrewsPop, the second with DrewsPop and Hoyazo), only to lose. In the first one, it was fancy play by me that caught me right in the junk. In the second one, escalating blinds caught up to me. However, I had, what I would call, an amazing play. I held AQ and another player raises from 100 to 350. This seemed familiar so I checked the hand history and saw him do it about 4-5 hands ago with J9s. Okay, buddy, let's play. I decide to flat call, hoping for his usual continuation bet. Sure enough, I check on the Ace-high flop, and he raises about the pot size, which is fairly significant. I have about 22oo left, so I push (right after typing "watch this" to Hoyazo and DrewsPop in our Yahoo IM window. Sure enough, he calls with AJ, and...we split the pot when the board two-pairs. Doh! With that, I would've been the huge chip leader.
But I digress. The rest of my losses came at 1/2 Limit on Party, trying to earn the free $30 they offered me.
Now let's get to the weak-tight. The key to Rios is keeping out of the way of the maniacs early. It wasn't working last night, unfortunately, since either the players were generally tighter, or the shortstacks were constantly getting lucky. However, I've become weak-tight preflop, with hands that may even be considered premium in a 6-handed game.
Specifically, I've been playing AJ, AQ, and AK by merely limping in. My goal is to hit my Ace and hopefully either have a player stay in with A6 or some other crap and then call me down, or have a player not believe that I have the ace (because, after all, I just limped), or miss the flop and get the fuck out. Basically, I'm trying to remember that I shouldn't be overplaying these hands, especially when they miss the flop. The value is in hitting the flop and in getting your opponent to stick around for the ride. The other benefit, which I already touched upon, is that no one suspect big slick in this situation.
The other thing is this: I've found myself continuing weak-tight post-flop in some situations. In one, I had AQ and hit the Ace. Someone else bets out a small-ish amount, and I decide to go along for the ride. I wasn't sure if I was milking him or he was milking me, but me calls somehow kept his bets low. Something smelled wrong, but I couldn't just fold in this situation. In the end, he had AK, and I saved myself some dough by not re-raising. Folding would've been better, but realistically, most of the time, I re-raise here, which would've been a disaster.
Am I making any sense? So, that's it in a very tiny nutshell. I'd like to go into it more, but now that I began explaining, I've realized that there isn't much to tell. I give up some blinds that I could possibly take easily with a bet, but I also maximize the value of the hands when they hit. It's a balancing act, I suppose. In the end, what really interests me about it is that it is so different from my usual style. Then again, my results yesterday may suggest that I return to the old me. Oh well oh well.
That's it for today. Mama High will be in the City tonight, so poker will probably be late or not at all. Have a good one!
Obsessive to Excessive
Monday, April 17, 2006
I might be getting a reputation. It's oddly something that I am simulatneously proud and ashamed of (but slightly more proud). Degenerate gambler might be the best name to go with, but its mostly for flair. Gambler will do just fine.
What's it all about? I guess what it boils down to is action. I love it. And when I'm in a situation with the right people, well, I'm game for any sort of action.
On Wednesday, I had a 2 1/2 hour drive from NYC to Long Island, a trip that should take about 40 minutes. Halfway through I was bored, and bro-in-law Marc was in the car with wifey Kim and I. What's a bored pair of guys to do? Gamble! On just about anything. For instance, how many times will the car in front of us break (affirmed by break lights) before the next overpass? OR, how many SUVs will pass us by Exit 31. Then there was the bet where we both chose 3 bands each and bet on whose band would play next on the classic rock station. Overall, I was a loser, but I had a good time losing.
This past weekend, it was Marc, wifey Kim, and mother-in-law Sharon in the car with me. Marc and I are fairly competitive, so we got to gambling again. Even Sharon was getting into it, not so much for the money, but just for bragging rights.
Fast-forward to Saturday night, and I find myself at a table with 12 other people having a birthday dinner for Robbie Hole. Surely, David Roose, Randy Hole, and Ilan the G-lan were there. It only took a matter of time before we bet on the bill. The winner was Ilan, who bet the highest and then proceded to order dessert and drinks. As it turned out, we were all under by about $200, so his drinks ploy didn't play much of a factor. Sure enough though, the rest of the table simultaneously thought it was a hoot and abhorrent. Non-gamblers just don't understand.
And here's the thing. All of the aforementioned bets were for $1. That's it! I tried to explain it to those dinnermates tsking in my direction. "It's not about the money," I tried to explain, "but the action. It's just a goof to make things more interesting like how big our bill will be." They just didn't get it. Wifey Kim got it, but she was off by about $400 on the bill and you know I was covering her buy-in. In the end, it was just a joy to see her happy and betting with the best of them.
Now, take all of these prop bets and mix it with the poker. I felt like I couldn't stop talking (and thinking) about poker all weekend. Friday night was all poker, with wifey Kim out to the movies with the girls. Saturday was a day of obligations, but while I couldn't play, my thoughts were on returning to my Rio conquest. Sunday was much the same, with me rushing to the comp (but in a non-chalant manner, lest wifey Kim see the full degeneracy) to play once I had returned from an afternoon of hanging with friends around the city.
Atlantic City is coming up at the end of next week if all goes well at work, and there is always more action just around the corner. You've heard it from me before, but I'm going to say it again: I'm damn serious about this game. I want to beat it. I want to grow my game and my bankroll and move up the ladder. I don't think I have ever been as focused on anything ever before in my life. This is it.
So, yeah. I used to be a bit obsessive about poker, and I've officially moved up to excessive obsessive. But I'm loving every minute of it.
Can't...stop...playing...Rios! This weekend, Titan Poker was offering extra points toward their bonuses. The idea was to promote their new VIP levels. I don't really get the VIP thing, so maybe someone can inform me. From what I can see, VIP programs in various sites really only offer you some freerolls and bonuses (or faster bonuses). Well, call me crazy, but I usually can't commite to the time needed for the freerolls, and I'm like a bonus bloodhound, so I can always find one worth chasing.
Regardless, as a result of the offer, I played a bucket load of Rios, which are also available through Noble Poker (same great game, same terrible players). I actually had a streak of 3 first place finishes in a row. Another 3 would've earned me $25,000, but I then placed 2nd. Two more 1st or 2nd place finishes in a row would've netted me $300, but I then placed 5th.
So close, yet so far.
But that's the thing with these Rios. Six 1st place finishes in a row will be damn tough, and six 1st or 2nd place finsihes will be still fairly difficult. I usually get to 4 and then slip up. But while I'm trying to get there, I am earning money the entire way.
I've earned at least $200 on Rios, by my rough estimation, and I plan on sticking to them in the near future. My goal is to finally hit one of those jackpots, but I know that in the meanwhile, I'll continue to build the bankroll. So, basically, I'm on a (mostly) all Rio diet for the near future.
I've started to keep a separate cash bankroll for my poker play. It really is a novel concept for me. I also used to not count online wins in my win/loss ledger for the year. My logic was that any money I deposit online from my wallet is a loss immediately, and any withdrawal from online is a win. This way, I didn't "fool" myself into thinking that credits in some online poker room which I could eventually donk off was "real money".
Turns out, I was fooling myself about fooling myself. At the time when I instituted the rule, I was a net loser online. Then it made sense that any money deposited should be considered a loss. I also thought that the money that I won online had no real-world implications. After all, it did nothing but sit online. It didn't make my life any easier. It didn't pay for my groceries. How could I say, "I won $100," in honesty if I couldn't touch the money or spend it. I wanted to test how poker could make my life easier.
Things are different now, though. Maybe this is part of my evolution as a poker player. I can't stop thinking about my eventual goal, to make significant money in this game. In order to do that, I need to amass a bankroll, and the only way to do that is to win money, and then KEEP that money for future games. Hence, I've taken my $140 in cash game wins from my last visit to the Townehouse and last two visits from Robbie Hole's homegame and put it aside. I've also started a spreadsheet (since Valentine's Day, when I realized I lost my calendar, which was my old win/loss ledger) to keep track of ALL wins or losses, be them online or live. Now, I believe that until Valentine's Day, I was up barely $50 for the year after a slow start. Add that to what I have in my spreadsheet, and I'm at about $450 profit for the year, not including bonuses. My goal was to win $1800 by year end, which is about $150/month. So, basically, I'm doing fairly well in my goal, but need to keep the momentum going.
The Evolution of a Poker Player! Just the thought of it excites me.
I've got more to write, but no time to do it, so have a great Monday (all things considered) and I'll be seeing you at the tables.
DADI 5: WSOP Satellite
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I don't know how to put this, but its kind of a big deal.
DADI is only one week from Monday, and we currently have 12 players signed up. We need about 41 more to offer a seat to a WSOP $1500 event to the winner (specific event to be chosen by the winner). In addition to the $1500 WSOP seat, 2nd place gets an iPod Shuffle, 3rd place gets 10k in PSO points which is redeemable for a whole lot of things including a $100 gift certificate to Party Poker and Absolute Poker, and 4th gets 5k PSO points which is redeemable for a $50 gift certificate to Absolute. Any money remaining after the $1500 seat will be distributed to the other top players, with $100 to each player until the money runs out. In other words, if there is $1850 in the pot, 2nd through 4th get $100 each (on top of the pre-named prizes) and 5th gets $50. So, there are a lot of ways to win, including some great prizes. The WWdn tournament, scheduled every Tuesday, will not take place this week. Instead, Wil Wheaton has offered the winner of DADI a free seat in the WWdn Tournament of Champions as well as the right to name a future WWdn tournament.
So, what are you waiting for?
Hazy Thursday, Great Friday
Friday, April 14, 2006
I can't help it folks. When people say its Good Friday, the saying just pops into my head: "Good Friday! Hell, its Great Friday!" I guess its akin to when I'm sitting under the gun and the dealer points to the SB and BB and says, "Small blind, big blind..." I always chime in with, "and I'm the huge blind! Hugest blind you've ever seen." I'm just low brow like that.
I've been missing out on a lot of blogger tournaments lately. They've been proliferating, what with the WPBT, DADI, Mookie's weekly, and the WWdn tournaments. Its almost maddening, because I'll sign up after wifey Kim is asleep and invariably, everyone is an hour into a tournament while I'm kicking myself for missing out. Last night was an exception however, as I sat down at a blogger only private tourney hosted by Veneno in conjunction with the Heads Up Challenge 3 finals. Congratulations to Will Wonka on his HUC3 win! He was one of the originals from the first Heads Up Challenge (of which I was founder and Commissioner) so it was great to see one of the originals take it down. I didn't get to watch the match, but I'm sure he faced stiff competition from FishyMcDonk, a mainstay in these new crop of blogger games.
The HUC3 private "lounge" tournament, arranged by Veneno, was a great idea. Basically, it was just another private tourney, but it coincided with the HUC3 finals. There were 12 players, and, well, I came in 10th. But it was on a suckout by Weak Player, with my AQ vs his A9. I was playing a different brand of poker against the table, slipping into some manic habits. I saw about 30% of the flops, and was doing my best to be erratic and control the table. As a result, I went from chipleader to last place, to middle of the pack, to last place, to top 3, and so forth. Basically, when you play a lot of hands, you see large swings. The over-aggression was working though, and because of it, I was able to get Weak to call my all-in with his A9. In the hand, I was in the SB and he was in the BB. I believe I raised pre-flop, which happened a lot. I had about 1k and the blinds were 50/100 so I raised to 300. He called. I missed the flop, which was all low cards, and maybe a pair, like 525. I decided to push because I thought he would assume I was bluffing. I was, but I knew he would call me with a WIDE range of hands that included hands I could beat, because I was relentless. I also knew that he could fold the hand easily too. He called me with A9, I cheered and typed "booya" and then lost on the turn. I've said it before, but not on this blog: Jordan's rule for celebrating is to celebrate right away, so that when you get sucked out on, at least you had that little moment of joy! I don't mind losing to a suckout anyway. It just means that I got in with the best of it.
In other news, the 45-person SNG Challenge has ended. The winner...Poker Champ! Yes, even after he ceased to exist, the Champ continued playing, well, like a Champ. Congratulations to him and our 2nd and 3rd place finishers (and two guys who seem to be making a tear in the win department) DrewsPop and Kaellinn. I played my 14th (and, in this case, last) 45-person SNG last night. I had lost all but one of the prior 13, so I needed to 1st place wins or thereabout to make it ITM in our Challenge. I decided to stop the $10+1 tourneys and just go buckwild in the $1. I pushed left and right, showing my 26o or whatever crap hand I had. It was fun tilting an entire table. And for $1, it was affordable. I lost when some jackass sucked out my 47c with JJ! By the way, I believe the $1 45p set up my mood to play ultra-aggressive in the HUC3 lounge tourney. So, um, maybe I'll avoid that situation in the future.
Other things? Why yes! The DADI 5 is coming up, and we need your help! Spread the good word, people. Use the banner below, or the one on TripJax's site, because we need over 50 players just to send one blogger/reader to the WSOP. Take a look at the DADI website for details.
Finally, I got my first dial-a-shot ever last night, and it was from AlCantHang himself! I hear whenever Al makes a dial-a-shot, an angel gets its wings! Al, it was a pleasure talking to you. Rock on!
Thursday, April 13, 2006
The Seder plate is a Herbrew tradition during passover, consisting of six different items meant to symbolize different things. Passover is a holiday commemorating Moses' freeing the Jews from the Pharaoh's tyrannical rule, but it also celebrates the beginning of Spring. I thought I'd take a moment to reflect on the seder plate's six items, and translate them to poker, because, well, I can. And don't expect the Hebrew symbolism to match up with the poker symbolism. Cause, that, my friends is just too much work!
Item #1- The Bitter Herbs- In traditional Herbrew lore, the bitter herbs represent the bitterness of slavey. In poker, it represents the bitterness of the grind, where ABC poker rules the day, and we are left as mindless zombies, toiling away. It is a hard life but it allows us the freedom to build the bankroll to a place where we can play higher variance games with freedom. In fact, it reminds me of the Limit Challenge I partook with DNasty. From that challenge, I finally broke $250 and $300 with my bankroll. I learned a lot and gained a lot from the experience. And when I was done, I was free. Free to play what my heart desired.
Item #2- Parsely Dipped in Salt Water- The parsley represents spring (I think) and the saltwater, the sweat and tears shed by the Jews while building the pyramids (notice how, post pyramids, construction work is rarely done by Jews, even though we own and control a hell of a lot of other industries). In poker, the saltwater also represents tears, tears of bubbled opportunities. We can all recall times that we have worked hard, only to suffer defeat. The worst feeling is immediately afterward, when we feel the shock and emptiness of loss, the harshness of toiling away the hours just to make it to the cash, only to lose right before that pot of gold. The salt water reminds us that we must accept this reality and remember it, and by remembering it, we will come to terms with that pain and work harder to be above it in the future. GCox, this one is for you.
Item #3- Charoset- Charoset, a mix of chopped nuts, fruit and slices, is to remind us of the mortar used by the Jews when building the pyramids. In poker, they are the fundamentals, the building blocks to a good player. They are hard work and determination. They are analysis and self-improvement. They are knowing pot odds and pressure points. These key elements are the building blocks that we all need to develop our inner temple of poker. For blogger comparisons, I take a bit of Wonka mixed with some DoubleAs. Both players exhibit in their blogs the fundamentals of poker and beyond, solid foundations, and the ability to work hard at improving their games.
Item #4- The Shank Bone- The shank bone (lamb bone) represents the sacrifices made by the Jews. It is not to be eaten (hell its only a bone) or touched. In many ways, the poker equivalent is ZeeJustin and that other guy. Here were fellow poker players, sacrificed to the masses because of their sins. We have all sinned and we have all cheated, I am sure. Now, ZeeJustin and the other (JJProdigy?), well, they brought it upon themselves. But they are a reminder. A reminder that we are not just gamblers with no honor. We are a band of poker players. There may be no honor amongst theives, but we poker players believe in honor amongst players.
Item #5- The Hard-Boiled Egg- According to some, the egg represents mourning for the fallen temple. To others, it represents the cycle of life and rebirth from spring. For mourning, let us mourn the loss of the Poker Champ, who, although fictional, brought us all together in a temple of shock and humor. For rebirth, let's go with TripJax, who's depleted bankroll is going through rebirth with his recent freeroll cash and other successes. In the end, no matter how poorly we are doing (no Trip though, he had to withdraw from his online account for other reasons), there is always a rebirth available to all of us at the poker table.
The Sixth is really at issue. It's pretty much some more bitter herbs, so we'll skip it. Don't know if this post did much for you. Maybe you learned something about god-aweful Hebrew cuisine (its not all this sorta crap, and this is mostly all for symbolic purposes). Maybe you got some insight into how I feel about the struggle of poker. But above all, remember this: this is no mere coincidence. After all, the Jews are the people who came up with Dreydel as a kids game...a game that is, for all intents and purposes, the equivalent of a slot machine. Booya! Amen!