Redemption for Free
Monday, July 31, 2006
As you know, it's been brutal for me these last few weeks. I played in a home game hosted by the lovely ladies at I Had Outs on Friday, and lost one buy-in in the $30 Rebuy tournament. I was card dead, but did not try to push the issue and resigned myself to folding and folding and folding. I made some plays after the rebuy period was over, but was eventually caught on a necessary all-in given the blinds (which was also a semi-steal) with KQo. Dawn was kind enough to call with AQo and relieve me of my chips. The cash game saw me losing $20, mostly to, well Dawn again. I couldn't stop bluffing into her pocket pair 9s. But, except for my two gaffs against Dawn (in the future, I will be more wary), my play was decent, given the opportunities presented to me.
On Saturday, I spent the day at a barbecue with family and friends. Partner-in-crime Dave Roose was there, and he suggested, jokingly, that we play some poker. I replied, seriously, that I had the chips and cards in my bag. We played three $5 three-person tournaments. I won one and broke even. The first game was between Roose, me and his father. I took that one down. The second and third were between Roose, me and his brother. His brother took those down. In both scenarios, Roose and my abilities far outshined the third player. But as we all know, luck is a part of the game, and Roose's brother was able to make the most of it.
When Sunday rolled around, I still was in a poker-comatose state. I had been avoiding the game (notwithstanding the tournaments at the BBQ, which were little more than a diversion), but I was also starting to feel that it was time to get back into it. Yes, one day without a significant game of poker leads to this type of thinking. Sad, isn't it.
After spending the day at the beach, wifey Kim and I returned home to relax. At 9pm, I had a freeroll at Nine.com, which I originally started playing at because of a VegasPokerPro.com promotion. This is one of the other side-effects of VPP promos. Along with the cash bonus from the site (I'm halfway to $150 at Nine), and the gift bonus via VPP (I've already received my 750 points, and used them along with another 750 for a $100 iTunes giftcard), there are often first-depositor freerolls (along with VPP sponsored freerolls).
I started playing by warming up with some 2/4 Limit at Nine.com. Unfortunately, I lost my last $40 there, due, mostly to bad beats and cracked Aces. I then lost another $10 or so on Poker.com and Stars playing PLO8. In other words, it felt like it was going to be another losing night, and I resigned myself to playing the $1000 freeroll and then calling it a night. To my surpsise, the freeroll only attracted 29 players...and the top 10 spots paid out. I started off strong, turning a nut flush in the first hand before pushing a player out of the pot with a re-raise. I had almost double my stack, but lost half of it on the very next hand when 33 cracked my QQ. From there, I played smart poker, picking my spots and playing tight. By the time we were down to 12 I was in decent shape with an average sized stack. And then it all slowed down. We must've been at 12 for 45 minutes. It sure as hell felt that way. I tightened up, happy to make the money (10th place was $20, and it went up by $10 for each place until you got near the top 4-5).
When tables combined and I knew I had locked in a win, I still kept pretty tight. There were some gamblers in the game, as well as a few big stacks, so it made sense to stay put and advance $10 at a time. Meanwhile, a player named MossMan (I appreciate the He-Man reference) was telling other players to "CALL" when players moved all-in. In one such hand, we were down to 9 players and a shortstack pushed from early position. I was probably 6th in chips, maybe 7th, and pushed on top with TT. So, when MossMan decided to coach the table, I took exception.
"How about you quit telling other players what to do, Moss?"
"Whatever, man. I can do what I want."
"It's called collusion, and it's against the rules."
"If I want to tell someone to call, I will."
I was steaming. Who the fuck was this guy? I understand in the heat of the moment saying "call". You want the game to end, you want to advance to higher money, and you don't think it will affect anything. But it does, even if it is on a minute scale. Another player, SWB, jumped to MossMan's defense, and by that time I had enough.
I clicked on LiveChat and asked the "floor" what they thought. Sadly, the guy was semi-clueless. He wasn't sure if what I described was collussion, but he did think that something seemed wrong with it. I didn't mean to be a snitch, but when money is on the line, keep your fucking trap shut. When I busted MossMan in 4th, I was super glad. I asked SWB what the deal was. Unlike Moss, SWB knew how to play a mean game of poker, which also suggested that he knew the rules. He told me that I was right, but not in a freeroll tournament. I replied, "It might be a freeroll, but it isn't free to the guy on the bubble."
My play excelled, and I eventually made it to the top 2. Heads-up was brutal. I was card dead, and SWB, my adversary, was aggressive. Eventually, I pushed with K9s. At that point, I had 7k with 1k/2k blinds. He had A2 and took down the tournament. Two freerolls, two 2nd place finishes.
For my trouble, I won $200! Even better, I won $200 worth of confidence. AC is coming this weekend, so I can use all the help I can get.
Now, it's back to the weekly grind. In the meanwhile, make mine poker!
Friday, July 28, 2006
I'm in trouble, folks. Last night, I lost $100 on one hand, the first hand I played for the night. Tiltopolis, population: me.
Things have been rough behind the scenes lately. I've had a covert issue with someone close to me (not wifey Kim) and its been effecting my state of mind. Last night, I could barely eat dinner as I mentally stewed the situation over. I returned home and decided not to play so that I can avoid tilting away the dough. Time passed, I spoke to my little brother, who put things into perspective, and I thought I was through it. I decided to play a little, but only a little. I fire up Poker.com and enter a .50/1 NL room. The first hand, I'm given K2 in late position (posting the blind). The flop was KJ2, and I bet the pot ($5, 5 limpers). I got two callers. The turn was a Ten, and it was checked to me. I bet $15. One player called, and the other re-raised $39. I thought I was behind, but decided not to be paranoid. I called. The player in first position folded. The river was a blank. My opponent put me all-in and I called. He had turned the straight.
I knew it too. Bottom-line, I fucked myself. I was too anxious to play and I couldn't let the reality of the situation sink in.
Poker is an amazing game because at times it directly correlates with you mood. Feeling good? Win some money, why don't you. Feeling like crap? Donate it to the table. In this way, it is a lot like alcohol or drugs. It's almost an amplifier of your emotions, because when after that hand, what was an undercurrent of unrest became a tidal wave of misery. Not only could I mull over the situation outside of poker, but I could now berate myself for throwing away $100 when I knew better.
This morning, I tried to leave it all behind. I knew what I did. I have a live game tonight hosted by the ladies at I Had Outs. It's a $30 Re...re...re...rebuy. There I said it. I'm going to be budgeted, and my attitude/mood has already turned a corner. So, wish me luck. Tonight we see if my live game has degenerated as bad as my online game. If it has, I might just need an intervention.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
By now, you may know that I rebought a whopping 14 times during the DADI 8 event. At first, I truly donked it up (or so it felt, I have yet to really review hand histroies). But later on, I suffered some brutal suckouts and couldn't win a cointoss. Let me add that I do remember that I sucked out once during the tournament, so shit happens. I don't mention these suckouts/cointosses for a woe is me post. Rather, I just think it will be fun to see the depths of my depravity.
With that in mind, I will do my best not to justify my play. I will, however, ask you to be kind. After all, I was throwing the damn tourney and I wanted to just roll with it. Of course, I went over my intended budget, but what can you do? It's not like I could stop rebuying! I would be the laughing stock of the tourney.
PokerStars has sent me my hand history and I will now present to you the highlights:
Hand 2: My first all-in occurred during the second hand of the tournament. See? I had some self control. I limped with 4c6c and pushed when the flop came Ac3cTh. Everyone folded. Whoopdeedoo!
Hand 3: What's a great way to follow up an all-in? With another one of course! This time, I held A3o. I pushed on the K22 flop. Silly, I know. But it was folded to me.
Hand 6: This is where I really got stupid, pushing preflop with KJs. GScottW called with AQo and I lose my first all-in of the night. This is also where I make my FIRST REBUY.
Hand 11: With 77, I raise to 100 preflop (10/20 blinds). DNasty calls. The flop is KK6 and I push. D calls with AJo, and I double up.
Hand 13: I call Iggy's preflop all-in with KQo. I figured I was good for a cointoss. I was mostly right. He had AJo, and I lose.
Hand 16: Mowenumdown was one the other Rebuy-insane players at my table. I sucked out on him in Hand 16 when he pushed with TT after a 7-high flop. I called with Q7c and turned a 7. Sorry, Mow.
Hand 25: I guess I must've fallen asleep for a while, because I went an entire orbit without going all-in. We were 15 minutes into the tournament at this point. I have K6o and call a raise from 23Skidoo, who was right up there with me and Mow in the rebuy-madness. The flop is K-high and he bets. I reraise all-in and he calls with J8. I win. Go me!
Hand 31: Now this one is truly donktastic. I have Qx7c and the flop is 456, all clubs. So I have an open-ended straight-flush draw. I call DNasty's all-in after typing: "Let's Gamble!" It wasn't a gamble. He had the K3c for the second nut flush and one of my outs. Fuck me! I lose. Truly a horrible play/hand by me. But it's a rebuy!
Hand 32: No rest for the weary. Mow pushes all-in preflop with AQo and I call with AKo. I double up.
Hand 37: I push preflop with AKo UTG and take down the pot.
Hand 39: HEE HAW! I call DNasty's all-in with my QJ with a KJX flop. He has AK. I'm stupid.
Hand 40: My K7 sees a KJ7 flop. Using my loose image, I push. HCR33 calls. He has KJ. I lose again.
Hand 45: Preflop, its my TT v. Astin's AK. The AAQ flop seals my fate. Rebuy!
Hand 46: I finally get respect and everyone folds to my all-in. Unfortunately, I also finally get a real all-in worthy hand, QQ. Fate laughs at me.
Hand 59: This must've been when I started to realize that I was projected to go over budget ($50). 13 hands without an all-in? I raise preflop from 100 to 300 with 66. HCR calls. The flop is QQ8 and I push. He calls with 89o. Fate doubles over in laughter. HCR catches another 8 on the turn to add insult to injury.
By Hand 62, I realize that I'm already over budget.
Hand 63: Screw the budget! I push in the SB with Q6o, hoping to get Wonka to fold. He doesn't. After all, why would he. He has AKo. This is the height of donkitude. But really, couldn't fate have given him 49?
Hand 69: My AQo v. Skidoo's ATo preflop. I double up.
Hand 76: I call Skidoo's shortstacked all-in, since I was in the blinds and he was playing anything. His A4 holds up against my K3. DNasty comes along for the ride with KQ, so I'm drawing pretty slim anyway. All donkey by me here.
Hand 77: I successfully re-raise Astin preflop all-in with A2o, pushing him off of his hand.
Hand 78: Three hands in a row! We must've been near the end of the rebuy period. My ATo is called all-in preflop by Skidoo (QT) and Astin (QQ). Astin takes it down.
Hand 112: That can't be right?! I must've really been playing scared to not go all-in on almost 25 hands! Whatever the case, I pushed after turning two pair with 67o on a T967 board. It was scary, but I got Wonka to lay it down on the turn all-in after he called my large flop bet.
Hand 129: Up until this hand, you can see that I was not playing poker. I was playing roullette. But in this hand, I played it perfectly. I was dealt TT with over 14k in chips. Preflop, DNasty raises from 200 to 600. I reraise to 2000. At this point, I was playing to win, and I didn't want to see a flop. He called though, probably because of my loose image. The flop is all unders and I check out of position (I was in the blinds). He pushes for 5500. I call, knowing I'm ahead. He has KJ. The river is a K though, and I lose! I guess this is why I was damning my luck, because before this hand, I deserved all of my losses. But suckouts happen. I did something I haven't done in months. To calm myself down, I closed my eyes and meditated. It barely worked. From here on out though, I play much better.
Hand 151: I'm not sure if the rebuy ended yet, but I think so. I remember post-rebuy period I really promised myself to play smart, but not scared. After all, everyone else would be tightening up, and I had to take advantage of the situation. A table-change was also good for me. I raise from 400 to 1200 preflop with AJo and continuation bet all-in on a Q-high flop. I take down the pot.
From here on out, I just played poker. I had to make plays, since the blinds were astronomical. I eventually went out 24th, which isn't terrible, considering that I entered the post-rebuy stage at the lower end of the 50+ competitors left. But overall, it was a slaughterhouse, and I have no one but myself to blame. I'm not too unhappy about it, I guess. I had to keep rebuying, since I couldn't ditch out of my own tourney. Plus, it was about loosening up and playing for fun, even if it was a high price tag. Looking back, I guess I didn't even get that unlucky. There were a bunch of times where I was a 60/40 dog that I missed, but that is how it goes sometimes. The only catastrophic hand was my TT getting rivered by DNasty, and maybe the K7 v KJ (two-pair beaten by a better two-pair). So, pity party is over.
Thanks everyone for playing...and don't expect another rebuy DADI for at least 2 months. In the meanwhile, would anyone be interested in Stud or Stud H/L? It's just a thought.
Man, I just want to bury my head in the sand and tell you all to go away. But I don't have that luxury. Instead, its time to announce the winners and losers of DADI 8!
Congratulations to bdrweb. I must admit, I don't know who this is. But with bloggers having 8 names between their site, real name, various poker rooms and IM programs, who can tell nowadays. That said, bdrweb won an addition 800 VPP points for his/her efforts, so contact me via email [ HighOnPokr AT yahoo DOT Commissioner Gordon].
Congratulations to WeakPlayer for taking second place. For his efforts, he not only wins 400 VPP Points, but he also has won his way into the HighOnPoker poker role models club, along with the illustrious DoubleAs, CMitch and Scott McDreamy. Welcome to the club! Now, can I be you for a day? Weak, shoot me an email and we'll discuss your VPP Points!
While we are discussing VPP Points, let me give a hearty congratulations and a big middle finger to the bane of my DADI existence, DNasty! Once I get my tournament history, I'll go through my many losing hands last night in excutiating detail with all of you. Whatever the case, you can be sure that DNasty played a starring role in many of those hands. So, screw you D, but also congratulations, because you busted VPP Dave and won his 400 VPP Point bounty. You know my number!
And the winner of 400 VPP Points for bubbling? Ironically, VPP Dave! I'm pretty sure he can arrange the transfer of points from himself to himself without my help. Congrats Dave, for finally sorta moneying in one of these events. I knew it was only a matter of time.
Now, the most important award of the night. The winner for most rebuys, totalling 14 plus an add-on, for a net loss of $75.50 in a $5.50 tournament goes to........................goes to........................ah, crap. It' s ME! FUCK! WHAT THE HELL!
I know what you are thinking. He rigged it! He intentionally lost $75 to win his own $5.50 booby prize for most rebuys. I wish, buddy. I couldn't win a cointoss to save my life. I got sucked out on more than Motley Crue in their heyday. It was just a clusterfuck of massive proportions with me on the losing end.
I've contacted PokerStars and they are usually good with providing hand histories. Once I get it, I'll be glad to post my all-ins and major hands here and you will see what I am talking about. For all of my crap though, I was playing really well once I got over the intentional rebuy donking (somewhere around my 6th rebuy). I even placed 6th out of 45 in a 45 SNG. I still have a ways to go before reaching the money in the 45 SNG Challenge. Man, all this poker is bumming me out.
Tune in later, and bask in my donktastic play and bad luck! Until then, make mine poker!
DADI 8 Tonight!!!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Don't forget, DADI is tonight!
It's a good thing too. Poker has been a real struggle lately. I was able to take $50 off of the .25/.50 NL blogger-heavy table last night, but that was after over $100 in losses eariler in the night.
Nine.com is no longer as fun as I originally thought. I've kept away from the obscure games, but I got hammered (and not the 72o variety or the Colt 45 variety) at their cash games last night. I could recount the bad beats and second-best hands, but I'm not feeling up to writing it, and I'm sure you aren't feeling up to reading it.
Interestingly, a couple of poker blogger bretheren seem to be MIA lately. I almost wish that I'd join them on a little poker hiatus. I keep trying to keep my eventual goal in mind, to become a top player, but that goal is a bitch to reach. The game is made for ups and downs, and I'm in one of those downs that feel practically hopeless. My yearly profits are down to about $1050, which is simultaneously cause for concern and cause for joy. On one hand, $1050 isn't much money for all the time I spend playing. On the other, $1050 is still a profit...for all the time I spend playing.
But I won't get too bogged down in this crap. Right now, the plan is to take what little dough I have left at Nine.com and do my best to reach the $150 cash bonus. I'm about halfway there. I already completed my VPP bonus, but the planets have aligned such that I feel obliged to work toward that $150. It'll be tough though, since I'm desperately short at Nine.com now. One thing is for sure though, I ain't redepositing there. I know better.
My brain has been stuck on AC lately. I'm leaving next Friday and but I've been there in my head for two weeks already. Once I get there, I'm flicking off the self-doubt switch and kicking into smart poker mode. Let's hope my switch still works.
I'm leaving it at that today. Thank god the DADI is a rebuy. I look forward to letting out my frustration (and my bankroll) on all of you. See you there.
HoP Fan Club Mail
Monday, July 24, 2006
I shall start by saying that if I were a smarter man, I would have made up Anonymous King a long time ago. He's the Poker Champ of his time! But I didn't make him up. He's just a reader who happens to moonlight as a prick. But for all of the acerbic comments, at least he's a fellow Devil's Advocate. Even better, he gets me to think and Jordan likes him some thinking.
Yesterday, Anonymous King was kind enough to ask this question:
You call your play with a 7-2 a gamble???
Lets call a spade a spade....this was not gutsy, it was a gimmick. I allow you to pull the horseshoe out of your ass.
Thank you for that fine question, A.K. The thing is, the hammer is at first glance, a gimmick. But it is really so much more. Set aside the obvious points that people make. Yes, it does help to put people on tilt when you show.
Yes, it builds a loose manic table image rather quickly which can be advantageous (although, this clearly works only when people are not in on the hammer play). Yes, its a sign that you are 'in on the joke,' someone with a deeper poker awareness beyond the WPT/WSOP.
What makes the hammer an actual legitimate play is that it serves as a bluffing randomizer. Without a doubt, you cannot be a fully competent poker player without utilizing the bluff at some point. It is often a situation-specific move. You see an opportunity and you bet. But it doesn't just have to be those situations.
There is money waiting there to be taken. The hammer is my way of keeping my bluffs random. When a hammer comes, play it like Aces. Why the hell not? If you have a good feel for the table, you know how to fold. But a lot of times, they just assume you have good cards. They fold when its late in the game giving up buckets of blinds and antes, or they call only to fold on the Ace-high flop. Either way, you can win a lot of pots if you are smart enough to know when you are cooked.
I do add this caveat: go all in with the hammer at your own risk. The bottom line is, the hammer is a great bluffing randomizer, but you don't want to bluff for your entire stack at random, no matter what the street or your read. Use caution. This is a hard learned lesson.
Also, there are those who think that the suited hammers are unhammerly. I am a fan of the suited hammers, but only because I play an aggressive game. So bluffing does not concern me. I should probably cut down, so reverting to the unsuited hammer requirement could significantly reduce your bluffing, which is a good thing more often than not.
Finally, it is okay to limp with the hammer (or lead out, which does not need to even be mentioned, really, does it), but it IS NOT alright to call a raise preflop unless you are stacked. Just because you are holding the hammer, it doesn't mean that every hand is a nail.
With that knowledge, try playing the hammer for the sole purpose stated above. And then show and get the reaction from the table. You'll see real quickly why the hammer is more than a gimmick.
Plus, its a great gimmick as gimmicks go.
DADI 8 is fast approaching. It's a rebuy, so bring your wallets. I, personally, plan to rebuy moreso than usual, of course, only if necessary. I've offered up $5.50 (your initial buy-in free!) to the person who rebuys the most. I'm not going to be popping around, since my number one goal is to whoop some ass, so you are all to be on your best behavior. Let me know if you see some truly donktastic rebuying.
And if it's a DADI tournament, you know there are some great prizes.
PokerOnAMac.com has added $100 into the prize-pool!
VegasPokerPro.com has offered 2000 VPP Points, split amongst four DADI participants. First place gets 800 VPP Points. Second place and the Bubble get 400 VPP Points. Whoever busts VPP_Dave gets 400 VPP Points as a bounty!
Poker was good and bad this weekend. On Friday, I made the board on the 45 SNG Challenge, placing first out of 45 players to win $140+ in profit. It was a turbo game, which actually plays into my gambling style. At one point, with blinds of 300/400/50 or so, I was down to under 200 chips. The very next hand, I got pocket Aces. If that wasn't enough, the hand after that, I got the Diamond Hammer, 72d. Conservative Hammerists believe that suited hammers are pure garbage, but I say thee nay. Rather, you can't crack the Diamond Hammer and this case was no exception. A player pushed in EP/MP. I decided to call. I hoped he'd isolate me and I could take a chance heads up, but someone else called. The two players both had Ace-high, and the rivered 7 made me a winner! I had some chips at that point, but I was still within the rule of 10 (less than 10 BBs). Some players may have thought that such a call was foolish, but I had a good read on the original pusher and I could put him on two high-cards. My real fear was a pocket pair acting after me, but to win these larger multi-table turbos, you need to have a little gamble in you.
I then lost $80 or so through the course of the night, leaving me with $60 profit. Nine.com through VPP has been rough lately. I've fallen on hard times at the Limit Tables, where suckouts are fairly common. Some of the blame, though, rests soundly on me. Also, I've been dabbling in some of their more obscure games, like Big 2 and Chinese Poker. I'd explain the games to you, but my track record indicates that I know jack shit. Whatever the case, from here on out, I'm putting those games (which are played against other players) in the Table Game category and are summarily banning them. No more leaks! Overall, I lost another $150 on various games over Saturday and Sunday. Woe is me!
But se la vie or whatever. I need to keep my focus, work on my game, and avoid these god aweful leaks. I believe that Chip Reese said that a good player only wins about 65% of his sessions, so I guess I'm still ahead of that curve. Unfortunately, I'm lagging in my overall goal of reaching $2,400 in winnings by the end of the year (adjusted after my past boom from $1,800 for the year). One long session, though, right?
I think I know what I want for my birthday and Hannukah (yes, I'm a member of the tribe): a buy-in to a $300 or $500 event. Simple enough, isn't it.
Good night and good luck. See you all at DADI 8.
Friday, July 21, 2006
By now, I hope we all learned one of the fundamental tennets of winning and losing at poker: Winning begets winning, and losing begets losing. I've been spending a lot of time listening to The Circuit, Cardplayer.com's Podcast, hosted by Scott Huff (previously incorrectly identified as Scott Huffman on this blog), Gavin Smith and Joe Sebok. Overall, the show is great, and it gives me another opportunity to reflect on the game.
Chip Reese was a recent guest, and when he was asked about his strengths, he made an interesting statement. According to Reese, when he was younger, he was able to play long sessions when he was winning. That, out of all of the things he could have chosen, was his answer. Further, he said that it is also Phil Ivey's strength. Phil fucking Ivey, people! The man is stone cold at the table, cool, calculating, and dangerous. But his greatest weapon is stamina? How could this be?
But I'm guessing Mr. Reese is right. I mean, he'd know a heck of a lot better than I would. When I reflect on it, it seems to make even more sense. When I sit at a table, be it cash or tournament, and I win a hand, I get confident. I play better. My decisiion making is sharper. My table image is stronger. And the losing players are conversely weaker. They are tilting or they are playing scared. They are damning their luck while giving into a case of the awfukits or trying to play better and therefore tightening up too much.
It's natural. And it's poker. So, maybe there is something about this stamina thing. If you are doing well, don't let the clock tell you when to stop. Case in point. Earlier this week, I won $130 at a 2/4 Limit table. I eventually left, but felt that I could have won more. So, when I returned hours later, I went back into it. I lost my first hand, and then proceeded to lose $75. I was constantly playing from my back foot. Maybe I should have stuck around longer in the first session. And maybe, on the flipside, I should have left the second table a lot sooner.
Does that make sense? If you lose a hand, maybe you should pack it in. If the table is soft, then obviously not. You want to stay in there and ride out that wave. But if you aren't lookng at the rest of the action and thinking, "What the fuck are these donkeys thinking?" then maybe you are better off packing it in for 10 minutes. I suppose this is where stop-loss numbers come in. I don't like the concept of stopping once I'm down x amount of dollars, but I do find myself doing it on the spur of the moment, like when I'm in the hole: "I either break even or lose $50. Whichever comes first, I'm out."
Ah, what the hell. I guess, bottom line, its really just one of those things. Hold onto a good game. Winning helps a game get good. So, when you are winning, stick around till you have all the chips or the mood shifts. Seems simple enough.
While we are on the topic of soft games, the Reader who is following my bonus whoring guide has just about finished his third promotion. I'll give the reader a name, let's go with Reader X. So, Reader X is kicking some ass. He took some tough losses at bodog, but did well at Royal Vegas and Poker.com. After finishing bodog, he should have 2250 VPP points, enough for an iPod nano. I do believe that was less than a month. Whatever the case, he is already planning his next bonus, so good luck to him.
Interestingly, he was surprised by how soft the competition was at the new sites he was playing at. Like many of you, Reader X used to stick with the big sites, Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Party. That's part of the best thing about the Bonus Whore World Tour. You get to visit far away lands, like the land of PokerShare, where local custom requires players to share their money with you by playing horribly at .25/.50 and .50/1 No Limit. Don't forget to visit Sun Poker, where the whether is always sunny and the fish are out in full force.
There is a venerable cornucopia of sites out there waiting to be explored, each one with their own personalities. While we are on the topic, why don't you share a little. Surely, we've all tried a site or another and thought, this site is full of ________. So, you tell me, what personalities do particular sites have.
For instance, Stars is a great poker room because of the size and the ease with which you can start a game. But the players are fairly good. I would say that Full Tilt has even better players, maybe because those players go to FT because of the pros' involvement, and so you have more informed players who want to reach that status. I'm sure other people will say that FT is full of fish for the same reason.
That's all for today! Poker away!
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I'm heading to Atlantic City for August 4th weekend to celebrate Ilan's bachelor party. Davey Roose and I are heading down Friday night to get a head start on the festivities (i.e., to have time to play poker without distractions). Everyone else will be arriving on Saturday. If you are going to be in AC hit me up with an email before that date and we can swap digits or something. I'll probably be pretty busy, but busy = poker and I'm sure you have the same idea in motion.
The plan, as I see it, is to play a tournament at Showboat (official AC casino hotel of HighOnPoker) on Saturday morning at 11am. It's 50+10, 5k starting chips (if I'm not mistaken) and 20 minute levels. I bubbled in it once, lost when we were down to 20% of the players another time. So, I like it a lot.
But here's the fun part. I've always wanted to tell people at the poker table that I am a comic strip artist. I don't know why. I just like the idea of making up some random identity. However, when the time comes, I usually let out the truth.
This is where you come in. I want to come up with a new "back story" at the table. Who am I? What's my job? Do I have any whacky stories about my life and experiences?
So, I'm taking submissions. If you have an idea of how I can make an ass of myself at the table or otherwise deceive or confound my table mates, let me know. Thanks!
It's not as bad as it sounds, people. The $300 is actually the $260+40 Shootout event at the Foxwoods in the fall. I was toying with the idea of making my first foray into live casino tournament poker beyond the usual under $100 buy-ins to which I've grown accustomed. Unfortunately, the date of the event is Tuesday, October 31st, aka Halloween. I didn't anticipate this to be a problem. After all, Halloween is on a Tuesday so most celebrating would be done on the weekend before. But wifey Kim thought differently, and, frankly, she is worth a whole lot more than $260+40 and she rarely hands out bad beats. So, those plans are thwarted and replaced with the plan to probably hit Foxwoods the weekend after, circa November 4, to meet up with some fellow bloggers like Bone Daddy and Drewspop, and play in some of the side cash games. Maybe I will even gather my balls and go for a satellite into the $1200 event, but that is yet to be seen.
Onto the up $70. Nine.com is one helluva site. The traffic is light, but there is always two 2/4 Limit games going, although rarely are they both full. I like to jump into the one that is more empty and just wait for the fishies to announce themselves. They usually do it pretty quickly, calling someone down with K-high only to go runner runner flush or the like. Once that is done, I settle into Make Money Mode and its been working out quite well. Last night, I took $47 off a table in about 10 minutes. It's mostly ABC poker, but I play more hands and I play most hands pretty hard until I sense resistance. Then, I'll generally slow down, but not to the players who I've seen re-raise bluff with crap cards. Okay, sometimes to them too, but only because I know I can make that money back in no time.
Once again, bonus whoring is paying off big time. Not only am I working on a $150 bonus, but I've also got the VPP bonus coming my way. Add to that the fact that I found a new room with soft action that I would otherwise never know about, and it's a great thing. A great thing, indeed. I'm more than halfway through the VPP bonus. Next stop on the bonus whoring tour will likely be back to PSO, since I have ran through all of the VPP bonuses. I thought I had one more to go, but alas, it looks like they've removed one of the rooms from their list. Fortunately, PSO has added Dream Poker. Ever hear of it? Me neither. But I'm sure the fishies have!
Hey, and while we are on the topic, remember that Reader who I sent the bonus whoring guide to? Yeah, well, he finished the first promo in 7 hours and has finished his second promotion already. At this rate, he will have enough for an iPod nano compliments of VPP in 2-3 weeks TOPS! It's great to see, since amassing this bonus whoring knowledge took months of trial and error. I might not be able to use the info I learned to my advantage (fully), but I'm more than glad to pass it along.
After the $47 win, I took some time off to spend the evening with wifey Kim. Earlier in the evening, we met a coworker and his girlfriend over at Butter, a trendy restaurant in the East Village which recently hosted a private Prince concert, with guests like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. The food was adequate. The atmosphere was nice. The company was good. The check had a 20% gratuity included. Now, it's Restaurant Week in NY, so a bunch of the nicer restaurants are offering $35 price fixed menus. But, come on! Four people and you are going to include the tip on the bill! Tres tacky!
But back to poker. At about 9:55pm, I decided to go for the Mookie. Wifey Kim had settled into some Live with Regis and Kelly and was nodding off. I jumped into a shark-filled table, including CJ from Up for Poker. Throughout my tenure here at High on Poker, CJ has always been a good guy. Up for Poker is probably one of the premiere poker blog sites. One of the sites most creative features is how it shows what blogs in the blogroll were recently updated. Aside from that, it hosts a triumverate of great writers and poker players. CJ particularly has popped into High on Poker to drop a comment or give his take on how I misplayed a hand (we all enjoy that, don't we?). Well, I thank him for it, because he's not a sheep following the masses (and by that, I mean his comments are generally more than, "Yep, I agree" or "NH!") and I respect his luckbox of a game and writing skills immensely.
But why am I talking about CJ? Well, it should be of no surprise to any of you that I love action. So as soon as I saw the luckbox, I offered an $11 last longer bet. He agreed, and I went about playing some poker.
Overall, I played a solid game. I made, what I would deem, a very impressive play early on in the tournament. I had 83d in the small blind and limped in. A loose player in the BB decided to raise. I don't remember the player's name (sorry), but I was watching the game carefully and saw that he was in a lot of pots and was willing to steal. So, I made the call, hoping to flop big. Many of you are groaning right now. Groan away. It was a ballsy play, considering the last longer bet, but there comes a time when you have to leave the rule book and make your own path. I saw something and I went for it. The flop was 872, rainbow. I now had top-pair weakest possible kicker. But I was fairly confident that the original bettor did not have a pocket pair, so unless he held a better kicker or lucked out with two low cards, I was ahead. I bet, hoping to take down the pot. I believe the pot was at 180 and I bet 120. The short-stack (but not desperate) Original Bettor decided to push. I believe he had 565 more. I thought for a moment, and decided that he was probably on two overcards. Whatever the case, I wasn't buying what he was selling and I decided to make the call. He showed 62o, for bottom pair, terrible kicker. I waited for the turn and river, and breathed a sigh of relief when he didn't catch up. And then they moved me. Fucking A! I make a sweet call and then they move me? Sweet Jesus!
So, I'm at a new table, and I'm trying to stay afloat. Whereas I was one of the big stacks at my old table, this new table is packing a lot of punch. I play a bit tighter and are able to steal a bit. But I'm also not getting any cards. My KK is folded to. Otherwise, I think my best pocket pair was 88 (I folded it to a big preflop raise from early position) and 66 (ditto). I held AKs once and made a strong play in the BB when Will Wonka in MP/LP raised from 100 to 900. I was probably at about 2700 to 3200 and decided to re-raise to 900. He laid it down preflop and I breathed a sign of relief. On the next hand, he was busted by DNasty, when Wonka's 99 lost to DNasty's AK when they both were all-in preflop. AK was not good for WW.
For a while, I stayed the shortstack at the table, scraping by as best I could. I was able to make up some ground with aggression when blinds and antes were in the 100/200/25 range, but I was still short, without a doubt. We were down to 11 when Veneno was moved to my table on my left. She was the uber short stack with about 1k after blinds (in the particular hand she was the BB and I was the SB) to my 1800 to 2400 (somewhere in that range). The table folded around to me, and I virtually look down to 49o, a real monster! Now, if Veneno has two unpaired cards, I'm really not too far behind. Plus, if I can bet her off of the pot, I can win an easy 600 or so, so I bet 600 (we were still at 100/200/25). She contemplates and then pushes. Well, that's just another 450 or so, so I figure I've got to call. Hell, I was willing to go all in on her anyway. At least I wasn't the shorter of the two stacks. She flipps over A2o, but I wasn't the least bit worried since online poker is rigged to make shortstacks lose. I was about a 60/40 dog until the flop came with a glorious 4. The turn and river lacked Aces, and I busted the V. She thanked me for trying to gift her some chips, but we all know better, don't we. Some might question this play, but I needed chips to make it into the decent money spots and I was willing to risk it on a weighted coin toss (I refuse to call 60/40 or anything short of 51/49 a coin toss).
In a few hands, we were at the final table, and I was maybe second to last in chips. I stole some, and eventually found myself in the top 6, still as short stack. In MP, I decided to push all-in with 2700 or so and 200/400/50 blinds. The other shorter stack called and I had to show my Q8s. I'm sure people were scratching their heads, but you just have to try to steal here and there, and what better target than the other shorter stack. Of course, he had JJ, so I was sent packing. In the end, I made $32.50 in profit, thanks in part to outlasting CJ, who held on to about 16 or so. He was on the shortstack for a while and just didn't bust. But eventually, his A-high faced KJ preflop and the K came out, ensuring my victory.
That's a lot of poker content.
I want to play live desperately. I have dinner plans with el Jefe and J-Dubs, two of my close buddies and former college roommates, tonight, so Genoa is out. But I'm looking for opportunities, and as soon as one arises, I shall make my return. Until then, make mine poker!
PS- Is it just me, or is Wavy Word getting harder? I mean, can't they give me 4 letters? Everything has 18 letters all of a sudden, and they usually are indecipherable. I'll need a computer program just to read Wavy Word if this keeps up. Hrumph.
My $300 Event
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
It's very early, but I think I may have found the $300 to $500 event that I would like to play by the end of the year. Bankroll considerations must be made, but if I can somehow scratch together the cash by then (it isn't much cash, but I don't want to put up a ridiculous amount of my bankroll without some assistance by good fortune), it looks like I'm set.
What's the event? It's a $260+40 modified Shootout tournament on October 31, 2006 (yes, Halloween!) at the Foxwoods, leading up to the WPT Finals.
Why this event? Well, first off, I want something local. I was looking at AC or Foxwoods. The timing isn't bad. It gives me months before actual game day. I'm not 100% happy with the fact that it will be on Halloween, since it is one of my favorite holidays, and its a Tuesday, so I'll have to take off of work. However, I'm pretty damn good at live SNGs, especially when the blinds escalate a bit too fast. Basically, I think I have a good feel for when I can make moves (live), and I have a certain amount of gamble in me which I think is crucial in these tournaments.
Will it actually happen? Who knows. I'd like it to. Part of me wonders why I'm building this up so much when I should just take the money and play in some $100 tournaments in AC, but I guess its partially the experience. I also feel like I'll play better with more on the line.
There it is. Hopefully it will all come together. But if not, I'm sure there is another one around the corner. Until then...
I won about $32 last night. Not too bad, until you consider that I started the night up $130. I was doing my VPP promotion at Nine.com and decided to play some 2/4 Limit. Once I sat down, I noticed how horrible the table was. I mean, some of these players had no clue. I immediately set my sites on the fishies, avoiding the one competent player, and kicked some fucking ass. When I left the room, my most profitable targets were gone, so I figured I earned myself some rest.
I came back hours later and decided to add to my winnings. Unfortunately, the crew at the table (and worse, lady luck) changed. I went from a table of stupid fish to a table of lucky fish and half-decent players, losing about $92 of my $100 buy-in (which in hindsight is short in limit) before making a come back and getting to about $50. I kept playing though and dipped to $27 before all the fish left and I made my exit, still up about $60 for the night. Interestingly, my beats were of the terrible' variety. My J9 flops KQT, turns is a blank, and the river is a T. I lose to KT calling me the whole way and rivering the full house. My JJ lost to 99 on the rivered 9. I lost to more than one runner-runner flush when the fish had nothing but K-high as he called my pocket Queens down to the river. But I wasn't upset and I'm still not upset. I was glad. Because in the end, those players will make me more money than I will lose to them. Que sera, right?
Yeah, that last $25...blogger table. Basically, I stumbled upon the post-WWDN crowd and joined the $25 max NL at Stars. I played terribly, due to my constant hammers that failed to do anything but cost me money. In fact, my last hand saw me lose with the hammer against a god aweful QQ held by WeakPlayer. Oh, and Weak, congratulations on your recent $20 180-SNG win and $10 Rebuy win at Stars. You are inching into that elusive High On Poker Poker Role Model category (current population, in no particular order: Mcdreamy, Cmitch, and DoubleAs).
Work has been hella-busy lately. I even have my flunkie summer intern drafting complicated motions in an attempt to lighten my load (not that I won't have to do copious editing). I have to say, though, I really like my job. I hate working. I mean, that's just me. But I love this fucking job, which is a real surprise for me, a man who was used to having a shitty job for a shitty firm making shitty money. Here, I am valued, I can excel and I have a good support staff. God bless!
I don't have much else for today. Thanks again for all the comments recently. I'll address You Decide #40 one more time. I'm glad we got a good discussion out of it. That's the whole purpose of the You Decide posts. I may have gotten a bit too clever with my strategies. Maybe that is why limit can sometimes be a boon to a player like me. It keeps me in check, no pun intended. Whatever the case may be, I think we can all agree that each player plays their hands according to their own philosophies. More importantly, there is no individual correct answer to how to play poker. There ARE generally accepted principles, like those contained within Harrington's books, but I still believe that each player has to find their own path. Mine happens to be a bit more...eccentric?...than many other players. That may label me as a poor player by some people who are less open to experimenting at the table. Fine. After all, my table image, especially live when I'm in character, is that of a dumb shlub. But I think that overall, my readers and those who commented could at least see that there was something behind that hand. It may not have been played optimally under some people's styles, but there was something there that was noteworthy, whether it was making a tough but good situation after stupidly making a bad one (the preflop called raise), whether it was making a bad play even though the odds were with me (post-flop), or whether it was a demonstration of how to just play horribly overall. My opinion, of course, is that the hand was NOT played horribly. It was an interesting situation where my plan and strategy actually came together and I still didn't win. But that, my friends, is poker. Thanks for commenting, thanks for reading, and thanks for play
Where the Wind Blows
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
This blog is an organic thing. I seem to be moving away from a daily recap of last night's action and into a more analytical look at poker. That's fine by me, since I prefer reading comments to posts like You Decide #40 than getting no comments to "Last night I lose 3 SNGs and won 1" posts. Hey, but we aren't going to ditch recaps all together, are we? Hell no.
In an Anonymous post to You Decide #40, a real surly sort said that they understood why I was on a losing streak, since anyone with an inkling of poker knowledge would have played that hand better. Well, dipshit, I post hands that I admit are questionable. But even after further analysis, I like my decision-making process, if not the results and an iffy feeling about the context of the decision.
This has been my mental motto as late at the table. Before I act, I think "What am I trying to do with this bet/raise/call?" (I know what I'm trying to do when I fold.) It's funny how a little bit of introspection can go a long way.
Oh, and my losing streak (I believe it came out to 5 or 6 days and some $300 or so, made a turn around on Saturday. On Sunday, I was even able to money (5th place out of 107 for $35 profit) in a $5 PLO8 MTT on Full Tilt. I really love PLO8 because of its complexity and the fact that most players just don't get it. I'd explain it here, but I don't have the time nor the inclination. Besides, there are much better people to read for that stuff. I have to thank SLB159 for railing me the entire time. I promised him his buy-in back if I made top 3, but no luck there. I also won a $10 SNG on UB that I played with DNasty. So, things were going well, up $50 in two days (due to some other SNG losses), until I lost $40 yesterday. But I had fun doing it, and even placed 10th (final table bubble) in Mondays at the Hoy. I think I played well, but I was far from sober. At least I had a fantastic time, mixing it up and laughing my ass off. Getting in the money would've been nice, though.
I finished a VegasPokerPro.com promo at InterPoker, winning some money as well as 750 VPP points, which right now is earmarked for an iTunes gift certificate (I'm thinking some Miles Davis, classic Pearl Jam, and, possibly Jay-Z). But the possibilities are endless, so who knows. I started a new bonus on Nine.com through VPP, but Nine.com's customer support sucks ass and I've been having some problems. Even so, it seems like it won't be too tought to earn that bonus once the kinks get worked out.
A reader sent me an email while I was in Jamaica seeking bonus whoring advice. I sent him a whole treatise on the subject and he went on his merry way, finishing VPP's Poker.com bonus is 7 hours! Next up on his tour is Royal Vegas. I asked him to keep me posted. His goal was to get an iPod for free. I give him a month, tops. It's a good thing too, because I've already ran through most of the bonuses, and I'm glad to pass on some knowledge to help others out. If you are interested, shoot me an email at highonpokr AT yahoo DOT-COMMUNION. And feel free to use my links to PSO and VPP. Either click on the links in this paragraph or click on the VPP banner near the Full Tilt one (the lower one) or that small line of text below the PSO banner. Sure you could click on the banners themselves, but if you follow my instructions, I get some cred with those sites. But, you know, whatever.
I was chatting with a surly blogger and she suggested that I check out Dr. Al's Psychology of Poker. She said it will help me determine my best game given my personality. I have a sinking suspicion that it'll be PLO8, but who knows. Whatever the case, I think I'm going to give it a go. If anyone has a copy they want to sell or swap, let me know. Otherwise, I might just use those VPP points. Damn are they handy!
Hmmm...I think that is all for today. Thanks for the comments. Now get back to work.
You Decide #40
Monday, July 17, 2006
Number 40 already? Man, how the time flies. This You Decide took place in a $20 180-person SNG on PokerStars. I was playing fairly well, but overall was card dead. We were on Level 3, with blinds of 25/50.
I had 1930, more than the starting 1500. I was deal 4s6s in the cutoff (one spot before the button. Two players (big guy, with T1000 and RAF with 1800) limped in before me, so I decided to limp as well. I always wonder if I should explain my thinking during the you decide. I'm going to save it for after the play-by-play. The button (Rosebud, T2500) raised to 250. The big blind (Fishman, T1000) called. The small blind and big guy fold, RAF and I call.
The flop was 8c 3s 2s. I have a baby flush draw, and inside straight flush draw and an inside straight draw. Fishman and RAF check. I check as well. Rosebud pushes all-in (he has us all covered). Fishman folds. RAF calls (T1545). I take a minute to decide and call.
The turn is a 7h and the river is a Td. I fail to improve and lose with a ten-high hand. Rosebud had 9d9h. Fishman has As8h. Rosebud took down the hand with his overpair.
Now, I can assume where people will have problems. But when I assume I make an ass out of someone somewhere, and I wouldn't want to do that. So, heap on the hate people. In fact, I wouldn't mind if you stopped reading and commented right now before you read my analysis below. In fact, I'll wait for you... ... ... ... ... ...
Done? Good. For those who couldn't wait, feel free to still comment about my analysis or how you would've played the hand.
The initial call was because there were already 2 limpers and the 2 blinds in play. 4s6s is an easy hand to get away from if I don't hit, but if I do hit, it is well hidden. When Rosebud called, I was a bit dismayed. However, before it got around to me, two other people called his raise. That's 825 or so with the small blind and the limper, and all I have to do is call 200. I'm not sure of the actual odds, but the implied odds on a hand like mine are huge, and, as I mentioned, its an easy hand to fold post-flop if I miss.
When the flop comes down, I immediately see my outs. It's checked to me and I'm glad to see a free card, so I check as well. Rosebud bets out a bit TOO big, but if everyone else folded, I probably would do the same. That didn't happen though. RAF called. That meant that I was playing for about 4000+ to call 1500. Also, I'd have a commanding chip position at the table and could either coast or apply pressure from there on out. My one concern was that I could be facing a higher flush draw. But ultimately, I put Rosebud on overs and I had RAF on something close to top pair, if not a lower overpair. I called and lost, but I still think it was the right move.
But what do I know? Shoot me a comment and tell me how stupid I am! Thanks for reading.
After reviewing some comments, I decided to do a little odds calculation, compliments of CardPlayer.com. This is what I found:
To save you the trouble of squinting, let me make it loud and clear for you. I was the FAVORITE after the flop! The odds of me winning was 42.3%. The 99 had a 41.75% chance of winning. The A8 had a 15.95% chance of winning. I know! I was surprised too! My odds on the all-in call was actually correct!
Now, this begs the much more interesting question. Even though the odds were in my favor, should I have layed it down anyway. I'm all for the idea of avoiding coin flips early in tournaments. I've preached it here on more than one occassion. But what if you can triple up and gain a commanding lead and cushion at your table. Is it worth it then?
And then there is this question: Was my mistake that I played the hand as though I were in a cash game? In a cash game, this would be a solid play. Just ask DP/Fluxer (back me up, man!) or some other cash player. At least I think its a solid, if not gutsy, play. So, keep the comments coming, 'cause this one is just getting started.
DADI 8: Rebuy in July
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Hey all. Prepare yourselves for another DADI. This time around, the name of the game is Rebuy in July, a No Limit Rebuy tournament. Because of ther rebuy-ness of it all, we've lowered the buy-in to $5.50. But we expect you all to be rebuying a whole lot, so don't let us down. As a matter of fact, as a bit of...encouragement, I'll offer up $5.50 (your initial buy-in free!) to the person who rebuys the most? How can we check this? I have no freakin' idea, but if you can think up a way to do it, let me know. Otherwise, I'll be going on sight, and using all of you, my mindless drones, to let me know if you see some truly donktastic rebuying!
But what would a DADI tournament be without some extra prizes thrown in? Crap! And that's why we have these wonderful throw-ins.
PokerOnAMac.com was kind enough to put up an added $100 into the prize-pool! If I wasn't married and 26 and I'd invite PokerOnAMac.com to the Senior dance and ask her to wear my letterman jacket.
Oh, but there is more...
VegasPokerPro.com, proudly has offered some more great prizes. First place takes home a whopping 800 VPP Points, redeemable for such great gifts as a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com or BestBuy. Second place gets 400 VPP Points, which is redeemable for a slew of prizes as well, including a $25 gift certificate, as anyone with a 4th grade math education would tell you. Did you bubble? Well quit your whining, because you won 400 VPP Points too! And while you are add it, knock out VPP_Dave and earn the 400 VPP Point bounty! That's a lot of prizes. I suppose that is why if I was't married and 26, VPP would probably be the chick on the side that I didn't introduce PokerOnAMac.com to, because, after all, what PokerOnAMac.com doesn't know won't hurt her. You dig?
PokerStars, as per usual, kickoff time is 9pm, and the password is pokertrust. What's pokertrust? Haven't we been over this already? Don't worry about it, trust us.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Howard Lederer: "To be a good player, you have to be self-critical."
Good, because I suck. More accurately, I've been getting my ass handed to me lately. Since a near-$300 winning session, I have hit a five session losing streak. Oddly, what little success I have had has been at Seven Card Stud.
So, what's wrong with my play? Honestly, I have no clue. Maybe it's just variance. Maybe I just need to focus more. Maybe I need to reevaluate my playing style.
All I know is that losing stinks.
But this isn't a pity party. I just wanted to air my losing ways, mostly because I have been silent about it over the last week. I didn't want to say it aloud, but it is what it is, and right now it is a leak in the bankroll.
What's a man to do? I guess I can focus on the fact that I'm still up $1200 or so in 2006 (down from near $2400, a month or two ago). That means that I'm winner overall, and maybe this is just a bit of variance. I can also drop my stakes a bit to adjust to the weakened bankroll (in the $600-800 range, thanks to withdrawals and the losses). I might even have to table my desire to play in a $300-500 live tournament by the end of the year.
This is poker. What a fucking grind. Hell, it hasn't even been as fun lately, probably because of my losing ways. Once I start losing, it seems to keep going too. Certainly that is worth examining. It must be a little bit of tilt; not enough to say "okay, I'm starting to tilt here", but enough to cause me to play less than optimally.
I don't entirely suck, mind you. I went out 9th out of 15 at the WWDN Not last night. That place isn't promising, but I liked how I played, overall. I tried a new style that was aggressive (as usual), but a bit more robotic, keeping my bets at generally the same amount, regardless of my cards (preflop at least). It helped that I got amazing cards too, although I rarely had to show them down. But still, a 9th place finish is poop. These blogger games are probably heavily -EV for me. I've never won a single won, and I've rarely made the money. I think it actually hurts my game, as opposed to, say, Woffle, who I think benefits from playing against fellow bloggers.
Oh well. That is all for today. I have some poker time lined up on Saturday afternoon while wifey Kim is painting the town red with her friend who will be in town. If anyone is playing, look me up. I usually commit weekend poker time to MTTs, but I'll gladly join you for a cash game or SNG. HighOnPokr (no E) on Yahoo IM. I'm out!
The Return of the 45 SNG Challenge
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Last night, while playing in the Mookie (I placed 21st/57 or so), I received an IM from Drewspop. I've met Drews before, when he came in from the Boston area to visit family in NYC. In commemoration, I through a home game. It was the first time that I met a blogger since meeting Pauly and crew at Lady Falcon's home game (Pauly got me, a newbie blogger, an invite to his going away poker party prior to his first trek West).
I mention this for two reasons. The first is that I think I am finally ready to meet more of you crazy mofos. Reading about the gathering in Vegas has really piqued my curiosity. There are always two things holding me back: (1) Money, and (2) Commitments. Money doesn't grow on trees and I have trouble spending my hard earned dough regardless (Exhibit A is my 8 month quest to get an iPod without spending any money -- with my tips, I can cut that down to 2 months for anyone interested). The second one involves time off from work, but also family commitments. I could not and can not imagine taking a vacation without my wife unless it was for a special occassion. Frankly, while I love my blog and I consider several bloggers as friends, the idea of traveling across the country to hang out with people I did not know in person was also a hurdle to get over. As a single guy, I can write it off as an experience. As a married guy (hell, even as a guy with a serious girlfriend), it just borders on irresponsible, selfish and poorly thought out.
I lay this all out to you because on this blog, I try very much to be an open book. The summer trip to Vegas was never even seriously considered by me for all of the aforementioned reasons. Add in the fact that wifey Kim wanted to go on a vacation to somewhere tropical (she eventually arranged our Jamaican trip) and the summer blogger gathering was just not in the cards, no pun intended.
But change is afoot, my friends. The Bash at the Boathouse is quickly approaching. It will be in Philadelphia, a mere 3 or so hours from my home. Hopefully, some bloggers from out of the area, like GCox and TripJax, can make it in, but even without them, it looks like I'll be making my first appearance at a blogger-heavy live event. I don't know what to expect at the Boathouse. From what I've seen, it seems more party than poker, but I'm sure with this many degenerates the poker will not be far behind.
And then there is December, the other biannual blogger gathering in Vegas. I have to admit, I wrote this one off too. It looks like it will be near the second weekend in December and I generally go to Atlantic City for Christmas (5 years running). However, after chatting with Drewspop and other bloggers last night, December is now back in the running. It is right around my birthday, so when the idea came to me, I got on the phone with wifey Kim, on her back from a Kelly Clarkson concert (with friends, fortunately, otherwise I'd be regaling you with tales of teenie bopper girls and creepy fat middle-age guys).
"Hey baby!" I sounded my cheeriest.
"Hey hon." she was clearly distracted.
"I think I know what I want for my birthday..."
"Can we go to Vegas. They'll be a blogger gathering, but while I'm playing, you can spend time with Heather (her friend from college who lives in Vegas)."
Silence on my end now.
"I love you."
"I love you, too. See you soon."
What a woman! Its funny how my commitment to wifey Kim often leads me to over worry about things that she ultimately agrees to without care. It's certainly not anything that wifey Kim has done. She's the most open and accepting person I know. I guess its just a little of that Jewish guilt. Hell, I'm glad I have it. As I've explained more than once, my addictive personality is kept in check by my anal retentiveness. It's a delicate balance of neuroses.
The point is, I believe I am Vegas bound. Booya!
So, there was some other thing that came up in my conversation with Drewspop. Here at High on Poker we (i.e., I) strive to bring the poker community together with such fun events as the DADI tournaments (DADI 8: The Rebuy in July, coming soon). But before DADI came the Challenges. They started small, when DNasty and I played a limit challenge against each other, based on a limit framework that he had found via Double As (see that community knowledge in effect?). From there, the SNG challenge started, followed by the original Heads Up Challenge. HUC2 occurred and then I created the 45-player SNG Challenge. The purpose for all of these events were twofold: (1) They kept me focused, and (2) They brought players together. When Veneno started to ask me about starting a HUC3, I was glad to pass off the responsibilities to her. Hell, she was already the queen of Heads Up, so it seemed natural. She did a wonderful job, too, so I got to enjoy the challenge without the hassles of arranging it.
Well, Drewspop asked me about a second 45-SNG Challenge, and who was I to say no. Fortunately, he was kind enough to offer to host it, and I was happy to pass that burden, um, I mean honor, unto him. So, all of that boils down to this: If you are interested in playing in the next 45 SNG Challenge, contact DrewsPop. His blog is Hometown Poker. Because the 45SNGC is very honor-based, we can only accept submissions from bloggers and space is limited. This affords some amount of accountability. The contest requires each player to put up $25 into the communal prize pool. Then they are to play 15 45-person SNGs at PokerStars at any time between July 16 and August 20. You can play any stakes, turbo or regular. Email Drewspop with the tournament number AS SOON AS YOU SIGN UP FOR THE TOURNAMENT. If you money, email him a screenshot or forward the PokerStars email to Drewspop. For each money place, you get points on the 45 SNGC board. At the end of the 15 games (or August 20th) all of the points are totaled and we declare a winner.
Jump aboard people, while there is still a chance.
That's all for today. Enjoy yourselves.
You Decide #39
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the greatest spectacle on Earth: the Idiocy at 1/2 Limit Hold'em! Today's You Decide is a fun look at sticking to one's read, regardless of that feeling of terror.
So, I'm sitting in a 1/2 Limit game, since I've been on a decline in my bankroll. It's a six-seater and some of the players are a bit manic. Muzzy, in particular, seems to like to bet out a lot, and has shown down some weak hands (like pocket 6s betting all the way with an AKQ flop). I am down $10 or so. I play a hand almost to the river and then have to let go. I know that I probably appear to be weak and fishing. The next hand, I'm dealt AQo in the BB. UTG calls, Muzzy (UTG+1) calls. The other players fold to me. I check. Why not raise? I don't know, really. I knew that my AQ would be disguised. I also didn't have anything particularly strong preflop and I knew that they would call. It was that type of table.
The flop was 6c Tc 3s. I check and UTG checks. Muzzy bets. I call. The flop were all rags, and while he may have played AT, 67s or 34s, I didn't think he had anything much at this point. Basically, it seemed like an obvious position bet, and I figured that a call would slow him down or allow me to catch my Ace or Queen.
The turn was 8s. With another ragged card, I checked. Muzzy bet $2. Here, I seriously considered folding. But my initial read was that he was on a position bet, and if he was on a position bet, I knew that he was too loose not to keep playing at the hand. I called.
Finally, the river was another 8. Here is where it gets tricky. I check. He bets. It's the same thing as the turn. If he IS bluffing, then he is only going to continue bluffing, for the most part. Remember, I had been playing fairly weak within the last few hands, laying down to river bets. On top of this, Muzzy was an aggressive player, and in his position, who wouldn't position bet (although the continuation position betting on the turn AND river scared me). There was $7 in the pot and I had to call $2. I called. He had KJo, and I picked up the pot.
Now, the results went well. I remember when I clicked "Call" I was thinking that I was throwing away money. I mean, this was a real crying call. But I had a read, and I stuck to it. In the end, I was right, but I am positive I could have played this hand better (possibly on every street) to have made the hand easier on me. What do you think? Don't be shy.
Oh yes, my friends. I'm playing in the Blogger $1 iPod tournament, hosted by PokerOnaMac.com. "But Jordan, don't you already have an iPod?" You know I can't stand it when you whine. Yes, I have an iPod, but wifey Kim doesn't (pssst...and don't tell her about my plan to win her one until I've won).
The event is scheduled for Sunday, July 23rd at 6pm at Full Tilt. Rumor has it, there are few players entered right now. The buy-in is a check $1, which goes entirely into the prize pool, and Poker on a Mac is also throwing in three iPods (iPod Video for 1st, iPod nano for 2nd, and an iPod shuffle for third). Pretty damn cool, if I must say so myself.
PokerOnAMac.com has also been kind enough to stake the $100 needed to pump up the DADI 8 prize pool, so as of now, expect DADI 8 to be titled the Rebuy in July, with a $5 rebuy in effect. Vegas Poker Pro has already contacted me about their desire to participate, and we are glad to have them aboard. Look for more details (like the actual date of the event) on this site and at the DADI blog.
Final thoughts: Thanks to SirFWalgman for making me his blog of the month. And congratulations to DoubleAs on publishing his poker strategy book. Get over to DoubleAs site and put in your order. He is one of those bloggers that adds a lot of value to the community knowledge of poker here in the poker bloggerdom. More importantly, though, he'll help your game. I know he's helped mine.
The problem with people is that, well, they are people. I don't remember where this was, but recently, I was in a conversation about how bad people in a particular profession were. I believe it was customer service of some sort. I've dealt with horrible customer service before, from the cable companies that say that there is an "outage in your area" which is code for "I don't give a fuck" to the medical care providers who will not provide you with your own records without making you jump through more hoops than a showdog.
The thing is, its not just customer service. It's the police, too. The institution of the Police is a great thing. The individuals, though, might not be. Doctors are the same. The Russian doctor from downtown treated me like a number. My new doctor treats me as a person.
My point is this: People are lazy, and spiteful, and meanspirited and selfish. Not every person is like this all of the time, but some are. And others are like this some of the time. So, when you run across this person, as a customer, or at a poker table, or as a blogger/reader, just remember that this is what we are. We are not ALL like this, but we all have this in us. And don't be too surprised that you come across it, either. That's life. Just try not to take it to hard.
On an entirely unrelated note, I have two questions for you.
#1) Does anyone know if Mohegan Sun has a poker room, or is it still closed (since about 2003)?
#2) Would anyone (including usual sponsors VegasPokerPro and PokerOnaMac.com) be interested in putting up $100 extra into DADI 8? Why? Because if all goes well, the event shall be the Rebuy in July, a $5 rebuy NLHE event. The one problem is that the minimum buyin at Stars is $10 UNLESS the organizer (i.e., us) puts up $100 in added money. Why is this the case? I have no idea. So, if someone wants to put up the $100, you'll get center advertising space on the banner and be a hero to millions, much like Gandhi. Now that was one unselfish, unspiteful person.
Monday, July 10, 2006
On a recent episode of the Circuit, Cardplayer's podcast hosted by Gavin Smith, Joe Sebok and Scott Huffman, special guest Howard Lederer discussed his history at the Mayfair Club, and underground poker room in NYC (now defunct), which saw the likes of Eric Seidel, Dan Harrington, and a slew of other professional poker players when they were first introduced to the game of Hold'em.
As Lederer explained, at the time, the games at Mayfair ranged from Backgammon to Rummy, but had Texas Hold'em was still a new concept. When it was introduced, none of the players had any real idea of how to play. There weren't poker books around yet, and so the players had to learn on the fly. One of the things that helped was that the Mayfair Club was frequented by game experts, albeit in other games like dominos, and the aforementioned backgammon and rummy. But games are games, so these pros took to Hold'em and began to figure things out on the fly. After playing from 4pm (the close of the stock exchange) until 1am, it was not uncommon for the future name-brand pros to go to the bar and discuss the game at length. As a result, the players lifted themselves up communally, each providing insight and challenging each other.
To Lederer, this is a crucial part of becoming a great poker player, having a network of people with whom you can discuss the concepts behind the game. Granted, this is now a lot more easily available, since the average joe can walk into any Borders book store and gain the knowledge of most of the world's top pros for under $30. But there is still something extra that comes from back and forth discussion.
In my personal life, this is the Hole home game, where we play but also discuss the game. I can sit with Roose and Hole and we can help each other by analyzing play or confirming our supsicions.
But I also have another community that I can go to for this Community Knowledge. Poker blogging. Frankly, it's probably the number one best use of the blogging community. Sure, it is fun to read about a blogger's trials and pursuits. I'm as voyueristic as the next guy (and probably a bit moreso), so a blog that lets me into the life of it's author usually makes it to the top of my list easily. But the other aspect, the thing that probably helps bloggers be as good as they are, is the opportunity for discourse, sometimes one-way when a blogger posts an insightful hand or analysis of the game, and often an exchange, when other bloggers/readers respond in comments or in their own blogs.
So, heil to the bloggers, for sharing their thoughts, their knowledge and their community. Maybe we can be the new "Mayfair Club," and in years time people will be saying, "Did you know x, y and z used to write blogs (or still do) and met up in Vegas twice a year to drink and play poker, and now they are all big time pros?" Hell, even if that doesn't happen, at least I can sleep at night confident that some blogger somewhere is fleecing a donkey of his bankroll.
Swimming with the Devilfish
Sunday, July 09, 2006
"Swimming with the Devilfish," authored by Des Wilson, offers an inside look at British professional poker. In this way, the book seeks to find a niche within the poker book market. While it has some success, the book falls short in several ways.
For the sake of disclosure, I received a copy of the book from the book's PR or publisher. Lest anyone think that this will effect my review, just keep reading.
"Devilfish" is less about Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot and more about British poker in general. The book starts off at a virtual stand-still. Des Wilson does a terrible job of introducing poker and its history to the reader. It's essentially the same as how every poker television show starts with a prefunctory explanation of hand rankings. However, instead of this, you get an explanation of the poker boom, followed by some brief WSOP history when Wilson goes to the WSOP to chronicle the "Usual Suspects'" (Wilson's terribly fabricated term for the British pros) run, about midway through the book.
Surprisingly, however, with a little bit of editing, the book wouldn't be too bad. In fact, once you get past the history lessons, complete with over generalizations, the book's insight into the British players is fairly interesting, less so because they are British, but rather because they are poker players. Wilson treats each pro with two to six pages, with some players popping up again later in the book. The result is a very varied look at life as a pro. Devilfish himself is mentioned only briefly and given the same treatment as the rest of the pros, but likely makes the title and cover because of his crossover appeal. Andrew "the Monk" Black gets a nice write-up, along with some insight into his crying episode at the WSOP. The Hendon Mob are probably the most interesting of the bunch, mostly because of their ability to admit that they aren't the best players, but still strive to improve their game while being well marketed. (FYI, they are now part of Team Full Tilt, after leaving their affiliation with one of the UK sites).
Basically, the book serves as a great survey of the variety of attitudes and backgrounds in the poker community. Whatever the case, Des Wilson seems to hold American poker up on a pedestal in a way that really minimizes the accomplishments and skills of the UK players. One of my favorite quotes regards UK professional poker player Donnacha O'Dea: "A charming man, Donnacha...Except that he's been winning for thirty years and he's sat down with Brunson and Co. in the big game in Vegas and came out alive." CAME OUT ALIVE?! Sure, "Brunson and Co." are legends. But to treat them like this just makes the UK players seem like small potatoes. Of course, as an American, I was pleased. But if I was a Brit, I'd be sneering with my yellow crooked teeth.
Ultimately, Des Wilson just doesn't seem to get it. His history of the poker boom is the first hint. His treatment of the players as pros, but not American quality pros is another. And finally, his ultimate determination that poker is a game that is evil at its core, preying on the weak (although tournament poker is apparently just good ole fun) is the straw that breaks the camel's back. What he does well, though, is interview and retell the stories of the pros.
Should you buy the book? If you are looking to improve your game, No. If you are looking to get some insight into the world of professionals, though, go right ahead. Just skip the introductory paragraphs and take it for what it is.
In a hand ranking scale system, Swimming with the Devilfish is simple pair. It'll do the job in a pinch, but it's not a hand you strive to reach.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
As I perused the activity list given to us when we arrived at Sandals, I couldn't help but let out a little chuckle. My eyes gravitated to one word, "Poker".
Thus began what was fortunately a short-lived conundrum. Tuesday night was Casino night. Wifey Kim and I are not much for these organized affairs, prefering each other's company over that of a bunch of fellow tourists, so we didn't actually get to many of the Sandals-organized events. However, as Tuesday came closer, I was faced with a difficult dilemna. How was I, a man on his HoneyTwo (wifey Kim and I dubbed this a 2nd Honeymoon, since 80% of the people we met were just married), rationalize sneaking away at 10pm to play some form of bastardized Poker at a Sandals resort. Sure enough, Tuesday at 9pm, I glanced over the list of activities on the daily activity board. Noticeably absent was the "Poker". I brought my querry to the man at the desk, "Excuse me, is the Poker event happening tonight?" "No, mon, it's cancelled, but there is blackjack at the club." I was actually relieved. Temptation averted.
Aside from that minor trial, the poker content on my vacation was rather light, as expected. That is not to say that it was non existent. I finished "Swimming with the Devilfish," a book by Des Wilson that was sent to me in a promotional copy. A full review will be forthcoming. I also listened to several podcasts of The Circuit by Cardplayer Magazine, including one in which hosts Joe Sebok and Gavin Smith (along with Scott Huffman) mentioned the "charity event in Philadelphia", which, interestingly involves Sir AlCantHang's Bash at the Boathouse and, of course, ForPeyton.com. I couldn't help but do a double take in my hammock when I heard the reference.
And let me say, the Circuit is one hell of a podcast. The team of Smith, Sebok and Huffman are informative and entertaining. I plan on listening to their podcasts regularly. I also enjoyed some Full Tilt Lessons from the Pros podcasts, which, while short, pack a lot of punch as far as tips are concerned. I still have some Lord Admirals Card Club loaded up too, and I look forward to finally hearing it for myself. Whatever the case, thank god for my iPod, or the poker content of this trip would've been nil.
As I type, I'm actually in the Jamiacan airport. My flight, scheduled to leave at 5, was pushed back to 8:20 without any explanation. As a result, wifey Kim and I know this airport like the back of our hands. Fortunately, we stopped caring about money and used this kiosk and a credit card to occupy ourselves. I have 5 minutes left, so don't be too surprised if I cut this off abruptly.
Facing tomorrow, I really wonder what this 7 day break will mean for my game. Wifey Kim thought it was a silly thought, and maybe it is. But I don't think I took more than a few days off from poker in a long while. I'm actually excited to get back to it and see if there is any ring rust. I'm hoping that, if anything, my game will be improved, what with the tips from the pros and a little bit of time to reflect. Whatever the case, you'll hear the results here.
In other great news, I have decided to bite the bullet and definitely enter a higher buy-in live tournament by the end of the year. The plan is to see what the WPT and WSOP Circuit schedules look like and then take some of my blog-earned dough for the sole purpose of (mentally) freerolling myself into an event. I've decided that the time has come. So, by the end of the year, I plan in playing in one of their $300 or $500 events, and then by the next year, I want to seriously consider an actualy WSOP event (or at least a higher buy-in Circuit event). It finally occurred to me that I have won thousands of dollars from a mere $50 over the last 2 years. It's time to take that slow move into the deep end.
The computer tells me i have a minute. So, adios.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
SONUVABITCH! Without reason, my desktop computer decided to shut off, leaving my epic blogger post in the epic shitter. So, let's try this again, quickly, with typos, and little thought.
While you are barbecuing and trying not to lose a limb while handling small explosives, I'll be drinking Red Stripe and nursing a sun burn in beautiful Jamaica. The flight leaves tomorrow at 7:30am, so I anticipate a very rough morning. But, I do have my Sunday to pack and relax. I wish I could say the same about Saturday, but wifey Kim's friend asked us to help her move in a few weeks ago, and wifey Kim agreed. They had movers, so I couldn't figure out what we would be doing. I mean, it's not like I'm going to unpack their clothing or put away their dishwear. I wouldn't even know where that shit went. So instead, I made sure that the couch was in the right position by parking my ass and watching the Fucking French (as they are officially called) beat Brazil and my only chance of recovering some of my $40 in World Cup losses. If you recall, just a few weeks ago, I was contemplating quitting my job to become a professional World Cup bettor. Fortunately, my anal retentiveness prevented me from redepositing after I lost my winnings and the initial $40 stake. But, one more time now, Fuck the Fucking French! Just saying that is getting me excited for Deadwood.
So, in anticipation of my day of couch-sitting, I decided to wake up extra early to carve some time out for myself. My day started at 8am, when I went down to the gym to do some running and watch some vapid television. After showering, I fired up Stars to finish my $50 reload bonus. Unfortunately, the PLO8 tables were full. In the meanwhile, I channeled my inner Felicia and decided to try some Limit Omaha Hi/Lo. I fired up two tables of 2/4 limit, and after an hour, won about $120! I was hitting cards, but I was also playing extremely well, making tough calls, and pushing my strong draws. At one point, a player even said, "Leave some for the rest of the table."
Once I was done with my bonus, I decided to seek more bonus opportunities. My new iPod kicks ass, but I'd like to buy some more music from iTunes. On that note, any suggestions for Podcasts would be appreciated too. I already have the Full Tilt, Cardplayer and Lord Admiral podcasts, but I'm looking for some more, be them poker or non-poker related.
Since I want more music from iTunes and I'm a cheapskate opportunist, I went to Vegas Poker Pro to choose my next promotion and stumbled upon Interpoker, a sponsor at this very site (and the only one I haven't played at). If that reason wasn't enough, I was also interested in Interpoker because of the low 250 raked hands requirement. I cleverly deposited $50, which will earn me the $50 100% bonus in exactly 250 hands as well. I then deposited $300 more, so that I had dough to work with. If I had deposited the $350 at once, I would've gotten a $100 bonus (100% up to $100), but screw that! As soon as I'm done with the 250 hands, I'm packing up and shipping out, with my $50 bonus in tow.
I felt like changing things up, so I sat down for some $1/2 7 Card Stud. I'm no stud pro. In fact, I dislike the game, mostly because it takes an amount of concentration and memory that I am not naturally gifted in. Instead of worrying about that, though, I openned two more 7CS tables, and decided to just play my good hands. Good indeed, because after a half hour, I was up another $25, for a $145 day...so far.
We headed out to LI to help wifey Kim's friends, and when we were done, he headed back to the city. Later that night, while wifey Kim packed for Jamaica, I fired up the computer once again. I played some (British Pound) .25/.50 NL at Interpoker, but then realized that it was not maximizing my bonus whoring. You get 1 point for every $1 raked per hand. The thing is, when you are playing Pounds (BPs), you get 1 point per BP. But BPs are worth 1.6 $s, so in the end, I was earning bonus slower and playing at higher stakes. Well, screw that. Down $5.50 (I converted it), I left the BP room and fired up what eventually became three .50/1 NL rooms. Success all around, because after thirty minutes, I was up $140!! I was also about 25% done with the bonus at Interpoker after less than one day.
The fun didn't stop there either. I played an MTT at Interpoker for $11, but donked out. I then played at Full Tilt in a Peep Sex turbo with Veneno. I placed 6, good for $14 ($5.30 profit). I played one last single table SNG ($11) at FT, and took third for another $7 profit. At that point, a blogger cash game had started up at Stars, so I joined an illustrious group, where I ran up from $25 to $68. I was waiting for Maudie to jump in, knowing full well that it was really time to sleep. The problem with these bloggers are that they will reload without fear, so it was a long wait for a seat to open. I finally gave up, relinquishing my seat to Maudie, after relinquishing most of my profit to CJ and SLB159.
And then I drifted into sleep, with visions of pot fields and reggae music dancing through my head.
Here's a fun fact. In 2005, Bob Marley's body was exhumed from its grave in Jamaica and moved to Ethopia, his adopted home land!
So, today I have to finish packing and hopefully get some poker in (hopefully, my ass!). Since you won't have anything to read here for a while, take a gander at the links on the right. If you are desperate for some High on Poker, definitely check out the archives and Notable Posts.
Finally, I present to you the paper that earned me a C+ in Computer Law. I've made it into a separate post because of length, and also so that I can refer to it later without forcing people to read about some distant vacation. So, use THIS LINK or check the previous post.