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You Decide #s 35, 36, & 37

Last night, I had the pleasure of playing in the Mookie. I final tabled, eventually succumbing to 7th place, but in the money. It was a great final table, a virtual whose who of this corner of the poker blogging universe, and while I'd love to name the other players, I'm too lazy to link.

It was a weird game for me. I faced some tough situations, some of which I got through on smarts, others on aggression, and the rest on luck. Let's take a look at three such hands. Take this opportunity to reflect and barrage me with insults about my horrible play and luckbox ways. No, really. I need a reality check.

So, without further adieu:

You Decide #35

We are on Level 3 (25/50 blinds) in the Mookie. I have just under my starting stack, 1440., and in the middle of stack sizes at our table. I'm on the button with AdQd. I've been playing somewhat manically after sitting out the first 30 minutes. I keep betting pot and taunting the players when they fold by typing "pot pot pot pot pot". Rocco, in UTG+1, with 1160 in chips, limps. It folds to me and I raise it to 200. The blinds fold, but Rocco calls. The pot is 475.

The flop is Kh 8c 4s. Not so good. Somewhere in here, WLDWLDWMN says, "no sense of any kind", referring to my earlier play. I have a GREAT table image. Rocco checks, and I bet the pot. It's 475, and Rocco pushes all-in for 960 total, or just 485 more. The total pot is now 1910, and I have to call 485. I figure that I have to call (which may or may not be true). After I call, Rocco shows KcJc for top pair. I, of course, have just AdQd.

The turn is a 5h, and the river is an Ah. I river a better pair, hitting one of three outs. Rocco is out of the tournament, and my table image as a wreckless maniac remains intact. I respond to WLDWLDWMN by saying, "oh no?" Darval let's out an "ooo" and smokee chimes in with "lucko." I reflect on my luck as I mentally dance in my virtual pile of chips.

So, I did get lucky. But did I play the hand stupidly? I'm going to lean toward yes on this one, but I think an argument could be made that I played it exactly as I should, and the real error, if there was one, was made by Rocco (no offense, man). He called out of position with KJc and then tried to slowplay check-raise me to the point where I felt that I had to call (whether I had to or not, I'm still not sure). If he had pushed on the flop, or even made a decent bet, I would've folded for sure, and he would've won the pot. In tournaments, it's about protecting your premium hands, and he didn't protect it here. But really, my play was no spectacular. Let's see what you all think.

You Decide #36

We are now on Level 4 (50/100 blinds). I'm in the Big Blind with 3100 in chips, and I'm dealt Jh2c, a less than premium hand. The table hasn't changed much, and my zany table image is still intact. It folds to WLDWLDWMN in the SB, with 2990 in chips, and he calls. I decide to be a gentleman and check.

The flop is all spades: Ts 8s As. WLD takes the initiative and bets 100, the minimum. I read him on a decent flush draw, but not a great one. I raise 200 on top (300 in total), hoping that he thinks that I luckboxed into a flopped flush. He calls.

The turn is a 7c, which presumably does not help his flush draw and does nothing for me. WLD checks and I bet 500. WLD waits a bit and folds. I force myself not to show. Let them think that I am super lucky.

Now, WLD pretty much gift wrapped this hand for me. He was out of position, and the only thing I had to fear was that he had two spades. It's certainly a possibility, which is why I raised on the flop. If he had the made flush, he'd try to move all-in there to push me off a superior draw. Or he might try to slowplay. So when he checked the turn, I decided to bet out 500, not quite pot, to see where I was at. Anything less and he was getting a decent value for his flush. Anything more, and it'd look like I'm scared. I settled on 500 because it looked like a bet that wanted to be called. But what do you think? Was I reckless?

And finally,

You Decide #37

Same tournament, same table, but the blinds are now 75/150. I have 4375 in chips, with only one player, Iakaris, with more chips than me (he has 5900). I'm in the big blind with AhQh. It is interesting how you can be dealt almost the exact same hand and have such different outcomes, both per the cards and per the way you play it.

Iakaris raises 300 to 450. It folds to me and I decide to flat call (although I'm really contemplating re-raising. The flop is a glorious Qc 9d 4h, giving me top pair, top kicker. The pot is currently at 1125 and Iakaris leads out with a bet of 900. Fearing the AA, but also wanting action in case he doesn't have it, I decide to call again.

The pot is now 2925, and I have about 3000 chips behind me. The turn is a 7h, giving me the nut flush draw, as well as TPTK. Iakaris checks, and I decide to move all in for 3025. Iakaris pauses and then folds. I presume he has TT, JJ or AK, but I have no idea.

Should I have moved all in there? Did I get lucky with all of my flat calls? Was there a better way to play it? I don't know. That's what you are for. So get off of your lazy lurking ass and start typing.

Net result for last night: $6 profit, keeping my streak alive (I believe it is at 4 or 5 days in a row now. I lost a FT token SNG costing me $8.70 and a freeroll at PokerShare (which was rather fun, since I didn't care much about it and was pushing with any Ace because of the escalating blinds).

Tonight, I'll probably try to keep off the computer until late. I know wifey Kim wasn't pleased with my degeneracy last night, but at least she understands. Maybe I'll even make a WWdn NOT appearance...

Holler back!

posted by Jordan @ 10:53 PM, ,

Tight/Loose the Yin/Yang of Poker

"Tight is Right." I've said it here before, and I'm sure you've heard it all around the blogosphere and pokersphere. But is it true? Sure it is, to an extent. But how about the flipside, the obviously less melodic "Loose is Wrong". Well, sir, if you think that is the case, you are just plain wrong...or you are playing limit.

The dichotomy between Tight and Loose is an interesting one. As we start playing poker, we are more inclined to be loose, playing KJ like it's a premium hand because both of the cards have faces. 77 is a premium hand because the two cards match!

But soon we learn that 66 is vulnerable to many over pairs after the flop, and KJ is vulnerable to any Ace preflop. By then, you've probably read a book or two and have learned that the top hands are AA through 77, AK and AQ, with varying degrees of strength throughout. For beginners, I've suggested just playing those hands and throwing the rest away. Of course, I also tell them that they have to really pay attention to the flop and act accordingly, but by setting out that simple hand selection guideline, a horrible player can slowly move to adequate while they learn the ropes. Not an optimal strategy overall, but it probably is a winning strategy in some of the loose limit games, and may even work for a cautious rock of a player in the NL games.

Eventually, though, we start to take on our own style. Some players ease into a rock-like existence, relying on patience to give them an edge. This is a smart man who is patient. Just look at GCox, for instance, a player who plays tight and succeeds as a result. It IS a winning style and I don't begrudge anyone who plays that way.

But is it the only way? Clearly not, but I think that we, as skilled players and as poker bloggers, sometimes overvalue the tight is right philosophy. MiamiDon recently posted about the effect of timing on the game. In his post, he mentioned that good players are usually sucked out upon BECAUSE they are good players. They are picking their spots with the best hand and getting it all in there.

MiamiDon is certainly correct, generally speaking. Whenever I'm all-in with a hand and get sucked out upon, I console myself with the fact that I was playing well, so well that I got all of my chips in with the best hand. I guess this almost relates back to an older topic of mine about avoiding coinflips (even weighted ones) in tournaments. In fact, take a look at De-Lucking SNGs, because you'll see that my opinions are often in flux. There, I argued about controlling luck by playing tight in SNGs. I suppose I'm going in a very different direction now.

In De-Lucking, I stated that I am an MTT SNG player. At the time, it was true. Shortly after, my MTT SNG game went into the crapper, and I'm not sure it fully recovered, even after my luckbox blogger freeroll 2nd place. But as a cash game player, I've been doing very well, due in large part to picking my spots. What I have learned is that tight IS right some of the time, but a whole lot of benefit can be had for mixing it up and playing loose.

Let's go back to Miami Don's statement about good players being sucked out upon more so than doing the sucking. It sounds right, and I don't mean at all to fault Don, who I respect a great deal. But from my memory, I recall something that Doyle Brunson said in Super/System. I'll paraphrase: A lot of players think that Doyle is really lucky becasue he often calls or pushes another player all-in and has the worst of it but sucks out. How could this possibly be? Brunson is the Man and for him to get it all in with the worst of it makes no sense at first glance. Brunson explains: By playing aggressively on lots of small pots, he is able to amass chips. He can then gamble a bit more because he is playing with profits. As a result, he may make calls with a flush draw and hit, therefore looking like he sucked out. He did suck out, but it was part of an overall strategy.

I'm no Doyle Brunson, but I can appreciate his philosophy and try to adopt it. It is, after all, a bit closer to my actual personality. I suppose that is what it comes down to. You have to play toward your personality. For GCox, it might meen patience. For me, it is impatience and hyperactivity. We both receive benefits because we have a fundamental understanding of the game and our individual strategies.

I bet, however, that we'd do differently in different environments. Limit play would probably be easier for GCox. After all, he won't find himself in tricky situations if he's patient, whereas I'd be stuck making tough calls knowing that I can't push anyone off of a hand. Likewise, he may have an advantage in some tournaments. Just read De-Lucking SNGs to get an idea of what I mean. His benefit might diminish a bit, however, in deepstack, long tournaments, because I'd have more room to manuever and play loose early on to chip up. In shorter tournaments, I don't have that luxury because a loss early on could see me shortstacked a bit too early. Cash games would likely be a game where "my" style of play might do better, since I'd get more action on my premium hands and potentially pick up more pots with bluffs.

Overall, though, the loose strategy will clearly involve more variance, which may be why we don't value it as highly as the tight style. If you are a tight player naturally and try to play loose, you could conceivably loose a series of MTTs, SNGs or cash game buy-ins and be turned off by the style. After all, you know that you do well with tight play. Dems the breaks though, and if you are a loose player, you understand that a losing night does not matter if it's a winning weak or a winning month. Thankfully, I'm at that point, without concern for individual nights. Hell, I've lost $78 one night recently without batting an eye, and this is the same guy that probably didn't even have $200 online one year ago.

There it is. I don't think this came out as eloquently or extensively as I hoped. But let it waft over you and see what you think. Thanks for reading. Now, while you are at it, go take a look at Hank's blog. He has an AMAZING post about commonalities amonst winning higher-stakes limit poker players.

posted by Jordan @ 4:03 PM, ,

The Way It's Supposed to Be

First, thank you for all of your comments regarding the proportion between luck and skill in poker. I definitely think that there is a difference between tournaments and cash games, with cash games having less of a luck factor, but I don't think it is significantly different in the long run, and by long run, I mean infinity.

More than one person suggested that it was pointless and/or impossible to try to determine the ratio of luck/skill as relates to poker. Well, to those people, I guess you now understand the Luck Conundrum. It's impossible to actually quantify (at least to me), but it's still something worth thinking about. If you play this game as religiously as most of us do and you don't question it from time to time, both as to what the game is at its essence and how to improve on your own game, then you really aren't from the same poker school as me. Sure, we all try to improve our game. That's practically a given. But sometimes, I have to take a step back, look at the game, and figure out exactly what it is. It's not as simple as rolling dice and it's not as complicated as chess. It's somewhere in between, and where it lies in that spectrum is where I spend my time every time I fire up PokerShare or sit at a live game. If you don't look at that and think about it, then you are missing the forest for the trees. But I'm probably being too harsh. It's different poker schools, some of which encourage this sort of theoretical introspection and others forego it. Neither is necessarily wrong. I just happen to belong to the prior.

On that subject, I have to commend some people, but I'm going to do so without naming names. Instead, let me just say that I appreciate any player who is willing to fly in the face of convention and question, not only the game, but the conventional wisdoms about the game. I'm not saying that I encourage anyone to fly in the face of facts. AA will occur once every 220 hands on average, and you can't argue that. But what you can do is argue how to play AA, and argue against conventional wisdom as to how to play it if you have worked out a new idea or theory. Okay, I will name names, but it's not that these two players are the only ones doing it. They are merely two of the most vocal. SirFWalGman and Fluxer. What is it about these two that I appreciate? They are willing to challenge what we take for granted. They are willing to make plays that an ABC Poker player not only wouldn't make, but wouldn't understand. But more important is why they do it. They do it because they are trying to stay ahead of the game. If everyone expects you to do A, there can be some real benefits to doing B. It might not be how you play it and it may not even be the best way to do it, but at least they are working on their game and doing it through trial and error, rather than through following some book-learned formula. Of course, book-learned formulas can work too. But I sincerely believe that the type of player that moves beyond the books will have an advantage, especially if he/she has already read through the books.

Enough of that pontificating! Let's get down to some poker recap from last night. I have a 5 minute period to play some .50/1 NL on PokerShare and won a whopping $2.20. Then my Floridian cousin Eric came over with brother Dave. We had some dinner and drinks and they left casa del High at about 10:30. I hopped in bed with wifey Kim and once she was securely in slumberland, fired up the computer.

I don't know what it was about yesterday. Maybe it was that I was in bed, with the TV muted and some Chemical Bros playing on my headphones (courtesy of main-man Dave Roose) in the dark. I had a 5 person turbo SNG going, along with a .50/1 NL table. I'm confident now at the .50/1 level, and my online bankroll of about $1,400 probably warrants those stakes. I played smart poker, keeping out of the way for the most part with spurts of aggression here and there. On more than one occassion, I raised it up from late position with 24d or 57s only to continuation bet and take it down. On one hand, I think I had to continuation bet, check the turn and bet the river to take it down. Sure, its dangerous, but I was up in chips and I wanted to use my leverage.

I won the SNG for a measely $21 profit and also took about $26 from the cash game, and I'm thrilled with the results. It's about another $50 to the bankroll and my third winning night in a row. I'm hoping to start a streak to rival my 9-wins-in-a-row from a while back. Of course, let's walk before we run.

So, I don't know what it was. I was playing poker the way it's supposed to be done, and I've got to somehow bottle that and save if for later.

Roose is having a home game tonight, but I probably will skip it. I'm sure Mikey Aps is probably having a game tomorrow, so maybe I'll do that, but rumor has it that those games don't get started till 9pm and don't end until after 12. Add the commute back to NYC and I don't know if it's a smart move.

But Genoa is calling me. I guess it never closed, probably because of it's low profile. So hopefully they have tourneys going, but even if they don't I gots the cash now. My chops are watering. And to think that I gave up on playing underground clubs.

posted by Jordan @ 10:00 AM, ,

The Luck Conundrum

I've been thinking a lot about luck as of late. Poker has been fairly good to me. This is partially because of the luck inherent in the game. My 2nd place finish in the PSO blogger freeroll would have been impossible if I actually lost one of the first 8-10 hands when I pushed all-in preflop. If you recall, I actually sucked out on numerous occassions during that early run, beating AK with QJ and 35, and AQ with Q8, as well as a few other lucky hands.

At my most recent 5-Diamond home game, I asked the players what percentage of the game is luck and what percentage is skill. I got a variety of answers, with the high end being about 80% luck, and the low-end at about 20% luck. Overall, I think the concensus was 40% luck, 60% skill, with the "good" players in general agreement. But let's take a look at the full spectrum of possibilities and see what luck actually means in the big scheme of things.

The Rookie Optomist
When I first started playing poker, I thought luck was paramount. Many of you did as well. I heard the quotes, though, and knew that it wasn't all luck. Otherwise, you wouldn't be seeing the same players at the final table. But it was gambling, the same as craps or blackjack or slots. If I could get lucky, I could win, and win big, potentially.

You also see it all the time online at the lower stakes. Players will call your all-in preflop with QTd, upon the misguided belief that the two cards can make a royal straight flush, and are therefore worth their entire buy-in. These players place an undue amount of faith in luck, probably because it is all they have. And when they do hit, they often get paid big, because the wise players know that they should be mixing it up with Mr. QT.

So, what if this is the case? Is it all luck? It's a possibility, and one that I will go into a bit more as we move on. For now, just remember that this is the usual domain of low limit rookies, who still have no grasp of the nuances of the game.

The Skilled Optomist
Much like the Rookie Optomist, the Skilled Optomist sees poker in a way that fits their play. After learning the game from the ground up, the skilled optomist has seen that luck is a factor, but skill is what will consistently win money. The skilled optomist has read up on the game or has played enough to understand concepts like pot odds, implied odds, the importance of tools like check-raises and slowplays. In all of this, the skilled optomist has been reinforced into his beliefs by moneying in tournaments or winning at cash games.

With wins comes an inflated sense of, not just skill, but also the importance of skill. Oddly, however, some of these skilled optomists will pat themselves on the back for making a great call, only to have their donkey opponent suck out. At those moments, the skilled optomists damn luck. But they suck out on their opponents much less, often due to superior play, and therefore never get to sing luck's praises.

These general players believe luck is less than 50% of the game, and may even think it is as much as 60% of the game. But they are confident that, whatever luck determines in the short run, they will come out on top in the long run, because they have skill and skill beats luck.

I would suggest, hesitantly, that a great many poker bloggers are skilled optomists. I sure am/was. But I'm slowly creeping into the third category, which I think may be the most accurate.

The Skilled Pessimist
As stated, a skilled optomist thinks that his skill is so superior to luck that luck is really only 60% of the game at MOST, and more likely considerably less. The skilled pessimist has all of the skills of the optomist, and potentially a lot more skills. They also see things in a different light, where the edge between a skilled and unskilled player is a lot thinner than a skilled optomist would believe.

I don't think I can point to anyone who embodies this idea right off the bat, but you might be able to point to someone, especially if, as I'm assuming, they are probably posters on forums like 2+2. The general idea is this: Luck is a HUGE part of the game, to the point that even the most skilled player can only beat the game for a small amount relative to the blinds.

I've heard that a skilled Limit player should make about 1 big blind per hour. I'm sure some estimates go higher, maybe even to 3 BB/hr. No Limit will likely yield higher numbers, perhaps up to even 5 BB/hr. Now, I could honestly use some help with these numbers. Perhaps you can turn me onto an article or forum thread that addresses this directly. But from my understanding, 5 BB/hr is considered pretty damn good in NL play over the course of a career.

Going over these numbers is what led me to believe that maybe the Rookie Optomist is closer to the truth than the Skilled Optomist. Maybe the truth is that luck is 75% of the game, or even 90% of the game. That thin, thin edge that we get from our skills only nets us 1-5 BB per hour, and how could that possibly mean that skill accounts for 50% of the game. This becomes even more apparent when you consider that you may be playing at a table filled with skilled players. Suddenly, skill has been nullified, and luck plays an even larger role in how the game ends.

What is the answer? I think that it is definitely more luck than skill. Sorry, folks, but poker is a game of luck with skill components, as opposed to most other games like football, for instance, which is a game of skill with luck components (playing conditions, coin tosses for possession, injuries, and the like). Luck plays a larger role than many of us want to let on.

But, hey, I'm just thinking aloud. There may never be a way to actually quantify the luck/skill ratio in the game. But it is something worth thinking about. Drop your two cents in the comments. I'd love to see what some other players believe.

posted by Jordan @ 11:36 AM, ,

Weekend Roundup & You Decide #34

Man am I tired. I hit the sack at 12am last night and woke up at 7 today. It's nothing particularly new, except for arriving at work an hour early, rather than the usual 1/2 hour. BUT, a long weekend in the sun and poker trenches can take a lot out of a man.

By now, if you've scrolled down, you know that I played in SoxLover's homegame on Friday night. It was a successful night, to the tune of $201 profit. It seemed like the very next night, I went out of my way to lose a big chunk of that change.

For the life of me, I can't remember rightly what wifey Kim and I did on Saturday night. Ah yes. We saw Dave Roose's band, Giant Step, at Kenny's Castaways in NYC. The band did a great job, and I was proud to see my partner in crime on the stage doing his thing. When I got home, in a drunken state, I looked online and jumped into a series of debacles, including a $40 PLO8 MTT, easily the highest buy-in I've ever played online. Great idea when you are drunk and tired. After that night, I lost a good $75.

Last night was DADI 6: Pot Limit, and while numbers were down (I'm blaming it on the holiday and not my own obvious inadequacies), the crowd was roaring. Unfortunately, after taking a quick lead (as per usual), I donked out closer to last place than first (as per usual). I have yet to hit my stride in these blogger games, mostly because of my lack of effort and focus. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I could clean up if I just paid more attention. I'm just saying that I can't blame anyone else if I, myself, am not playing optimally. On that note, congratulations to Hoyazo, who won the damn thing, continuing his winning ways. And congratulations to CMitch, who followed up his WSOP Main Event seat win with a 2nd place in a large buy-in tourney netting him a bucket load of cash.

I did, however, play a $1 6-person SNG with BloodyP without looking at my cards. I busted one player when I pushed all-in on a ragged flop, he called with top pair, and I went runner runner straight. Now, remember, I couldn't see my cards. I had covered up that part of the screen in an effort to work on playing the players and working position. Well, on that fateful hand, I had 2d7d, the Suited Hammer! Fate is a beautiful thing. Once we were down to 3 players, I noticed a flaw in my test: BloodyP. Since he knew what I was doing and there were so few players in the tournament, he could raise and call me with impunity. Once I saw the flaw in the system, I uncovered my cards, and proceeded to go on a tear, winning the thing after going heads up with BloodyP (and sucking out on the last hand, no less). I'll have to try the experiment again sometime without a cohort at the table.

I also won a huge hand in .50/1 NL on PokerShare. I've been consistently winning on their site, taking slides here and there, but always recovering. As a result of the hand, my losses for last night and the night before were covered. So overall, it was a $200 weekend. My tournaments (both MTTs and SNGs) have suffered, my cash game is still king, and my live game is better than ever. I may even make an appearance at Genoa Club this week, with my new bankroll and newer confidence. So, I'll leave you with the hand where I won back all of my weekend losses. In fact, let's make it a You Decide:

You Decide #34

Let's start you out with some nice cards, say AA, for instance. Now, let's put you in MP at a .50/1 NL table with a stack of roughly $95, in the middle of the pack as far as chip stacks go. You haven't been paying too much attention to the table, but you do know that the action is sometimes loose, especially if a player falls in love with their hand, which seems to happen a lot.

A player in EP raises from $1 to $3. It folds to you. You raise from $3 to $9. Everyone folds around to the original raiser, who calls. The flop is Jc8c8s. It is checked to you. The pot is $19.50. You bet $12. You are re-raised to $33. You push all-in, for a re-raise of about $40. Your opponent calls.

The turn and the river come, and they are both blanks. You show your AA and your opponent shows KK.

Clearly, you won all of his chips, so you can't complain about the results. But is there anything in there that could have been done better? Surely it wouldn't increase profits unless you could've kept another player in the hand AND still won the hand. So, feedback please. This may've just been one of those situations when luck came through, not only receiving AA, but giving your opponent KK. But I don't think it's just that...

posted by Jordan @ 8:36 AM, ,

DADI Side Bets

I'm facing in three $1 prop bets tonight. They are as follows:

(1) Last longer (TripJax v. Me)
(2) Over 54 player will participate tonight (Trip chose 53 as the number and I chose Over)
(3) Stable v. Stable - Each player chooses 3 players registered a half-hour before the game. The player with the stable with the lowest cumulative placement wins. High Stable (GCox, Hoyazo and Dnasty) v. Trip Stable (Surflexus, MiamiDon, and DrewsPop)

Wish me luck...I'm going to need it.

For more info on DADI, click HERE!

posted by Jordan @ 9:48 PM, ,

On a Roll

I'm on FIRE!! Last night, I had the opportunity to play in SoxLover's home game. When I arrived, there were two players already there, aside from Sox and SoxWife. One stands up, a tall guy, and in an Aussie-accented voice introduces himself as Garth from Garth's Discofinery. It's a funny thing, meeting bloggers face-to-face. There is a natural comfort in their company, much like one might experience if they are seeing a close friend for the first time in a long while. You already know each other, so as soon as you get through the physical meet, it's just like you've known the guy for years.

Scott, a friend of Sox, was already there as well, and we all shat the shit. I was eating my McDonalds. I don't normally eat that crap, but when I play poker, I tend to totally regress to a state of infantile degneracy. It's like my brain says, I'm playing poker, so I might as well just totally fly in the face of anything healthy for my mind or body. So, I'm eating crappy food, and washing it down with Red Stripe, which is quickly becoming a common thing at blogger-related poker games lately. I wonder if it is a Dr. Pauly effect, since before this recent trend, I rarely, if ever, had Red Stripe outside of a tropical location. Regardless, the Stripe hit the spot, as opposed to Sox's other beer, the criminally-disgusting Grolsh. Good god, man. Once, a friend brought over Grolsh for a home game. I had those beers in my fridge for a year, since no one would touch those god-awful things. But, hey, I guess differ'nt strokes for differ'nt folks.

While I ate my crappy meal, Dawn from I Had Outs arrived with Alceste. With seven players present and WeakPlayer with WeakWife on a later-than-planned flight, we got started. And I stunk. I guess it is a part of my style, especially with people I know, that I mix it up, raising with marginal hands and making moves on ragged flops. I won a hand or two, but overall found myself playing too many hands. It was a relatively tight table too. Sox was on my left, the last player at the table that I wanted there, but I kept out of his way for the most part. I was fortunate enough to get pocket Jacks (or maybe Tens) and raised preflop, only to be called by Dawn. Dawn is a serious player and a degenerate. She's a smart player too, and generally tight. I don't remember perfectly, but I must've been in position where she thought I was on a steal, or maybe I min-raised, something I rarely do, especially with TT or JJ. Regardless, we saw the Q9x flop. I believe that I bet in a way that pushed her short-stack all-in. She called with K9, middle pair, presumably on the assumption that I was making a play. That's part of my style, getting played back at by players with weaker hands because I'm so willing to show my crappy hands. Well, I was ahead to her K9, but sure enough, the river was another 9 and I was in desperate shape.

I rebought after busting. The structure was a single rebuy/single add-on, so I had to make the next stack of chips count. I didn't and was first out of the tournament. At that point, we were 12 minutes before the break when the add-ons would occur. Sox, the gentleman host, was kind enough to offer to the table to let me buy back in at the add-on. Well, I wanted some more playing time, so I didn't object. Neither did anyone else, and at the add-on, I was back in action. Meanwhile, everyone else had me covered by a decent margin, what with their own add-ons and stacks, which consisted, at least in part, of my original two buy ins.

A funny thing happened on the way to the final two. I doubled up. My 88 vs. Sox's KQ. Then my AQ v. Sox's 88. I also got my chips in there with the best of it a couple of times. And of course, I stole blinds like the hamburgler steals, well, hamburgers. I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for your blinds today. (Okay, I'm mixing hamburger-obsessed cartoon character references, my bad!). Suddenly, I was the chip leader, and Sox, SoxWife and Dawn were the only three players left. Sox eventually busted. I took out SoxWife by calling her preflop all in with her 99 v. my AT, with an Ace on the flop.

Once it was Dawn and I, I was outchipped. But we worked out a deal, and I took the official 2nd place, with more money than the 2nd place would normally get. It was a smart deal for both of us, largely because of Sox's input.

Next up, WeakPlayer and WeakWife had arrived, and we sat down to a .25/.50 NL cash game. Within the first 5 hands, I'm in the BB with AKo. Sox, on my immediate left once again, straddled. Dawn, to his immediate left raised from $1 to 4. It folded to me, out of position, so I decided to call with my AKo and dump it if I thought it necessary post-flop. Sox called as well, and the three of us saw the flop: 445. Alrighty then. I checked. Sox checked. Dawn checked. Hmm. The turn was a Queen. I checked and Sox bet $10. Dawn folded, and I decided to call. Sox seemed to be making a play, betting too big (although less than pot) for a guy who wanted action. I figured that even if he did make a pair, I could potentially push him off his hand if the river was a spade, making a three card spade flush on the board. I also thought I had two overs at the very least, but my spidey sense was telling me that he was bluffing. The river was an Ace, a perfect card from what I could see. I check and Sox announces, "All-In." I called and showed my Ace. He showed the Hammer! And I stacked him.

A little while later, I held TT in early position and made a $4 raise. Someone after me called, probably Sox, and SoxWife came over the top to $12. When it got around to me, I figured she had me beat. SoxWife is a tight player and that raise meant she had AA, KK, QQ, or AK. No matter what, it wasn't looking good. BUT, I thought Sox would call, and I liked my implied odds if I hit. So, I called. Sox folded. The flop was Ten-high, and my set was golden. With full knowledge of SoxWife's likely action with an over-pair, I checked. She, natrually, pushed all-in. I called confidently and showed my set. She had QQ, and I stacked her too.

I eventually left the cash game at 11:30pm. I'm glad I left as early as I did, because getting home was a fiasco. I got on the wrong train, and when I realized it and got off, no other trains came until the same wrong train pulled up. I resigned myself to my fate and took the train back to NYC. From there, I cabbed it to home, happy with my $200 in winnings.

I'm on a roll, baby! Thanks to Sox for the home game. I can only hope that I keep my game tight and keep chipping up. I broke the $2k in winnings mark for the year, and things are looking good. I've even offered to pay for wifey Kim and my future AC trip with poker money. And of course she accepted. That's one smart chick!

posted by Jordan @ 10:48 AM, ,

Congratulations and Jordan Laid Bare

Let's start this off right, shall we? A HUGE congratulations to Hoyazo, who won the $40k guaranteed tournament on Party Poker. Hoyazo is an MTT specialist, and I am more than amazed at his MTT ability. He's worked hard to win the MTT, and he deserves every minute of it.

Second, another HUGE congratulations, this time to CMitch of O-Poker. CMitch recently won a seat into the WSOP Main Event via Full Tilt. CMitch is one of the very few blogger-players who I list as one of Jordan's Poker Role Models. It's a small group, and I'd have to add DoubleAs, ScottyMcDreamy, and possibly no one else to that list. Why these three? Basically, I've seen them perform some amazing things with consistency. Sure, I'm leaving some people out. Don't blame me! There are lots of great players out there, but what I'm talking about is something different. These are the players that I read about and think, I can actually learn something from these guys, and I should really pay attention to what they are doing.

So, here's the part when I bare my soul to you all. I ask that you all be light on me, because what I'm about to say isn't pretty, but it's real, and it's probably something you are all too familiar with yourselves.

I am jealous. I try to use the term envious, because, as Mama High says, envious means that you don't want to take that thing away from someone else, it just means that you want the same for you. Well, I can't split hairs at a time like this. When I hear about Hoy's or CMitch's wins, I can't help but think, What about me? What about Jordan?

The thing is, I don't begrudge these players their successes. I've met Hoy, and we've played together live. I like the guy, and I know that he deserves his success. CMitch was part of a past HUC, and I've always had respect for him.

I think it is just a natural byproduct of my competitive nature. When I see someone is able to reach a level of play or score a success, I wonder what that means about my inability to have done the same.

Realistically, my time will come. I just need to put myself in a position to win those large MTTs. The first step is to start playing them.

So, Hoy, CMitch, congratulations. Don't hold it against me if I felt a tinge of envy at your success. It just means that I admire your success. I'd rather have you guys win a tourney rather than some joe schmo. In the end, whenever I read about a fellow blogger or friend winning, I feel something with that envy, too. It's pride, pride that one of my fellow compadres was able to do something great.

There it is, my worst trait laid bare. I guess it ain't so bad after all.

posted by Jordan @ 4:48 PM, ,

DADI 6 - High Time

It's high time that you sign up for DADI 6: Pot Limit Hold'em. If it wasn't enough to play some poker with a roudy group of ne'erdowells, you also have a chance of winning some extra prizes.

Vegas Poker Pro has been kind enough to offer 2,000 VPP points, which are redeemable for a variety of poker related items or gift certificates at the VPP Store. The VPP points will be distributed as follows:

1,000 VPP Points to the 1st place Winner
500 VPP Points to the Bubble
500 VPP Points bounty on VPP Mark

The 500 in points alone are enough for a chip sets, gift certificates, or other merchandise. So, consider it an overlay and get in on the fun.

The game is scheduled for Memorial Day evening, so we could certainly use some help getting the word out. Thanks for everyone who has already signed up, and for the rest of you, I look forward to seeing you at the tourney.

posted by Jordan @ 9:12 AM, ,

Lost and Won

If you are not watching Lost, you are one lucky bastard, because now you can watch Season 1 on DVD all summer long and catch up with Season 2 when it comes out on DVD (presumably, soon). If you do watch, I'm sure you were floored by yesterday's episode. SPOILER ALERT. So, I have my own theory, which was certainly helped by the season finale. Here we go:

The island is and was run by the Dharma Initiative. Desmond's chick's father either funds the Dharma Initiative or is one of many contributors to the Initiative. Since he didn't want Desmond to be with his daughter, he must have created a condition in which Desmond would be brought to the island. Maybe he had someone watch him and take advantage of the situation when Desmond was unconscious. The guy is uber rich, so the possibilities (especially on this show) are endless.

But let's get to the island, shall we? The island is artificially (or naturally) surrounded by currents that only allow escape from one area/angle. We saw that yesteday, when Walt and Dad were told that they could leave the island if they took the boat away from the pier at exactly 325 degrees or whatever boat term was used. So, that explains why people can't leave. We can knock out Desmond's theory, that the rest of the world doesnt' exist anymore, because we saw his girlfriend in the real world at the end.

So, what's up with the girlfriend? As she said in the flashback at the stadium, with enough money and determination, she can find anyone. She knows about the electromagnetic properties of the island, probably through her father. So, she commissioned those French guys (and probably others) to always watch for electromagnetic anomolies, presumably, so she can triangulate the location of the island. As we saw from the end of the episode, mission accomplished, and we can expect her attempt to get to the island to be an important part of season 3.

As for the Others, I'm going to assume that they are Dharma scientists, who are continuing their experiments, albeit in a facility (island) that is showing a lot of wear and tear. There are still a lot of gaps left to be filled, so I'll be eagerly anticipating next week.

So, why the Lost diatribe? Well, because I don't have much else to write today. My poker revelations and strategy posts are fairly nonexistent lately. I've hit a stride, winning $69 last night effortlessly in .25/.50 NL at PokerShare. I plan on sticking around there for a little longer, since I've been fairly successful at their cash games of late. After that, I'll be heading over to one of VPP's new promo sites.

I did have a great time yesterday targeting a particular fish. As soon as I sat down to the shorthanded .25/.50 NL table, Ronnette the fish was raising every hand, usually to $3 or 4. Well, I know an opportunity when I see it. I played dead, folding away most hands, and choosing to call rarely. Finally, with KK, I made my move. I min-raised the preflop bet and got a call from Donkette. The flop was AhKhTh, and Donkette raised about $6 into the $10+ pot. So, I reraise, all-in, knowing that he doesn't have a flush, but fearing that he is drawing to one. He called, with QJo, no hearts. He had the straight, but not the flush. The river was a T, though, and I made my full house. Not the prettiest way to win, especially against a player who I surmised to be an ATM, but I was glad to take it.

He left the table, and I went on another donkey hunt, eventually finding him at another .25/.50 NL table. As soon as I sat down, he played one hand and sat out. I guess he could sense danger afoot.

Here's a very simple thought about seat selection. Any serious player should know how important seat selection is. At my recent 5-Diamond home game, after the tournament, I suggested that we draw for seats in the cash game. Players were shocked, under the impression that seat order doesn't matter as much in cash games as it does in a tournament.

I whole-heartedly disagree. Obviously, you want the dangerous players on your right and the weak players on your left. For anyone new to this concept (and it is a VERY simple concept, so excuse me for you Level 4 thinkers), it is both logical and fundamental. You want the dangerous players on your right so that they almost always act BEFORE you. This way, you can get out of the way with your marginal hands when the strong player is in the hand or raising. You want weak players on your left because you can, presumably, take advantage of them, by raising on their blinds. Also, since they are not a threat, you can act effectively without that additional info of what they will do in any given hand. You probably already know, since they are a weaker player and are more predictable, through tells or through betting patterns.

So, why wouldn't this be as important, if not MORE important in a cash game? In a tournament, it is a zero-sum game. You win or you lose. So, if you are in a crappy seat with a shark acting after you and a rock on your right, then you WILL struggle moreso than otherwise. BUT, you can still play a cautious game and get by, even if you don't have the other skills necessary to succeed against these players. Eventually, tables will combine (in a large tournament) and your seat will change. If it's a small tournament, as players are eliminated, I'd argue that the position becomes less important. Why? Because aggression becomes imporant, and being out of position may allow you to be the aggression leader in most hands. In addition, once there are only, say, 4 players, then you will be acting AFTER the player on your left in 2 out of 4 hands preflop (when you are in the blinds), and 2 out of 4 times post flop (when he is in the blinds). Suddenly, your seat isn't as important.

Now consider a cash game. You are stuck to the right of a very tough competitor. You are forced to forego some hands you might otherwise play if you knew that he was already out of the hand. If you bust, you can rebuy back in, but you usually can't (or don't) change your seat at this point, so you are wagering even more money from this bad position. I don't see any upside or minimizing factors either.

But what do you think? Maybe I'm missing something fundamental, here. I don't know. So, give a holler, let your voice be heard, and have a lovely day.

And don't forget: DADI 6: Pot Limit Hold'Em, May 29th. And I just realized for the first time that it is the evening of Memorial Day. Christ!

posted by Jordan @ 9:17 AM, ,

Where I'm At

You know, it's been another tough day at the office. I just spent 3 hours preparing our Guyanan client for trial. But, it's fun doing this lawyer work. It can be stressful, too, but I'm really hitting my stride.

I lost again last night. I think that is two nights in a row. I'm not complaining though. In fact, it doesn't bother me in the least. I've said this before, but it's really sinking in. I am finally getting it. Losing for a day is okay. It's how I'm doing overall that matters.

And here's the thing: I'm where I want to be. I can actually feel that I have developed my poker game more. My cash game has been more profitable that tournaments, and I feel that it is just another sign of my progression. Tournaments are fun, but in the big leagues (which I am nowhere near) the big money players make their dough in the cash games. I like placing 2nd for $450, but I'm just as happy winning $50 on nine different occassions at a cash game table. Too roads to the same place, but whereas tournaments are full of dead ends, the cash game is like driving offroad in a Hummer (by the way, I think Hummer owners should be ashamed of themselves, not because of the effect on Mother Nature, but because I don't like giving money to Arab nations...oh yeah, I said it!).

My cash game is better. My bankroll is solid. I've already hit $1900 in profits since Valentine's Day (now probably around $1850), and my goal was to hit $1800 by year end. So, now what?

Well, I'm going to AC very soon. I'm looking to sneak away from wifey Kim for a bit and see if I can keep my AC success streak going. I'm taking more pride in my play, moving away from my personal perseption that my poker is somewhat of a vice, and starting to see it for what it is, a skill, maybe even a talent. I've mentioned my $450 win to some people in my office, and the response has been essentially shock, both that I would play online poker and that I would win. But I don't try to hide it. Instead, I bask in the glory of what it is.

I love the game. I've said it a million times before, and I still mean it. It excites me to no end, and my success only reinforces this love.

So where am I at? I'm just where I want to be. Playing poker, making money, and loving every minute of it.

And what's the point of this post? I suppose it's my way of drawing a heart with an arrow poking through it on the inside cover of my Trapper Keeper, with the names Jordan + Poker. I'm crushing hard.

posted by Jordan @ 5:28 PM, ,

Thanks a Million

I sent out my plea for help yesterday, and received a bevy of advice from a slew of bloggers. Thanks to Fluxer, Simon from 9-2 Offsuit, Ten Mile, the Rank Amatuer, and anyone else I may have overlooked. The eventual help actually came from Fluxer, and he did a nice job of circumventing the issue by using a pop-up comments box with wavy word. For his troubles, I've tossed him some funds which the IRS will never find out about, even if they shock my nuts with a car battery (they've tried it before). Muchos gracias, Fluxer.

Also, a big thanks to Simon from 9-2 Offsuit, who offered to webhost this humble AWESOME site. I may take him up on his offer in the future and toss some well earned dollars and cents his way. I suggest that if you are looking to update your blog design and/or clean some things up, you contact the man himself. I've checked out his sites (he has a site that, can ya believe it, isn't a poker blog), and he clearly knows what he is doing.

In poker news, I finished my PSO Pokershare promo yesterday by losing $30 while trying to earn 3 pts to finish the 500 pt requirement. Doh! Overall, though, I won about $220 from Share, and I plan to leave some dough in there for the future.

I also played in an SNG with TripJax and GCox, going out in 5th, while my two compadres were still in it. I guess pushing with 27o into TT is not the smartest move, but noone ever accused me of being smart...except for that one time, but I made him pay good!

I have to admit some wife tilt. We were playing at UB, home of the slowest SNGs around, seemingly (and by slow, I mean blinds and/or length of game, and not software issues). We were well into the tourney with still 5 players, and wifey Kim, still recovering from some nefarious illness, wanted to lie in bed. At that point, I got a case of the awfukkits, and the hammer was the perfect time to just push and hope for the best. Highlight of the game was taking down a hand earlier with the hammer against Trip, only to have him take down the next hand against me with the hammer. Of course, I talked some aweful smack at the table. When we sit at a table together, there is no collusion, but there is often some play acting. This time, it was me playing the role of pissed-off self-proclaimed pro who insults Trip, the hapless player, for calling an all-in from another player with Trip's AQ v. 77 and flopping an Ace. Of course, my response is, "I hate playing with these lucky donkeys. SUCKOUT!"

Why do I do this? I don't know. It just makes the game more fun, I guess.

Onto other things. Friday is the home game at casa del SoxLover, and I couldn't be more excited. Monday is DAH DAH DAH DADI 6: Pot Limit Hold'em. It's going to be a certifiable good time, with some extras thrown in by Vegas Poker Pro. If you win the tournament, you get 1000 VPP points. If you bubble, you get 500 VPP points. If you knock out VPP Mark, you get 500 VPP points. And all of it is good to be used for poker merchandise or a variety of gift certificates.

Last thing. I expect to get a $200 gift certificate to Nevada, a site that sells chips and other poker-related items. Frankly, I have chips, and there is nothing that I need from their site. I don't know if the gift certificate is transferable or not, but regardless, I'm looking to get rid of it. So, if you want to offer some cold hard cash for it, or perhaps a bartered item, maybe we can work something out. If it is non-transferable, then I'll make the purchase for you and have it shipped directly to your address.

That's it for today! See you all around the bend!

posted by Jordan @ 9:09 AM, ,

A Plea for Help

Hello, my name is Jordan, and I am an E-tard. When I started this humble blog, I used a generic template from Blogger. After a while, I saw that some other bloggers had neat-o templates, and I thought it was time to renovate. TripWebMaster was kind enough to lend his help, installing the present template and all of it's unique styley goodness.

But TripWebMaster is only one man, and I cannot ask him to spend all of his precious time (and admitted limited experience) finding new ways to make this site a better place.

This is where you come in. I need help. I constantly get comments from bots leaving ads from everything from Viagra to Home Mortgages. They go after older posts, mostly, so I don't notice them until way later, and then I spend hours working on cleaning it up.

Please, if you think you can implement some sort of wavy word program or some other system to prevent these bots, email me at HighOnPokr AT yahoo DOT you know the rest or leave a comment. I'd be glad to barter or pay for the service. Just let me know what you have in mind, and if I can afford it, done and done. If you want, I am offering my $200 Gift Certificate to Nevada Jacks. But I'll do cash. I'm eager, willing, and desperate. Okay, not that desperate. Shoot me a price, and I'll get back to you. I can't promise I'll accept, but I'll thank you heartily just for the offer.

Handi-capable Blogger

posted by Jordan @ 8:14 PM, ,

Tales from the CourtSide

Yesterday, before leaving the office, I got some interesting news. "Jordan, can you come in here?" My boss and team leader were both waiting for me in the bossman's office. "Yes?" "You are covering the R______ case tomorrow. You'll need to get X, Y, and Z together. It's a pre-trial settlement conference, but it won't go to trial tomorrow. Just know the case, explain the insurance information, and the judge will give us a trial date. Don't have the date be between June 3 and June 13th." "You've got the right man for the job!" Yep, I really said that.

As often happens, no matter how much you prep, things always happen that are outside of the expected parameters. In this case, our opposing counsel and I sat in the court room awaiting our turn to see the judge. My opponent was a heavy-set attorney who liked to tell stories of some of his odder cases. Most notable was the case about the mother who sued a sperm bank for trying to destroy her son's sperm after her son passed away. Pleasant.

When we were finally called, opposing counsel and I had a good rapport going. We were both expecting little or nothing to happen, foregoing progress for a new, later court appearance. During the interval, my opponent would be working on finding his client some insurance coverage. Word to the wise: if you are going to own two large buildings on which there will be some construction, get some insurance. If you don't, expect to mortgage the property after my firm whoops your ass in a ladder-fall litigation.

As usual, I stepped into the Judge's chambers and politely introduced myself. "So, what has happened since the last conference?," the Judge asked. My opponent jumped in, "We are trying to get insurance coverage, Your Honor, and we need some more time to resolve this issue." I, meanwhile, readied my speech about how insurance coverage was not going to happen, and that we wanted to go to trial, preferably in mid-to-late June. I didn't get a chance to speak though.

"Okay. I'm sending you out to pick a jury, then." WHAT? Now, I've never picked a jury. That's something that I don't expect to do for, oh, say, 2 years at the very least. Immediately, I'm thinking of my contingency plan. Should I subtely reach into my pocket and begin text messaging someone in my office to give the bossman a heads up? Should I request 24 hours from the judge, and if that fails, 30 minutes at the very least? Would I be faced with choosing from a pool of the client's peers like some Grey's Anatomy psuedo doctor performing a surgery that I've only read about.

As nervous as I was, I didn't show it. My opponent, well into his fifties and seemingly experienced, was in a panic. "Please, Your Honor, just a couple of weeks?" "No, today, counselor." "Please, Your Honor, my wife was just in a car accident!" "No, you should be ready for today." "PLEASE, Your Honor, I don't have any of my witnesses ready." "Look, counselor, you see this sheet?," he held up an otherwise innocuous looking sheet of paper. "According to this, you are my 7th Oldest Case. SEVENTH! And I got this from the Administrative Judge because I need to move these cases out! If I don't move these cases out, they move ME out!"

I did what I do best in these situations. I remained quiet and planned. "PLEASE YOUR HONOR!" Finally, the Judge had enough of the groveling. "Friday, and not a day later." I let out the breath that I had held in during the 4 minutes of begging. Dodged another bullet, I thought to myself. As I left the Court, I called the bossman. "The trial is set for Friday." "Great, good job." "Thanks." I'm the best keep-silent-while-the-action-happens-around-you guy on the block! Go me!

Of course, when I returned to the office, the effect of the Judge's Friday deadline hit me. Hence, I've spent the day readying a case for trial...a case that, up until yesterday, I had never seen before in my life. Thems the breaks.

Poker, huh? Ugly night yesterday. I lost $50 playing 2/4 limit, and then $11 playing an PLO8 SNG with TripJax. I told Trip and GCox that I'd be back in 20 minutes, never to return. Wifey Kim was sick, and I wanted to spend some time with her. I did, however, lurk back online to win back $20 in some NL tables. Not too bad.

I'm probably 95% done with my PSO PokerShare bonus. After I'm done, I plan on removing almost all of my money from that site. I did the math. It took me 500 points to earn a PSO bonus worth about $90. It'll take 3000 (or an additional 2500 points) to earn PokerShare's $300 bonus. Do the pot odds, and you'll see that it is not worth it.

I never received my cut of the rake from Share. If you know how this works, please share, because I'm clueless. I think I have to play for three months first, with play in each of the three months. So, I'll leave a little bit of dough for their juicy, but tiny MTTs (with garaunteed tourneys creating overlays on the weekends) and so that I can play once in the next two months. Frankly, I've turned $300 into about $550+ there, so it has been a fairly profitable site. But I have to continue my Bonus Whore World Tour, and the next stop is VegasPokerPro, proud sponsor of DADI 6: Pot Limit Hold'em.

I may be losing that Noble banner on the right. I only get referral fees if players use my deposit code (HighPoker), and frankly, I'm starting to realize that while some ads are ok, those that require referals are not in the best interest of me or my readers. Frankly, they shorted me on 4 different players, losing me dough that I deserve, and I may go forward with a no-affiliate advertising policy (barring PSO and VPP, which have always been good to me). Let's hope the folks at Noble who set this up can do right by me. I love the site no matter what. Hell, I just redeposited there for the bonus. If you do decided to sign up, though, use that bonus code HighPoker. Wifey Kim will thank you.

posted by Jordan @ 5:43 PM, ,

Poker Pouri

There is nothing better than spending a lazy Sunday slinging cards and chips in the comfort of your own apartment.

Yesterday, wifey Kim was on Long Island at a baby shower, so I took it upon myself to utilize this opportunity for a home game. A Sunday afternoon game isn't the most common format, but it definitely has its advantages. For one, it is done relatively early (I threw everyone out at 8pm), so I could have the night to unwind with wifey Kim. Also, it makes Sunday feel a lot less like, well, Sunday. It helps when you win some money too.

The original plan was to have a $60 tournament at a game that consisted mostly of bloggers. Too ensure that we'd have a sufficient amount of people, I decided to send out a wife player net, asking a variety of my old home game crew, NYC bloggers, and some interested parties to join the fray. Sunday afternoon being what it is, the group wasn't as blogger-heavy as I expected, but I can't complain one bit. Lately, it had been a chore to get the troops in line to play, so I thought I needed a blogger-heavy turnout to make it work. Little did I know that the home game crew would turn out in spades.

The game started out with 9 players: me, F-Train, Dawn from I Had Outs, Dave Roose, Robbie Hole, Scotty, Peter, Matty Ebs, and bro-in-law Marc. There is a wide range of players there, from the serious F-Train to the fun-time-guy combination of Scotty and Pete. Scotty, always generous, catered the event, ordering a platter of Subway sandwiches that didn't go to waste. A HUGE thanks to Scotty, who is always a class act.

I had a couple of cancellations, including Mikey Aps, Platinum, and Law School Dan (with Law School Craig), but we had enough other players to make it work. Platinum and D-Root would stop by later for a cash game. The players who were present were largely part of the ole Hole Home Game, where they play $15 turbo tourneys, so, to accomodate what players we had, the buy-in was dropped from $60 to 40.

The game started off pretty loose, and remained that way for the entirety of the tournament. I think I saw Dawn's eyes light up when I sat back down at the table after setting everything up while the first few hands played out. If I wasn't mistaken, those eyes said, "WTF did I miss and where did all this action come from?" I'm sure it was also the look of a shark eying its prey.

I wish I can say that I played well in the tournament. I didn't though. I folded repeatedly, and then crippled myself against F-Train when I held TT. I believe that I was in the BB, or maybe UTG and I limped. He was on the button and raised. I called. The flop was KQ3, and I check-raised, sensing weakness. He must have sensed the same thing, because he re-raised me all-in quickly and confidently. I folded. He showed his A3, for bottom pair. We rabbit-hunted, and I would've run.

I then pushed my short stack with QJ on the button, only to be called by Petey who had KK in the SB. Hence, my early exisst. The final three were F-Train (3rd), Dawn (2nd), and Petey (1st). If you've read about Petey before, you know that he isn't the best of players. In fact, he is easily the least experienced, and, I must admit...sorry Petey, the worst player of the group. But he was hitting cards, and he DID play well. So congrats Petey.

After the tourney, we decided to play a .25/.50 NL cash game, with a $40 max buy-in. I lost my first $40 against Petey. I held K2o on the button, so I limped with the passive preflop crowd. The flop was Kc3c3s. It was checked to Pete (CO) and he overbets $10. He was catching cards in general, and his overbets were getting common. I decided to put him to the test. I push all-in for another $18 more. It folds to Pete and he calls with Jc8c, a flush draw. As I dealt the turn, I yelled "fuck", expecting a club. I was wrong. When I dealt the river, I yelled "fuck" again, expecting a club. I was right. The Ace of Spades! I rebought.

Then something happened. I'm sure most of the table will attest that I was my usual joking self. I like to have fun at the table, so I was making my usual wiseass shtick. But as I was doing it, I slowly started chipping up. I don't even remember any specific hands. I know I busted Scotty with J8o when the flop was AJJ and he had an Ace. I doubled up off of Hole with my AQ vs his AK after the flop came down AQx. I always get action from Robbie Hole!

Somewhere in there, Petey and Scotty left, and D-Root and Platinum jumped in. I continued to chip up, and finally called the game end at 8pm (in fact, it ended at 7:45 after I busted Matty Ebs).

I ended the cash game with the most cash on the table, $170. With my $80 in buy-ins, that was a $90 profit in the cash game, and $50 profit overall, when considering the $40 tourney loss. Another successful live game in the books, and I started the day playing horribly.

As a result of the home game, I missed the WPBT event last night. Twas a shame, but a man can only poker so much, especially when the Sopranos and (gag) Desperate Housewives are on.

Thanks to all of the players that came out. I'm now looking even more forward to the SoxLover blogger home game this Friday. Should be fun! And don't forget DADI 6: Pot Limit Hold'em. It's one week from today, and VPP has offered some additional prizes besides the cash prize pool. Be there, or be elsewhere.

posted by Jordan @ 9:50 AM, ,

The $450 Question

Soak it up while you can Trip, because this is the last of the well-armed kitty pictures you'll be seeing on this least until I'm cat-sitting again.

Funny thing happened on the way to the bar. I won $450 and a $200 Nevada Jack gift card!

Here's how:

So, it's 9:01pm. I had signed up for the PSO blogger freeroll, but later in the week, I had received an email from good pal Dave Ruff. Well, his birthday was that week, so Saturday (last night) we were all going to meet up at a bar in NYC for his birthday.

With this in mind, I decided to skip the freeroll. To me, since it was free, it was essentially worthless. BUT, if I could have a bit of fun before going out, then why the hell not.

So, 9:01pm and I'm grinding a bit at PokerShare (400 out 0f 500 points completed for my PSO bonus, another 2500 after that for the $300 PokerShare bonus), and Kaellinn hits me up in the girlie IM. "You playing the freeroll?" Oh shit, I forgot about that. So, I fire up Absolute and get a girlie IM from DuggleBogey, and next thing I know, I'm in a chat room that would grow through the night. Other members included DrewsPop, GCox, Katitude, Mookie, Little Acorn Man, and definitely some others that my mind is blanking on currently. Weak stopped by late, but let's get to all that in a moment.

As I said, I had plans, and lil' Danny Platinum was supposed to meet me at the subway at 9:30 to head to the bar. So, I decide to push all-in, on every and any hand. And I did just that. I think it was K2o, and they folded to my all-in. Then it was J5o. Same deal. Next was Q80, and I pushed after a raise. Sure enough, my opponent had AQ and I readied myself to head out. Fate would have another plan. My 8 came on the flop, and I had doubled up. OK, but I still had some chips to lose, so I amped it up. QJo, all-in, and I'm called by AK. Queen on the flop, and I bust the guy. Wha?, I think. This losing is a lot harder than Veneno makes it look (I keed, and by the way, she was in the chat room too). So, I totally donk out with an all-in with 35o, and get called again by AK. 255 flop, and by the turn, he's drawing dead.

I decide to take a look at the effect of my carnage. I held over 7500 in chips. 2nd place was around 3000. Shit man, I'm the dominating chipleader.

I toyed with the idea of continuing my push monkey ways, but then I saw the prize money. Anywhere in the top 5 was decent scratch, ranging from $150 to 540. Now, I'm all for unearned opportunities, but only when they are in the abstract, such as when you are starting a 118 person freeroll with plans that night. When you are in a dominating position though, the chances of winning shoot up like a junkie with a fresh bag.

Something else happens too. First, a lot of the players get mad at you. One in particular decided to stick around and talk smack. I talk smack with the best of them, and challenged him to a $100 Heads Up match (we eventually agreed on $250). Of course, I had no intention of following through, but this is the mental torment that I am obliged to put sore losers through if they dare question the Chosen One. According to this D-bag Supreme, I was a disgrace to poker! I didn't know being a disgrace could be so profitable.

The other players were tilting too, and many were scared of me, mostly because I'd still push all-in with wreckless abandon at times. I pushed all-in facing a raise and was called by AK. I had 66, and my pocket pair held up. I knew what he had, and I was glad that my read was right and my luck held up. Of course, I was in a position to lose without fear, as I did with AJ v AK (all-in preflop, hit the J on the flop, and he hits the K on the river).

So it went. Duggle and Falstaff were at my table for a good period of time. I believe I busted Staff, probably on one of the many suckouts I was handing out. And while the game advanced, I continued to use my big stack and began playing better poker. Meanwhile, I'd call Platinum every 20 minutes to buy more time. I didn't expect to be the chipleader with over twice as many chips as the nearest competitor. But that was my lot in life, and I had to accept it.

Now, did I just luckbox my way into the money? Certainly I had a luckbox head-start. I won't deny that. But I was also playing smart once I had that big stack. Some may have seen me gambling a bit much, but that IS big stack poker, at least when you aren't trying to just fold into the money. Remember, I wouldn't mind losing, as long as I did it fast. So, I put the pressure on my opponents. I made some big raises. I also began to fold more as we neared the money.

Meanwhile, my ill-gotten stack was getting some good competition. One player finally caught up and surpassed me by a long shot, only to eventually be humbled. Even more interesting, though, was that our entire chat room was doing disprortionately well. The final table included me, Duggle, Kaellinn, DrewsPop and Katitutde, and GCox was out just outside of the money.

At the final table, I was back to a dominating position. I was dealt the Tourist (A7) about 4 out of 5 hands in one stretch, and pushed each time. I was eventually caught by A8, but why care, I had more than the rest of the table combined.

With 500/1000 blinds (with antes), I took out Duggle with J8o in the BB (I had to call 1800 more). Duggle had 55. I may've taken out DrewsPop too, but I think someone else had that honor. I took out Kaellinn with a decent, but unremarkable hand. Suddenly, we were down to the final 5, and Kat and I were still in it. She doubled up off of me, but I still had more than the rest of the table combined. I took out 5th place, and then took out Kat in 4th. I lost a chunk of chips to BRUIN4Life, a player who had sat on my right for the entire game (a tough place to be, I'm sure). He had doubled up as a result and was near 50k to my 70k. When we took out 3rd place, we were running fairly close.

And then it was heads up. BRUIN never bitched a moment during my luckbox beginnings and my intentional effort to appear like I was still a maniac. We played heads-up for a hella-long time. It was probably 40 minutes at least. There was even a 5 minute break in the middle (thanks to the tourney structure) during which we exchanged pleasantries. "Bruin, no matter what happens, it's been a pleasure playing with you." And I meant it, sincerely. I love this game.

As it happens, BRUIN survived my Ace-high against his King-high when he was shortstack and launched a comeback. At one point, I was down to 18,000 against his 100,000+, and came back to about even. But, yep, I lost. I was card dead, and he counteracted my aggression well. I took solace in the fact that 2nd place was just $90 less than 1st, for a whopping $450 profit.

So, what am I doing with the winnings? Paying bills, mostly. But I'm also going to make a transfer. Ruff, I'm sorry I missed your birthday, but when I played, I thought to myself, "I'm doing this for Ruff. If I win, I'm giving him a cut." So, expect some nice dough in your PokerStars account.

posted by Jordan @ 8:26 AM, ,

Poker To Do List

I'm going to post a to do list, and I haven't conferred with the people mentioned herein. It's more like some ideas I have that I'd like to try, so if the people listed are game, please let me know.

  1. Play a Heads-Up match against Sir Waffle, preferably with girlie voice chat, and have fun ripping into each other at the table and in voice chat. I'd like to think that Waffle and I have an interesting relationship. On one hand, he is one of the few players that can insta-tilt me, although I querry whether this is still the case. He is also one of the few players (although not SO few) that I really respect, pokerwise. I like his ability to challenge the normal conventions of the game and I think that he shows, at times, the innate intelligence to be a superb player. I say "at times" because we all have our less-than-golden moments. So, Waffle, the guantlet has been thrown.
  2. Play a Swansea ($1, 6person SNG) with BloodyP on Noble without looking at my cards. I've wanted to do this for a long time. I plan to cover the cards with a post-it and play it blind, using position and careful analysis of my opponents. Clearly, though, my confidence is not high, as it's a cheap SNG. I would love to do it at the same table as BloodyP, mostly because he's good company at the table and it would be fun to get a witness.
  3. Remind everyone to chill the fudge out! Why does everyone seem on edge lately. SoxLover is pissed at Waffle, Bone Daddy is pissed at Waffle, Waffle is pissed at Duggle, Duggle is pissed at everybody. Even Felicia Lee seems pissed, although there is nothing new there. Look people, I know I had my recent flame conflict (much like Vietnam, I will not call it an official war), but it's really all a waste of time and energy. Please chill out.
  4. Play in a Shootout tournament for the first time. Any suggestions or info as to when these are scheduled?
  5. Use my $24+2 token at Full Tilt this weekend.
  6. Play poker in Battery Park in NYC, where there is free wifi.
  7. Keep the ongoing plethora of NYC blogger tournaments going.
  8. Play at the DADI 6: Pot Limit. Can't wait!

posted by Jordan @ 2:45 PM, ,

Not the Way to Play

Hoyazo: J, you have to tighten up, man.
Me: I know. I shouldn't have signed up for the WWdn NOT. It's too late and I knew that when I registered. I was playing like I didn't care.

First off, thank you Hoyazo. You are correct. I needed to tighten up. In a game where you lose by helping your "competition," it is nice to have friends who will offer solid advice to improve your game. I don't think anything is more valuable to a developing player.

Last night was a disaster. It was the second night in a row where I got off to a great start, and then let it all dissolve into an orgy of self-destructive poker play.

It started with a $10 Turbo MTT at PokerShare. I placed 3rd out of 34 players, mostly by playing smart, watching my opponents and staying out of the action. With a $33 profit, I decided to spread some wealth around.

Mistake #1: I was looking to play an MTT, and Weak_Player was online along with some other bloggers who play MTTs fairly regularly. Weak agreed to join me in an MTT, and I settled on the $24+2 HORSE event on Full Tilt. We were on Level 3 when I noticed that it was for a WSOP seat. Joy of joys. What a moron. I lost, and was actually almost happy about it.

Mistake #2: I then went looking for a NLHE table on PokerStars, only to settle on a table that was essentially heads-up. It was a ten-seater, but with only one other player, I had hoped to either dominate his $10 shortstack (.25/.50 stakes) or attract some more players. I was ahead a bit, mostly because he played so freaking tight, folding to any and all bets. But he eventually started playing back at me and took $4.50 off of me before he quickly exited. Doh! I should've chosen my table more carefully.

Mistake #3: I'm in an 18p $10+1 on Stars with Weak, and it's about 11:20pm. The WWdn NOT starts at 11:30. I see that a lot of my blogger bretheren are playing, so I jump in. I immediately regret it because it's late and I have a killer headache. So, I go to click Unregister, but the Unregister button is gone. I close the tourney window and re-open it, but no unregister button.

Mistake #4: Because of how late it is, I'm playing semi-nihillist poker. I'm bleeding chips because players won't fold to me. I hold 99 and raise preflop and get two callers, including Waffles. On the flop, it's all unders with two spades. I make a pot-sized bet and get one caller. Waffles pushes. I fold. He has 37s, for bottom pair, flush draw. The other guy, Bone-Daddy, if I'm not mistaken, has QTs. Waffles rivers 2-pair, so I would've lost the hand. I don't know if I played this well or not...

I do know that I played THIS hand wrong, but, if you ask me, so did my opponent. I get AKc and I bump it up, getting one caller. The flop is 34x, all unders and I think I continuation bet . I get called. The turn is 5. I push (or I re-raise all-in). He has 56 and wins the fooking hand. WHAT IS HE STAYING IN WITH 56o PREFLOP FOR!! Why? Because I STINK!

Mistake #5: So Weak and I are still in the 18 person SNG for $10+1. I'm playing fairly well, giving a lot of action, and bouncing from last place out of 18 to top 3. It's down to 7 players. I lose the WWdn, and then I donk off my chips at the SNG while still tilting. I DOUBLE STINK!

I did, however, win a Peep Sex SNG (i.e., SNG for a token to a $24+2 event at Full Tilt) amidst all of these disasters. I also lost a $20+2 turbo SNG at PokerShare.

What a ridiculous night. Down $47 or so. It would be more, but I count the $6.60 that I used to buy in to the Peep Sex SNG as a loss. Then when I use the $24+2 token (hopefully soon), no matter what, I consider it $0 loss (or a possible win). With clever accounting, I can consider the Peep Sex an $18 win, and be down only $20 or so, but I'm not trying to go that route.

Ernie the kitten had continued to be the bane of my existence. Yesteday she woke me at 3am to play Bite the Flesh. Wifey Kim, exhausted from the night before, was out pretty early, so I took the role of protecting her from the kitten's playful (read: obnoxious) spirit. It's much like my old dog Cassie. I loved Cassie, but I couldn't stand her. Same goes for Ernie. Lesson learned.

My GERD (acid reflux) has also been back with a vengeance this week. I think it might be stress from the office, but maybe it's my eating habits. Nothing seems out of the ordinary though. I also have some silly pressure in my head, and the net effect is that I want to be shot and put out of my misery. The over-under at staying in the office today is 2pm.

All of the above also contributed to my horrible play yesterday. I think I need to reevaluate a couple of things. I need to play less per evening. When wifey Kim falls asleep, I play poker. Instead of playing as much as I did, I should have just played one tournament (the one I won) and then turned it in for the night. If I did this the last two nights, I'd be up about $85 between the two, instead of down $90 or so. I guess that is the most important thing, and I plan on focusing on it for the near future.

Have a great day! I've got my home game scheduled for Sunday (currently 10 players, including Dawn from I Had Outs and F-Train, tentatively). Next weekend, I'll be playing at SoxLover's place with Weak, Garthmeister and, I'm sure, some more bloggers.

The best part of blogging, right there folks. The home games. I'm OUT!

posted by Jordan @ 9:14 AM, ,

Cat Napping

Last night, Mama High had Papa High bring over their new kitten. The Parents High will be heading on another vacation, god bless them, just weeks after getting their new cat, Ernie. Now, we've never had a cat before in Casa del High growing up, but wifey Kim had cats. At first, I thought that cats were creepy, but when I met wifey Kim's cats, back when she was just girl-I-was-instantly-in-love-with-but-was-still-trying-to-get-with Kim, I discovered how fun and low maintenance a cat can be. Ernie was no exception when I met him for the first time last weekend...until last night.

First off, that cat sure does like typing. On a couple of occassions, Ernie took the opportunity to tell my opponents at PokerShare, "asdjflllllllllllllllllpl;'[" How cute! But then it was time to sleep, and Ernie, who had slept all through a great episode of Lost, was wide awake, moving around our small bed (NYC apartment = de facto small bed) and choosing random body parts like my ear to be his play toy (claws, teeth and all). Aw, how cute...and annoying. At least I learned this: wifey Kim and I are not getting a cat.

I played some poker too yesterday. I started with some .50/1 NL at PokerShare and won $6.70 after about ten minutes, at which point my table broke. Their traffic is slow, so I went on to the .25/.50 NL table and won $23+. In one hand I admittedly got lucky. A short-stacked payer in the BB with about $10 called my preflop raise to $1.50 from the CO. I held AKo. He foolishly called me with KT. The flop was KJT, though, and, if I'm not mistaken, he bet $3. I raised him almost all-in, and he decided to push. On my end, I was already up about $10 and was willing to gamble it up. I had a feeling that I may've been behind, but I thought that the exposure was limited. He showed his two-pair and probably smiled...until the turn was a Jack and his two pair was counterfeited. After that hand, the table broke, and I turned my attention to Lost and Ernie.

Near the end of Lost I signed on to quickly sign up for the Mookie. I realized that wifey Kim and I would be done with the show at around 10pm, the Mookie start time, so I jumped in and planned to post and fold for a while. When I got to the game, I was at an all star table. I made some plays to chip up, but then played some hands awefully. One was against Hoff, and I have to say, he was ahead the whole time with QQ and I don't think he bet out once. I had A9 and just kept betting, sensing weakness that wasn't there. I really don't get his play though. The board was xJK on the flop, and I suppose that he was scared of the K, but no raises at all? Not how I would've played it on his end, but the proof is in the pudding and his play won the hand and extracted extra dough from me. Maybe he knew that I was hanging myself.

Shamed again, I got out of there quickly and jumped into a 5-person $20 Turbo SNG on PokerShare. I took 2nd, ensuring that it was a profitable night, up $36 or so in total. Can't complain one bit.

I'm now trying to figure a couple of bonus issues out. I've finished 300+ of my PokerShare points out of the 500 needed to get my PSO bonus. However, for me to get the 100% sign up bonus from PokerShare ($300), I need to clear 3000 points. That's a HUGE difference, and seeing how I average it will take 2 weeks to get the PSO bonus, do I want to spend 12 weeks going for the deposit bonus? Time will tell. I am, in the meanwhile, considering other bonus options. After the PokerShare PSO bonus, I'll have 12,500 PSO points, which is enough for either a $100 Party or Absolute gift certificate (+2,500 left over for a $25 gift card to Amazon or Best Buy) OR I can spend it all on gift certificates and get $125 for Best Buy or Amazon. My old quest for an iPod is still in the back of my mind, so I'm seriously considering the Amazon gift certificate...tough choice.

My original plan was to take the money and run. Then go to VPP for three promos so I can earn 2,250 VPP points, enough for an iPod Nano directly from VPP. It's still a decent plan, but maybe I should just fast forward through it all, take the $125 in gift certs, and then spend my VPP points on more gift certs. Two ways to the same goal. Let's hope this is my hardest upcoming decision.

I'm out! Have a good one.

posted by Jordan @ 9:27 AM, ,

TripJax Questionnaire

In his most recent post, TripJax offered a series of questions to his readers. I will answer them here. Check out Trip's post for more reader comments/answers.

1. What is the biggest mistake people make at a NL table? I'm going to offer two answers. The first is playing too scared. You have to be willing to be aggressive. The second, which is related, is playing outside of your bankroll. You are going to take swings, and you have to be able to live through them.

2. What is the biggest mistake people make at a Limit table? Playing Limit at all. Yuck yuck yuck! Actually, I'm going to say adjusting to table conditions appropriately. It's very easy to tighten up when players are loose, but sometimes you are better off loosening up pre-flop to hit your monsters and get paid off.

3. Why do you play poker? Because I can not Not play poker. I love the challenge, I love the game, and I love the fact that I can win money.

4. If you weren't playing poker, what would you be doing? Probably watching some bad television. Maybe doing some art.

5. What is your favorite poker book and why? Let's go with Caro's Book of Poker Tells, mostly because it is an interesting idea for a book and the pictures (from the 70s by the looks of the players) are hysterical. There is also a lot of good info in there, and many players haven't read it, as opposed to the Bible, Super/System.

6. Who is your favorite poker player and why? Hmm. I have a lot of respect for Phil Ivey because he is just so damn quiet and intimidating. I will never have the quietness, but I want the intimidation part.

7. Which poker player do you dislike the most and why? I don't really dislike any of them.

8. Do your coworkers
know about your blog? Actually, one of them does. I came out of the Blog Closet last week. Let's hope the person knows how to keep things quiet. I'm confident that he/she can. (I use ambivalent words so that if the Powers that Be do indeed know about this site, no one else will be implicated.)

9. What is the most you have won in a cash game or MTT (both live and online)? In a cash game, I won $650 at a 1/2 table. In an MTT, I placed 4th/1008 and won $650 also.

10. What is the most you have lost in a cash game or in one day total (both live and online)? I have lost somewhere to the tune of $350 or so, I think, live on one day, but it was part of a several day trip that saw me lose over $500.

11. Who was your first poker blog read? The Intrepid Card Player, although he is no longer blogging.

12. What satisfies you more, your aces holding up for a big pot or a bluff working for a big pot? Always the bluff. It's easy with Aces. [insert copyright symbol here]

13. Why do you blog? Because of page rank. But really, because it gives me an opportunity to think and discuss poker when I am not able to play. As time has passed, it has also offered me a myriad of opportunities, like being invited to the All-In premeire party and meeting people to have a home game with. Those are the best perks to this hobby.

14. Do you read blogs from an RSS reader like bloglines or do you visit each blog? I visit each blog, because, mostly, I think it is more personal and I can get a feel for a writer's personality by the site's design.

15. Would you rather play poker for a living than do what you currently do for a living? Tricky one. My goal is to make the same amount doing both. Once a lawyer, always a lawyer.

16. Do you wear a tin foil hat on occasion? No, but I have a cowboy hat that I will not wear in public.

17. If you had to pin it down to one specific trait, what does a great poker player have (or do) that separates them from an average player? An innate intelligence. Broad enough for you?

18. Is
Drizz the coolest person on the planet for naming his baby Vegas? Absolutely! I'm going to name my future kid Craps, and take the title of coolest person. Middle name will be Double-Zero.

19. What is your primary poker goal and are you close to accomplishing it? Primary? I guess to earn the same amount of money playing as I do working. I'm not close yet. Other goals are to win $2400 this year and to play in a WSOP event.

20. What is your primary online site and why? Noble/Titan, I guess. I move around a lot, but I've always liked their games.

21. What site do you dislike and why?, for making me waste time on this post. Oh, you mean online poker site? Hollywood Poker. They can SUCK IT! Why? Because I can't seem to win there.

posted by Jordan @ 1:50 PM, ,