Friday, January 30, 2004

Why Do I Live Here?

It's cold. I mean, this is beyond what "normal" people would consider cold. Put it this way. Current temeratures:

Winnipeg, Manitoba = -36C
Minneapolis, MN = -22C
Green Bay, WI = -17C
Opportunity Landing Site, Mars = -10C

The fact that it's warmer 300 million miles farther away from the sun on a planet with a tenth the atmosphere as Earth = Priceless

You Canadians are out of your gords.

No poker playing today. I was going to squeeze in a few rounds but instead spent the day running around in this God Forsaken cold spending money on stuff that isn't going to be fun. Well, okay. I paid my internet/cable bill. That could, conceivably, be fun. I also finally bit the bullet and plunked down the $40 for PokerTracker. I was going to put it off a little longer, but the price is going up to $55 tomorrow. I will refrain from commenting on that one, other then to ask "why?"

Anyway, I'm pretty geeked about getting PokerTracker up and running. I've only got like 10,000 hands to put into the darn thing, so hopefully it doesn't just simply melt down when I go to import all this stuff. Gonna have to do some serious study in the next few days. Hopefully the serial number shows up tonight!

Onto hand analysis, I think I've got a serious leak in my game post-flop. Basically, it's my inability to see things in the board that can kick my butt. I got blindsided a couple of times in the last few days by things I really should have seen coming. Some of this is me being stubborn and not releasing a hand that was so good before that point, but there have been a couple of times where I'll lose to something that's blatantly obvious.

I think I'm also beginning to pick up some bad habits on the .50/1 tables. The play is so completely random and I find myself calling in too deep on speculative hands, thinking that a marginal hand has a better chance then it really has. This really is a matter of focus, I think, and yesterday, when I posted that good day, was a day where I finally decided it was time to pay attention.

The bankroll is finally back over the $200 mark after a couple of scary days. I really want to wait until I have a little more solid footing before I move to 1/2, but I'm starting to feel the strain of dealing with the quasi-random play of the people at .50/1. I think the best thing to do is just sit down and jam up to $300, then make the move to $1/$2 with a stoploss at $200.

Now all I have to do is win another 100BB. I can do this.

In other news, Iggy continues to rock the free world. I'm not worthy, but none the less, I managed to get pimped in PokerSavvy article. I owe Iggy a damn brewery after all this!

Boy Genius had an interesting rant about how American media is sucking our will to live. Much as I try to stick to poker on this blog and keep my other blatherings for another site (which may get updated again before Christ walks the Earth, but I don't have any rights to do updates myself, so take that for what it's worth), I do enjoy a good roast. Remember, BG, you're talking about a television audience that has encouraged the networks to keep Malcolm In The Middle on the air about 3 seasons too goddamn long, and that is only the outer dermis layer of a 25,000 pound fleshy Jabba The Hutt like monster. Of course, this is from a network with such blockbuster hit series as My Big Fat Obnoxious Insult to Human Intelligence, Bay Watch Version 2.0, Malcolm In The Middle, the '50's Version, Two Blondes and a Cow's Ass and Jackass, the Edited Version. It's no wonder over half the children in America can't read, write or comprehend at their grade level. If, God forbid, anyone other then PBS attempted to put British humor on television, they'd be out of business since clearly American television viewers lack the cognative ability to understand anything that isn't a sight gag.

Jesus wept.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

A Recovery?

Well, a little over 3 hours of play on one .50/1 table (at a time, I switched tables 3 times) yielded a +$15.75 gain for the day. About an average day of play, I'd say. An average amount of hands for this level held up. There were some bad beats, but I was pretty good about reading my opponents and getting out when things started getting messy. I did fold prematurely a few times, but not for huge pots. Basically just bad guesses.

More later. Work calls.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Roller Coaster

A quick update. I had to fly all over the darn country today so I'm wiped.

Yesterday, I was on the tables for a little while.. Played two tables for about 2 hours. The first hour and a half I was getting absolutely slaughtered. Another day of misses and suckouts left me in real bad shape. Then Lady Luck spared me and actually allowed some of my hands to hold up for decent pots. Ended the day up around $10.

Today after I got home I played 1 table for about 45 minutes... Another disasterous slide to start with. I got 3 great hands in a row and all three got cracked. In 15 minutes, I had burned $15 on a .50/1 table. That's a -60BB/hr rate, folks. The downward spiral stopped and I managed to scrape in a pot to bring me back to within -$10, where I stagnated for a while. In the last 10 or so minutes, though, I hit two nice pots in a row and managed to escape with a small $2 profit. So, two days in the black I guess ends the slide, but they were two very scary nights of poker, seeing me in serious trouble for most of the night.

Though I did manage some positive numbers, I'm not comfortable with the way the hands play out. Every hand I did manage to win had some serious scare cards out there. I haven't had the absolute stone cold nuts hand in quite a while.

Oh well. I'm friggin wiped. More tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2004


No one seems too motivated to comment on things I say anymore... I suppose this might be a good thing, but if it wasn't for SiteMeter I would have thought I've been abandoned!

How is it possible that all you poker bloggers out there have nothing to say?!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

...If It Happens 3 Times, It's A Trend

...And the hits just keep on coming. Spent about 3 hours this morning on Party doing anything but celebrating. Long story short, I got my ass kicked in by the river... Again...

The "recent financial history" portion of Party is down, so I can't come up with exact figures of what today's blood letting was, but I estimate that I rolled up and smoked about $30. A pitiful day, to say the least.

It wasn't that the cards weren't coming today either. I sat down at the table I had the most problems with. I get premium starting hands in the BB, SB and button, all in a row. To tell the truth, it was such a dizzying spiral of suckage that I really honestly can't say what exactly happened. I just remember a constant procession of hand that were winners on the turn and big, expensive losers on the river.

Top pair/top kicker? Paired board on the river for rivered trips.

Straights? Flushed away on the river.

Got the king to match that 4 to a suit on the board? Sure as Hell someone has the ace.

I'd get premium hands and they'd get cracked time and time again. It was... creepy.

Of course, it was made more expensive because, after about the 10th time it happened, I'd find myself uttering "No fucking way" as I hit the call button...

This is one of those days that beat the snot out of your confidence, but I figure I was due for a nice slide since I've been kicking ass the last few days. The bankroll is still over $200.. barely... so I'm not sweating yet, but if this continues beyond tomorrow, I'm gonna start getting nervous.

I've got the bug to start playing around in the sit and goes again. Perhaps I'll do a little bit of that tomorrow to try to work through this dry period. I'll definitely abandon sideband interference like reading the news and checking out the latest Mars news. I think some of my stupid decisions have stemmed from me being distracted. Even though the .50/1 tables are essentially ABC poker, it still pays to try to figure out who's doing what. I know that if I would have been paying closer attention, I would have known that the guy betting into me doesn't do that without the nuts. At most, though, I probably would have only saved $5 all day. It really was just the friggin river doing me in big time in the last 48 hours.

Hopefully it'll turn around. Gotta keep on keeping on though. The only way out is through.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

...Sometimes You're The Bug

I got rivered so much today I felt like fly fishing bait.

I was playing two tables of .50/1 today, and in the space of 2 minutes I got rivered 3 times. Here's how it went down...

TT hits the set on the flop, only to die to a rivered nut stright.
QQ hits the set on the flop, only to get killed when 4 of a suit hit the board and I lose to the flush when the other guy turns K2o.
AQ hits the Queen on the flop, rest of the board is rags and I get downed by a set of 2's, of course caught on the river.

Took all of 2 minutes. and I was down $18. Weeee.

The slide continued on the one table. Nothing held up, and in about 90 minutes, I was down $19 on that table.. I finally left and concentrated on the other table, where I managed at that point to scratch back to a small gain of $4. The cards started to finally hold up there and I managed to leave up a bit there.

Total take for the day, -$8.50. It was much worse earlier in the session though so I'm not too disappointed in "only" being that much down.

Today was one of those "how bad can it get days" in poker. After the first 60 minutes, I started to wonder if anything I got would hold up, but this is the most important time to have faith in your hands. If you try to "tighten up" and be more conservative, you'll end up doing yourself more damage when you don't get the most value out of your hands that DO win. If I ever get to the point where I get a good hand and start thinking to myself "gotta save those bets, cuz I'll bet I'm beat", it's time to just rack em up and head on out.

Still reeling from my UB spanking the other day, though.

Grubby sent a card with the HAMMER II reward. Inside was none other then two playing cards: The 7c and the 2s. The Most Holy and Apostolic HAMMER. It is now adorning my poker shrine, an inspiration to me every time I'm afforded the opportunity to unleash the unbridled fury of the HAMMER upon the unbelievers. The Grubmaster rules.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Starbuck's Coffee

That's about what what's left in my UB account can buy me. After taking a horrendous beating yesterday on UB, I'm down to my final $6. Thankfully, UB has some seriously micro limits to play on, so I'm not exactly dead... Playing .01/.02 limit hold'em though is like trying to drive from L.A. to Boston on a tricycle. Just for giggles, I played two .01/.02 tables today for about 40 minutes. I ended up about $.15 up. Weeee.

Poking around a little, looks like they also have micro-no limit! Yup, .01/.02 blind, no limit hold'em. So, I climb on board for the maximum amount ($2) and go to work. I fold out for a little bit and finally end up with ATo in the big blind.. In typical micro-limit style, bunch of people call the blind.. No raises at all. Anyway, Flop comes something like 69T rainbow. I bet out the pot and get called 2 ways. Turn is an Ac. I've got a nice hand now, and I bet out a meager raise to keep these two guys in. Both call and the river comes a 7. Excellent. I lead out with an all-in. MP folds and late position insta-calls it for about a quarter my stack and turns over 58o for the gutshot. Outstanding. I leave $.75 in the hole.

So, whatever. If I bust out of UB, so be it.. But if I make it back to $100 on that thing, I'm throwing a party. The whole idea of the UB thing though was to have something to do when Party takes a dump, so it only stands to reason that just as soon as I complete the transaction putting money into UB, Party never had another "crashing for 10 hours" problem since then!

No worries, though.. I withdrew double what I initially deposited from there, so that money was already made.

In unrelated news, the Wife and I were wandering around Wal-Mart the other day trying to find some new pants for her for work. I wanted to check out the auto department to see what they'd gouge me to rotate and balance my tires ($30, such a deal) when I saw a "does it all" weight machine for $200. I'm sure it's not the best quality piece of equipment there, but in my current state of affairs I don't have the bank to be buying some $3000 Nautilus machine, so this is going to have to do. Anything to help with this rapidly expanding body of mine.

But, no one cares about that... More POKER!

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Something's Gotta Give

Stoked by Tuesday night's fish fry, I eagerly jump onto a pair of .50/1 tables 'round about 9:00 Central and start to work....

Collecting garbage. I mean, it was a dry run... But this is the great thing about online poker. You can work through the dry spells very quickly and get down to the business of kicking ass.

The evening was not going well... HDouble got a play by play of the crap I was getting sucked out with for a while... Hey, I feel better when I cry on someone's shoulder. After about 90 minutes, I was down right around $25. I've decided that I will "schedule" my poker in the evening such that, when I hit the end of the schedule time, I log off, up or down. This keeps me from the "gotta break even before I log off" syndrome, and basically poker is one long session anyway, so it doesn't make any difference the start and stop times. The only time I'll break this rule is if there is someone on the table giving money away. Can't pass up a sale!

Anyway, I managed to make a last minute rally in the final 30 minutes to end the night down only $3.75. Not a bad night of poker, all things considered. It was work though. The deck was most certainly NOT hitting me in the head this night, and there were a couple of hands where I cringed as I hit the "call" button, expecting the worse. By staying the course though and playing ABC poker, I was able to scratch back in spite of the crappy cards.

Today, the wife took off for work around 9:00 and I found myself sitting on the couch watching Sharon Osborne.

Not good.

I had to do something to prevent my brain from being re-programmed by daytime TV... But what...


Okay, so I said I'd only play at night when the fish are around... But that's only on my "real" poker account. I still have some scratch at UB.. Let's go!

So I sit down at a .25/.50 kill table and plunk down a little over $18 (all the money I have left in UB after the cashout).

90 minutes later, I walk away with $6 left. My card selection was a joke, and the cards on the board were the punchline. I was just getting hammered. I'd get KQ, match the K on the flop and a river A puts me away. I'd get AJs and get trumped by AK. Pocket pairs missed. Flush and straight draws miss by miles. I couldn't do anything right.

Undeterred, I decide to head over to Party... I know, I know... But I was bored and I figured I could at least scratch a little win out. So, off I went to Party and sat down at a .50/1 table. The card draught continued. Deal, fold, deal, fold, deal, fold, post blind, check, flop misses, fold. This got old, so I opened up another table to see more hands and get me through the cold streak. I hit a nice AKo on the first table that got sucked for a nice $5 loss, and then the table broke up, so I moved to a different one. Meanwhile, on the second table, it becomes apparent to me that there is a loose maniac to my left. Any two cards to the flop, and if he hits any part of the flop or holds overcards to it, he raises. If he misses completely, he calls. I get sucked out of a nice pot by this guy and make it a point to get it all back. Like a croc stalking prey, I silently watch and wait for the right time. KQs in the big blind... Excellent. Sure enough, old maniac boy raises it up, and it's called 4 ways to me.. 6 to the flop with 6BB, and the flop comes QJx. I can work with this. I bet, maniac raises, called 3 ways. 4 to the turn, which comes K. I bet, maniac raises. Hmmm... Others drop out finally, and it's back to me. Time to see what he's really got. Raise. Maniac caps. Uh oh. I call it and the river comes a beautiful K. My boat is sailing. Bet, and Maniac boy calls. Okay. He turns over JQo. I rake a nice pot and the game is on.

Today was another day of "okay" to "pretty good" cards, coupled with, I might say myself, solid poker playing. Net take for the day, +$20.50.

Not bad for a weekday session!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

The Heater

Couple of things...

First, and I will write this 100 times on the board...

"I will NOT miss out on playing Party Poker at night"

Second, after last night's performance, I'm even more perplexed by my shitty luck in the live game!

But, first, some HAMMER news.

I neglected to mention that I did lower the Most Holy and Apostolic HAMMER upon an unsuspecting table the other day. They all ran in fear of the might and power of the HAMMER, running like girly-men for the hills in the face of a mighty bet on the river. Check out the details at Grubby's.

Then, last night, this happened...

0.50/1 TexasHTGameTable (Limit) - Tue Jan 20 21:36:35 EST 2004
Table Card Room Table 4117 (Real Money) -- Seat 9 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: billrad9 ( $22)
Seat 2: pljenkins ( $31.75)
Seat 3: petefish ( $24.50)
Seat 4: kitty_3_pups ( $66.50)
Seat 5: VanTor77 ( $45.50)
Seat 6: Umichman11 ( $4)
Seat 7: fatmoney9000 ( $34.50)
Seat 8: LMJRLTG1 ( $50.50)
Seat 9: edpaw ( $28.75)
Seat 10: pmpn8ez55 ( $27.50)
pmpn8ez55 posts small blind (0.25)
billrad9 posts big blind (0.50)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to pljenkins [ Jd, Kh ]
pljenkins calls (0.50)
kitty_3_pups calls (0.50)
VanTor77 folds.
Umichman11 folds.
fatmoney9000 folds.
LMJRLTG1 calls (0.50)
edpaw calls (0.50)
pmpn8ez55 calls (0.25)
billrad9 checks.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Th, Jc, 7c ]
pmpn8ez55 checks.
billrad9 checks.
pljenkins bets (0.50)
kitty_3_pups folds.
LMJRLTG1 calls (0.50)
edpaw folds.
pmpn8ez55 folds.
billrad9 calls (0.50)
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 7h ]
billrad9 checks.
pljenkins bets (1)
LMJRLTG1 calls (1)
billrad9 calls (1)
** Dealing River ** : [ Ac ]
billrad9 checks.
pljenkins checks.
LMJRLTG1 bets (1)
billrad9 folds.
pljenkins calls (1)
** Summary **
Main Pot: $9 | Rake: $0.50
Board: [ Th Jc 7c 7h Ac ]
billrad9 balance $20, lost $2 (folded)
pljenkins balance $28.75, lost $3 [ Jd Kh ] [ two pairs, jacks and sevens -- Ac,Jd,Jc,7c,7h ]
petefish balance $24.50, sits out
kitty_3_pups balance $66, lost $0.50 (folded)
VanTor77 balance $45.50, didn't bet (folded)
Umichman11 balance $4, didn't bet (folded)
fatmoney9000 balance $34.50, didn't bet (folded)
LMJRLTG1 balance $56.50, bet $3, collected $9, net +$6 [ 7s 2c ] [ three of a kind, sevens -- Ac,Jc,7s,7c,7h ]
edpaw balance $28.25, lost $0.50 (folded)
pmpn8ez55 balance $27, lost $0.50 (folded)

Blindsided by the Mighty HAMMER!

pljenkins: LOL
pljenkins: HAMMER!!!

I got no response. Actually, the guy who hit me with the Hammer proceeded to pay me several times that night. If you were to look in the dictionary for Calling Station, it would refer you to this guy. He would play any two cards to the river. If was beautiful.

Played two hours of 50/1 on two tables, and managed to rake in $51 in profit. A HUGE day.. err, night. I WILL make time in the evenings to play Party from here on out. With 30,000+ people on a night, the games are white hot. I imagine once I get back to the 1/2 games, though, I'll be stuck in some damn fool waiting list for an eternity. Seems like of the 30,000 online, 20,000 want to play 1/2.

On a somewhat unrelated note, Melissa and I went to go see The Cooler last night. It was bizarre. It's sort of a Casino meets Pulp Fiction kind of film. A love story rolled into a mob film, overlayed by the scummy underbelly of Las Vegas. Not the kind of film you want to take a first date on. I wasn't very impressed, and I think that, next to Kathy Bates naked in About Schmidt (along with an ass shot of Jack Nicholson), I would rank seeing William H. Macy's nuts right up there on the list of things that should never have been archived to film.

That being said, I think the film was cast beautifully. Who makes a more convincing hard luck loser then Macy, and though I wouldn't have chosen Alec Baldwin as a mobster, he definately pulls it off. I just think that the film suffered some sort of style identity crisis. It couldn't quite figure out whether it wanted to be a Quentin Tarantino style film or a Francis Ford Coppola style flick, and the result was a clumsy at times mixture of both.

And this has not been your Ebert and Roper movie Review. I'm not Ebert, and he's not Roper... And you were never here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Someone take out a gun and shoot me.

You, know, it's a real shame that I actually enjoy playing live poker, because it is most definitely a -EV venture for me at the current level.

I was right about one thing, though. The players I was at the table with are gawd-awful. I mean, retchedly bad. We're talking so bad that the players in Party .50/1 look like a WSOP table in comparison.

Here's the table breakdown, as I remember it.. I didn't take notes at all, shame on me, so this is from memory.

Seat 1 was some older guy who actually exercised some form of hand selection.

Seat 2: Young guy who would chase too often, but was only quasi-loose. By this I mean, at least He'd have a suited face of some sort.

Seat 3: Another young gun. This guy had an empire of chips in front of him, but I rather suspect that most of it was his buyin, as he made no particular in-roads while I was there. That being said, other then me, this was the tightest guy in the game. If he was in, he had it.

Seat 4: Younger lady who (teehee) either never played live before (teehee) or put up a very good front (teehee). Seems to specialize in cold calling everything, though I did witness a few folds and raises as the night drug painfully on.

Seat 5: Crusty veteran. A "let's see the flop" kind of player. Plays any two cards typically to the turn. Will crumble to a raise on the turn if he missed.

Seat 6: Older gent. The Gamb000ler. This guy was never NOT in a hand. His hand selection consisted of anything s000ted, any face, and any connector, suited or not, separated by as much as 2 (ex. J8o).

Seat 7: Me

Seat 8: The revolving door. This seat changed players 4 times in 2 hours. No read on anyone as as soon as I'd start to figure him out, he'd leave.

Seat 9: WSOP fan. I'll give him credit though, no sunglasses. Exercised decent hand selection, and if he was in, he usually had something or a good draw.

Seat 10: Another WSOP fan, but this guy clearly came armed with Phil Hellmuth's book in mind. Auto-bet everything, auto-raised everything else. If you checked to him, he'd bet. If you bet into him, he'd call, unless he caught a piece, then he'd raise it up. Seemed to be the only guy at the table who's raises were respected (go figure).

Now that I've given you the table layout, I'm going to disappoint you with some figures. I played about 2 hours, and I got into exactly 5 pots. Yes, my friends, the card draught continued for this Intrepid Card Player. Here are some notables.

Got AA in the pocket early on. I, of course, raise the pot and, of course, get about 6 callers. Flop comes KKx with two hearts (I've got black aces). Great. I bet out, resigned to the fact that someone here HAS to have the set, and not surprisingly I'm called down by 5. We lose one guy. Weeee. Turn comes a Th. Three hearts. I shift into check/call mode and raiser-boy in seat 10 raises it up. Now I'm convinced that he's got the king and he slow-played me at the flop, but WTF, I'm not dropping aces and kings at this point. Remarkably, everyone folds to me (?!). I call it. River is unremarkable and I check. Raiser-boy checks (?!?!) and he turns over JTo. I flip the aces and rake a mediocre pot. The theme of scary boards were the norm today.

For the next 30 minutes or so I collected a series of crap hands like K6o, A4s etc. and put on a folding clinic. I was not even blessed with the Most Holy and Apostolic HAMMER, which, though it wouldn't have qualified for the Hammer Challenge, I would have played just to break up the monotony.

Then I get Big Slick in middle position. Now, when I sat down, it was explained to me that Big Slick was no good here, and judging by the random card selection by others, I believed it. But I had to find out for myself. Button is at seat 1. Seat 4 (teehee) calls, Seat 5 folds, Seat 6 calls without looking at his cards. I raise. Fold, fold, call. Button folds, small blind folds, BB calls, seat 4 (teehee) calls, Gamb0000ler looks at his cards, then calls.

Flop comes A73 rainbow. BB checks, seat 4 bets, Gamb00000ler calls, I raise. Phil Hellmuth wannabee folds, BB gets out (he's paying attention), teehee calls, Gamb00000ler calls.

Turn is a T, all suits represented. Seat 4 checks, Gamb000ler checks, I bet. Seat 4 calls, Gamb00000ler mucks.

River comes a 5. Teehee checks, I bet, she calls. I turn over Slick for the pair of aces, K kicker. She turns over...

Wait for it.....

64o for the rivered gutshot.

Salt to the wounds, when she turns over her cards, she says "did I win? (teehee, teehee)". My eyes roll to the back of my skull and I go into mental convusions for a few minutes as I digest just how badly I got sucked out on. I really should have just got up and left right there, but now, it took my ass 2 hours to drive to this place, and 2 hours to wait for a seat. I'm also thinking that, these guys are so incredibly bad all I need are some decent cards and I can start punishing them mercilously.

No hands ever came. For the next hour and a half, my only win came when I caught AJs in late position and it held up when the board showed J high and Phil Hellmuth-boy turned over... I'm not sure... It was, however, a solid miss by the turn, so I couldn't understand why he was still in, but no matter, it helped.

Total take for the day, -$40.

Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. The implied collusion at this table was incredible. 3 to 4 people at the showdown were the norm, and the shit they turned over would make Gus Hanson sick to his stomach! In any event, I did learn more this time around...

First, 25BB is NOT a big enough buyin to play comfortably at this kind of table. The variance is incredible, and you need to have a stack to survive the suckouts and miracle draws. Expect to toss a lot of your hands at the flop or turn. If you don't connect solidly on the flop or end up with a solid drawing hand, it's time to bail on that hand. Anyway, I think that, with only $100 in front of me, I was playing a little too conservative, and I was hesitant to start pounding if I thought I had the best of it (which, granted, wasn't often this day). I'm thinking I should have come in with at least 50BB. This gives me the cushion to absorb some beats and still be able to play without worrying about being down to the felt.

Second, I need to shut up at the table. I talk too much, meaning I say something other then "raise", "call" or "fold". I got a little "chatty" when I got sucked out on. I didn't say anything nasty about the suckout, but I could not refrain from mentioning how unbelievable some of these hands were that I was seeing being shown down. The trouble was, the cards certainly weren't speaking for me, and I was getting a little edgy because of the next point.

Third. Don't bring anyone along who isn't also going to be playing poker. The wife insisted she be included in this little field trip, so I laid some dough on her to go play some blackjack. I, however, was stupid enough not to call ahead to put myself on the list. I therefore got to stand around for 2 hours waiting for a seat. On a Monday. WTF? Last time I was here, we played most of the night short-handed.. Clearly word is out about Ho-Chunk's poker room. Anyway, she had played 2 hours of Blackjack by the time I got called for my seat, and she has a short attention span, so she was already about done when I sat down. She was a good sport for the first hour or so (I even got a nice shoulder rub out of it, which I suggested she start pimping out to others in the room for a nominal fee!). Then she wandered off to "make her money back" at BJ. She had the impeccable timing of wandering back in a few minutes after I got sucked out by Seat 4 (teehee), looked over my shoulder at my dwindling chip stack (at this point a tick over $50), and proceeds to start a conversation with me about how I need to win that back because we need that money in the account to cover checks she wrote. I try to discreetly tell her that that money is ALREADY in the account (having been transferred from Party) and that I never gamble with the bill paying money. I'm pretty sure by this time though my already dwindling table image is now completely tanked by the wife playing the "you're gambling the rent money" tack. This conversation, of course, did nothing to help alleviate the red mist I was already seeing through due to being sucked out by Seat 4 (teehee... Did I win?). A few minutes later I hit the AJs winner and managed to redeem myself a little, so I was able to restrain myself from committing a homicide right then and there. I was able to convince her though that talking money at the table is a universally Bad Thing(tm), and that any talk about money as it relates to personal things and also talk about how much I suck is verbotten at the table. Not that I ever intend to take her with me again when I go play poker, and if I do, she's going to play poker too.

Come to think of it, I probably should have sat her down in my seat. I may well have made money then, as her admittedly looser style of play would have fit nicely into the table texture!

I do enjoy playing the live games, but I don't like the losing streak I've been on with them. I'm thinking I may well not play at the Ho-Chunk anymore, at least until I'm ready for 5-10 (the next limit they deal there). At 2 hours drive, it's almost an overnight affair anyway, and if I'm going to do that, I might as well go to Las Vegas or L.A. for a couple of days.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Quick Update

Played only about 1.75 hours yesterday, scoring a $10 loss for my efforts at the 1/2 table, but it was much worse for most of the day. Was down as far as -$35 but finally managed to catch a hand that actually held up (a rarity on this table) and got a decent pot. The table was incredibly tight for a Sunday afternoon, so action on good hands was rare. I guess I could have moved onto a different table, but I was too lazy to get back in line.

Getting ready for my next foray into live gaming tonight... Hopefully my outing tonight will be much better then last time. At least this time out I have a much better idea what the Hell I'm doing... Now I just need to get some better cards then I was getting last time.

Time to break out the Lee Jones and brush up.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Livin' On The Edge

So, I cashed out some bill from Party for the live game I'd like to go play on Monday. I say I'd like to go play, because I realized that, there is the potential that IGM may well wait the entire 7 days to pay me. I also cashed out about $50 from UB, since the Wife decided that she was having no part of staying at home while I was playing it up at the casino, so I had to fund some blackjack bankroll for her. She's not a bad player at all, so I don't anticipate her busting out too quickly, and there is a possibility of her coming out up... We shall see.. I figure that $50 is gone though. She's no card counter, and when playing "by the basics" Blackjack it's pretty much an even bet either way. I anticipate much better results this time around with my poker playing, though. We shall see. At the very least I hope I get some playable hands! Last time I was out there I put on a clinic in folding hands. The only playable hand I recall getting in that entire session was pocket aces, and they went down to pocket 8's when the 8 hit the flop.

So I took $150 out of the Party bankroll, leaving a touch over $150 in the account. I consider of course that the $150 I took out of the Party bankroll is still, in fact, part of my bankroll.. Which it is... So, whatever.. Anyway, I decide that seeing as how it's Saturday, it's time for some 1/2 goodness.

Strange day. I sit down and watch an orbit of crap go by when I get pocket 7's in the big blind. 4 or 5 callers around and I check to see the flop...

Which comes Q77. Nailed quads on the flop. What to do... The table seems to be a whole bunch of "fit or fold" types, so I decide to slow play the post flop and wait and see if someone makes a hand in the later streets... So, I check and it's checked around.

Turn comes a Q. With 4 people out there, I figure a Queen HAS to be in someone's hand. I check again, and sure enough, the guy to my left bets out. Fold fold fold and I check-raise him. He re-raises me and I cap it.

River is an A. I decide that, since I pounded him on the turn I didn't want to take a chance of him checking out of the river, so I bet out and he called. I turn over the 7's and he mucks what I can assume was queens full.

Couple of other good hands stood up to take down some decent pots, and then the table turned ultra-tight. I think we were seeing one showdown every 6 hands or so at one point, but I didn't have the rocks to start pushing anyone around so I joined in the mucking fun. Caught a few little pots and finally had to quit to make some lunch and dig out the end of my driveway, so I walked away +$27 for the day. Not a bad take at all.

HDouble Mentioned he was going to Hollywood Park tonight to do a little fishing. Hope he comes out well!

Jason at Stick and Move managed to take down the prize of the fabled Hammer challenge that The Grubster leveled. So, in the spirit of celebrating his success, I will officially pimp his website here. The Hammer challenge Part Deux is already afoot, but I fear that, with my meager bankroll, I don't want to try to push the issue with that one just yet. You never know though. Perhaps I'll be the next one to lower The Hammer on some unsuspecting fool!


Friday, January 16, 2004

Gutless Wonder

So, I'm still hemming and hawing about this whole "make the jump to 1/2" think... Mostly because I'm intimidated by the huge two day swing I had... While I realize that swings of that magnitude in either direction are rare, my brain works in percentages, and when I take a $50 hit into a $300 bankroll, it hurts more then if I apply that hit to a $400 bankroll.

So, I'm a chicken.

I think what I am going to do is grind away at .50/1 for the weekday sessions and on the weekend days I'll tap into the 1/2 goodness, as I imagine they'll be a little softer then. We'll see how that theory fleshes out.

I've also got two things I'd like to do, but I'm not quite sure yet whether I want to tap into my Party bankroll to do it.

The first is PokerTracker. It really is a required tool for the serious player, which I'm becoming. Also, logically, the benefit of having PokerTracker would more then pay for the initial $40 hit I'd take out of the bankroll to fund it. Perhaps I'll just pay for PokerTracker out of pocket and leave the bankroll alone.

The other thing I want to do is tap out $100 for some live play. I've got some days off coming up and I'd really like to go play at the Indian casino again. It was fun, and now that I have an idea what I'm doing I might actually be able to extract some positive EV out of the experience. The trouble is, if I do take $100 out, now my Party bankroll is $200. Clearly out of 1/2 range now. The attempts to bolster the Ultimate Bet bankroll up to the requisite $125 to tap the $100 out of there is going slowly. Rather, not going at all. I've been stuck at or around $75 + or - $5 for the last week or so. I'm thinking Monday or Tuesday for the trip to the live game, and considering that Firepay is probably going to be slow (anyone with experience on how FirePay is about depositing stuff into your bank, please chime in). My Party account is funded by IGM, which I think is rather rapid in their delivery of cashola, especially since I've already cashed off of them once. Of course, we are talking about the weekend, so all bets are off.

Here's what I'm thinking... I'll tap off the $100 from Party. Meanwhile, I'll work UB up to $125, transfer $100 of that back to Party and keep the $25 in UB for "fun/uhoh-party-is-down-again money". This, of course, requires that I get UB up to $125. Urrrg. Then there's that stupid "cashout curse" to deal with, but I'm not very superstitious so I don't put much credence in curses of any kind.

One would argue that it's all one poker bankroll, so by taking money from Party to play live, you're really not "losing" anything, but rather simply taking a buyin to a B&M instead of a virtual table. This makes excellent sense, except the actual act of withdrawing and re-funding my Party account is tedious at best and usually a pain in the ass. For the purpose of the immediate future though, I don't have the luxury of having a deep enough bankroll to maintain separate bankrolls for live and online play. Perhaps if I have a very good day at the live casino, I may well solve that problem, but I'm still far beyond assuming I can exact a +EV in live play.

Though the players I saw when I was there last did suck quite badly, the implied collusion was through the roof, since no one had the sense to fold anything. You only gotta hit one or two good pots though to pay the rent when 4 people oblige to call you to the river.

And the satisfaction of a large stack of chips being pushed your way. The feel and sound of the chips as you stack them.

Live poker > Online (thanks Iggy)

Not sure yet whether I'm going to play Monday or Tuesday.. Or Wednesday... Gotta see what days have the best action... I'm thinking a call to the poker room tomorrow is in order.

There is a casino about 45 minutes closer to here that just opened a card room. Not sure it's for me though.. They spread 3/6 as a minimum limit game, and they only have like 5 tables. Clearly 3/6 is a little rich for my blood at the moment.

I'll try to update this more often. I do like writing, and I've gotten a compliment or two on my writing style, so my head is the size of Nebraska. Just hard to come up with subject matter.

Anyhoo, Fun with weekend poker tomorrow. Give me comments.. Feedback.. Talk to me Goose.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

All Over The Dial

This will go down as one of the more "interesting" poker days of my short but illustrious poker career...

Started out, interestingly enough, with a trip down the basement stairs...


Heading down the stairs with a laundry basket, I managed to somehow miss one of the steps and caught it square with my ass instead. Now, I've been navigating stairs for over 30 years, and I can't for the life of me figure out how the Hell I managed to do what I did, but I did...

And, you know, it hurt.

I should have known right there to just curl up in bed for the day and hide. I get a phone call from my boss.

Here's the deal with that. The airline I work for is contracted with another airline, and we provide regional service to, among other airports, Chicago O'Hare. Now, anyone who's familiar with O'Hare knows how much of a goat rope that airport is. There are just too damn many airplanes there. In any event, to confound the problem, we fly around 350 flights a day in and out of there, and we have gate space issues. The schedule for gates is extremely tight, and on a perfect day, we pull it off.

When things go to Hell, it's a completely different story. Last week things went straight to Hell. Around 11 AM it started to snow in Chicago. Not a lot of snow, but enough to necessitate deicing airplanes. Chicago de-ices airplanes at the gate, as opposed to some airports that have the airplanes taxi out to a "de-ice pad" where they de-ice there. This has the advantage of not needing to stop and restart the engines (you can't de-ice with the engines running, as if the engines ingest de-ice fluid it shortens their lifespan), but the obvious disadvantage that the airplanes is, you know, still in the gate.

Anyway, the airport itself had no problem keeping up with the traffic, but the gate schedule went right into the crapper, and so we had airplanes sitting in "penalty boxes" awaiting gates. Some of these waits exceeded 4 and a half hours. None of our passengers spent more then an hour and a half on the airplane, as we have a "dump and run" gate where we can drop passengers off, but can't load from there, but if you've ever been on a Canadair Regional Jet, you know that any extra time sitting in that thing is not a Good Thing(tm). To confound this, no one in Chicago was answering the phone, the radio and they certainly didn't feel the need to let us know what was going on down there. It was frustrating as Hell.

So, after two days of this (yes, Loretta, two days running), I posted a message on the company discussion board basically saying "hey, is there any way we can try to be creative and try to either band together other resources or something". Now, I in no way pointed fingers at anyone, nor did I "bitch and moan" which has been happening a lot on the board.

My boss lost his mind. My bosses boss, however, reportedly was impressed. Go figure. In any event, I got called to the VP's office, so I have to go talk with him this afternoon. Not sure where this is going to go at all. From what I've been told, the VP was "impressed" (for what that's worth), and I got the email equivalent of a pat on the back by the Director of Corporate Communication (the person who's job it is to put out fires we start), saying that I was right on the money and my comments started the ball rolling on a temporary procedure for when things go to pot.

So, either I'm going to get a big "attaboy" or a pink slip. Okay, probably not a pink slip. Film at eleven.

So, having swung two apparent strikes, I decided it's time for some poker. Now, I'm still stoked about my having run over the table the day before on 1/2, so I figure I've got game to be playing there.

The poker Gods laughed.

Now, I've gotten pretty good at admitting when I lose to shitty poker playing vs. when I lose to bad beats. Yesterday I was getting brutalized by the bad beats. It got to the point where I'd put my bets out there on hands like AQo KNOWING I was going to get sucked out.

And I hate when my instincts are right. After about an hour and a half, my $50 buyin to the 1/2 table was reduced to $6.75. How very unpleasant. The message was sent, however. Stay the Hell away from 1/2 until you have a little thicker bankroll. Perhaps I may even wait until I truly have a 200BB bankroll before attempting the 1/2 tables again... Not quite decided on that. In any event, I'm about $44 lighter at the moment, so what to do...

Off to the .50/1 tables I go. My luck sort of followed me there. It wasn't that I was getting sucked out, I just wasn't getting cards now. I'm bored with the incessant folding. Hmmmm...

Tourney time! I decide to fire up a $5+$1 limit Hold'Em tourney. I figured a limit tourney would take less concentration and I could keep running the cash table for a while while I sat in the cheap blinds at the tourney. Things were going quite well in the tourney, and quite stale in the cash game. I managed to make a couple of strong moves early and ended up around T1200. Sort of wallowed around at this level for a while and managed to finish the tourney in 3rd, for +$4, but I lost $6 at the cash table, so the end of the early afternoon session found me at a $45 deficit.

Brutal. I had lunch and decided I'd sit around at the 50/1 until the bride came home. Ended up at a .50/1 table full of terrible players and bluffers for about 1 1/2 hours, ending up +$15 for the session playing ultra-tight/aggressive cards. Wife came home and I went to the task of making dinner.

She went to bed sort of early as she had to go to work, and I have a battery of late shifts coming up, so I stayed up, and since I'm up, I might as well play some cards...

I log on around 10:30pm CST to find 31,000 people on Party! This has got to be a Good Thing(tm). I hunt around for a nice 50/1 table, and finally plunk down to a typical Party table. At least 6 people seeing every flop, and about every third hand raised pre-flop, with everyone calling the second bet. 6BB preflop pots are not uncommon here. Tight play will pay HUGE dividends here, so tight is what I played, and when I hit a hand, I hammered relentlessly.

It was beautiful. 52 minutes later I'm up $39.75. On a $.50/$1 table. The table started to break up, so I moved on to another table. This one was a little more conservative, with around 4 to 5 seeing the flop, but there were a couple of guys there that were pretty awful and would call middle or bottom pair to the river for you in the face of dominating boards.

42 minutes, +$9.75.

Total take for the day, +$19.50. Now, consider, I lost $45 on a 1/2 table and made it all back plus $20 on 50/1 tables. To say this ended up being a good day would be a gross understatement.

So, now I'm at a quandary. The bankroll is now around $305, or around 150BB for the 1/2 tables. Do I stick with the 50/1 tables until I hit the 200BB limit that the Masters suggest, or do I pull the trigger early and step into the 1/2 arena and gamble it up a little?

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Any More Smart Comments?

Looks like my old comment thingy mysteriously went dead, so I picked up a new one.

Thanks Haloscan for the nice comment tool.. Kindly warn me if you fold up and die.

k, thx.

Movin' On Up

Did some thinking over the last few days off here. Some of it actually involved poker, believe it or not.

I've been playing the .50/1 tables at Party since I've started playing... Well, there was that stint doing sit and goes. In any event, I've spoken with several other bloggers who have insisted that the play at the $1/$2 limit, though by no means "more skilled", was at least a bit more predictable. At one point I experimented on a one time deal thing a while back (during my bankroll's downward spiral), plunking $50 into a 1/2 table for giggles... For those that haven't kept up on current events, I got my ass kicked.

I'm not completely naive, though. After all, that was one table, one day. And we all know anything can happen in poker.

The bankroll has been holding steady around the $200 mark for the last week or so. I wanted to get to at least $300, but I'm impatient as Hell, so I decided to take a flyer and hit a $1/$2 table, with the idea that if I dropped to $150 in the bankroll, it'd be time to back off and wait till I hit $300.

I damn near hit $300 inside of 2 hours.

The day started off badly enough. A couple of nasty outdraws and I found myself $15 light on the buyin and wondering if this was such a hot idea. What the Hell, I was committed now.

Took some small pots and lost others for a while, hovering between -$5 and -$10 when this happens...

1/2 TexasHTGameTable (Limit) - Tue Jan 13 14:07:21 EST 2004
Table Card Room Table 3870 (Real Money) -- Seat 8 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: 2ct7 ( $55)
Seat 2: svendamien ( $123.75)
Seat 3: BlakeFried ( $87.75)
Seat 4: pljenkins ( $42.75)
Seat 5: bibas ( $46.50)
Seat 6: Kevinwoody ( $16.75)
Seat 7: kgall ( $7.50)
Seat 8: NetOneSMM ( $69.75)
Seat 9: WoodMann ( $29.25)
Seat 10: JustGuessin ( $37)
WoodMann posts small blind (0.50)
JustGuessin is sitting out.
2ct7 posts big blind (1)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to pljenkins [ Kc, Jc ]
svendamien folds.
BlakeFried calls (1)
pljenkins calls (1)
bibas folds.
Kevinwoody folds.
kgall calls (1)
NetOneSMM folds.
WoodMann calls (0.50)
2ct7 checks.

Not a bad starting hand. KJs in middle position.. Lots of callers... Let's see what happens here...

** Dealing Flop ** : [ 4c, Ac, 5c ]

Whoa. Your's Truely has flopped the nut flush. A45 sort of makes me weary if someone is holding onto 23c, but the chance of that happening is very remote.

WoodMann checks.
2ct7 bets (1)
BlakeFried raises (2) to 2
pljenkins raises (3) to 3
kgall folds.
WoodMann folds.
2ct7 raises (3) to 4
BlakeFried calls (2)
pljenkins calls (1)

Waidaminnut! I flop a monster and I get a bet and raise in front of me? I hesitate for a few seconds to reconsider the board and what the others could have. Obviously, I'm not the only one with a flush here... Excellent. But both of them hitting the flush? If this is true, the rest of the clubs are pretty much out of the deck. I start thinking about the possibility of 23c in someone's pocket. Screw it, I've gotta have the nuts here. I reraise... and it's capped?! Have I died and gone to heaven here, or am I cruisin' for a bruisin? Well, with the nut flush, you'd better believe I'm either cashing in or going broke right here.

** Dealing Turn ** : [ 7s ]

A rag. Cool.

2ct7 bets (2)
BlakeFried calls (2)
pljenkins raises (4) to 4
2ct7 raises (4) to 6
BlakeFried raises (6) to 8
pljenkins calls (4)
2ct7 calls (2)

Hmmm... Okay... So, 2ct7 obviously still is in love with his hand. I nail him for the flush right here, and silently pray he isn't holding the wheel straight flush. But what's up with Blake? He calls the bet, then caps it? I'm sure we're both scratching our heads now, but I'm committed at this point, and I'm certainly not backing off the nut flush for anyone.

** Dealing River ** : [ Ks ]

Hmmmm.... An ace and a king out there now... Perhaps Blake has Big Slick and is betting top pair top kicker? If so, he's probably thinking jackpot at this point, but judging by his raising what has to be at least one obvious flush hand, I consider perhaps pocket rockets for the set. In any event, the board didn't pair, so there's no boat out there. Absent the straight flush, I'm money at this point, though I'm sure the action will stop right here. Someone has to be getting the point by this time...

2ct7 bets (2)
BlakeFried calls (2)
pljenkins raises (4) to 4
2ct7 raises (4) to 6
BlakeFried calls (4)
pljenkins raises (4) to 8
2ct7 calls (2)
BlakeFried calls (2)

Hmmm... Okay, 2ct7 has GOT to have the flush now, and I imagine he's likely praying that the King is buried, in which case I've got a terrible surprise for him. Blake seems to have backed off now, but what's up with calling the cap? If he missed the draw, he should have been gone by this point. I'm thinking a set here, hoping for the boat.

** Summary **
Main Pot: $64 | Rake: $1
Board: [ 4c Ac 5c 7s Ks ]
2ct7 balance $34, lost $21 [ Qc Tc ] [ a flush, ace high -- Ac,Qc,Tc,5c,4c ]
svendamien balance $123.75, didn't bet (folded)
BlakeFried balance $66.75, lost $21 [ 4h Ah ] [ two pairs, aces and fours -- Ah,Ac,Ks,4h,4c ]
pljenkins balance $85.75, bet $21, collected $64, net +$43 [ Kc Jc ] [ a flush, ace high with king kicker -- Ac,Kc,Jc,5c,4c ]
bibas balance $46.50, didn't bet (folded)
Kevinwoody balance $16.75, didn't bet (folded)
kgall balance $6.50, lost $1 (folded)
NetOneSMM balance $69.75, didn't bet (folded)
WoodMann balance $28.25, lost $1 (folded)
DJBundy30342 balance $50, sits out

So, I was right. 2ct7 had the second high flush, and I'm sure he was hoping for a buried King. In his spot, I'd have taken a bath too... But what is up with Blake? A4h? I mean, it's great to hit two pair on the flop, but when the betting went nuts on the flop, you think warning bells would be going off in his head. Most certainly by the turn he HAD to know he was beat, so the only logical thought I can think is he was hoping to fill up a boat. No matter, he gave me $21, and I rake the absolutely biggest pot I have ever raked in my short poker career.

More importantly, though, it seems there are still a nice selection of fish here at 1/2, and the payoff when you reel one in certainly is better. The only negative I see is table selection is a little more difficult. Seems a majority of people on Party play 1/2, so there's always a waiting list. On the upside, there's also always a full table.

Through solid poker and some good cards, I was able to chalk up a great win.

Total take for the day: +$67

It wasn't all roses, though. Sat down at UB for an hour or so and dropped about $7 taking some horrendous beats. With my great run at Party, though, I was able to keep a light mood about it, which generated some comments from the others to the tune of "how can you laugh about THAT?".

I responded simply, "If you can't laugh, it's time to walk".

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Break Over

Took a few personal days that I was not able to take last week, so it's been pretty quiet on the poker front. Had to come back last night as today is the big union vote for our first contract... We shall see...

Looks like my comment system is taking a break itself. Not sure what the deal is with that, but if it doesn't get better in the next couple of days I'll have to look for another system. 80% of the fun of this blog is the interaction I get with other people.

More later.. I'm off to the tables!

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Fun With Calling Stations

Got in about 2 hours of Party .50/1 goodness today. For the record, I only play 1 table at a time. I find that I do better playing one table at a time, and I'm in no hurry to be rich, so this is fine with me.

I sat down at a table with two classic calling stations to my right and a ultraloose-aggressive guy across from me. The aggressive guy was busted out within 5 minutes and left, leaving the usual smattering of tight/passive players and, of course the two calling stations.

I think I hate calling stations, especially when they act before me. Several times I had what I thought were great hands. The calling stations would be holding trips on the flop and a boat by the river and all they'd do is check/call. I got blindsided like three times by these guys just playing ultra-passive poker. I think the only time one of these nippleheads actually bet out, they had big slick and managed to flop aces full of kings. Of course, when they bet out, I immediately mucked my AQs. Actually, they did it another time too.. I was holding onto KK and an ace flopped... Caller boy actually bet. I mucked. He had rockets. I was up about $15 at one point, but with the calling stations hitting their hands and not making any indication of it at all, I got rocked down to about -$7... Caught a good pot to put me back to around +$3.50 and I called it a day.

Total take, +$3.50. It's not the $14 I lost the other day, but it's not a loss either. Any win is a good win.

As mentioned in my last post, looks like you can stick a fork in the Horseshoe. It's a shame. I really wanted a chance to play some poker in that hallowed hall, but alas, it may well never be. Sources have the outcome of an operable Horseshoe Casino at the end of this as bleak. Gotta wonder what the World Series of Poker is going to do now that the host casino is mothballed. Probably go to the Bellagio.

Binion Goes All-In with AA, Gets Beat By 5-2 Offsuit

If you're looking to play some cards in Las Vegas, you'll not be playing at the Horseshoe.

Yet another company making the honor roll.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Missed the Party

I'm still kicking myself for not playing on Thursday night when half the population of Cambodia was on handing out money.

Played for a couple of hours this morning on Party.

It was brutal...

I was completely just missing cards. After about 150 hands, I had seen 6% of the flops (yes, Virginia, 6%). Of those flops, I missed on pretty much every single one. I even managed to pick up pocket kings, only to have an ace fall on the flop and the betting go berserk ahead of me... With 3 people betting it up after the rocket hit, I had little choice but to toss the Men frustratingly into the muck.

I bought in at the start of the morning with $25. After about 2 hours of either folding outright or seeing the flop, missing and folding, I was down to my last $6. I get AQo and toss a couple of coins in to see the flop, which comes AJx rainbow... I start tossing in the last of my chips, finally ending up all-in when the river queen hits, bringing with me 3 callers. BAM! I'm back up to $24. The luck didn't last though, and I continued the regularly scheduled 'flop-miss-fold' tango for another 40 minutes until I finally logged off $14 lighter in the bankroll. Considering the potential losses though, I think I got off pretty light, and if -$14 is a bad day for me (and it was a horribly bad day today) I'll gladly take an occasional one of those if I can keep notching $25 to $35 wins.

Okay, now to the question I posed the other day.

Now, you're at the river, with an overpair in the pocket, 25BB in the pot, and the passive caller ahead of you has bet into you, even though you have, to this point, been the aggressor. Why would he be betting into you?

Well, the most obvious answer would be that he's made the nut flush on the river. But, is that the only reason? Other possibilities is that he's hit top pair. Maybe he's trying to get you to check up by representing the flush. Or, it's a stone cold bluff.

So, of course, you have your standard array of choices yourself. You can either fold, call or raise.

Folding would be pretty much never correct here. With the bet in front of you, you're at 26:1 pot odds to call. If you call, you have a 4% margin of victory. If you fold, you're at a 0% margin, and don't forget, you've got the overpair. It's not like you've got a crap hand.

Calling. Well, here's where we get into the grey area, and your read of the player who's betting into you comes into play. If he's tight/passive and he's betting out at you, you've got to feel pretty confident that he has the nuts. A crying call would be a correct move here.

Raise. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Well, it might be, but perhaps not as crazy as you think. By raising, you are now introducing several new variables not available by simply calling. When you raise, you're now putting the decision back on your opponent. It certainly doesn't change what he has in his hand, but what it MIGHT do is convince your opponent of a hand you don't have. How sure are you that he has the absolute nuts? If he caught a little flush with say a middle suited connector, and you come out firing back at him, there's a chance he might put you on the nut flush. If he's a REAL bad player, he might well fold right there. At 26:1, he has to do this only 4% of the time to make this +EV. Running into fish that are this fishy are rare, but I can count several times in the last week I've re-raised someone and enticed them to fold a healthy pot to me.

But let's say you're not so lucky. He's got you dead to rights. By raising him, you're sending the message that you're not going to get bullied off the pot at the river. Now, granted, it will cost you an extra BB to pull this move off, but if this wins you a pot later on in the game when your raise is respected and you move the opponents winning hand into the muck, this move has more then paid for itself. Don't make the mistake of labeling all low limit players as ignorant fish. Although there are some players that don't remember these moves, there are about as many who will remember it. The other possible result is that people will think you are looser then you are. This can also pay dividends if exploited correctly.

Granted, this may be a little too advanced thinking for a typical Party low limit game, but again, not everyone who plays the low limit tables are clueless fish, and it is to your advantage to not only be in a position to dominate the fish but also to keep the skilled players guessing too. A small investment (-EV call or raise) could return at least even money down the road when you raise into someone on a semi-bluff and they fold the pot to you. If they tag you as an aggressive player, even better. Now, when you raise into them, they won't know whether you've got the hand or not. None of this, short of a fold right there from your opponent, will likely win you
this pot, but it may well win you a later pot, or better, several as the skilled and aware players won't know where you're coming from.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Busy Busy Busy

Apologies for not updating like a article writing fiend. Been pretty nutty the last couple of days, as I'd mentioned previously.

I did get some play in on UB. Started off incredibly well. Played a kill table and a standard ring game. The ring game was quiet, but I quickly found myself up $20 on the Kill table. I was on fire, the cards were falling my way again... Things were clicking when....

I got disconnected.

The wife was trying to fix something and accidentally hit the plug for the cable modem, so I suddenly found myself dead in the water.

Once I finally did get back on, the magic was clearly over. The cards shut down on me. I bailed from the kill table after bleeding away $5, up $15 on that table, and concentrated on the standard ring game, which I was down about $4 on. I was getting killed. Just a bunch of better hands then mine. I played aggressively post flop again, but I was getting brutalized by pocket pairs. I must have fallen to pocket kings 4 times and pocket rockets at least once. I even had the pleasure of my flush being beaten by a royal flush. I was actually happy for the guy, as UB has a "best hand" jackpot that he's sure to cash in on. I lost big on that one though, as I was just ramming the snot out of the flush I had. After about an hour and a half of stumbling around and missing flop after flop, I finally resigned down $10 on the table, for a net gain of $5 on the evening. Not bad by any stretch, but if I'd have just quit when I was disconnected, I would have notched $25 in the 'W' column.

Never bitch about a winning session, though. I also logged onto Party tonight for about 3 minutes. Over 27,000 people on. On a Thursday. I immediately found a nice table full of calling stations devoid of clues and folded a few rounds, until I got some goofy hand in the big blind that turned into top pair, good kicker and I managed to notch a $3 profit.. I promptly left when the wife, the girl she's babysitting, and the cat with a rattle ball all entered the room seeking entertainment.

Who am I to disappoint.

I'll get into the discussion of the question posed in "Junior Manhandled" tomorrow, so you still have a day to put in your two cents worth. Depending on the response I get (I have good responses, but no enough), I might play more "Gillette Says, 'You Make The Call'" games with you all! Discussion and debate spur imagination and education.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Junior Manhandled

So, this is day two of my scheduled 3 days off...

And I'm at work. Putting in a nice 14 hour day.

I've done a pretty good job of trying to keep this blog on poker subject matter, so I'll try to keep this short... Poker content follows for those who don't care about me personally (grin).

Anyway, I work a 4 on, 3 off schedule, and my days on are Thursday through Sunday. Last week was pretty hideous. For those not keeping up with current events, Chicago got it's ass kicked on Sunday by a winter storm. For those of us who work in the airline industry, this is bad. For those of us who's airlines' main hub is IN Chicago, this is a train wreck. We also serve Apsen and Vail (Eagle) Colorado. The snowstorm that kicked Chicago's butt spent the previous two days laying down about 3 feet of loose powder on the slopes of Colorado. So, for 3 of the 4 days I worked last week, it was a Alaskan sized goat rope. By then end of it all, I was ready to head to my mother's place in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin for 3 days of well deserved rest and relaxation with my wife. Monday comes, and we saddle up and head out.

My wife was looking for a new job for the last few weeks, so she forwards her cell phone to my mom's place so that if someone calls she'll get the call at the cabin. An hour and a half later, we arrive, already feeling the decompression. Then I learn that the head Bossman called.

You guessed it. We're flat out of dispatchers, and I get involuntarily assigned a shift. So I got to spend exactly 18 hours with my wife in relaxation-land.

And of course, today is a complete clusterfuck, so I'll be here until at least 2:30am. Weeee.

Okay, poker. I, of course, have played none since my huge Sunday previously mentioned. In fact, up until this afternoon, I thought nothing of poker. Sometimes giving your mind a break is good.

I will likely play some tomorrow, but I have a few random thoughts I'll throw out there.

Chris Halverson had an interesting discussion about scare cards.

Let's say, for example, you have pocket JJ in late position and get your set on the flop. The flop, however, contains 2 of the same suit. You start the ram and jam and get called to the river which just happens to match the suit of the two from the flop. At this point, the guy in early position, who has only checked this whole time, but has called all the way to the river, decides to bet.

For the purpose of this discussion, we'll state that nothing on the board is over a Jack, there are no straight possibilities on the board and nothing on the board paired, so no chance of a boat. The only possible scare is the flush possibility. Lets further assume that your ram-and-jam has attracted at least a couple of buyers to the river. Now, your scare cards hits on the river, and an otherwise quiet caller ahead of you all of the sudden bets out. You've played with this guy before and you know that he only bets or raises with the nuts. The pot is 25BB.

What do you do?

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Damn The Torpedoes!

I've read in several places over the course of the last few months about players who have managed to turn huge days. Poker Odyssey, on Christmas day, turned his $50 buyin into $212 in under 5 hours of play.

Now I know how it feels. Today was huge.

After a hearty breakfast of Frosted Flakes while watching the World Series of Poker coverage, I set down for a couple of hours at the tables before work. Found myself at a rather tight/passive table and set to work. I had some pretty cold cards for a little while, but then the deck hit me square in the temple. Great starting hand after great starting hand came my way, and the flops were very generous in giving me ram and jammable hands. 20 minutes later I'm up $15, and I mean I'm just getting hand after hand. Call, raise call raise, pre-flop raise, I was going nuts. It didn't take me long to earn a maniac/aggressive tag from several players I'm sure, and their betting patterns fleshed this out. Several times I'd get guys trying to move me off a pot, or just cash in on this maniac. It was, in a word, beautiful. At one point I had my $25 buyin up to $62. I missed on a few runs to the river and found myself down to $56 or so and decided to call it quits for Party. So, up +$31 today for Party.

I went and got some lunch and played with the cat some, then sat down at UB for a short spell. Sat down at two tables, one a regular 9 player .25/.50 ring game, and the other a .25/.50 kill game. For those not familiar, a "kill game" is the same as a ring game, with the exception that if one player wins two pots in a row a "kill game" is declared, and the game goes to .50/1 for one round. Now, the only reason why I ended up in the Kill game to begin with is because it was the only 9 player ring game with an open seat.

I love Kill games.

I started the day with around $45 in my UB account. I bought into the standard ring game for $25 and the kill game with the reminder, a tick over $20. Things start slowly on the standard game, but within 5 hands, we're into a kill round on the other table.

I get AQo. Now, the thing about the kill game I've noticed, everyone things it's a friggin jackpot round or something. I get 5 callers to me and I raise it up. MP re-raises and I call the 3rd bet. Flop comes AQ4 rainbow. Boom. A bet and a call to me and it's raise time again. Re-raised again from middle position and this time we cap it with 2 followers. Turn comes a 6 of something. Checked to me, I bet, MP checkraises... I'm thinking rockets, but the pot is a monster, and I'm committed to see it to the end. I call. River drops an ace. No rockets for raiser-boy... That must mean Queens, which means happy times are here again... My Aces full sinks his Queens full. Checked to me, I bet, MP raises, We cap it with both hanger ons calling to the river. Sure enough, the ladies for the MP, set of 4's for one of the hanger-ons and the other guy mucks. I rake in a $20 pot and suddenly my $20 buyin is closing in on $40. No sooner do I sit down from dancing the jig on this that the other table lights on fire. The deck is hitting me in the head on BOTH TABLES! It was unreal. I'm getting wonderful starting hands, I'm pulling miracle cards out of my ass... I can't miss, and the table chatter starts up livening up with guys going on tilt. After about 45 minutes of this, the Kill table vacates until it's me and one other guy heads up. I figure this would be a little entertaining so I go for it for a while, and end up bleeding away $8 of my profit to leave the Kill table up $15. The other table I kept jamming at for a little while longer and left there another $20 up, for a take at UN of +$35.

Total take for the day, +$61

So, for the first two days of taking on this "tight pre-flop, maniac post-flop" approach, I've found huge success, but I have to wonder if I'm getting lucky or if this is a viable long term +EV strategy. It stands to reason that, if a pot is big, you should almost never fold away from it, especially if you had reason to be there post-flop to begin with. Consider that, if I stick to the best starting hands, I'll be playing with either hands that contain high pair potential, or great draw potential (or both). On the flop, if I do manage to fit it, almost always it'll be the nuts at that point, which means I have the best of it and need to ram and jam. If I get enough callers, then even if the turn comes a scare card, I've committed myself to the river, and since I had the nuts at the flop, there is a good chance that hand is still a winner. Also, even if it isn't the best hand, my aggressive stance may well scare someone with a winning hand off the pot.

I still have this feeling that one of these days soon I'm going to sit down and get my ass handed to me with this tactic.. It seems rather maverick to me, but part of analyzing my play is to look at what took me off my game when I was a newer player. Almost invariably, when faced with a guy who would charge me to try to make a hand, I'd get frustrated. Many times I'd fold away hands that contained top pair and questionable kicker. You start to wonder how that guy can have so many good hands (when in reality he didn't, but he made the guy who would have beat him fold to the pressure on the flop or turn). You don't know when to strike, or when to fold and get out of the way. You take control of the table, and when you take people off their game and make them play yours, you've beat them.

For the first time in my poker career, I was playing the people as well as the cards.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

I Hate Activists

Okay, I've tried to keep my damn mouth shut, but it's time I interrupt my regularly scheduled poker blogging for this special announcement. If your looking for poker content, please feel free to check in tomorrow.

A few days ago, it was confirmed that the first case of Mad Cow disease was discovered in the United States. The cattle market immediately took it in the teeth, and if it wasn't for the fact that there was a pretty good domestic demand for beef, we'd be looking at another several hundred thousand farmers who'd be facing the auction block. Bottom line is, we don't really know WHAT's going to happen to these hard working Americans. They're probably fucked, since pretty much every other country has immediately shunned U.S. beef.

In any event, a blogger identifying himself as "Veganpoker" (no link was intentional) posted an entry shortly thereafter in effect celebrating the fact that this has happened.

YES! I'm so happy to see an official "first case" of Mad Cow has been found in the US. Anyone paying attention to the disease knows the statistical likely hood that it has been in the US for quite some time now. An excellent book on the topic Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman lays out a lot of information about the disease and the useless testing procedures here in the US.

The US testing procedures are purely political and not for public safety. In fact they have been designed to make it almost impossible to find Mad Cow due to the timeliness of the testing. Up until now the US policy has been there is no Mad Cow in the country and they have done their best to make sure it is not found.

I really hope the fallout from this news shakes the beef economy. A major market shift and a monetary blow to the industry may actually lead to some changes.


Go VEGAN today!

Immediately, several in the blogging community, including some vegans, took him to task. Making irresponsible statements is one thing. To attempt to clarify your original statement by attempting to change its meaning after the fact.... well...

I was not celebrating that a cow contracted mad cow disease, nor that it would put people in danger. No no no! I was celebrating that the US actually found a case it had to admit existed. My point is that Mad Cow disease has likely been in the US for some time now. With our atrocious farming methods, to believe it has not been is naive. As I pointed out in my original post, Howard Lyman does a great job of discussing this in his book and in his lectures he gives. If you haven't heard him talk, you need to, he is great.

So if you believe like I do, that the US has HAD mad cow for several years now, then you have to be HAPPY that a case was officially found as this will raise public awareness of the problem. The US testing procedures have made it near impossible to find a case. I believe it was an accident this one was found, because some rancher was dumb enough to try and take a cow that was so horribly downed to slaughter that he got caught with his preverbal pants down.

So I am not happy that mad cow exists and I don't wish the disease on ANYONE. But I am extremely happy it has been found in the US because I believe it was here already. Howard Lyman has already come out saying that this one found case, almost scientifically proves the existence of 1000s of others and I agree. It is a matter of statistics and probability.

It is my hope that uncovering this disease in the US will help lead to consumer demanded reform in the cattle industry. Not only by consumers in the US, but the several countries that have banned our beef.

Ok, so I apologize to anyone I offended by my first post. I think I need to be more careful when posting to be clear on what I mean. I hope I have made myself clear at this point.

First off, I had to find out who the fuck Howard Lyman is. Admittedly, I didn't do too much research. If you want to find out about Howard Lyman in detail, feel free to follow the link. The readers digest form is that he used to be a farmer, then became paralyzed from the waist down due to cancer, and at some point decided on his own accord that even though he loves farmers and farming, somehow we should be able to get along without it..

Or something. To be honest, I'm as confused as you are.

But enough about the apparent champion of Veganpoker's beliefs. My rant is that this fucktard apparently tells me that, since I eat beef, he's happy for the possibility that I might have contracted bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and that beef farmers all over the country will now be facing the possibility of going to work in some assembly plant in Gary so they can feed their family (something other then beef. Yay Soy farmers!).

THEN he gets the stones to try to turn his words around and state that, no, he didn't really MEAN "Yay Vegans", but rather he meant "yay Vegans"?

His pretzel logic has me now trying to buy his statement to mean that he's happy that they found a case of Mad Cow Disease so that it would "wake me/us/the country up" to the idea that there might be thousands more out there. This is equivalent to "I'm happy that thousands of people died in New York so that this country would be more aware of terrorism".

Oh, we're more aware alright. Thanks to 9/11, I, and several million of my fellow Americans, were walking the bread line. Something cattle farmers are now facing down, made worse thanks to an overzealous media and, you guessed it, people with agendas.

Another fellow vegan responded to VeganPokers "clarification" post with:

If their (sic) is one stereotype that I hate having for being a vegan its that people tend to think we are zealots. This will lead people to automatically assume you are taking an outrageous stance like hoping people get mad cow disease. I didn't think that is what you were saying, but I can understand the interpretation as such.

Besides the obvious "Hey, if you didn't make it a point to TELL me you're a vegan, I wouldn't know"... Ya know, it's not like being vegan is obvious to us. The only way we know is if you make it a fucking point to TELL US!

This is especially interesting, in that now we seem to be laying the onus on me for "assuming you are taking an outrageous stance". Of course, it has nothing to do with the fact that at the end of the whole "Mad Cow Disease is in the US woo hoo" post you did the grammatical equivalant of the Icky Shuffle (reference "Yay Vegans"). No, this is now MY fault for assuming you meant what you said!

Okay, here's another clue train heading into the station. And a clarification on my stance.

I have absolutely, positively NO issue with what you do or do not want to put in, on or in vicinity to your body. My issue comes in when you suddenly decide that the fact that I don't subscribe to your philosophy somehow drives you to "help me see the error of my ways".

Our VeganPoker supporter referenced previous makes it a point to state that he's not a Zealot. He then goes on for another overly-long paragraph trying to convince someone that meat is murder!

...I think its a common mistake when you state that most people go vegan for health reasons. My main reason is that I don't see the need for fellow mammals to hang upside down getting their throats slit, sometimes while conscious, when in fact I do not need their meat to survive, and as you implied, because it is in fact healthier for me to eat a meat free diet. There are a lot of other reasons as well, including environmental. Its pretty sad to think about fellow humans starving in Africa while food is farmed there so it can be shipped and fed to livestock meant for human consumption. I could literally go on for hours about reasons to be vegan. Einstein said that mankind switching to a vegetarian diet would be its greatest accomplishment. Before my eyes and mind were opened I wouldn't have believed a lot of things such as a statement like that, but I do now. I remember wacthing "The Matrix" and how they explained to Neo that a world of machines was farming human beings for energy and thinking how horrific that would be. In fact we are doing this same thing to animals of lesser evolvement. Justifying it for countless reasons. Tell me you don't mind the slaughter and you like the taste of the animals. Thats the truth. Anyone who makes arguments about needing to eat animals is just misinformed. Well, now I'm rambling. I guess I'll just sum it up with, I doubt this mass inhumane slaughter would be taking place if people had to actually slit the throats themselves on a daily basis. And yes, if I'm stranded on an island with only a live chicken; the chicken gets it! Reality is, I'm not.

What the fuck? If he truely WASN'T trying to be a zealot, the paragraph would have read:

"I think its a common mistake when you state that most people go vegan for health reasons. I don't eat meat because I don't believe in the slaughter of animals."

So, Decker might have let VeganPoker off the hook, but I'm not buying it.

After further review, the "fuck you, VeganPoker" stands.


Progress has been, well... Not progress.

So it must be Congress... *rimshot*

Anyway, apologies for not updating any yesterday. Fear not, I will still remain the most active poker blogger out there (hint to my fellow blog brothers... WRITE MORE!).

Yesterday was another case of collecting trash cards and having decent starting hands fall apart post-flop. I had burned up about $15 but managed to scratch in a little pot near the end to finish down $10. Considering the crap I was getting dealt, -$10 isn't all that bad.

While at work yesterday, I was thumbing through the 2+2 forums and ran into this post. Of particular note was:

You know those guys that play "fearless" poker and seem to win? When the pot is big, it is time to play fearless. Throw in that extra bet or raise. If you crash and burn, so be it. That is winning poker, though. If you don't have the stomach for it, take up tiddle-e-winks.

Interesting advice, and from a well respected 2+2er, I'd be remiss to not give it due course in evaluating my own play.

I do feel though that, if taken at face value, the advice given is rather self-destructive. I think what our esteemed colleague is trying to say is, once you commit to the line of thinking that you've got the best of it, it is generally a -EV move to fold on the river with a huge pot, even if you're relatively sure you're beat.

To shamelessly steal an Iggyism:

2+2 > RGP

Interesting also that this post comes on the heels of discussion from Cardsspeak regarding Morton's Theorum and an email exchange between Iggy and Izmet Fekali about post-flop action. Head on over the Iggy's house of Blog for that exchange.

I decided to try some of those suggestions in my session this morning. Basically, I played my usual pre-flop tight hand selection, but if I connected on the flop, I would ram and jam like a maniac.

My normal method of play, I would typically play "fit or fold", and I would be conservative on draws and only start raising once I was assured the nuts. Here's why that's dangerous. Most anyone in the low limit games will feel obligated to chase anything for one bet. This is why there are so many suckouts at this level. If I make it easy for someone with a gutshot draw to stay in the pot, he's going to do it without question. If I make him pay 2 BB or more for that next card, well, he still might pay it, but more times then not he's paying me. More then likely, though, those guys who are holding marginal hands will release them to such pressure.

Anyway, I played around with this approach. First thing I noticed was, man there's a ton of variance with this tactic. You're pumping a lot of money in there. Now, of course, you only need to win one or two of these to make it worth your while, and if you hit a nice run of cards, you can see where this will be a huge night for you.

Anyway, results were as follows.. I played 2 hours on one table. I swung from -$15 at one point to a finish of +$15, so not so bad, especially since that $15 profit was realized pretty much on one hand, and, admittedly, it wasn't a very good day in cards. I suppose the bottom line is this, you gotta put the money out there to rake the money in, and since your job is to make lousy players pay to be lousy, ramming and jamming them when they're holding crap like middle pair or trying to fill the gutshot is definately a very +EV move. The only possible negative would be that, if you get caught out a couple of times in a row, you're hurt bad.

In any event, two hours yielded a 7BB/hr earn rate, so I can't complain about that.. I've about recovered from the -$50 debacle of a few days ago.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

This Has Been A Most Peculiar Day

Yesterday was most definitely one for the record books. Now that I've had a day to cool down and analyze the goings on.

First and foremost in my mind is this. I lost about $25 playing solid poker and having terrible luck. I lost the other $25 on an absolute tilt. Now, I don't remember exactly WHAT particular event set me off... I think the biggest thing that was irking me was, every time I'd have a playable hand, the board would come up with four of a suit I didn't have in my hand, almost assuring that someone would have the flush on me. I swear I saw the board come up 4 to a suit 14 times in two hours!

I decided to play a $10+$1 sit and go. I get AA about 6 hands in and shove all in. I get called up with some clown playing something like J9o. He hits the straight, my head hits the table. Out in 10th.

I immediately set into "fuck it" mode, log into a $5+$1 sit and go and play like a man possessed. I still play semi-tight, but when I get anything decent, I'd shove all-in. Managed to make a pretty good chip empire with this, but, as is so typical of me, I end up busting out in 4th when a player with about the same size stack as mine calls when I get QQ in the pocket and push all-in. What did she have?

Wait for it...

Yes, in true PartyPoker style, I get called down with the mighty 59s. And you know, if it's s000000000000000ted, it can't lose.

So, I bow out in a most predictable 4th place. Woo-fucking-hoo.

I did manage to pin up a 3rd place in a $10-$1 sit and go... Otherwise my losses would have been $61, and I'd have been actively searching for rope and a sturdy crossbeam.

So, what have we learned, class? Well, two things. First of all, have a stop-loss limit. If your stop loss limit is -25 BB, then you need to, you know, STOP! The second thing is, if you feel yourself starting to tilt, it doesn't matter what else you do, but you need to NOT be playing any poker for money. Either I need to head over to the play money tables and tilt there, or I need to go for a run or play with the cat or something else to preoccupy my brain.

Another thing to do is have a stop-win. Say your stop-win is +25BB. So, the idea is, if you hit +25BB, it's time to walk.

On the surface, one would argue that this is sort of a superstitious mentality. Since every play is mutually exclusive from each other, there is no such thing as "hot streaks" or "cold streaks". The problem, and the reason why you need to have stops, is the way human emotion plays out. If you're on a cold streak, no matter how disciplined you are, you're still going to be effected by it. You might press hands that you know in your mind are beat, but your heart tells you that that pot will go a long way towards cutting those losses. The proverbial "good money after bad" syndrome.

On the other hand, being on a huge rush can also have an adverse effect long term. If you start getting a huge rush, your adrenaline starts pumping, and you start getting that "I'm indestructible" feeling. Again, this might result in loosening up your hand requirements, pushing marginal hands when they should be folded, and so forth.

It's long been drummed into us grinders heads that long term results are not necessarily tied to the short term variance, in that it's the long term results that count. I'd submit though that, in a game where the long term results are nothing more then the culmination of short term results, making even small errors in the short term can drastically effect the long term outcome.

In a nutshell, you must always be focused and disciplined while in the game to reap the maximum of the rewards, and any situation that reduces either of those costs you money.

Bring your 'A' game or don't play.

Better To Be Lucky Then Good

I was done playing after the beating I took in the afternoon. Or so I thought. I came into the office here to make a phone call and decided that, while I was sitting here, and since it's now around 9:30 Central time, I'd take a look and see if the fish were sufficiently drunk. More out of morbid curiosity then anything else.

I sit down and I'm in early position one off of the Big Blind. I don't have a lot of time to play so I just throw down the .50 for the first hand, which comes to me JTs. I check, two callers after me and a raise from middle position. Both blinds call the raise as well as the two previous callers and myself. 6 people to see the flop, and 6 big bets in the pot already.

Flop comes 8c, 7s, Jc. I hit top pair with the backdoor flush draw and a belly buster straight draw.. The blinds check it to me and I bet. All 6 call! This could be interesting...

Turn comes a 9s. So now, I've managed to nail the straight, with 4 to the flush and a straight flush draw! Rock on! Blinds check it to me again and I bet. Guy to my left raises! My mind starts turning over what he might have... QT? Spade flush draw? Two pair? I know nothing about anyone at this table, as this is my first hand. Anyway, it folds to the preflop raiser who calls, then it folds to me and I flat call it, afraid of the QT possibility. 3 to the river and the pot now 15 big bets!

River comes a 2s. Boom. I caught the runner-runner flush. It's certainly not the nuts, but I'm too distracted by the phone to worry about it, and the pot odds more then justify betting with the potential winner. I bet out and am raised again by the boy to my left. Now I'm pretty much SURE he has to have the QT, and if so, there's no way he has the nut flush. The middle position guy finally folds out and I make it three bets, which raiser calls. I turn over the flush and he mucks his QTo for the straight, and I rake in a 20BB pot, instantly feeling better about being me.

Next hand I put up the big blind and I'm dealt QQ. The ladies make me nervous, especially in multiway pots, which this one certainly became. 5 callers and the small blind calls to me. I check it and we're 6 to the flop in typical .50/1 style.

Flop comes Kd, 5d, Qc, giving me the set of ladies, but putting up a possible diamond flush draw. Time to make 'em pay for it. Small blind checks to me and I bet out. Everyone but the small blind calls it and now we're 5 with 5.5 big bets in the pot.

Turn is a Jh. Uh oh. Possible straight board out there also, but since there was no raise, I'm figuring my set was good on the flop. I bet out, and am immediately raised. Hmmmm. Now I'm thinking I might not be the best at the moment, however everyone cold calls the two bets! Now I've certainly got the pot odds to keep going, so I call down the extra bet and see a river.

Oh, that Old Man River. So why not sail down it in your new boat? Yes, folks, the river comes a Jd. Boom! I've got queens full, there is a potential set of jacks out there, anyone drawing to the diamond flush just made it. The only think I'm worried about is a pair of jacks, and since there was no pre-flop raises, I'm discounting that possibility. I bet. The raiser on the turn calls, as does the guy to his left. Middle position raises! The late middle position cold calls and the late position guy folds. I make it 3 bets and get called down 3 ways!

At the showdown, early position turns over a J4c for the three of a kind hooks. So, this guy hung on through a flop that completely missed him, then cold calls two bets with a pair of jacks! I love it!

Early middle position turns over T9o for the K high straight he caught on the turn.

Under The Gun turns over a ATo for the ace high straight, caught on the turn.

I turn over my ladies for the boat and rake a 26.5 BB pot!

Twilight Zone indeed!

So now I'm up $35 in two hands. The phone call ends, and I get ready to mine some more gold but I don't get anything really to work with. The only other hand worth playing, and I admit this is even thin, was when I got A3d under the gun. I figured I'd see the flop for cheap, and when it came with 2 diamonds, I sort of had to see it though. The flush never came, and I didn't pair the ace, so that was a $3 hit. I left shortly there after, recovering $30.75 of my earlier loss, and feeling MUCH better.