Saturday, July 31, 2004

All That Glitters Ain't Gold

"You lazy, half-ass bully! Any asshole can pull a gun on somebody! You don't know the first thing about stealing a car! What, you need a role model! " - Donny - Gone In 60 Seconds

After the small road bump of two days ago, things have been going pretty good. My love for the shorthanded tables is certainly being cemented as I run into table after table of people who put their money into the pot with substandard or, in many cases, non-existant hands.

I've particularly come to love the guy who seems to think that, after 3 rounds of me betting and raising the pot, he seems to think that he can convince me to fold on the river. Once, I can understand.. Perhaps he's feeling me up to see what I'd do. But every opportunity he gets? Look, I'm here to tell you, if you're not playing on Party Poker, you're simply missing out on the best things in life. While you're at it, help a fellow blog brother out and use bonus code IGGY on your first deposit. I'll forgive that his complete idiot friend managed to pull down 50 Large the other day pulling a Gus Hanson on the 2+2 tournement the other day. And by idiot, I do most certainly mean idiot. Of course, he's the one with a stack of cash, and here I am grinding away, so he's clearly an idiot with a gift for cards. Anyway, if ever you wanted to know why I turn chat off on Party, there's your reason.

Goddamn kids.

Anyway, I think it'll be quite a while before I win a pot like that, so onward with my grinding.

Yesterday was a rather big varience day that ended up in the green. If table selection was important in the $.50/$1 tables, it's absolutely critical at the shorthanded tables. Looking at the sessions yesterday, I bounced around from a couple of tables after playing 10 or so hands and deciding that the table texture wasn't good. It paid off with a $29 win. I also paid a visit to the $1/$2 Bad Beat Jackpot tables. It was interesting, but I'm not going back. I would think that my chances of winning that jackpot are probably equal or less then my chances of winning next year's WSOP. Anyway, this is not the time to get creative with the bankroll. I'm on a mission.

Today started out decent enough. I sit down, post the blind and this hand unfolds...

Party Poker 1/2 Hold'em (6 max, 5 handed)

Preflop: The_ICP is BB with As, 5h.
UTG calls, 1 fold, Button calls, SB completes, The_ICP checks,

Flop: (4 SB) Ah, 8d, 5s (4 players)
SB checks, The_ICP bets, UTG calls, Button raises, SB calls, The_ICP 3-bets, UTG calls, Button calls, SB calls.

Turn: (8 BB) 3c (4 players)
SB checks, The_ICP bets, UTG folds, Button raises, SB calls, The_ICP 3-bets, Button caps, SB calls, The_ICP calls.

River: (20 BB) 6d (3 players)
SB checks, The_ICP bets, Button calls, SB folds.

Final Pot: 22 BB
Main Pot: 22 BB, between Button and The_ICP. >

The_ICP shows As 5h (two pair, aces and fives).
Button shows 8c 9h (one pair, eights).
Outcome: The_ICP wins 22 BB.

Nice start. Next hand, half the table bails and we're suddenly 3 handed. I pull down the blinds on the next hand and leave.

Then I sat down at the table I would have LOVED to run over. 4 guys who haven't a friggin clue what the Hell they're doing. I swear to you, these guys were betting and capping third pair, raising and capping the pot with 2 gappers, it was unreal. The varience on that table was massive, and I got the worst of it, coming within $5 of busting out of my buyin. I managed to catch a couple at the end, but still left that table $30 in the red.

Last table was great. A real loose/passive extravaganza and finally I was starting to hit some hands. All said and done, I finished today up $53.50.

So I'm still running pretty damn good. I'll break down the month in the next post. From the initial look at things, I can honestly say that this is a good win rate I'm on here. Almost 4BB/hr. I feel good about this as it's not an insanely high win rate and thus it's a rate that can be sustained.

Okay, gotta go push some more tin!

Friday, July 30, 2004

...Comin' Fo' To Carry Me Home

The great run has finally reached terminal velocity, it would seem.

Yesterday was a painful string of lackluster cards and second best hands.  I was able to hold on for a little bit, but there was no way to survive the combination and I started the inevitable slide downward.

It really was a shame.  I was at a table where, and I shit you not, two people were voluntarily putting money in the pot 100% of the time.  It could have been huge, but alas, I fell on the wrong side of varience this time around.

As it was, I only dropped about -$25 so I'm really not bothered by this.  After such an amazing run of cards, it almost comes as a relief that my inevitable first "bad day" only cost me a small bit.
Since I was having no luck at the $1/$2 limit tables, I decided to pay a visit to the $25 No Limit tables.  I couldn't get much going there and walked away after about 30 minutes about $2.50 richer, so nothing doing there... I can see where, now that my bankroll is actually a decent shape, I can have some fun with that game.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Swing Low, Sweet Variance...

What is up with the waiting lists for the $1/$2 full ring games at Party?  I mean, seriously.  It's not like there's no demand for the game, as there is always a waiting list to sit down.  Albeit a short one at 11:00 am CDT on a Monday, but there was one none-the-less.  In primetime, I imagine the list gets pretty insane.  Anyway, I did manage to sit down at 2 full ring tables and collected absolute crap for cards for the next half hour, getting whittled down about 10BB.  Previous to this I was at a shorthanded table and saw a dry run cost me another 6BB or so.  The full ring games were just sucking my will to live, so I went back to the shorthanded game and bought in for less then the amount I took off one of the full rings; about $39.

I immediately went up to about $50 and then wallowed around there for a while.. Up $5, down $5... Really making no progress (but not losing!).  Then a couple of playable hands turned up for me.  Missed the first two or so, but then I caught with a couple for some mas healthy pots and I found myself doubling my buyin again.   Ended the day up $10 and change after initially being down a fair bit.

I am thinking that there is absolutely no reason at this point for me to go to the full ring game at this level.  It is truly astonishing what I see on these short handed tables!  Three bets on the river on total bluffs.  Raising with 3 gap unsuited middle connectors.  Any two s000ted is definitely a raise/re-raise hand.  Any ace.  Any King.  In many cases any Queen!  As I said in my previous post, it is not uncommon to see someone at the table who voluntarily puts money in the pot over 60% of the time.  It's nuts.

For now I'm going to stick to playing one table of shorthanded.  I was tossing around the idea of opening up a second table, but when I play short handed I have to pay much more attention to the other players so I can get a read on them.  It's remarkably easier for me to follow and learn the trends of 5 other people then 9 other people.  The Gametime window from PokerTracker is also an invaluable tool in helping to identify ultra-loose players.

I'm still in a bit of shock from my good fortune yesterday.  To follow it up with a hard fought win helps to bolster my confidence that yesterday wasn't a fluke.  I'm feeling pretty good about my game, but I'm a little concerned about AKo.  It has been a very sub-par hand for me and I've gotten it many times, so I need to find out if I'm mis-playing it or letting it go too early.

I hope that playing these short handed games doesn't diminish my full ring game skills.  I can be quite a bit looser on the shorthanded games, but I have to be careful not to let that seep into the full ring games.  On the other hand, I don't want to get TOO tight on the full ring games either.

Okay, enough incoherent rambling.  More tomorrow!

Hammer Time

"...he's got a vibrating horseshoe lodged nineteen feet up his ass." - James McManus - Positively Fifth Street - talking about Chris "Jesus" Ferguson at the final table of the WSOP.

Yesterday was one of those days where I was just looking to push the bankroll that $10 I needed to move into the $1/$2 arena.  Nothing fancy.  Since it was my one day off in the 11 I'm working these two weeks, I figured it was a good day to tweak the bankroll up and make a shot at the next level.

After a nice shower and some Headline News over breakfast, I went to work.

An hour and a half later, I walk away from two $.50/$1.00 tables up an incredible +$52!  The deck simply ran over me.  I sit down at one table, post in the cutoff and get dealt T4o.  Okay, whatever.  No less the 8 limpers in the hand and the flop comes KdJs4d.  So, I'm ready to send this hand to the muck when, incredibly, it's checked around!  The turn is a Th giving me bottom two pair.  I'm not in love with it, but I have to assume that since it was checked around that either no one has anything or someone is slowplaying (yeah, Party rules).  BB wakes up and tosses a buck out and it's called 2 ways to me.  I pop a raise to see where I'm at.  SB mucks and the other three call.  12BB in the pot and the river?  An incredibly beautiful 4h, and my insta-muck pre-flop hand is now a monster.  In true Party style, late position bets out and I'm only too happy to pop a raise.  BB and UTG fold and late position calls and shows AdTc and I rake the 15BB pot.  I had found the perfect table.


3 hands later the Hilton Sisters pay a visit, call a friend on the flop, and charters a boat on the river for another 15BB pot.  A couple more 10BB pots and I'm sitting incredibly well.

The other table was, remarkably, better.  This one had the occasional pre-flop raise but it didn't matter.  I was en fuego hitting the draws.  No incredibly huge pots on that table, but just a nice steady diet of $6 and $7 wins.

Thrilled to be finally over the hump, I decide to unwind with a little no-limit Sit and Go action.  I really just wanted to screw around and not have to worry about winning it, so I logged into a $5+$1 sit and go.  After a rough start, I managed to bag a second place in that, for an additional $9 to the bank.

Later that evening, I decide it's time to make the jump.  Logging onto Party I see that we're again at damn near 40,000 people on.  I toss around whether I want to sit down at a full ring table or a 6 Max table.  Peeking into a couple of full ring tables and seeing the waiting list made the decision for me, and I sit down at a shorthanded table and prepare for battle.

Second hand I'm dealt QcAc in the small blind.  One guy limps ahead of me and I pop a raise.  BB calls it and the limper now raises it?!  I recognize immediately the Party Poker special, the limp/raise and call it down.  Flop is 6h9sQd, giving me top pair, top kicker.  I throw a bet out and limp/raiser-boy raises me again, so I go to check/call mode on the turn (Kh) and river (6c).  He turns over TT and I rake the $20 pot.

This is the kind of game it would be all day.  I can't tell you how many times I saw the feared "total river bluff" from these guys.  As I always do with the short handed games, I use PokerTracker's Gametime window, and it showed that of the 5 people at the table, 4 of them had VP$IP percentages over 50%.

An hour and 40 minutes later, I leave the table up +$84.50, and what I believe is my winningest day so far since I started this.  All told, the bankroll was padded an additional $145.36 after the dust settled.

The question though is, was the $1/$2 game a fluke, or have they gotten even SOFTER then they were when I was running them over a few months ago?  If I can keep finding tables like this shorthanded, there's no reason for me at all to ever go to the $1/$2 full ring tables.  I imagine, though, that the inherent variance on the shorthanded tables will rear it's ugly head.

For today, though, I'm feeling pretty damn good.

Oh, and just when you though the Most Holy and Apostolic HAMMER had lost it's punch...

Party Poker 1/2 Hold'em (6 max, 6 handed)

Preflop: The ICP is SB with 2c, 7s.
4 folds, The ICP completes, BB raises, The ICP calls.

Flop: (4 SB) 3s, 2d, 2h (2 players)
The ICP bets, BB raises, The ICP 3-bets, BB calls.

Turn: (5 BB) 5h (2 players)
The ICP bets, BB calls.

River: (7 BB) Jd (2 players)
The ICP bets, BB calls.

Final Pot: 9 BB
Main Pot: 9 BB, between The ICP and BB. >
The ICP shows 2c 7s (three of a kind, twos).
BB shows 5d Ac (two pair, fives and twos).
Outcome: The ICP wins 9 BB.

Sunday, July 25, 2004


It's been two days days since I posted my Crossroads post.  Two days to sit back and reflect on what I was thinking.

It's been said that the journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.  Though I have certainly already taken several steps to my goal, that bit of advice also applies to the second, third and 5000th step.  I have put myself in an excellent position to persue my aviation interests, this is true.  More importantly though, I've given myself outs.  By planning on doing all of my training while working my job, if I run out of money or something else happens, I haven't really lost anything.  What's more, by trying to use poker to pay for my training, I avoid taking out costly loans that would become due just as I am starting a job that doesn't pay particularly well to begin with.  As a fledgling pilot with no loan monkey on my back, I'm far more flexible then my counterparts.

Also, some more perspective.  I'm 32 years old.  I don't have delusions of becoming a senior 777 captain for American or anything (may happen, but you know Isreal and Palistine might build a campfire, roast some marshmellows and sing Kum-By-A too), but even if it takes 8 years to realize my goal (which I would imagine it wouldn't, unless I really suck), I'll still have 20 years of flying left in me before Uncle Sam says I gotta hang it up.

Anyway, I operate best when I have goals, and now I have one.  Whether I reach it or not is irrelevent to the point that I've set the bar high, and I'm motivated to clear it.  I guess that makes me a dreamer, but without dreams, I wouldn't have this opportunity to persue at all.

Anyway, enough of that drivel.  Today was an amazingly good day of poker.  As with all days, it seems, it could have been better had I had the discipline to leave earlier, but as it was I managed to score a touch over +$25 in about 6 table hours of play.

The great thing about this is, it really wasn't what I'd call an amazing card day.  I got my fair share of playable hands the connected, but what's better, they stood up.  One hand in particular I was holding the stoney nuts and I had some guy who was gracious enough to bet and cap the turn and river.  What's more, another guy was nice enough to pay 4BB to see the river, which obviously didn't help him and he folded out.  Let me tell you, there are few things quite as satisfying as holding the stone cold nuts and having guys feeding you more action then Paris Hilton at a swingers party.  All it takes is one hand like this and you're set for the day.

I got two of them.  It don't get no better then this.

So, after some thinking, I think I'm going to go ahead and make the step up to $1/$2 when I get to $600 (300BB).  I really think I've got game for that level, and there's no point sticking around the lower limits.  If the goal is to build the bankroll to an appropriate $3/$6 level, I need to lose the training wheels.

Of course, I'm not there yet, so the $.50/$1 grind will continue.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Juuuust a Bit Outside

You get three ants together, they can't do dick. You get 300 million of them, they can build a cathedral. - Annie Savoy, Bull Durham

A few days ago I was lamenting about my good steady run of profitable sessions and quietly wondering when the other shoe would fall.

Though for a few days I didn't take a dive, I certainly wasn't feeling very good about my play.  A couple of days where I didn't go anywhere, really.  Down a buck, up a buck.  Yesterday I managed a $16 or so profit, but it was ugly.  At one point in that session I was down about $30, and made a rather miraculous run on one table to double my buyin, which scratching back to even on the other.  Then I started to slide again and got out while the getting was good.

Today, the bottom finally dropped out.  I don't know exactly how much I lost since I'm at work and have access to neither Pokertracker nor Party, but I'll estimate around -$20 was distributed to various others.

I'd like to say that I played my best poker, but it just didn't seem that way.  I caught myself several times making the wrong moves against people I knew wouldn't fold.  Fancy Play Syndrome started sneaking into my game, and that probably cost me some.

Of course, a completely nasty run of cards didn't help out much either.  Yesterday it was good hands that kept getting beat by an unfavorable board, like 4 cards to the flush on the board beating my two pair, crap like that.  Today, I just wasn't connecting.  I can't tell you how many times I got AKo and not once did it connect with anything remotely playable.  Frustrated by this, I caught myself on at least two occasions continuing on with a hand with just two overcards. 

I certainly don't want to push any envelopes, but the $1/$2 6 Max game has been calling my name lately.   Though I don't have the bankroll I would like to have to make my "move" to $1/$2, I can't help but look at my past performance in the shorthanded game and wonder if it was a fluke or if I really can run over that game.

I think tomorrow might begin with a session of Pokertracker analysis, then maybe I'll take a crack at a shorthanded game and see where that goes.

Or maybe I'll come to my senses and head back to the 50/1 game and just stick with the damn program.

Oh, one other note to pass on.  I've moved my other non-poker content off to here, so if you want to listen to my other idiotic ramblings and misquoted facts, please head on over there!

Friday, July 23, 2004


"You're sitting on a winning lottery ticket and you're too big of a pussy to cash it in."  - Chuckie, Good Will Hunting

This is going to be a bit of a bizarre post in that I think that there will be much personal stuff in here.  I'm the sort of person that values opinion and am not afraid to solicit it.  Sometimes the path you don't see is obvious to those standing next to you.  So be it.

My father spent his life piloting airplanes, and for the entirety of my existance, did so flying jets for an airline.  For anyone that has a pilot friend/wife/husband you know how the schedules they work are nothing like the 9 to 5 grind of the "typical household".  I spent most holidays without Dad around.  Christmas on the 21st, Thanksgiving on Tuesday, you get the point.  Didn't matter to me.  I was a kid, and it was just the way it went.  I imagine this has seeped into my adult life, as the actual day Christmas and the actual day Thanksgiving and such really are not important to me.  I have a small family and they're scattered across the country, so getting everyone together is an extreme rarity anyway.

Anyway, to my dad, flying wasn't a job.  It was his life.  And I, as his son, saw how excited he was about work and about flying airplanes for a living, even during the hard times.  Thus, I became enamoured with airplanes and flying.  I wanted to be like my dad, and so I started flying at age 14.  Of course, I couldn't get my pilot's license until I was 17, so it was slow going.

I ended up with my license when I was 19.  Why so long?  Here's where it gets complicated.

(Here I wrote about two paragraphs that rambled on about academics and work and... blah blah... then erased it.  I'll publish my autobiography later).  The short story, I spend most of my effort through high school and college trying to get through high school and college with the least amount of effort.  I missed out on some golden opportunities.  Dad sat me down my senior year in high school and said, "give me two good years of junior college, and I'll send you to any University you want to go to", and was dead serious.  If I had been accepted to Harvard (not that going to Harvard would have interested me in the least), he would have found a way to fund it.  I never really grasped how amazing of an opportunity I had, until it was way to late.

Having effectively blown off school, I eventually had to start working and the dream of becoming a pilot sort of faded away.  I did score the pilot license while in school, but I lacked the money to do anything with it, and I wasn't able to see the possibilities of tying aviation and academics into one in the same.  Work and other things took my attention, and I eventually ended up in the IT industry and figured I had my career set. 

Every once in a while, though, I'd get the little twitch in my gut.  When the train rolled past the airport on the way home from the city, my nose was always to the glass.  I'd sometimes drive out to where my dad and I would sit at the end of one of O'Hare's runways and watch the planes land.  I was happy with my life, but sometimes I would sit and watch the planes go by and wonder, "what if..."

Early 2001, I would be uncerimoniously laid off from the place I fully intended to spend the rest of my professional life with, and dumped into a job pool that fully had passed me by.  I spent 4 months looking for work and made zero progress.  I was sitting on a nice bit of cash that my company had given me as a severance package, but I had been living partially off of it for this whole time and it was slowly eroding away.  As I sat day after day scouring the job rags and making phone call after fruitless phone call, that pilot twinge was getting stronger.  One day I decide to see what, if anything, I could do to get into this aviation game.  It took me very little time to realize I didn't have the cash to put myself though a dedicated airline flight school but I did have enough to go to dispatch school.  I was thinking this was my ticket to the cockpit.  I'd struggle for the short term while I made shit for money at some little regional airline, but at that point you were about 3 years from working at a major airline and some acceptable money.  I could live on the cheap, put money away, and work on my ratings while working in the industry.

So off to dispatch school I go, and I kick ass, getting my license.  I already had a job lined up before I graduated and after returning home for my stuff, I packed up and headed down to Nashville, TN. for my first day of work.

That day was Tuesday, September 11th, 2001.

I didn't even make it into the office, and that afternoon my fiancee and I drove back to Chicago, listening to the news and trying to find a gas station that wasn't charging $4.00 for a gallon of gas.

As I was to learn very quickly, that day changed the face of aviation.  For me, in the immediate future, I was looking at a license that wasn't worth the paper it was printed on.  As the smoke cleared and things started moving again, it was clear that this was the straw that might well break the backs of the major airlines.  No longer were they hiring with abandon, but instead they were laying people off.  The pipeline from regional dispatcher to major airline dispatcher had become clogged, and was even backflowing some, as furloughed dispatchers were looking for any work to feed their families.

Three months later, I was able to find work with a small regional airline in Wichita, but I was making very little in the way of money and I was now married.  Again, the path towards the front seat of an airplane was blocked.

Fast forward to now.  I've moved onto another airline.  It's still a regional airline, and the pay is only marginally better.  I'm in a much better location, but I am still faced with making just enough to cover the bills.

The frustrating part of all of this?  I work day in and day out with flight crews.  Our office is on the airport, so I watch the planes come and go.  Hell, I even ride in the cockpit of these flights.   The airline I work for is hiring pilots at an alarming rate.  Pilots who have no other airline experience.  Hell, some of these guys came right from the instructor ranks to this job. 

If ever I was in a position to take advantage of this, it would be now.  The chief pilot's office is right down the hall, I have the endoresement of literally dozens of pilots should I choose to apply for the job, not to mention my immediate supervisors and, I would hope, the Director of Operations.  I've sat and talked with the fleet management pilots, the regional chief pilot, the director of flight standards...  Everyone says that if I had the certifications and the experience (flight time), I'd find a stick somewhere.

The only problem is, I just can't get the cash to get back into the airplane and get my training done.  All that stands between me and my childhood dream is, roughly, $25,000.

Thanks to a broken first marriage and a broken promise, my credit is shot, so a loan is out for something like this, and frankly the last thing I want when I get a job as a pilot is a loan payment, as I'll be making less initially then I make now (though, surprisingly, not much less, and if I had the option of a loan, I probably would take one out).  So that leaves cash.

For a guy like me, $25,000 in cash might as well be $25 million.

But there's that little glimmer in me.  Maybe, just maybe, I'll continue to be successful with poker.  Maybe I'll get to a level where I can grind out a decent coin.  Even if I make a fraction of what David Ross makes.  Hell, Schneids at Two Plus Two made a hell of a run.  He fell short by almost half his goal, and still that alone would have more then funded my required training.  Obviously a "$60,000 in 60 days" challenge would be, at this point in my poker career, quite ambitious.  But I look at people like Lord Geznikor and what he's doing is an attainable goal for me, though I would expect that I wouldn't be able to put the hours he does into it.  I'm no professional, nor do I have any aspirations of becoming one.

Maybe someday.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Forward In Reverse

Well, again, is seems like I'm stuck in some sort of rut just short of a milestone.  This happens entirely too regularly.

I sat down this morning for a nice short session of poker.  Three and a half hours later (7 hours of table time), I get up $1 richer.  Actually, I'm glad to have gotten away with that, and frustrated all at the same time.

It started out well enough.  After about 40 minutes of spinning my wheels, I caught fire and was up $15 on one table and about $10 on the other.  I immediately thought about quitting, but these tables were ripe for the taking, so I stayed put.  For the next hour the cards dried up and I slowly bled down to my buyin on one table and stayed about $10 up on the other.  Then the cards started coming again....  But this time was different.  I got brutalized with river suckout after river suckout.  Absolutely nothing would hold up and in the order of 30 minutes I was looking at putting the last of my chips in the middle on the formerly even table, and I was down to my buyin on the "better" table.  I was kicking myself a ton for not getting out when I was way up.. Now I was about $20 down.  I managed to scratch (and I do mean scratch) my way back to even.  I was actually up again by about $10 but the suckout monster returned and I quickly made good my escape before I went down for the last time.

So, there it is.  So close to the requisite 300BB I need for the $1/$2 level, but not quite there yet.  I'm also trying to figure out how I want to go about going into the $1/$2 games.  I'm toying with the idea of playing one $1/$2 full table and one $.50/$1 full table, or playing one $1/$2 6 MAX table.  I guess two $1/$2 full tables could go in the choices too, but I might feel a little intimidated by having that much cash in play, though technically speaking it's not all "at risk".  I seem to have good luck on the shorthanded tables, but the swings are bigger and I think that I can exact a better BB/hr rate at the full ring tables.


The grind continues in the 50/1 arena.  I'm making slow but steady headway and am pleased with the progress this month.  I had my first losing session in a while yesterday, dropping -$2.75.  Definately not what I would call a disaster, and considering the cards I was getting, I'm glad to get away that clean.  It was a pathetic day of bad cards and worse boards on cards I did have.  I can't tell you how many times I flopped a set only to see the board either fall 4 to a straight or 4 to a flush on suits I had none of.  Yeah, one of those days.

Oh, yeah...  I also dumped some of my casino whoring money back into my account, thus the sudden increase you saw on the right.  I had to divert some of it to help the wife get a passport for a job she's interviewing for.  She said she'll pay me back, but I'm not counting on it.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Stay On Target...

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid. - Han Solo, Star Wars
I'm just waiting for the other shoe to fall.  I'm over halfway through the month, and I am running very well.  With such decent success, I have been left wondering if I've changed or the cards have changed.  Perhaps it's a little of both.
So far this month, I've managed to rake 5.66 big bets per 100 hands.  This is the best I've ever done in 50/1, though I have substantially better numbers on 1/2 6 max.  There are a lot of numbers and statistics I can look through, but it's almost information overload for me to try to break it down.  In any event, I will try.  Luck or skill?  Gillette says, "You Make The Call".
To date, I've played 2,625 hands.
- I have been dealt AA 8 times, and have won with them 6 times, averaging +$4.31 a hand.
- I have had KK 12 times, winning 7 of those hands for an average of +$1.48 per hand.
- I saw QQ 12 times also, but only won 5 times with the ladies for a loss of -$0.25 per hand.
- Big Slick suited and unsuited have both been huge letdowns.  I saw AKs 8 times and won only twice with them, for a -$0.88 per hand average.  AK off suit hit my screen 17 times but only held up twice for a loss of -$0.73 per hand.
So, of the top premium hands, I've lost more then I've won.  Interesting.
- My biggest winning hand thus far is, remarkably, K9s.  I've seen it 13 times and have won just over half the time with it.  Looking at the hand summaries, it looks like a hand that has either flopped complete monsters or was easy to get rid of post flop.  Small losses, big wins.  That hand is worth +$3.57 per hand.
- Biggest loser?  pocket 3's.  I've seem them 16 times and they've held up once, for 2 bucks.  I'm thinking these are probably being overplayed by me.
Other useless statistics:  The hand I've seen most is 82o.  The least is 97s.  I have gotten the Most Holy and Apostolic HAMMER 22 times, but sadly, they've failed to produce this month.
AA is my biggest winning percentage hand.  My second winningest hand is A4o.  Huh?
I've voluntarily put money into the pot 14% of the time.  When I saw the flop, I won the hand 26% of the time, and I've won at showdown a little under 65% of the time.  My aggression factor is 1.09.  If I were to take pre-flop out, my post flop and beyond aggression factor is 2.37.  Fold pre-flop, pound post-flop.
Okay, so that was fun with numbers.  I've noticed that the last few times I've played, I've started out down significantly for the first hour or so, once quite significantly, and I've managed to pull out a win.  I think most of the problem (and solution, strangely enough) are people that play any two cards to the river if they catch a piece of the flop or have even a remote draw.  Statistically, you need to pound the living shit out of these guys with bets and raises post flop if you're holding what likely is the winning hand, as they will pay you off more often then you pay them.  Losing two or three hands with this tactic though hurts badly.  On the other hand, you only need to score two or three of these hands to be sitting awfully good for the day.  In 50/1 Hell, there is one other factor that helps.
   Table selection.  Kids, I'm here to tell you, Party is the place to be.  I logged on at 10:30 Central tonight and there were over 43,000 people playing poker on Party Poker.  To this I can say only two words:
Holy shit.
   Envision Yankee Stadium during the Playoffs.  'Nuff said.
   Anyway, there's absolutely no reason why you should be sitting at a table that isn't working with your playing style.  Trouble with the table bully?  Move tables!  Think there's collusion going on?  Move tables (and report it)!  A known shark just swam up to the felt?  Time to head to fishier waters!  There are approximately 2.2314 shitloads of people out there on Party that are nothing but calling machines at the lower limits.  Your chance of hitting a table full of them in prime time on Party?  100% if you do a little shopping.
Party on, Wayne.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Another One Bites The Dust

Breaking my promise of keeping news and other items out of this primarily poker blog, I can't help but point out that puff of smoke on the horizon...
Looks like another airline is about to be torpedoed by a mechanic's union who's response to the news that the ship is goin' down by the head is "Full Pay To The Last Day!"   Trouble is, we've Seen this strategy before.
I figure they don't make it past Christmas.

Day Shift

Quick hit here. 
Been running about average on the 50/1 grind, so I'm happy with my progress.  Of course, now that I've blogged about it, I just jinxed the hell out of it, so prepare to read about the kicking of my ass tomorrow.
Much as I want to get out of the bottom limit hell right now, I'm going to stick to my guns about not stepping foot there until I've got 300BB in the bankroll.  I've tried to short cut this before with limited success, but I really don't want to have to look back.  Hopefully the goldmine that is 2/4 and 3/6 will still be there when I finally build the bank to play in that sandbox.

Friday, July 16, 2004


You've Got To Go Through Hell Before You Get To Heaven - Steve Miller
   So, as you all know, I've been grinding away at 50/1, trying to get to a logical bankroll such that I can move upwards comfortably.  Most of you also know that I play 98% of my poker on Party Poker.
   This is a blessing and a curse.  The blessing obviously, is the sheer magnitude of people who are apparently trying to lose money as fast as humanly possible.  The curse is, the players are so absolutely bad you have no idea what you're up against.  Nothing sucks quite as much as getting that surprise raise from your calling station opponent when a seemingly harmless card falls on the river.
    Another interesting thing.  I have played over 20,000 hands of 50/1 limit poker.  Thanks to PokerTracker I have notes on every player I've sat down with for more then 10 hands; and estimated 6,500 players, give or take a few hundred.  I am lucky if I see 3 people with notes when I sit down.  The player turnover is huge.  People either move up or bust out.  I guess if I'd have been a little more disciplined and not withdrawn a couple of hundred out of my account from time to time, I'd be out of the 50/1 Hell I'm currently in, but alas, there I sit.  I've got some money left from my stint in casino bonus whoring, but I wasn't nearly as successful at that as others are, and my brush with busting out at Captain Cook's has sort of curbed my enthusiasm on that little operation.  As it is, though, I did manage to come away with 400% return on my investment, so I should't bitch too much.  Of course, for some reason none of that cash has found its way back into my poker account.  I'll have to rectify that tomorrow sometime.
So, anyway, to the point.  Given my vast 50/1 online experience, I've discovered a couple of things;
- Dump or Pump.  If you're beat, you're beat.  You're not going to win the pot by betting and hoping for a fold.  On the other hand, these cretins will call you with anything and, often times, nothing at all.  Build that pot up!
- Shut off chat.  I have yet to see anything useful pop up in the chat window.  Tilting these guys has little value since they're too stupid to know they're getting their asses kicked.
- Playing multiple tables keeps me from getting "creative".  If I get bored, I'll start trying to play hands that require finesse and skill to make work.  It's like singing to deaf people.
More nuggets of amazing poker knowlege in future posts.  What the heck, I'm small potatoes in the blogging community anyway.  A rest stop on the highway to such hotspots as Cards Speak or The Blogather.
I won't really feel like a player until I get on Wil Wheaton's regular reading rotation.  I imagine that would require quality content though, which this site is decidedly devoid of, so I'm pretty much screwed...

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Big Dollars!

Okay, here's another sobering statistic...

Since November of 2003 I've paid $752.30 in rake.

Holy crap.

Anyone know about any rake rebate programs for Party? That's a bunch of money.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Blogging Is Hard

Okay, I admit, I'm failing miserably in the "update every day whether there's news or not" mentality I was so gung-ho about earlier.

Let's face it, no news makes for boring commentary, and I didn't play poker the last two days. I could go on tangents about other topics, and trust me there are plenty, but that would stray from this being a poker blog. I'm sure those of you here to read about my poker antics won't want to have to wade through my political and socioeconomic rantings to get to the content you are looking for, so I will refrain as much as I can from littering our little playground with such muckity-muck.

Speaking of muckity-muck, I decided the other day to poke around my statistics to date since I started recording my poker results. Here are some of the hits.

- I have, since November of 2003, played about 26,000 hands. Of those, I have played the most, about 20,000, in 50/1.

- My first losing month was November of 2003, where I dropped $51. My last losing month was November 2003.

- My average BB/hr is +1.11 BB/hr over almost 432 hours of play over all levels and limits.

- My best win rate has been in No Limit $25, where I hold a 8.8 BB/hr rate. I have only played roughly 6 hours at that level though.

- My worst win rate is on Pot Limit $25, where I hold a -30.00 bb/hr rate, however I've played that level a grand total of 6 minutes.

- Of the levels I've played at for a reasonable amount of time, I have the best success at $1/$2 6 Max, where I hold a +2.83 BB/hr rate over 31.45 hours of play. I have the worst results at $1/$2 full tables, where I hold a -0.18 BB/hr rate over 45.25 hours of play. Incidentally, my win rate at this point in 50/1 is exactly +1.00 BB/hr.

- My aggression factor to this point is 0.99, though during the first 6 months or so of play, I was wickedly weak/tight, so these are skewed, I believe.

- On the tournament side, I have played 194 tournaments. I have won $2,175.00. I have paid out $2,000 in tournament fees and buy-ins, for a total of +$175.00 in tournament winnings. My In The Money percentage is 39.69%, with an average finish of 4.19. I've had the best results playing $10+$1, and the worst results playing $20+$2.

- I have, to date, won $560.36 from ring games, and $175.00 from tournaments, for a total winnings to date of $735.36. From my initial $50 investment, I have not had to deposit additional money, so my return on investment to this point is $685.36, or about $76 per month. This does not include any live play, which I have yet to have a winning session at, however at this point I consider my live bankroll separate from my online bankroll, since local limits force me to play beyond my bankroll means when I do play. I would estimate at this point that I've lost about $250 playing live poker.

So that's the status thus far. It seems to me that, at least according to the numbers, I should be playing $1/$2 6 Max poker, however, I think this requires a little more analysis. I think I have the best success at that level because it seems like the players there are more likely to chase then they are in full ring games. Part of it I think is the mentality that short handed any pair is a winner. Indeed top pair/top kicker will hold up more often in short handed play, but the pot odds are even worse for you to chase hands, since generally there are less people involved and the implied odds to do so are not there. This is what likely separates good player from bad at these tables. Bad players have no concept of pot and implied odds and frequently overplay drawing hands.

The risk of 1/2 6 Max, of course, is the frequent blind rotation, so if you're into a bad run of cards, you can get hurt by just that. Table selection is also critical in short handed tables.

I forget who's blog I read this, so I apologize for not giving props, but I read another summary of how 50/1 limit sucks copious amounts of ass. Given the atrociously bad play there and the fact that I've only managed to squeak out a little over 1 BB/hr from these tables, I am inclined to agree. It seems from what I'm hearing that the 2/4 level is the Holy Land at this point, but I certainly don't have the bank to be playing there. As it is, heading up to 1/2 would be a pretty big risk to the bankroll, but I am starting to get antsy again.

Okay, enough of this.. I'm heading to the tables for some more abuse poker. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Half of Half

For all the disasterous hands I got yesterday, today's session started out with me winning 4 hands back to back to put me in very good position to have a good day...

Almost. After that, I spent the next 30 minutes in a slow bleed that saw me back to my buyin on both tables (I was two tabling today... More on this later). I was actually content to stay around my buyin amount, but then I went on another crazy run of cards and when the dust settled, my short session saw a +$27.00 profit. Not quite the $40 I lost yesterday, but recovering over half of it back in a little under 2 table hours certainly is considerable progress in the correct direction.

About yesterday. Here are some grim statistics:

I played 260 hands yesterday. Of those, I saw the flop on 56 of them.
Out of those 56 hands, I won 8 of them, or a little over 14%.
My win rate for the 4.43 hours was -9.16 /hr.

But enough about that.

Today I didn't even have to use my AK. I gotta say it was a good day.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Я был всосан вне на реке

Remember that great run I was having for this month?


In 2 hours, I managed to erase a week's worth of work in a spectacular display of crap cards and absolute bullshit suckouts. In the first time in I can't remember, I actually busted out on one table.

It was absolutely craptastic. Net result, -$40.63.

So, basically, I'm at zero.

I'm at work right now, so I don't have access to the database, but I do remember doing some quick review of the carnage. I lost at least 4 BB a total of like 15 times. I can vividly recall two hands where I was at least a 95% favorite at the river and lost. Countless more where I was the clear favorite, and a nice spattering of hands like a flopped set that ends up seeing a board of 4 to a suit (of which I, of course, have none).

It was a complete train wreck. I had to get away from my computer for a while after that, so I didn't get a chance to update the tally to the right, so that'll get done tomorrow morning. Bottom line is, I'm back at zero, plus or minus a dollar.

As previously stated, craptastic.

Friday, July 09, 2004

We Coulda Been Huge

Friday night at Party Poker. I had found a nice couple of tables, and was working a nice little profit on two of them, but getting a little down on a third.

This third table featured two or three people who were flooding the chat buffer talking smack to each other. We had the typical Party low limit conversation going on. One guy who would just smack talk to try to tilt the table, one guy who was the table professor. You know this guy well. He starts trying to "educate" the fishes by trying to explain to them that by calling down a raise with an 9 high is, like, bad, and all the while everyone else at the table is desperately trying to find the "kick/ban" button on their screens to get rid of this joker. Then there's the guy who ends every hand with "nh". I mean, it was almost to the point where we'd be betting pre-flop, it would get folded to the button who would position raise and the blinds would fold, and he throws out a "nice hand" comment.

Yeah, great hand nipplehead. STFU, plz, ty.

Anyway, about a half hour in, I get two real monsters in a row on one table. First one goes like this:

Party Poker 0.50/1 Hold'em (9 handed)

Preflop: The_ICP is BB with 4c, 6h.
1 fold, UTG+1 calls, 1 fold, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, CO calls, 1 fold, SB completes, The_ICP checks,

Flop: (6 SB) 6d, 4h, Js (6 players)
SB checks, The_ICP bets, UTG+1 folds, MP2 calls, MP3 calls, CO raises, SB folds, The_ICP 3-bets, MP2 folds, MP3 calls, CO calls.

Turn: (8 BB) 9s (3 players)

The_ICP bets
, MP3 calls, CO calls.

River: (11 BB) 4s (3 players)

The_ICP bets
, MP3 raises, CO folds, The_ICP 3-bets, MP3 caps, The_ICP calls.

Final Pot: 19 BB
Main Pot: 19 BB, between MP3 and The_ICP. >

The_ICP shows 4c 6h (full house, fours full of sixes).
MP3 shows Qs As (flush, ace high).
Outcome: The_ICP wins 19 BB.

64o. There's no possible way anyone could have put me on that hand. Two words: Cha and Ching. Next hand, please.

Party Poker 0.50/1 Hold'em (9 handed)

Preflop: The_ICP is SB with 4d, Ad.
UTG calls, UTG+1 calls, MP1 calls, 1 fold, MP3 calls, CO calls, 1 fold, The_ICP completes, BB checks,

Flop: (7 SB) 9h, As, 4c (7 players)

The_ICP bets
, BB folds, UTG raises, UTG+1 folds, MP1 folds, MP3 calls, CO calls, The_ICP 3-bets, UTG caps, MP3 folds, CO calls, The_ICP calls.

Turn: (10.50 BB) 3s (3 players)

The_ICP bets
, UTG calls, CO calls.

River: (13.50 BB) Ah (3 players)

The_ICP bets
, UTG raises, CO folds, The_ICP 3-bets, UTG calls.

Final Pot: 19.50 BB
Main Pot: 19.50 BB, between UTG and The_ICP. >

UTG shows 4h 4s (full house, fours full of aces).
The_ICP shows 4d Ad (full house, aces full of fours).
Outcome: The_ICP wins 19.50 BB.

Now, that sucks. And I can honestly say I know exactly how this guy feels, because not 5 minutes later, this happens:

Party Poker 0.50/1 Hold'em (10 handed)

Preflop: The_ICP is MP1 with 8d, 8h.
1 fold, UTG+1 calls, 1 fold, The_ICP calls, MP2 raises, 4 folds, BB calls, UTG+1 bets $1.17 (All-In), The_ICP calls, MP2 calls, BB calls.

Flop: (9.86 SB) 9d, 8s, Qc (4 players, 1 all-in)
BB checks, The_ICP bets, MP2 raises, BB folds, The_ICP 3-bets, MP2 calls.

Turn: (7.93 BB) Kh (3 players, 1 all-in)

The_ICP bets
, MP2 raises, The_ICP 3-bets, MP2 caps, The_ICP calls.

River: (15.93 BB) Qd (3 players, 1 all-in)

The_ICP bets
, MP2 raises, The_ICP 3-bets, MP2 caps, The_ICP calls.

Final Pot: 23.93 BB
Main Pot: 4.93 BB, between UTG+1, The_ICP and MP2. > Pot 2: 19 BB, between The_ICP and MP2. >

UTG+1 shows 8c 6c (two pair, queens and eights).
The_ICP shows 8d 8h (full house, eights full of queens).
MP2 shows Qs Kd (full house, queens full of kings).
Outcome: MP2 wins 23.93 BB.

There's just no way to have avoided losing my ass to this pot. It was the hand MP2 was hoping I had, and I did. Never even considered KQo. That one hurt big. As a result, what could have been an incredible night turned out to post up a meager $2.33 profit. But after a shellacking like that, I'm just glad to be walking away even. Insane.

Thursday, July 08, 2004


You know, there has been much writing lately about how if you're not playing on Party Poker, you're just missing out on the best things in life.

I can't tell you how true that is.

I'm here to tell you, at least on the 50/1 level, I am constantly amazed at the absolutely atrocious play I'm presented with. If you're not playing on Party, you need your head examined.

Today was one of those days where it paid to just stick with it. I "3-tabled" it today, and almost immediately I was in trouble. The cards had gone simply evil on me, giving me such heart breakers as a flopped set that would see a 4 flush on the board, or a pair of kings that gets sucked out on the river to some bizarre two pair. I was quickly down $30, but then finally a couple of hands held up and I clawed back to my buyin. Then it happened. I get the Men in the pocket, and flop the set with two callers. Turn is capped, and the river is capped and the Cowboys hold up for a monster pot. A rather good hand ensues about 15 minutes later on the second table to put my up around $8 there, and the table I was having the most problems with ended up back around even, so I called it a day and took my $16 profit, thrilled to be walking away with a win after such a rough start.

So far, I'm right where I should be on the BB/hr front, at around 2 and change. I'm trying to be more aggressive when I'm in a hand, especially against people that seem to want to try to bluff you out of pots (in 50/1! Oh the humanity!). I'm not crapping you, I had some Bozo three bet the turn trying to buy me out of a pot. What did he have? 48o for nothing at all against my TPTK hand with a flush draw. Glorious days indeed, and mind you, this is at 11:00 in the morning Central time, when the tables are supposed to be more challenging.

The month is still early, though. It will be interesting to see what transpires as the month drags on, but it does seem like the überfish are starting to swim back upstream to spawn, so this may shape up to be a very good month. If only I was playing the 2/4 tables.... Sigh.

Captain Cook's finally paid me. Actually, they were very pleasant about the whole thing, and though they promised the money on Monday and it actually showed up on Tuesday, I didn't have to "remind" them and I do have the cashish in the account now, so all is well. Now all I have to do is decide whether I want to dump that cash into the poker account or hold on to it for now. I was going to put in into the bankroll (since that's where it originally came from) but I'm on such a good run in 50/1 right now I don't know that I want to make the move up to 1/2 just yet. I do think I'm going to exceed the 300BB bankroll suggestion for the move up, as I will likely at least 3 table that level too. I'm thinking around $800 to $1000 as a good stepping up point. It's a very long way away at this rate, so I may well cave and make the occasional move up there. The other possibility is to replace one of the 50/1 tables I play with a 1/2 table. Anyone tried this before, and if so, does it seem like a decent idea, or should I avoid doing this?

More poker goodness tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Back In The Saddle

Well, after a nice, refreshing 3 weeks of not having to worry about pretty much anything, it's back to the grind, in more ways then one. Today is the first day back at work since the middle of last month. Strangely enough, I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove. I never really realized how burned out I was until I took this time off. Now that I've gotten my perspective back, I have come to realize how much I really do enjoy my work. It'll be good to get back into the swing of things.

I have, of course, also gotten back to playing some cards. After a good while off I have come to rediscover what it is about poker I enjoy too, though I do wish I could have played some cards in Florida. Alas, it didn't happen and it seems like, at least for the immediate future, there'll be no cards in Wisconsin, so if I want to get to a live table, my best bet is to head to Vegas. Since I work in the travel industry, that's not entirely out of the question, but air travel for standby passengers has gotten much more, ummm, interesting in the last few months, what with load factors firmly above the 90% mark. It was by sheer luck that my wife and I didn't get stranded in Washington D.C. on the 2nd trying to get back to Chicago. As it was, I couldn't get from Tampa direct to Chicago, so we had to go to Washington, and at that I had to ride in the cockpit as there weren't enough seats in back. I did manage a seat in back on the way from Dullas to Chicago, but given the guy I had to sit next to, I think I'd have rather been in the cockpit for that one also... Certainly anything is more comfortable then trying to fit both of our arms in the same little plot of space. I can't complain too much though, I guess. It got me back home.

So, Hurry up and get to Vegas so I can hang with someone, Grub!

I also need to get back to reading the blogs. I haven't been paying much attention in the last month as it's been completely insane around here. At that, the folks at work have apparently beefed up the Net Nanny, as I now can't get to half the friggin blogs. If any of you gurus have some ideas on how to circumvent this little problem, I'm all ears. I'm thinking a web based RSS reader might be a good thing, but I could use some direction on a decent one.

Thanks for reading, and sticking around during the thin posting time around here. It'll be back to business as usual here in the next few days, I promise.

Oh, and this just in. Ronald Reagan is still dead.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Reagan Still Dead, Nation Can't Get Over It...

Okay, folks. Reagan died like some 3 weeks ago. I loved the man, and he meant a lot to me, as he was the President in my "formitive years". I was truely sad when he died.

For about three days.

Come on, folks. He was 92 years old and had advanced Alzhiemers disease. He wasn't shot. He wasn't murdered. He wasn't beheaded by a bunch of idiots.

He died because it was his time to go.

So, someone please explain to me why, after three weeks, we can't see fit to raise the flag to the top of the fucking pole?!

People. This is a proud nation. Great men have lived and died for and in this nation. It is right to mourn the passing of great people and heros. It is also okay to move on.

So, let's move on, eh?

Thursday, July 01, 2004


It's a liberating feeling, not having to worry about anything.

Yes, your Intrepid Card Player is in the Sunshine State soaking up a whole bunch of whatever it is you Floridians soak up while you're down here, at about 1.76732 gazillion degrees. Sweet Baby Jesus is it warm around here. I figured I'd take a dip in the Gulf to cool off, except that the fooking Gulf's water temperature is presently 90 degrees! The bloody air temperature in Wisconsin hasn't hit 90 yet this year!

I love this place!

So now I'm trying to convince the Wife to go to the track and play some cards. She's not going for it, so I'm thinking this is going to be a pokerless trip for me. Bummus.

Also, It looks like Captain Cook's is going to fuck with me about my withdrawal. At least, that's what it looks like. I requested it on the 22nd of June, confirmed with them in email that they have the correct withdrawal information...

And since then I've heard precisely dick. An email was sent scant minutes ago, and I'll keep an eye on what they have to say about that. Bonus whoring has become significantly less amusing as a result of this.

Sorry for the apparent abandonment of my seven occasional google referenced readers. I haven't quit writing, I haven't quit playing, I've just, for this week, quit caring about anything.

Just like you're supposed to on vacation.