Monday, March 31, 2008


Well, chalk this one up officially as a failure. Took my last $3.25 and put it down on a 6 Max turbo NL hold-em sit and spin.

Doing okay, with 4 left to go, when I'm dealt AKo under the gun. A modest raise from the chip leader (by a little, we were all pretty even) and it was decision time. We were getting pretty late in the game, so it was getting expensive to sit it out, and AKo 4 handed is pretty damn good, right? I shove, she calls and turns over JQ offsuit, with the Queen of hearts. Flop hits my King and I figure I'm money, right? Nope. Two hearts on the flop and of course, she runner-runners fucking hearts to send me packing.

I remember when I used to be serious about this game, and shit like that would just drive me to drink. Of course, with the run of cards I've been having, you have to expect that some bullshit hand like that would be the death of me, but hey, what the hell, right? Can't be afraid to jump out of the plane just because your chute continually fails to open! I can just hear the tables calling me:

"c'mon! It'll be different this time! Your luck is turning around! I wouldn't lie to you 9 times in a row, fuckhead, would I?!"

So, I have enough free points to make another run at the WSOP 6 step program, though with my current card luck I think I'd just be pissing it away. Maybe I'll use my Frequent Player Points to buy a nice hat and call it a day or something.

Anyway, now I have to truly make a decision about whether I'm going to plug another fifty into the jukebox and have at it again. This last week has been pretty demoralizing, but I have distant memories of what it was like to win. I think I need to get some advice from those that play on Pokerstars on which games are the best. I'm thinking the full ring limits are probably pretty good, but I just find them mind-numbingly slow. I mean, logic dictates that I just sit back and play the premium hand grind at these low levels and eke out my 2BB/hr. Maybe it's time to see about multi-tabling the full ring limit games again. Clearly trying to "play the game" at this point is, well, pointless. I gotta go for the lowest variance play while I work the $50 buyin into something I can actually maneuver with. Perhaps it's time to buy another monitor and see about some 8 table goodness! Weee!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Runnin' With the Donkey

So, I'm down to my last $5 in the bankroll. Yes, folks. This attempt was a complete and utter failure, unless by some miracle I manage to hit a run of cards exactly opposite of the ones I've been getting the last week. I haven't seen a black hole of cards in a very long time, and all I can say is thank God this is happening now and not when I get up to some reasonable stakes.

The biggest problem with a horrible run of cards like this at this level is, there's no playing at people. You absolutely cannot make a move on someone because, well, they're complete tools. This, under most circumstances, is a gold mine just waiting to be plundered, but on the other hand, if you just can't seem to hit the ground falling over, you're gonna get your ass handed to you... Which is exactly what's been going on. I haven't re-installed poker tracker yet. Don't need it to analyze this wreckage. So, I'll need to consider whether I'm going to re-load and try again. This has been a pretty miserable run, and my enthusiasm to continue to get robbed like this is understandably low.

Oh well... Perhaps a little cocktail might help ease the sting of complete failure.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Well.. Didn't take long to start sliding.

I knew I was in trouble when I sat down at a $6.60 6 max NLHE sit and spin and was served up K5 3 times in the first 4 hands. I was dealt a parade of crap cards for pretty much the entire tournament and had a guy who clued in very quickly to that, so I was never in good shape. I managed to grapple my way to 3 way action (two spots pay), but I was in woeful chip position, with less then 700 chips. I make my way back to a survivable position, and come up with 88 on the button. I put out a decent raise and the SB re-raises. By this time I'm pretty pot committed, and I never play for 2nd place, so it was go time. I shove, he calls easily, having me covered 3 times over, and turns over KA suited.

I knew right away I was fucked and was already reaching for the "leave table" button when the King dropped on the flop. No help for the Klingon and I dance out on the bubble. Again.

So the bankroll is down to a tick over $40.. Well, $35 now.. Stupidly, I've sat down at a ring game, thinking by some miracle my cards might actually get better.

Silly me. My cards have worse aim then the A-Team. Once the roll gets to $25, I think I'm going to have to slide back to .25/.50.

And now that I've just gotten my top pair eaten by a set, I think I'm gonna make that move right now.

So, The ICP is officially in damage control mode.. Stay tuned. She's definitely going down by the head, but we might yet save the ship.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cuz I'm Free!!!! Free Rollin'!!!

"A wrong decision is better than indecision." - Tony Soprano Sr.

So, I'm sitting here yesterday bored out of my skull when I notice there is a $3000 NL Hold-em free roll. So I figure, what the Hell, and sign up. By the time the first cards flew, there was around 10,000 people signed up for the thing... Then I suddenly realized that this was a turbo event, so the blinds went up like every 3 minutes. At 10,000 people, this event turned from free-roll into a free-for-all very quickly. I found myself chipped up a decent amount early, but not nearly the amount I would need to be comfortable in a turbo situation, so the blinds and antes quickly caught up with me and I got run out at around 2500, well out of the money.. which started at $.30 from 1600 up to about 800 or so.. Free money, but too much work... Then I went off to the ring games and hooked in about $10.

It's funny, really. I mean, technically, I shouldn't be playing the $.50/$1 games, given the $70 or so I have in the bankroll right now, so this is really the dangerous part. If I recall from my Grinder 101 courses, one should have about 300 BB in the bankroll for the level you're playing. That means I should be sitting on a $300 bank to be playing the 50/1 action. At the current rate I'm playing, that's gonna be a long time. But the real stick is this. Using that logic, I'll need to have banked $600 to comfortably play the $1/$2 rings. So, if I went "by the book", I have to grind out another 530BB at this level. At an average earn rate of 2BB/hr, which should be easily attainable, that's 265 hours of play. If I played 2 hours a day, that's 132 days of grind. 19 weeks. IF I play 2 hours a day every day. Just to get to $1/$2 ring play.

The temptation to pad my bankroll with outside cash and push into the higher stakes is already starting to nag at me. Remember, I spent most of my last couple of years playing low limit, though at the end before I cashed and took a break I was regularly sitting $3/$6, but that was Party Poker, which was like sitting PokerStars $1/$2. God I miss the glory days of Party Poker. We were like mice in a cheese factory back in the day.

Patience is going to be the buzzword around here. The idea is to learn a little more while I'm doing this. Beyond that, I haven't really figured out the end game. When have I "officially" parlayed this into a "fortune". I have a vision in my mind of sitting down at the WSOP or other major tournaments, but that's not really definite bar where I get to and say "I've made it". Winning one of those tournaments obviously would put me over that bar. I just don't have any concept of when I can say "I've made it... I've made a fortune". Clearly I have time to ponder this as I grind away at mini limits!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Uh oh

Some days you just know it's coming.

Today was one of those days. I put in all of about 30 minutes on the tables today... And rolled up and smoked about 20% of my bankroll.

Really not much to say about it... Just wasn't happening for me today. The perfect storm of not quite completely shit cards but good enough for me to pay off people who had better hands. Ran through half my buyin on the .50/1 6 max limit table, so I decided (stupidly) to give a sit and go a shot, and was promptly hosed when my two pair of kings and aces got run over by the set of aces. Good times. So, As the song knows, ya gotta know when to run away. Off to go do something less productive!

See you tomorrow!

Monday, March 17, 2008

ICP Can't Hang

Greetings my two listeners!

So, in an effort to get back into the "swing" of things, I've sojourned off to the usual blogging haunts I remembered from my poker youth and did some reading. Looks like there's still a lot of good content out there, and the community looks to be going strong. I'm sort of kicking myself for fading away into the ether for as long as I did... Getting back to writing in this blog has reminded me how much I enjoy writing in this blog. Sort of like therapy, it's a good way to unload the thoughts in your head. As it is, I haven't had a lot of thoughts lately, which is good.

Not that things haven't completely changed in my life. M and I bought a new house, the chronicling of which can be found here. Now that we're living the cushy suburban life (well, almost.. To accomplish this on my income I had to move an hour away from work) we figured it was time to try again for a family expansion. After much work and effort, we're expecting our first, a little boy, in early August. So what little free time I have left is gonna be long gone for the next 18 years. Somehow I have to figure out how to shove a few more hours in each day.

That's about it, really.. As for poker, I'm really kind of pacing myself. I don't want to get to the situation where I was last time where I was playing so much that I completely burned out. Not only is that generally -EV from lack of playing, but it was really effecting the quality of my play. I would quickly get bored and start forcing issues. I tried to solve that problem by multi-tabling, but for me, it really was lowering the quality of my play, and I think it was leaving a lot of cash on the table... Hard to analyze a play on someone when two other tables need your attention! I think occasionally I'll go back to multi-tabling, but even at the paltry .50/1 tables I'm back to now, I seem to be able to make more in the long run playing a single table of 6 max. The advantage I'm finding is that the quality of play on the 6 max tables is WAY worse then on a 9 person table. The fish on these tables get VERY aggressive, which is good times for one who has patience.

Which is the theme song for this attempt at turning this $50 buyin into something. Patience. It's one word, and it's so hard to follow, but follow it I must. The temptation to make a run at higher limit tables is burning at me, though. My poker theory is several years out of date, having also not really taken the time to study the game in my nearly two year hiatus, but if memory serves, I should have a bigger bankroll before moving up. Right now I've moved the $50 buyin up to almost $78. Not mind-blowing progress, but it's in the right direction. I have to keep my eye on the project, which is to take $50 and see what happens, though at this point, it's sort of like watching a glacier move.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sinner's Swing!

Okay, okay... So I guess I might have given myself a bit too much stock in terms of my ability to make a run at the WSOP using only my frequent player points... Though it would have made a good story, the truth of the matter is I went down in flames at step 3 when I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar. I don't have the hand history in front of me, as I was playing this one on the laptop downstairs while watching Eddie Izzard standup. Not to say I was distracted... Indeed laughing at hilarious British comedy has a way of keeping me off tilt. I don't recall how the hand went down, exactly, but I do know that the table was laying down everything to the slightest aggression, so I was doing a bit of ramming and jamming but not making much headway since everyone was putting on a folding exhibition. I flopped top pair and fired a big bet, but was kindly called up by the monster stack. nothing hit on the turn, and the pot was bigger then my stack so I pushed, only to be insti-called buy the banker who rolled over the pocket overpair and I was history in 8th place.

So, I was a little over-aggressive, but it was a freeroll, so what the hell.. No guts, no air medal.

After that, sat down at another $6.60 6-max NL STT and scored a second, which basically doubles your money, then ran the rest of the show out playing good old $.50/$1 6 max turbo limit. I ran by $20 buy-in up to about $47 but then ran aground amongst a reef of shitty cards and got pounded down to a little over $30, for a +$10 score. Not too shabby for an hour of work at the mini-limits.

Off to visit friends in Wisconsin tomorrow and the next day, so I'll be invisible. I was toying with the idea of wearing my Bears jersey up there to poke fun at the mourning masses in light of the "end of civilization as we know it", but then I realized even with the departure of the Most Holy and Apostolic QB, the Packers are still 3 times more likely then the Bears and Lovie "Rex Grossman Is Our Quarterback" Smith is to even see football past the regular season this year. I was all ready to turn into a Green Bay Koolaid drinker but now suddenly the Pack are in a rebuilding year too... Oh well.. Go Rush.

My line on the Bears next year, 7-9,IF Grossman gets hurt early. And the defense and special teams will be directly responsible for a majority of those wins.

Wait.. I just realized. Mohammed? Gone. Barrien, Gone. So, who do we have to catch the football in the rare instance Rex actually THROWS the ball to someone with a orange "C" on the helmet? Devin Hester, who can do magical things with a ball that is kicked to him in the open field, but can't seem to run a pattern to save his life, and Mark Bradley, who still doesn't really know what an NFL football feels like in his hands.

Not that it all matters. Once the D gets in Rex's face, he completely loses focus and starts spraying footballs all over the place like Scarface and his "Leetel Friend"...

I guess you could say, I'm not looking forward to next football season.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Incredible Lightness of Being On The Button

Somewhat like Elvis, I'm not dead, I'm just on vacation.. A long, long vacation! Like all vacations, though, they come to an end, and so it is... The Intrepid Card Player is again poking his toe back into the pool to see if it is still full of nice tasty fish!

Actually, I've been back in the micro-limit action for a little over three weeks, and again, I have embarked on the journey to parlay $50 into a fortune. In a way, we've come full circle! What started so many years ago as a fun experiment wound up with me meeting many good friends, having an excellent time and, though I didn't really parlay a "fortune" out of my $50, I did manage to scrape up a decent coin. If I had had the discipline to not occasionally plunder my poker account for cash, I probably would have made it out of low limit land. I'd like to say my discipline will be a bit better this time around, however, I've already planned to pickpocket my account should I make headway, as I'm planning a trip to Vegas in the middle of May... A trip that will see me both playing a bunch of poker and sweating a close friend of mine who also has gotten into the scene and is turning into a pretty good player. So I guess really I'm not so much robbing my account but rather cashing some of it for some live action.. The stitch comes in whether I actually re-deposit it when I get back... We shall see.

I have noticed some pretty significant changes in the scene since I was last involved, some 500 days or so ago. Biggest of these was of course the legislation that basically screwed many U.S. online players. My favorite place to pick off fish, Party Poker, immediately ran for the hills. Luckily, not all virtual poker houses have wimped out. I've found a new home at Pokerstars. Though the players there generally are a little more knowledgeable and skillful, there are still plenty of cash stations logging on and donating to the cause! In a way, it's good that the players are better... First off, it helps to be able to actually improve my game in the event I actually DO get out of the low limits and into some actual cash generation, and second, it makes victories just that much more sweet.

Most of the friends I have met previously are still out there! Some have taken their poker to new levels, others are still very active, and some have just simply faded into the ether, with one that basically went out with a big Foxtrot Uniform to the community. This blog, until now, was one of the ones that seemed to just fade away... Let's see if anyone notices I've stirred back to life, eh?

Anyway, in addition to haunting the .50/1 limit hold-em tables, I've also discovered the $6.60 NL Holdem 6 Max tables. These pay roughly $27 for first, and I've found that it's relatively easy to score on these. The players are a bit better then the old $5+$1 PartyPoker NL tourney specials, but most of them are the tight/aggressive types and are rather predictable.

I also discovered that they have a "6 step tourney" for qualification to the WSOP. Entry for level 1 is 500 frequent player points. I found that I had a little over 700 points that were doing me no good, so I figured I'd take a run at it. For the first two levels, the 1st and 2nd place prize is a ticket to the next step, and I have managed to score the next step in the last two events, so now I'm at level 3, which I may play later on today.

So, back to work!