Thursday, April 30, 2009

Wednesday continued...

In the cash game I took my $220 buy-in to $500 quickly. Got bluffed off a hand (not the last time it would happen on wednesday) to a guy I played with in the tournament. The few hands I saw him play there he bet big only when he made his hand, so I chose caution. I showed my terrible laydown and he showed my a gutter ball draw he shoved on the turn with. Then the very next hand I flopped a king high flush. Bet it twice with two callers each time. River brought a heart, and I couldn't fold (still sort of steaming from the bluff) to an 80 bet. Even though I knew I was beat. I don't just get bluffed the hand before I might be able to lay second nuts down. The guy had the HAND, it was like he it was written in neon on his head.

Then in short order I took my chips up to $900. The big hand to get there I luckboxed a win. With AQ, I flop trip queens. On the river, after calling two bets from a very good player I hit my ace. He checked. I bet most of his stack, he shoved, I showed AQ and he showed pocket 5s having flopped the boat. He had $8 more than me but gifted it to the casino because he was out the door when he saw I rivered him. I feel his pain. The ace doesn't come I don't know if I check behind.

Shortly thereafter, I requested twice to get the Champions League game on TV and it was like I was asking for them to change the name of to the casino. Nobody was watching ESPNews rehash the draft results of the Raiders for the 4 billionth time. Davey and Eddie quickly petitioned the casino to not change the channel because it was soccer. By the time Ronald came over to oblige me the game was about over. As I would have predicted Man U was up 1-0. I think I should be a soccer prognosticator, either I'm running on dumb luck and an uptick in variance or I can predict those games far better than American Sports. Maybe next year my lock of the week sports betting picks will be for EPL and Champions League games. Somebody should profit off my skills.

Later the big hand of the day, which reinforced a lesson I'm slow to learn. As Alex T told me, i just value money too much. A lot of truth in that, as I did something similar when he chopped a tournament (or cashed) at the IP and I was playing cash as I did today. Odd, the situations were very similar.

Davey and I were talking about grabbing dinner, but there was one incredibly weak player who had luckboxed his way into a big stack. We each had a ton of money and were looking to get involved in a big hand with the guy when he'd make a mistake. Only one or two eye exhanges told us we were on the same page he was our target. Most of his weakness was calling any bet with any draw to the river and then hitting it (hence the chips). He'd also call with no draw and river a pair for a win. Yeah, he was a big target.

I thought I had him one time when my open-ended straight draw turned into a pair of 10s on the river (top pair). I checked, he led out with a big bet. I contemplated re-raising him. Then decided it was flat or fold. I put him in cooker for a little bit, trying to get something for later. He seemed at ease. I called. He showed bottome pair (5s) that became two pair with his 10 on the river. His 10-5 (two pair). Beat my 10-4 (one pair). But now, I thought I had a read on him. BTW, I started the hand in the blinds, 10-4 isn't in my wheelhouse very often. And did you see where I said, I thought I got a read on him. Shouldn't be missed because...

Umm... no.

Here's the hand I trapped myself in. To start I made a play that was risky, but I was using my stack a little bit and it almost worked out. I believe the target straddled, everybody called, one short stack in early positon I could tell was considering raising but didn't it got to me in the hi-jack. I look at pocket 10s. I'm about to raise and I see a short stack in the small blind fiddling with his stack. Alright, I'll flat, let him shove maybe get some callers and then pound it with my 10s to isolate with probably the best hand.

Now, I don't remember who made it 15 more. It might have been the short stack or the target. I'm fairly sure it was the short-stack. The other short stack mulled again and flatted. Oh well, I think the shorties are now pot committed. Everybody calls. It gets to me and I make it 100 on top. I think I have the best hand and I'll isolate the two little stacks. That was the plan.

First short stack with about 50 or 60 something calls all in. Nice.

Then the target (who wasn't the target in this hand) says something I didn't pay enough attention to later, "I'll gamble." He throws out the $100. That wasn't in the plan. But alright, I'll play a big hand with him. Bonus.

The other short-stack has about 75 of it and shoves.

Flop comes Q98. I got second pair and a straight draw. Target leads out for $100. To his credit, he let out a little smile like he hit his hand, maybe knowing I was studying him. It appeared incidental but I wasn't sure. It was a little more obvious than an micro-expression but it was close to one (micro-expression being something FBI lie detectors look for where an initial reaction is incredibly brief but honest--even skilled liars and actors emit micro-expressions but they are tough to catch). Again, the fact it was just a little bit too obvious made me doubt the
reliabilty of it. But good play for him, because it got me thinking. I wish he kept the smile a little longer and I would have thought STRONG MEANS WEAK, but it was short enough to make me doubt.

So, I call the $100. Basically, I either have the best hand or I may let go on the turn depending on the action... but I wasn't leaving this pot for $100. The turn is a jack. My gutterball hit.

He surprises me by checking... I was ready to shove over the top. I bet out $175 (as I discussed with Parfait a bad bet size there). In the moment, I felt like I wanted him to push on me, but as they say "Don't let others bet your hand." He calls. Hmmm.

River is another jack. He contemplates than shoves. Argh. I almost just say call but it's another ~$350 and decide to take my time. I'm a big believer in playing through the hand and being sure (probably a mistake here). I say "I don't think i'm good enough to lay this down." No reaction from him. I say, "If I had shoved on the turn would you call." Can't recall what he said, but Davey confirmed the guy said he would have called anything on the turn. Hmmm. Strong means weak.

How could I be beat here? Pocket queens. No way he plays them that soft. QJ? Aiee. That fits the fact pattern. So does J9 or J10. Maybe K10 or Q10 but not really, I got two of the 10s too. I ask if he has pocket 9s. He says "I have better." STRONG MEANS WEAK! Somehow my alledged people reading skills whiff on that one. As Davey points out sets need to protect their hands and he might shove the turn. I agree but I don't always credit bad players for making the correct play earlier in the hand, but most of the time that's exactly right with the board getting scary.

I ask the dealer if I can show him a card. I turn over one of my tens. I GET NOTHING. Actually, he faces me the exact same way when I put him in the tank earlier and put into the vault. Almost identical. Plus, this call station rarely bet out except when he had a hand. I kept getting the feeling I should call, but I was all over the place on where I was in the hand. I stew and study him and get nothing...

Here in my self-reflection, and considering how badly I played this hand (and I'm almost embarrassed to post this for fear of ridicule), the simple answer is the pot dictates a call. I'm getting almost 4 to 1 on my money. Call. I just have to be right 1 time out of three in this situation and I profit long run. The rest of the reads and all the little things I look for in live poker don't apply so much here. Sorry for wasting your time with the last four paragraphs. Plus, it wasn't overwhelming one way or the other.

Recently, I went through a run where a paired board on the river beat me in 5 or 6 hands running and I called because I knew I was supposed to call. It made me gunshy (a terrible place to be in poker). That was running through my head. Like a weak-passive player I talk myself into believe he's got the better hand.

Then I do a terrible thing. I look at my stack in front of me. I got my buy-in for the tournament, my initial buy-in for the game, and a profit. If I fold I still am winning on the day. Why that's relevant for any reason but me being an farking kittycat I don't know. Even more relevant is I still got the guy covered and will have enough left over that I don't have to make a full rebuy. I was wiling to lose two buy-ins on the day... so why not call.

Yes, I'm Hamlet, even worse a vacillating kitty cat, who looked for excuses to fold and I found plenty of them. I can rationalize them all i wanted but I ignored what was directly in front of me. No way, i should get away from that hand.

Yes, I folded.

He showed K9 for a pair of 9s. AQ was flipped the second short stack. Who I'm stunned didn't premept me with a shove preflop took the main pot. Target obviously raked the much bigger side pot.

I got up steamed. Walked around for a bit. Came back to the table and cashed out with a profit on the day. Some people were nice enough to encourage me to focus on a winning session and I appreciate that. That's probably what I needed to hear yesterday. But a day out, I need to learn from my mistake. I think a call on the river, and more importantly a bigger bet on the turn (marrying me even more to the hand), were better plays.

Not only that, you can go through my fact pattern, and I included a lot of things in there, some I didn't even point out, that dictate a call with maybe even a lesser hand.

Being a "read" player is good for making medium size hero calls, or playing a short stack, but I have to be willing to make BIG calls as a read player--if I am one. In the absence of being certain... I need to just rely on math dictated decisions. Go back to what Alex T, I value money too much. Some truth to that in this decision.

There was information there dictating a call. I chose to focus on the pattern that suggested a fold. The guy had a good poker face, Davey was next to him and might have caught things I missed as I stared at the table and replayed all the bets and hands, but when my eyes were on him he played it well. Still, there was not enough to throw it away.

Anyway, lesson learned. Every day is a new day. Yesterday was a profit, back to the office later today I'll make another one. I won't chase the massive pot I whiffed on.

But next time, I'm in that situation the chips are going in. I don't thinking I'm being results oriented about the decision either. Sure, I could have pointed to all the little things that I "read" on the guy and beat myself up for calling if he had me beat. But, I think a call is the right play there win or lose.

Not to say, I won't get bluffed again or desert my reads in big decisions, but this was a case of mixed information. Therefore call.

Man.... I just reread this, what a whiny kittycat. My apologies to anybody that made it through my mundane self psycho-analysis.

Good luck everybody.

Lesson Learned

My buddy came in from New York on Tuesday. We played the am Harrahs tournament and saw Gene D, Davey and Alex T there. Alex chopped it with 7 players left. Nice 1k profit for him.

I don't even remember my hands from the day. I know I got AA once and a guy bluffed into me. I came over the top thinking I had trapped him and he insta-mucked. Damn. Hand I love to get value on early or just bust out with it. Not to be. If I flatted, he might have shoved on the turn. Board was fairly nonthreatening with straightish cards being my only worry but I didn't really give him credit for that... so bad play on me.

I got AK, hit my king and got two folds after the flop, for little.

My bust out hand after being card dead came when I was short on the button, featured Davey in the BB. A guy who had been mixing it up with him bet UTG and almost everybody called to me. I look at pocket 7s. I shoved and everybody folded, UTG insta-mucked which I was worried about, but part of me wanted him to shove with a hand like AQ and protect me, so I just had to sweat out a few other players.

A guy in late position stewed for a while. He called with pocket 8s. Even if he put me on Aces he was getting about the right price to call, since I was so short. With just me to beat and the guy after him telegraphing his fold he made the right decision. He flopped a full house. I hit mine on the river.

Eddie ran his pocket Jacks into pocket 10s in the tournament and a 10 hit the river.

Gene and Davey got into a big early hand (blinds 25 25) that I wanted to comment on. I believe this is what went down getting pieces from both players. Gene limped. Davey made it 5x. One guy called and Gene threw a $100 out there. He only had q6 suited. Had to put out $100 to win $300. Flop brought two spades (i think). Davey bet $700, other guy called. Gene had to call $700 to win $1800. He did.

Turn brought a Queen. Davey made a big raise. Other guy called. Gene followed suit. River was a spade. Gene made a smallish bet with his flush and Davey laid down pocket Kings.

If I remember or accurately put together this hand correctly, and I probably didn't, beside Gene's loose limp, I don't think he did too much wrong. Let's go with this fact statement as accurate, if it's wrong I reserve the right to change my opinion (obviously).

Gene said he was going to play a lot of early pots and try and hit early or go home. With that strategy that's exactly the kind result he's looking for. Davey's just too good a player to play back at him with pocket kings on the river. So, his opponent selection might cut down on his implied odds value when he did hit his hand. Thing is probably 7 or 8 other players at the table would double Gene up with Kings.

I disagree with Gene on strategy for a 5k chip tournament and don't play much too small ball early on out of position (course FullTilt strategy guide with a smallball player--Gavin Smith maybe wrote he could care less about position with that strategy... though I do take bigger/different risks at different points than I would in a deeper stack tournament. Personally, I think there are enough bad players to exploit to mix it up with a limp UTG with Q6. So no, I wouldn't explore with q6 suited utg... but that's a matter of preference I won't say it's necessary right vs. wrong.

I hope they blog about the hand because I would like to see their opinions on the hand. If my facts are incorrect, I'd like to see the bets sizes and actions to re-evaluate. At first blush, I thought Q6 under the gun was just a mistake, but when Gene told me he was playing to see a lot of flops cheaply and the caller in between kept giving him near the right price, I can see his viewpoint.

Okay, I basically said I was neutral about that hand, in my next post I am going to blog about a terrible hand I played. Essentially, I basically need a refresher course on how to play poker.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rivers Delivers

Wow, what a fiasco. Joan Rivers rips poker players a new one. Check out the 2:31 mark.

Annie Duke doesn't a "AWESOME" job of defending herself and the community.

Some other highlights. Rivers said "Duke is a size six. She wears six garments. 6-6-6." Brandi Roderick tried to conjugate forego and got foregoo-ed. That's goo. Not gone. Goo.

By the way, this show delivers. I can't believe they ever considered having an Apprentice without Celebrities. The egos these people clash into one another like bumper cars makes for TV that is like the groin shot section of America's Funniest Videos for male watchers. It's like a pained, I can't stop watching compulsion. It's funny and at the same time terrible.

Let's see in the latest episode there were exactly zero people to root for. Maybe David Lee. Jim Cramer was a guest host and fresh off of caving in like a West Virginia mine on the Daily Show he attacked Brandi Roderick for being spineless. When she showed the tiniest bit of emotion, he looked overwhelmed and no longer wanted to fire her.

Ivanka Trump folded to Brandi's superficial compliment that she could understand what it's like to be beautiful in a joking manner. Reality is... she wasn't joking. Trump makes no pretense that he uses a set rationale for firing people and didn't this time either. So no hero there.

Clint Black isn't liked by anybody, and though he doesn't seem like that much of an ahole he must be for everybody to loathe him. Jesse James normally the everyman acted like a 5 year old when his idea wasn't used and just taunted his teammate for at the 11th hour for his impending knock-out (which didn't happen).

Joan and Melissa Rivers went bat-shit crazy as seen above. They did get one thing right and that's Brandi Roderick being a pawn to Annie's plan. The odd thing is Brandi seems just fine with being said pawn. So, can't root for a lackey. That leaves nobody.

Well, maybe David Lee. And Trump's secretary they seemed moderately likable.

Oh yeah, Pokerati has a good point, Rivers ire at poker players seems like a woman scorned. 40 years ago? Did Doyle Brunson have a role in that? Hmmm... Makes sense. Wonder if he taught her anything useful like texas hold'em rules before he dumped her?

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Life on Tape Delay

Alright maybe not tape delay the stuff that matters, though it would be nice if I could TiVo some of these tournaments I play in and fast forward to the end to see how I fared. Would make patience easier huh? Though it's not the destination it's the journey, the trite quote that rattles around my skull when I've been card dead in a large Multi-table tournament and I feel boredom onset.

Maybe it's my background in soccer where they will be long spells of inactivity (especially as the up striker or goalkeeper), where as a really young kid, my attention would be diverted to a buzzing bee or the soccer moms on the sideline, but as I got older I'd stay focused knowing that in that sport suddenly there would be a spurt of action that would determine the outcome of the game. You don't know when it's going to come but you have to be ready when it does. That's tournament poker (okay deep stack tournament poker).

Alright, that's a typical tangent for me. I'll stay on soccer for another paragraph or two, honest player skip ahead. After touting the EPL and Champions Leagues a few weeks ago, I've sinced watched two of the better games I've ever seen. Liverpool involved in both (vs. Chelsea in the Champions League 4-4 with so many twists and turns, bad beats, and hero plays you'd think you were watching a final table of the top ten LAGs in the world, and vs. Arsenal in the Premier League again a 4-4 scoreline). Not quite the trick plays of say Boise State-Oklahoma or the Cinderella winning, but pretty comparable in terms of late game heroics.

If had taken 5 of my friends that hate soccer and got them to put a bet on either side I guarantee you they would have discovered a newfound appreciation for the sport and maybe even try it again without a wager (though they'd never admit it). Oh yeah, and Man U, F that lot, they pull victory out of the jaws of defeat time after time these last two weeks. It's crazy. This week down 2-0 halfway through the second half they win 5-2. I just need them to lose one game before the end of the season and though they tease me every week, they don't capitulate.

Okay back to tape delay. I got Celebrity Apprentice cued up for watching and will write up a post about Rivers who Delivers as soon as I do. Watching out Annie Duke because apparently Rivers trashing all of pokerdom again. I watch high stakes poker on the internet and I'm waiting for it to post to YouTube--so again, I'm on a tape delay holding pattern.

Last night I watched Quantam of Solace. Much better than all the bad reviews that panned it. Daniel Craig is a mix of Sean Connery and Steve McQueen. While not losing to a one outer straight flush (like McQueen did in the Cincinnati Kid) the first Bond movie Casino Royale's poker had I believe a hand like this:

Anyway, the terrible poker narrative in Casino Royale made me not appreciate the rest of the movie. Oddly, without it in QofS I appreciated Craig's more brutish Bond and the wannabe Bourne action a lot better. As this was essentially the second half to Casino Royale, I had forgotten many of the dangling plot-lines and just what happened in the first (maybe that was a good thing) so I didn't bother trying to immerse myself in the storyarc and enjoyed the action. Might watch Casino Royale and fast foward through the poker again.

My friend arrives tomorrow for Jazzfest and our usual poker binge we engage in whenever he's in town. That's really why I haven't played much the last week and a half, just prepping myself for the long week ahead. I'm mad, I keep missing Tex at Harrahs so hopefully, I'll see him this week. (Tex?) Last go around my out of town friend cashed in four straight tournaments playing pseudo-nit and I had exactly zero results.

He also exploited my softness for him on the cash tables. I didn't want to see him get roughed up, because he's a little wet behind the ears in terms of live poker, mostly playing home games, and sure enough the guy attacked me in pots. Plenty of other money on the table, I'd think as I laid down. If not for his affinity for roulette, he would have left a big time winner. Instead he left a moderate winner.

I don't know if he sits down to play online roulette though he does play online poker, but I don't think he quite gets the strategy behind online roulette or live roulette. I would think it's to win and not take huge chances. He seems to think it's to hit a one outer for a 30x profit. So this week, I'm going to do my best to keep him drifting from his profit center (the poker rooms) to his leaks (anywhere else in the casino).

We'll see as he also plans on playing some poker on my computer. If he decides to play roulette online it'll be hard for him to hide it from me. Might just record his sessions, and watch on tape delay his results. Course, if he decides to peruse some objectional sites while gambling, not sure I want to know about it.

So, my wife knows that for the next 7 days I'm about to check out, for the most part, and in effect my real life is going to be on tape delay. The latest round of activity from the thing in her belly kicking or punching, her expletives about me putting her in the position she's in, and all things baby will be picked up again next week.

Right now, the name we have selected for our boy is a family name, something I've wanted to name a son since I first thought about it years ago, and sure enough it's become the trendiest of the trendiest names--like overnight. Skyrocketing in popularity. I'm so aggravated. The second name, something I've been saving for my second son (I get the boys names... wifie gets the girls names) is Dean Smith xxx. On the Heels of another Tar Heel championship, I might have to use that one a little earlier.

Then a part of me, is like who cares if a name is trendy. I've had the name on deck for years, I should use it. Oh well. Anyway, I'm sure we'll get back to these type of mundane conversations next week. So for now, my entire life is about to go to tape delay. Wish me luck.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A little bit of Everything

Played in the weekly at Harrahs. Survived half the field only playing a hand or two. Flopped a flush and got 80% of my chips to double up. Guy who flopped a set of Jacks bet into me after I checked. I called. The turn was a brick. I checked raised. On the river I bet most of my remaining stack and he called. When he showed the set I thought I lost some value on the hand.

Played with Alex T. when I got moved. I decided to try and take down some blinds or play somebody heads up with A9 suited from late middle position. Alex had about three times my bet and shoved.

He almost talked me into the hand. He said, "It's the best hand I've had all day." I decided to fold, I'd pick my fights with any of the weak spots on the table and I didn't really want to bust him. I remember a guy who I had played with a couple of days in a row in Tunica had a ton of chips and he asked me if I wanted him to double me up. I think I made two pair on a flop that was draw heavy. I didn't reply.

He called and actually went runner-runner for a high two pair. He tried to buddy up to me afterwards as though he made the play for my sake. If I knock out anybody it's for my sake. If they have the nuts on the river and I think they do, I'm not going to call. If he did it on the river with no cards to come, maybe. Poker ain't a team sport.

That being said, while I might have called other players with A9 suited, Alex's range is a little tighter. Could be dominated by A10. And I didn't need to pick on him. No, good deed goes unpunished.

Later, and for the fourth time that day, I get 3 better all in by somebody else. Perhaps, inspired by me folding to Alex he got his dander up. This guy to me looked agitated last time I bet big taking his other limps on my big blind and I kind of anticipated a shove if I raised him. I had a vulnerable AQ which I knew was probably the best hand. At this point, though I probably should have shoved.

I raised and he insta-shoved with the speed of a bluff. I called and he turned over KJ. Turn was a King and that was all she wrote. At the time I thought I played pretty well, but in retrospect, I had played to fast preflop and not well enough post-flop. Running good there, I take chances early, and try to capitalize on mistakes after the flop. I did the first part but not the second.

Read a crazy, crazy article on ESPN: about a guy, Lenny Dykstra that used to be one of my favorite baseball players. I recall watching an HBO Sports show touting his skills as an investmest banker, but also suggested there was more to it than meets the eye. Especially, as Lenny in his interview came off any thing but... what he portrayed himself to be.

Guess what... looks like he's as crooked and maybe as dumb as the come. The only ones dumber are the people that keep signing up to do deals with the guy.

Saw the high-stakes poker update, and read a review here. It mentions some other prop bets I hadn't hear about because Antonio Esfandiari won a grand for doing 35 pushups on the show.

Shannon Shorr is still alive in the WPT. Pulling for the guy to get it done. Will be following that action pretty hard.

Michael Phelps is changing his stroke. He's also dumping his Vegas cocktail waitress to date Mrs. California. No word yet if he's still hanging out with online poker players and taking bong hits, or if bong hits inspired his stroke change.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Annie Duke is Hitler"

So sayeth Joan Rivers. Okay, she didn't call Annie Duke Hitler, but she did compare her behavior in the boardroom to Hitler at Buchenwald. Incidentally, oddly enough that behavior was... good (?)

Duke and Rivers traded barbs and shots in the boardroom, including the much teased, "She'd spit on the ground to drown her mother if it would get her a step forward." That was Joan to Annie. Annie to her credit remained composed and about as dignified as one could be when being compared to the architecht of the Holocaust.

Joan also continued to spit out the words "poker player" like it was an insult and explained Annie's alledged duplicitious behavior. So poker players you are in good company: Hitler.

Strangely enough, Melissa Rivers stood up for Mamma Duke, and said she wasn't a bad person and in fact is a great game player. The best or worst line of the night, depending on your perspective, might have been when Duke was busy patting herself on the back for being able to cook. While extolling her positives to Brandi Roderick, she also told the world and her watching children she gives a great BJ.

At the end of the day, Annie has an enemy for life. Joan Rivers is shown next week calling Brandi Roderick a dumb blond, and the tease is Rivers Delivers.

Okay... I'm hooked. This is delicious. Even without the understory about Duke selling poker or Rivers slamming it, this is high drama. Trump also knows a good thing when he sees it. He kept Rivers, her daughter who my opinion changes of her from moment to moment, and Duke around. I believe it could very well be a Joan Rivers vs. Annie Duke final. Sandra Bulluck's husband Jesse James has a great chance to be there based on merit so we'll see. He's probably a secret poker player because even if he doesn't know poker strategy he's got a good game plan.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Email gene d or I your shirt size. Our snail's pace in getting our swag made up has been helped considerably by a lot of talented people. We hope to have gear for the New Orleans event. Also, indicate your preference for hat color, sweatshirt color and or t-shirt color. Believe we are looking at red, black, dark grey.

Haven't placed an order or finalized anything yet, and not sure what exactly we are getting depending on costs, but let us know what you are interested in and we'll try to get that thing made.

Thanks guys and gals.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Recap of the Wednesday Action

Played in the Harrahs weekly and took 6th. Refreshing to play well after playing so badly at the Beau in their tournaments. Hopefully, my solid run of play at the weekly tournaments will bode well for the Circuit Event in May.

Some quick hands. Early on my King high flush ran into an Ace high flush. I just called on the river feeling I was beat. I was.

I got to play with my friend Alex T, who is back from Africa, and we only had one hand of note. I think I was in the bb with a limped pot. Board came out KJ8 (I had 8-6). I checked, mid position checked, Alex checked on the button. Turn was a king. Check, check, bet by Alex. I stewed for a while and called. I decided Alex would probably bet a king or jack on the button on the flop so I was either good or outkicked. We checked the river and he had 10 high.

I felt we both had a pretty good handle on our table and then they moved me.

There is a really good player, who I've seen in a pocket fives shirt before who had a ton of chips when I got moved to his table, that was two to my left. I looked down at 8c9c. I limped and he raised the pot. I took a chance and hit yatzee when the flop came out 6710 (two clubs too). I checked and he bet a little under half my stack.

I shoved and figured even some of his bluffs would be priced in to call because he couldn't put me on my hand. I'm glad I did, because he called with a gut-shot and an overcard, and the turn would have brought a scary club (that improved my holding) but it might have made him pitch his hand had I just called. I got basically reallly lucky there and that was a turning point in the tournament for me.

Later I looked down at pocket rockets and limped. A girl who was short-stacked shoved over the top (good). It got to the small blind who stewed forever and flatted. The shove was about half my stack, so I came over the top again thinking the SB was pot commited. After some deep thought he folded and announced he knew I had aces. They held. I heard him grousing. I don't think he liked the play.

I later called a player on a double-paired board with A high. He bet every street and bet almost enough to make me go away. I was happy with that play. I just trusted my gut. Big pot.

I was unhappy, when I lacked the balls when we got down to two tables when my bluff detector was going through the same process. My opponent bet out 10k and I was going to call with third pair, he either had the nuts and checked it to the river or was on an empty bluff.

Bluff made sense, I asked if he had a straight and he gave a sheepish smile. I was a little rusty. I folded when I should have thrown it in with certainity. Big tell there. I showed my third pair and he showed me garbage. This bit me in the ass as he turned that large pot into a stockpile of chips. Had I won that I won have entered the final table with over 100k.

Me and garbage boy turned down a chop, early. We lost four players and this funny hand happened. Garbage boy who had announced he was the worst player at the table but he didn't want to chop because if he won his wife was going to dye her hair black. Be like getting a new girlfriend. He was in the big blind. Blinds were 3 and 6k. Small blind or button shoved an unopened pot on him for 40k or so.

He says "I'm getting three to one." Hmm. 12k on blinds and antes, 40K+ on the shove. Not sure that math is right. In retrospect, he must have thought the guy said 14k. Though with all the big chips that were thrown out it's hard to believe. So the rookie calls with "5... 2." He rivers a flush.

At that point I'm treading very carefully. Blinds get to 10-20k and I'm ready to chop, rookie is not. If only, I had called that 10k bet earlier...

Then I run my AQ into Q10. River 10. Later A3 vs. J10. River 10.

Can't complain. It was nice, to get back on track making correct decisions. I also made some big calls trusting my gut which is all the harder to do when you've been running bad in tournament play. Also, got enough early luck, like flopping a straight, and getting somebody to make a move on me when limping with the rockets, to be able to go deep.

I took two or three earlier bad beats and readjusted and kept my head in it. Very happy with that. Countdown to the Circuit Event is just a couple of weeks away. Time to brush up on my poker strategy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

So Much to Say...

Actually not really... Lots of random thoughts.

Today's picture isn't quite Ivanka Trump, but it's still worth a long look. Instead of a carefully coifed billionairess it's a cosmic hand.

See it reaching for the light. It's real, no some movie special effect. It's just this big hand in space reaching through the heavens. Maybe it's God containing an outburst of hell. Maybe it's the invisible hand at work on our economy (bettet get busy). Maybe it's Odin scooping a pot from the trickster Loki. Who knows. It happened 17,000 years ago and the light is only just now getting here for us to see it.

Speaking of pretty pictures the Honest Player and the Southpaw Rounder have gotten us a couple of logos. I like what we see so far. I dare say we might just have some gear to hand out when poker comes home to the New Orleans Circuit Event. This day is long in coming.

Maybe I should have bullet pointed this randomness.

Watched High-Stakes Poker it was good. There is a write up of a hand where Phil Laak schools Sam Simon badly. Read it Here.

Watched Celebrity Apprentice... wrote about it below.

Wicked Chops makes an interesting connection. A. Dikshit pays off the U.S. Government. PartyGaming pays off the U.S. government. WSOP/Harrahs hires a former PartyGaming CEO to oversee their website. As they said.... Hmmmmmm...

The SCOOP concluded. PokerKing has a good write up here.

Did my taxes. Don't need an extension. I'm in the minority. Sent if off certified mail. Read a tale about a couple that sent it certified mail to the IRS instead of their accountant and regreted it. Don't have the link.

Wonder where NioNio went to? You know the infamous superuser. Who was that guy anyway. Has he shown up in a polish zoo?

Haven't talked too much about poker have I. Hmmm... my bad. Tomorrow I'm going to the casino. I will not be playing blackjack. I will be playing the weekly poker tournament. I have played some online recently that's online poker not online blackjack. I have yet to play online blackjack, but when I do play blackjack online, I will do it here. That wasn't really about poker at all was it? Just some random verbiage about online blackjack. The invisible cosmic hand at work again... trying to scoop a pot.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Your Video Did Really Suck, Clint, By the Way

That's what Annie Duke said to Clint Black in the opening of the show. She starts the episode off with a bang and you know she's not pulling her punches.
Welcome back to the Not Quite Weekly Even Though It's a Weekly TV Show Celebrity Apprentice Annie Duke the Face of Poker Wrap-up, Annie later says "In poker it's very interesting, you have people who play to last and people who play to win." This was quickly challenged by Ivanka who points out that Duke clearly thought her strategy has been to avoid being a project manager and not really put her head on the chopping block. Yes, Ivanka (as pictured) was cracking the whip a little bit.
The truth is Duke has been doing just that, but the comparison to tournament poker strategy continues. Perhaps, you could analogize it as in the early levels of tournament play, there's no need to go broke, and it's only later that you should take great risks for great rewards. Annie, certainly regained center stage on the show, she constantly covered her ass, took small pot shots at every decision made and every decision not made, and played the game.
While poker players might appreciate her clear individual strategy to surviving, and winning, Celebrity Apprentice a casual fan is probably still regarding her as an Omarosa part II. Trying to not be a target on the show is ironically making her a large one to the viewers. Not only the viewers but also Joan Rivers.
When Annie refused to defend Melissa Rivers in the board room, with Joan Rivers watching, Joan went nuts. She called Duke a snake, two faced, liar and manipulator. "She would spit on the ground and drown her mother in it if it got her one step further in life" and"She bluffs, she lies cause that's what you do in poker. She's not an honorable person."
Dishonorable Annie and Joan have a mini-confrontation and though they left smiling there was still venom at hand. Sure enough both end up as project managers on rival teams. Teased for next week is Natalie Gulbis trying to wrangle some of Annie's rivals to raise some money for her team. Clever strategy. The name Phil Hellmuth gets bandied about. Course they both work for the same company Ultimate Bet so despite their rivalry it's probably most accurately described as friendly. We'll see next week though. Oh yeah, while smearing Annie and poker, Joan who is very middle America friendly see her tremeduous business on QVC remarked, that's a good idea "Minds that run in the gutter together think a like."
Yes, poker players are gutter-dogs, dishonorable snakes, liars and ne'er do wells. You could say there are better lights for the game to be portrayed in. Eric Lindgren would probably be a good choice next go round or the impish Negreanu.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ups and Downs

This past week at the Beau had its frustrations and its rewards. I saw some simply terrible, terrible play at the cash tables, and never got a run of cards to ruin the call stations. This is the kind of action I got to witness but just couldn't get a hand to exploit: I watched a board that ended up being double paired, three to a flush, get bet in all kinds of ways every street, three handed with only one folding on the river that was scooped by king high over jack high. Yeah.

Unless, a stu unger zombie rose up from the grave peeled the skin off a tractor salesman from Selma, wore it convincingly selling a drawl and sat dead-eyed staring at the Cincinati Kid getting his AHA "Take on Me" dip in reality in the body of an Asian Shrimper/Hip-Hop wanna-be, these guys weren't making Phil Ivy moves and seeing into the souls of their opponents and were just looking for excuses to get rid of their money.

Yet, they seemed to always get a real hand when I'd jump into the pot. Or if they didn't they'd get there by the end of it. So there was certainly money to be won. I won a little bit but not quite what I should of or could have.

In the tournaments, I'd say my play started at terrible and I maintained it. I give myself points for consistency only because I'm an optimist.

My gut was in tune, what organ my brain uses to listen to my gut, which can't be my ears because my gut wasn't rumbling, wasn't in tune. I'd feel beat and I'd allow myself to donate more to a pot. I'd feel I'd need to check a river and then I'd do the worst possible thing and bet an amount commiting myself to call whatever my opponent held.

I wasn't the only one enduring the doldrums of poker's fickle nature.

It's tough to see a lot of guys that I know, or casually know but I can see are solid people, even in a brief meeting or two, running bad. Some have had recent success in multiple tournaments and some just have gotten a taste of it. Variance is an absolute beast and it can effect the best of us. In some ways, I'm surprised to hear a number of players I have a great amount of respect for enduring the worst of it of late. And in some ways I'm not surprised.

In one perspective it's comforting, there is no magic way to keep from getting run down when you are on the bubble no matter who you are, but also it makes you wonder how much of an edge anybody has. That's the tough part of a tournament when the numbers are down as there is less of the dead money (maybe I'm one of the few) and less opportunity for guys to make runs. Lots of people I'd cheer for but the pie is a lot smaller.

Seems like every time I'm thinking about taking a dip in the Omaha waters, I get a run like this, where I question whether or not, my bankroll can weather the variance of that game. Perhaps, I need to play online omaha poker first. Anybody interested in giving lessons, you know where to reach me.

Be back soon...

Monday, April 06, 2009

Hedging, Edging, Lawn work...

Big game tonight for me. As a fan of UNC that's obvious. As a bracket fiend with a little bit at stake it rises even more. I'm potentially in the thick of it on various leaderboards and I'm planning out how I'm going to hedge. Hedge?
If UNC wins, I finish in the top three in a few brackets and win a nice chunk of coin. If UNC loses I win nothing. Therefore, probably my best strategy is to bet on Michigan State for a piece of my winnings. UNC wins or lose I'm assured of profiting something.

Even better, UNC is favored by 7.5. Thus, there is the possibility of them winning the game outright, but not covering and I win on both sides. If UNC wins by more than 7.5 I cut into my winnings but that's a trade-off I think is worth it.

Gene D is dealing with a similar situation so we are trying to develop an optimal strategy. Will have to consider the most favorable lines from the online casinos.

I definitely have Carolina on the brain. Yesterday, and the picture doesn't do it justice, I was randomly mowing the lawn did some rows back and forth across and then circled inward, next thing I know, because of trees and the randomness of my cut, I had left a swath of grass that was a perfect picture of the state of North Carolina. Completely not on purpose. Unfortunately, I didn't take this shot until I had hacked it up a bit, but I decided it was weird enough that I should paste it here. Wish that meant it was a sign they'd win, but if anything it might just be proof of the game is etched on my brain on a deep subconscious level.

On Saturday, and my apologies to anybody trying to call me, my phone died, and then I decided perhaps radio silence was the best way to play it out. I find, if Carolina loses in the final four, invariably somebody will call me up and bitch about how my team destroyed their bracket like it was my fault. And at that point, I'm not really in the mood to defend my team. Especially if they are the favorite and lost. Or somebody will call before the game and drop a 1000 gambler's jinxes on me. Not good. You'd think these people would have heard of the moosch. Don't they play casino online? Better off to seal myself into a bubble and just focus on the game. Radio Silence begins at some point this afternoon, so my apologies if you need to get a hold of me.

Tonight, I'm either heading to the coast (20%) to watch the game with Gene and play the megas tomorrow, or watching it at home (80%). I have to help my wife with some stuff for her work, so depending on how long that takes will make the decision for me. Completely out of my hands. What I won't be doing is traveling during any part of the game. Might watch it at my in-laws and their HD big screen TV but my propensity to cuss during the game will probably eliminate that. And the fact, they'd probably rather pull their toenails out with their teeth than watch basketball.

My thoughts on the game are simple. I'm scared. MSU scares the hell out of me. As Seth Davis, oft-repeated on Saturday, "They are a team of destiney." They'll be playing the final game in Michigan. All the fans of Nova and UCONN that flew home were onloading tickets to a bevy of eager sports fans who will be showing up in green and white. Thus Ford Field will be 75% MSU fans and %25 Tar Heel fans.

At a couple of Sugar Bowl games, I've seen teams with maybe a 65-35 advantage in fans and you can hear it. I can't imagine what that place is going to be like tonight. Supposedly, like New Orleans after Katrina, this is a game for the city. I remember that Monday Night game and the Saints were an unstoppable force. The crowd willed them to win.

I think on an emotional level the economy's effect on Detroit is far less than Katrina, but if they capture just a bit of the same frenzy it's going to be tough task for the Heels to prevail. Though I think getting blitzed by Kansas last year at the final four will make it tough for them to let the game get too far out of hand early as MSU rides that emotional wave. Will Carolina withstand MSU's opening salvos. Hopefully, MSU will be too amped come out too excited and have no legs in the end as Carolina wins by a wider margin than the should.

With college students the home court edge is always so key. So it's a little shocking the line is 7.5. That means if this were a neutral court UNC would be a double digit favorite... and with the way MSU plays defense... I don't think so. MSU has a good chance to win, and in a tight finish I'll have a shot at hitting both sides of my action, though I'm feeling like if Carolina wins it'll be in the scenario I project in the paragraph above.

The crowd will be electric and the MSU players have demonstrated the hearts of champions. You could see it in their eyes on Saturday they were not going to lose. You could also read defeat in the UCONN players eyes with about 12:30 to go in the game. Same thing happened with Louisville and if Carolina lets' MSU get a late lead of any sort the same thing could happen to my Heels.

Speaking of their eyes, I got Jess to watch some of the action and I used my "reading" skills to show off a bit. You could see when the game was going to get out of reach for UCONN just by reading the body language and it did. The dunk over Robinson kind of sealed it. I say dunk, because Robinson blocked it clean and it just spurted, fortunately for Izzo, into the hoop. Imagine, if his block didn't spill into the basket how much of a momentum shift it would have been.

Back to my reads... As I'd predict whether players would make or miss free throws with a high accuracy it really kind of wowed her. Not that I don't think any sports fan could do it, but still to a girl who doesn't know sports it's impressive. For example, in the opening of the second game, they show a 85% free throw shooter like Hansbrough, on the face of it he's going to make it, but it's obvious he's too amped to make his first shot and you say with full confidence he's going to miss and he does, girls just coo how did you know? It's obvious. Like a first timer sitting on the nuts you can't miss it. She thinks I'm pyschic and should never lose when I play online casino games. Yeah, if only the jpegs were that easy to read.

You watch a team long enough and you can tell when a shooter is going to make or miss a three pointer just by observing if he's set, square to the basket, or if there is any hitch in his stroke. She thought it was really eeriy I'd say "Yes," or "Damn!" when the shot was barely out of Ellington or Hansbrough's hands and always be right.

Still, that novelty wore off for her, and I got shoo'ed to the the bigger TV in the office after the first half of the Carolina game. Oh well so much for converting her to a sports fan.

By the way, enjoy the new Scott Van Pelt ESPN radio ads even if it makes a couple of sublte digs at Who Dat nation.

Also, on another sports note. Anybody that questions whether or not soccer is exciting and wants to continue believing that shouldn't watch Fox Soccer Channel. In what is essentially a pennant race, the Pool has sliced into Man United's insurmountable lead (Phillies-Mets style). On saturday, mired in a draw, a zero-zero affair that was loaded with highlights, as shot after shot hit the woodwork of the goal and didn't go in, and keepers made save after save, Liverpool finally got their goal in injury time. They could not afford a tie (1 point) and had to get three points for the win to keep the pressure on Man U. When it finally came the tension was at a fever pitch.

On Sunday, Man U is trailing Aston Villa 2-1 late. One Christina (on purpose) Ronaldo goal later and it's tied. In injury time a 17 year old Italian in his first game ever hit a scorcher to give Man U the win to retain their precious lead over the Pool. Both games were far more edge of your seat type action then either final four game--and these were just regular season matches. Alright. I think two paragraphs to soccer is enough.

However, if any of you is thinking of widening your betting horizons I'm a fairly good picker of soccer games, so shoot me an email if you want some tips. If you are looking for lines check out bwin's casino online.

Not much poker today, but we'll get back to it after the megas tomorrow.

And don't forget radio silence for me tonight starts in a couple of hours.

Good luck everybody and go heels.

Friday, April 03, 2009


I played a $340 at the Beau, though I don't know if you can call what I did playing. To be concise I folded 8 or 9 times, disparaged an opponent for going out so early with AJ on a J high flop to a guy betting his hand like he held... a set (which he held), and I played exactly one hand.

To give you an idea how brief my visit to the tournament was, I signed up late, but I was gone before everybody had finished buying-in. What a waste.

The hand that was my death knell I made probably three mistakes on it, maybe more... Before I enumerated my donkness, let's describe the action. I'm on the BB. Mid position limps, the cut-off, the button, and the small blind limp. I look down at 97 suited. All I've done is fold.

Mistake number 1: Check.

No harm in putting a raise there, taking down the limpers, or thinning the field.

Flop comes jack high with an 8 and maybe a four, and two of my suit.

SB has been very active and he pops it with a little less than a pot sized bet. I got flush and straight draws. I call.

Nobody else does.

Turn is an A of my suit and I have a flush. SB knows it and I know it. I see his obvious disappointment, which I chose to ignore one street later. He checks.

I bet out the same amount as he did. Mistake number 2. Most times in this situation, I should be betting for value, and if I know he has a big hand try to get paid. I bet too little. If I were results oriented I would have been happy not pumping chips into the pot the way it turned out, but the optimal play is to exploit my edge.

River pairs the board. It's an 8.

His demeanor shifts and he throws in 1k. A value bet of sorts. Or one itching for a raise.

I stew, letting all sorts of things cloud my judgment. Mistake number 3. The obvious play is old man it and call. He already projected big time disappointment when the third heart hit. Then he sprung up like a cialis induced woody when the 8 hit. Call and move on with a short stack.

Here's what started to run through my head. My strategy of late in these tournaments is to take some risks and chip up early. I'll play big pocket pairs strangely to induce action and if I get bounced with them, I'm not going to bitch, I know the consequences but I think the risk is worth the reward. So, I let that thought enter my head. Need to accumulate chips. Ignore all the information before you that you are probably beat, be greedy. Most importantly I fail to recognize this isn't one of those situations.

The next bit of information, is the guy had probably dragged 7 out of 10 pots, most little, by coming over the top or betting the river into the raiser. Everybody's folded to him. Possible he's had a hand every time. Or he's playing wide open. Which kind of mandates a call, and despite my gut feeling I'm beat, eliminates a fold in that situation.

Or I could misuse that information and hope he's on a bluff. Mistake number 4.

Course, I decide to put another 1.5k on top. Leaving me with around 1.7. What mistake are we on? 5? This one's so bad let's call it mistake 5, 6 and 7. First off, it's a mistake to raise, because it's literally a situation where only a better hand can call. AND THERE ARE A TON OF BETTER HANDS. I might be able to induce a better flush to fold but there are only a few better flush hands. Also, this guy wasn't on a flush draw, even mired in my idiocracy I could sniff that.

Second off, if I insist on being a donkey at least be a burro with half a brain and min-raise. Perhaps I can scare all but the nuts into thinking I have the conkers. If he pounds me, I'd still have another 500 left, the $500 on top of the 1k is meaningless.

The guy goes into speech mode. Okay... my hairy donkey ears pop up like he's just put a carrot on a stick in front of me. The real poker player in me is like ABORT, GET OUT OF HAND, DANGER WILD BILL ROBINSON, DANGER, DANGER.

So, he stews and says, "I wish I had played with you before..." okay that's authentic. Unless, he's multi-leveling I now know he's got a big hand but not the nuts. He contemplates calling. He asks me how much I got. I show him my meager remains.

Remember he's dragged a lot of pots and has a fair amount of chips. He does the ultimate sign of strength, shrugs and then shoves. He's made a decision and thinks he has the best hand. Perhaps, the way I showed my chips. He wants a call.

I eat a bale of hay, whisk away some flies from my backside with my tail and whinny. Do donkeys whinny? Well, I whinny-ed. Alright, I eee-ore-d.

I look at him and replay the hand. Limp from the small blind. Bet out on the flop. Disapointed on the turn, now super strong on the river. I say it aloud without even thinking... J8.

Of course it's fricking J8.

My opponent hearing me say Jack8 steps up and stares at the board. The inner poker player in me who apparently hadn't got out of bed yet, laughs what is this amateur hour at the Chuckles Laugh Factory. He's intently focused on the board. Okay, gotcha. I called out your hand you are in acting mode. Now let's fold and move on.

Yes... it's jack8 fold.

The poker player inside of me feels like he's yelling at the top of his lungs... FFFFOOOLLLLDDDDD, must be from the bottom of well "f... o... l... d..." because the donkey inside of me is thinking about oats and not listening.



Obvious fold here. Hello?




The donkey is staring at the carrot/the pot.

Then looks at the paltry pile of steaming donkey poo that is my disassembled chip stack.


Despite knowing that I'm beat, despite coming back to cash in tournaments with even less chips multiple times I throw them in there. All the information is on one side of the ledger and my action is on the other.

My opponent turns over J8.

I muck.


The four o'clock is an a omaha tournament. I think about being dead money in that. I've played some omaha online and to be results oriented, I have no results. I've played some in a casino and have no results there either. Consider going back to the room to play online omaha poker to brush up on my non skills. But didn't. Kept the omaha donkey in the stable.