Saturday, January 30, 2010

Online Poker Induced Hallucinations...

Player poker sometimes can feel a little empty and shallow. Even more so when grinding non stop online for a couple of days in row with little sleep. Online poker is fun and all but we do need to get outside and see the sun, workout and try not to dream in poker. It's weird how the mind works sometimes. When I was in high school and discovered Tetris and played the heck out of my friend's gameboy I'd close my eyes and see the images rotating down like rain. When I'd be really tired somehow my thoughts would turn into four box shapes and my brain would only process in Tetris.

Online poker can have the same subconcious mindset, where you close your eyes to go to sleep and you are visualizing uncompleted flushes. Something that is really odd is when I'm really tired and this is hard to explain without sounded like a drug addict (and I don't do drugs) but my mind will visualize speech in the form of cards. Yeah, my wife will speak to me and each new subject or noun will be a type of card. It's like the brain can't stop searching for patterns.

Yeah, impossible to convey that without sounding slightly schizo but my brain is just fixated on processing things in a certain way it starts to interpret other stimuli in the same fashion. Am I alone after a couple of days of little sleep and long sessions? Hope not. What's worse is I played a whole bunch of Omaha Hi-Lo recently and my brain was processing everything in two ways. Very surreal. Omaha poker doesn't just creat Omaholics it can create tweakers too.

As I dodge the point and thrust of this blog post which was to be about a charity poker tournament (but I have a feeling that will have to wait til next time), let me continue on my tangents. Speaking of weird visualizations and the brain processing in two fashions I just read an article in Scientific American (link is web version which isn't complete) about how your brain processes colors and other images you see. Turns out that there are more colors visible to us in the standard spectrum that we should be able to see but we can't. Why not? Because our brain views some things with a duality i.e. an object is either red or it's green but not red-green. Red and Blue is purple. Blue and green is aqua. What's Red and Green? To us, because the way our brain works it's either red or green. We can't observe the blending of them. I believe another either/or pair is blue and yellow.

Course, scientists figured out a way for people to see these colors because scientists are smart. One way is to lock one of your eyes into place on a red box and your other eye into place on a green box... and then the colors suddenly appear together because it kind of unlocks your brain from sorting it into an either/or observation.

Another way is to stare a two boxes kind of like you used to do with those 3-D images in the 90s. The magazine allowed you to do this. And I have to say, it was pretty cool to see a "new" color. How to describe it? It ranged from kind of like a green purple to a green pink. Subsitute green for the blue and the's what you get. Grurple and Grink (or Gurple and Gink depending on your fondness for rs). What's really interesting is this literal brain lock is so strong, sometimes subjects who can see the new colors can't even visualize them a day later or imagine them. The brain shunts it out.

Well it just goes to show that in one way perception is reality but reality isn't necessarily what we all perceive. Just because every once of us observes something one way doesn't necessarily mean it's right. In picking up patterns on people playing poker beware there are gurples and grinks. Random variance can make a nit look loose and a Uberlag look a rock. Even worse what may appear as sheer capriousness at any given moment by an opponent that can illogicaly wreck your day may just be part of a bigger pattern of behavior impossible for you to discern.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dead Money Poker Satellite Final Table (kind of...) part 5

Okay... didn't wrap this up, so let's fast forward the No Limit Texas Hold'em poker action to the final table and some heads up play. As the dust settled my chip stack and Keenan the kid from New York were the last two still alive. Keenan had established himself as a solid poker player with a good head on his shoulders and an eye for the game. Perhaps he was a little too much of an online player because he had some tells that were pretty straight forward.

For example, many players even those trying to maintain a poker face do that little opposite expression we all did as kids playing poker for the first time and Keenan was no different. This is slightly different than the micro-expression, which is when a player can't help but hide his delight or displeasure with his hole cards for a micro-second a tool authorities utilize to determine if a person is lying or not because even the best liars can't help themselves from leaking out a tiny moment of genuine reaction but it's kind of along the same lines.

At some point of playing live poker (again, usually as children) we'd frown and furrow like bad actors when we'd see a favorable hand, and smile when we'd see a terrible one. Some players I notice do that for a split second almost like a reverse micro-expression, catch themselves and stop the behavior. Keenan would look at his hand, a beat would pass, and then he'd either frown for a moment or kinda smile. I noticed when he'd fold to raises after the little grin that perhaps this tell was worth paying attention to... it was.

So when heads up action began I felt I had an edge on him. He didn't do this every time he looked at his hand but he did it enough during the game that I was able to fold some hands I wouldn't normally. Kind of weird that a poker player would start to act and then stifle himself and you could use the whole strong is weak and weak is strong line of thinking successfully, but this was a case where that was true. Considering Keenan is a guy who likes to play online poker you'd think his tells would be more transparent rather than cloaked in a little bit of misdirection.

With the blinds not really putting either one of us in danger, but me with a substantial chip lead, we took little stabs at each other. I felt like Keenan (who I hope is reading this and takes my observations as helpful advice and not criticism) didn't raise nearly enough when he was the button. The power of position is worth pumping the pot a little bit. I also felt like he fell in to a bit of an A... B... C... style. Granted my chip stack curtailed his aggression a little bit as he had a finite amount of bullets to fire at me but I started to bet when he checked and fold when he'd raise.

Almost a level into things I looked down at A2. Now, I forget the action whether I was on the button or in the big blind. I feel like I acted first on most streets so I suspect I was the big blind (if we were doing things correctly). I must have checked the flop.

I know I checked the turn. And then he raised the river. I shoved he called and I had him gobsmacked. Ya'll probably want to know the cards.

Okay the flop came A9A. Turn was an A. River was a deuce.

You can see why I was check happy. As the river was about to come I was praying for a low card and certainly didn't expect a deuce would help me.

When Keenan bet I thought he was just posturing. So, I tried to figure out if there was anyway I could get a lesser hand to call me as I held most of the cards that matched the board. I said, "So what you are saying is a King is no good?" I tried to do my Mickey Rourke impression and get my Oscar award winning acting on... I don't know if it worked and later found out it wasn't necessary.

After I shoved and he insta-called I was elated and quickly told him I had quads. Wow. Not many times do I think I will win a tournament with quad aces. Would be nice if it was every tournament but unlikely.

Keenan showed 7-2. Hard for him to give me credit for an Ace or a 9 for that matter. Too many aces out there for me to have the case ace, and if I had a nine I probably would have bet it somewhere. Thus, to him his full house with his 2 had to be good. He confided had I bet it on any street he was folding until he hit the river 2. So I got lucky. It is certainly a memorable hand (though can't be that memorable if I don't recall whether I was the Big Blind or not). He also said my Hollywooding was irrelevant.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Poker Magazine

Myself, Gene D, and our partner publisher John Price is Right are getting together our 2nd issue of the Gulf Coast Magazine. As always, and by always, I mean like we did in our first issue, we will profile local live and online poker players. We pay particular attention to those Gulf Coasters who have done well in our local poker tournaments at the Beau, Harrahs, the IP, Coushatta and other rooms and haunts.

Obviously, we profile successful poker players no matter the game be it No Limit Texas Hold 'Em players, Omaha pros, Stud experts, and mixed game specialists. With one exception, we hate Razz, so if you are a Razz player you can forget about getting into our magazine. Just kidding... we don't hate Razz just people that play Razz. Joking, of course. But if you are Razz player--where do you play? More seriously, if you know a player we should be paying attention to let's us know and we'll get them up on the Who's Who section of our website and consider profiling them in the magazine.

We distribute our magazine to over 120 something drop points, including golf courses, casinos (in fact all but one from Florida to Texas have our mags in their rooms), OTB sites, dog tracks, horse tracks, restaurants, hotels and elsewhere. We are always on the look out for new advertisers that want to get their product out to poker players. Our publisher has several magazines including Tee to the Green and is a big supporter of growing the game on the coast. A rising tide raises all boats (is that the expression?) so we are always willing to partner with like minded entities.

Obviously, our demographics are perfect for a business targeting that core demographic of (mostly) young (mostly) male spenders with discretionary income. We get poker players eyes on your product and services. Our advertising rates are very reasonable. Local tourist driven businesses like restaurants and hotels should target our issues that come out in conjunction with the bigger local tournaments to get poker players into their venues--don't be afraid to put a coupon in there to see how effective the magazine is.

We've gotten tremendous feedback from a number of you guys and welcome even more (even if it is bad). Feel free to hit me up by email (you can find it on Gulf Coast Poker.NET) or leave some comments here. Our next issue will focus on the recent World Series of Poker Event at Harrahs Casino in downtown New Orleans, the Southern Poker Championship, and the IP Classic (at the IP Biloxi).

Also, not to be forgotten is the inexpensive advertising on website. We get thousands of players a month that support businesses that support poker that visit our site and our bloggers. A banner ad with a link to your site is a good way to garner their goodwill toward your business. We all in this together so to speak so let's be good to those of us who are good to the game.

I'm especially excited about who our second cover boy (or girl) will be. We've debated a few different names including those that play online poker and those that play poker live and those that play poker every possible way. It's a tough decision as there are many worthy players on the coast. Considering Tyler Smith followed up his cover boy appearance with some great results including another televised WPT final table, this is surely a good luck omen for our next honoree. Also, on there was Darryll Fish who has obviously proven he’s no slouch either.

I don’t want to spoil it by mentioning the names we are considering but it’s a lot of you guys out there. We’ve been impressed by players of all ages and all backgrounds. It’s been an interesting quarter and we are eager to get another magazine out there.

Okay, that's my magazine plug for the week.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dead Money Poker Satellite Final Table (kind of...) part 4

To continue with the Dead Money Poker tournament. I had just failed impressively trying to check raise in maybe not the best situation. The irony is I made trips on the river and would have scooped. My misguided thoughts led me to the conclusion where I actually thought that action, check raising a raise and a call might make my play look even stronger… however, what I had forgotten was the other hand I had just raised preflop.

Yes, the squeeze play is never a bad idea but perhaps I wasn’t as cognizant as I should have been at what the others had been observed. Poker is all about readjusting to the image on display. That is a vital part of poker strategy. Your opponents don’t see your cards so all they can go by is what they see. And, my check raise which might normally look uber powerful here could have been judged another reckless bullying attempt, so arguably it was done in a bad place.

The hand that I had just raised played out quite interesting. Under the gun led out, then I got repopped by the player to my left, the entire table called. Action got back to me and I threw out a ton of chips. I read a lot of weakness and thought the reraiser was a little passive in general. If he had a monster he’d probably ship it and I could fold. If he didn’t I could probably scoop it right there.

To my surprise I got called by the player that popped me, and everybody else rightfully headed for cover. I had AQ and checked it down when the board missed me. I didn’t know if he’d call a bet in that spot with AK which I thought he had, but I wasn’t going to contribute anything more to the pot. The other possible holdings he might have all crushed me. At the end to my surprise my opponent had KQ and I scooped the pot. So, showing down AQ meant everybody knew I was willing to get a little out of line.

So my checkraise went awry and I was steaming a bit. I promptly got KK in the big blind. There was a raise and another load of callers. Table full of limpers I overbet again now playing into my looser image. I couldn’t get action this time, but the pot helped me get a lot of my chips back. I was feeling a little better.

Lee correctly put me on Kings. Hmmm, that’s not good.

Then I got AA and poor Joe C got coolered. He bet from the button I raised from the small blind. He shoved over the top and I called. Joe turn over pocket queens and no set hit to send him home. Seemed like Joe couldn’t get anything started and the first big hand he got just finished him.

Four handed it was Lee, his cousin whose chip stack had swollen like a kid allergic to bumblebees fresh after a sting. Four handed I was willing to mix it up and despite Keenan and Lee nursing little stacks I knew the payout was top heavy, with the second place prize barely covering my buy-in plus my last longer, so I was going to mix it up.

I kept finding myself in bad spots and couldn’t figure the kid out. I had some physical information on him and thought I would figure him out. Alas, not to be. When I’d read him as week and made a call with Ace high he had pocket threes. What made it worse was that he knew he was good and said he would have called a river bet. I guess I’m an open book. Keenan needled him a bit “You really thought you were good, there are five overcards out there.” The guy just smiled and raked the pot.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dead Money Poker Satellite Final Table (kind of...) part 3

So as I eyeballed the poker table anew I got an interesting text from Reid G who opted out of playing. Glad he was thinking of me and wishing me good karma. The text said simply “Check raise it always works.” And that is true in No Limit tournament poker.

I decided I would do just that. To make it even funnier I would do so blind. Har-har. What a funny schmuck I was. Who cares that Keenan, David and I had put a sidebet on the event and there was over a G on the line for the regular bet. The sidebet was to determine who would be crowned Dead Money poker Champion. That’s my kind of last longer bet. Course deciding to recklessly check raise maybe not the best decision as I had carefully built my stack.

I was in the blind so I thought I could set it up right. On this particular hand Keenan, who has a bit of that New York hipster, I play online poker on a Mac vibe, had opened, as he had done a lot of pots from position. I knew he liked to c-bet so this time might be perfect to check-raise blind. Keenan got a caller… and the way this hand would play out is why poker is such a dirty game, and I joined the fray.

Flop came out Queen high, 9 and a 3 with a flush draw. I’ve seen worse. I checked, and Keenan as I anticipated bet. Adam from Nantucket called. I thought of a limerick as he did, and then I brazenly fired out a big bet over their heads. Keenan stone called. Then Adam did too. Whoops.

There went a lot of my chips. I still hadn’t looked at my hand so I was just hoping I had maybe trey trey. The turn brought a brick, I checked. Though I didn’t know at the time it was a brick, but now looking back it was brick and I don’t remember it. Keenan shoved!?! What?!? Hrumph. I think it was a 10 actually.

Then Adam stewed and put all his chips in the middle. This was troublesome. I pondered and stole a look at my hand. Something like 103. Bottom pair was not the type of hand I wanted to be calling with. Oh well, nothing ventured nothing gained right?

So I mucked. I thought Keenan was on a flush draw and picked up a straight draw because he seemed stronger because of the turn. That’s why I remember it being a 10. I gave Adam two pair.

To my surprise Keenan turned over AQ and Adam KQ. Okay. It could be the obvious hands and I was just overthinking it. Keenan imo played AQ a little too fast there, so too Adam KQ but Adam was kind of pot tied by his small stack . Keenan this weekend would learn his lesson about over playing top pair top kicker.

The terrible thing for Adam, is had I not got that text the pot likely doesn't escalate to where he goes broke. Maybe he loses half his stack but not all of it.

An interesting thing is, had I a better hand like two pair and not some random blind one, I probably fold in that spot too. I thought at minimum one of them had two pair and the other had a ton of outs. I then looked at my diminished chip stack and immediately thought ill of Reid (not really, I was still the dumbass who did so blindly in the face of a raise and a call).

Perhaps, I could have been a little more careful about the application. And not only that, I forgot what my recent table image was. It wasn’t tight aggressive it was actually a little bit wild.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dead Money Poker Satellite Final Table (kind of...) part 2

Last post, I was recounting the Texas Hold’Em Dead Money Final table. A no limit deep stack affair with 8 good to very good poker players. Wish it had been only half that many good players. We lost two of our players from out of town and one of the Rob, was real nice about dealing the poker game.

I was already mindful of two players. Keenan from New York has a lot of online poker tournament experience. He played like an avid reader of two plus two mixing in aggression with c-bets. I could tell he sits down to play online poker tournaments often. He played position well and had that sense of where he was only logging a lot of hands in online poker tournaments can give you. I watched him carefully as I sensed he would spew tells and to a degree he didn't despite the fact he almost exclusively will play online tournament poker. Then halfway through I picked up something on him.

I was really wary of Dave Andersen as I have yet to beat him in any satellite or tournament, Last year, he won the Houma poker satellite when me him and Dinger finished in the top three. I slowplayed pocket aces vs. Dinger to make it heads up and then David ran down my chip lead and ran me over on his way to a seat. In the second go around, the rematch, David, me and a player from Austin were battling for the 5k seat. The player from Austin had amassed a huge chip stack, so at three handed he was lording it over us.

Dave was on the short stack and I had a little more than half of the Austin’s players chips. I decided if he was going to sit on his money (all three of us were in the money as we had a second and third prize) then I would have to knock off David and I would need his chips to win the heads up battle.

I got it vs him twice with bigger aces and both times he hit his kicker to reverse our stacks. Then gruesomely the Austin player basically said he preferred cash and didn’t want the seat he’d be forced to play. Had he said that 10 minutes earlier I probably wouldn’t made have some thin calls (they were right but I would have waited for a better chance). I wouldn’t say the kid threw in the towel but in short order Dave had overtaken him and won the prize. That still smarts. Part of the reason I’ve been involved in this tournament was to win that Main Even seat and it just seems to elude me. So of course, when I win the seat, this year, we don’t have a full table of players.

So this year, with Dave basically owning me in the past, I tried not to lock horns with him unless I had a hand. Seemed like that we both got dealt keepers plenty of times and I couldn’t avoid it. We mixed it up more times than I would have liked. Luckily I was running pretty good. I chose to raise and not slow play anything with Dave so I lucked out that most times I hit because he mostly missed and I would drag the pot without too much interference.

Eventually, I think this wore on Dave. I shoved on the turn (I think… maybe the river) and I think Dave had enough of me pushing him. Course, sometimes hands just work that way, so Dave made a stand with a decent hand but this time I had him. Phew! One of the better players gone, and a mental roadblock less to deal with.

Surveying the table there was trouble behind, but there was also a lot of trouble ahead. Keenan from New York was playing great, Lee Mac’s cousin was building a stack with wise calls, and an innate sense of where he was in the hand, Ray and Lee of course are regulars at Harrahs and neither is a player you want with you at your table. Joe C was playing tight but was picking his spots and I didn’t want to mess with him because if we got into a hand he was going to have the goods.

The rest of the battle was going to be hard fought...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dead Money Poker Satellite Final Table (kind of...)

Every year the Dead Money gang gets together across the country with 10 or so of their friends. They play a single table Texas Hold'em No Limit Poker Satellite and ship their winner to New Orleans. There the winners play each other and the winner of that wins a 10k seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event. Except for last year, where the winner won a seat to the 5k Harrahs main event. Congrats Dave Andersen.

This year we looked to get back to the 10 or so winners necessary for the big prize in Vegas. Problem was many table captains couldn't get me winners and few guys dropped out. Suddenly, as the weekend approached we had three winners, myself, David Andersen again (looking to defend his title one of only two winners to get back to the final table), and Keenan from NYC.

Keenan had already booked his flight, so though we considered a delay, it wasn't really that reasonable a consideration with non-refundable tickets. Plus, we had two players from Nantucket who had booked flights for the last chance table (what's up Adam and Rob). What to do?

A lot of our regulars demurred on the trip this year, so I knew numbers weren’t only be down from a players perspective but also from a going out perspective. Irony of ironies, this would be during the year I cleared my schedule with my wife to hang out for a long time on the weekend and participate in all the parallel events that go with the Dead Money table. Twice it’s been during a weekend the Saints hosted a game. And the spirit in the quarter was really high the last time. Also, I hadn’t won a seat to our final table before. Last year I bought in and finished third. This go around after six years of participating with a lot of seconds and thirds I had finally won the seat. Problem is there was nobody in the other seats.

I knew the Beau was holding a 1k event on Saturday so I gave Dave and Keenan the option of using their buy-in for that. Keenan was all about it and pysched to come to New Orleans and even more pysched to play in his first offical live tournament at the Beau. So what if it was for $1000 and not 5k or 10k he’d be playing. So, I decided we'd hold a one table event on Friday night with the winner also having the option of playing on Saturday at the Beau.

We got nine handed with Big Ray, Lee Mac and his cousin, Joe C, Keenan, myself, Dave A, Rob, and Adam. We used the Beau's tournament blind structure with 10k in chips but raised the blinds every 20 minutes. I wanted it to last 4 hours and we luckboxed into just that as I think the tournament ended at 1 after starting at 9.

Big Smoove was the last one there, and we played a couple of rotations without him, but when he arrived he immediately hit the gas. Him and Lee Mac seemed to be most interested in winning the early money. There were a couple of big pots and before I knew it two of the players from out of town were the first two out. Rob, had a deathly allergy to dogs so it sucked even more that he had to sit around and wait out the action (I had picked them up from down town). More to come…

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Deep Run in the Second Chance Poker Tournament

Headed over the Beau for a quick training session with the gentleman I'm coaching. Have to give him credit he's been killing it lately. He's had several cashes at the Beau and has been steamrolling poker rooms and poker cash games. He's a savvy player who plays against type and really been honed in on making a final table and taking down a tournament.

I'm confident with as many near misses, bad beats, and coolers he's taken with a big stack that a tremendous result will be coming any day now. I hope he wins a satellite seat to the main event as that would be a great place to really leave an impact.

He went deep in a mega and had registered for a nightly Texas No Limit Hold'em poker tournament by the time I got there. I decided to play the $200 buy-in and had a roller coaster night. I had an upper limit of 12k (4k starting stack) and kept fluctuating between the two. In one particular hand a guy who had a few adult beverages was on the button.

A loose erratic player was under the gun limped and I looked at 1010. I made a standard raise. The guy on the button called. He looked a little bit like a drunken Ray Liotta. Well, I've only seen a sober Ray Liotta so he looked a little bit like what I'd think a drunken Ray Liotta would look like. Nice guy, nothing like many of Liotta's squirmy characters. The loose erratic guy joined the fray.

Anyway, flop is all babies and I study the competition, they looked like they missed. The loose player checked. I pushed out a bet that covered the button. I had seen him making some head scratching plays so I wanted to either end the hand now or not have to guess when he shoved on any face card on the turn if he wanted to chase.

Turns out the guy just completely misses or ignores my bet and fires out 4/5ths of his stack. The dealer lets him know I had bet. Ray Liotta drunk decides he's going to pull back his chips. Um... sorry sir. That's not going work.

RLD "Do I have to keep that out there?"
Dealer "Yes."
RLD "Oh... well, I guess..."
RLD "Do I have to keep that out there?"
Dealer "Yes sir, you can't pull that back it plays. You can call or fold."
RLD "I can call or fold?"
Dealer "Yes."
RLD "I fold."

Here's where it gets weird, I think he says "I call." And I turn over my 10s and get ready to sweat the final two cards. Then RLD says, "No, no, I call."

Record scratch. Hold up.

I ask the dealer what he originally said.
Dealer "He said fold."
Me "Well, verbal is binding."

The floor is called over. Why? I don't know this is pretty standard but the floor sides with me that the hand is over. RLD is glassy eyed and keeps telling me okay, but all the while he's reminding me of one of my college friends who'd get a wild look in his eye and I start a 20 minute countdown until he'd be fighting. The guy had that look. Now despite him repeatedly telling me "good hand, you're good" I can just visualize him cracking my knees with a tire iron and burying me in the swamps with Joe Pesce and Bob DiNiro lookalikes.

I get QQ and I take out out a guy with 1010 who shoves on my UTG raise. A revolution later I get QQ again under the gun and the double up a guy who shoved with KK. Weird I had a feeling I was beat that time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Online Poker Tournament part 2

So where were we? I was playing an Omaha poker tournament and large multi-table Hold'Em tournament. The Hold'Em tournament was a grind until I got hot. Then Omaha tournament (Hi-Lo) was anything but a grind as the action was fierce and I was snatching pots left and right.

Then as it is supposed to do the No Limit Hold 'em tournament changed. I collided with a big stack and my stack was healthier for it. That double up was nice. Suddenly I was the big fish in a shrinking pond. The weird thing is around that time I was started to flag. It was getting later and later. Originally, I thought if it go too late I was willing to just blind out squeak into the money and go to bed, but now with this chip stack, I had second thoughts had to revise the poker strategy.

No longer was I going to saunter off to slumber, despite the micro buy-in there was a pretty nice first prize. Hell, it was a couple of buy-ins to the Beau Rivage Southern Poker Championship events. The second and third place prizes represented buy-ins to the IP Poker classic nightly events. Can't turn away free money and I was ginning.

The only problem is I had a busy day in front of me. Now with a youngster in the house, it’s not like it’s as easy as it used to be to simply catch up on sleep. Taking a night off from bedrest without a cushion of time to try and recoup some of it, probably isn’t a good idea. As I mentioned before I’ve had some car problems and I was carving out some time that day to get that seen to. What’s worse is my wife would probably find it even less of a good idea if she woke up and I was still grinding with a full schedule of thinks to do.

She gets up early to pump milk for the day, so I can feed the baby three times. Man, I have to give it to the ladies. Not only do they have to go through childbirth and all the pain that is, all the body changes before hand and afterward, the chaotic swings of hormones (though let’s be honest fellas that one might be tougher on us than them), then they got to hook themselves up to a machine four or five times a day, or to a baby.

So, as the money bubble came, there was also this interior clock, a sleep bubble if you will. If I didn’t bust soon, there was no way I was going to be able to just take in a couple of hours of sleep. Better off staying awake all night than resting for two hours. The Omaha tournament started to go south a bit for me. Perhaps I used up my run good over there.

In the No Limit hold’em run good was still running good. I was barreling over players and getting blinds and antes twice a revolution. Plus, I would whack a stack or two every now and then. Then, the online poker tournament brain kept seeing fit to move top 10 stacks onto my table. Sure they could cripple me, but I’ve long been a fan of the Hoyt Corkins way of thought. Why be scared of the players that can double you up. You want to double up, you need to double up to win tournaments.

Then the money and sleep bubbles broke. Then I grinding with my large stack until there were 8 of us left. After shedding 1492 players we went an hour at 8 players. It was a six handed tournament so we needed to lose two to get to six. Playing four handed my run good ended.

Once we reached the final table bubble, I went out one hand later in 7th. All I had to show for it, was 1/10th the money first got, a wife waking up to see me mouse clicking and it’s not quite the greeting old Saint Nick gets when kids wake up a little too early and see him round the Christmas tree. Yeah, and a night of no sleep which would only serve to wreck then week ahead of me.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Online Poker Tournament part 1

Last night I signed up for a No Limit Texas Hold'em Multi-Table Tournament. The buy-in as per usual was small, borderline micro, and I also played some freerolls during the duration of the game. Yes, I didn't think it was a good idea to mix games i.e. practice playing Omaha at the same time as playing Texas Hold'em but now I'm not as convinced.

What I used to think would make me a little confused jumping back and forth between games actually seemed to keep me focused. Oddly. Granted it was mostly two or three tables of sit 'n gos but as I went deep in the big multi-table tournament I also was going deep in the Omaha freeroll.

With just the two varieties on the monitor at the same time I flipped back and forth and readily adjusted. The Omaha was hi-lo so it was a little more difficult than just adapting to four hole cards vs. two. I found myself playing surprisingly well in Omaha. I imagine if an experienced player was over my shoulder he'd be telling me how well I was running too.

Seemed like I was laying down decent hi hands and decent low hands. I usually knew where I was at. I have a long way to go to be a competent Omaha poker player but I want to add it to my resume. Maybe the extra thought I was devoting to the Omaha portion of play was keeping me patient in the Hold'em.

Which was good because the No Limit Poker tournament was an early grind. Then I got hot. Then I became that huge stack we all hate when we play online poker. The short stacks would shove with less than 10% of my stack size. I'd call with any two, and usually turn a dominated hand into a winner.

I enjoyed the chatbox insults. As my stack grew the insults flung my way increased. “That’s the way you win a tournament ,” one person groused as the money bubble approached in the nearly 1500 person field, “Get f’….ing lucky.” Yeah, that doesn’t hurt.

I watched the stack sizes on the leaderboard and enjoyed seeing me go up from the 20s into the teens. I visualize Chau Giang saying “Poker is fun.”

In the Omaha game I tried not to chase too much and seemed to continue to run good. I have to say to all you Omaholics , yes, I too can enjoy the rush of that game and its never-ending permutations. As that tournament progressed, like a Hold ‘Em tournament, I saw the play tighten up and fewer players were getting to a flop.

Meanwhile, my stack got up to about top ten. Then in one huge hand me and another big stack lock horns and he basically desperation shoves on the river. One of those huge hands where you can kind of feel the other player’s meltdown. I don’t remember the particulars but I believe I flopped top pair with second kicker (some variation with KQ).

The board was kind of dry, no flush draws or straight draws. Hmm. I bet, he raised, I called. The turn made me two pair. I bet, he popped me again. This time for a significant piece of our deep stacks. I decide if I call I’m married to this hand and despite his stack being the bulk of my stack, I would have to call the implied river bet which might be well be that stack. I called. River was brickzilla. I put out a fishy looking small bet. Dude, shoves and it just feels like that he thought that was his only chance. Wow. Top two in chips.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Daniel Negreanu Angle Shooting Poker Player?

Watch this video:

Little bit of the debate over his actions here:

Daniel's thoughts followed by my thoughts:

He doesn't see me re-raise and flips his hand face up. I see the Ace of diamonds
as clear as day, and the other card looked to be a two across spade, meaning it
was the 4s or the 5s. Now he wants to raise me 15,000 more and I say,"Why
are you raising me! I saw your hand, lol." I wasn't exactly sure what his
second card was
but I obviously assumed if he was raising me it couldn't be
the 4s and had to be the 5s or the 10s. The two guys on my left saw his hand
much more clearly and knew exactly what he had.
What I find a little... um... sketchy for lack of a better word... is implying he saw both cards but he only saw one (and a half--I guess). Later (watch the video) he calls the floor over and despite backing off this false pretext to the table he says it again and then backs out of it again (with far less vehemence or vigor), but then keeps repeating assuredly "I saw his hand" and almost as aside he's cops to being not so sure of the other card. Well, he didn't see his hand, he saw part of it.

Decidedly a gray area for me. The part where DN says "You have A5" it feels like he wants the guy to say yes, show it and then DN can act. If he's right the guy might sheepishly pull his bet back and DN doesn't have to make a call. Seems like some people on the thread miss this entirely. The whole pretext (I guess being the angleshoot) is that DN asserts he definitely saw his hand... but he didn't. I will have to scan the poker blogs to see what folks think about this.

People lie in poker all the time, but it's kind of frowned upon to lie about the game.

Though, as this type of information ferreting is so natural to DN he probably didn't, and doesn't see the difference. To him, it's as legitimate as if the guy didn't expose his cards and DN was trying to get a read on him and fired some possibilities at him for a reaction. Only problem is at this point he's suggesting he definitely knows what the guy has. Only after the reaction of the other players at the table... he backs off of it and says it could be other cards (though I'm not saying those reactions were the cause of him backing off of it but he did glean infomation by asserting he knew exactly what the hand was).

Certainly calling the floor isn't an angle shoot (as some suggested). Steering an inexperienced floorman and talking over an inexperienced (sounded like not too great of an English speaker too) opponent is less of a transgression as it's not Daniel's fault either person was who they were. He's definitely exploiting the situation to his advantage in two spots... there's not question about that. One aspect is kind of borderline the other less so.

Makes me question my own play once. We were at the river and I hadn't called a guys bet yet, I think somebody folded and he thought the hand was over, forgetting about me and showed his mediocre hand (basically a bluff). I believe I only saw one card and like Daniel was a little unsure of the other as the dealer had acted to stop the face up muck trying to block his cards saying action was on me. I couldn't beat what I thought was only a mediocre hand as I missed, but I hadn't insta-folded as I was contemplating if I could raise him, as I thought he might fold and he seemed weak--then he kind of showed his cards.

When he tried to cover his cards, I laughed saying "I saw your hand," and fired out a raise. He mucked.. disgusted. Angle shot... or not on my part? I definitely exploited the situation, and like Daniel misrepresented what I saw, but if I shot an angle it was kind of instinctual and reactive because it just better armed me to bluff (does, that make me at heart a bad person? ugh.. if shot an angle I did it instinctively... like it's my nature lol). Course I didn't truly see his hand, but I saw enough that I thought I could follow through on my bluff and he'd have to fold.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Eclectic Videos and Random Links to the Internet

You want to feel insignificant and, oddly, at the same time significant?

Talk on your cell-phone much? You might not get Alzheimers.... Said the same thing about smoking at one time. Was it because all the smokers died before getting it, and all the teens talk on cell phones and all the older folks have difficulty finding the buttons and hearing the phones. Actually no. Read here for more:

George Costanza went deep at the World Series of Poker main event. Well, the actor that plays George Cosatanza, Jason Alexander did. Jason Alexander played himself playing George Costanza on this years Curb Your Enthusiasm and the character of Jason Alexander as played by Jason Alexander is slightly less likable than George and maybe just as manical and evil. Remember the Seinfled episode where George tested the mechanic on candy bars (they went to the car dealer)? Well, you can take that quiz right chere:

Jason Alexander first came to poker fame playing on Celebrity Poker. A few world series of pokers later and the guy is guaranteed camera time despite a pretty bare resume since Seinfeld. I'm not here to bash Jason Alexander, but I might suggest he head to poker school.

Top Twitter Trends...

No mention of poker, Jason Alexander, or Alzheimers, or dad's that are proctologists... (warning a little graphic)

If that isn't graphic enough for you, here's Jason Segel? Who? Seen forgetting Sarah Marshall? Seen How I met your mother? He wouldn't stoop to exploiting his celeberity status for his own gain would he? Skip to the 2:00 mark unless you like long unnecessary introductions.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Poker Musings...

I'm trying to get amped up for all the poker on the Gulf Coast in the next couple of weeks. The IP is running poker tournaments concurrently to the Beau Rivage. Is this good poker strategy? At first glance this may seem like they are splitting up a rather small pool of poker players and we'll have to see if that is the case. I hope not.

I hope it means they are expected a huge turnout and I have to say I think with the timing of the Beau Rivage event being a little bit after the PCA they may just get that. A lot of the poker pros will be heading back to the mainland with a layover in Miami which is just a hop away to Biloxi. Ignoring the trouble of connecting flights and looking at it just from a geographical perspective this might mean the biggest turnout on the coast in some time--and hoping that's the way it's looked at by the returning poker players.

Course, those are mostly deep pocketed online and live pros that MAY be coming. The IP's event will draw the lesser staked players and there might not be more of them. Or will more turn out because of the WPT nature of the event and the fact pros are going to be there. I think the Buzz is pretty good around it and I hope they can duplicate the success Tunica once enjoyed running two poker tournaments at once.

That being said unless the IP's structures are amazing, they probably are, why are people going to drive a mile away to their nightlys? Well, the poker monkey bounty would be a good reason to. I hope for Will's sake the IP takes him up on the offer. I have an idea for the name of the promotion: Shock The Monkey.

Course with that name you could take it a step further and put a Brandon Cantu like slant on things. Maybe if one particular poker player busts Monkey in multiple events he not only wins the bounty but also gets to taser said Monkey. That'll get the friends of TPM and the haters to IP. Heck the Beau might be a ghost town. Doubt the IP could sanction the part about tasering good ol' Monkey but it's a thought. I'd imagine if Monkey agreed to the tasering he'd want more than just his buy-ins paid for--I know I would lol.

Sounds like they'll get around 360 for the first event at the Beau which is pretty good. I won't be able to make it to the coast until next week at the earliest and even then it's a bad week for me. Got Daddy day care and we still aren't really settled after going away for Christmas. Course the Christmas bills have piled up and I need to play again. Then again, if I have a couple of bad showings could be a tight month.

On top of that the van I recently got, yeah I drive a mini-van, I know it's not cool but it's one of the minuses of being a daddy, seems to be acting up. Weird random lighting up of dashboard lights and some overrevving and strange gear shift changes. I check the owners manual on how to add Automatic Transmission Fluid after seeing I'm near empty and it doesn't even tell me where to put the stuff in. I go online and discover the spot for it. Only problem it's buried under about four other pieces I'd have to take out of the car. I'm no grease monkey so that ain't going to happen.

Thing that sucks is while I'm looking for this information I find a scary website forum about class action lawsuits, and all these people that experienced the same problems I'm facing right before their transmission practically fell out of their cars. These are people that meticulously maintained their maintenance, and the policy of my carmaker is to deny, deny. The last two model years before mine have won their suits, my model year is in litigation. Awesome. Turns out, if I have the same affliction I'm headed for a huge bill, AND a stubborn dealership and corporate bullshit to wade through. Sweet.

To make matters worse, my other car has been on the fritz but because I've had the van, I've kind of ignored it. Now it's back to being the primary vehichle and next week I'm likely going to have to take both cars in. So... nothing like pouring money into a hole. Which brings me back to poker. Just kidding. At least I'm extracting money out of that hole but as I've been able to play so rarely it's adding up. See my resolutions... play more.