Friday, December 29, 2006

Take it Easy

Hope the Holidays are going well for everyone. I'm one of those poor schlubs who is actually at work between Christmas and New Year's, mostly because work is dead during the time, so I leave the vacations to those with kids and such.

So I'm a tool. I tossed in a few hundred bucks at Pokerstars to take advantage of their deposit bonus - not the full $600, but more than I usually drop in at one time. I lost most of it in 3 days. Granted, since I started tracking my Stars deposits, I haven't even dropped a paycheque's worth of funds in there, but it still stings to lose quickly.

What really bothers me isn't so much that I lost the cash, but that it happened stupidly. I was actually up after a couple SnG cashes and a successful ring game, and was feeling good. So on Christmas day, after the family had left and I was full with turkey and wine, I jumped into another $1/2 NLHE cash game (remember kids, wine+poker = lose money). I lost most of my post on this:

Cowboys pre-flop, LP. Raise to 3x the BB ($6) one seat before me, and I re-raise to 9x ($18), he calls quickly. Flop comes 7T9 rainbow, he checks, I put out the pot-sized bet. He says "ding!" He re-raises and I think for a second and decide it's worth it for one more card. King on the turn and I have trips. Figuring he's either on a flush draw or overs, I check.. he re-raises me all-in and says "AK no good." I ask, "how about 2 Kings?" and call. He says, "nope" and shows the freaking J8h!! Nothing comes on the river and I'm looking at my chips next to me.

Now I'm on tilt. I don't go on heavy tilt, but this hand did it. Obviously I understand his play POST flop, but who the hell calls a re-raise pre-flop that's twice what your raise was when you have J8-suited? You like the 2:1 pot odds on a suited 2-gapper? Guess I should have believed the commentary after the flop. Stupid cowboys.

Anyway, I sat for a few minutes and the bought back in... and over the course of an hour or so, donked off another max-post. I was exhausted and playing simply out of stupidity and tilt. The next day I played a couple $11 Turbo SnG's out of boredom (after the WWdN 2nd chance), and realized I was STILL tilting. Didn't play the next couple days, and probably won't play tonight... I still need to calm down. Perhaps alcohol will help... it is the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems, right?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Remind You of Anyone?

I saw this and couldn't help but think that it represents the vast majority of online poker players. Image is from the great Creatures In My Head

What's That Behind Me?

Why, it's the bubble! Played the WWdN last night... 40 players I believe. Played my game, but experimented a bit with some things, and played much looser in the early levels. Kept running into one player early on who played her hands VERY passively. She appeared to have little faith in her weak aces or mid-pairs, but happily called down. This just meant that I only kept betting into her when I had a strong hand, as did the rest of the table until she got knocked down a fair bit and got moved.

Anyway, managed to survive being the short-stack a few times. I hung on to the final table, and played short-stack poker from there on until I was back up to a decent level. In the end, with 5 left (in the money!), and an M around 5, my pocket 4's ran into WigginX's AT which caught an A on the flop. Still, nice to cash after bubbling in the Hoy last night. A shame that I lost to the guy who came in second though :). Congrats to Pisco Bandito for the win. Although it chafes a bit that my TWO pocket Ace's (with one hand in between) got zero callers, and he becomes the chip leader on his :).

After more Christmas shopping and the catching up on the backlog of chores at home, I MIGHT play in the Mookie tonight. 2 decent nights of poker... would like to make it 3


I'm getting a touch annoyed with Google pushing the New Blogger on me. I don't want a Google account. Leave. Me. Alone.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Hoy Boy

Damn I'm punny! Anyway, I played in The Hoy last night... after heading out for a "drink or two" with a couple coworkers. 4 (5?) Vodka+Sodas later I'm heading home, with time to spare before the cards start flying. Now I was good and tipsy... beyond buzzed, but not yet a full-fledged drunk. Still, playing poker in the state is not recommended. Generally. To compound the difficulty, I decided to open up a $3 Rebuy to the Saturday PCA tourney (I thought that was wrapped up? Who knows what I was playing). I love rebuys and haven't played in one since the WSOP qualifiers.

So, time for some MATH (ha! I kill me)... 4 (5?) drinks + Das Hoy + Rebuy madness = WTF was I thinking? I have a hard enough time multi-tabling, let alone between a solid blogger tourney and the fish pond that is a $3 rebuy.

Final results? I finished something like 78/1014 in the rebuy, and 4th (stupid bubble) in The Hoy. I think I played alright... generally stuck to my game, got away when I needed to, and upped the aggression when necessary. In the end, short-stacked, I moved all-in with AT, and was called by 64 or somesuch... with a flop that came 537, giving my esteemed opponent a straight and me nothing. It was that kind of game though, especially on the bubble - suckouts and unbelieveable boards for everyone.

But I wonder how I would have done sober (which I pretty much was by the end)... I think I maybe was extra cautious with my middling hands, just like the teenager who comes home and tries his best to act sober by being extra deliberate in all his motions.

Regardless, tonight will be a night of sobriety... and perhaps a visit to the WWdN, if I get my shit done in time.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Sometime I'll get that Banff report up. Have I mentioned my tendency to procrastinate? Anyway, spent a good chunk of yesterday at Niagara Fallsview. It was a buddy's birthday, and he had a poker hankering. He didn't win.

I've never played poker at the Fallsview before. I think they've expanded their poker room since the last time I was there though. 1/2 NLHE, $100 max buy-in (does this not seem small?). I repeated my performance with Joanne in Calgary - ie.- I was card dead at a loose table. Up until the last 30 min I played, my best hands had been pocket deuces twice, pocket 8's once (the only hand I was able to take at that point - woohoo $5!), and a couple AJ (one off, one suited). The last 30 min went better card-wise, with pocket J's, flopped straights, pocket 10's that ended up being useless when the board became a straight... but we were down to 4-handed at that point, and I split 2 pots. It was enough that I walked away down only $90 instead of $160. It's a shame really, because I was able to read every player at the table but couldn't do anything about it.

From there it was slots, slots, and s'more slots. Not my night for slots. The other slot players were out and had staked out the machines I wanted. More slot reserving going on, I really need to see if that's legit. I did have fun with the Double Diamond burger slot though, getting to the side game plenty, to win $55 on a quarter machine. But I stuck those winnings right back into the casino.

And of course... craps. I FINALLY had a winning craps session again, and to top it off, *I* was the reason for it. I had a solid roll going for awhile once the table moved up to $15... winning around $300 or so. I gave some of that back before leaving though. All-in-all, I ended up down on the night, but had a blast nonetheless.

Yup, fairly small amounts, but I'm hardly trying to make a living off of gambling.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

One for the ladies

Faster, pussycat! Blog! Blog!

You know you want it.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ice and Fire

Just got in from my extended-weekend trip to Banff. I'll post some of the hundreds of pictures I took of mountains and scenic vistas later. Right now, I'm exhausted, so here comes a short recap. More details later.

The point was to ski. This goal was achieved in spades. The west-coast cold snap ended literally on the day we arrived. We made it to our 2 floor + loft cabin in Banff around midnight and got some sleep. We hit Sunshine Village on day 1 and loved the conditions. Coming from the eastern Canada, anything that isn't icy is fantastic. Lake Louise on day 2 was just breathtaking in the beauty and the runs, but the snow was MUCH icier and harder to ski. Plus, the World Cup was going on, which meant the place was PACKED. Back to Sunshine on day 3, and it was a great, easy finish to the skiing. Much soreness and tiredness... all good.

Since Joanne mentioned it on her blog, I'll go through it here - I (and 3 friends) met up with her at a casino in Calgary to gamble a WEE bit. As she said, I was card dead the whole time, and the table was loose. I couldn't steal, and I couldn't play with the crap I had in front of me. The guy with $1200 (when we sat down.. when we left it was more like $2000, and this was a max $200 stake table) would call anything, and raise if he had a hand. My AKs looked a lot less pretty when faced with a raise that would cripple me on my 3rd hand. Those were the best pockets I had all night (ok, not STATISTICALLY speaking, I did have a few low pocket pairs on occasion). It took a while, but I ended up down $200. From poker we moved to the casino, where my 2 of my friends wanted to watch me play craps... so I indulged them and lost $100 in 10 minutes, teaching them a valuable lesson about probability.

So with poker and craps failing me, I had but one option - SLOTS! I mentioned in my Vegas post how I won around $2700 from two slot machines in Vegas (Blazing 7's in TI for all you bloggers venturing there this week), thereby paying for my trip. Wandering around the casino, I saw a dearth of slots that interested me. Nothing with fun side games, LOTS of video and mutli-line slots (which I despise), and very few $1 slots. I tried a few that looked okay, and lost $20 after $20 after $20. Then I saw them - two Blazing 7 machines (by a different name here) - high-percentage progessives. The problem was - they were occupied. No worries, people will leave. Soon enough, one of the women was gone. I strolled over and saw that a winnings-cup was upside-down over the coin slot. I reached for the machine when the woman on the other one said "Someone is playing that one." I walked away, thinking, "since when can you reserve a slot machine? If you need a smoke that badly, then you lose your spot." Then, when that woman returned, the other woman did the same thing. I was mightily annoyed.

Near those machines though, were the Monte Carlo Spin-and-Win machines. $1, with a side-game, and good-sized progressives ($15,000 - $120,000). The highest progressive one had a player, so I popped in some cash on one of the others... and lost. I tried a different one.. and lost. At this point was down $100 - $120 on slots now. That would make it $420 down on the night. I wandered some more and glared at the harpies at the machines I wanted. Then I noticed the $120,000 progressive was unattended, so I plunked down in front and put in the last $20 I was willing to spend that night. Joanne and my 3 buddies gathered 'round as they were getting ready to leave as well. They'd heard of my legendary slot abilities, and wanted to see them in action. I had little faith as the night had not been going well. All I really wanted was one shot at the side game (which involved a ball spinning around a Wheel-of-Fortune-like dial and landing on a payout from $10 - $1000).

This is a diverse machine, with your standard range of winnings for BAR combinations ($2+), then better winnings for 7 combinations ($25-$1000), and finally a bunch of novelty wins for 3-credit plays ($100, side-game spins, and the progressive). I played down my $20, getting $2 here, $8 here, and generally going down. My friends watched as I came close to 0 and a down night... then I hit a triple-7 combination. This paid $50 for 3 normal 7's being on the pay line or one notch off. Nothing big, but it kept me alive. I kept playing. Then I hit the PAY100 symbol to jump to $100, bringing me to $101. Finally I was hitting. I spun and got nothing... a I spun again... and in standard slow-mo action -- 1 blazing 7. 2 blazing 7's....... THREE blazing 7's! All on the payline. Whistles blow, bells ring, loud annoying music plays, and lights go off. Strangers all gather 'round, to stare in wild wonder at the joy I have found. A pit boss comes over and asks me to push the red button to shut the damn music off. Joanne and the rest congratulate me, a couple of them with jaws dropped. One says, "Ok, I'm a believer now."

No, triple blazing 7's does not win the progressive. It wins $1,000. But it's $1,000 hand-paid by casino staff, and it involves lots of noise. It also happens to be just a touch less than the progressives on the blazing 7 machines were paying, so I got that big chunk of schaedenfreude on the fine women hogging the other machines. I played out my remaining 95 credits, which resulted in me FINALLY getting to play the damned side game and winning $50 on that, which I spun away. All told, I left up around $560-$580 on the night - once again thanks to slots and blazing 7's.

For those who haven't met Joanne, she's a sweetheart. Vibrant, friendly, open, and a great person. This is away from the poker table of course. She reminds me of Kat in many ways, even though they are distinct individuals... it's no wonder they get along so well. I'm glad I got to meet her in person.

On a final note (THIS is my idea of "short"?? Wait until the full trip report.) - It looks like my Vegas quandry is being resolved by circumstances beyond my control. I'd say there's a 99% chance I won't be going (never say never). There's been an unfortunate event that wipes out this week (and possibly beyond) from being anything but family-oriented. I'll be fine, but right now is a sad time, and going away to have fun this weekend would make me feel like dirt. Heck, part of me feels bad for being away this last weekend, and I had that planned months in advance.