Played live last night. $60 tournament at the club. 6000 starting chips, 15 min blinds, MUCH better than the $40 with the 4000 starting stack. Lots more room to play.
Of course, I didn't take advantage of it. I showed up late due to some pretty decent sushi at Sei on King St..
I took my early QQ (twice in 2 orbits) and turned them into a decent stack. Then I sat on it as the blinds increased, as I got NOTHING I was willing to steal or resteal with. Luckily, I got cards when I needed them (see previous post). Down to 4, I find two red aces in the BB vs the short-stack button all-in... and get nailed when the flop brings him his flush with a straight flush draw on his 56d. No 4th non-3 diamond to give me the higher flush and I'm down, but not out. He goes out anyway, and the remaining 3 of us battle back and forth. Finally I get chipped down, go in blind and lose. Still, $90 profit. $20 of which I gave to the dealers.
Then cash for a bit, where I left down $50 (because I stayed for "one more orbit"), but had fun. I think about $14 of the $50 loss was in tips though.
So I leave with $20 more in my pocket than when I started.
$54 profit, more than half given to others. Here's hoping it makes for good karma.
Finally bit the bullet and bought a digital SLR yesterday. Canon Rebel XTi body with an 18-200mm Sigma OS lens. It wasn't cheap though (would have saved a few hundred bucks if I'd bought in the States, but I need this for next week and didn't want to risk it). It's been years since I got my (barely-used) Canon Rebel FILM SLR, and have been using a variety of Point-and-Shoot digitals since then. After looking at friend's numerous pics with her Nikon D40x, and an me with a trip upcoming, I couldn't resist any longer.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Played live last night. $60 tournament at the club. 6000 starting chips, 15 min blinds, MUCH better than the $40 with the 4000 starting stack. Lots more room to play.
Posted by Astin at 9:42 AM
Monday, July 30, 2007
It's said that Poker isn't a card game -- it's a betting game. The cards are simply instruments to determine a winner if someone is dumb enough to stick around. Knowing this, one should be able to toss variance out the window. If you can successfully bet, then the cards don't matter.
And yet, we all go through rough streaks where we catch nothing, get called by donkeys who DO catch something, and we just can't seem to get a break. Then all of a sudden, we're "running good". Read any "I had a great weekend" post and you'll see lines like "I caught great cards." or "My draws filled in." or "The fish were swimming." Usually there is a gem like "I managed the pots so my losses were minimized." or "I stole and re-stole my way to victory." The last two should be the ones with most emphasis, because they are immune to variance. This is seldom the case.
Yes, running lucky is key to making big money. It's really hard to win BIG pots without catching SOMETHING. Rare is it that you can build a big pot and take it down with ace-high. However, we all like to pretend like we're poker masters who know all about pot odds, reads, tells, steals, re-steals, math, and how to bet like you've got the nuts. If this is the case, why do we keep seeing, "I caught great cards for once."?
Just a thought.
I might make the MATH tonight. I might not. Playing live, so we'll see how that goes.
Played poker only last night, and it was a wash. Lost a couple level 1 peeps, took 2nd in a $10 SnG after a lengthy back-and-forth heads-up battle.
There's that adage about being lucky in cards. I fucking HATE getting so many pocket aces.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
And then it was said, that Friday did pass and poker was not played. Aided though he was by his absence from his abode, he felt accomplished in his goals. Movies not of his collection were viewed and enjoyed. Food from a foreign land was consumed with gusto.
Then Saturday did arrive, and thusfar, the game has remained unplayed. So shall it remain on this, the day of Saturn. Chores untended need be completed ere the flesh of beasts over open flame be cooked, then consumed alongside spirits of the fields.
So it is written. So it shall be.
Posted by Astin at 12:36 PM
Friday, July 27, 2007
It is conceivably possible that I will play little to no poker until Sunday night. This is shocking, I know.
But tonight I have a thrilling Friday of cleaning and tidying my place planned. There's also the matter of Just for Laughs doing a free show at the nearby Yonge and Dundas Square, featuring one of my favourite comics - Russell Peters. Him and "friends" are only scheduled for 30 minutes though, so I expect that actual material will be sparse. However, it's free and only a 10 minute walk away, so barring rain, I've got little reason NOT to go.
That said, I'll likely have everything wrapped up before late. The thing is, I have a rather large collection of books, DVDs, video games, and such that I never get around to. Hell, I just added 18 more DVDs to my collection yesterday, and there's a ton I haven't opened or seen. So I might opt to pop some corn, grab a beer, and plunk my ass down on my big comfy couch and put the carefully crafted home theatre I have to good use instead of logging on to give money away.
But the 50-50 on a Friday night is so tempting.
Saturday will be largely consumed by a housewarming/BBQ that will likely run into Sunday some time. I intend to drink and get those around me drunk. Should be a good time, even if it is out in the boondocks. At the very least, it will be interesting...
Sunday - see Saturday. Include recovery.
Hell, Monday will likely be some live poker at the club. Gasp! I'll miss a MATH? Guess that depends how I do live.
Anybody else suffering from VERY predictable suckouts lately? You read the guy dead right, money is in and you're way ahead... and as soon as you see their cards, you know the runner-runner is about to fuck you over and it does. I know this happens all the time, but it seems to be happening with alarming regularity of late, often on the bubble or just in the money. Variance? Unlucky?
Posted by Astin at 2:19 PM
I sincerely hope everyone has been following along with Iggy's multi-part (will it be a decalogy? longer?) story about him and his loser friends over the last few weeks. It's some damn funny stuff. Note: not for the easily offended, but there's nobody that reads here that falls in that category, right?
Thursday, July 26, 2007
2200hrs. Cards are in the air. Laundry is getting transferred from washer to dryer. Dryer sheet? Check. Detergent for the next load? Check. Ok. Run down the hall, take the corner to the office a little fast, but make it. Oh nos! Big Blind! What? Hammer? Sweet. I'm back! No! Limped in. This is bad. 7 on the flop! Also, an ace. Check, bet, call. Brick. Bet, call. Hrm? Brick. Check Check. A4? You called my 2/3 turn bet with A4? Worst hammer play ever.
30 minutes pass. I'm sitting merrily in 5th with around 4200 chips. AA got nothing, QQ okay, JJ not bad, AK also alright. Most chips from middling hands that caught. No need to steal much this early, especially since I'm starting to astin, little bit of bayneage as well.
Hmm... why haven't I had to do anything for a few minutes? Flop hasn't changed. Buddydank Radio still going. Uh oh. Shut down Tilt. Clickclick. Not connecting? Crap. Tragedy picks me to win. Great, if only I could play. Not my end. I know this scenario. Happened a few weeks ago. Tilt is fucked. Get back on. Still stuck. Radio says Tilt knows, will be fixed. Ha, and my middle name is Gertrude. Right. Time passes. 10 minutes. 20 minutes. Half an hour. People getting testy. Soon! Soon! 10 minutes! Right. I'll take the over. Please don't sing More Than Words Buddy. This sucks, Waffles gets back in. 40 min. 45. One hour! So toast. Aaaaaand it's over. Everyone logs off. G'night.
So, when's the rain date?
Posted by Astin at 9:37 AM
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
So I played a little poker last night after all. At least I got out of the house first, had some remarkably tasty vegetarian dinner (so often do I find a lack of meat bland), watched a movie, and THEN played poker.
Oddly enough, I blame the fact I needed something to do while chatting. So does that mean I'm addicted to the community and not the game?
Probably not. Bunch of degenerates.
A few $10 SnGs (bubble, gigli, 2nd), a $5 SnG with Kat and 23skidoo, and then popping into a blogger 0.05/0.10 cash table for both shits AND giggles. More than doubled my $10 there, what a sweet ROI.
If I recall, Fuel, Hoy, LJ, and Waffles were there. Bayne and Mookie arrived later to the party after most of the guests had left.
As is often the case, much fun was had at the expense of the donkeys that didn't know what they were in for. Waffles chasing (and hitting) inside straights, Fuel liking his 3:1 odds just fine thank you, me cardracking like usual, Hoy getting his sets beat up, LJ honestly believing Aces were good against me after a flop that only a luckbox donkey would have the straight on. As one guy put it, "that's this table - you can't raise enough."
My favourite moment of the night, and one of the best poker-related laughs I've had in a while:
Hoy and Fuel are in a hand. Hoy with TT, Fuel with some quasi-connected cards. In the end, Hoy with a set, Fuel with a straight draw, Hoy's $6 into a $12 pot, Fuel calls and wins. Remember this was $0.05/$0.10 so that's equivalent to $600 into a $1200 pot at 5/10... right?
Fuel make a comment along the lines of "I had the odds to call."
This sets off one of the fish in this tank. He calls Fuel an idiot, says that he knows nothing about odds, etc., etc.. Fuel responds with an incredulous, "$6 to make $18?"
And then the comment of the night from fishboy...
"You put in half that money idiot."
Yes sir, Fuel had missed the memo that redifined pot odds as "the ratio of how much money it will take for you to see another card vs the money currently in the pot, minus whatever you have already put in."
Oh how I laughed.
Maybe I was already in a good mood from the $1 90-man SnG I was donking around in where I decided to play only premium hands and crap. I somehow got to the river with J8 on a board that completely whiffed me, and pushed all-in for about 3/5 of the pot. Buddy folds and decides to start putting me on a hand. "You had the 7, right? I had 88... should've called." "A7? something like that. I've been sucked out on so much that I'm gunshy now."
How do you respond? I said, "better scared than broke I guess." I mean, everyone knows that scared poker is winning poker, right?
In a followup to an earlier post - Lindsay Lohan is innocent! She says so. "I am innocent... did not do drugs they're not mine." Obviously she was just holding the illegal narcotics for a friend. They'd be right back. Seriously. In other news - Lindsay Lohan is still an idiot.
See 55 of my fellow donkeys tonight at the BBT FREEROLL.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
That's why I won't be playing any tonight. No. Wait. That's not why. I just feel like taking the night off poker, since I plan to go long into the night playing the BBT Freeroll tomorrow! Victory shall be mine!
If by victory I mean "going out somewhere in the middle of the pack after donking away my stack on stupid plays and then losing a race with my last handful of chips."
Yes, my new persepective on things like "1st place" and "victory" is making this game much more entertaining.
To the casual observer, I finished in 21st place in the MATH last night. While technically correct, I like to think of it as a win.
You see, there were 33 runners, so 21st is in the top 2/3rds! If there were only 3 players, I would have been 2nd! Or squarely in the middle. So 21st is equivalent to 17th, or 52nd percentile. Now if there were only 2 players, that works out to around 1.04, and since we can't have a fractional placing, that rounds down to 1st!
See? 1st place. Pretty sweet. Where's my money? Don't make me break your kneecaps.
Congrats to Waffles for "technically" winning I guess.
Monday, July 23, 2007
So about 2 hands into the 28k last night I got moved to Chad's table. This would be the 2nd time we've ended up at the same table in the 26/28k. 1,400 runners, 2 bloggrs 2 seats away. It boggles the mind.
Anyway, we didn't really tangle much, I think I won one small hand from him as he called down with JJ with a K on the board. We did chat a bit about the horrible players around us though. It was easily the worst table I've seen in a long time. K5o is worth calling a pre-flop raise with? A-anything is AWESOME! SOOOOTED 58!
I donked off some chips to that K5 hand and some more to the 58h... because really, wtf? I then got some back with a turned flush, and then my friends AA showed up against AKc and KK and that helped a ton. My favourite hand was when I found A9s, saw the flop come
4sAd2s5sAh2s. I bet out at it, got raised, pushed, and then I re-pushed, and got called by the raiser.
Pusher flips over
45o3s4c for the straight, raiser flips over... A9h?? Really? Huh? My flush fills in twice on the turn and river and I'm laughing.
That about ended my night of fun though. I got some decent hole cards I had to throw away to bad flops and bets from the donkeys who undoubtedly caught that K with their K4, mucked small pocket pairs on low flops because I was too weak to trust my reads of AQ or similar being bet instead of a higher pair. My worst choice of the night was with 99 and an M of 15.
I'm on the button, there's a raise before me from the big stack, I re-raise, and the BB pushes. Big stack calls the push and I KNOW I'm up against a couple A-high donks. A call commits me, so it's push or fold. I figure I've still got around 10 orbits left, so I don't risk it and fold like an emaciated kitten just to see AJ and A5 get flipped over and my nines hold. From there I was screwed and went out in the 300's when my shortstack KQs met A2c and 33 and didn't improve.
MATH is tonight. I may make an appearance, I may not. Oh who am I kidding? I'll see you there.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
So, the 50-50 lasted until I was in the 500's. Ah well.
Then I played a $20 SnG... got hurt, went out 4th. Was on mini-tilt about some tool calling me for a bluff while the hand was STILL LIVE. I won it anyway.
Went to bed. Woke up at the crack of 2pm, and got on with my day.
Dinner tonight - Tri-tip sirloin fajitas. What? I bastardized tri-tip that way? Yup! It was cheap, and I didn't want straight-up steak. They were great.
Not sure if it was the fresh cilantro, the lime juice to finish, my brilliant array of spices, or the home-made tortillas (a la Robert Rodriguez), but they were good.
Back to the 28k with Chad at my table. Let's see how this works.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Didn't get any poker in live last night. Instead I played the roller coaster that is craps all night. Then gave some money to the slots. Funfun.
Anyway, got home, donked around in some PLO, and lost 1/2 my HUGE roll.
Today, 4 $1 tourneys. Cashes in one. Roll at $2.22.
So I played the "guess the number" game where I just have to put in the right combination and how much money I want, and I win! It's awesome.
So yah, I reloaded. Then I dropped a massive $4.25 (buy-in + add-on) into the $2 50-50 rebuy and took 1st in the thing. Naturally it was all luck at the end that is the all-in fest after the spots are paid. I took some satisfaction from beating the two dorks that decided they wanted to win though. Push, push, push, quads, push, push. :)
So let's see how the "fiddy" goes tonight with my massive $4.25 buy-in.
Posted by Astin at 8:49 PM
Friday, July 20, 2007
For some reason, I decided to toss most of my remaining and greatly dwindled bankroll into the Fifty-Fifty last night instead of being productive (although I did get a bunch of things out of the way first). I went out 583rd or something like that when the table's resident donkey struck with his pocket fives and turned a set. Really? Presto? Set on the turn? Who the hell plays that crap? :)
Of course, he went out about 10 minutes and 60 places later because he's a complete tool who got some sick rivers on retarded hands. He should have gone broke at least 3 or 4 times before he knocked me out.
This left me with... wait for it... a whopping... $5.57 in my FT account. So what's a guy to do at 11:20pm on a Thursday with just enough for a $5 SnG to do? Jump into a 45 runner $5 SnG of course! Then, he needs to play tight, then steal a bit, then somehow extract maximum value from his aces against the big stack with bets and calls on a paired board, and eventually hold on tight until enough people drop before him so he can JUST make the money and proudly look at the over $11 now sitting in his account.
Tonight I'm off to Fallsview to gamble with real chips, so I believe I will make Saturday a challenge day. The plan is simple - play poker pretty much all day and rebuild the roll into something a bit more respectable. If I fail miserably (which I inevitably will now that I've stated my goals), then I can always reload and try to not be a fool with my money. This may require multi-tabling and a mix of larger and smaller fields at donktastic levels. Or I could toss it all into 1 $10 tournament and cross my fingers. Yah, cash is king, but am I really going to play at $0.05/0.10 level?
But I like a challenge, and am at my prime under pressure, so it will be $11 worth of fun.
Posted by Astin at 9:59 AM
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Go HERE. NOW. DONATE. Our Vegas organizer extraordinaire needs your money so he can win a new bike so he can ride it endlessly. The more you give, the more he'll have to sweat and pedal in circles! Who doesn't want to see pictures of Falstaff exhausted, sweating, 100 lbs lighter, in a kilt, next to a shiny new bike that we helped him win? Every $50 = 3 miles. I added 6 miles to his tally. Let's see him act your way out of this one. Okay, he said nothing about the kilt.
Also, the money goes to cancer research. While normally I'm not a fan of researching cancer (I think it's already pretty powerful, so I tend to give money to its nemesis.. reasearch for a CURE for cancer), it's worth it in this case.
So, instead of tossing $50 or $100 or $400 into the gaping maw of some donkey, give it to our boy Falstaff and make him your biking monkey.
Posted by Astin at 1:16 PM
Didn't play a lick on online poker last night. Instead, I went to the club and tossed some physical chips around. Out after the first break in the tournament and off to the cash game. KJ raised pre-flop and re-raised all-in for barely any more hurt me... I didn't want to call, but pot odds and all that. I almost had the rivered straight though. Then I turned 125 chips into 500 at the the last hand before the break with A2 becoming trips on the flop against 3 other players.
Anyway, the cash game was an exercise in patience as I spent 3 1/2 hours mostly folding the absolute crap I had in front of me and facing all kinds of aggression on the boards. A turned boat vs my turned nut flush didn't help things, but in the end I ended up leaving the night down a little less than the tournament buy-in as I started catching playable hands towards the end. Once I was over my buy-in, I called it a night.
Got home and railed LJ in her FTOPS #8 satellite, which she unfortunately came in 2nd when there was only one entry. Good game though. Silently watched Don go out 82nd in the Fifty-Fifty too (that sounds stalkeresque), and caught some of the Mookie's final table. Then went to bed. Very exciting.
Saw this article on AlterNet. Yah, yah... Liberal bias and all that. I take everything I read with a large grain of salt and have a solid bullshit detector. Still, this annoyed the hell out of me. While I hope that some of what is recounted was said tongue-in-cheek, it's obvious most of it wasn't. Where do people come from that they are so sheltered, insulated, and brainwashed that they believe the kind of shit they were spewing? I don't think ANYTHING annoys me more than unfounded arrogance. If you're Stephen Hawking and want to be a prick about how much you know about theoretical cosmology... more power to you. If you're some rich Republican who daddy got into Yale and barely passed whatever piss-easy courses you took and can't read anything beyond the National Review, then please spare me your tired, unfounded, uneducated, ignorant views on the world.
BTW - this chart should come as no surprise. I believe the correct term is "Canadian". Funny how I can't stand the Liberal Party here, think the NDP are morons, and wish the Progressive Conservatives still existed on a federal level instead of the right-wing nutjobs who call themselves the Conservative party. Um... go Green?
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I bought into the Fifty-Fifty last night, and went out 201st when 180 paid. I could have very easily folded to the money, but instead overthought a hand and called off my chips for an instant loss.
Then I won a $6 turbo without putting much thought into it at all.
A few posts back I wrote about how poker should eventually become largely instinctual. We play enough games, see enough styles, and think enough about it all that eventually we should just "feel" what to do most of the time. Note that there is a difference between playing by feel when you aren't a student of the game and doing it when you have a fair bit of experience under your belt.
The human mind is made to see patterns, and can access its vast stores of knowledge and experience quite easily if we let it. I'll trust Doyle Brunon's gut feelings at the table more than Mr. "I'm a Superstar" Internet 14-year old's book-learnin' any day.
You should know when you're beat, and TRUST that voice. You should know when that marginal hand is in trouble pre-flop vs when it offers you the chance to stack your opponent. And you should know this without having to ask for extra time.
I'm not saying this is going to happen 100% of the time. There will always be situations where you have to go in the tank. New players you haven't seen much of, holding the 2nd nuts and facing an all-in near the bubble against a variable player, wondering if you've been slow-played to the river by someone with a better kicker than you. There will always be times that require further effort. Just make sure you use the appropriate amount and don't overthink yourself into making a mistake.
Last night held some perfect examples of this. In the Fifty, I saw KJ a few times in front of me. Unlike some people, I actually like this hand. Yes it is easily dominated, but often times you find yourself up against drawing hands, AQ, AT, suited A-rag, QQ, and medium-to-small pocket pairs. KJ gives you ample opportunity to catch a fairly well-hidden straight that is great for stacking, the 2nd nut flush, and J or K with a decent kicker. The implied odds of the hand are huge. Plus, it is easy to get away from. I also had JJ in late position twice. JJ is a painful hand to play as it looks nice, but is easily beat by a pretty wide range of starting hands.
As late as a couple of months ago, I probably would have played these hands every time. Last night, I folded JJ both times pre-flop, and KJ all but once before any cards hit the felt. Why? Because I knew I would just be giving away money if I called. I didn't even have to think about it, they were getting mucked as soon as I saw the action before me. I did take the obligatory "I'm thinking about this" time to type "Damn, I have JJ" to Bayne in the girly chat though. Every time I saw a showdown on these hands, I would been crushed pre-flop. I did, however, play J9o, QTs, and other medium, easily-dominated hands throughout the night. Each time the situation was different (get in cheap, call a small raise, fire out a bet in medium-to-late position, etc.), but each time I knew that if I hit, I was walking away with more chips. At one point I got 9To in LP for the second consecutive hand and decided to call a 3x BB raise from MP. Flop came a beautiful 78J rainbow and I checked to the turn. Turn was a second 8 and I bet 1/2 the pot. The initial raiser put me all in after a few seconds thought, and I insta-called, knowing I had him beat. He flipped over A9o for his steal attempt, so that even the second 7 on the river did me no harm.
The $6 turbo was similar. I cracked aces twice - once with 23d that flopped trip threes, and one with 88 that flopped a set. Both times were the result of the AA slowplaying pre-flop so it didn't require any effort from me. It did, however, put me in a good chip position to steal and re-steal as people dropped. With 4 left and a small chip lead, I was able to abuse the table into helping me out. It was back-and-forth with 2nd place until there were 3 left and I took a commanding lead with steals and re-steals. Heads-up was a breeze, without anything more than a thought of "do I want to risk doubling him up at this point?" I cruised to the win without having to do any active thinking... it was all instinct.
Granted, these are two very different tournaments to compare, but the level of competition, but my point is that regardless of the situation, there's an aspect of "intuition" that comes into play, built off of countless hands of experience.
On the flipside, the hand that sent me to rail was a classic case of overthinking a hand. I had QJo on the button, and there was a min-raise from the highjack, cutoff calls, and I call. SB min-raises on top of that for a grand total of 3x BB and another player calls that before we all call again. I type in the girly chat to Bayne and LJ that "this flop better hit me haaaard." Flop comes TQ5 with 2 diamonds on the board (I am diamondless). It checks around to me, and I think about betting but decide there are too many people in the hand to think my TP3K is good, so I check as well. A jack comes on the turn. It checks around to the original min-raiser who puts out a small bet that I double or triple. Everyone folds to our raising friend who pushes for his remaining 7,000 and change into a pot of 5,000. I have around 3.5k left in front of me with a pot now around 12,000. My first reaction is to fold my top two pair, but instead I decide to think.
I type in the girly chat, "hmm.. pre-flop min-raise. AK? I have top 2." No help from the peanut gallery though. Good - it would have just messed me up. I request time and start pondering.
This guy has shown some donkish tenedencies, but has a decent stack. I think back to a hand earlier in the tournament when he called a push with a flush draw and inside straight draw on the turn, both Q-high. He lucked out with the pusher only having an OESD and this guy catching his inside card. Not a bad play, but he put his tournament life at risk early with what was 14 outs once or 2.29:1 against. I can't recall any other hands I've seen him win.
But here he has the nut straight with a flush draw on the board and one card to come. He has overbet the pot and it is now laying me 3.4:1 odds, and I'd have over 15k if I win, which is a ton at this point (150/300 blinds, 25 ante, 21 to go to the cash). I don't doubt he has something, but AA, KK, and even possibly AQ are still possibilities (although I discount the AQ). If he has AK, I'm beat save for 4 outs, if he has AA or KK, I'm way ahead here. The push seems too suspect to me, like he wants me to think he has AK or wants me out. So I call, because I'm playing to win.
He flips over AK and I'm done. If I'd gone with any of my initial instincts, I would have been gone from the hand and lost nothing, at best I would have taken it on the flop, at worst been alive with an M around 5, which is plenty to work with. Instead, I overthought the hand and found myself cheering on Bayne and playing a $6 turbo.
I will likely miss the Mookie tonight, as I plan to join Kat for some live play at the club. It will be a good warmup for Niagara on Friday (actually, the club has much stiffer competition than Fallsview ever will), and a nice change of pace. I bubbled the last time I played there - I will either do better this time, or go out in a blaze of glory.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
One of those nights last night. I couldn't catch a thing, and my reads were so far off that you might think I was playing the wrong table.
As predicted, I went out in 12th in The Hoy. I never had the chip lead, but I was as high as 4th. I donked around for the first bit, and it cost me about half the starting stack. Eventually I got back up, and knocked out Kat when my BB T4s turned a flush against here flopped trips. I was sure she had either a higher flush or boat, and came off as a bit of a dick when I won with the flush. My apologies. I owe you a beer.
I played weak at times, and made both wise and foolish laydowns. Most of them were pots I shouldn't have been involved with to start.
SnG's, tier 1's, satellites... nada. I won a token that I used to play the MATH on my 3rd try, and that was a pure display of luck on the bubble that kept me alive. I played a $20 180 person SnG on Stars as well... came in 26th. Such was my night.
I did play a $5 SnG with Kat and LJ after the MATH, and found myself sandwiched between the ladies. I didn't last long. There's a joke in there somewhere. Note: A5 sooooted is only good if someone else is holding it.
So my FT bankroll has once again dropped signifcantly. Much like a game, I wouldn't be saying that if I had't donked away most of it in games it couldn't afford. Note: not that I couldn't afford, but that were outside the range of the roll.
I haven't decided if I'll take the night off from poker or not. I'll definitely do a bunch of other things I need to get done first, and then see where I stand. Espcially if I can play live tomorrow night. Signs point to "do other shit".
Monday, July 16, 2007
Waiting for a specific time to roll by so I can do a few things at work. In the meantime, and in the words of Garfield:
Let's try some Haiku!
Donkeys suck, it's true
But they are who give us cash
So you can't kill them
Why do I fold crap?
My eight five off is a straight
Whew, he had a boat
When bloggers go deep
We all like to cheer them on
Why am I tired?
Kings are so pretty
But there are sixteen aces
And that jerk has two
Ok, time's up!
First - congrats to Don for taking 13th in the 24k. Yah, it's "only" a few hundred bucks for hours of work, but it was an impressive run. One thing I don't get - KJo? DON played KJo? Was this a "well, it always works againts me." moment? Anyway, running into KK with it is just about as bad as it gets.
And welcome to Dillo over on the side bar. He's been doing the blogging thing for about a month now, and looks like he started it so he could get in on the BBT. This is why the point system, the freeroll, and all the rest are good things - it not only reinforces, but builds the little community that we have here and enjoy. No, I don't know him. He's yet another Aussie in our midst. Another radio guy too.
Anyway... the point of this post. As I lamented earlier, I got crippled in the Midnight Madness on Friday with an unfortunate hand. I'm not bitter, and it was far from the worst beat imaginable (Don's AA vs AA in the Orleans comes to mind as worse). In the end, I got the money in with the best of it and lost to one of 13 outs the guy had. This isn't what this is about.
It's about Phil Gordon. Also, Wil Wheaton, Chris Ferguson, Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu, and every other poker celebrity that plays online. How the hell do you do it?
Most of the players in the blogger events played in the Wheatie when it was running on Poker Stars before Wil was dropped. If you found yourself at Wil's table, you could forget about either (a) playing well or (b) following the chat. You had to choose, because the damned chat never stopped. It was the same with Phil, except with less asshattery. Nonstop chatter, the most INANE questions imaginable, and sycophants out the wazoo. The thing is, I don't think that any of the affiliated pros can shut off their chat entirely, because it would be bad ambassadorship.
People TYPING ONLY IN CAPS because what they have to say is SO IMPORTANT. "Hey Phil, do you know *insert pro he's played with here*?" "How much have you won?" "Why are you playing a $10 tournament?" "Are you still in the WSOP?" (really?? You think he'd be sitting at his computer at 11pm Vegas time playing a $10 tournament if he was in the ME?) "I think you're the greatest player ever." "You suck." "Oh, I know so-and-so's boyfriend, if they owe you money, I can get it for you."
The BEST question I saw? "Where can I buy the blue book so you get the most money?"
Phil pointed the guy to a cancer research fundraising site so the proceeds would go to charity instead.
I was mightily impressed by one other thing. Some tool was SAYING THE FUNNIST THINGS EVAR and was annoying everyone, including Phil, with his insults. He got one warning from Mr. Gordon - "Shut up now or your account will be banned. Don't even bother typing another line at this table." Idiot responds with how HE WAS JUST JOKING and more lines about how Phil can't take a joke... and is then silent. "Don't worry, his account is now banned." THAT, my friends, is power at the table. :)
Anyway, I'm digressing. The point is this - how the hell can anyone concentrate with an endless line of people trying to get your attention with the most unimportant things possible? It would be great if it was just, "Hey Mr. Pro. I think you're great." or other such flattery. But please people, the pros ARE NOT YOUR BEST FRIENDS! It's fantastic that in our little world the superstars are approachable, and generally friendly and accomodating, but they're still people. They should be treated with respect and then left alone. Rail them, sweat them, cheer them on. Don't annoy them.
Especially when I'm at their table. It pisses me off. :)
See you at the MATH. I'll be the guy going out within 4 places of making the final table after holding a chip lead that I could have folded to the money with.
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Only one hand matters.
I'm in around 23rd of 78 left of 1710 in the Midnight Madness. I've been kicking all kinds of ass with nearly no cards all night, as high as 6th, and never in the 30's after that. Phil Gordon is 2 to my left. I miss my old table, because it was sooo weak. The new one is all trying to impress Phil or something. So I'm picking my spots.
Blinds are 600/1200 ante of 150, full table. I'm not 1st in chips, but have enough to be scary.
I raise to 3x the BB. If I get called, I'm pretty sure I'm good if I catch. If raised, I can get away easiliy
1 caller, who has 8k less than me.
Flop is 5dTdJc. I bet 4500 into the 7950 pot. Get called.
Turn is 7c.
I debate on checking, but then know I'll have to lay down to a bluff. I think he's got something, but I'm pretty sure my TP has him beat.
I bet 10,000 into the 15,950 pot.
Moron pushes for 15,228 total. I have to call the remaining 5228 now. I figure I'm outkicked, serves me right.
Idiot flips over TcQc. To recap:
Calls 2.3:1 against preflop with a hand that is 1.37:1 against a random hand. I guess if he's put me on ATC, this is okay (although I'd been much less obvious at this table). I don't really blame him here.
Calls 2.8:1 with middle pair, backdoor flush draw. (I'm now a 3:1 favourite) I think I lay this down if facing a bigger stack than mine.
Pushes 15k into a 26950 pot facing someone who has bet on every street, with second pair, flush draw. I obviously call (2.4:1 favourite, 8:1 pot odds). I maybe do this if I have any sort of fold equity against my opponent, which he doesn't.
River, of course, comes 5c. I'm crippled to 8k.
"sorry man, turned myself into that one had to push it."
"you didn't have to call the other two."
I get moved to another table, and go out a few hands later from the BB in 73rd for $32.49.. or about 3x the buy-in.
I owned this bitch. Grrr. Particularly crappy because I'd completely donked out of the 50-50 and the 28k was nothing exceptional. Then this comes along. I stole, I bullied, I read like the cards were face-up, and I lost on a river. I think they call that poker.
That's what I get for not betting more aggressively on the flop guess. It is my fault, right?
BTW - Phil went out 3 after me. The guy who crippled me? Out 58th. I owe everyone a dollar.
Thanks to LJ, Tragedy and Bayne for railing. It was much appreciated. Sorry I kept you up.
There was no big hand to get me here. I stole, re-stole, and bullied my way up. And I did it quickly.
This explains the 1700 entrants. Phil Gordon playing a $10 MTT online. Man did I want that bounty. I had chips on him all night. BTW - I folded a Q pre-flop :).
And how I finished. Far less impressive than the first picture.
Oh, and congrats to Mike_Maloney for taking 3rd in the 24k! Awesome job. He also took 1st in the Donkament.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Ok, it was awesome. Chicken was roasted the same way as the chocolate one was last month. Seasoning was different though. I couldn't find any lemongrass, alas.
1 large clove of fresh garlic... grated on my microplane, which pretty much liquified it.
Lots of fresh grated ginger
Hot sauce (ie.- Tabasco)
Coarse black pepper
Hot ground red pepper
Ground Coriander seed
Kozlik's Double C mustard
Chopped green onions
Veggies were baby bok choi, snow peas, red pepper, red onion, carrot and lots of water chestnuts. They were stir fried in an electric wok with a little sesame oil, and a mix of corn starch, water, and soy sauce. Short stir fry (until bok choi wilted), then turned off and covered to steam a bit.
The drink was pretty much as described. My pomegrante juice was past due, so I used pomegranate liquor instead. 2oz Grey Goose, 1oz Zen green tea liquor, 1/2oz golden pear liquor, and 1/2oz of Uphoria pomegranate, shaken with ice and strained. The colour is mostly due to the golden pear. Also very tasty. I suppose I should name it.
So freakin' good.
I love water chestnuts
Such pretty colours
Oh yah, the martini!
... Is too much red meat?
Lunch today is steak. Therefore, dinner tonight will not be steak. Especially with last night's dinner being chili, the night before being elk sausage, and the day before being two meals of roast beef sandwiches. This requires a bit of a change in cooking plans.
My first thought is to swing over to good ol' reliable chicken. I also have a cornish hen kicking around I should cook. It needs to be thawed though. So chicken, because I don't feel like fish. I'm thinking pan-roasted. That means skin is required. Hmm... thighs or breast? Everyone does breast, I'm thinking thigh. Maybe thigh and leg. Yah, that sounds good.
Seasoning? I'm thinking an asian angle. Garlic is obvious, and I have some great fresh locally-grown garlic that needs using. Ginger? I have a severe lack of ginger. Easily remedied in Toronto. Green onion for sure. Lemongrass? Maybe. I really should have some. Worst case, I'll just use ground coriander seed. Basil is good too. Spicy ground red chili or cayenne for heat. Salt and pepper is of course required. Oh, and sesame oil and soy sauce naturally. Actually, with the soy, salt is less necessary.
Ok. So man cannot live on chicken alone. I was going to do potatoes, but with the asian angle, the starch will now become rice. Steamed would be healthiest, but I so do like fried. Bah, steamed it shall be. If I can get some fresh lemongrass, it will be used to flavour the rice at least. Mango wouldn't be a bad flavour in there either. That's a good 40 minutes of cooking right there. Minimal effort for sure, but still time.
Meat, starch. Still need a vegetable. Bok Choi? Chinese Broccoli? A stir fry of them both with some water chestnuts, onion, garlic, and some red pepper for colour? Hmm.. that's a possibility. How would fennel work with it?
And then... to drink. A mango smoothie would go well. It's strange that I don't like mango except when it's only contribuing flavour. I'd need yogurt though. Alternately, I could go with an asian-themed martini. Zen green tea liquor could make it interesting. Strangely enough, I don't think I have any lychee-flavoured alcohol. I do have pear though. Hmm... green tea, pear and a splash of pomegranate juice mixed with some Ketel One. Not a bad way to prep for the Donkament and other games. What? It's a sin to mix the Ketel with flavours? Maybe I'll just use the Grey Goose then... Lord knows I have enough of it.
Then there's dessert. Fruit or ice cream... maybe both. Maybe Baileys will be involved too. Maybe not.
All this will of course destroy any ability I have to play in a 50-50 satellite. So I guess I'll just buy in tonight and make sure I win it.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
The plan had originally been to cook a real meal (I was leaning towards very lightly seasoned (ie.- coarse salt, fresh pepper, and maybe some garlic) tri-tip sirloin, some sort of potato, and vegetables. A very basic, literally meat-and-potatoes meal. Then I was going to satellite into the fifty-fifty and 26k and win them both while steamrolling the Riverchasers. What? Fine... play them both, but I was still going to own that drunken calling-station congregation.
But now I'll be out for most of the night, so that will all have to be put of to tomorrow. Since I haven't seen a free Friday in months, I have my doubts that will hold up either. That said, I really would like to play in another Donkament. It's probably for the best as staying up tonight until I win the big dailies would mean not much sleep for work the following day.
I listened a bit to Bush (all hail the mighty Americun leedur!) "talk" about the Iraq war today. The reporters were trying their best to ask "tough" questions, and he was avoiding, lying, and passing the buck like a pro. I really do admire this administration's ability to bamboozle and flummox its critics. The dems are such panty-waists that even now that they HAVE power they don't do anything of substance. An entire country, slowly being destroyed by apathy and special interest.
Anyway, everything out of this guy's mouth, as usual, sounded unbelievably insincere, and the fact that he honestly believes that if he spews this crap with a straight face, people will accept it, is amazing to me. Of course, he's right.
The Commander-in-Chief has to listen to his Generals. Absolutely, except that you've fired every single one that told you something you didn't want to hear. Maybe Tommy Franks DID tell you he had enough men and supplies to win in Iraq. I believe at least 2 other generals said more was needed, but they were silenced and "retired". Bush is surrounded by yes men, and he's a puppet, and other than a bunch of meaningless bluster, nobody's doing anything about it.
I'll stop here before I get into the hackneyed economic changes, runaway spending, disposal of basic human rights while trumpeting freedom, disasterous foreign policy, alienation of allies, kowtowing to corporations, the religious right, and special interests, and overal arrogance and idiocy.
Seriously, has this administration done ANYTHING that's been beneficial to the citizens it supposedly represents?
And let me be clear - I'm not bashing republicans. But these neo-cons that have taken over the party aren't republicans, they're right-wing nutjobs that have no idea how to do their job and are solely concerned about being re-elected, building their power, and pulling in a pension. Same could be said about the democrats, except they have no power and have fallen so far from the days of Bubba. It's a shame that a country of 300 million can't support a 3rd, 4th, or even 5th party.
Bash me all you want, it's not like I have a clue what I'm talking about. I just know people, and there's nothing about anyone in the US political scene that doesn't make my stomach turn.
The US needs an enema to clear out all this shit.
First off - Hoy's cashed in the 50-50 again. Who knows where he'll end up? I say 1st.
Update not 10 min later - Hoy's in 1st of 42 after QQ became a rivered straight against AK (rivered K) and 88. Then later getting AQd to river a straight. Astinbayne anyone?
Update at 2:56am - Dammit Hoy, why you gotta keep me awake? Beat everyone already! 4th of 12 at the break, 3rd-6th pretty tight. Glad I took a nap earlier.
Update at 3:15 - Out 9th for $775 A2c vs AKo, 2 clubs on the flop, 2 offsuit sixes on the turn and river. Two final tables in two days. Congrats!
Kat is sitting in the top 3 of the Mookie after seeking help from my powers.
Update - Kat finishes 2nd! Booya! Congrats! Congrats to Crazdgamer for taking down 1st!
LJ is heads-up with Jeciimd in the Dookie.
Update - LJ wins it! When did you become a stud player? :) Congrats!
Congrats to them all.
I think I made one mistake in the Mookie, and it didn't cost me much. I let Jordan get to his rivered gutshot by checking the turn. I KNEW he was on a draw, and was hoping he'd bluff at air. Instead, he bet enough that I could easily afford to call and give him chips.
Then my 66 went down to Jeciimd's AQo, with the money in pre-flop. A on the turn. THAT hurt.
Stayed alive for a few more hands, and then found TT, usually gold in the Mookie. Unless Jecii has pocket rockets to and catches his 3rd ace on the flop. Now THAT is getting astinbayned, or astinbayning (are Bayne or I even allowed to use that term?), depending on your perspective. He who lives by the aces...
And yes, I saw 3 AA, 1 KK, 2 QQ, 1 AK, and some other pocket pairs. This time they were spread out. The aces and ladies got me almost nothing more than blinds, the KK paid off well, and the AK was good for a chunk of Kat's stack. But what I'm much happier about is how I played without the premium cards. I totally felt like my game was back. I still need a LITTLE bit of tweaking, but it's almost there. I was on top for most of the tournament, and didn't let it go without a fight. That's two blogger games in a row where I got crippled by rivers or my money was in ahead, and ended up going out with the best I could hope for with a short stack. No shame in that.
Once I'm back to where I want to be... I'll start improving my game.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
For a long time I've been fascinated with Asperger Syndrome and Autism. A recent post by LJ on Faceblindness has prompted this rather lengthy thought from me.
There's Wikipedia to fill you in on the details of these things. But in short, Asperger syndrome is essentially a form of high-functioning autism. Those with the disorder seem fairly average, if sometimes anti-social. It's often characterized with an intense focus on specific subjects (often maths or sciences), but a lack of social aptitude. A difficulty on picking up on nonverbal cues (body language, sarcasm, etc.), clumsiness, and repetitive behaviours are also hallmarks of Asperger's.
I'm not sure when I first learned about autism and Asperger's, but they've always held my attention for some reason. I don't personally know anyone who's been diagnosed with either. I know at least one person with an autistic brother, and wouldn't be surprised if I've met many undiagnosed people with Asperger's. I think it's the fact that the brain seems to get crosswired that interests me the most.
Anyway, this isn't a post about the details.
One striking statistic in recent years has been the incredibly sharp increase in cases of autism in children in and around Silicon Valley. One theory is that the abnormally high concentration of Engineers, techies, etc., has lead to this. Why? Because Asperger sufferers are usually excellent candidates for technical disciplines. You know that strange kid who knew all kinds of math, could do anything with a computer, but couldn't hold a conversation, look you in the eye or realize you were joking? Good chance this was their problem. So they go into computer science, or computer engineering, or just walk into an office and say, "I'm awesome at computers. Give me a job." They get a sweet job in California, where they don't have to deal with anyone if they don't want to, and they end up meeting someone else who understands them because they've got Asperger's too. Love, marriage, and kids with two parents carrying autistic genes.
So... what am I getting at? Why, poker of course. Shall we look at the standard online poker player? Yes, we shall.
Live poker is a social game. In contrast, online poker is a solitary endeavour. You sit alone in front of your computer, playing anonymous avatars over bits of information. It's faster than a live game, and you can play as many games as you can handle at once. A game is always running, and nobody at your table questions why you are there. Obviously, the blogger and other "home" games are an attempt to recreate a live experience online, but they make up a small fraction of the total activity on any given day. One can play, by oneself, without judgement or social interaction, whenever one wants. Plus, you can drop your cards, and if you trip on your way to get a drink, nobody knows.
In order to succeed in poker, one needs to focus. This is easier live than online because you are often in a poker room, facing poker players, with concrete materials, tactile sensations, and minimal distractions surrounding you. Many have lamented their inability to focus online. TVs get turned on, web pages browsed, blogs read, games played, music blaring, etc.. If you have the ability to focus solely on the game at hand, then your results will be greatly improved.
And there are instant rewards. The thrill of winning a big hand or knocking out an opponent. The joy that comes with executing a well-laid trap or bluff to perfection. Then there's the money. You win, and you get more ammunition to fire. You are constantly proving you're better than someone else.
Plus, it's online. Computers, networks, and algorithms are all you're dealing with. Everything is 1's and 0's - the cards, the money, the interface. None if it is "real". If you're a wizard with programs and hardware, then you are completely in your element. Let's not forget that poker is a game of odds. A fun and practical application of a variety of mathematics for a math whiz. Can you think of a more appealing game for a geek?
This brings us back to the social aspect. How many times have you seen someone "yell" after a bad beat - "I hope your entire family dies a horrible death!" (I have seen this phrase more than once). Endless rants about how horrible a player someone is when they make a bad call on the flop that turns into a great hand on the flop. Baseless bombast and conceit are the norm. Those of us who have some sense of maturity sit there and wonder, "how the hell can anyone think this is acceptable?" Well, I've mentioned one possibility.
So... minimal social interaction, no physical skills required, anonymous opponents, statistical math, technological skills, instant positive reinforcement, and a situation where intense focus is rewarded. Sounds like an all-you-can-eat buffet for someone with Asperger's. Take a look at some of the "Internet Pros" who make it into the sun for the WSOP. Be amazed by the guy who can play 16 tables at once and NOT just be playing aces and kings. Revaluate that guy who's stalking you from table to table ranting about how you called his push when he had a set and you had 15 outs twice. Your perspective might shift just a little bit.
Posted by Astin at 10:28 AM
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
8,733 entrants last year. 6,358 this year. 2,375 less players. Yay US Gubmint anti-gambling and Harrah's no 3rd-party buy-in rules! This year's jackpot? 8.25 Mil. Still not too shabby, but somewhat anti-climactic.
And could they neuter the game anymore? No more Jamie Gold-like table talk? Can't show a card vs a heads-up all-in? Cell phones I get, but they keep stripping away the psychological aspect of the game. Why not just have everyone sit silently behind a curtain? Wait, I know! Why play live at all? Just make it an online event.
Oh giant corporations, how wonderfully you fuck shit up.
I get the feeling there's something I want to say, but I have no idea what it is. So I'll ramble.
Congrats to Pokerbrian, Recess, LJ and IG and Crazdgamer for cashing the Hoy last night. I think crazd had one of those suckouts against me, so I'm glad my chips got used effectively :).
Congrats to Lucko for surviving day 1, even if you lost a whack on a flip at the very end.
Where's Fuel? I'm guessing not in day 2 since I don't see him on the lists. Sorry man.
Vegas in September is looking pretty likely. Just like last year, it will be 1 week before my birthday. Ending my 20's in Vegas... sounds appealing. Then I come back and get all my friends on a drunken boat cruise around Lake Ontario if all goes according to plan.
I never posted anything about the end of the BBT. I don't know why. Al, Mookie and Hoy put together something great and deserve high praise for it. My 8th place finish was a bit of a disappointment, as I really wanted top 5, but just couldn't pull it off in the last few events. Not that I don't already have a Wii and DS Lite. That said, coming 2nd in points/event and being +ROI for the tournament are both a plus. I think my ROI is higher than indicated since I tokened into a few MATHs and 2/3 of the Big Games. Then again, I think I spent an extra Big Game buy-in trying to token into the one I bought into, so maybe it evens out a bit. Anyway, enough about me. Bayne was a machine, and the 3 hosts did an awesome job. From what I hear, Al did most of the work. Crazy persuasive drunk that he is. See you in the Freeroll!
Speaking of Bayne, he said something a few days ago that I think bears repeating. It's not about getting the cards but getting your opponents to pay when you do.
Anyone else notice how general play in the poker world syncs up? To quote Eric Idle (as he introduced Not The Messiah and talking about Americans): "It's like millions of people are all marching in the same direction singing 'I Did it My Way.'" Seriously. When I started, everyone was playing Harrington-style, so I didn't. Now it's a world where a c-bet isn't taken seriously, so tournaments are played to the turn. I don't know how many times I've had the 3rd or 4th nuts, bet every street, an then seen my opponent turn over K-high on the river. Nobody believes anyone anymore. Good. There are a ton of other common patterns out there if you look for them. This is why people like Chad do well in these medium buy-in events, because he's mixing it up and nobody expects his cards. Well, that and he has some skills. Yet another reason to like the Blogger games - there's a bit of variety in all that donkish play.
I've said it before - If everyone played the same way, poker would be boring.
Thursday... I might cook again on Thursday.
I still feel like a tool. Those who are going out with me tonight know why.
Confidential to D: Everyone knows you have to apply lotion more than once.
I don't know who "D" is, that's how confidential that is.
Ever feel like dumping your entire bankroll into one game and seeing how it goes? Note, this doesn't count if your bankroll is $1.
What are the chances? I should quash any optimism I have in the next couple weeks before it gets crushed. Remember - low expectations means mediocrity will impress you.
Kat's game is much better than she's afraid it is. Just needs a win or two.
Recess is too fast a learner for my tastes. I'm going to have to start watching out for this guy.
When LJ figures out when to pick her spots, she'll be deadly.
I hate nothing more than seeing a string of premium hands early in a low buy-in event. It means I'm boned for the rest of the night.
There will be another blogger big score in the next week or so in one of the dailies. I can feel it.
After Wednesday, I'll be attacking some tournaments with vigor.
Now I have the Hill Street Blues theme in my head. This is unconnected to anything in this post.
How the hell do we KNOW when we're about to get screwed at the felt? You know, money's in or your almost committed and you just KNOW that the 4-flush is about to fill in, or one of the remaining 12 aces will hit.
Poker should get the point where it's ALL instinct. The odds, the cards, the tells, the aggression, should all be known without any real effort, so you can simply say, "You've got nothing." and push. Watching Doyle and Antonius the other night when Doyle called (and won) with nothing but pocket 3's on a board with paired nines and big raises from Antonius is a prime example.
P: "How can you make that call?"
D: "How can I make that call? How can you make that bet?! We're playing poker, not solitaire."
I think that was my favourite TV poker moment ever. I love that moment of clarity, when you know you're facing air and your low something is better than their high nothing.
Well, if I haven't said it in all this, then it sure as hell isn't coming out today.
THOK? BAM? WHACK? THUD? I'm not sure what the sound of smacking directly into a brick wall is.
Played in the MATH last night. No love in the tokens, so I bought in. I didn't bother with the 50-50 seeing as I went out 31st in the $2 satellite ($4 commitment) when top 18 or something paid. Amazing how KQ doesn't hold up except when you're not the one holding it.
I was rocking the MATH, sitting nicely in 5th with 15 of 38 left, steamrolling over my table with what looked like more luckboxery. I'd build a great loose-aggressive luckbox image (who, me?) to this point by not showing anything but hammers and sets or better, and winning showdowns with cards that caught when I got in with for cheap (such as my SB flopped baby straight against top-bottom two pair). I even saw quads sixes. One BIG suckout with Q8 rivering two pair against a well-played shortstack BB AA from chapelhill. I was laying down when I thought I was behind (including one play from willwonka, where I was sure he was reaching into the "gonna run down time and look like I'm thinking and then push" move with a straight draw on the turn to sucker in my TP2K... he claims he had 2PTK gutshot). Then the pushing started. So I pushed back.
ATo on a T-high board against a push of air (Q-garbage?), rivered Q hurts me. A few hands later, I start playing the cocky button with 77 and push... BB calls with.... A-crap off??? Well, I got what I wanted. Naturally the 5-high straight lands on the river and IGH in 14th. I win those hands, I'm near the top of the board and cruising. This is what makes poker interesting.
So, what can I say? I liked my play the whole night. I might have made one or two questionable laydowns, but they didn't cost me too much, and I made the right moves at the right times, only to be beat by the river. It felt like I was playing poker again instead of "wait for the great cards to come". Good. I'm getting there.
Monday, July 09, 2007
Well, that was a relaxing weekend. My place is cleaner, some poker was played, and I finally finished an ongoing game of phone tag. All-in-all, mild productivity was achieved. A big thanks again to my friend who was by on Saturday helping out. Now I'll see if I can pull down some poker cash to get to that dinner before the restaurant connection ups and leaves. Confusing enough for everyone else? Good.
So I've been VERY slowly (read: responsibly) building bankroll on Absolute Poker because they went and gave me $10 gratis into my $2 bankroll on the site. I only signed up to bonus whore a while back, and don't visit much. I've decided to the $0.50 + $0.10 SnG's are the way to go. Yes, that's right... for sixty cents I can win upwards of TWO dollars! Then I gave back all my winnings in a $0.05/$0.10 cash game in about 2 minutes. OH THE PAIN! Time to build it back up.
Surprisingly, the fifty cent games are played like people are serious about the money, so I've done pretty well in them. Especially since the quality of play is poor, but not completely donkish. It is... exploitable. Oh to have $20 so I can move up to the $1 games!
What can I say? I like a challenge.
Back on the real sites, it's continuing as planned. Stars is status quo because I barely play there despite having a larger roll at the site. Tilt has been a series of Level 1 failures, $6 turbo wins, and a good ROI at a blogger 0.25/0.50 cash game turned into a less good ROI on my last orbit. I told LJ as I stuck around for one orbit more that I'd lose it all before I left because I didn't leave when I said I would. I blame JEC II MD and Schaubs for my losses. If they hadn't joined, I would have left. :)
It was, however, a lesson in three things - 1) Leave when you say you're going to leave. 2) Listen to your reads when you know the guy has QQ. 3) Bet your weak made flush HARD on the turn, so that when the 4th diamond falls you don't have to fold to the all-in because every other diamond in the deck beats you.
Like I said, my cash game needs work. My 1-table SnG strategy seems to be working well though, as I'm winning more than I'm losing. I'll build a bit more there and then work in some more multi-tabling. I'm doing significantly less well in the 2-table games.
Plus, I JUST missed (cash bubble, 3 away from entry bubble) getting my $2 rebuy satellite into the Fifty-Fifty on Sunday ($10 this time). With A7o UTG, and less than the BB + 1 ante in my stack, I pushed, and only got called by the BB's A2o. I knew it was coming as soon as I saw his cards - the 2 on the river sent me home. It was just one of those days. In the end, I'm glad I missed.
I'll likely go with a couple attempts to token into the MATH tonight before buying in anyway. As well as my usual $2 rebuy to the 50-50 fun. If I have a spare token, maybe the 26k (or is it 28k now?) will come into play as well. If all goes well, I'll once again get into $97 worth of games for around $20.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Saw Transformers last night. Like all boys born in the mid-late 70's, I loved the toys, cartoon, etc, etc.. If only I could find my original Optimus Prime. Anyway, quick review: Walk in, turn off your brain, and expect nothing more than giant transforming robots, a few nods to the fans, and lots of action and explosion. Toss in a few cheesy lines, some surprisingly passable acting from Shia LeBouf, the hotness that is Megan Fox (I'm sure thinking that like that is borderline illegal since she plays a 16 year old, even if she's really 21), and damn if I wasn't 11 years old again and loving it. Michael Bay will never win an Oscar for best movie, acting, screenplay or the like, but he knows how to make things go BOOM and make it entertaining.
So yah... go see it, just don't try thinking.
Still have to get out to see Live Free or Die Hard.
Reason to love Absolute Poker - I haven't even logged in for months. I get a "we miss you" e-mail. My account that formerly had $2 in it now has $12 because they missed me so much :). I think I have a mission now.
And now to stop writing and see if I can help my super-awesome friend who is killing herself sanding the side of doors nobody will see because she's a crazy perfectionist. Takes one to know one. The difference being that I'M lazy :).
Friday, July 06, 2007
The Tragically Hip is the biggest band in Canada that never made it south of the border (that's the US, not Mexico, although I don't think they made it too big there either). It could be the fact they're unapologetically Canadian, with references to cities, towns, lakes, landmarks, events, hockey, etc. in my fine country. It could be because they're just a bit... off. I've never been able to classify their genre. Blue Rodeo is rock-country, Barenaked Ladies are pop, The Guess Who are classic rock, The Hip... I think the best fit is "Canadian". They're a bar band that made it. They get airplay on rock stations, classic rock stations, alternative stations, top 40, pop, easy listening, and I wouldn't be surprised if a song or two has ended up on a country station. Regardless, they've been HUGE here for over a decade.
I've always been iffy on them myself. They have some songs I love, a bunch that I can listen to, and some that I turn off when they come on. I've never had the desire to buy their albums beause of this.
Last night I saw them at large bar in a small town called Bala. The bar is famous in these parts - The Kee. Essentially a barn on the water with a big patio, it's managed to pull in some big Canadian acts over the years in the summer. It's the best concert venue in cottage country. The Hip are never more at home than when they're playing in a bar. So, you have the perfect venue for the quintessential Canadian band, and it holds less than 1000 people. Tickets were nearly impossible to come by. You had to use the fan-club password, could only buy a maximum of 4, and whoever bought the tickets had to provide ID at the door to get themselves and their friends in. This was all done to prevent scalping. Kudos. A buddy of mine got 4, and needed to find 3 people to go with him. I was happy to oblige.
It was a great show. A great selection of their hits, with only a bit of the new stuff. The crowd singing along all the way. Gord Downie bouncing around the stage, playing to the crowd, and sweating like a sponge. Seriously, he must have lost 10lbs during the set. Even I, a fairweather fan at best, had a blast, and a new appreciation for the band. I knew they put on a great show, now I've finally experienced it.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
I've already shared the tale of my idiocy last night with a few people. I won't belabour the point too much here. I played live for the first time since Vegas last night at my local club. It's been so long that the guy running the place was shocked to see me again. $40 tournament and the last time I played I cashed... barely. This time I was determined to make the cash yet again. Instead I bubbled like a moron. I played a strong game, making a few stellar calls, isolation raises, stolen blinds, traps, hidden draws, and all that other fun stuff that makes one feel confident in their game again. Plus, for a $40 tournament, it's a pretty good group of players. I still think I'm better than most of them though.
Then I couldn't get away from a hand I KNEW was beat and crippled myself. I could have just taken a crowbar to my knees and been just as effective. At least it wasn't queens this time. After being crippled I pushed the last of my 1.5 M stack into a turned card I knew was beat on the flop. 1 mistake led to the other and I was done. Please children, heed my advice - LISTEN TO THE SCREAMING VOICE IN YOUR HEAD TELLING YOU TO FOLD.
I didn't bother to play the cash game after though, as I was pretty sure I'd just shove in the max buy-in on my first hand... or might as well have. Since I made it deep, I missed the Mookie, and instead played a couple $6 Turbos. Went out 6th in one, and took down the next with authority.
So far, my confidence in my game is much improved. The sample size is obviously FAR too small to throw caution to the wind, but I'm getting my game back. There is still work to do in the middle and middle-late, and I need to final table a few more tournaments to test out my late game, but I'm getting there. There's nothing like making the right read and not listening to it to build one's confidence in reading opponents. Sometimes that's valuable in and of itself.
My cash game however is in sad shape... but that's another story for another time.
Posted by Astin at 9:29 AM
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
As promised... pictures!
White chocolate raspberry cookies. There's a ton of white chocolate involved in this, not just the drizzle.
Last night's dinner. After 3 BBQs, I needed something healthy and not meat. This is a VERY rare occurence for me. In fact, I had an elk pepperoni stick later to make up for it :).
Posted by Astin at 11:11 PM
As stated a couple posts ago, I'm only going to play in the 26k and Fifty-Fifty for the next while if I satellite into them. My favourite means of doing this for the "fiddy" is via the $2 rebuy satellite. Last week I got in with a $4 investment, and last night it cost me a grand total of $6. Yes, I got lucky a couple times, but I built up a HUGE stack with around 40 people left and continued to build it until there were 18 left. To the point where I had over 60,000 chips at the 400/800 + ante level, and 2nd place had less than 30k. I love rebuys.
This came in handy as all of a sudden my tournament froze. My connection didn't drop. I checked out some cash games and they were fine. All the other tournaments had stopped though. I figured this was a problem on Full Tilt's side. I waited. No notice, no message... nothing. I finally quit the client and logged back in.
I found myself sitting in 4th of 6 left at the final table with around 40k in chips left, having sat out for 12 eliminations (top 15 paid, 13 were entries). I said "whoops" and proceeded to go all-in for the next 3 hands until I was knocked out, happy with my successful satellite. Thank goodness for huge stacks.
Then FT finally acknowledged there were problems and suspended all tournaments. Then they cancelled them. Then they shut down for maintenance. Whoops. I did, however, get the $55 buy-in for the 50-50 refunded back to me, which was nice since I only paid $6.25 for it. I think that's my second best net profit on the Fifty... and definitely my best ROI :).
BTW - Happy Fourth to all you Yanks out there. We had our fireworks on Sunday here in the Great White North.
We are a naturally water-loving species. We require it to survive at every level. We spend the first 9 months of our existence floating in fluid. Babies take to water like fish. The majority of the world's population lives near a source of water. Our noses are shaped the way they are to help prevent water from entering them when we're swimming. At the end of a long day people soak naked in water. When we wake up, we turn a spigot and cover our uncovered selves with it. We swim in pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans... some of which are filthy. Was there any summer activity more fun as a child than running through the sprinkler, sliding down a slip 'n slide, or tossing water baloons at your friends who were shooting you with water guns?
So why is it that when it starts to fall from the sky people COWER IN FEAR?? Why does the smallest shower of rain cause hundreds of umbrellas to open? Mothers to bundle up their children? People huddle under small rooftops and awnings to avoid this apparently deadly poison from the heavens.
I don't like getting soaked in the rain either, but there's a difference between a downpour and a sprinkle. Today on my 1 minute walk from condo to subway, I had to dodge a parade of umbrellas and slide around crowds of people bundling up and raising newspapers over their heads to avoid the PATHETIC LITTLE SHOWER of rain that was coming down. It was quite sad. One father running up the steps with a newspaper over his head while his wife made sure their children had their hoods up, hats on, and umbrellas ready. Seriously, it was a barely noticeable amount of precipitation.
One of my favourite stories is about the time I was in Rome. My family and I were walking around, looking at the regular tourist sites. Rome is very crowded. We got to the Spanish Steps, and they were covered in people. Getting a picture was next to impossible due to the fact that crowds were regularly walking in front of you, tour groups would stop in your field of view, and people are generally asshats. Then it started to rain. On cue, everyone ran under the nearest awnings they could find. Umbrella salesmen appeared from nowhere (I'm serious) offering their wares. Crammed under a stretched out of piece of cloth, I realized that this was nothing more than a slightly heavy summer shower. I stepped out into the rain, to the disbelief of the crowds. I threw out my arms and laughed, strolled casually in front of the now empty steps and the barren square in front of them, and took my pictures. The Spanish Steps, devoid of humanity, and me with all the time in the world to enjoy it. Why? Because little droplets of water were falling from the firmament.
People are pathetic.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
It seems people have come to expect pictures of food on here now. I apologize for being so lax in my duties. I haven't made anything of tremendous interest in the past week other than some tasty white chocolate and raspberry cookies. I'll throw some pictures of them up later.
Seriously, peameal bacon, garlic havarti, sweet and smokey mustard on an onion bagel with fried potatoes just didn't seem picture-worthy. Am I too elitist with what I deem worthy of posting?
The Canada Day weekend was made up of barbeques, all of which had the standards of steak, sausage, chicken or burgers. That said, it's amazing what one can do with a series of store-bought BBQ sauces, a limited selection of herbs and spices, and a few other random ingredients when it comes to marinating chicken breasts. There's a reason I keep getting invited back.
Add more elk purchases (they were out of steaks... grrr), playing squash for the first time, fireworks, euchre, and that ugly ouster from the Big Game, and it was a good way to spend my long weeked. Still, I wish I had a cottage.
I've got a friend who really wants to head to Vegas in September. Chances are I'm the only person who can go with him. I know I'm asking the wrong group, but does heading out to Sin City 4 times in 14 months indicate that I have a problem? Bear in mind that this trip will also include the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and other non-gambling activities... as well as gambling. 5 or 6 days in Vegas. That will push my limits for sure.
Poker. I find it quite amazing the effect that single word has. I've chronicled some of my recent luckboxery in hands here. It has gotten to the point where Hoy needs not refer to me or Bayne when talking about luck. People are telling me things like, "Hey! I got to be you in this tournament I played today! AA, KK, QQ, AK!" It's nice to be known for something :).
The string continues, but not at lofty peaks where it had previously resided. Yes, I still see some good pocket cards. In the MATH last night I caught no small amount of boards early on. To the point where I held the lead for pretty much the entire middle frame. For the 3rd straight week I went out 10th though. Out in the 300's in the Fifty-Fifty after having a more-than-necessary stack for a long while. In short, I seem to have lost my middle and late game.
I can blame only some of this on cards. I'm catching big time in the first hour, and then missing entirely afterwards. I can't sit and wait for premium hands to come, for that way lies larger blinds and smaller stacks. However, if I chase and miss then I'm giving away chips even faster. If I chase and bluff, I seem to be running into calling stations or Lucko (at least he used my chips wisely - Congrats!). There were at least two times last night where I felt I should have come over the top but didn't, and it easily cost me 2/3 of my stack. Two months ago I make that move without hesitation. I once had no small amount of backbone. I need to figure out where it has gone, because right now it feels like I've regressed a year, getting by mostly on luck.
I believe in variance of cards, but not of results. My mentality has always been that one needs to find the style that they are comfortable with and that works for them. Frequent adjustment is needed in order to improve and to avoid predictability. At no time should cards or players be an excuse for poor performance. If you get sucked out on, then you played it correctly. If you make a move and get caught, then you got caught. Straight over set happens. Set over set happens. Straight flushes over nut boats happen. Any player worth their card protector should have a reason for every play they make. There's absolutely no shame in going out early if you feel you'd play a hand exactly the same way in the same situation.
So it's back to the Shaolin temple for me to retrain. I've lost focus, and I need to work on my middle game, and very likely my end game as well. I don't like my big stack play of late, and my shortstack play has been too timid. I've started playing scared poker again, and I need to stop before it becomes habitual. I'll be playing some $1-$5 MTTs and big field SnG's so that I can focus on tactics instead of the money at risk. I know the cornucopia of donks will be overflowing at this level, but frankly, I couldn't care less how they play. The 26k and Fifty-Fifty will only be played if I satellite into them for the time being as well. I love these games, but the bankroll can't take the big -ROI % it saw last month. Naturally, the Blogger games will continue to be played. Unless I don't see improvements that is. Then it will be time for a 2-week break. I'm sure I can find something to occupy my time with now that it's summer.
Monday, July 02, 2007
Not from me at least. Not even out of the first level when I found pocket tens in the SB. (Note, hand history is from memory here, so it's probably a bit off). Bone Daddy puts out some odd-numbered raise (probably hammer-related), and I call. RecessRampage calls behind me. Flop comes 9TK rainbow and I check. Recess bets around 200 into the 300-something pot, BD folds and I smooth call. Turn is 3c putting the flush draw on the board, I bet > 1/2 the pot and recess thinks before raising over 1000 more. I "push" (accidentally left 28 chips behind) and Recess raises me all-in, I call. Sure enough, he flips over JQc, river (8s) is no help and that's all she wrote.
No need to tell me what a complete donk I was, I know. If I wasn't at a friend's place for a BBQ, I'd have spent a while berating myself for my play.
I convinced myself (even though I knew better) that JQ wasn't out there and Recess was playing a strong king. Even if that WAS the case, there was no reason to go broke that early in the tournament. There were tons of opportunities for me to get away, and I stupidly played myself to 2nd last.
Then I watched as illuminators worked their craft and set the sky ablaze.