Friday, March 31, 2006

A Night on the Felt

2077 of my best friends and I sat down and played in the .10+0 NLHE turbo last night on Poker Stars. This of it’s self is nothing extraordinary but it is fun to play in a large tourney that is in the money in around an hour. I chipped up to 1900 early with a few insignificant hands and went card dead for the next 45 minutes. The good thing was that we were close to the money when I doubled up to 2100. The next hand I get pocket queens and my stack is at 3000. Then AK is good vs. AQ after and ace high flop and I’m at 6000. Just before the break I raise it to 500 with pocket kings from late position with one caller. The flop is AKQ and I bet 600 only to get re-raised to 1200. I call but should have re-re-raised for more information. The turn is x and I check with plans of re-raising to his bet but he checks. Now I think I’m ahead as only pocket aces or JT beat me here. The river is an ugly ten and I’m in a quandary. I’m not pot committed but I’m not sure I can call a big bet. I have him out chipped 4300 to 2400 at this point and decide to bet 1200to see where he is at in the hand. He calls and shows QT. Thank you for the donation. Now that I’m well above average I started getting more aggressive and continue to increase my stack when this hand happened. UTG raises it to 1800 and I’m looking at AK suited in middle position and re-raise it to 6000. Late position goes all-in for about 8000 and UTG gun comes over the top all-in for 30,000. I don’t have a good read on this player as I’ve just been moved to the table the only two hands that scare me are AA and KK. I have about 16,000 left so it cost me 16,000 to win about 41,000 total. I call as I need chips to win this thing. UTG has pocket aces and late position has QJ. The flop is 678, the turn is a 9, the river is a T and UTG’s aces are cracked by the late guy. We split the remaining chips. At this point we are in the top 100 and I need o double up. I win a race with AQ over 7’s to get to 28,000 and then win another race with 8’s over AK to get up to 54,000. I’m feeling good until the final hand. The table chip leader has been aggressive at the table when we I get AT suited in clubs. Blinds are at 3000/6000 and I raise it to 18,000 and get called by the chip leader. The flop comes AT9 with two diamonds and I push. He calls with A9 and I’m jumping for joy. Runner-runner diamonds kill my buzz. His 9 of diamonds is gold. At least I turned .10 into .47.

Time for a 5+.50 sng. I caught good cards early and was sitting with about T2500 when I looked at 89 suited. My early goods cards gave me a strong table image and allowed me to win this hand with 9 high. The very next hand I get 54 suited and see the flop with three others. 55A comes down and I check call. A Queen on the turn and I check raise with one caller. The river is x and I put my opponent all-inn for about 300 more and he folds. I thought this was a bad fold at the time as he was pot committed but he actually came back and took 2nd place. I now have 5200 chips and just try to maintain this as the short stacks battle with each other. When we get down to 4 players, I have T6500 and continue to chip up. The remaining players were playing ultra tight waiting for the bubble to burst and I kept my foot on their neck. It was interesting how the 2nd place finisher got pocket aces 3 times, pocket queens twice and pocket ten’s 4 times after I knocked to 300. Are heads up battle didn’t last very long as he folded to any pressure unless he had a hand. You would think that at some point you have to make a stand but he wasn’t willing to do so.

With luck I’ll be playing tonight but the rest of the weekend is full. Maybe some late night sessions $10 NL but not much more then that.

If you go to The Poker Chronicles you will find a link to a poker survey. Fill out the survey and you will be directed to Noble Poker to open an account. They will put $5 in your account so you can start your own quest like me.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

An Innocent Beginning

It all started innocent enough. I was the coach of her softball team.

One night at a league softball meeting, the president made mention that she needed a coach for her slow pitch team. In a drunken stupor I jumped to my feet and announced to the three war hero’s sitting at the bar of the American Legion Hall, that I would be more then willing to guide a group of young women into the world of softball immortality. With the help of my buddy Bob, we would turn these ladies into softball savants. What I really wanted to do was scope out the chicks.

At the beginning of the first practice illusion of grandeur were quickly quelled by the married-with-children players and smattering of single female players. Now I have no problems with most sects of the population but my disappointment must have been evident by the look on my downtrodden face. The only single women on the team were dating each other. A perverse instance of cock blocking that shattered my spirits. That is until she arrived.

She had legs from her butt to the ground and seemed to float as she walked across the clay covered infield. With every elegant step she took, expectations rose, as well as other things, in anticipation of our first meeting. As we finished this initial conversation of our lives, a realization that she was the one manifested itself into my being.

Being “the one” at that time didn’t mean anything more then being the mark. We did have a lot in common and only lived a couple blocks apart in the ultra modern part of Aurora’s East side. You know the edge of crap. Anyway, I figured a few months of fun in the sun before we traveled our separate roads through life.

As the season crept by with new and exciting face coming into and out of the picture, I realized that I actually cared for her. Not the care you feel for the elderly neighbor or a long time friend. It was mind-boggling, my life will end if I loose her type of caring. The kind that every man hopes to avoid and yet is always looking to find type of caring. The deep down in your soul kind of caring that becomes love.

Through the almost fifteen years that have transpired since our first fateful meeting we have endured trials and tribulations that seek to drive a spike between the affection we have for each other. Complacency, self-righteousness, as well as ignorance are always lurking around the corner waiting to rear its ugly head. The ability to communicate, which was developed during the infancy of our relationship, is the only thing that keeps our bonds of matrimony intact. These bonds, though stretched can only be held together with the glue of truth, even when the truth hurts.

Am I an Idiot?

I just came to the realization that I’ve been writing this blog for a month. Now this isn't an amazing occurrence of biblical proportion but it does give me a point of reference for my quest. During my first month of play my bankroll went from $5 to a high of $63 before settling in at $54. I guess if I can increase my bankroll 10 fold every month then I’ll be rich in under a year. In reality I’m pleased with the outcome to that point.

My results so far during my second month are less then stellar. I actually dropped to below $10 during a series of unfortunate events that had me wondering about my ability to play the game. After some time away from the tables I decided to climb back onto the felt again last night. My original plan was to sleep but a bout with insomnia changed my mind. Considering the buy-in amount for .05/.10 NL was my bankroll I put a stop lose of $9.41. That was everything I had left. I could have played the .01/.02 NL or limit tables but I actually felt good about my game so I took the chance. The early part of my session saw me give away a few bets until I was dealt A2 both hearts. I called an early raise of .50 along with one other player. The flop comes A95 with two hearts. First two players check and I bet .90 or a little over half the pot and both call. A 2 on the turn and I bet $1.50 with one caller. At this point I’m almost pot committed and I’m hoping for the heart to appear. I get the heart on the river and the player folds to my bet. From this point I move up and down a little when I’m dealt 9Td. I raise it to .40 and get re-raised to .80. I call the heads up action. A flop of KQJ rainbow gives me the second nut strait. His range of hands at this point do not include AT as he has playa strait forward game to this point. I put him on AK or a pocket pair of 10s-As. I bet $1 and he calls. The turn is x and I check trying to show weakness and he bets $1.50. I check-raise to $3.00and he calls. At this point I’m sure I have the best hand. The only card that scares me is a ten, which will counterfeit my strait. X on the river and I make a bet of half his stack, about $1.50 and he goes all-in. I call and beat his AK. I gave a little back and quit with around $20.

I give credit to
jjok for forecasting this event in one of his comments. That being said, a couple more sessions like this one and I’ll feel better.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Reflections in a Pond

Before I met my wife, there were only a few things were important to me. First off was the sports initiative. I played ball in the summer, hockey in the winter, and anything else that suited my fancy. An example of this is how I learned to play darts. I have a friend who is very good at darts and would just keep me in the game to dash my hopes in the end. Being the competitor that I am, I went and bought a nice bristle board and top of the line darts and began to practice. I was working nights at this time so I would get home from work and throw darts until I was tired or for at least an hour or two. These practice sessions would consist of up to 15-minute intervals of throwing at a specific number until I hit it 100 times. As I improved, my goal was to hit the double and triple spots with the same regularity. This character flaw shows how single minded and stubborn I can become in regards to my desires. It also sets me up for a dramatic avalanche of emotions where failure is concerned. With most things I’m my toughest critic.

Party time also sat high on the scale of importance. I’ve never been a big drug user as pot is the only illegal drug that has made it into my body. And I haven’t smoked pot for at least 14 years but I still like to drink and get crazy. There were times after hockey games that can only be recalled. Actual moments in time are forgotten with only vague recollection remaining. My passion for action was equivalent to my sports addiction. I could be at a club or a dive and be just as happy as long as there were interesting people…. things to occupy my time. There were also times of self-loathing that and despair as I revolted at what was important to me during this period in my life.

Looking back at this period in my life, the way I reacted to obstacles in my life was not much different from either aspect. My extremely critical self- evaluation didn’t distinguish between the relevance of my involvement vs. the importance of it. I crashed when faced with extremely difficult letdowns.

As I matured, I learned to adapt to conflict. Be it self-imposed or from an outside influence, I learned adjust my thinking and attack that which had hindered me in the past. I still have times when the weight of my burdens drag at me like the cross did to Jesus, but my faith and desires have inspired me to overcome any obstacles that are hurled into my path. I will overcome that which has wounded me.

And speaking of faith, I found this link
(click here) someplace. When I remember I link them up (Tripjax). It goes into poker, addiction and other miscreant behavior in regards to living a faithful Christian life.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Looking Back

As I look back at my play last night I think I made good decisions for the most part. The part that upset me was chasing my loses in a MTT. Playing the 3+.30 MTT was not a good choice and I compounded my error with re-buys. 5 to be perfectly clear. It started as a good night as I was in the top 5 early on but I had a big pocket pair go down and 2 pair with a scary board. I should have gotten away from the second hand but over-played the 2 pair. I rebought and get queens in late position. With blinds at 30/60 and six limper I raised to 400 and get two callers. The flop is 9,7,2 with two spades and I push and get one caller. The caller flips over 8,5 of spades. He has now put in 30% of his stack after calling with these cards before and after the flop. Runner runner spades and I'm rebuying for the last time. I'm on tilt and raise with AT trying to build my stack. Button goes all-in and lemur from before calls. I should fold but I call in hopes of tripling up. Buttons AT of diamonds hit the flush and I'm done. I've dumped 75% of my almost nonexistent Noble Poker bankroll in no time flat.

I'm not sure but I think the $2 no-limit tables are calling my name. In reality I should go to the limit tables that helped me grow in the past but they drive me crazy. Thanks to
Dr. Pauly and Jjok for their words of encouragement.

I'm an Idiot

I talk this big game about staying within my bankroll and blow a big % of it when I get hit with a dry spell. Trip tens go down in flames on the river and I'm down a buy-in. I raise pocket 2's and get a 9,2,5 flop and I raise again. King on the turn and I raise. 9 on the river and I get reraised for $1 more. His 9,2 is golden. Two buy-ins in under an hour. An unlucky 3+.30 with rebuys and I'm way down. Back to the limit grind for a while.

I did play on Poker Stars for about an hour on the $25 NL tables and doubled my buy-in but that doen't help my quest.

We'll see what happens in the near future as I start near the bottom of the rung.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Finding My Game?

My tournament play was terrible last weekend. Friday night I play a 5+.50 and got bounced about 15 from the bubble. I was a night of ups and downs as I tried to use my positioning to increase my chip stack. Some aspect of my game were much better as I moved up early and with half the field eliminated I was sitting in the top 10. This changed shortly after when I wimped out on the river and didn’t bet and lost to bottom pair. I raised before the flop and made continuation bets after the flop and the turn but lost my nerve. A big bet may have made the other player fold but I backed off. From this point on I looked for advantageous situations to increase my stack when this hand occurred. I’m at just below average and get pocket jacks in the BB. UTG min raises and UTG+1 goes all-in. He has me covered so this is the point of no return. I call the raise and UTG folds. He flips over AK off suit and hits his King on the river to bust me. All in all, I guess I played OK and if I win my last hand I would have been in position to move up the ladder.

Sunday saw me risk a large percentage of my stack on a 20+2 tourney with $2500 guarantee and 135 players. The top 20 were getting paid so I felt I had a good chance to money and get a good payday. It was not to be as I was knocked out about 20 from the money. The hand that caused my demise was 78 of hearts on a flop of 9hTh6c. Lets just say my strait/flush/strait flush draw was no good. I was in position to through this hand away but couldn’t as I pot committed my self and lost to a full house as the enemy had top 2 pair and hit a 10 on the turn. I was above average at the time but I wanted to win.

Now that I wasted 1/3 of my bankroll on one tourney I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. NLHE seemed to be the best choice so I hit the .05/.10 tables looking for a score. In the end I made $12 with most of it coming from pocket queens on a scary board. There was a strait draw and a flush draw but I felt my opponent was sitting on AK, AQ, AJ, KQ, or a medium to high pocket pair. The flop came 678 with two clubs. I made a ¾ pot bet and was immediately called. I’m not sure where I am at this point. I could be behind trips or he could be on a draw. The turn is a king of clubs and I don’t like this. I make a continuation bet of 1$ and get called after a long pause. The river x does not help either of us and I’m not sure what to do. I tank for a bit a decide to check with intentions to call or raise depending on the action. My opponent makes a ¼ pot bet and I come over the top all-in. I get called as the time bank was ready to expire and my queens are good over his 10’s. I think what made this decision easy was the fact he didn’t push back at any point. If he would have come back at me when the king hit the board I would have had a tough decision to make, but because of his passive play I felt I was in the lead.

So right now I’m starting to think the NL cash tables may be the way to go. The variance is higher but it seems to me that I can play tight and still get paid off if I’m on the right table. In reality table selection seems to be the important part of this decision, as I need to get paid off for my hands. Also, one thing I noticed is that if you play to tight you wont get paid for your monsters. I have been playing my suited connecters when I get them and by opening up this, I have gotten more action. Lets hope the trend continues.

Friday, March 24, 2006

A Good Morning

Well 6:00 AM saw me playing 6-player turbo sngs. My AQ was no good to Q4, my KQ lost to KJ, and AK didn’t win the race vs. pocket 7’s. Not a good start to the morning but I will persevere. So what is the next logical step? I thought I’d play .05/.10 NLHE and risk 17% of my bankroll. Sounds like a good choice if I want to end this thing quest early. I sit down at a loose passive table with 9 players, 60% of which are seeing the flop. I get 6 limper in front of me so I raise it to .60 with AQ and all fold. Next hand I get KQ and raise to .40 with two callers. A queen high flop and I bet .40 and both call. The turn is a blank and I bet .80 and get one caller. River Queen and I bet 1.60 and calling station folds.

At this point I have 15 minutes before I have to get ready for work. I fold for an orbit and watch the player to my left run her $4 stack to $18. In the mean time, players are leaving the table when this hand happens. 4 handed I get pocket 8’s. UTG limps, I raise to .40, SB calls, BB folds, and UTG calls. Flop comes 4KQ and I’m not happy. SB bets .20 and under the gun calls. I think this is a feeler bet with second pair but I also realize I’m probably behind but make the call as the pot odd were OK. The turn gives me the lovely 8c. I now have trips. SB bets $1.70, UTG folds. With this almost pot size bet I put SB on top pair and maybe two pair. I quickly can back over the top and called her push all-in. I didn’t look at hand history to see what she had but I had doubled up and left the table to get ready for work.

With this effort I’m back at my high water mark and I’m feeling better about my game. It’s amazing how one good session can change a gray sky into a beautiful summer day.

I’ll be playing the $5+.50 $1000 freeze-out on Noble poker tonight so good luck to me.

In other news…

I had the distinct pleasure of being awaken by the gut-churning sound of M’s convulsions of sickness this morning. There is nothing like the sound of last nights dinner being regurgitated into the receptacle our refuse is removed by. I’m not sure what it is but just the sound of a revolting stomach is enough to make me spew uncontrollably my self. Hopefully this sickness has run it’s last leg through my family.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

More Lunchtime Fun

Played in a 5+.50 MTT during lunch today, or should I say extended lunch! First hand saw me with AQ soooted in middle position and raise 3x. Big blind calls. T95 rainbow flop and BB bets 100. I have him on a large range of hands and figure him for first or second pair and call to set up a steal. The turn is an 8 and he raises 110. This is either a scare card or improves his hand. I wait and wait and wait and re-raise 220. I will fold if he comes back at me. After about thirty seconds he fold. At this point I play 9 more hands the rest of the tourney. I did double up to around 2300 before the first break but didn’t get any playable hands. The hands I did get bought the blinds. About half way through the second hour I get pocket 10’s and push with blinds at around 200/400 and having around 1600 in chips. One caller and I double up. A few hands later, on the BB I get A3 of clubs and call a short stack’s all-in for 665 more. His Q3 was good. At this point we are approaching the bubble and I’m looking for a spot to double up again. When we reach the bubble I’m on the BB(300/600) with 955 left. The cutoff raises me all-in. Here I am again. I can call with my Q9 of fold into the money. I have no balls. I think my wife has them in her purse. Any way, I get to the button thinking I’ll call with any two face cards when I’m moved to a new table. I’m right on the big blind. IGHN.

I had fun but I need to be more creative to improve my chip stack. I realize I’ve said this before but I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger. I think I play an above average short stack game but I’m very confident in my large stack game.

I need to take my own advice and open up my game. I think I’m playing tighter then my prom date.

At least I got my money back. I'm such a wimp.

Random Banter

I had no excitement last night other then the WPT telecast on the Travel Channel. This time of the month seem to be endless nightly meetings that suck on my soul like a black hole bends light. At least it is over after tonight’s council meeting.

A few weeks ago each of my daughters bought mice so they could have a pet. This is doesn’t bother me because it teaches them how to be responsible and to care for something other then them selves. The real issue is when the cat finds the cage sitting on the end table and is smart enough to knock it down to release the mice. So when I walk into the house at 9:00 last night and see the cat staring down something in the corner I’m not worried. Of coarse as I go up the stairs and see the cage lying on the ground I know there is trouble. I leap down the stairs and grab the cat that just happened to be “playing” with daddy mouse. A few minutes’ later daddy and mommy mouse were safe and sound back in their home. The interesting thing is that daddy distracted the cat to protect mommy. A chivalrous mouse is hard to come by n this day and age.

I’ll play a little poker at lunch today but only a turbo sng or two. I don’t have the time for anything more. Hopefully I’ll continue to get good hands at the right times to continue my success in these crap shoots.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Daily Home Game

A year and a half ago I went through a job change that was caused be my previous employers master plan. The main affect of this situation, other then moving on to a better position, was to destroy what had become a major influence in my poker world. It was the daily home game.

The daily home game consisted of around 12 players who would get together during our breaks and at lunchtime every day and play a running SNG. We had a $5 buy-in with the top three getting paid $30 for 1st, $15 for second and $5 for 3rd. It was a great way to kill time and pay for my lunches at the same time.

The structure of the game was such that we started with 2500 in chips with blinds at 50/100. The blinds would go up every 15 minutes or after a player was knocked out. Because of this structure, we could complete about 4 games in a week and didn’t keep anyone off the table for very long. The draw back was that it could be a crapshoot on many days and required great discipline to achieve consistent results.

In this game we had all kinds of players.

1) Mr. Baseball was the tightest player I’ve ever played against. If he made a raise you better have the nuts if you call because he’ll have them if you don’t. He played the game the way it wasn’t intended to be played. To get third. His claim to fame was getting third place in 8 strait games. I loved playing him because he didn’t bluff and you always read his holdings. Terrible heads-up.

2) Mr. See a flop would call any flop and call to the river with any part of the board. He would have runs that were unstoppable but in most cases was early to go out. I would guess he dropped two buy-ins a week on average, maybe more. Confusing heads-up because he would play any two cards. Didn’t understand hand value at all.

3) Mr. Ruebinski was a calling station who liked to play but didn’t understand the important parts of the game to become really good. He was an adequate player who could win with good cards but not with bad cards. He could be pushed around in heads-up play.

4) Mr. Oil was good. He would test your holdings and punish limpers without fear. The drawback that he had was he didn’t always adapt to the players he played against. He could be trapped and would try to push the calling stations with less then premium hands. He is a good heads-up player.

5) Mr. My Old Boss was hated by almost everyone there. Not because he’s a prick but because his ROI was about 100%. Nobody liked it when I invited him into the game because he was a manager and thought he would get us in trouble. Eventually they hated him because he took their money. Very solid player who could throw away a good hand but was to tight at times. Could be beat heads up.

6) JAG is a friend of mine from the beginning of my employment. If there was anybody in this world who is more competitive then me it would be JAG. He was a very aggressive player who punished limpers endlessly. His drawback was his tendency to tilt. At the same time he had the ability to tilt a table when he would show down his crap cards. The advantage I had over him is that I’ve played every game imaginable against him and no his flaws much better than I know my own. Trappable heads up.

7) Hanky Panky was, and still is, a gambler. He wasn’t afraid to play any two cards from any position. He would also call you down if he felt you were being to aggressive and put you to the test at times. His willingness to gamble kept him from being a consistent winner.

8) Max-y-pad was a lunatic. He would push just because he could. He, more then any other player, could lose a chip stack like you have ever seen. Table captain. Enough said.

9) Crater Boy had no idea how to play the game in a logical way. One day, after going a couple of weeks without cashing, he says to me: ”I can’t keep playing. I’m dropping $20 a week and I’m the only income at home.” Now this is a guy who makes $40,000 a year with a wife and three kids, a mortgage, and two car payments. My response was: “then start playing better. You need to learn while you play instead of continuing to do what your doing. Watch how both the good players play and how the bad players screw up and take advantage of this information. Within two weeks he was a break-even player. He’ll never be more but at least he can enjoy the game.

10) The Poker Enthusiast enjoyed all his meals that others paid for. I played tight aggressive and avoided making plays on the wrong people. Between my old boss and I, one of us was cashing virtually every game and many times both of us cashed. It got to the point that the other players would collude against us in hope of knocking us out.

As my final days with the company came to an end, I realized that the one thing that kept me focused on my job during the stretch before the plant closed, was the daily escape into the world of high action poker.

After I left the company, the production manager joined in the game to fill my seat.

On the last day of work, the group played a two table freezeout for a $20 buy-in. They spent the last four hours of empoyment playing poker with the VP of Operations OK.

What sre you going to do, fire me?

Lunch Time Fun

I played two 6-player sngs during my visit home taking 2nd and 1st. In the first game a lunatic went all-in the first three hands to knock out three players. I just waited for chances to exploit his aggressiveness but they never came. He stayed uninvolved with me until we got down to heads up and then continued his attack. He had me 2.5-1 in chips and kept his foot right on my neck. I almost got back to even but was knocked out when his AT beat my pocket kings.

The second game was challenging and if it wasn’t for my luck-box action I would have been knocked out 4th. I get A6 on the big blind and see a flop of A68 two diamonds. I make a pot size bet and all 4 players call. The turn is a diamond and I bet hoping nobody has the flush. Two callers. The river is the beautiful Ace of spades and I check. Player 1 goes all-in. Player 2 goes all-in. I go all in and knock out both players. They each had the flush. I held 90% of the chips and eliminated the last player when I flopped a King high strait flush with my J9 of diamonds. Good times.

A Fun Night

I finally had a night of success. I spent a couple of hours grinding out a $4 profit on Noble Poker while playing in my first wwdn event on Poker Stars. It was a heads-up event with 24 players and I was lucky enough to get a first round by. My opponent was jjok who ended up getting to the final table (foreshadowing). I took an early lead but he fought back and took charge for a while. I made a mistake at one point trying to push him off a hand and had to fold to a re-raise. At one point he held a 2-1 chip lead but I fought back with some re-raises of my own to get back even. Just before the end I made a bad read and was forced to give up a pot because of my weak play. He hammered my indecision and forced me into submission. On the last hand, he calls from the big blind and I raise 3x with my pocket 7’s and get called. He has a broad range of hands here but has been willing to fold with lesser holding. I put him on ace,x but in retrospect that may have gotten him to fold. The flop comes jack high and gives me an inside strait draw so I push. His K,J was golden and I’m done.

He played well and jumped on my mistake.

Now I realize this is a blog for my quest but I really enjoyed playing in my first wwdn event and hope to do it again soon.

Well I had my all day sales/managers meeting yesterday and I’m really looking forward to the future of my new/old company. The combination of their products and our distribution network should propel us into the future.

No poker tonight but maybe this afternoon. My daughter is home sick and my wife will be gone so I have potential table hours.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Charity Event

Back in November I played in a charity event. Now when I say charity event I mean a fund-raiser for a local softball team. It’s a $50 buy-in event with fifty percent going to the team. I understand that the juice is high but it helps pay for tournament, uniforms, and anything else the team may need. Anyway, It goes to a good cause and in return, some of the players come to my teams’ fund-raiser.

So we start out 7-handed with seven tables with 500 in chips with blinds at 5/10. I’m dealt pocket aces UTG on the first hand and raise it to 30. Button, SB, and BB call. Flop comes 5,8,9 with two clubs. It’s checked to me and I bet 100. Button calls. I put him on a flush/strait draw. The turn is a blank and now my quandary. I have already committed 25% of my chips, can I push him off the hand. I don’t think so. I bet 125 and he cold calls. I’m not sure of his holdings but I think I’m ahead. The only hand that scares me is 6,7 of clubs. He could be slow playing these and in which case I’m way behind. River is ace of clubs. I check. I will throw this away to any bet. He checks and shows the 6,7 of clubs. My aces cracked and I’m down to half my chips on the first hand.

Next hand I get KT of clubs in the BB. Two limpers and SB completes. Flop comes Kd, Td, 3d. SB checks and I bet 60. All fold except small blind. The turn shows x and it’s checked to me. Does the SB have the flush? I check. River is x and SB checks. At this point I’m confused. If I bet, I will only get called by the winning hand. I check. SB had a flopped flush. Two hands and I have 30% of my starting stack.

I did win a hand a little later with a flopped set but it was the only hand I won. After getting moved to a new table I was down to push mode with blinds at 25/50 with 200 chips left. I Push with AQ and get called by the BB who woke up with KK. Game over.

I did last 1-¾ hours with a minimal chip stack but it wasn’t fun. The cash game was better.

It was a nickel-dime NLHE game that saw the first bet as a dollar almost every time. We had 8 players playing with the $10 buy-in limit. I tripled up within the first orbit when my re-raise was called by two LAGs. They each held A7 to my AK. Keep digging into your pockets boys cause the night is young and momma needs a new pair of shoes. One guy re-bought 5 times while three other guys re-bought at least twice. In the end, my old boss, JAG, a buddy of mine, and I were the last three players at the table. We had taken about $150 off these T.V. watching want to be wiz kids, playing nickel-dime, and it was only 6:30. Of coarse at this point we didn’t want to take each other’s winnings so we called it a night and went on our way.

As JAG and I road back to my place we recounted the evening failures and successes in search of the golden egg of knowledge. How could I have taken more money here and given up less money there. These exercises of reflection are essential to individual growth and by going over these together we gain each of our experiences for later use.

The final results were:

JAG +86
Old Boss +16
Poker Enthusiast +52

JAG was down 4 Buy-ins at one time and was all-in with his 5th when he pushed with marginal holdings. He hit a two outer on the river for a major suck out and proceeded to run over the table from that point on. He punished limpers and pushed weak players off their hands.

The old boss started off the night by losing a buy-in when a player hit runner-runner to kill his flopped set of Aces. He played way to tight but got paid off when he hit hands.

I was up big early but gave much of it back on a hand that I tried to push a player off of. Later I was involved in a hand that I had a double gut shot for the strait and folded to a big re-raise. The pot odds weren’t quite there so I laid it down. I should have called based on implied odds on would have won a $70 pot as the river card would have given me the nut strait. I also had fun with JAG late in the game as he knew I was setting traps for his aggressive play and got him to drop his better hands with strong re-raises. I even drop the hammer on him one time, which got a good laugh from the table.

It’s a shame that I don’t get to play with these two guys as much as we use to play but I still cherish the times we get together.

Look for the Daily Home Game report in the near future.

Monday, March 20, 2006

I Love Food

I seem to be digesting food again so I guess it was a good weekend. The four days of hell my body went through was taxing my mind as I felt I would never get better. The only good thing was that if I didn’t eat or drink I felt great.

I had exactly no success playing poker over the weekend. I lost total of about .50 during numerous sessions over the weekend. I ended up play .10/.20 LHE instead of dropping down. This is level I should be playing at with my roll and I felt completely comfortable. Playing here. I did have a nice suck out when I rivered quads but for the most part I missed my draws and held second best almost exclusively.

This week doesn’t look good for poker. I have a personnel meeting tonight and work meetings until late on Tuesday. Wednesday I have a team meeting as well as other church stuff while Thursday is the council meeting. Other than that I don’t have much going on in my life.

In other things…

I saw a documentary on the U.S. women’s soccer team yesterday. I don’t remember the name of it but it was an outstanding tribute to a group of women who did what was necessary to inform a population the girls can play to. There is no way any group of men would sacrifice the amount of time and energy that these lady’s did for the sport they love. Of coarse the men don’t have to.

The free weekend of HBO and Skinomax ended at 5:00 this morning. The most enjoyable movie I saw over the weekend was also a cult favorite from the early 70’s. Can you name this Stanley Kubrick film? 2001: A Space Odyssey? No. It was A Clockwork Orange. If you haven’t seen this futuristic tale of ultra-violent behavior and twisted personalities then I would certainly put it in my suggested viewing section.

Being that I’m not really a blogger but play one on the web, another in the blogger community won her way into the WSOP with a win last night. Check it out on here. I’ve been reading Sheverb for a while and love how candid her thoughts and reflections on life can be. Great stuff. And she can play some poker.

Time to go through the blog roll and check out the other killers of productivity at the work place.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Still Under the Weather

No poker last night. My daughter had a spring concert for chorus and by they time I got home the Illinois game was half over. The Fighting Illini held off the Air Force Academy to advance to the second round of the NCAA tourney. It was a less then inspiring game versus an over matched team of our nation’s defenders.

Still not feeling good as I go on my second day without sustenance. I’ve been drinking liquids but any thing I eat is… lets say evacuated from the premises within no time at all. As I sit here and type this I’m craving a tostada from Fast Burrito. If you’re ever in Yorkville, try Fast Burrito.

Before I gave up the barnstorming life of a fastpitch softball player, I would travel all over the United States and Canada playing the game I love. The interesting things I recall most from all those miles of endless travel are the eating establishments I frequented. Portage Wisconsin had a place along the canal called The Tamarack. It had the best steak sandwich I’ve ever had in my life. We used to go to the Canal Days Tournament just so we could get a steak sandwich. There was also this place just west of Sioux City Iowa …I don’t recall the name of the place…about ten miles into Nebraska that had an outstanding bacon wrapped filet. It was one of those filets that didn’t require you to chew the meat because it would just melt in your mouth. Anyway, a significant amount of my ball playing memories are tied together with the places I gained nourishment. So what does this say about me? I’m hungry but I’m afraid to eat.

I had a nice long talk with the new boss yesterday. I think it will be a good relationship as he is a no nonsense kind of guy and gave a clear understanding of what his expectations are. This is a nice change from the previous leadership who had been in my office a grand total of three times during my first year and a half with the company and at no time relayed any goals or objectives he had for the position.

I’ll try to post something this weekend about my endeavor into poker greatness but chances are that it will have to wait for Monday.

Go Cubs

Thursday, March 16, 2006

New Revelations?

Well at least I know that some people are reading my daily refuse. I’ve had a couple of comments regarding good luck and a referral to a site that list the daily tournaments that take place in Vegas. Thank you all.

You know some times this venture into blogdom is exhilarating. It gets the juices flowing and challenges me to attempt to write in a non-linear format. You see, most of the time I spend my writing moments referencing detailed information that needs to be concise and illicitly boring and un-grandiose. I’m not an eloquent writer but I do enjoy expressing my feelings/views for later reference. I feel perusal of ones self can open the doors of understanding at which point self-reflection will influence decision making in the future.

I guess the point of this is that I need to look at what I was doing on the tables before and see if I’ve changed my approach. I know it seem ludicrous to think that moving from .10-.20 to .25-.50 is a big move but with my bankroll it is. At this point I think a move back to .05-.10 may be the right decision to eliminate the terminal feeling of failure I’m experiencing at the .25/.50 LHE tables. In the end, my motivation for this move was influenced by
Badblood and what he wrote in his blog yesterday. Read it if you have the chance.

Random Junk

So I donk off $4 in the matter of 1 minute the other day. I sit down at a .10-.20 table thinking its LHE and get AdQd in late position and raise. As I hit the raise button I realize it is the all-in button but it is to late. I get 1 caller with his KJ and a Jack spikes on the turn. That was fun.

I did have success as the .01-.02 NL table while trying to get back what I squandered, up 200 bb in a short session. Nothing interesting happened other then waiting for hands and getting paid off.

I had a brutal session playing .25-.50 LHE dropping most of a buy-in. The good luck I had early has defiantly turned to teasing draws and counterfeit holdings. While I continue to have faith in my ability I’m frustrated by the results. I’ve given back $8 in the last couple of days and feel like it isn’t going to change anytime soon.

On other things….

I’ve been sick the last couple days. Nothing earth shattering but run down and un motivated. I fell asleep in my chair last night watching the WPT and woke up during the replay of the same episode. I got to see Kenna James get sucked out on to lose the event and the Bicycle. I thought he played a solid game only to get unlucky in the end. Anyway, I will be attending company meeting early next week so hopefully I’m better by then. I can’t imagine staying awake for two days of sales forecasts and company initiatives while feeling like this.

On the softball front, I think L is going to move up to the 14U in house league. At this point she is a dominant player at 12U in our town and won’t be challenged by the play at that level. My wife and I asked her what she wanted to do and she said she wanted to move up. This truly delights me as a father. The fact that she wants to be challenged and is willing to be an average player at a higher level instead of a star player at a lower level is an indication of her will to improve and desire to achieve great things. I only hope the league will allow it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Trip to Las Vegas?

Word around the water cooler has management going to an international convention in Las Vegas May 17-20. This could be great news if it comes to fruition. I could spend mind numbing days in meetings and conferences while take swift kicks to the junk at night at the poker tables. More word on this revelation as information becomes available.

I haven’t been to Vegas for almost 16 years. The last time involved fifteen 20-something year old men playing softball, going to strip joints, and long hours at the black jack tables. I think I had 10-15 hours of sleep in four days. Good times. Anyway, where are some of the evening tourneys held and what are the starting times? If you have any responses I would appreciate the commentary.

Poker Ideals

No poker last night. I realized after looking at the numbers that poker was becoming a second job. This would be OK if my return was at a higher level but at $1.57 per hour it’s hard to justify the time. Additionally, the wife is getting upset with the amount of time I’ve been playing and feels that I should back off. When I looked at the numbers I think I should agree with her. My first week consisted of 25+ hours of play while my second week was at 23+. Granted, most of these hours were spent after the family was in bed but those are a lot of hours for a $1.57/hr job. She would like me to cut back to 5 hours a week but I think I will negotiate 10-15. This will allow me 10 hours on the weekend with maybe 5 during the week. This would probably suffice for the time being and as I move up in levels my hourly rate should increase. Eventually I would like to sustain a rate around the $10/hr mark but that is out of the question at this time. I just don’t have the bankroll to achieve that at this time.

We'll see if I can bring it up.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Vocabulary Words

The hardest thing for me right now is being patient. In this world of instant gratification it is easy to look for the quick hit that will put you over the top. With the long haul in front of me I find that I’m looking for quick score instead of waiting for my opportunities. If I continue to act in this illogical way then my quest will end soon after it began.

Some of the things I discuss with my ball players are perseverance, persistence, and conviction. Now I realize that they are a bunch of 12-year old girls but I think that instilling a strong work ethic is crucial to their success as ball players as well as their success in life. I read someplace that 90% of the managers in fortune 500 companies played organized sports during their school years. Does this prove anything? I think it could show a correlation between teamwork on the field and teamwork in the office. Additionally, I think you may also find that some of your best managers were not the star players but the players on the end of the bench who understand what it is like to play a specific role on the path to success.

With all this in mind I think I need to take so of my own words of wisdom. To start with, I need to stay with the conviction that my goals are achievable over time. I also need to be persistent with the effort that I employee to attain these goals. And finally, I need to persevere over the obstacles that will continually be thrown in my path. In the end, the guiding light of these vocabulary words should see me to a successful finish.

Weekend Rambles

Friday night was the only time I spent grinding this weekend. Not much to say other then I was down early but got on a rush late and ended the evening up around $3.00. I guess if you look at the 5% gain in my bankroll then it was a good night but I continue to lack focus early on. You would think that I would learn from my mistakes but that doesn’t seem to be happening. In reality, I think some of the early difficulty I went through was bad luck as my pocket kings were counterfeited on the river by an ace with two chasers to the end. This seems to be the norm lately but all I can do is keep putting my money in with the best hand.

The hand that got me over the hump for the night was KQ in the BB. I was play .25-.50 LHE and called one early position raiser with 5 callers. The flop comes down KKQ. Talk about getting hit in the face with the deck. I check, UTG bets and the button raises with all others calling. The turn is an ace and I’m happy. I check but get to 3-bet and have three left in the hand. A queen on the river kills all thought of taking all of this big pot is it is capped. UTG flips over K9 for a split pot. I was still happy with the outcome.

In other news, I decided to give the money back to my buddy who was going to stake me. I felt that I would change my focus from the original goals I had developed and abandon the $5-$3000 challenge. It would be nice to have a working bankroll but the whole purpose of this exercise was to achieve something that would take persistence and conviction to be successful.

Around the horn is the World Baseball Classic. The unadulterated travesty that occurred during the U.S. vs. Japan game is comical in that they want all of the best players to play but are not using MLB umpires to officiate the games. Why not insist on the best umpires? And how can the wrong umpire make a call and then have his call reversed only to have the reversed call questioned by replay? I’m glad I’m not an umpire.

Anyway, the 12U girls Fastpitch travel team I’m coaching is coming along well. We had practice outside on Saturday, which really help with evaluation of the players. There is only so much you can do in a gym and I know that they were getting tired of repeating the same drills over and over. In the end we had a good time and I feel we can field a competitive team.

Poker may be slow this week as I have many other obligations to attend to but with luck I may get some work in tonight.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Life's Passions

Here is an installment of space filling non-poker related material to maul over as you kill time at work.

As stated before, I am nothing if not a baseball fan. I live and breathe America’s pastime with a passion that borders on addictive. This mind consuming love for baseball isn’t hidden in a closet waiting for spring to arrive; it is sitting on my shoulder so that the world can get a better view of the depths of its affection for the game.

It all started as a wee little boy. My father took me to a White Sox doubleheader back in the early 70”s. As I gaze back in time I can still smell the popcorn and hotdogs elegantly mixing with the smells of stale beer and the dripping sewer pipes that was old Comisky Park. Wilber Wood pitched both games of the doubleheader that day if my recollection serves me. The sun was shinning and I had the pleasure of seeing one of the truly great things America is known for. Baseball.

The beginning of my playing career had me playing Cub Scout ball. It consisted of underhand throw it in there pitching that meant even the worst players could hit the ball. It was a great experience that tested young boys courage as their team lost the championship game after an undefeated season. My passion for the game could be clearly seen from the tear-stained handkerchief my mother carried after the game.

During the following spring I had the opportunity to try out for Little League. I was 9, going on 10, and the youngest player trying out for the team. It was a frightening time as I warmed up with monstrously sized 11-12 year old men. I decided that the outfield was the best place for me because I could easily hide among the throng overweight power hitters. After two hours of fly balls and hitting I felt overmatched and intimidated but, with the encouragement of the coach, I was determined to give it my all at the final tryout. That night my father and I had a discussion about staying in Cub Scout ball for one more year. He felt that making the leaping up to Little League may be more then I could handle. My arguments of taking on the challenge and playing at the highest-level possible was absorbed and reconciled within my father that day. When the time came for the final tryout, I was prepared to do whatever was required to fulfill my goal of becoming an outfielder for that team. The only problem was that the coach wanted me to play seconds base. Thus, the beginning of a lifetime on the infield had begun.

One of the great things about growing up in the town I did was that there was a Men’s Fastpitch Softball League there. It consisted of a dozen or so teams from the surrounding communities and played every night of the week. This initiation into the game of fastpitch didn’t seem significant at the time but would eventually been seen as another fabricating point in my life. I don’t have any idea of the countless hour I spent watching these men play a version my inner passion but I grew to admire and respect their own passion for the game. As time went by my brother-in-law started to play and he eventually asked me to join his team when I was old enough. I played some but it interfered with summer baseball so it got pushed aside for the time being.

After college, and realizing my baseball career had gone as far as it could, I began to wander. I took a job at a chemical company and decided that partying was the thing to do. The most important thing on Friday was to pay the bills, fill up the gas tank, get lunchmeat and bread for the week, and party the rest by Sunday morning. Good times. Anyway, after a year of sliding further into the abyss that was my life, my brother-in-law asked me to come play ball. It’s a 15 game schedule and we only played on Friday nights. At the same time I saw an open tryout for a team in the Aurora City League. The Aurora League was the premier league of the day and I had spent more than a few nights watching the games that it provided. So I make the Aurora team and join my brother-in-laws team but openly wonder how I’m going to play 30-40 games in one season. Four years later I’m playing for one of the top three teams in the state and nationally ranked. I went from wondering how I was going to play 30-40 games to playing well over 100 games in four years. I still liked to party but I had meaning in my life.

Someplace in between the doldrums and the ecstasy I met my wife. I volunteered to help coach a women’s slowpitch team during my off days and in she walked at the first practice. It wasn’t much of a courtship as between us we played ball almost every day of the week. But it was a match made in heaven.

Through the years of weekend tourneys and late night games, I’ve come to see how ones passion influences other parts of their lives. How the absence of passion can leave a person cold and unfeeling. These experiences I’ve gone through have left a lifetime impression on my soul that will shape me forever.

Just like the long rides to the middle of no place that instigates idle chatter to pass the time. These moments are when you truly learn to understand someone.

Just a Daily Post

I played some last night. Not quite the stellar performance I was trying to achieve but I did log a positive night on Noble up $1.05. Of coarse I gave some of that back this morning in a futile attempt at poker prowess. I did have some fun with in a 6 player turbo sng though. We get down to the final two people with me holding a 3300 to 2700 chip lead and blinds at 200/400. My opponent switch styles in midstream to a push or fold attack. This was a little frustrating as I was having trouble putting him on a hand. I think he had seen Hoyt Corkins play on TV and was trying to emulate his style. Anyway, I started to see a pattern that indicated a push with any ace or any face card. He would call with 1 face card and push if he felt weakness. So I get 2d4c in the small blind and call. He checks and we see a flop of QJ2 rainbow. I think I’m ahead here based of his previous playing pattern so I check hoping to trap. He pushes and I call as he shows his 89 for an inside strait draw and 2 over cards. No help for him and I win the prize. Now I think that his style has its merits but his inability to change gears left him open to the trap, which in essence he set on himself.

As far as my new endeavor goes, I cashed for a small win on Poker Stars last night. I made it to the money a little above average but got bounced when my pocket 6s were no match for AQ. I felt OK in this one but I needed to chip up to make a better finish.

I don’t have much space-filling non-poker material today. I’m sure at some point I’ll decide to romanticize one of my long but quasi-related poker stories to uplift the spirits of the poker blogging deities that roam the internet.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Friends, How Many of us Have Them?

I used to work in research & development for one of the largest chemical companies in the world. Almost everyone would recognize it’s slogan from the numerous colorful and aggrandizing commercials that frequent major events. What does this have to do with poker? Well I’ll tell you. Nothing other than the fact that one of the best bosses I’ve ever had worked there with me. What set him apart from many of my previous mentors is how he treated me and how he respected the work that I did. He wouldn’t hesitate to mention the quality of my work and work ethic when he could have easily passed my efforts off as his own. For this I’m grateful.

A couple of years ago both he and I chose to redirect our career paths and part ways from the mother ship. He took a position as QA Manager at different chemical company in the burbs while I moved up to a QA management position of a manufacturing company about 10 minutes from my home. This job transformation was essential for both of us as the company we worked for was moving operations out of the area. We still stay in touch and get together quite often if not on a regular basis. So you ask; “what does this have to do with poker?” We’re getting there but a little more info.

Last year I held a poker fundraiser for my softball team. The buy-in was $50 and we kept $15 for the juice (it was a fundraiser). In all we had 50 or so people and made a nice little haul for the ball team. As we get to the bubble, my old boss says “If I win this, we’re going to the boat and I’m staking you,” Well he didn’t win but I still continued to question if he would have staked me that night.

He just put $500 in my poker stars account. No questions asked. All I have to do is pay him back 50% of my MTT net winnings until it is paid off. If I bust out so be it. Now that’s faith in a friend. I honestly don’t know if I could do the same but I guess he thinks I can play. Either that or he’s an idiot. I’ll try to prove the first one right.

So from this point forward, I will be dropping information about my poker stars account but will continue to keep this blog’s main focus on my Noble account.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Leaks and Fishy Play

If you do anything today, read Tao of Poker. You will find a fantastic article about writing and about a writer who inspired many with his introspective analysis of the human condition. I honestly hope that I will achieve but a fraction of this conscious self-awareness to advance my literary being.

Here is a question. If I open push with an OESD after the flop, is it a fish move? To set it up, I have a medium stack with 7 players left. Chip leader limps in, as does the small blind. Flop come T73 rainbow. I hold 8h9h and make a pot size bet after the small blind checks. This bet commits me to the pot. Chip leader pushes, small blind calls all-in, as do I. Chip leader has two pair but I river a 6 to win the pot. My thinking at the time was that this was a good spot for a semi-bluff. If they don’t lay it down I have at least 8 outs and/or they may have missed they flop and wouldn’t call me down. Is this fishy? I don’t think I would have called with this hand but I think pushing it is OK. What are your thoughts?

On another note, I’ve noticed that sometimes when I first get to a table that I get involved in hands I should throw away. Not every time, but it does happen. This invariably causes me to lose part of my buy-in but also induces me into an unwanted aggressive attack mode that increases my downward slide. Eventually I regain my focus but have to scratch and claw my way back to meager results. I think the cause of this leak is my competitive nature. I’m the type of guy who will keep pushing my opponents weakness until they break or the game is over. There is no letting up until the verdict is at hand. This personality trait is not what is needed for optimal returns. I need to put the game back into perspective as a long term climb up Mount Everest and get away from the sprinters mentality.

Even with the leaks in my game I’m continuing to grow my insignificant bankroll.

The one MTT 7th place finish clearly skews the results in my favor.

Here is the chart I like.

This chart forecasts my results into the future. It represents a similar win rate with adjustments made for increased limits. At this pace I’ll reach my goal on December 7th of this year. We’ll see.

Monday, March 06, 2006

A Business Trip to Remember

Back in November I had to go on a business trip. I don’t have to travel very often for my job but I do enjoy getting out of the office for these trips to our other facilities. This trip happened to be in northern Michigan about an hour south of St. Ignace. With this in mind I went to the Card Player web site to check out their poke room finder. It just happens that the Kewadin Casino is located in St. Ignace and they have a $20 re-buy tourney that will be going on while I’m up there. After my woody went down, I started to make my plans. If I leave the office by 4:30 I’ll be there in plenty of time for the 6:00 sign-in.

So Tuesday morning comes and I’m ready for a full day of work. I spend the whole day riding in a truck with a sales guy meeting customers who want to kill me for various quality issues that we have been dealing with. What a great way to pre-pair for a live tourney event. So as we get back to the office, the sales guy says” be careful tonight, it’s going to snow.” “It’s only lake effect snow. No big deal.”

Traffic is good as there are no people in northern Michigan and I make the 68-mile trip in well under an hour. Now to the poker room. Well poker room is an over statement of what I found. It’s really a poker closet that doesn’t have enough room for all of your coats. Anyway, I sign up and start to get focused by hitting the roulette table. You know, roulette is a great way to spend time if you want to give the house your money. As best as I can remember, I hit one number in about 45 minutes of play. At least I got to see some guy hit double zero with a $20 bet. He was on mega tilt and chasing his loses when his number came in. He was still down 2 balloons after the win.

The tourney structure is not good. T1500 with blinds at 50/100, unlimited re-buys, 1 all-in re-buy, add-on, and dealer tip add-on with 50 players. So in reality we have a $40 tourney. I draw the 5 seat and my table was like this

Seat 1: Old tough guy
Seat 2: Old loose aggressive
Seat 3: John Denver/solid player
Seat 4: Maniac grunge singer
Seat 5: Hero
Seat 6: Passive deer in head lights guy
Seat 7: Old comedian
Seat 8: Aunt Bee
Seat 9: Loose TV poker watcher
Seat 10: Solid player

I didn’t do much right away. I bought a few pot with raises. Maniac to my right was raising a lot and scaring people away. He became my first target. I check-raised him on the turn when I caught him bluffing. A little later I caught quad 7’s on the flop from the small blind with an ace as the third card. Check, check. Turn king. check bet call. River 2. I check he raises all-in. I call. He had a pair of kings. I’m sitting good at this point and begin to put pressure on the smaller stacks. As we move in to the later rounds this hand comes up. I get JJ in late position with 2 limpers in front. I’ve got 30,000, well above average, so I raise 4 x bb to 8,000. Solid player in 10 seat raises all-in to 14,000 total. All fold to me. I call. He has kings. No help and I’m down to T16, 000. I build it back up T25,000 with some steals when I look down at kings. 1 limper to me so I raised to 8,000. TV guy thinks for along time before calling. Everyone else folds. Flop is 10 7 3. I check and he goes all in for 10,000. I called and he flips over pocket 7’s. This was my biggest mistake of the night. I called as soon as he bet. I should have taken my time and put him on a range of hands. Pocket 7’s was a strong possibility in this situation but I didn’t see it. I could have folded and been in average position instead of being short stacked. I get knocked out a little later when my Q9 loses to Q8 in a battle of short stack blinds. I was the bubble boy.

Now it’s time for the cash games. They had two 2/5 NL games going and a 5/10 Limit Omaha game. I don’t have the cash of the Omaha game so I buy-in to the $100 max buy-in 2/5 NLHE game.

The table had just the right amount of loose players and calling stations to get the pots up to the fun range. An old man calling to my right dropped 4 buy-ins before he went home. I didn’t want to see him leave. The guy to my left was a LAG who would see any cheap flop and push people off if they didn’t hit. After a short time, he avoided me when I raised unless he had a monster. For the most part we didn’t bump heads. I played until 1:30 when they closed the room up about $280. A goodnight.

I go outside ready for my one-hour trip home to see 8 inches of snow all over the place. As I go over the bridge to the Lower Peninsula I realize I won’t be home for a while. The interstate has not been plowed and I was driving in ruts big enough to suck my car into oblivion. I finally got home about 4AM. Three hours of sleep before the sales guy picks me up for a day of customer abuse.
I love poker.

Life Can be Good

Sometimes your weekend goes as expected while others are like this one. It started off well on Friday with some movie watching with the family and another movie with my wife after the kids went to bed. Bambi 2 was about what I expected and entertainment value for the kids. The wife and I watched Doom. It kept me interested, as it was full of mind numbing action but didn’t have a lot of depth. I guess depth in a movie might be asking too much if The Rock has a major roll in said movie.

All of the regular Saturday stuff went just fine. The only problem was our babysitter illness and thus we couldn’t go out Saturday night. It’s really to bad because we were meeting a bunch of my former co-workers for a night of head banging and drinking. Would have been fun.

Sunday was just like any other Sunday with the exception of the Oscars. Now I realize that many people do care about award shows but I wait all year for the Oscars. What man wouldn’t want to see all these women dressed in cleavage and long legs … err…. expensive dresses and fine jewelry? Enough said.

Poker was good! Really good! After all was said and done I raised my bankroll to almost 52 dollars.

Friday night was a grind. The cards were lukewarm at best and the chasers were calling down their two outers all night. I ended up the 4-hour session at about 24 bucks.

Saturday was good. It started out with a $1+. 10 re-buy at 6AM. I played well but could get over the hump. I was bust near the bubble when my TPTK got rivered by a gut shot. I’m happy with how I played and I’m sure I could have cashed if I wait for the bubble to burst but I was looking for a bigger payday. Now what do I do. Lets play a 3+. 30 freeze out. 308 of the finest players Noble Poker can find at 8AM central time. 3 ½ hours later I get knocked out in 7th place for a 25-dollar cash. This was about as good a tourney as I can play. After the third round I was in the top 10 in chips and continued my climb to the chip lead for much of the time. The keys were that my advantages held up and that nobody wanted to challenge the chip leaders. I put pressure on the medium stacks and challenged the shorties when I had a hand. The final table saw me with twice as many chips as the second play player with seven left. That’s when the walls came tumbling down. Blinds are 4000/8000. I have 81,000 and the villain has about 35,000. I get JJ UTG and raise to 24,000 and get called by the button. Flop is 953 rainbow. I bet to put villain all in and he calls showing A9. River ace and I’m down to 46,000. A few hands later I’m down to 34,000 and blinds are 5000/10000. Villain is still on a roll as he has gotten AA and just showed KK. I get KdQd and push. Villain calls and flips over KK again. IGHN. The sad part about getting knocked is that I could have avoided the hand that killed me but with the fast structure I had to make a move to regain my position. My M was 2 so I hade to push with any face card and was rewarded with a good cards only to be beat by a better cards. The best part was that I didn’t suck out at any point and got away from big hands a few times. I folded pocket aces on the turn when I felt I was behind. Winner had trip 3’s. I also made a good lay down when tossed my boat on the turn with a board showing 10d 9d 10c 8d. I had 109s. He had QdJd for a strait flush. That hand would have crippled me.

Later that night I played a little .05-.10 LH and found a pond full of pan fish. I didn’t think that people could make the same mistake over and over again but I was proven wrong. Time after time players would call my bets down to the river only to see me flip over the nuts. Granted, the deck was hitting me in the face but did they think I was bluffing? I was just playing a tight aggressive game and pushed when I had a hand. I didn’t play crap cards and I got out of the way when the flop didn’t hit me. I had one lady re-buy three times and she still called me down with second pair. 50-minute session, $5.11 profit. Now if only I can do that at the higher limits.
No playing Sunday because of family time but I hope to continue this run on Monday.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Better Off Dead

“I want my two dollars!” – Johnny, from the movie Better Off Dead(85)

That’s how I felt last night as I repeatedly got beat by runner runners flushes and gut shots strait draws. Amazingly enough I ended up the night with a $0.14 profit after being down $2. Now I realize that $2 is not a lot of money, but when it represents 10 percent of your bankroll it is quite demoralizing to lose it. Luckily the poker gods relented and allowed me to recover my meager but significant loses.

As far as other things, the wife and I are going out Saturday night. This doesn’t happen often so we are semi charged up. Some band is playing at a restaurant that my former boss owns so we thought we would check it out and eat some great barbeque. In reality, my former boss is a good friend and a fellow poker player who wrote the meaning of the word tight. There is no questioning his involvement in a hand. He also was the one who got me interested in playing online.

Really don’t have much of anything else going on. M and A have a Girl Scout thing. L and I have Softball. B will be hanging out and making us laugh. We have church on Sunday. Maybe 8 hours on the tables.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Depravity and Poker

How can I be tilting on one table and not the other? I don’t know how but that seems to be what’s happening. I think it has something to do with having my trip rivered three times in 45 minutes. Lady variance can really bite. Anyway, I would try to live blog but that would be an effort in futility. It is amazing that I can type and play.

I had a council meeting at church today. Introduction of our interim pastor was at hand so I didn’t bring up poker. It does make me wonder though about the moral/Christian implication of playing the game. Is poker in its pure form an anti-Christian game? (Just got sucked out again) (Again by the same person) I think the depravity within the game comes from people that were already morally corrupt. True degenerate gamblers are more then likely are not the people who write blogs and play poker on a regular basis. Degenerate gamblers are the ones taking their paycheck to the casino and blowing it on the slots or some other game of chance. (Dropped a buy-in) Poker, while a game of variation, is a game of mathematical skill and intuition. Moreover, even though math plays a large part in the game, reading you opponent and learning their tendencies can be an even bigger part of the battle.

Does this sound like textbook? I don’t mean it to. I don’t think playing the game is wrong if you stay within your resources. I enjoy sitting at a table with friends or strangers playing an intellectually challenging game.

My wife feels differently. Evil and immoral are words she likes to equate with poker. I’ve had more then a few discussions with her about the artistry of the game and how it is the only game that the house doesn’t have the advantage. That it is a game of skill vs. a game of chance. Finally, I think the wall of doubt is crumbling. She even asked me to show her how to play. It wasn’t long before she was check raising on the turn. Actually, I don’t think I would want her to become good at poker. Her observational skills are quite astute.

Overall, I think we have come to an understanding about the game. She realizes that poker is a part of me that fills a void with its competitive expectation. That it gives me a chance to compete at an intellectual level. Additionally it gives me a chance to overcome variance with perception and patience. It’s just like dealing with my kids.

Error Management

A 3.69% error rate over the last three months is unacceptable. I mean what is your negative expected value with a rate like this? With labor costs at $60-$100/hr I would think –ev of around $40 per incident would be accurate. That means that our 3.69% error rate is costing us around $6,400 a month. That’s $76,800 per year. Most of this is lost productivity that was being wasted at smoke-breaks anyway but it does show that what seems like a small % can make a big difference over the course of time.

The same thing can be said about our poker games. Little mistakes can build up over time and have a significant impact on your bankroll. For example, Lets say your playing 1-2 LHE and you are trying to advance to 2-4. If you make 1 mistake on each the flop, river and turn, at some point during each session, you have thrown away $5. That’s three mistakes per 100 hands. Now your sessions may be long then this but your still out $5. Lets add that you play 200 times a year. Now you’ve given away $1000 over the course of a year. What’s that, 5 buy-in’s give or take. It all adds up.

I did get some playing time in over the last two days and have raised my bankroll to $20.77. Another 5 dollars and I’ll move up in levels. I’m not sure but I think if I stay at the micro limits I might go nuts. I mean, I saw a guy drop $10 on a .05-.10 table in 30 minutes. I could wait to get in a pot with him. His fold and call buttons must have been broken because he raised every pot and would cap if we let him. People were lining up to get his money. He even re-bought for $18 after he busted. Life is good sometimes.