Friday, March 30, 2007

Play With Pain

Speedy Enthusiast is out of here sling and feeling much better though she still has pain. I worked with her to lift her arm up to see her range of motion and she gets parallel to the floor before the pain hits. I’ll probably wait until next week before I start her on some physical therapy to help her along.

Now I’m not a doctor but I have had my share of injuries during my career as a ballplayer which includes surgery to repair a torn labrum on my right shoulder. I went through therapy the year before the surgery in hope that I wouldn’t have to get the repair job done and it did help. The problem was that all the pain return at the start of the next season so I had to start all over again with the workout routine. It helped again but after consulting with my orthopedic surgeon and having some test done it was determined that I needed to get it fixed if I wanted to play without pain. So do I quit playing the game I love or fix my bum shoulder for a few more years of adolescent like activities? Fix it.

More rehab and it feels much better. The arm numbing pain is gone when I fire the ball abut is replaced by a general weakness that bothered me for years after. It didn’t bounce back like before and I had to live with a small amount pain every time I threw the ball for the next 8 years. That is until It finally dawned on me that I need to keep exercising those muscles all year long. Then it went away.

So I played with pain for 8 years after the surgery when I could have done a little work throughout the year and played relatively pain free. During that last 3 years I’ve been able to use my arm again and now I’m to old and out of shape to play as much as I used to play.

What all this really means is that I don’t want this injury to my daughter to have any long term issues. And even though she isn’t a die hard ballplayer like her sister, she plays the game and it isn’t fun for a 10 year old girl to have to play in pain. I would never expect her to have to go through the things I went through to play. It just isn’t that important. What I can do is guide her back into well being and that is what I will do.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Creating a New Focus

Yesterday started out with a quick jaunt to work before heading up north to a customer with one of the sales guys. We ate lunch at a place called Qdobe that was uninspiring and got to the plant around one o’clock. An hour of plant tours and discussions went smoothly as they make a transition that could double our sales to them. We got to the office just in time for me to head home so over all it was a great day at work.

From there I headed to church for Wednesday service followed by choir practice. We are doing a 25-minute cantata next weekend so we spent 2 hours rehearsing this interesting piece of music. We have it all but licked and will be ready by game time.

I didn’t get home until after the start of the Mookie so I didn’t get to play but I did watch as Don dismantled the field. He caught a big hand when he flopped a full house to newin’s straight to take a huge chip lead at the final table.


Smokkee and Waffles have had their sng challenges and even though I like sngs, I don’t think I want to be forced to grind that many out. But, what I’m going to do is put $5 into my old account and try a little low level grinding. It will have to go well early or the huge rake that FT charges for the $1 sngs will kill me. I think I’ll do 20 and reevaluate where I’m at. When I get to 15 buy-ins at a level then I will move up to the next level. Additionally, I will drop down if I go below 15 so that I can stay in bankroll management mode. Ultimately, I want to see if I can build it up to the $5 level within 100 sngs. I think this is doable. In the end, I will keep track of how many it takes to reach my goal and then try to beat it later.

I’ll also continue to play some tourneys as these are truly my passion. My MTT game has come so far that it would be a shame to just push it aside for a little quest. The difficult part will be doing this with the time constraints I have. I have cut my playing time in at least half, more like a third during the last few months so trying to grind out these sngs and still play tourney will be difficult. I suppose I could just bit the bullet and take one night a week and bang out 15 or 20 sngs but I’m not sure I want to do that. We’ll have to see how it works out.

As I re-read this, you can see, I’m trying to accomplish a focused goal with this sng challenge but my resolve is wavering. I don’t want to give up the MTTs. I don’t know, do I scrap the idea or just do it and ignore my desires?

Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Focus is one of the key ingredients that you need to be successful. I know this is not a new idea but it is fully true. All aspects of life require different levels of focus to attain the desired results you are looking for and thus worthy of a post.

When I was younger, I had a friend who was a very good dart player. He would school me whenever we played and it pissed me off. He would keep the game just close enough that I felt I had a chance and then he would slam the door shut and leave me feeling incomplete. Therefore, I went and bought a nice bristle board and a good set of darts and started to practice. Our game of choice was cricket so I would throw at a particular number; let us say 20, for 15 minutes and then move on to the next number. I did this almost every day for months until I felt that I could beat him. I did.

During my fastpitch softball career, I had the ability to raise my game when I needed to. As I look back at the glory days, I can still feel the emotions that I felt then. Coming through with a clutch base hit or making diving catch to end the hopes of the opposing team became almost routine at times. One of the main reasons I quit playing wasn’t because of the pain I played with but the fact that I couldn’t make some of the plays that I was used to making.

From 7th grade through high school, I was always a runner. I didn’t get tired or should I say I didn’t allow my self to be tired. I ran my first 10K (6.2 miles) when I was in 7th grade and finished in 38 minutes. That is a pace of 6:08 per mile. I never trained for that race other then the running I did in soccer practice and I can still remember parts of the race even though it was 26 years ago. The part I remember most is mile 4. It was between two cornfields in the middle of nowhere and I wanted to stop. I thought that each step would be my last because of the utter feeling of loneliness I was feeling. I resolved to get to the next water station and picked up my second wind and the rest is history. As I came around the last turn and headed to the finish line some 300 yards away, I picked up my pace and was at a full sprint when I crossed the finish line.

There is one thing that each of the stories has in common. It is the ability to focus on the goal at hand. The difference between success and failure is as small as a little focus at the right time. In each case, I used focus in different ways. For example, in softball I used my focus for many small periods of time. My focus was at its peak when the pitch was thrown and would return for the next pitch. During my dart exploration, I had to maintain focus for months at a time to achieve the goal I had set.

So where does poker fit into this. Poker has many layers of focus that need to be sustained depending on the goals you set. True focus cannot be attained if you don’t have goals that are both a challenge and attainable. The challenge is needed to feel fulfillment but focus will diminish if goal cannot be attained.

I find my self having to re-evaluate my goals for many reasons. A good example of this goes back to mid December. I was floundering in my game and giving away clumps of money on the tables after months of building my bankroll. I stepped back, looked at my original goals, and realized that I had lost focus of my goals. I started playing in events that were bigger then I was used to playing and quit playing the ones that I had been successful at. I readjusted my goals and have won back almost everything that I gave away.

Since that time, I’ve been playing well. I had 12 final tables in February and have 7 so far this month. But where do I go from here. The last time I was at this point I went on a terrible run and lost most of my bankroll. I don’t have a way to easily get my money off of the poker sites I play so I have to come up with a new plan. I am afraid I have reached the wall and now I need to focus to fight through the pain so I can pick up my pace on the other side.

Fear is not a good thing in poker and fear is like nervousness. Now is the time for me to put up or shut on the poker tables. When I played ball I learned to change my nervousness into focus and that is where I’m starting to struggle. I think I’m playing a little complacent right now and need to get back the focus that I had.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Kat's Tourney, Slowing Down and Having Lunch With a Pro

Tournament #15387473, Katitude's Poker Night
Password: martini
Date: Friday, March 30
Where: Full Tilt Poker
Time: 9:00 EST
Buyin: $10+ $1
Game: NLHE

You must play this on Friday if you have a chance. From what I hear, Kat is having a birthday on that day so I’m sure it will be a good time.

Yesterday JJ posted about slow playing during sections of a HORSE tourney to get by a section, such as stud, to reduce your –ev during that orbit. I thought about this a little bit and like to throw my thoughts out there.

Now one of the context that he was using was to wait out a shorter stack so that they will be all-in near the money bubble. This type of thing happens all the time and though it slows the game down I think that it would be stupid for a short stack to ignore the use of the time bank. But when the bubble breaks I think the shorty should return to normal playing standards until the next bubble line. This is frustrating but a good strategy for the bubble dwellers.

Another idea that was brought up was slowing down in HORSE when there is a game that you don’t play or understand well. Actually, if you don’t understand the game then you shouldn’t be playing but what if you are deep in a tourney and near a final table. Is it ok to slow down during limit hold’em because you are a great stud player? Well it could be a +ev action. If you reduce the number of hands you see at a game you don’t play well then it has to improve your chances. Now I don’t agree with letting your time bank run out but I think it is OK to give each hand a thoughtful look. Even if I have no intention of playing a hand I think it’s ok to take 5 or 10 seconds to make a decision.

There are drawbacks to taking longer. The blinds start to increase to a level that playing the game becomes more luck then skill. A good player wants more hands to be played while the novice wants to push any small edge for all of there chips. Hell the novice just wants to push because they know they can’t beat the better player. So slow playing a weaker game may be a negative depending how far in the tourney you stand. Playing a game like stud hard can win uncontested pots and build your stack. And the average skill level of a hold’em player is higher then the average stud player. Increasing your play at the least skilled games is a positive if you have any skills at all.

So I guess I think it’s ok to slow down at times but learning the games that you struggle with is a better option.

Yesterday I went to my buddy’s restaurant for lunch. This nothing new because I’m over there a couple of times a week. Anyway, the extremely tall guy walks in and I’m thinking he looks familiar. After a few minutes I realize it is former Cubs pitcher Dave Otto. He is currently doing a show on tv so I’m sure I recognized his face but what made me sure was his voice. Cool stuff. He has been coming there for a long time and my buddy, a Cubs fan, never realized it.

I didn’t call attention to the fact because most of these guys, though friendly, are out having lunch with friends and don’t want to be disturbed. I mean, if you were having lunch with a buddy and A-Rod came up and interrupted your meal you’d be pissed.


I played the $26 token frenzy last night and lucked my way into a token. At one point the blinds were climbing and I looked at my 1K chip stack and I pushed with 107. I had not played a hand in forever and was just trying to steal the blinds. I get called by the button who held 44 but I win the race when I hit a 4 flush. One play starts to give me crap for the move but I don't see the point. How good is 44 in this situation. For the most part the only hands that he is clearly ahead is 22 and 33. It just so happened that my coin flip came in. The best part was this move gave my opponents the chance to pay me off with my good hands. Later I catch AK and get called down by K10 and when I caught AA and re-raised a big stack he pushed with K10 and I doubled again. At one point I had Gcox25 at my table and I saw Buddydank and Garth in the field.

I played a couple of MTTs but didn't do well. I went out in the middle of the field in HORSE and RAZZ and made the decision to play one more NLH tourney. I was completely card dead but kept my stack near starting level with some steals. With the blinds getting to the 100/200 level I get AQ in the BB and push over the top of a cutoff raise. He insta calls with KJ for 1/3 of his stack and hits a jack to send me home.

I played one sng after that and cashed to end the evening at even.


I'm working on a post about focus that I hope will be ready tomorrow so stayed tuned.

Emergency, Emergency

Friday night was a night like any other. I logged on to play some poker and I see that Chris Ferguson is signing up for some $5 tourneys on Full Tilt like Horse, PL Omaha and Razz and since I like these events I jumped on. The fields quickly swell into the 300+ people range so I’m excited about the chance to go deep in one of these. Horse kicked off first and I was card dead for the first hour. I think I was sitting just below starting stack when Razz hit the second time and I chipped up a little. Stud was my friend as I hit a boat and a straight to gain significant chips. I moved into stud hl and won a little more and by the end of the second hour I was sitting great. By the time I got to the end of Stud hl in the 3rd hour, I had a top ten chip stack of 13K and we were just off the money. I know I’m going deep and with this bigger field the final table pays much better then most nights. The it happened. I lost Full Tilt.

My connection started going crazy I was in and out of the action and couldn’t do anything about it. Waffles was playing some Razz and he said he was having no issues. I got on the girly chat and tried to get in touch with slb and but neither were around the computer. I gave surf a call on the phone but he didn’t answer, he was playing live at kurokitty’s, and then my savior answered back on the chat box. Slb came to the rescue as I gave him my password so he could continue the tourney for me.

All this time I’m trying to get back on Full Tilt but I get nothing. Only that stupid little connection screen you get before you sign on is showing up. Slb then logs out of the girly chat and I can’t get him back. Visions of my miniscule bankroll disappearing run through my head as I waited patiently for his reappearance. Finally, after what seemed like forever, he logs back in and sends me a message. “I had to reboot”. Relief is what I felt and he takes over the game with 27 players left and sitting in 17th place. My chip stack was down to 7K and I start to think about what could have happened if I didn’t lose my connection.

So here I am, sitting with my laptop, unable to see what’s going on. I want updates every second but I eventually just sit back and wait for the reports. The he posts in the chat “pokerenthusiast collects 10K from the side pot, pokerenthusiast collects 48K from the main pot”. He had moved us into top 5 with 14 left. From this point on he gained some chips and lost some chips but he got us to the final table.

At this point I tried to log onto Full Tilt again and did so with an old account and watched the final table from the side lines. I took a few screenshots of “our” success for posterity and at the end of the 4th hour we were in 4th place with 5 left.

At this point I asked him if he wanted to finish the game or hand it back to me. I honestly didn’t care if he wanted to finish but he let me take it back. I signed back on and outlasted the short stack.

At this point, nobody had an M much greater then 20 and mine was around 10. It was really a time to catch some cards. In the end, I took a hit when I played back at the big stack on my right and got caught. I was then virtually crippled and got my chips in the middle with Ah4 vs. Kh5 and the flop came with 3 hearts 457. Of coarse my better starting hand gets out flopped but I do have the nut flush draw. It doesn’t come in and we go out 4th.

I can’t say enough about slb. I put him in a tough position by asking him to take over in a game he doesn’t play. He came through with flying colors so I honor him today with a shout out. I offered to split with him but he said a split wasn’t needed. We all know that wasn’t true.

You can go to his recap of the event here.


Yesterday Speedy Enthusiast decided to fall and separate here shoulder. She’s ok but a late night visit to the ER and a sling later means no PE class for a week. She was at a friend’s house on a trampoline and landed on here back with her arm behind her. I can feel her pain.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Go Kansas and Going to the Store on Friday

No poker last night as I had a meeting at church and then watched b-ball. Ohio State came back from 17 down at half time and won the game against Tennessee. I give them credit for a great comeback but Bruce Pearl blew this game. With a 17 point lead at half time you should not loose. Tennessee kept firing up off balanced 3-point shots and bricking them and he didn’t get them back under control until it was to late. He did put some full court pressure on them after Oden got his 4 foul and it seemed to spark the team but then he took it off.

Kansas is still my road to glory in Mookie’s bracket pool. If North Carolina and Kansas make it to the finals I’m in the money and if Kansas wins I win. I’m still in a tie for third but some of the players above me took hits last night so I’m on my way. They few other brackets that have Kansas winning are behind me in the standings.

Well it is Friday, which means poker at my house. The problem is that it won’t start until late if it starts at all. We have to go get cleats for Softball Enthusiast and Speedy Enthusiast (notice I’ve been using the names trip) and that involves a trip to the sporting goods store. Now I love going to the store with the family because everyone always finds what they want right away so we’re in and out in no time at all. So maybe if I’m lucky this will only take a few hours.

That’s it for now so have a great weekend on the felt.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Donkey Enthusiast

I guess you could say I played the Mookie events last night but I’m not sure it was me. It may have been The Donkey Enthusiast who looks a lot like me. I think I sat down ready to play but when I lost my connection for about 10 minutes I went on money in tourney and I can’t play tilt. I was 10 minutes before Razz and I made the choice of switching to my lap top. When I tried to log on got the never ending searching for site message. The real problem was that I was getting ready for razz, had money in the Mookie and the 2nd chance. $22 bucks out there that I can’t play with was pissing me off. I eventually got on and made a nice run in razz but my Mookie was short lived. I had no focus and I would have just left other then I like the company. I ended up pushing my hammer into pocket 6s that tripped up on the flop. By the time the 2nd chance came around I had calmed down and caught a great card vs. jeciimd when I had an straight draw, flush draw, and could also catch one of 2 queens to win the pot. I made a pot size bet on the turn and he pushed with trip jacks. I got my straight on the river to take most of his chips. I knew I had a lot of outs and it turned out to be 16. So it was a suck out but not a big one.

We got down to 4 players and I catch trip queens on the flop and check raise hoy all-in. I also held the nut flush draw and he held a straight and straight flush draw and gets it to knock me out on the bubble. One good river deserves another.

I really have to make the choice of not playing when I don’t feel on my game. The –ev isn’t good and I am trying to eliminate the mistakes I made when my bankroll took a dive late last year. I’m almost back to the level I was 5 months ago and with some sound play I’ll get there.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Softball and Basketball and Poker, Oh My

What can I say. The ass-hats that are my daughter's coaches said basically what I thought. I don’t mind because we did agree to play with their team and you must do what the coach says. You don’t have to like it. She’ll still get time on the mound but more then likely she’ll be used out in the field or as a catcher because she can.

They are using a challenge system for playing positions so realistically she could try for any position on the team and be rated first. I like the idea in that it encourages competitiveness but it may also cause animosity among the players.

Softball Enthusiast asked me what positions she should compete for and I said all of them that you like. The plan is for catcher, pitcher, 3rd base and short stop. In my biased opinion she stands a good chance of being the top rated player at any position she plays but like I said…I’m biased.

One problem I see is that the coaches talk about each of the kids having an infield and outfield position. How does that work if you are using a challenge system for positions? Generally speaking, Each position will have a depth chart so that as players are used for other spots, a position is filled by the next one on the depth chart. In essence, if you don’t challenge for an outfield position then you will not make the depth chart. And how do you create any amount of equity in playing time if you base your decisions on the chart. These are 11 and 12 year old kids that need playing time to improve. You also have to look at the fact that even though they are children, they know who the better players are. Sure, there are some playing that may give it up in a year or two but some of these girls take it seriously. The serious girls are learning to trust in their coaches and sending mixed signals will only confuse them.

That’s enough softball because it is working me up.


I’m sitting in a tie for 4th place in Mookie’s March Madness tournament Bracket pool. The killer for me was picking Texas to go deeper then out in the second round. My potential points are not as big as some of the remaining players but if Kansas wins I’m pretty sure I’ll take it down as none of the players above me have them winning it. I can almost assure a cash if they make it to the finals. I can also end up way out of the money if my picks don’t come in.

And speaking of Mookie, the Mookie is tonight at 9:00 central and the 2nd chance, PL HA, starts at 10:30 so come out and have some fun. I’m looking forward to how I can get knocked out this week as an 80-20 favorite. There is also the added incentive to knock out Mookie for a free buy-in next week. Also, Al has put up a month of Mookie events if you can knock out fuel with 55.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Did I Sell My Soul?

Yes, I pimped my self out yesterday and I feel dirty. Using the tools that I have available to make a little cash, selling the one thing that I had that was poker blog. The lord knows that there was nothing else pure about me. However, is it wrong to do what I did? Is writing a review for a small cash payment a bad thing? Let us take a look.

All of us play poker in an attempt to make money. I know I’ve talked about being competitive and all that but our success can be derived from our wins and losses. Moreover, our wins or losses amount to a monetary value so in essence we play poker to make money.

Many of you reading this blog have a blog you call your own and chronicle events in your life. I for one use my blog to talk about some of my family life as well as my successes and failures on the virtual felt. Others of you use your blog as a form of releasing life’s frustration and only have poker as a common thread with the community. Some use there blog as a way to show their greatness while others bring a humor that lightens our hearts. None of these are nobler then another and thus we are all equal in reasoning. Some don’t write as well as others but we fulfill our needs through our writing.

In my case, I saw a way to gain a little fun money at the expense of same space on my blog. Many of us have banners on different parts of our blogs, I just chose to a different avenue this time. Believe me, I make a little of nothing on my banner advertisements. Anyway, before I agreed to do the review I checked the site out and made the decision to do it based on a couple of things. First, was this a site that I found to be offensive? That was not the case. Secondly, is there a practical use for the site? I found that there were some uses for the site.

Based on the criteria above I felt it was ok to do a review. If the answers would have to my questions would have unacceptable then I would have turned it down. I think taling a small payment for a review is perfectly fine because we’ve all done reviews of some sort without payment so why not get a little.

Besides, maybe I’ll use some of this money to get me to a WPBT event.

Monday, March 19, 2007

UK Online Casinos

This is a paid review for UK Online Casinos

Most of us look around for one site that covers many of our needs…UK Online Casinos seems to do the trick for the on-line gambler in us.

When I first checked out the site, I notice many useful links for existing players as well as someone new to the on-line casino game. If you’re looking for a new poker room then there are plenty of option for you to choose from as well as a list of bonus offers. If sports betting is more your speed then checkout the list of bookmakers they have provided for your needs. They also provide links for casinos if table games are more to your liking.

Another useful tool I found was a set of links for land based facilities. You can use this to investigate places to play before making a trip across the pond or just to find a neighborhood card room.

One thing many new on-line players fear is the safety of the money they put into a site. Never fear with UK Online Casinos because they have links dedicated to the regulators of the industry as well as various watchdog group that make sure everything is done by the book.

So if you’re in the market for a multi faceted web site to cover your on-line needs, checkout, UK Online Casinos and see if they fit the bill.

Poker And Softball...A Good Mix

I really like playing poker. The challenge of taking other players’ chips while a whole table of players is trying to take yours is both a game I guess that is part of the beauty of the game. It is one against all and the winner gets the big piece of the pie.

So after a nice run through February culminating in a second place finish and a nice payday in a 600 player hold’em tourney I was looking to see if I could keep the run going. Before Friday night I hadn’t played s many tourney this month but until this week had some success. I final tabled a pair of Horse tourneys, made a couple of deep runs in Omaha finishing 12th and 11th and made a couple of nice runs in Hold’em. Then Wednesday hit me hard. It started with PLO and ended with PLO with suck out attacks from every direction. I dropped a good chunk before it was done with no return and it continued Friday as fonkey after fonkey made terrible calls that cost me chips. Nevertheless, I knew I was making good decisions so I kept pushing on.

I fired up a tourney on UB with 200 players give or take and decided to continue playing my game as I always do. I understand that variance will turn back for me and I just have to be ready. Around the same time I played my Razz tourney that I love so much. Now these smaller tourneys have been my savior in a sense. I seem to excel with the smaller fields and thus my bankroll has seen the benefit. In the end I went deep in both.

Well I am the self-proclaimed Razz King so I’ll start there. There isn’t a lot to say other than I played tight and chipped up early. I went card dead for just about an hour then hit some hands to chip me up. As the bubble approached I made a mistake with a made 9vs another made 9. I had 9875A and he showed 986Q on 6th street. I missed after trying to raise him off and dropped way down. When the bubble broke I was involved in a hand the saw me with 543 and after hitting a 2 on 4th I did all I could to get my short stack in the middle. But I bricked the rest of the way and ended up with a small cash. I’m happy with most of my play in this but it’s hard to do well in these if you don’t catch some low cards late.

So my UB tourney is progressing. The structure there is such that you can wait for some hands and let the donkeys pay you off. Tonight was no different. I stayed tight and got paid with my good hands. My first big hand was winning a coin flip vs. a shorter stack. I held AK and out flopped his 66 to move up the ladder. As we moved into the last 30 players I had a small run of cards that got me into the top 10.

With 25 players left I have around 11K and find QQ in late position with blinds at 200/400. Two limpers, one being a guy I have a great read on, are in an and I raise it to 2700. The blinds fold and the limpers call. This is a big pot but the flop comes K42. This isn’t what I want. The limpers check so I look at my options. Checking is out as I was the pre-flop raiser and have represented strength. I have been very tight so I thought my best option was to give a value bet 2950 into an 8700 chip pot. This can be looked at as weakness or strength. This late in a tourney most players push or fold so I wanted confusion to take center stage. The first limper folded while the second limper waited. This is a guy I sat with for over an hour and have a good idea of his hand. I had him on a medium pair. He had pushed all night with AK, AQ and even AJ while I know he would re-raise with AA, KK or QQ. His stack was slightly bigger then mine but he still called 25% of his stack with something. My final read was 9s, 10, or jacks. When he pushed all-in I had to decide if my thoughts were correct. I looked back at hands I had played with him and I remembered him pushing a guy in a similar situation and showing an under pair. But would he do this so close to the bubble. He knows that I’m playing tight and that I can throw away a hand. He might push with a king but he wouldn’t call with KQ or KJ and he would have raised with AK. I call and he shows JJ and I become 2nd chip leader. He proceeded to chastise me in the chat box but I didn’t feel then need to make him a better player.

The bubble burst and I tried to keep my stack near the top. My tight image was strong so I took blinds as I needed them and when we go to the final table I was sitting solidly in 6th place.

I stayed tight and chipped up a little as players started to drop and was sitting in third with 7 players left. The blinds are getting big so steals are now worth the trouble and a big stack can buy pots. Then we get down to 3.

I made a big play on the small stack when he raised from the small blind and I cold called with Q4. The flop missed me by a mile K72 but I figured him for a steal when he bet into me. I hesitated and came over the top and took a huge pot of 30K. Now with a stack a little smaller then the chip leader I changed gears and started taking charge of the table. I raised and re raised 4 hands in a row. Then I get pocket Aces. I raised like the previous 4 hands and the big stack re-raised me a little over min. I pushed and he called with A7 and I’m the huge chip leader. I have 4 times the other two combined and within 10 hands it is over.

It’s nice to play the game and be rewarded for making the right decisions.


L had her game Saturday night and was a monster. Now she had a great game last week with base hits and a triple but wow. On her first at bat she took an 0-2 pitch deep to right field for a home run. It went 200 feet in the air which is the equivalent to homerun distance for most high school fields. Not bad for a 7th grader. Anyway She hit another shot over the right fielders head next time up and also hade a base hit to end up 3-4 on the night. She also struck out 2 of the three batters she faced.

The discouraging thing that is happening with her is that she probably wont pitch much. She is so strong out in the field and as a catcher that she will only pitch round robin games according to the head coach. I made the point that if she is throwing well that you wont need a strong fielding team but I understand his reasoning…I just don’t agree with it. Anyway, she’ll get plenty of pitching in the local league she is playing in so the head coach can continue to try and teach his daughter to pitch. Besides, none of the girls can catcher her anyway.

Friday, March 16, 2007

It's Friday and Razz

Tonight is Friday night if you were not aware. What that means at my house is pizza, pop and poker or the 3 Ps. Family must come first so Enthusiast Wife and I will order a couple of pizzas and hang out with the kids for a while and maybe watch a family movie. Eventually, at some point, I will fire up the poker machine for a night of frustration or elation depending on the poker gods. No this isn’t every Friday night but it is many of them. There was a time that you wouldn’t find me anywhere near home on a Friday but those times have gone. Now we either stay home or have a required function to attend. Some may think this is a boring life but it is what I have and I find no problem with it.

I’m hoping that the variance I’ve seen over the last few days will turn around. I’ll just try to continue making good decisions and let the cards fall as they will. Maybe a return to HORSE and RAZZ will get me back on track.

I read a good post here about Razz strategy and think that most of what I read is accurate and is similar to how I play. I think to put a complete set of rules for all situations is impossible but if you need help with your Razz game then read it and you will be blessed. One point I would challenge is that you may want to call a bet after 4th street when you have a draw that is better then your opponents holdings. Even a raise on 5th may be in order when you are drawing to the nut or near nut when you are behind. If your opponent has a made 8 on 5th and you hold A246Q to his xx875 you are behind but any 3 or 5 probably shuts the door and an 8 or 7 may put you in the lead. And if he didn’t complete but just limped then you have to put him on a less then premium hand thus making you stronger. In this case a 3 or 5 will win the hand short of your opponent hitting the wheel so you are drawing to 7 cards that should give you the win plus any 7 or 8 will put you ahead if he bricks. That is in essence 6 more outs for 13 total. Now depending on what cards were thrown away at the beginning you have to subtract outs so lets say there were three outs on the board. Now you have 10 outs to catch a winning hand. There are 38 unknown cards left so you have about a 26% chance of hitting your card twice or 52% total. He still needs to hit a card lower then his 7 that doesn’t pair him up. That leaves him6 or 7 outs that may not may not be good anyway if I hit a 5 or a 3. He actually has about a 35% chance of improving over two street and will lose over half the time even if he does. In this case it is the wrong play to fold on 5th as I am behind but have will improve to win almost half the time and will get paid off every time when I win. If you add the fact that he may be playing a high card in the hole then calling on 5th is a positive play.

I don’t know if this made any sense but I understand my demented logic. It is demented because to play Razz you have to be a lunatic.


Softball Enthusiast has another game on Saturday night so we will be enjoying another evening of ball. I’m looking forward to seeing if the girls make any adjustments after their first game.

That’s it for now…have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bad Beats are a Part of Life

This isn’t really a bad beat post but it is a list of my night. I’ve been reading the various blogs out there and many of them have one thing going for them...their good hands didn’t hold up. It seems to go in streaks and it can be hard to deal with as you repeatedly get your money in with the best only to lose. So I’m gonna take a small shot at explaining my night and that I don’t care about the beats because we all go through it.

I’m top 5 in a PLO tourney and the game is moving along well. I hit trips on the flop and get a shorty in and he hits running spades for a flush. The end of my game saw me flop the nut straight and lose to a runner runner full house. So this is a great start to my day.

In the Mookie I get involved in a hand where I hold pocket 10s. I’m in the BB and the cutoff raises to 150, the button calls and so do I. The flop is 985 with two diamonds and I check with intentions of coming over the top of the cutoff or button continuation bet that I know will come. The button makes a 600 chip bet into the 500 chip pot. This screams of I don’t want a caller or a flush draw to stay around so I raise it to 1200. The chat’s “damn it” because he knows he is behind but pushes anyway. He has A9 and has 5 outs and I get knocked out when he hits his Ace. No love.

I play another PLO tourney right after getting knocked out of the Mookie. I’ve chipped up some and get involved with a shorty while holding AA T6 double suited. I raise the pot pre-flop and the shorty pushes with 98QJ and two hearts. The flop is 4x4h5x, turn 6h, river Qh. And I lose to a runner runner again. I chip back up with my huge skills. Before this hand. I raise with KKJ4 and get called by one player. I flop trip kings and bet out all-in and get called by two pair Aces and Kings with three diamond. Runner runner diamonds end my game.

The Mookie 2nd chance was also PLO and I played two hands. In the first I get Qd 9d Qs Ah and raise it up. And lose on the river to a straight. My last hand I hold 9d Ks 9h Ah and flop trip 9s but my opponent hits a straight on the river to knock me out.

It was a great night of poker.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Business and Riverchaser's

I had a business trip yesterday that involved a 3 hour trip each way with my boss and two other guys. We make the trek to just north of Milwaukee to the customer’s plant and our contact said he didn’t know we were coming. We made the plans last week but somehow he forgot. We ended up calling on another customer and got some swag so it wasn’t a total loss but it was disappointing.

I got home at my regular time ready to cook some steaks on the grill. Now for most of my life I’ve been a charcoal kind of guy but with a family of five that is always on the run I have converted to the gas grill. So I fire up the grill and get the meat all ready to go but I have a problem…the gas is out. This isn’t an issue because I have two tanks and can make the change over in no time at all. But I know the other tank is empty and I’m not going down to the gas station to exchange a tank for $20 when I can get it filled for8 or 9 at the FS in town. So steaks were enjoyed but out of the oven.

So with a day on the road I had blogs to read so I jumped on the computer and checked bloglines for some good reading material. I read a few thing when I happened to find that Al is running a freeroll HORSE tourney for the Riverchasers so I jump on for some free fun and a chance for part of the $100 prize pool.

I had Bobby Bracelet sitting to my left a few spots but nobody else I recognized. I donked off a few chips durng the first few rounds and got some back in Razz. Stud hit me in the face with some great hands and by the end of the first break I had 5500 chips.

On the second hand after the break I was dealt AAJJ and hit a J on the flop. The board paired giving me the high boat to scoop a 2900 chip pot. I also won a nice hand in Razz but basically held my own to this point. My lucky hand of the night saw me with pocket 10s in a raised pot with two other players and being last to act. The flop is 78Q and the BB bets and UTG raises. UTG had raised preflop but I want to see if he is strong so I 3-bet and the BB caps. I figure I’m behind and I will drop the hand unless I get a good card and I did. Another 10 came on the turn. The BB bets and UTG calls. I raise and they both call. The river is a jack giving many straight possibilities and it is checked around giving me the win. The BB had a queen and UTG had pocket kings. So now I’m at 14K and in 2nd overall. I end the 2nd hour near the top and ready for my Razz game to push me up.

Razz gave me no love as I didn’t get one playable hand. We are near the money and in stud when I get jacks and queens on 4th street during stud. I’m ready for the hand that puts me at the top except I run into trip aces from the beginning and I’m crippled. I doubled on the next hand with three diamonds that turned into two pair to get me back to 6000. At the bubble I get 578 suited in Stud hl and complete the bet with 2 callers, one being alcanthang. I catch a 4 so I now have a good low going as well as a backdoor flush and a gut shot straight chance so I call Al’s bet. 5th street is the 10 of my suit so I raise al’s bet all-in and catch a six for the straight and the low vs. his kings. The virtual end of my night happened when I tried a steal with A10 and got re-raised Bobby BI who was short so we got it all-in. He had AK and I’m down again. I doubled back up but ended up out in Omaha and finished 17th.

It was a fun night and thanks goes to Al for hosting the event.

Monday, March 12, 2007

It Was a Weekend and March Madness Bracket

I have started a bracket pool on espn. If you would like to be involved go to ESPN and create an account. If you are interested you can e-mail me at thepokerenthusiast at and I will give you the details. I'm looking at $5 per entry with 5 entries max. The payout will be like a poker tourney so it will be based on the number of entries. You will be ablt to send me the money by transfer on Full Tilt and if you win I will send it back the same way. Send me your screen name and I will give you the group information. I must have the entries by tip off of the first game as well as the money transfered to be elgible. Contact me if you have any questions. Here is a link to the page.


With all the luck that friends and family have been having as of late my wife went with to another wake on Friday night. That left me in charge of our three kids as well as the two children of the lady that went with her. So what do I do? I fire up the poker machine because they all get along and they are old enough to stay out of most trouble.

The first success I had was in this event.

This isn’t a game I play a lot but I do enjoy it. I made a nice run and again got knocked out when I had great draws to the nuts after the flop.

I also played the daily doubles and had a good shot at cashing in both but came up empty in the A event. The B event is a different story. I chipped up a little early after getting AQ three hands in a row and betting out each time. I also doubled up just before the first break to put me at around T5000. I lost some chips with pocket 6s that complete gave me no chance on the flop that came AK10. The next hand I get queens and A shorter stack of 2100 raises to 350 (blinds are 50/100) and gets called by a huge stack. I raise to twice the pot and the shorty call while the big stack folds. The flop is K35 so I put him in because I won’t fold to a 351 chip bet anyway. He shows A9 with a flush draw but my queens hold and I move up to T9000. I won a few more with pocket kings just before finding QQ again. This time I have to throw them away on a bad flop. I folded for a while until my card rack returns with aces. An early position guy calls and I raise to 720 from middle position and get called buy the same guy. The flop gives me trips but leaves a possible flush draw. I want all of his chips so it gets checked around. A king on the turn looks good to me in that I hope he has hit so I make a3/4 pot bet. He insta pushes and I call to see his AJ and no flush draw. I know have T14000. I again win a big hand with aces and move to T18800. I won a big hand with A8 after the SB limped after everyone else folded. I made a big raise and he called with pocket 2s. I hit and 8 and moved to 24,000. I took a few blinds that put me in around 10th place with around 90 players left. I made a position raise with K10 suited and got called by the BB big stack. The flop hit me with a king put I layed it down to an aggressive play by the big stack. This was a bad decision. He was playing big stack poker and I wilted. A push over the top was the right play and if I get beat so be it. It would have cost him over half his stack to call. My game was just about over. A push monkey raises from the button and I call with KJ. Stupid play by me in that even if he was on a steal I called with a less then stellar hand. Down to 7000 I get K10 and push from the SB and the BB has AK.

Talk about screwing up a good run. In 4 hands I went from sitting great to out. I went away from what was getting me there. Enough said.


Softball Enthusiast had her first game of the on Saturday night. It was in a field house in Dekalb so the conditions were great. We didn’t keep official score but I think her team won by two. She threw OK after calming down a little and gave up one run in her only inning of work. She did have two strikeouts and gave up no hits but the walks have to stop for here to be successful. Hitting wise she was great. She beat out an infield chopped, hit a nice line drive between 1st and 2nd and hit a stand up triple to deep left center field. 3 for 3 is never a bad thing and she looked very ready to play. Over all the team looked so so mainly because the new girls were not ready for the speed of the game. After about the third inning they all settled down and the play solid. All but one girl had a hit and none of them were scared by the solid pitching from the other team. One thing I know is that these girls will hit regardless of anything else.

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Continue to Love Horse

The wife and kids were gone last night so that gave me the chance to play a little poker. I started with a little Omaha hl at UB that ended ugly and moved over to FL for some HORSE and Razz. I ended the evening back at UB playing a couple of SNG and chatting a little with JJ.

Omaha was solid other then I didn’t cash. I had a nice run and was in position to make something happen until running cards took a chunk of my chip stack. I worked hard to gain it back but it wasn’t meant to be as I got knocked out about 12 from the money.

I jumped on the HORSE tourney at FT and saw Don Morris sitting across the table. We chatted up a little as he chipped up and I maintained my chip stack I eventually got moved and I never saw him again. But I did play well for the most part.

It did start well in that I gave away some chips in Omaha hl and when we got to Razz I was at this level.

As you can see my chip stack is low and the cards you see are indicative of what I was getting in Razz. I eventually got a hand when I saw this.

I’m always going to play this kind of hand with a raise because I’m more than likely ahead and I want chips in the pot when ahead. But then I get this on 4th street.

I chickened out and got away from it but as you can see from my small chip stack that I’m in trouble. But the next hand I see this.

This may not be the best spot for this hand but I made up my mind that I was going to war. Stud was about to start and I’d rather get knocked out in Razz, playing a game that I play well. We end up getting to here and I survive.

Early in Stud I see a cheap 4th street and pair my 10. My opponent bet into me so I raised to see where his was at. He only called so I figured him for nothing but the Q.

Smelling weakness I bet on 5th street when it appeared to be a blank for him and he again called.

6th street gave me one of his 6s but also gave him a double draw to a flush as well as a straight but I bet out hoping to find out where I stood. He called so I’m wondering if he really has something or is just chasing.

I check 7th and we show down with this result. I’m not sure what he was calling with to my aggression but it didn’t hit and I chip up.

When we got to Stud hl I woke up with 666 and bet out and get three callers.

I continue to bet on 4th street and hope to keep everyone in the game.

I get quads on 5th so at worst I’m splitting the pot so I continue to bet out and I get heads up.

He hits the low and we split.

A little later I wake up with this hand and I bet into the pot.

4th street gives me two pair and I continue to try and build the pot without driving guys away.

5th street gives my opponent trips and I have to drop my hand. This may have been a key hand in that some players may chase here but I only have 4 outs at best and I may only have two. I think I have to fold here.

I won a nice pot from the blinds when I flopped 2nd pair. I made a reraise after the flop and bet out on the turn to represent the flush and I take it down.

I chipped up a little more until we got to Razz again when I got this hand.

As you can see the next card was nice to me so I continue to bet. Some will check here because it is a small bet but his 8 should keep him in the game regardless unless he gets a terrible card on 5th.

I missed catching a screen shot of the hand that put me over the top but catching a low straight in Stud hl is a good thing. I scooped the huge pot and moved into the chip lead as the final table approached. When we got to the final table it looked like this.

I was in a great position. Top three should be easy and I’m feeling great about my chances to take it down. That is until this hand. I get dealt 2c Jd Qh Ac. I have suited hl possibilities as well as some connecting cards so I see the 1000 chip flop. The flop is K3T with 2 clubs so my draws are top notch. One player bets and I call. I should have re-raised here but I didn’t want to commit to much before having my hand made. The turn is an 8 giving me nut high draws and nut low draws so I have to stick around. The river is the J of clubs so I have the nut high. He bets into me and I insta raise. We cap it and the chips are pushed to him. WTF. Wait… that wasn’t a 2 of clubs…it was a 2 of spades. What a moron I am. I cripple my self by being an unfocused idiot. I held on for a while and got some chips back but got knocked out way to early for my chip stack.

This was a great example of losing focus and how it can be –ev. I left a lot of money on the table because of a few distractions.

So I also played some Razz last night and had great starting hands but no love as I got knocked out a little before the money. I had some picture for that also but I’ve spent enough time on this today.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Trying to Play Poker While Live Blogging the Mookie

Trying to live blog isn’t that hard when you are only watching your own table. I have a small bit of respect for Mookie now that I’ve tried it but I don’t think I will do it again anytime soon. Go to here to see the commentary.

I started the night playing an ultra turbo SNG at UB just because I had time before the Mookie started. I stayed about as tight as you can in a tourney that has 2 minute levels hit the jackpot when I got 10s in late position and raised it up. One caller and the flop gives me trips so I raise it up and the other guy pushes with aces. So I cracked aces and on the next hand I get 10s again and I raise. A shorty pushes and gets one other caller so I call to see the flop. I hit trip 10s again and bust two more guys. Now it is bubble time and I have a huge stack so I’m raising with any two semi decent hands and suck out on a push with Q9 vs. KQ and then bust another guy with my J10 vs. his AK. I made short work of the final guy to take this donk-fest down.

My Mookie was OK as I got into the 2nd hour but I over played 1010 and left my self committed to a pot and lost to the JJ of pokerpeaker.

This knockout allowed me to concentrate on blogging and taking screen shots so her is a photo gallery of some of the action last night.

Here is Fuel pushing his KQ suited into peakers Aces and going home.

This is columbo getting unlucky after he gets his aces to only see the trip jacks surfexus is holding.

Surf sees the bad news.

Roberto doubles up.

Gcox doubles through Zeem.

Surf doubles up Mattazuma and is now the short stack.

He then gains some chips back at the expense of bayne when he hit an ace.

Roberto continues to win coinflips as he knocks out bayne.

Gcox doubles Through willwonka.

surf gets his hand caught in the cookie jar.

Mattazuma drops the hammer.

Surf wins a coin flip to eliminate zeem.

Roberto's queens knock out Mattazuma. Then I don't know what happened other then I started to watch instead of take screen shots. The next thing I know we are down to 4 players.

Mean_G stays alive with his best hand hitting a king on the turn.

And then he knockes out pokerpeaker with his pair of 2s.

Roberto eleminates Mean_g to get heads up with Astin.

How I didn't get any screen shots of Astin I don't know. Mainly because he was pushing players off their hands and building his chip lead. Great game all and see you next time.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Live Blogging the Mookie

Boy Enthusiast: Mommy, Brad doesn’t want to play with me.

Mrs. Enthusiast: What’s the matter?

Boy Enthusiast: You know how you always want me to try my best…well the score is 8-2 and Brad has 2 so he’s mad.

Mrs. Enthusiast: Why don’t you let him score a couple to make it closer?

Boy Enthusiast: But that’s not trying my best…you always want me to try my best…right?

How do you argue with that logic? He has my competitive spirit for sure.

The other day I took Boy Enthusiast to a birthday party. I had to drop Softball Enthusiast off at practice first and I mentioned that we would go back tot the practice after I dropped him off. Speedy Enthusiast didn’t want to come back to the practice so Boy Enthusiast says ”I would rather stay and watch Softball Enthusiast practice but I feel I have to go to this birthday party” He’s 5 years old.


Tonight is the Mookie so I think everyone who is cool should be there. It will have the donkiest of bloggers, namely me, so you already have a +EV if you play. The 2nd chanse tourney is Stud and even though I suck at Stud I will probably donate to the prize fund.

Overall I’m trying to improve my finishes from last time when I final tabled both events and didn’t cash. I’m offering up my live blogging skills to Mookie so We’ll see you at the Mook.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Empathy and a Little Poker

I thought I could be empathetic of the feelings the young girls family was going through but how can I truly understand what they are going through. I haven’t had one of my children die tragically. Sympathy is a more realistic term for how I felt as I walked down the receiving line, shaking the hands of relatives I’ve never met. As I approached her mother and step-father I couldn’t help but stroke the hair of my 5 year-old son as he waited impatiently for us to finish. I gave her mother a hug and attempted to choke back the tears that wanted to fall free flowing from my puffy eyes. A hand shake between her step-father and I because that is what men do.

Standing in front of the casket of a young woman who almost made 18 years of age is hard to do. Her bloated face caused by the embalming fluid doesn’t do her justice. The agonizing loneliness that fills the hearts of the endless lines of people streaming into this room to pay their respects can’t be described. The pain of loss is individual and can only be consoled.

M and B were happy to be away from the morbid surroundings. There was food and drink down stairs and this was now a time to spend with their friends. L found her friend, the deceased girl’s cousin, to spend time with her friend in her time of need. The Poker Enthusiast parents went down stairs and socialized with friends and family while B tried to eat cookies for dinner. Life must move on and food must be the first step to recovery.

As we walked the two blocks to our parking space, the funeral home parking lot was full, I thought about how my life has been changed by the deaths of family and friends over the years and realized that all things come to an end. And though death has marked my life yet again I will go on. The world doesn’t stop and wait for your return.


I didn’t play any poker lat night but I did watch JJ, surf and worldpoker05 play for a while. I wasn’t in the right mindset to play and just wanted to veg out. They all cashed in their respective tourneys so I guess I’m good luck. It was nice to look at the different styles of play as each of them had different approaches. They all did the job all be it with different endings.

JJ played a semi loose aggressive style that accumulated chips for him only to get hit hard near the bubble. He made the cash but didn’t get as deep as was hoped. Surf played a mixed style game that was tight and varied. Some luck box action was in store but it was clear his intention was to win the SNG. Worldpoker05 played as tight as I’ve seen anyone play. He took advantage of that image as the bubble approached and stole pots to maintain his chip stack until the bubble burst in his SNG. Three cashes with three styles.

Probably no poker tonight but Mookieness should be in store for Wednesday.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Sometimes Poker Doesn't Matter

I wrote my little story the other day about a family auto accident before I knew about some friends of the family. They’re not good friends but really the family of good friends…but that doesn’t make this less tragic. Their daughter was killed in a car accident Friday morning on her way to school. She was 17.

Many of us have children and all of us are some ones child so there is a degree of understanding and empathy we feel when we hear something tragic like this. Our children shouldn’t die before us….they have so much to look forward to in life but when it gets snatched away because of some unfortunate accident of a long battle with an illness life hits us hard.

Right now her mother is getting ready to be strong at her dead daughters visitation. She doesn’t feel strong but she wants everyone to know that life will go on and that she appreciates their support. The alone times are the ones that hurt. When nobody is there to console her and the world crashes into her being like the car who T-boned her daughters car. There is no justice….just pain.

We will be there for her as will many other people over the next few days. But when the people go away and the silence screams mercilessly at her, tearing at her sanity as she grieves for her fallen child, hopefully she gain perspective and honor the life she had as well morn the life she missed.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

March Begins, Token Frenzy, and HORSE

I had a great month in February. It wasn't lucko great or Fuel great but for me it was a success. I played 37 tourneys and had 12 final tables on two different sites. I cashed in aabout 35% of the MTTs I played in and got to the final table in 4 different styles of play. Overall my bankroll increased % wise more then any other month other then the first month I played. My ROI was almost 60% overall. I've regained almost half of what I lost during the 2 month slide I encountered and feel better about my game now then I ever have.

I think the biggest improvement with my game is that I'm staying in my comfort zone and staying away from taking the big tourneys while my bankroll regains its previous levels. I'm staying focused on the proccess of bankroll management and not letting the fonkeys and fuktards blow me away.


I play a token frenzy tonight and ran into another idiot who thinks calling after a raise and a reraise, with QJ this time, is a great call. I guess KK is a hand I should fold from now on as it seems to be killing me. Really I'm glad guys will call with hands like that because it will be good in the long run.

Friday was my first tourney night of the month and It went well over all as I did this.

I got cold decked and crippled after getting QQx vs. AAx as well as trip 6s vs. trip 9s. I played a sound game and played aggressive to keep moving up the ladder as the game progressed. Lets see if I can match my 12 final tables from last month.