You wouldn't know it by reading here, but I am enjoying poker right now more than I have at any point in the past three years. I look forward to it. I play at every chance I give myself. I read poker blogs every day. I think about strategy and record every session in a nifty little iPhone app. My hourly rate is fantastic. In fact, I can look at my phone and see I have played 59 hours and 46 minutes since January 1.
Why so little?
I haven't played a hand of online poker since 2008.
More in this Poker Blog! -->
It seems odd, doesn't it? I'm a guy who has made his living largely off the online poker industry for more than four years. I should be shouting from the rooftops and telling everyone how great online poker is. And you know what? Online poker is great. It's a fantastic way to spend time and an even better way to make money if you're any good. I admire the people who have the time, talent, and determination it now takes to put in the required volume. I even respect the people who can play every once in a while and enjoy it.
Well, I started paying some attention to my playing habits last year. I realized that, while I was working a lot, I also had a couple hours everyday in which I was doing nothing. Guess what I did with those hours? Right on. I played online poker.
Now, this would all be well and good, except for the fact that's what I did with every unused moment. If I wasn't playing with my family or working for the man, I was playing online poker. It wasn't time to play tournaments, but it was time to put in some hours playing Razz. In short, I was killing time and paying rake for it. I also wasn't winning anymore. After four winning years, I couldn't put anything together. I was unfocused and generally not enjoying myself anymore. I had become a losing player and it was embarrassing.
Worst of all, I wasn't accomplishing anything. That was the biggest crime of all. I was losing 15-30 hours per week in an act of gambling masturbation that I wasn't even really enjoying anymore. I wasn't writing. I wasn't getting healthy. I wasn't working on a bunch of undone projects. I wasn't doing anything because I thought, "I don't have time."
And so I quit.
Not permanently, mind you. I love the game and online poker enough that I don't want to give it up forever. Thing is, when I play, I want to play for a reason. I want it to be fun or profitable or a lifestyle or something. I just want it to mean something. I want it to be worth something. Even if it's only recreational, I need it to be worthwhile.
So, my rule was this: until I finish two undone writing projects, I won't play one hand of online poker.
It's pretty amazing what the extra 15-30 hours a week can feel like. I have actually put a lot of work into both projects and accomplished a lot of other stuff I didn't even know I wanted to get done.
Even better, I'm playing live and loving it. I play a weekly game on Monday nights, an occasional home game when out-of-town bloggers come in, and when I'm on the road in South and Central America.
Yes, it's hard not to play online. I miss playing on Sundays and late nights after the wife is asleep. I've been sorely tempted a few times. So far, I've stayed true to my word.
What is going to happen? Who knows. For now, it's working and so am I. That's all I care about for now.
So Up For Poker has languished a bit over the past two months. I wish I had a good excuse, but I don't. Otis, G-Rob and I have all been busy for various reasons, but it's not like we've been significantly more busy than in the past.
The good news is that I've got a great excuse to write again. Matthew from over at PokerListings has invited me to participate in the Run Good Challenge v.2. It's a series of four events with a total prize pool of $5500. If you don't remember, Change100 took down the top prize last time.
This time around, I'm going to be up against some formidable foes including the defending champ and her stoner boyfriend, Dr. Pauly, as well as Chops from WCP, and Michalski from Pokerati among others. I'm kinda hoping this turns into a televised event, because I'll also be competing against poker pro Liz Lieu and Bluff cover girl Christina Lindsey (I encourage you to click through the last two links).
I guess I should start practicing again... don't want to embarrass myself against this lineup! If any of the other participants have an idea for a prop bet... you know where to find me!
I'm a big believer in the power of the mind. You get lucky because you believe, truly, deep down in your heart, that you're going to get lucky. It's not that you hope you'll get lucky. It's not that you declare you'll get lucky. It's that you have no doubt, no doubt at all, that the card you need is about to fall.
For a year or two, that was me. I knew I'd get lucky more often than not. I'd ask the dealer and the card would fall. It was simple. And it made the game easy. You don't get the nickname "Luckbox" because you get lucky just once or twice.
My confidence is shaken. For every yin there is a yang. Where there is light, there is shadow. Just as belief in luck will bring luck, believing in failure breeds failure. Just read Waffles for all the proof you'll need on that account.
The Tao of Poker 5-year anniversary tournament was the last bit of proof I needed.More in this Poker Blog! -->
We weren't too deep into the tournament and I was still sitting right around my average stack. I'd given a few chips away before check-raising with the Hiltons on an undercard board getting myself back to even.
I'm dealt JhTd in middle position. There's one caller in front of me and I limp as well. It's folded around to the small blind who completes. The big blind then raises to 3xBB. The first limper folds. I call and the small blind folds.
That means two of us see a flop of 8s9s8h. I'm open ended. My opponent, with whom I am unfamiliar, leads out for about 2/3 of the pot. It's an easy call for me, I think. It's as likely to be a continuation bet as it is to be an overpair or underpair.
The turn is the seven of spades. I love the fact that I've hit my straight, but I hate the fact that it's a spade. Nonetheless, I'm pretty committed to this pot at this point. I can't sit around fearing the flush. My opponent leads out again and I push. He instantly called.
Any guesses on what he held?
He flipped over pocket tens, including the ten of spades. I would imagine that he thought he was in great shape. He had both an overpair and an open ended straight flush draw. That's strong. I was 68% to win the hand and 4% to tie it. There was a 2-1 chance that I double up and almost a 3-1 chance that I'm still in the tourney.
I knew I was done. Before the card even came. That evil poker doubt crept into my mind. The four of spades did it. The table said, "Ouch."
Was it "ouch," really? It's not like it was a stupid call. It's not like I tricked the guy into betting into my monster. Who among us wouldn't have made the call he did?
The cards fell his way that time. I'm sure he truly believed it'd go his way. Next time, I'll believe in the power of the Luckbox. It got me this far...<-- Hide More
How does a forever punchline become a pervasive fear? I'm sure the new punchline involved Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker.
Not long after the most recent online cheating scandal, I resolved to keep playing on the sites I still trust. Right now, there are only two: PokerStars and FullTilt.
For what it's worth, Tilt has softer cash games and Stars runs a better tournament.
I told Otis that just one scandal at either of those sites and I'm done with online poker forever. That just makes sense I think.
Still, despite my professed confidence at those last two sites, I haven't fired up the gamblin' machine in more than a month. I just don't feel confortable with the thing.
Right now, I only gamble in the flesh and I'm really jonesing for THAT.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Granted, the local scene is as dry as the summertime creek beds. (Or CRICK as we say down South.)
We're experimenting with a wider array of games, mostly a lot more PLO, which I enjoy but am absolutely horrible at.
Here's the upshot, dear reader of mine (actually, mostly a reader of Otis and Luckbox who stumbles upon my posts), depending on what my beautiful wife has planned tonight, I'm planning to play at BadBlood's home.
If that happens, stay tuned to this space.
It's been months since I live-blogged a G-Vegas homegame.
If my wife allows it... it's gunna happen tonight!<-- Hide More
This video needs no introduction, other than I'm proud to know the guy who produced it. Oh, and it's probably NSFW.
And yeah, it's a commercial, but damn it if it's not one of the best ones I've seen
A quick note of congratulations to a couple of friends who qualified for the Main Event of the WSOP this weekend.
PokerStars ran a 200 seat guarantee for the ME this weekend with satellites all week long.
Congratulations to IGGY and Brian the Pro who both won a seat.
We'll be sweating both and hoping Brian will be bringing some of that WSOP cash to a homegame near us.
I got the note from Brian early this morning:
Ship it... Won my WSOP 2008 Main event seat last night on that minefield called the 200 Main Event Seat Guarantee...
See some of you in Vegas sirs...
And here's Iggy's last post, short, sweet, and uber- in its own way:
Monday, June 16, 2008 Stars 8000 runners.
226 win a ME seat.
I played the best weak-tight poker of my life.
Nine drunken hours later.
On a whim, I'm in the WSOP Main Event.
# posted by Ignatious: 1:41 AM
I'm playing in a Stars freeroll for a seat next week. Wish me luck. I'd love to stack these fools in Vegas!
Was it really only two and half years ago? It seems like an eternity since I splashed around in a pool of my own hubris. It was as comfortable as the good Vegas beds and as dangerous as putting your money on Big Brown. Poker felt like such a sure thing. Everything made sense. The hours spent were profitable. The handle on the game was like the baseball bat owned since childhood. I remember thinking, "Damn, I could do nothing but this if I really wanted to." Blind arrogance is such a fun place to live. Every decision seems perfect, whether inside the game or out.
I don't live there anymore, for better or worse. Over the past 30 months, I've been forced to confront that I was never as good as I thought. And, even if I was, it doesn't matter. It took me too long to realize that the game changed and I didn't change with it. Like the guy who is still trying to figure out why he can't sell his warehouse full of cassette tapes, I'm forced to sit here and figure out if I can re-tool myself to catch up with two years of online poker's evolution.
Why do I think of it today? Well, a lot of reasons, I guess. But what really forced me to admit it out loud was a guy I made fun of in 2006. His screen name was one of my favorites ever: w00t4d0nks.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Back then, I was still a regular at Party's $10/$20 NL game. I'd done pretty well for myself there for quite a while and, in an act of pure cockiness, called out w00t4d0nks in public. Here in the South we call that "showing your ass." In the post Shortbuy City, I rambled on for an age about one particular guy who bought into my regular game for 25% of the max buy-in. I made assumptions on top of assumptions about the guy's MO and essentially called him a gambling dumbass. I based a lot of what I wrote on fairly limited data and a lot of arrogance. I wrote, in part:
I guess it just surprises me that with all the good poker information out there, some people are still treating poker like a gamble instead of an ATM. What's more, I'm starting to see more and more of these guys in the middle no-limit area. It's both fascinating and disturbing to watch. It's like watching Sammy Farha flip a coin for $25K. Watching gamblers can be fun. Playing poker against them can be more fun.
I'll be honest. The passing years, the end of Party, and my gradual decline into poker loathing had made me completely forget about w00t4d0nks. Over the years, I've noticed a lot more people at all levels of the game playing short-stacks. There are now scads of web sites and training grounds for the short-stack strategy. There are legions of players out there who do nothing but multi-table with short-stacks all day long. They are winning players against... well, against people like me who failed to adjust.
So, imagine my surprise when I ran into w00t4d0nks again--not at the tables, not at a bar, but in a comment on this very poker blog. When I saw the name in the comments, I immediately remembered the guy (who for some reason is etched into my brain in one particular seat at the Party Poker tables).
Here is w00t4d0nks note in its entirety:
Hey Otis. I just got a big chuckle out of one of your old blog entries and thought I'd write you a thanks. At the time of w00ts appearance on the Party 10/20 tables I was pretty well known under a different screen name as one of the big winning super regulars. I developed the short stack strategy after listening to people complain about the guys doing it(who were terrible poker players btw). I figured I'd give it a shot since I always experiment with out of the box strats.
The strategy was ridiculously successful and actually made me more $/hour than full buyin. It was at least $500/hour and I think was at about $1k/hour on nights and weekends towards the end but then party closed(i've still got the PTDB somewhere I think). There were so many regular ABC multi tablers in those days that it was incredibly simple. What noone realized was that I was using Pokertracker with a HUD and customized my push ranges to each player. I was picking up $100 with no showdown like it raining benjamins.
Anyways, I always joke with my friends about being the godfather of shortstacking and not getting credit for it so I thought this blog was a riot =)
After seeing the comment, I read it twice and tried to decide how I felt. After a few minutes, I knew exactly. It was if I just read, "Hey, Otis. Remember that hot girl you were dating in college? Yeah, really hot, huh? Well, here's the thing. The whole time you were dating, I was pouring it to her behind your back. We ended up getting married. She still talks about how you couldn't get her off."
Yeah, a little more than humbling.
Looking at it much later, I can still say short-stacking is not the most exciting version of poker, nor one that sounds like much fun to play. That admitted, poker is not really about having fun, is it? It's not about mainlining adrenaline and getting your rocks off on the stress. It's about making money. There are some people out there like w00t4d0nks who apparently made it work for them. Woot, if you're still reading, let us know how you're doing now. It might be instructive.
In the meantime, I'm wallowing in a different pool now. A dip in Olympic-sized Self Loathing isn't nearly as much fun, but it's a lot more real than blind ignorance. Time, I've found, is as much a magnifying glass as it is a mirror. Looking back, indeed, I can see a reflection of a very big donkey.
C'est moi.<-- Hide More
I've been on record for the past couple of years.
I think Eric "Rizen" Lynch is one of the best people in poker. He knows the game, he's a great person, and he has a respect for his role in the poker community.
I subscribe to Eric's RSS feed, despite my disdain for truncated traffic generation summaries. Today, I read the headline "My personal comments about the UB signing" and I was sure Eric would be weighing in on Cliff "JohnnyBax" Josephy's signing with the oft-maligned online poker site.
Imagine my surprise when I learned one of my favorite poker players is signing with the site everybody loves to hate.More in this Poker Blog! -->
If you've never been fortunate enough to meet Eric, you should know he is a guy you will like. He's friendly, humble, and a good family man. He is also a stellar poker player. I can't help but envy his ability, discipline, and balance. He, like many of you, writes a blog (Rizen Poker) and gives more insight into his game than most pros would offer.
So, inside of a week or so, two people who command respect in the poker community have joined up with Ulimate Bet, a site that not only has been torn apart in recent months due to the sickening revelation that the site was in fact rigged, but also has been the subject of many our rants and raves here (see the most recent Up For Poker Ultimate Bet Cheating post).
The easist explanation for anything in the poker world is money. Why else would someone like Eric sign up with what is without question the most controversial and broken site in all of online poker? Here's the thing. In his explanation, Eric denies he is selling out.
"I've also made sure that all of the business decisions I've made in my life are things that I can be proud of, even if that's meant potentially costing myself and my family money. I am by no means independently wealthy, but I did not *need* this deal from a financial perspective...Lastly, I would proudly like to announce that a significant portion of my proceeds from my relationship with Ultimate Bet will be going towards charity.
Both JohnnyBax and Rizen are now UB pitchmen. Both assert that there is more going on behind the scenes than we know and that someday it will all make sense.
It's an odd place for a cynic like me to be. Everything in my gut tells me to stay as far away from UB as possible (haven't played there in more than a year, near as I can tell). Everything about celebrity endorsements tells me to take it with a grain of salt.
That said, when somebody I deeply respect makes a move like this, it makes me question everything.
Do I believe my gut and follow the exodus away from UB? Do I believe the people I respect that Ultimate Bet is making a real effort to make good on past mistakes?
For now, I'm doing nothing. While not the style of people who are huge successes, sometimes it pays to just wait and see.<-- Hide More
I've written about it twice before and, frankly, if you were still playing at Ultimate Bet, you are a damned fool. The site is lousy and the software sucks. There is poor, or non-existent, customer service.
Oh, and it IS actaully rigged.
Before I get all cranked up, check out the posts I wrote 3 full years ago!More in this Poker Blog! -->
Here's the thing about online poker, it's worth keeping in mind, most of the people who play it are morons. That is less a function of poker itself than a reflection of people in general. For example, a recent Pew survey found that 10% of American voters still believe Barack Obama is a muslim.
18% of the people in that same survey think the Sun revolves around the Earth.
Because they are morons.
The Ultimate Bet Cheating Scandal broke at the end of last year with allegations of "insider access" similar to what happened at the cheat-plagued Absolute Poker. In a "Pocket 5s" forum post back in November there was already some insinuation:
Here are the most interesting points for our discussion:
4. A higher level executive was fired not to long ago, because her 19 year old son, who she got a job at UB, was caught cheating games at the UB office. It is unclear to my source if holecards were able to be seen during the hand, but it is a possibility. He definitely was cheating customers somehow, maybe a cobination of the above things mentioned at the very least.
edit: Another close, reliable source has just talked to me and told me "the woman's son had "administrative access" which let him see hole cards." and that the source "wouldn't be surprised if administrative access still exists" The person went on to say "there's also evidence that at least a couple months ago AJ (Green) was overseeing day to day operations"
5. "Someone" was brought on board by UB to help clean up the site. He figured out the problem was that they were using a version of the software from 1998 that had security holes in it (i.e. no security firewalls were/could be put in place) that couldn't be fixed without a complete overhaul of the software, which was estimated at costing 6 million dollars. UB decided it was not in their best interests to upgrade the software.
Now, because most poker writers are not journalists but, rather, shameless hucksters for one or another billion dollar corportation there is little real investigation into this cheating scandals online.
The good stuff is still in the forums.
I read through this entire discussion again after finding a link on Pauly's site.
I HIGHLY reccommend blasting through this 2+2 thread.
Here's a snippet from the Introductory post:
Several million dollars were stolen and the evidence in the HSNL thread indicates very strongly that:
UltimateBet has known about the cheating for at least nine months.
UltimateBet knew about but did not make any attempt to acknowledge the cheating before it was exposed on 2+2.
People who worked for UltimateBet facilitated the cheating.
UltimateBet actively took steps to cover up these crimes and thwart the investigation of this scandal.
UltimateBet did not make any public statements or acknowledge that cheating had occurred until March 6th, 2008, three full months after the crimes became public.
UltimateBet has not reached out to any of the players who were stolen from (many of whom still don't know that they were cheated). When players read the HSNL thread, discover that they have been cheated and attempt to contact UltimateBet, they're forced to wait several days for an email response, only to be told that UltimateBet is 'looking into the allegations.'
UltimateBet has not offered to reimburse any of the victims of the theft.
Isn't that enough? There is proof, of course, and I encourage you to read the 2+2 post.
Again, UB CHEATS AND STEALS, and you ought to know it by now.
Or you could be like this douchebag who posted on my 3 year old "Still the Worst" post just last month... LONG after he should have known better:
Here's more, responses to this YOUTUBE recreation of AbsolutePoker cheater "Potripper" in action:
"Whatever I play every hand and win tournaments all the time, you just gotta have a gut feeling. Besides if they were cheating why would they make it so freakin' obvious?"
"lol he just seems like anyother typical donk if u ask me. go on any poker romm many ppl play very random"
Folks, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet are owned by the same corrupt douchebag. If you play on either site you are just giving money away.
If that is your goal please contact us here at the following poker blog. We will accept your cash.<-- Hide More
Why would you ever play at Ultimate Bet or Absolute Poker ever again?
It's a serious question. I'm curious if any of our readers out there are willingly risking their money on a site where perhaps millions of dollars were won by players using super-user accounts. Those would be players who were on the inside of the code (i.e. worked for the sites) and could see your hole cards.
Short-Stacked Shamus has, as usual, a good post up about the problems at UB.
Is this just a fact of online poker? Should we accept it and simply hope it never affects us?More in this Poker Blog! -->
If I had to guess, I'd say that most poker bloggers play most frequently on Full Tilt, PokerStars and maybe BoDog. Looking around my blogroll, I don't hear a whole lot about those other sites. So why do we feel comfortable playing on those three and not others?
The definitive word on online poker cheating comes from Bill Rini. In fact, the post is called The Definitive Guide to Online Poker Cheating. He runs down the possibilities from collusion to poker bots to the inside job.
Cheating is always going to happen in poker. It goes on in live games and online. Live games have opportunties to cheat via dealer cheating, chip grabbing, and all sorts of other scams.
I guess we live with it online because we know we'll have to live with it live as well. Gambling is a business that attracts criminals. We know that. Unfortunately, I belive it's one of the reasons why online poker has had such a hard time getting a legal foothold in America.
But we choose the sites we choose because we have a much higher confidence that the site we're using is on the level. I hold PokerStars in high regard. It's the world's leading online poker room, a title it would quickly lose if a super-user scandal hit. It's in a poker site's best interest to be clean. I also hold Full Tilt Poker in high regard. Like Stars, I know people who currently work, or have worked, for FTP. You trust the people you know.
I've never played on BoDog. I'm not sure if I will. It's not necessarily that I don't trust them... it's that I don't know them.
If I'm putting my hard earned money on the line in a game of chance, I'm sticking with those sites where I have the greatest confidence that the deck isn't already stacked against me.
So why do you play where you play? And are you worried about cheating?<-- Hide More
I am not a Pot Limit Omaha player.
I am, however, someone who managed to finish 3rd in the last Saturdays with Dr. Pauly. I'd like to attribute it to my skill, but I think my reputation precedes me. Nonetheless, I was a massive chip leader with three players left, holding more than 50% of the chips in play. It didn't last... and I think that's because I don't know how to play PLO.
Perhaps you can help me. Here are three key hands that I may have played poorly.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This one came early in the tournament, the 15/30 level. I had worked my way up to 3380T and was the chip leader at the table of 6. UTG, I call with 9c9sTdJs. I like grouped cards plus I had a pair and a flush possibility. Five of us see a flop of Tc5h9h. What's not to like, right? At this point, I'm only behind pocket T's. I lead out for 100 into a pot of 150 and get called by Mean Gene.
The turn is a seemingly harmless Ace of diamonds. It doesn't complete a straight and it doesn't complete a flush. It's unlikely to give Gene a set of Aces because he didn't raise preflop. That card couldn't have hurt me. I lead out 275 into a pot 350. Should I be betting the pot? I should, right?
This is where I become a giant pussy. Gene raised me to 445 to 720. "Really?" I type. "The ace did it."
"Nah," Gene tells me.
"Already had it?" I ask. "Big draw?" My time runs out, and I fold. I'm really out of practice, especially in Omaha, and I think my rust caused me to see a monster. It wasn't logical, but I saw it nonetheless. He raises preflop with Aces and he didn't raise. The chance of him having the last two T's is slim (remember, I have a T). Unless he's sitting on a monster draw like QJh, I'm in great shape. And yet, I folded.
"Top 3 pair," he tells me. Bad fold. Terrible fold.
It's Level VII now (150/300) and I'm among the chipleaders with 9477T. There are only five of us at the table now. Again, I'm UTG, this time with 8hJs9dTh. Once again, they're grouped, and I think they offer lots of possibilities. I limp again and three of us see a flop of KcQd7s. Bayne leads with a pot-sized bet of 900.
I have to call, right? I don't raise, right? The turn is the 8s. It puts a flush draw out there, but I shouldn't be too worried about that, should I? Anyway, the 8 gives me even more outs. Now, I complete my straight with any 6, 9, T, J or A.
Bayne leads out with another pot-sized bet of 2700. To me, that suggests he's trying to push out the draws. So he's sitting on a set or two pair, right?
This is where my tough decision comes. There's 5400 in the pot right now and I need to bet 2700 to see a river. If I'm getting 2-to-1 on my money, then I need to be getting 2-to-1 odds. My rough math had me with at least 17 outs out of 40 cards. I could have been wrong, but I figured it was good enough to call.
The river was a blank for me, the 4 of spades. Surprisingly, Bayne checked. I suppose I could have bluffed the flush. Would he have folded? I doubt it. I checked behind him and his set of Queens took it down. (He held 7d8dQsQh.)
Now this is where it all went down hill. We're down to three players. I had been as high as 25K, but a cold run had me down to 16K. AA_Matt_AA sat with 11K and Bayne had 8K.
From the SB, I'm dealt Js7sJc8c. I like that hand a lot three-handed. I've got a big pair, grouped cards and I'm double-suited. Bayne raises to 2400 UTG. I think my first mistake was not re-raising, but I just call. We see a flop of Td6cQc.
I've got a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. All in all, I'd call that a good flop. The question is whether or not I want to get all the chips in the middle. I'm pretty sure Bayne is playing a big pair, just hopefully not Qs. If he does have an overpair, I think I have a lot of outs.
I check, he bets the pot, and I check-raise him all-in. I think I like the play, but I'm not sure. Bayne shows 9hKh3hKd. I'm glad the read was right, but I lost some of my outs. The turn is the Ks, which puts me in even worse shape. I'm down to any 9 or any club that doesn't pair the board.
The river is the Th. Not only does it not help me, but it gives Bayne the boat. I'm down to just a few thousand chips. It doesn't take long for me to bust out.
Did I play these right? I'm positive I should have pushed with my pocket 9s in the first hand. Should I have been more aggressive with my draws? I did an awful lot of calling. How about the check-raise on the last hand? I could have just called and then folded to the big bet with the K on the turn.
Anyway, I'll wait for some of you PLO experts to let me now if I could have played it another way. Hopefully I'll see some of you at the tables tomorrow at the next Saturdays with Dr. Pauly.<-- Hide More
It's like that one link to softcore porn on an otherwise boring afternoon. It's a bowl of those tasty M&Ms at a boring party that are sitting on a perfect table in the corner of the room such that eating the candies is both a bad nervous tic and a good way to avoid people you don't want to see.
It's like a metaphor that sucks its writer past the point of good sense but the urge to pull it off takes said writer to, well, exatly this point... (here).
I like to play online poker. I'm pretty good at it in small bursts. There are some things I'm actually very good at (I think) but I do lose money.
Here's the reason why...More in this Poker Blog! -->
As I write this, I'm folding away in 3 Poker Stars SNGs. I can usually fold my way into the final four and then scrape a few bucks in the end. If I were a patient man I'd make good money this way.
A good SNG is like an easy contract job. It helps cover a shortfall when the bills are due.
As a rule, I don't win much but enough that whenever I sit down and fire 3 or 4 up I'll have a few extra dollars in the "Cashier" window.
If I were a reasonable man, I'd be very profitable at poker.
THE BLACK HOLE
Even now, while still folding in my SNGs, I'm drawn to that list of gigantic MTTs. I'm like a lottery junkie. Frankly, the odds of me actually winning an MTT are about the same as the lottery.
If you ask my friends, those I rope into watching me as I approach the big payout, they'll tell you I've developed a pretty standard tournament profile. It goes as follows:
1. Semi-patient I fold marginal hands for an hour.
2. My patience pays off and I build a decent stack the moment I catch a few cards.
3. I use the second hour and most of the third turning my stack and, now, more aggressive style.
4. The blinds escalate, I lose my cool.
5. I make a very stupid play and go from a massive final table stack to the bubble.
6. I curse out loud and close the laptop without bothering to log off.
Sometimes I'll notice the clock on my cable box is nearing the top of the hour and quickly log in to Stars to see if there's a good tournament coming up.
If the only tournament is well beyond what I can comfortably handle in my roll, I'll convince myself I'm playing well enough to win anyway and register.
If my roll is just a little shy, I'll boot up an SNG and build it up a little so I can play in one of the big boys an hour later.
By the way, I've jut won one of my SNGs and missed the money in the other two. Thus, I've made a very small amount of money.
It's 11:15 as I post this.
I'm looking for something to do until some nice big tournaments start again at noon.<-- Hide More
Cigarette smoke hung like a see-through magic carpet over the room. The were no desks, no partitions, and no phones. In the 40 X 40 foot windowless space were eight bare banquet tables. Four people, bleary-eyed and smelling of two showerless days, sat at each table.
Half the room was on C&P duty. The other half, the more experienced and educated of the group, were on RP.
Mikail stood on an elevated platform at the end of the office with a filterless cigarette dangling from his lips.
Speaking in English, as all workers were required to do, Mikail shouted. "It's 3pm Eastern. Ten dollar time!"More in this Poker Blog! -->
Roman hit the keys on his key board with disgust. Just two weeks ago, he had been on RP. He was good at it. Mikail had even told him so.
"Three offices," Mikail had said in between drags, "and you are the most productive RP of the Syndicate."
Roman, not normally a prideful person, had taken some satisfaction in the distinction. He had enjoyed a profitable month and the bosses had been looking at him favorably. Roman knew that if he could maintain his earnings for another five or six months, he would be promoted to group leader. That is where the money was.
It had taken Roman six months to work his way up from C&P to RP. He worked double shifts, worked double stations, and worked faster than anybody in the room. At night, he would go home with arthritic fingers, bent and twisted, calloused on the ends. It would hurt to even dial a phone.
His output and earnings were superb. He had so many plans for RP. He'd created a folio of interesting characters and back stories. One was a 70 year-old man who was on a fixed income.
"My son just took away my credit cards," Roman had typed.
Another identity was a 33-year-old mother from Anderson. She loved sex, but she loved the game more. She promised pictures and web cams.
"Back to $5!" Mikail shouted, then returned to his skin mag.
Roman minimized his screen, pulled up the one marked "Five Dollars," and again slammed his fingers on the keyboard.
It had been so easy for so many months. He'd stuck to his plan. He'd been disciplined. He was creative without straying from policy.
Four nights ago, though, he'd gone too far. He'd pushed too hard. He had stayed too long.
Suddenly, Mikail stood over his shoulder.
"Roman, there is a problem with your accounts."
And that was that. The 70-year-old man was dead. The housewife was gone. All of Roman's Real People, the ones he loved, the ones he lived were now no more than sheets of paper in his three ring binder.
Now, Roman was back in the trenches. The chances of being on Real People again before the end of the year were slim. The chances of making Group Leader were gone.
Roman was back, like more than half of the other Syndicate pawns, to being on Copy & Paste.
Roman scanned the Five Dollar Page and picked the first template he saw. Frustrated fingers pushed Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V in time with the tapping of Mikail's foot. When Roman pressed enter, he saw the same words in the chat box.
SourBaby33 (Observer): hi all. may someone help
with $5, it be more then appreciated, i note to pay
back, if you can thanks so much, be greatful.
It was going to be a long winter.<-- Hide More
Here's a little inspiration for those of you heading to Vegas in a few days.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Click image for full version
And, yes, my bets on fourth and fifth street were $72.
And, yes, I got paid off.
A promotional video from the people at Ultimate Bet.
[Ed. note: Link should work.
For some reason, the direct link doesn't work. In fact, UB's website is a little funky there. When it's back, I'll relink it.]
Just a quick warning to everyone to watch out for an e-mail scam running right now. It will come from a spoof of a NETeller support address and tell you you have received a certain amount of money from Party Poker affiliates. It will tell you that you must claim the money by clicking a link. The link takes you to a copy of NETeller's sign-in page, however, you'll note the URL is decidedly not NETeller. Chances are, you're smart enough to not get burned by this one (NETeller simply just doesn't work that way), but it's worth knowing about.
The Associated Press is now reporting:
CAPITOL HILL (AP) - The House has passed legislation aimed at
making it harder for Americans to gamble on-line.
It would keep gamblers from using credit cards to fund their
on-line wagering, and it could block access to gambling Web sites.
And it would spell out that most gambling is illegal on-line. But
the measure is not considered a high priority in the Senate.
Update from CJ:
Update from CJ II: The bill makes an exception for online horse racing betting and most fantasy sports. Now why is that okay?
If you're a blogger and you haven't signed up for the Online Poker Blogger Championship, then you're just plain crazy. I don't really have to list the reasons, do I? Sure, there's a big cruise you could win (which I won't) and some fancy monitors (which I don't need), but I'm going for these:
Did I mention it's free? And, really, most of those bloggers don't have a shot in hell, so use that to your advantage. Plus, the more successful we make this, the more likely PokerStars will be to repeat this and the more likely other sites might be to replicate it. It's a win-win for bloggers!More in this Poker Blog! -->
By the way, did you see this picture?
That's three PokerStars players and three WSOP Main Event bracelet winners. One could be called a fluke. Two could be called a coincidence. But three? That's a trend.<-- Hide More
The Online Poker Blogger Championship is filling quickly. Hundreds and hundreds (er... thousands?) have signed up. And when you do, buy clicking the link above, remember we sent you. After all, there's $25,000 in prizes at stake and it's free to enter.
But who are all these people? You might be surprised...More in this Poker Blog! -->
I did a Technorati search for "Online Poker Blogger Championship," and it returned 1929 posts with that phrase. Wow.
A quick glance at some of these entires reveals a lot of non-poker players, a lot of people who's blogs have magically become active again after languishing for months, and blogs that magically popped up in the last few days.
Some of my favorites:
Justice Restored: The last post was May 5th and it talked about police cadet role playing (and not in the bedroom).
Jeeps, Yaks and stuff: Magically appearing on October 4th, the first post is a picture of a Jeep. The second post is the tourney registration. I'm still waiting on the Yaks.
Poker Addict: Jdawg tried to be a little less obvious by creating a blog on the 2nd and registering on the 4th. Nice try.
Abused by Illusions: On October 2nd he asked if President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton orchestrated the OKC bombing. On October 4th, he's ready to play poker.
I hate hippies.: Here's just a taste, "michelle REALLLLLLLLLLLLLY wanted me to write another entry cuz i guess theyre really really cute."
Spyware Sucks Donkey Balls: Made the list on the name alone.
The good news is that many of these bloggers won't be allowed to play because they don't qualify. The bad news is that because there's no entry fee, more players just hurt our chances. If everyone had to pony up actualy cash, I'd be encouraging more of these dead money bloggers to get invovled.
Speaking of dead money, I've convinced The Blonde to get on board. I'll have to give her a crash course. In poker, or course.<-- Hide More
CJ and I are playing the $700,000 guaranteed event today at 3PM.
Chances = mega slim.
Wish us luck.
Not long ago, I wrote a post here about Ultimate Bet. They totally screwed me on a tourney buy-in and I withdrew my roll.
SEE IMPORTANT UPDATES BELOW
After a good time away, I was lured back by the soft MTTs. Now they've done it again. If any of you, dear readers, put any real money into a Ultimate Bet account you are a fool. Just like me.
Tonight Otis and I bought into a $30+3 tourney. Both of us wasted more than an hour, then we both got screwed.More in this Poker Blog! -->
After an hour, my table froze. Not my connection, mind you, but MY table. Every other table in the tournament still ran. I freaked out and contacted what UB likes to call "customer support". Its a very silly name. They aren't CUSTOMERS and...
Later, other tables, one by one, began to freeze. In other tourneys, players who had invested HOURS to reach a final table, were booted from the game and frozen. All of us contacted support, while the cash games and SNGS kept running. They were still registering players for upcoming MTTs. SUCKERS!
In the 11PM tourney, players weren't frozen. Instead, they have no break. And the blinds DO NOT INCREASE! They've been playing 20-40 blinds for over an hour.
Here's the previous post BAIT AND SWITCH
Meanwhile, I WILL NEVER USE UB AGAIN. If you play at UB, when there are SO MANY OTHER SECURE SITES WITH SUPPORT, you're a damn fool.
At 7:30 PM THE NEXT DAY....still no refunds for any of the players. They've stolen all the money.
Thank you for contacting us.
First and foremost we do apologize for the inconvenience this situation
has caused for you. Our system has gone through issues of a technical
nature which we are working to resolve.
According to our records, your account has been credited as follows:
02:44:33 AM EST 08/31/2005 Refund RealMoney 60.50 TID 77080 buy-in
refund and chip equity.:Done on Admin Page
Once again, please accept our apologies for this inconvenience.
Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.
Customer Service Department.
So, after 36 hours, the problem appears to have been resolved. They've refunded my buyin and made up for the "chip equity", which is nice. Still, I'm VERY disappointed in 2 things :
1) This site seems to have technical problems FAR more often than most others.
2) Customer service should be LIVE. There is NO excuse for a company with this much profit margin not extending 24 live service, especially since the other sites offer it.
<-- Hide More
I'm still finished with UB, and I'm quite certain I speak for Otis as well.
With Tom McEvoy taking a Sunday off over at PokerStars, someone had to step in for the $1000 heads up match. Enter wil wheaton.
The newest member of Team PokerStars battled against
Hendon Mob member European Poker standout Noah Boeken. I'd have to say wil was a bit of an underdog.
At one point, wil made a huge all-in call with 99 and an A-6-4 board. Some of the observers said it was a terrible call, but with just one overcard on the board, and wil short-stacked, it was the only play.
You also all be proud to know that wil dropped the HAMMER at one point. He was even short-stacked at the time.
The tourney came down to an all-in play, 78s for Noah and A2o for wil. The flop came T-6-6 with two diamonds that Noah needed. That actually made Noah a 58% favorite at that point. The turn was the Ace of spades and wil was suddenly 75% to take the match. The river was a blank.
Congrats, wil! It certainly wasn't easy, and you played well.
And although the chat was full of a few jackasses... some of it was a little amusing...More in this Poker Blog! -->
barnstorm [observer]: I think they should get William Shatner to play this tourney next week
harthgosh [observer]: ENISIGN CRUSHER MEET MASTER JEDI EXCLUSIVE
zigzag [observer]: who's next week.. Drew Carey?
Kru223 [observer]: next week it will be commander data
BeatTheBeat [observer]: hmm.. bigger star: Wil Wheaton or River Phoenix???
Onyx_Hokie [observer]: River's dead.. so probably Wil.
zigzag [observer]: next week should be either Whoopi Goldberg, Number One. or R2D2
timthegem [observer]: Do you have a holodeck in your house, Wil?
AcecardZ [observer]: can't play yoda in a sit n go... he'd FORCE you to fold
Onyx_Hokie [observer]: "This is not the flop you're looking for."
PorkPrince [observer]: wil knows all the cheat codes
PorkPrince [observer]: Go to yellow alert!
(After wil makes the call with pocket 9's.)
JrzyToGa [observer]: NOBODY PUSHES WIL WHEATON AROUND
RMC9 [observer]: Counsellor Troy couldn't have even made that call!!!
(wil pulls out his Magic trash talk. Noah is a world-class Magic: The Gathering player.)
Wil Wheaton: you wanna blow this off and play magic instead?
Wil Wheaton: i've got a great black and blue deck
Get in the game!!!! We've got the 2nd WPBT WSOP Satellite on Sunday night, and we're at just 29 entries. That's not enough to pay out a single seat.
Where is everyone?
I know you're intimidated by my exceptional talent, but that's no reason to cower in your living room and watch timidly from the rail. Log in and sign up. You know the deal. So what are you waiting for?
Funny thing about a rush, I thought it was just me. I've had seven sweet days, a honeymoon with absurdity, in that sweet feverish blaze. At one point, I sent Otis an IM just to tell him "I think a door has opened."
Granted, this whole "IM" thing is a little immasculating. I can picture CJ buzzing me with an update on "Mrs. Johnson's math test was, like, totally hard", which we all know is true. I usually save the online chat for something more substantial, like, y'know.
Totally.More in this Poker Blog! -->
CAST A SPELL ON YOU
Which brings me back to the rush.
I sent the e-message on Monday night. Late. At that point the 5 day total included some miraculous wins like a $200 heads-up tourney (which I won in 2 hands), 5 $20 SNG (all first place), 3rd place in a $30+3 MTT, and 3rd place in a $10+1MT Turbo. I was winning in every ring game, sometimes several buyins. It was as if I could not only put people on hands but could predict the flop. As BadBlood likes to say, Its hard to beat a player who uses ESP.
I got off early last Wednesday and ran to the "Poker Office". That was the Turbo game. I always thought the fast paced games suited me well becuase I am an aggressive idiot. Idiots loooove turbo. The third place finish earned a net... as I've posted before... of a little more that $200.00.
That night I tried a $30+3. I figured, why not, it's house money. Not only did I finish 3rd but it took a nasty suckout at the final table to kick me out. Again, I've already posted the payout. That, however, wasn't as important as the sense of well being. I played great. My post flop play was spot-on. I knew when the bad guys were on an overcard draw and busted them with a good bet. I could read every draw and bailed hard on the obvious set.
This was all my doing. The body makes adreneline. I manufactured the rush.
Thursday night, I hit the always popular dealers choice game at the BadBlood hotel and casino. The tables are nice and the waitress is hot so its always a nice game. 3 hours, 12 games of "Eric's #1 game", and a million 3-6 Hold-ems later and I'm up $180.00
Friday night I spent quality time with the wife. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is quite lovely. The wine was great. I was great, too. Alas, no poker.
Saturday was 3 of the SNGs. I won them all. In one case, I was 10th out of 10 with T175. I waged war on good sense and doubled...tripled...and quadrupled up.
This put me in a very pleasant place. It gave my lips and gums a tingling feeling. I talked too fast and my hands were shaking. Rush nothing. I'm BLASTED!
Sunday more of the SNG fun. I told BadBlood about the tourneys (IM again) and he seemed incredulous. Even Otis, the profound pontificate of poker, was at a loss for words. He may have been preoccupied with a sale at J-Crew. He's a metro-sexual. Nevertheless...
By late Monday night, I was back on the girl-chatter device telling Otis about the ring games of the day. Hand of the day : My set of Aces beats a set of tens and a set of Jacks. On Wednesday night I had $350.00 in my UB account. At IM O'Clock Monday it was over $2000.00. It was then that I uttered the fateful words. I typed them actually, but YAHOO! gives us a sense of illusion.
"Otis," I said, "I think a door has opened. Poker is making sense"
YES FOLKS I AM THAT STUPID
It's been a difficult Tuesday. Not bad really, but the rush is clearly over. I'm 0-3 on SNGs. I've been treading water in the rings. I lost a MTT without any money after playing for 2 hours. I'm still right at $2000.00 (play dollars IRS... just for PLAY), but I've hit a plateau. On the bright side, for the past few days I've been playing poker non-stop. This will allow me to take a comfortable break. A few days to avoid the post-rush TILT.
Right now a friend of mine, who is a far superior poker player, is riding the MEGA-TILT. Brother, I hand the rush to you. I'm done.<-- Hide More
All my friends can say is 'ain't it a shame.'
Long, long poker day my friends. And for some damn reason I'm still up at 4:40 AM. I'm sleepy enough that it took 400 thumbjams on the "print screen" function to discover that it wouldn't work on my UB tourney. I'm wired enough that I've just shaken the wife awake to tell her about a poker tournament. I live a pathetic life.More in this Poker Blog! -->
But good news dear reader
It's been a fantastic day. I left work early after finishing a special story for the May ratings book about the BadBlood clan playing online poker. It turned out great and I'll post a bit when the thing airs.
Best part : Bad Blood chides his 5 year old after the kid knocks daddy out of the game...ON A CHECK-RAISE!
The guy has great kids.
I got home early enough to play a 5PM 5+.50 on UB. 388 players in a "turbo" format. Normally I hate those things but this was another case of G-Rob wants to play without reading the directions. For 30 years I've thought you got money for landing on "Free Parking" for exactly the same reason.
Anyhoo....I finished 3rd.
Net profit $210.00
Surely the Bad Beats are Coming??!
Sort of. You knew they would.
At about 7:00 the charming Mrs. Blood pops up in Yahoo IM. She invites me to a local $20 tournamet which, of course, I attended. After flopped set over flopped set.....runner runner flush over flopped top pair....and etc. etc....you get the deal.
HAND OF THE NIGHT : Bad Blood in the BB calls and all-in from the SB
Bad Blood shows 7,7
SB shows QQ
Bad Blood catches the runner runner runner runner straight.
SO WHY AM I AWAKE AT 4:40?
God I'm glad I asked. I tried my luck at the 1AM $30+3...again on UB. 177 players...I finished 3rd...AGAIN.
But the good news is...
Net Profit :$730
TOTAL PROFIT ONLINE $ 940
TOTAL MINUS STUPID TOURNEY WITH A REBUY
I sometimes suck less than I think.<-- Hide More
Fresh off my double triumph last night, I decided to go after a couple cheap SNG's over at PokerStars again tonight. The results weren't as good...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Yeah... I only won one. I finished in a lowly 2nd in the other. This time it was $11 turned into $36. I'm not sure where I went wrong!!!
Actually, I was a little fortunate to win the first one. I'm heads up and I raise 3xBB with AQo. My opponent goes all-in and I call. He shows AJo. I'm a huge favorite... until he outflops me. And I don't mean he caught a Jack. The flop came K-Q-T. He flopped the nut straight. At this point I'm praying for a Jack so we can split, but it's another T on the turn. Now I'm down to one card... and, amazingly, I get runner-runner T's to win the pot with a full boat. I suppose it was justice since I was way ahead at the start.
In the one I lost, my opponent was dealt Rockets twice in 7 heads-up hands. On the final hand, I flopped a flush draw and he flopped a set of Aces. He caught his boat on the river, I never caught my flush. He had a 2-to-1 chip advantage and I probably didn't need to make the move at that point, but I thought I'd take my chances. Being patient heads up works a lot better for me.
So what I've determined at this point is that I have a relatively good chance of beating the fish who play $5 SNG's at PokerStars. Can I get some backers?<-- Hide More
First... read my diatribe in the post below... then click "There's More" on this post.More in this Poker Blog! -->
So I went home and fired up Poker Stars for a couple of $5 SNG's. And wouldn't you know it... I played smart, disciplined poker and won them both. I turned $11 into $45. I'm not a millionaire yet, but give me time. If you notice, the two tourneys started at the exact same time and ended within two minutes of each other. Maybe I'm not a complete loser after all.<-- Hide More
In my line of work there is a very steep learning curve. Its true in any business, of course, but in my case the newbies get their on-the-job training in front of a six figure rail. They learn fast or get acquianted with MONSTER.COM.
In many ways, the old pro will always have the edge. The old sea captain knows every roll of the waves and is unshaken by the gale. A verteran doctor is less shaken by a dangrous turn. My more grizzled collegues have a million secret souces to tap when a big story breaks.
But what about poker? When does a fish cut bait?More in this Poker Blog! -->
There are, of course, a thousand players who have always been winners. They invested a single bill on PARTY POKER and, from that first day, never looked back. I call this group "The liars". At least, I'm not a liar.
More honest players DID lose money. Some bought in a dozen or more times only to watch the bankroll rise briefly and fall back to nothing. I've done that too. Like most of these players my skills have developed and the rolls slowly grew less dramatic as if the storm had passed and the only the ripples remain.
But I wonder, now that I THINK I'm a winning player. Was it worth the investment? And for other players is the 10th buy-in too much? How about the 15th? Or the 25th? At what point must a poker player admit the game is fun, even addictive, but for them a very bad idea?
Keep in mind we're SUPPOSED to pay for training. I payed thousands for college and slaved away at a few micro-limit jobs before I finally hit a good career pot. I think poker works the same. Some of us are buying and education while we whittle through the required text. We're fixated on those winning players and determined to find success.
I'M NOT A PROFESSIONAL POKER PLAYER
You'll find, and this is especially true among bloggers, a real hesitance to admit this learning curve. We are putting our best face to the world and we often crave respect. In poker we keep score by the money we win and to lose money is to be a losing player. To be a losing blogger seems very close to being a loser at life. Nobody likes a loser.
But, still, even if we're honest, I think there's a time to quit. At least a time to quit playing for money. Just like my day job, some people need a new hobby. They just won't make it. Yes, poker is a skill. Yes, we can learn to imporve. But no amount of training or study or practice will make an average player...great.
I'm not planning to quit. I think I've payed for my education and I never planned to be great. I just like having fun and scratching out a few more wins. But what about the pools of fish? Will they ever learn? And what about the bloggers..I know you haven't ALWAYS been good...why did you stick with it?<-- Hide More
Click "There's More" for details.More in this Poker Blog! -->
What: The WPBT's first event of 2005
When: Tomorrow night! (Wednesday), 9pm Eastern/8pm Central
Who: Poker Bloggers and their loyal readers
Why: So us bloggers can take your money
How: By using "thehammer" as your password, the tourney is called "World Poker Blogger Tour" under the private tourney tab. The entry fee is a measley $22 and there are already 61 entrants.
I'm tired and cranky and I blame Ultimate Bet. I'm a regular in the scheduled tournaments there and they're usually good money, but last night they really pissed me off.
In what was probably a mistake on their part, they set up an incredible bargain.
At 8:00 they had 2 tournaments set to go at once. Both of them $30+3. One was an $8K guaranteed the other $2.5K. Because one of them had the much larger payout it was attracting all the buyers and the smaller one was PURE GOLD!
By 7:45 the 2.5K had only 22 players, remember it's only a 33 dollar buyin, so it was almost a sure bet for a big cash. I was seated and ready to go. That's a really late start for me so I would only be willing to play a smaller event on a Wednesday night, and this WAS PERFECT. I kept a running tally of the entrants with BOY GENIUS on the Yahoo! IM.
Then, at 7:55 something happened. My table CLOSED!, and I was dumped into the bigger game, along with 400 other players.
Now, granted, I understand why UB would want to do that. Neither guaranteed tourney would generate a pool big enough to afford the guaranteed payout. The smaller one was a terrible deal for them. BUT THERE WAS NEVER AN ANNOUNCED MINIMUM for the game. Thus, this was an UNFAIR bait and switch.
I sent an e-mail to that effect to UB. They never responded. So I cashed out.
They can blow me! I'm back on party.
By the way, AL and IGGY are right...THE BAD BEAT JACKPOT tables at Party Poker are FREE MONEY! I played the 2/4 game almost literally all day yesterday and cashed out UP 100BB. Not bad.
I suppose many of these jackpot chasin' fish aren't used to limit games and are captivated by the relatively low amount of risk invoved in chasing after the flop...another 4 bucks..what the hell!
As a rule, any good hand will be called through the river with at least 2 players holding any combination of overcards...and you can guarantee any player there with A-x is in for at least the flop. You have my word folks...there is not easier money ANYWHERE!
So...UB can go to hell.
G-Rob OUT!<-- Hide More
CCR is better but they never gave me any money.
Check out BadBloods post about last night. He finished second in a rapid-blind $20+2 with about 24 players for a very nice little pot.
As for me...great night on the CNR cash games highlighted at the .25/.50 NL tables...
Here's my favorite :More in this Poker Blog! -->
Hand History for
Check n Raise Poker Game #703897: Hold 'em No Limit
Mon Jan 17 23:30:32 EST 2005
Table 'Dvorak' Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: corpfan1 ($5.85)
Seat 3: H82luz ($25)
Seat 4: tom333 ($42.20)
Seat 5: GRob ($84.20)
Seat 7: Gman72 ($53)
Seat 8: vadka ($13.25)
Gman72: posts small blind $0.25
vadka: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE-CARDS ***
Dealt to GRob [KS AS]
tom333: raises $1 to $1
GRob: raises $3.50 to $3.50
Gman72: calls $3.25
tom333: calls $2.50
*** FLOP *** [6H TS JS]
Gman72: bets $1
tom333: calls $1
GRob: raises $3 to $3
Gman72: calls $2
tom333: calls $2
*** TURN *** [6H TS JS] [QS]
*** RIVER *** [6H TS JS QS] [8C]
GRob: bets $5.50
tom333: calls $5.50
*** SHOW DOWN ***
GRob: shows [KS AS ] (a royal flush)
tom333: mucks [JH JD ] (three of a kind, jacks)
GRob wins ($29.45) with a royal flush
I realize I didn't get maximum value for this hand. But I was certain I wouldn't get any callers. Plus, I figured showing down a monster like this would allow me to buy any pot I wanted for the rest of the night.
I was right. Stayed up till midnight and got up for work at 3AM. It ain't easy being an addict.
Speaking of which, I MAY be a poker addict. I mean this in a serious HOLY CRAP sorta way, and not a joking "ha ha I play a lot of poker" kinda way. Still working on how to handle the obsession. Post to that effect is forthcoming.<-- Hide More
First off...a quick note about the new games. BadBlood and I have been playing at Check and Raise. We spent about 6 quality hours there last night, and I'll agree with Maudie. The interface isn't bad and the rooms are very soft. The problem is there are hardly any games to find. The site is new and its hard to find much action.
It did give us this 6-handed nugget though :
SB posts .25
G-Rob posts .50
BadBlood raises to $2.00
5s folds, 6s folds, SB folds
FLOP: 3, 5,7 rainbow
G-Rob bets $3.00
G-rob bets $4.00
G-Rob bets $8.00
G-Rob shows 4, 6 off
Badblood calls G-Rob a damned fish!
Hilarity ensues.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Let me just take this appropriate opportunity to say the BadBlood badly deserved that. He killed me earlier because he's a serious bastard. Nice guy...but a damn bastard.
A few hands (few Hours? who's counting) earlier I read his large pre-flop bet as an obvious hammer. I called with A-8 and got crushed by his premium hand. (I believe he used the same hammer decoy maneuver to crush Dr. Pauly at a blogger table once). The hammer is, indeed, a pox on the poker world.
We must've dropped it on the poor unsuspecting fish a dozen times last night and even that barley loosened the table. Still, its NOT supposed to work against me! His Hammer bluff is now carefully confused with his premium hands which, for those of you who dislike the hammer, IS EXACTLY WHY WE PLAY IT! It works. And BadBlood..is still a bastard.
Anyhoo...G-Rob (and the bastard himself) will be at CNR for the next few afternoons....
We'll see you there.
The bankroll is fluid and I'm moving it around. Lately I've been googling "Poker signup bonus" to find every free dollar a rake-taking internet whore will offer. Ole G-Rob is feelin' frisky. G-Rob's wife is glad he has another outlet.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Until now I've had the roll locked up on either PARTY or ULTIMATE BET. I always thought the SNG's were easiest at UB and the rings best at Party. But because those reload bonuses only happen so often, and because every high school loser with an allowance and without a girlfriend is suddenly a poker pro, there's no shortage of playable sites.
I tried PACIFIC first. Like anyone else they have a deposit bonus for first time accounts and this onhas a big perk. I bought in and cashed my bonus INSTANTLY which turns out to be a very very good thing. Pacific? That's where it belongs, buried beneath an Ocean of salt that corrodes the memory of the Commodore-64 that spawned it. There cannot possibly be a slower, less user-friendly site anywhere. Pacific Poker sucks, as the valley girls said, TO THE MAX.
The second site, you'll love this one, was Absolute poker. If ever two things were a perfect match (though I'll quickly buy-in to SoCo poker even withour a bonus) this was it. The bonus is fairly large, 35%, and fairly easy to work off. Its released in $10 increments as you play your raked hands. I've earned about half of mine in about a day and a half. The drawback here is the number of players. Its a pretty small site with only a few thousand players at a time and almost all of the are VERY low limit players. C'est la vie!
More than anything, I found action playing a .25 cent NL game. Listen to this setup. Buy-in are capped at $50.00 but there no minimum. That means most of the players will only buy about $10.00 in chips. Already they're at a major disadvantage. Plus with blinds at a paltry .10 and .25 a tight player can rock-it for hours with almost no financial consequence. Here are two back-to-back hands from last night :
G-Rob is UTG with THE HAMMER.
G-Rob raises to $3.00
Flop is A, 10, 6 rainbow.
G-Rob bets $6.00
G-Rob SHOWS THE HAMMER and great cursing ensues. Several players procede to tell G-Rob he is stupid and will soon lose all his money. All of which is very likely true but not in this case.
THE VERY NEXT HAND!
G-Rob is dealt KK in EP
G-Rob bets $1.50 (remember the blind is .25!!!)
Next player calls
Folds around to BB... (the man who assured me I was about to go broke)..he bets $4.00
At this point I'm very concerned about rockets...but...
G-Rob re-re-raises to $8.00.
other guy folds
BB calls and I'm already preparing to fold. (remember the blinds are at .25)
The flop is :
9, 3, K rainbow.
BB bets $20.00 and then types and I quote "Lets see your hammer now *****!"
I push all-in and the genius calls.
G-Rob shows 3 Kings.
Idiot caller shows....are you ready for this.... K J off.
And here in a room where the blinds are .25!!!!! G-Rob takes a $115.00 pot.
I love this site. It may be some time before you folks see me back at party, blogger tables aside of course. The HAMMER...is still the king. And this set-up with low blinds and relatively large buy-in, is probably the best I've found.
Talk about frisky....G-Rob is (SAY IT REGIS!) OUTTA CONTROL!<-- Hide More
Those of you who play on Empire Poker might have heard a growl from across the ethereal poker room last night. It wouldn't have been hard to spot the source of the noise. It sprung, nay, erupted from the avatar known as Otis.
While I'm the first to defend online poker rooms for the massive task of managing tens of thousands of players at once, I'm also not going to be a mindless shill for them either.
So, please step inside for a rant against my homesite and, well, one of its players.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Rant #1: I bought in for this?
In recent days, Empire's multis have been experiencing a problem so serious that it threatens to discredit the effort to be a serious, reputable poker room. In two consecutive tourneys I've played, the entire game locked up. Every player is forced to sit and watch the screen do nothing. If you leave, you lose your buy-in. If you sit there, you're forced to watch mindless chat among bored players. You're also forced to watch the blind level go up without having a chance to play. After 30 to 45 minutes, the game springs back to life, but the blinds are a few levels higher. The crapshoot begins.
This first happened to me when we were two from the money in a 145-player multi. I ended up cashing in 9th place, but I can't help but think it hurt some of the other players. It happened again last night on the second hand of the tourney. Many of the other players said this has been happening for a while. It's a major bug in the system and severely discredits Empire's already weak tourney schedule.
Rant #2: You unbelievable weakling
This is no new problem, but it was the first time it cost me money.
I was in a $200 PL game last night. I raised on the button with AKs. The player UTG re-raised $20. I called. The flop came ATT rainbow. UTG (JacksRHI) bet the pot (~$50+). I thought for all of two seconds. Right now, AA, TT, and AT, and Tx beat me. I figure he's not going to re-reraise UTG with AT or any other naked T. The only way to know if he's holding American Airlines or TT is to...of, course, re-raise the amount of the pot.
When he didn't call for ten seconds, I knew I was out in front. No way he's going to think that long if he's holding the boat or quads. But then he didn't call for another five seconds. Then another five seconds.
The sonofabitch timed out and used his disconnect protection to see of his 77 would turn into a boat. To see those cards fairly, it would've cost him the rest of his stack.
My hand held up and I raked a sizable pot. But it should've been $87 bigger.
I know some sites have gotten rid of their disconnect protections for tourneys. I'm starting to think they should get rid of them all together. It's one thing when it only means the difference between winning and losing a few bucks. But when it's a few hundred bucks, that's a different story.
Disagree? Wait for it to happen to you.
Rant #3: My atheletic supporter works better than this
After both of these issues happened in the same night, I clicked on the 24-hour support button. I'd noticed several weeks ago that the 24-hour support function was inoperable. Turns out, it still is. When I e-mailed the off-line support about the tourney problem, I didn't even get an automated response.
True Poker, while replete with flaws, at least always has a host online to answer questions. How in the world Empire can operate without online supoprt is beyond me.
So, there ya go. I'm unhappy with Empire Poker. Perhaps I'm more unhappy because I'm more successful at this site than at any of the others I've played. The players are weaker, the pots are easier to rake, and they offer a variety of good games. Their multi-table tourney schedule sucks, but I probably shouldn't be playing too many multis anyway. Despite the great overlay on Empire's guaranteed tourneys, my EV is never that great.
I'd be curious to hear what other Empire players think. I'd also be curious to hear from Party players who also play at Empire about which skin they'd rather play at.
Rant ends here. Better writing to come later.<-- Hide More
Boredom can be a sadist.
It shoves a poorly-manicured thumbnail in your navel and twists. It drags you by your nose into dark corners where ne'er-do-wells skulk and rodents feed on trash. Perhaps more dangerous, it hangs you from a mountain summit and says, "So, you wanna play, huh? Well, then let's play."More in this Poker Blog! -->
Limit Hold'em has been boring me recently. I usually play $3/$6 limit on Empire. The variance has been a little high recently. That was of little concern to me. Variance is variance. I was getting a little tired, though, of playing perfect poker and losing. And, of course, even the most disciplined among us tend to tilt a little when the bad run runs too long. When that happens, I'll be the first to admit, I'm not playing perfect poker.
I was on the verge of something we all do from time to time. I was about to take a break. I was going to try to wrap my head around the game without playing it. Bobby Baldwin's chapter in Super System was about to get some serious work. I like to call myself a a limit player who dabbles in no-limit tourneys. If I was going to talk like that, I needed to back it up.
I see Limit Hold'em as a beer drinker's game. It's a steady game, well-paced, with little room for disaster unless you choose otherwise. Sure, it's possible to have a few too many and wake up wicked hungover. But there's little doubt, you made the choice to do that, and the hangover usually isn't that bad.
No-limit, as we all know, is for people who like to ride the lightning. It's a shot-drinker's game. If you choose to have one drink and wait for the nuts, you're going to be okay. But if you're really committed to playing the game, you've got to be willing to be hungover for three days. You've got to be willing to go broke.
As a semi-professional drinker, I know both games pretty well. I've suffered the victories. I've suffered the hangovers. I've made some decent money and I've almost gone broke a couple of times.
Simply put, those are the devils I know. And, frankly, I've been a little bored.
A bored poker player can be as dangerous as a bored drinker. When one gets bored, he starts to experiment. That brings us to Otis' latest experiment in chasing the high.
Two-hundred dollar buy-in Pot Limit.
After a recent final table finish in Empire's $25,000 guarantee Sunday night tourney, my bankroll was such that I could afford to lose $200. On a bored evening, I recently sat down at the $200 PL and decided to play.
I won $350 in a 45 minute session.
I stood up, and rightly, went out for a drink or ten. I ruminated over the possibilities for most of the evening. It seemed way too easy. I had hit and run the table for a sizable chunk of cash. There was a part of me that thought I had just found a poker utopia. Like anyone who buys a lottery ticket, I had visions of grandeur. The 45 minute session had just crowned me king of the poker world.
Of course, when I was thinking, I was drinking. I was no king. I was a guy sitting at a bar and trying to negotiate with the bartender. The Bait Shack had recently increased its draft price by 50%. I argued that since I had been drinking there since they opened, I should be grandfathered. I should get every third beer free. They didn't see things my way.
The next day, I sat back down and lost every bit if my winnings in two hands. Most of it left my stack when a guy called $150 against my king-high spade flush with AJo. He held the ace of spades and the fourth spade came on the river.
I considered myself no worse for the wear. It was an experiment in riding the lightning. I survived and vowed to return to $3/$6 limit as soon as I stopped cursing.
Had it not been for Pauly asking me to write a little something for his blog-zine, I might never have ventured back into the world of $200 PL. But since he asked, and I was writing, I thought I'd sit and play a little more. I entered a $20+$2 multi and sat at a $200 PL table.
It became a four-hour session. I wrote the piece (hopefully to be featured in an upcoming edition of Truckin') and played steady poker.
When I stood up, I had placed 9th in the tourney. What's more, my $200 buy-in had turned into $733.
So, here I sit, 12 hours after a very nice winning session. It was not a hit and run. It was steady poker, played well. I remember laying down top two pair to a $90 bet when there was a possible straight on the board and two to a flush as well. I had my head wrapped around the game and didn't feel like I was riding the lightning. I felt confident and sober.
Still, as the title of this post suggests, I know I'm walking a fine line. While my bankroll could stand a slight correction, I don't know that I'm qualified or wealthy enough to play at that level.
More interesting, however...what is Otis going to do?<-- Hide More
Well, we had a number of good entries. The decision-making process has been very tough. If I could afford it, I'd make everyone a winner. But since I can't, I've actually decided to pay three places.
Did you make the cut?
Read on.More in this Poker Blog! -->
Third place goes to Iggy. He admitted he really didn't feel like trying to persuade me with a clever e-mail. However, he did make a heartfelt appeal (and I'd sort of been wanting to take a shot at Poker Stars anyway).
Second place goes to Matt, a reader from Texas, who wrote in the subject line of his entry, "You are my bonus bitch." That alone pushed him to the top of the pack for a while. Beyond that, he made a very good argument for playing at the World Poker Exchange. He really thinks I'll like it there and is taking a percentage of my rake as his bonus. And beyond that, he runs a cool company out in Texas that I think would be a fun way to make a living.
But, first place has to go to...JD (I'm not sure if he's a reader or fellow blogger). Regardless, he is the king of bonus whoring haikus. While Absolute Poker's refer-a-friend system is a little cumbersome, I'm granting JD the win for the following entry:
Please try Absolute
Their ring games are very soft
Say JD sent you*
Blogger champ will dominate
Love the sit-n-gos
Bonuses come through snail mail
The next one is my favorite
Me likey bonus
Whoring contest great idea
Congratulations to the winners.
And if I kick this delayed hangover I'm suffering any time soon, I need to write up a report from a homegame I found myelf in on Friday night. Here's a preview:
I didn't peel my cards off the table again, preferring instead to eat her face with my eyes. Her cheeks pulled in as she drew in on the cigar. She pulled her cards off the felt one more time. I couldn't read her as well as I wanted. Her beauty put me on tilt the moment she'd climbed out of the H2-Hummer. When she lit the cigar and bathed the table in a sexual wash of smoke and casual good humor, I decided there was no way I could play the game of poker ever again.
I stared at her, watching her cheeks suck in and blow out. A firefighter sitting across the table said, "The boy could win a staring contest if he wanted, too."
I didn't respond. I just sat there and stared into her face while she looked up at me and said, "All in."<-- Hide More
I've pillaged. I've plundered. I've raked the first prize in the last two World Poker Blogger Tourneys (in my defense, I didn't play in the first one).
It's time I gave something back.
Introducing, The Up For Poker Bonus Whore Wars.More in this Poker Blog! -->
This idea actually began with a sympathy offering to fellow poker blogger, Grubby. I felt so bad for him when he busted out on the bubble of a tourney that would have sent him to mothergrubbin' SPAIN. That's a rough place to bubble.
I told him he could pick any poker site where I'm not currently a member and direct me to sign up under his bonus code. Free money!
It's been a few days and he hasn't responded. So, the offer now goes out to all Up For Poker readers.
I have $300 from the last WPBT tourney burning a hole in my Neteller account. The winner of the first Bonus Whore War contest will pick the site where I desposit and, thus, reap the bonus.
1) An entry will consist of a short-short essay (no more than 100 words) on why I should choose you as my Bonus Whore.
2) All entries should be e-mailed to me by Saturday, May 29th at 11:59pm (you can find a e-mail link on my non-poker site Rapid Eye Reality at the bottom of any post. Just click on the words "send me a reality check.")
3) All entries must include your bonus code and the site where you'd like me to deposit.
4) As I am already a member at Ultimate Bet, Empire, Pacific Poker, Planet Poker, and True Poker, those sites will not be accepted as entries. What's more, I'd prefer no Party skins, simply because of the silly bonus code mess that's invovled with having multiple accounts on party skins. So, you say, "that leaves very few sites, Otis." You're right. So, find me a new place to play poker, or find me a way to rake more bonuses from sites where I already play.
5) All entries become property of Up For Poker and stand a good chance of being reprinted in part on Up For Poker at a later date.
Good luck, my little bonus whores. I'll be waiting.<-- Hide More
I really enjoy this game. It's become my game of choice on Planet Poker until I get regular internet at home and time to start grinding again.
I've gotten to the point where I'm better than most of the regular Omaha players in the tournaments. I'm placing in the money much of the time (and usually only the top 3 to 5 pay), and getting a real feel for the game.
I'm trying to limit my starting hands to strong flush draws (ideally, multiple flush draws) and hands with good low possibilities. Early on, I'll play many more hands because you can hit a lot of flops.
My problem is late in the game. I'm not sure how to tighten up my starting hands. In fact, I worry whether I should tighten up, or start to play more. Soemtimes it feels like I keep folding waiting for good strarting hands and I get blinded away. Guess it'll take a little more practice there.
I also have to learn when a "winner" might actually be a loser. The low is often split among two or sometimes three players. That means you could actually get a piece of the pot and lose money. Unfortunately, there's not much of a way to determine when that will happen to you, so it's hard to avoid.
"You see that guy over there?"
"Sure. Couldn't miss him. His face is all flushed and he keeps looking at his reflection in the bar mirror. He's been acting like somebody gave him a big check and offered him oral pleasure."
"That's Otis, dude."
"No way. The way I hear it, every time Otis starts to look like that, something bad happens."
"They call it the Otis Choke."
"Yeah, man. The Otis Choke. That's some scary stuff."More in this Poker Blog! -->
In short, friends, the Otis Choke is the stuff of legend. It's like watching a fawn tread on a hockey rink. It's sort of pretty, sort of silly, and bound to end in ass-crunching disaster.
My lengendary status as a last-minute Choker didn't begin in poker. It reaches back to my childhood, to high-stakes games of House Rules Monopoly, to games of Buffalo Ball in the driveway, to weekend-long Frolf tournaments.
No matter how well I perform, no matter how large my man-parts seem, no matter how strong an opponent I am besting, in the end something painful and heart-wrenching will happen. Something no one expects. I trip and break my nose. My big toes fall off in unison. I get distracted by a passing turtle and cold call a capped bet with 3-6 off.
Keeping all of that in mind, I tempted the Otis Choke Steering Committee with my last post here at Up For Poker. In it I described the sea of fish at True Poker and my recent streak, in which I turned a $20+$2 buy-in tourney into a $196 win, then parlayed that win into $400 playing only $1/$2 limit hold'em.
Simply stating that should've been enough to melt my computer hard drive and get three speeding tickets. I should've been rebuying within 48 hours. And then something odd happened.
I kept winning. And kept winning.
I kept grinding at $1/$2 and built the bankroll to $500. I had no intention of moving up to $2/$4 until I hit $600. That would've been a safe 150 big bets. But yesterday morning my wife got called into work at around 5:30am. I couldn't go back to sleep and hopped on TP. Nobody was playing $1/$2. Nobody.
The Shoulder Devil couldn't sleep either. He'd been up all night snorting coke with Keith Richards. He sat on my shoulder, tapping his fingers on my noggin, and whispering "do-it-do-it-do-it-do-it...where's keith, keith stole my dope, do-it-do-it-do-it."
So, I sat down.
Now, it's not like $2/$4 is some vast wasteland of pirates and sharks. I know that. It's low-rolling just like $1/$2. But simply going up in limits before I intended to was enough to get the Otis Choke Train (by Hasbro) rolling.
Then a funny thing happened. I kept winning.
Between yesterday morning and right now (Sunday at 6pm), I've been winning.
A quick check of my bankroll shows that I have turned my initial $22 buy-in into $939...plus my $2 big blind.
There are three possible explanations for this:
1) The True Poker $2/$4 Fish are swimming in the same water as the $1/$2 fish.
2) The Otis Choke Steering Committee was still sleeping when I jumped limits yesterday and now figures to wait until I prematurely jump to $3/$6 before ruining my life.
3) While inebriated Friday night, I accidentally sold my soul to the Shoulder Devil (I was wondering where he got the booty to buy the blow).
There is also the possiblity that I'm playing a little bit better poker. Since True Poker only allows me to play one table at a time, I'm getting better reads on individual players. There are also fewer players at True, so I'm playing against the same people a lot more than I did at UB. That also allows for better reads. I'm also developing a reputation for strong play and I've found the tight players who will fold to a well-timed raise. Lastly, most people low-rolling at True are doing it with pathetic bankrolls. The $2/$4 table I'm on right now has players with bankrolls of $34, $10, and $60. That's not many big bets and it looks to me like they are playing poker like you might play blackjack at the end of a long night. All of it on two hands and hope.
I'd allow this post to continue, but I hear the Shoulder Devil on the phone. He just called the Otis Choke Steering Committee and suggested they meet for dinner.
Read: The next post from me should be titled "Here's How I Blew It."<-- Hide More
There's that little guilt pushing on the mebranes of my noodle. It slips in when I let my mind think about nothing, and then I think about something I don't really want to think about.
I think about how I've been unfaithful.
Lord, I never thought I would write such a thing.
After so much time, building a relationship, nay, building true love, I've been unfaithful...More in this Poker Blog! -->
...to my online poker site.
I started playing on Ultimate Bet one year this month. It's been good to me. It's given me other people's money and allowed me to play on it for 365 days.
And I like the site. It's simple and has all the qualities that I like in an online poker room. It allows me to play multiple tables at once. It has a wide variety of games and tables. It has a wide variety of tournaments.
And then came the World Poker Blogger Tournament II. That wild and motley crew of poker writers sucked my into their vortex of beer, poker, and weblogging.
And so I downloaded True Poker. And so I won the tournament and ended up with $196 in True Poker chips. I could've just deposited it all into online money site and transferred it over to Ultimate Bet. But I didn't.
I decided to stick around True Poker. What harm could I do with $196 that wasn't really mine anyway? I set two rules for myself.
#1--Don't lose the $196.
#2--Don't play a limit too high for a $196 bankroll.
At True Poker, that means playing $1/$2 limit Hold'em. That also means washing the fish scales off your chips when you rake them in. Or, at least, that's how it seems right now.
In two short sessions I've turned $196 into $400 playing only $1/$2 limit Hold'em.
Sure, that's not exceptional, but it's been easier than play at UB recently.
The ease in which I've doubled my bankroll can be chalked up to one of two things:
#1--A lot of new, fishy players at True Poker.
#2--A grand conspiracy to make new players at the site believe it's a great site by feeding them winning cards.
I'd much prefer to believe the former is more correct than the latter.
But here is eveidence that both may be correct: Just yesterday, I raised UTG with pocket nines. The table had grown to respect my UTG raises and everybody but the big blind folded.
The flop: 9QQ
Internally, my pancreas celebrated (that seems to be all it does these days, celebrate good flops). The BB bet. I raised, he called. I put him on a Queen and danced around a little bit.
Bet. Raise. Call. Hmmmm. Why's he betitng into me now? I figured him now for maybe KT, but I'm afraid of QJ.
You're thinking, I know, why would a guy call a UTG raise with KT or QJ? And then bet and call raises on a draw? That True Poker, baby.
I actually did this: I typed "Damn it" in the chat bar. I was sure now that he had a Q and my flopped boat just sank. I was so sure of it that I wanted to complain to the table before he even bet. Was that pride getting the better of me? Yes. Yes, it was.
He bet and I just called, waiting to see his Q2 or whatever other tripe hand he called my UTG raise with.
The table had been needling this guy for a while about being a calling station and I actually saw the chorus of "lol" chat before I saw his cards.
I flipped up my pocket nines to reveal the boat for the win.
That's True Poker, at least in the $1/$2 limit hold'em rooms.
So here's a quick review based on two ring game sessions (see previous entry for the tournament play review):
WHAT I LIKE:
*My favorite feature that differs from UB is the ability to see when other players are reviewing their cards. True Poker actually makes you remember your hand or be seen looking at it. While good players will use this to their advantage, it's a way to spot tells in the ubiquitous poor players.
* The graphics are pretty cool. You never know what the room atmosphere will look like. Sometimes it looks like the back of a bar. Sometimes it looks like a vast atrium. Sometimes it looks like a country club meeting room.
*The avatars are pretty neat, although the selection is pretty slim. I didn't really want to be a cowboy, but I didn't feel like being a 70s disco king, gang banger, martini drinking playboy, or woman.
WHAT I DON'T LIKE:
* The avatars' constant talking can get on your nerves if you don't turn it off. So, turn it off.
* The chat bubbles make the screen really, really busy.
* You're only allowed to play one table at once. Why? No clue.
* Play moves much slower than UB.
* Fewer tables.
* While I don't like micro-limit games for limit play, I should point out that True Poker has no micro-limit games (in fact, nothing below $1/$2) and that could turn away some players. The good side to this is that people who buy in hoping for microlimit are playing above their skill level and are calling, calling, calling.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to consult my therapist about the longer-lasting psychological ramifications of my poker infidelity.<-- Hide More
It's official. This blog now has its first ad. I've resisted until now, but Empire Poker was pretty persistent, and, really, what do I have to lose?
As you've read on this blog and on others, Empire Poker is offering some pretty good deals right now. You might as well get in on the action if you haven't already. If you use the link to your left, you'll get a 20% bonus on your first deposit up to $100 (if you deposit $500).
I'll admit, Empire isn't my first choice for playing. I primarily play Ultimate Bet, but they haven't asked to advertise, and Empire actually features many more fish. I know Iggy swears by the fish on Party/Empire (they use the same tables for everything but tournaments).
I don't plan on making this pitch again. It's a one time deal. If you aren't playing Empire now, but plan to... might as well use the link here and get the bonus. If you don't want to play Empire, I won't waste this blog space trying to convince you!
On a slightly related note, I may have a way for all of us poker bloggers to make a little money on the side from advertisers. If you're interested, drop me an e-mail.
We all know that thanks to The Travel Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, and the legend of Chris Moneymaker... online poker is bigger than it's ever been.
We're talking $16 billion last year alone. That's a lot of money, and when Americans are spending a lot of money on something, and the government isn't getting a cut, that usually means Big Brother will try to get his cut, or stop you from playing. And since he's not likely to get a cut... will the men in blue be knocking on your ISP?More in this Poker Blog! -->
According to a great article in the Houston Chronicle, it's not likely.
I. Nelson Rose, a gaming-law expert and professor at Whittier Law School in California, says the Department of Justice contends that the 1960s Wire Act, which prohibits using a wire-connection facility to place a bet across state lines, covers all betting. But a recent court decision says the law applies only to sports betting and races, such as dog racing.
Rose maintains a website called Gambling and the Law. He says in the article, "The short answer is that there is no federal law that would apply to a mere bettor."
Does that mean there will never be a law? Not necessarily, but with the world-wide nature of the World Wide Web, we all know it's virtually impossible to go after the web sites themselves since they're based off shore. And what is the benefit of going after the individual when it's a victim-less crime?
If you want to know where you may cross the line, it's the home games. And for most of us, that's never an issue. But if you start taking a rake of the pot, or start charging some kind of hosting fee, someone might stop by to ask you a few questions.<-- Hide More
A loyal Up For Poker reader sent me an e-mail wondering how worried I am about online poker cheating. There's no question that it's a concern of most players. There are no real absolute guarantees these websites are entirely trustworthy. In fact, a search of RGP or 2+2 will find dozens of posts about being cheated.
However, you also know by now that I'm a rabid online player, spending hours at a time on Ultimate Bet. So if I know that there are no guarantees and that cheating is possible, why do I risk my money?
That's easy...More in this Poker Blog! -->
In my mind, there are three basic cheating concerns when
it comes to online play:
As far as the first possibility goes, I don't believe anyone would collude at the low limit tables. It just doesn't seem profitable enough. I also think it's something that can be spotted. If I see any sign of it, I move tables.
As for possibilities two and three, no guarantees can be made. However, there's an even bigger reason for an online site to run a clean service. The sites will make money hand over fist without having to resort to cheating.
There are thousands and thousands of online players willing to lose all their money. Why cheat when you can make millions without cheating? It's in the online site's best interest to be clean because it helps build a bigger customer base. The more customers and the more money the site makes.
So, cheating is a concern, but I just don't think it's as widespread as some people believe. After all, I've made more than $1000 playing online. If they're cheating, I seem to be getting around it!<-- Hide More
When watching the WSOP on ESPN, I was intrigued by Dutch Boyd's golf visor that advertised "Rakefree.com." I always meant to visit the site and learn what it was about, but never got the chance.
Today, while browsing the TwoPlusTwo forums, I ran across an interesting argument over Dutch Boyd. Apparently, back in 2000, he started an online poker room called PokerSpot. It eventually went under. Players who had money on the site lost it all.
The whole PokerSpot fiasco is quite a hot topic, and it's hard to know who to believe. Obviously, those who lost all their money are furious at Boyd. He blames it on a business partner, and relatively credibly so. He was young, and obviously in over his head -- even he admits as such. Boyd tells his side of the story here.
In the same interview, Boyd also talks about his new project -- an online rake free poker site -- RakeFree.com. He hasn't discussed the business model yet. Will the site make money from advertisers or by monthly dues? It's unclear. Still, it sounds interesting, assuming Boyd has his act together better this time.
I played in the big $200 + $15 tourney on Ultimate Bet last night. I won two satellites to pay my entry fee, so it cost me about $67.
350 entrants, 1st prize paid more than $20,000, top 40 places paid ($288 for 25-40 I think). You started with 2000 chips (up from the usual 1000). I was feeling pretty good.
It didn't end well.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I started out playing pretty tight. I'm not sure it's the best strategy for that many starting chips, but it's my strategy.
I hung around 2000 for awhile before playing KQ from a late position. I don't like KQ much, but there were just two of us in the pot and I hadn't played a hand in awhile. The flop came K-x-x. No flush, no straight. I bet the pot and he called. I was worried about AK, but he didn't raise much pre-flop. The turn was another blank. I checked, he made a moderate bet and I called. The turn was another blank. He was shorter stacked than I so I forced him all-in and he called, showing me just KJ. I was up over 3000 for the first time.
I had developed a pretty good image at this table in which I was able to win pots without showing my hand. I continued to build up my stack slowly when I got moved to a new table. My first hand there, I make a bad play and lose almost half of what I've got. I've blocked that hand out of my mind.
I went on a bit of a roller coaster, moving up and down 4 or so times in just 10 hands. The table must have thought I was crazy. I was hoping to use that to my advantage by waiting for a premium hand, but the cards just weren't there.
I made a couple of coin flip calls against short stacks, but lost them both and suddenly I was short stacked with fewer than 70 people remaining. I had gone all-in once and survived, but I wasn't in very good shape.
UTG, I got dealt A9 suited. It's one of the best hands I've seen in awhile. I had about 3600 and I raised the blind of 800 to 1600, leaving me about 2000 chips. It was folded all the way around to the BB. Oh, by the way, the BB was Rafe Furst. You may know him better as a Tilt Boy and the poker-playing partner of Phil Gordon.
This guy had been running on fumes. He had moved all-in a few times and got no callers. Finally someone called him and he flips pocket 8's only to see pocket Q's. Of course, he catches an 8 on the flop and uses that momentum to move well above 10,000 by the time our hand came around.
Back to my A9 suited. Rafe is in pretty good shape. He decides to raise me all-in. What do I do? I know he's just protecting his blind. I'm positive I have a better hand then him. I'm already in the pot for half my stack. A double up here, and I'm in great shape to finish in the top-40. I call.
He flips 45 offsuit. I'm a 64% favorite at this point, but when the 5 comes on the flop, I'm dead. Did I make the right decision? Damn I hate pros!<-- Hide More
I've got a couple of things to hit in this post. It's Iggy-inspired, but not quite up to that standard.
That's right, the title says "The Hammer!!!" but you'll have to wait for the end for that. If you don't know about the world-famous Hammer Challenge head over to Poker Grub and read all about it.More in this Poker Blog! -->
First, the blogroll has been updated/cleaned up. I've adjusted blogs according to how often/recently they've been updated. It's not a blogroll, I do it by hand right now, so it only changes when I change it. We're up to 28, although Felicia is not technically a blog (not yet, poker bloggers are working on it!). Please check them out, there are some great new ones there.
Second, the Timebomb is officially a hit. Otis invented it, now it's spreading like a virus. The latest to catch the bug? None other than Wil Wheaton. Check out the comments.
Third, I haven't gotten the fancy symbols loaded on MT yet because I'm an MT idiot. If there were a plug-in for that, I'd be fine. Instead... well, I'll keep trying.
Fourth, I've got a big decision this weekend. I have two UB Tournament Entry Chips (TEC's) now and must decide what to do with them. I could use them to enter two different $100 tourneys for a shot at a trip to Aruba and an entry into the Aruba WPT event. Or, I could put them together and enter the $200 Sunday tourney. Any suggestions?
Finally, what you've waited for, the Hammer. First a disclaimer: I don't qualify under the rules. It's a .25/.50 NL table, and the winning pot was well under $5.00.
Hand #948119-308 at Potomac (No Limit Hold'em)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 24/Jan/04 04:27:59
Dontius is at seat 0 with $23.80.
cusephenom is at seat 1 with $66.
UNCLEGAMBS is at seat 2 with $72.30.
sancho420 is at seat 3 with $66.75.
Junior787 is at seat 4 with $50.80.
BVGrimley is at seat 7 with $59.75.
cleverguy13 is at seat 8 with $47.60.
yoyo44 is at seat 9 with $29.25.
The button is at seat 2.
sancho420 posts the small blind of $.25.
Junior787 posts the big blind of $.50.
Dontius: -- --
cusephenom: 2d 7c
UNCLEGAMBS: -- --
sancho420: -- --
Junior787: -- --
BVGrimley: -- --
cleverguy13: -- --
yoyo44: -- --
BVGrimley folds. cleverguy13 folds. yoyo44 folds.
Dontius folds. cusephenom calls. UNCLEGAMBS calls.
sancho420 folds. Junior787 checks.
Flop (board: 6c Jd 4c):
Junior787 checks. cusephenom checks. UNCLEGAMBS
Turn (board: 6c Jd 4c 2c):
Junior787 checks. cusephenom checks. UNCLEGAMBS
River (board: 6c Jd 4c 2c Ac):
Junior787 checks. cusephenom checks. UNCLEGAMBS
Junior787 shows Kh 2h.
Junior787 has Kh 2h Jd 2c Ac: a pair of deuces.
cusephenom shows 2d 7c.
cusephenom has 7c 6c 4c 2c Ac: flush, ace high.
UNCLEGAMBS mucks cards.
(UNCLEGAMBS has 8s 9s.)
Hand #948119-308 Summary:
No rake is taken for this hand.
cusephenom wins $1.75 with flush, ace high.
And here was the chat that accompanied the huge hand:
cusephenom: It's the HAMMER!
BVGrimley: I wanna know how many notes that generated?
cusephenom: Yep... guess I'm on a few buddy lists now.
BVGrimley actually called out 72o next hand, but was forced to muck it to a big preflop raise. Good thing he did... the guy caught a 9-high straight flush.
That's all folks... it's well past my bed time!<-- Hide More
EmpirePoker is doing this because they want to expand their tournaments. Party and Empire share the same site (e.g., when you play on Empire or Party, you are playing against people from both Party and Empire), but they have different tournaments. Historically Empire has had smaller tournaments than Party, so they're giving away lots of extra money in order to promote their tournaments.
Here are the opportunties:
1. A free entry into a $5000 freeroll when you enter either the $100+10 Saturday Night Fever weekly tournament or the $150+12 Sunday Gameday weekly tournament.
2. The $150+12 Sunday Night Gameday tournament is $25,000 guaranteed (for you non-tourney players, that means the prize pool will be at least $25,000). Last week I believe this tournament only had about 50 entrants. If even 100 enter this week, then EmpirePoker will have to add $10,000 to the prize pool to make the guaranteed $25,000. That's a deal.
3. The Wednesday Night $50+5 weekly tournament is now $10,000 guaranteed. I think about 50 entered this tournament last week too. If, for example, 100 enter the tournament this week, EmpirePoker will have to put in $5,000 to add up to the guaranteed $10,000 prize pool.
These are all great deals. If you're a tourney player, now is the time to take advantage of the promotions. These are all positive expected value opportunities. There's also a $200+15 tournament which sends 1 person for every 60 entries to the 2004 World Series of Poker.
Also, if you play poker online at Party or Empire, you're foolish if you don't get some of your rake back. I get 20% of my rake back. I had never realized how much that was until I signed up. That's over $400 already this month. If you're interested in getting some of your rake back, then email me: email@example.com
It's been a long, long time since I've been able to blog with this as the title. Now I've reached the final table twice in two nights. Tonight, I played a $50 NL Hold 'Em tourney with 68 entrants. I finished in 9th, but should probably have finished higher.
I got AK in the small blind. It's raised in front of me about 3xBB and I call. The flop is A-x-x. I check, he bets the pot and I raise all-in. He calls and shows AQ. Guess what the turn card is? Oh well, I'm out in 9th with $102.
The tourney last night gave me my best finish ever...More in this Poker Blog! -->
We're down to just six players and here's the standings:
I'm at seat 0 with 25310.
Pomobufuguy is at seat 1 with 38185.
Polo79 is at seat 2 with 50360.
acerol is at seat 4 with 54400.
steelhead is at seat 5 with 40505.
bnet is at seat 6 with 22240.
I get dealt A♦ 5♦. There are two folds in front of me and I raise the big blind of 3000 to 6000. acerol (the big stack) calls. The flop comes 6♣ 8♥ 7♣. I've got an open-ended straight draw and figure it's a good time to make a stand. He limps in with 3000 and I go all-in. He folds.
I'm in the small blind of 1500 when I get J♠ K♠. It's folded around to me and I raise to 7500 and get called by Pomobufuguy. The flop is 2♦ 4♦ 8♠. We both check. The turn is the T♠. We both check. The river is the 6♣. I check, he bets 7500 and I have to fold.
I'm down to 25310 now and in 6th place out of 6. In late position, I get 8♣ K♠. I fold. Polo79 (biggest stack) calls and acerol (in 4th place) raises to 6000. Polo 79 calls. The flop is 7♠ 2♥ T♦. Polo79 bets 3000, acerol raises to 15000, Polo79 calls. The turn is the A♥. Polo79 goes all-in and gets called. It's the showdown. Polo79 has 7d 6♣. It's just third pair. acerol has T♠ K♣. He's got 2nd pair. The river floats Polo79 a miracle. It's the 7♥. acerol finishes in 6th.
Next hand and I quickly fold my Q♠ 6♥. Polo79 (now the huge stack) raises to 6000 and steelhead (4th place just ahead of me) goes all-in. Polo79 calls. Here's the showdown: Polo79 A♥ A♠, steelhead Ad 7♥. Tough break for steelhead. The cards come 6♠ 9♦ 9♠ Q♣ 4♠. steelhead is out in 5th.
A few hands later, and I'm about 1000 behind 3rd with 29810. I get Q♣ Qd. Pretty. I raise the big blind of 3000 to 10000 and everyone folds. Too strong? Nah. I'll take the blinds. I'm up to 34310.
27 hands later(!) and I'm now at 36310. I've hardly moved, but I am up to 3rd place, just ahead of 4th. I get dealt A♠ Qd. I'm in the small blind of 2000 and I raise to 16000. Pomobufuguy is about 7000 ahead of me. He re-raises me all-in. I don't think he's got a better hand. I call. It's showdown time and he's holding the all-powerful A♦ 9♦. It wasn't a bad play by him, but I'm a big favorite. In fact, I only supposed to lose this hand 27% of the time.
Guess what? Flop comes 5♦ 9♥ 6♠. Suddenly, I've got an 86% chance of losing. The turn is the 6♥ and the river is the 5♠. So instead of taking down a 76620 pot and moving into a strong second, I bust out in 4th. The good news is the $173 I took with me!
I couldn't get too upset because earlier in the tourney, I caught a miracle 10 on the river that propelled me to the final table. It was the difference between winning $27 and $173. I'll take it.
On a side note... if anyone knows how to make the diamond symbol, drop me a line. Thanks!
Chris over at his poker blog has instructions for how to get the playing card symbols on your blog(Movable Type primarily). Right now, my diamonds don't quite look right, but I'm just practicing. I'm going to try this, but I'm doomed to fail since I don't know scripts that well. Hopefully I don't destroy the blog!<-- Hide More
Writing this post will naturally cause me to lose my entire stack. It's like a no-hitter. You just don't talk about it. Oh well... I'm a gambling man, right?
Since January began, I've turned $50 into $850 and an Ultimate Bet "Tournament Entry Chip" worth $100 toward a entry fee. That's about a $900 profit in 20 days. I'd say I've averaged about 3 hours of playing a day (on multiple tables at once mostly). That's 60 hours work for $900. That's $15/hour. Should I quite my job? (I'm not that stupid.)
Here's what I'm doing...More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's $.25/.$50 No Limit Texas Hold 'Em on Ultimate Bet. That's right, it's just 25 cents and 50 cents. I sit down with $50 and hope to walk away with a lot more. I usually have three tables of that open while I'm playing a tournament or a SNG (anywhere from $10-$30).
I fold a lot. I'll say that again, I fold a lot. I don't chase pots. I play premium hands and I slowplay the nuts. Occasionally, I slowplay myself into a lost pot, but it's rare. When I hit the big pot, it's big. When I lose, it's usually just a couple of bucks.
There are a lot of fish at the $.25/$.50 NL tables. Many are now on my buddy list. And I have a pretty good win/place/show percentage on the SNG's as well. The multi-table tournaments are usually losers, but, for now, I'm chalking that up to practice.
At this point, every time my stack hits $500, I'm withdrawing $100. That will keep me from blowing it all if I hit a bad spell. I keep asking myself if I should move up to a higher limit, but why? The SNG's and tournaments are the fun part for me, the ring games are just work.
So there you have it, CJ's current favorite strategy. Check back with me in a few weeks when that strategy is out the window and I'm trying something new!<-- Hide More
It has been sometime since you last heard from good ole' Huck Finn...More in this Poker Blog! -->
...but there's a good reason why: Poker! That's right, since I've officially thrown my proverbial "hat" into the ring of professional poker playing, I've been busy at the tables.
My first stop, the dinner table. I was starving after the exhausting decision to turn pro, but nothing that a PB&J sandwhich and a handful of broken ice cubes couldn't fix. (If you're going to make it in the world of gambling, you must learn to live on a tight budget.)
Next, it was off to the bargaining table. It's hard work to convince your parents and siblings that floating your hard earned dough "down the river" with Huck is much more profitable and much less dangerous that investing in mutual funds. I calmly explained my theories on the game and even demonstrated my card playing prowess at the play money tables on UltimateBet.com. They seemed surprisingly unimpressed with my ability to win $225,000 in one hand. I think my father mumbled something to the effect of, "You know, you were adopted."
Realizing this tactic was unsuccessful, I resorted to plan B: stealing money out of their wallets while they slept. Sure, I know what you're thinking, 'How childish', but to that I say, "It's great to feel young again."
Now, it was time for the interrogation table. I couldn't believe my mother called the cops on me. What's a few $1000 between blood? Fortunately, my parents promised not to press charges if I entered a mental hospital. I told them I signed up, but there's a waiting list.
After that, came the virtual table. Nothing like the world of virtual poker.... especially when your playing with someone else's money! After getting CJ's password, I logged onto UPlayPoker.com and tapped into his "real" money. I was on fire! No, seriously, I was. My cat knocked over a lit candle and it fell right in my lap. Lesson learned: Dockers are stain proof, not fire proof. The fortunate side of the whole 2nd degree burn thing was it didn't hurt to lose most of CJ's money since the pain from the burns dominated the entire experience.
Finally, it was the operating table. Skin graphs are quite interesting, but I have a running bet with the doctor that most, if not all patients, are given some sort of pain medication during the procedure. If anyone knows someone that was, let me know so I can collect.
I sit here now contemplating two things: 1. What's the fastest way to transfer money to my online poker account? and 2. What's the pin number on my sister's ATM card?
Well, it's time to change the gauze on my thighs. Hopefully next time, I'll have a few poker hands to talk about. Until then, see you on the river....<-- Hide More
I posted some poker advice over at Southern Appeal.
Most of it is aimed at beginning players, so many readers here probably won't get much out of it. In fact, please note in the comments section any advice you would have added or done differently.
Introducing people to the game is important, of course, for the bottom line. But I don't introduce people to the game for money. After all, I attempted to convince people to learn the game before they start playing.
So why do I post advice on poker? Why do I put effort into getting more people into poker? I guess I just want poker to become the next Big Thing.
I probably had my finest online session ever last night. It was 3 1/2 hours on Ultimate Bet and I played 6 different Sit and Go's.
The entry fees added up to $72 and 300 points (not play chips, but points that can redeemed as entry fees into tourneys).
The pay off? How about $260 and 1100 points. That's more than $50 an hour, and 800 bonus points thrown in. Was it the cards or my playing? I'd like to think the latter, but it's probably the former. Here's a taste of one of those SNG's:More in this Poker Blog! -->
First I'll start with the biggest hand of my $33+3, ten person, SNG:
Five of us are left. I'm in 3rd place, well behind the leader. In the big blind, I get K♣9♣.
The big blind of 100 is raised to 200 and I call. Three of us are in the hand.
The flop is 7s-9h-9s. Jackpot!!!! First bettor checks, I check, last bets 125. First calls, I raise to 1100. The guy who opened folds, but the original checker calls me. He's all-in.
Showdown time and I love my Kc-9s. Just not as much as his Ad-9d. Uh oh.
The turn is the Jd. I'm frantically trying to figure out how to win or split the pot. As I figured, just a K will do it for me.
The river hears my prayers because it's the Kh. Ouch for him. Nice for me.
I go on to win the SNG and take $150.
I was a 7-1 underdog after the flop. After the turn, I had just a 7% chance of winning. Lady luck, I thank you.
Now onto the $10+1, ten person, SNG:
I got started early with a pair of 5's in the big blind.
UTG raises to 35 and two of us call him.
The flop is 5s-3d-6d. That's pretty. It's early, I decide to slow play, risking the straight or flush.
The two behind me also check and the turn is the As.
I check again and the next guy opens with 110. Third guy folds, I raise to 220 and get called.
The river is a Q... of diamonds. Ugh. What the hell, I bet 550 and he calls.
I figure he hit the flush, but my set holds up. He had a measley A-Jo. I win 1650.
Just two hands later, and guess what? Another pair of 5's.
UTG raises to 35 and I'm the only caller.
Flop is 7s-5d-Js. Pretty. He bets 85, I raise to 170, he calls.
The turn is the Td. He checks, I bet 425, he calls.
The river is the Qd, diamond flush draw again, ugh. He checks, and so do I, not sure why.
I can see why he stayed in the hand, it's cowboys. But they still lose to me trip 5's and I win another 1275.
I hardly play the next 35 hands until I get cowboys of my own.
I'm UTG and I raise the big blind of 40 to 100. I get two callers.
The flop is 6d-Ac-5h. Happens every time.
Checked in front of me, I bet 320 and the guy behind me folds. The other guy calls. That sucks.
The turn is a Th. He checks, I check.
The river is the Jd. He bets 960, and I fold. He had the ace, right? Maybe not, but I go back to one of my New Year's poker resolutions.
We're down to just 5 players and I'm in second place next to the button. I get 8d-7d.
I call the big blind of 60 and four of us are in the hand.
The flop is 4d-5h-2d. I've got a flush draw with a gutshot straight draw.
First bettor opens with 60 and two of us call.
The turn fills my flush, it's the 6d. Now I've got a gutshot straight flush draw.
It's checked to me. I bet 420 and get a caller.
The river is the 9d. Ugh. Now and diamond higher than my 8 wins the pot. Too bad it wasn't the 5!
It's checked to me and I bet 1260 forcing him all-in if he's got it. He folds. I win 1260.
We're down to three players, and I'm in third about 1000 chips behind 1st and 2nd. I get Qs-Js in the small blind of 60.
I call and all three of us are in the pot. The flop is Qd-Jh-8s. Great! Unless someone has 9-10.
I check and one guy opens with 180. I call, the third guy folds.
The turn is the 4c. Good, doesn't help anyone.
I check, he bets 540, I don't think he's got it and I raise to 2160, he goes all-in and I call.
He turns American Airlines. Sucks to be him.
The Jc on the river fills my boat and gives me 5220.
I'm in first now on the big blind of 150 when I get ducks.
A guy in front of me goes all-in for about a third of my stack. I put him on overcards and call.
He had overcards, alright, they just happen to both be 6's.
The flop is 5h-7c-Kh. The turn is the 7h. The river is the 7d. He doubles up.
I'm about tied with first on the button when I get 7c-6c. I call the big blind and we're all in the pot.
The flop is 6d-9c-6h. Ain't that pretty? First guy bets 150, 2nd folds, I just call.
The turn is the 4d. No flush or straight yet. He bets 150, I raise to 300, he calls.
The river is the Th. Hmmm... now a 7-8 beats me. He checks. I bet 1350, and he calls. Uh, oh.
No problem, he's got just Kd-9s. I take in 4050.
I'm well in front in the small blind when I get 5's. I remember those. They're kind to me.
I raise to 400, get raised to 1200 and I re-raise him all-in. He calls.
Showdown and this time it is my pair vs. overcards: As-Jd.
The flop is Kc-Qh-Qs. Great, give him 4 more outs with the T's, thanks!
The river is the 4d. Good.
The turn is a harmless 2h. I win another 3540.
We're down to two and I've got a 2-1 chip advantage. I get 6h-6s and raise the big blind to 600. He goes all-in for 3380. I call.
Another pair vs. overcards. This time he's got As-Kc.
The flop is 4s-Ts-Tc. Good for me.
The river is the 2d. That doesn't hurt at all.
The river is the Qs, and that's it. Pass that $50 my way.
As we all know, getting sucked out on... well... sucks. We all read the bad beat stories and lament. We want to turn away, but like the horrible accident along the side of the road, we stand and gawk, in disbelief that such carnage is possible. Well, read on brave souls. I hope this warms your heart as much as it did mine.
Playing on UB today just to kill some time before work, .25 - .50 NL when this happens...More in this Poker Blog! -->
Hand #769112-15136 at Aibongo (No Limit Hold'em)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 02/Jan/04 13:29:50
TheRandall is at seat 0 with $51.85.
BigPeter is at seat 1 with $25.
Compu-Kraut is at seat 2 with $26.30.
sonvolt is at seat 5 with $19.25.
The button is at seat 5.
TheRandall posts the small blind of $.25.
BigPeter posts the big blind of $.50.
TheRandall: Th Td
BigPeter: -- --
Compu-Kraut: -- --
sonvolt: -- --
Compu-Kraut folds. sonvolt folds. TheRandall raises
to $1.50. BigPeter re-raises to $2.50. TheRandall
Flop (board: 6s Tc 5d):
BINGO! WHAT A GREAT FLOP. MY SET - TOP SET BY THE WAY - AND NOT MUCH ELSE.
TheRandall bets $5. BigPeter raises to $10.
TheRandall re-raises to $35. BigPeter goes all-in for
$22.50. TheRandall is returned $12.50 (uncalled).
Turn (board: 6s Tc 5d Ad):
(no action in this round)
River (board: 6s Tc 5d Ad Qc):
(no action in this round)
TheRandall shows Th Td.
TheRandall has Th Td Tc Ad Qc: three tens.
BigPeter shows Qh Qs.
BigPeter has Qh Qs Tc Ad Qc: three queens.
Hand #769112-15136 Summary:
$1 is raked from a pot of $50.
BigPeter wins $49 with three queens.
Ok, yeah that sucks. I'm a 91% favorite after the flop and a 95% favorite after the turn.
But then, three hands later, this happens:
Hand #769112-15139 at Aibongo (No Limit Hold'em)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 02/Jan/04 13:31:28
TheRandall is at seat 0 with $27.85.
BigPeter is at seat 1 with $48.
Compu-Kraut is at seat 2 with $25.30.
sonvolt is at seat 5 with $20.25.
The button is at seat 2.
sonvolt posts the small blind of $.25.
TheRandall posts the big blind of $.50.
TheRandall: 5h Ks
BigPeter: -- --
Compu-Kraut: -- --
sonvolt: -- --
BigPeter calls. Compu-Kraut calls. sonvolt folds.
Flop (board: Kh Kc Td):
TheRandall checks. BigPeter bets $.50. Compu-Kraut
raises to $1. TheRandall re-raises to $5.25.
BigPeter calls. Compu-Kraut folds.
Turn (board: Kh Kc Td Kd):
TheRandall bets $.50. BigPeter raises to $14.75.
TheRandall goes all-in for $22.10. BigPeter calls.
River (board: Kh Kc Td Kd Js):
(no action in this round)
TheRandall shows 5h Ks.
TheRandall has Ks Kh Kc Kd Js: four kings.
BigPeter mucks cards.
(BigPeter has 6s Tc.)
Hand #769112-15139 Summary:
$1 is raked from a pot of $57.45.
TheRandall wins $56.45 with four kings.
HA!!! Never before and probably never again has retribution ever been so swift and so absolute. Oh and by the way, surprisingly BigPeter busted out a few hands later. I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.<-- Hide More
In the laid back, boxer shorts-wearing, beer-sipping, belly-button lint-picking world of online poker there's not a lot to get a low limit player's blood pumping anymore. After you play your first hundred no-limit tourneys, after you win a few and lose a few, after you jump up in limits before you should, you finally hit just about every situation worth breathing heavy over. It's about that time you start finding a little more interest in the boobies section of Fark.com
And then you finally hit a hand where it gets a little exciting.
Make no mistake, I am just a lonely husband in search of good times. I'm not playing for a wage. I'm not playing to pay the bills. I'm playing to maintain a big enough bankroll that I can keep playing. In the sad, sad world of backroom, average whiteboy, online poker, I am a desperado of low-limit nothingness. Or something like that.
Sometimes I play smart. Sometimes I play carelessly. You tell me what happened in a cheap no-limit game last night.
On the button, I draw pocket nines. The pot is raised to $2.50 before it gets to me. I make it $5. Small blind calls as does the original raiser. Then, glory be, I flop a set. Of course, the flop could be prettier...7, 8, 9 with two hearts.
BB bets out at $5. Raiser makes it $10. And I'm looking at a set.
So, I actually think for once. Instead of measuring my navel-depth with a beer bottle, I consider what's happening.
The original raiser raised in middle position, then called a re-raise. I figure him for a high pair. Jacks, probably. My set has him beat, but a ten on the turn or river beats me.
BB bet out $5 on the flop after calling a raise and re-raise. I figure him for a Ace high flush draw. I got that beat, but fear another heart.
So, I've got a set against what I believe is a high pair with a straight draw and a ace high flush draw. There's about $30 in the pot.
I'm all in. $35 give or take. I figure the flush draw will fold and the high pair will call.
Not exactly. Flush draw calls. High pair folds (queens, as it turned out).
And that's where my heart actually started pounding. Flush draw turns up A3h. There's more than $90 in the pot.
It actually felt good, my heart playing "Whole Lotta Love" on my rib cage.
Or something like that.
It felt worse when a heart hit. And it felt worse when nothing else paired and my set lost to the flush.
So...I'm looking for the geniuses out there. The rounders. The, um, people who actually live within driving distance of a brick and mortar poker room.
Would you have made the same play?
Replies get the actual beer-bottle navel depth answer.<-- Hide More
It started out poorly. I played terribly in a $20+2 ten person SNG. I busted out in 9th place. And it was an ugly bust out. I played poorly. Next was a $10+1 ten person SNG and it was going poorly. Somehow I caught some cards and managed third place, $20. I also doubled up at the .10-.25 NLHE table, $12 profit.
But the big one was the $30+3 six person SNG. Finished first, running roughshod over the other 5. (One guy accused me and 2nd place of colluding.) I took home $126 there. That's $66 spent, and $158 won for a profit of $92 in just an hour.
Feeling so good, thought I'd stay up and post some interesting hands from recent play:More in this Poker Blog! -->
No Limit Hold'em, 9 players, $.10-$.25 blinds
I'm UTG when I get As-Kh. I raise to $.50 and get two callers.
The flop is 4c, Qh, Kd. That's a great flop for me. I bet the pot, $1.60 and get one caller.
The turn is the 9s. It doesn't change anything. I bet $2.50 and he calls.
The river is the 5d. There's no flush, no straight, no boat. I've got top pair with the best kicker, and a pair of A's isn't likely. Unless he's got a set or two pair, I'm gold.
I push him all-in for his last $3.20 and he calls. I show my As-Kh, and he shows Qc-Th. What the hell? He spent about $8 on second pair?
I raised pre-flop, and bet the pot on each card. What did he think I had?!? Anyway, works for me.
No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go, 10 players down to just 7, 15-30 blinds
I'm on the button when I get Ah-Ts. I just call the big blind and three of us will see the flop.
It comes 7c, 7s, 7d. Hmmm. Wish I had a pair. Any pair. It's checked to me and I bet 90 and the really big stack calls me.
The turn is the Tc. Hmmm. That's a boat. He checks, I bet 270, he calls. Good.
The river is the 3s. Hmmm. Not likely to help him. If he's got J's or Q's or K's or A's or a 7, he's doing a great job slow-playing me.
He checks, I go all-in for 890 hoping on one hand he calls, and on the other he folds. He doesn't call. Not only does he fold, but he shows me 2c-Td!!!
He had an almost 2-to-1 chip lead over me and he folded the best boat on the board?? Works for me.
No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go, 10 players down to just 6, 30-60 blinds
Otis is in late position when he sees Cowboys in his pocket. He raises to 120 and gets three callers.
The flop is Jc, 9c, Ts. Not the best flop for Otis. It's a straight flop and a flush draw.
There's two bettors in front of him, including one who goes all-in. Otis raises big to force the other caller out and it's showdown time.
Otis shows his Kh-Kc and the other guy has 3h-Qh. He's on a straight draw with only 6 outs (Otis has the other two K's). At this point, Otis is a 78% favorite.
The turn is a meaningless 6c. Otis is now an 88% favorite.
You know where this is going. The river not only fills the straight, but it's the Kd. The third K. Tough beat.
No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go, 10 players down to just 4, 50-100 blinds
I'm on the button, in last place in chips, when American Airlines lands in front of me. I raise to 450 and get one caller.
The flop is 8h, 7c, 8d. He checks, I go all-in and he calls.
It's showdown time and my As-Ah is going up against his Ac-Js. Yes! I'm a whopping 98% favorite! I might as well start reaching for the chips.
The turn is the Th. No problem. He needed running J's to beat me. Whoa... where'd that straight draw come from. Suddenly, I'm just a 91% favorite.
Again, you guessed it. The 9d on the river. The miracle running flush. I'm busted in 4th, just out of the money. Ouch.
No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go, 10 players down to 9, 5-10 blinds
I haven't played a hand yet, but now I've got one, Js-Jc. It's raised to 55 in front of me and I call. Four of us will see the flop.
It brings Th, 6s, 9h. I like it. I've got an overpair and a running straight draw. Only the hearts scare me.
I bet 230 and two players after me go all-in. Huh!??! Damn. It's early, I fold, right? Guess I'll risk it, I'm that stupid.
Showdown time and I'm up against Ts-Tc and 8h-7h. How dumb am I? I called trip 10's and the nut straight with a straight flush draw.
I've got just a 3% chance here, and the 10's have just a 30% chance.
The turn brings the Jd. Hmmmm. Suddenly I'm up to a 12% chance!
And the river? Sorry, it's not the miracle J. It's a meaningless 4c. Why'd I call?
No Limit Hold'em, 10 players, $.10-$.25 blinds
I'm in a middle position with Ad-Js. I raise to $.50 and get two callers.
The flop is a beauty! Jd, As, Jc. Are there many better feelings than this? The only hand that beats me right now is rockets, and that's not likely.
I'm slooooow playing, so I check. $.25 is the bet and I just call. Three of us will see the turn.
It's the Qs. Harmless, unless there's a pair of Q's out there. $2.35 is the bet and I call, the other guy folds.
The river is the Ah. Now the other A splits. Ugh. He goes in for his last $.20 and I call.
Show down time and he's got Tc, Kc. The Q on the turn gave him a straigth. That's why he suddenly bet into me. Works for me!
Recently, I made a change I hoped I would never have to make. One of the worst changes you can make in poker.
I'm moving down in limits.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I've been beating the 15/30 at PartyPoker for a few months (about 20,000 raked hands during that time period). I'd been doing very well -- playing tight, but aggressive [Boy, you didn't watch Rounders for nothing, did you? -- ed]. It's been lucrative -- I've built quite a bankroll there.
Then, about a month ago, all that changed. I'm just not a winner. Yeah, I have winning sessions, but I keep a close watch on my results. While it's still statistically possible that I'm just on a bad streak of cards, it looks like playing the 15/30 at Party isn't profitable for me anymore. In fact, my expected value seems to have dipped from more than 2BBs/hour to a slightly negative hourly reate.
How was I doing so well? Here's what I've come up with:
1. I was playing better. For some reason, I think I've started calling more. While check/calling has its merits against the occasional lone aggressive bettor when the pot is big, it's a skill that ought be used selectively. And by selectively, I mean rarely. But on the whole, I don't think that this is why my expected value has turned downhill.
2. Not focusing as much. When you do anything alot, the average focus that you bring to the game declines. I think some of that happened to me. I lost some focus sometimes, and that stuff adds up. In mid-limits poker with decent opponents, there's not much room for error. Poker is a negative-sum game, after all.
3. Tougher games. I think this is the reason. I moved up to the 15/30 right as the WSOP was getting televised on ESPN, and the games were pretty easy for awhile. Granted, I didn't see many idiots playing in the 15/30, but I think many people read the book, played a little, and then thought they were ready for some middle limits play. Sorry folks, it's a little harder than that.
So, now that the bad players have given up, the games have gone back to normal. I still think the 15/30 at Party is beatable (especially at certain times), but it takes more concentration than I want to give to it. After all, I like to read the news and talk on the phone while I play.
So, where do I go down to? I really don't know. I was playing the 5/10 at Party before I jumped to the 15/30. So I suspect I'm back to the 5/10. But it's gonna be rough making so much less than I did when I played 15/30. Oh well.
If you have any other thoughts on why the 15/30 might've gotten harder for me, let me know. Also, if anyone else has found that their online games have gotten considerably harder in the past month or two, let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks!<-- Hide More
Poker is exploding in America, and online poker sites like Ultimate Bet and Party Poker are now thriving. Made for TV poker has helped generate even more interest in the game, and those who wish to play often have no choice but to search online.
A graduate of Rice University recently got a chance to pick the brain of the CEO of another online poker site, TruePoker. Here's just a taste of the 20 questions, find the rest by going to Another Rice Grad.More in this Poker Blog! -->
1. What's your background? Where'd you go to school?
TruePoker CEO: My background is middle class, Southside in Chicago. Through a combination of lax admissions policies and some study, I got degrees from the University of Chicago, Georgetown, and Yale, in Public Affairs, Law and Management, respectively.
2. What business experiences did you have that led you to start an online poker site?
I tried to talk some friends out of doing so, but failed. Because I had represented casino and gaming clients as an attorney, they figured I was too vain and wasn't smart enough to turn down the job of CEO.
3. How long have you been playing poker?
About 30 years, with some breaks.
4. How did you learn to play?
Trial and error. I bought a book in 1971 which showed me the really slim odds of making a straight in 7 stud if even one of your first four cards doesn't fit.
5. I know you recently played a tournament on another online poker site (I won't say which one.) What games and limits do you play? Do you prefer tournaments or normal games?
No problem, I played a tournament with a group of posters from the Internet forum on www.twoplustwo.com, a tough crowd. These tournaments have been played on two sites, Truepoker and Poker Stars. I played on the other site, but not on ours. Otherwise, I rarely play online, except to check out the competition occasionally. I play some in Costa Rica and some in Las Vegas, strictly lower limit because I enjoy the game more than play only to win money.
6. What made you decide to open a poker site?
Some friends wrote this incredible 3D poker software and asked me to run the company when we went forward with real money operations in 2001. Our software was and still is unique in its 3D presentation, so we had a different look than anything else out there. Seemed a good marketing niche.
There are more fascinating questions and answers, so go read the rest!<-- Hide More