Saturday, January 29, 2005

Wish I had played this hand at PP today...

Would this have qualified for the BBJ?

Stage #79147062: Holdem No Limit $0.10 [2005-01-29 14:16:04]
Seat 2 - DSANCO $11.50 in chips
Seat 4 - DOGGIEDOG $8.38 in chips
Seat 5 - VVEGA $10.75 in chips
Seat 6 - TXANGEL1224 $25.55 in chips
Seat 8 - Me $50 in chips
Seat 9 - TWODOLLAR926 $11.50 in chips

*** BLIND [dealer 8] ***
TWODOLLAR926 - Post small blind $0.10
DSANCO - Post big blind $0.25
Me - Pocket [10c,10d]
DOGGIEDOG - Calls $0.25
VVEGA - Folds
TXANGEL1224 - Calls $0.25
Me - Raises $0.25 to $0.75
TWODOLLAR926 - Calls $0.65
DSANCO - Calls $0.50
DOGGIEDOG - Calls $0.50
TXANGEL1224 - Calls $0.50

*** FLOP [3s,10h,9d] ***
TWODOLLAR926 - Checks
DSANCO - Checks
TXANGEL1224 - Checks
Me - Bets $1
TWODOLLAR926 - Folds
DSANCO - Calls $1
DOGGIEDOG - Calls $1
TXANGEL1224 - Calls $1

*** TURN [3s,10h,9d,9s] ***
DSANCO - Checks
TXANGEL1224 - Checks
Me - Bets $1
DSANCO - Calls $1
DOGGIEDOG - Calls $1
TXANGEL1224 - Raises $1 to $2.25
Me - Calls $1.25 (I put her on trip 9's, and figured she read me for an overpair)
DSANCO - Calls $1.25
DOGGIEDOG - Calls $1.25

*** RIVER [3s,10h,9d,9s,5c] ***
DSANCO - Checks
TXANGEL1224 - Bets $5.25
Me - Raises $5.25 to $16.25 (As I thought about the size of the bet, I figured her for T9, playing the lower boat, and figured she'd call the bet)
DSANCO - Folds
TXANGEL1224 - All-In(Raise) $11 to $21.55
Me - Calls $5.30 (I am literally saying out loud, "I have the Mortal Nuts - I can't be beat!)

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Me - Lost mucks

*** RESULT ***
Total Pot($59.85:$59.85,$0) Rake ($2.95)
Board [3s,10h,9d,9s,5c]
DSANCO - Folded on the RIVER
DOGGIEDOG - Folded on the RIVER
VVEGA - Folded on the POCKET CARDS
TXANGEL1224 - Total ($56.90) All-In HI:($56.90)Four of a kind, nines [9c,9h - B:9s,P:9h,B:9d,P:9c,B:10h]
Me - HI: [Lost mucks]
TWODOLLAR926 - Folded on the FLOP

Lost 1/2 my buy-in on that one. Honestly, I'm not good enough to sniff out that hand and lay down the top end of the boat. I'm just glad she didn't have more chips to bet, or I'd have been tapped. I just couldn't get away from it.

So would this have qualified for the BBJ at Party? Say yes, so I can feel even worse about it....

Friday, January 28, 2005

Pocket Pairs Pay Premiums… Ponight…?

Alliteration aside, the deck really smacked me in the face tonight. My pocket pairs are paying off big at the PS $1/$2 table. First hand was 77, flopped trips, turned the boat.

A few hands later was 33. Turned trips, rivered the boat. Paid off with a $35 pot. Two hands later was TT, flopped trips, turned quads. Paid off with a $20 pot.

In my first orbit, I had doubled up on my $40 buy-in.

Earlier this evening, I played the .25 NL game at AP. Friday’s are always wild and wooly, and this was no exception. The perfect game for the tight, aggressive player (hint, hint, click my banners and sign up and get your 35% bonus to boot!). Nobody had bought in for the maximum of $50, so I just bought in for $20. Two hrs later, I left with $80. Just sat tight, played aggressively when I had cards, and they'd just call me down with anything. It's wierd, raising did nothing to drive them out; in fact, it seemed to chum the waters. Everyone was looking to hit the home run. My big pots all had 2 or more other people in them that went all-in.

Yep, that fishy.

Just an update

My streak of winning NL sessions at PS stopped last night, so this morning I logged on and joined a .5/1 limit game. A couple hands in, I dropped the hammer and caught runner-runner 2 pr to win. They seemed to take it with the proper humor:

Dealer: Game #1136947154: BigSlickNut wins pot ($10.50) with two pair, Sevens and Deuces
BigSlickNut: lol
3rdEye: haha
Paroli811: hahahahahaha
BigSlickNut: hammer!
3rdEye: the hammer
3rdEye: what is it,
BigSlickNut: yeah
3rdEye: awesome site
Dealer: Game #1136948292: natediggs wins pot ($3.25)
BigSlickNut: just having a little fun
3rdEye: you should have taken a screen shot
BigSlickNut: talk about your great runner runner bad beats....

This was a great table. Nearly everyone was playing predictable poker. Easy to put them on hands. Only one guy bluffing his ass off, and I got to cut him off twice. Unfortunately, my RoadRunner connection went down again in the middle of it (a recurring problem for which we have had technicians out 4 times already). I had been there only 25 minutes and was already up over 16BBs

Damn you, Bright House Networks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

I'm a Blind Squirrel

I had one of those nutty days where I was up and down all day, and did some crazy, nutty, (ok, dumb) things and got away with them.

I decided I had enough of a bankroll to try .50/1.00, so I popped in and picked up a quick $7.00 while waiting for a seat on the NL table to open up. Tnen, I dropped my $10 buy-in in half the time I had won the previous $7. I prefer to switch tables when I drop a buy-in, so I did and managed to make it back in a decently long-ish session.

Later in the day, I went back to the NL table and dropped my buy-in again. So, I figured today wasn't my day for NL and decided to move back to the .50/1.00 table. I was pretty card dead for 45 minutes or so, and dropped about half of my $20 buy-in. Then, I started to get my hands, and my lousy table image paid off as people called me down. I managed to walk away with $36 profit.

In the evening, I went up to 1.00/2.00 and splashed around some more, dropping $17 back on a loose, aggressive table. I wasn't feeling it, and left. Then, following my idiot tendencies and looked for a passive table ... at 2.00/4.00.

I know 2/4 is chump change for most of you, but it's big money to me. I popped in and picked up QTo in MP:

Stage #77760620: Holdem Normal $2/$4 [2005-01-25 20:08:25]
Seat 1 - KOSOVA $90 in chips
Seat 2 - PRINTJAZZ $52.34 in chips
Seat 4 - ZAXSAN $97 in chips
Seat 5 - TURBODIESEL $100 in chips
Seat 6 - TORCH2002 $165 in chips
Seat 7 - Me $40 in chips
Seat 8 - BIFF2 $138.25 in chips
Seat 9 - UNLIKELY34 $10.50 in chips
*** BLIND [dealer 1] ***
PRINTJAZZ - Post small blind $1
ZAXSAN - Post big blind $2
TURBODIESEL - sitout (wait for BB)
Me - Post $2
Me - Pocket [10c,Qs]
TORCH2002 - Calls $2
Me - Checks
BIFF2 - Calls $2
UNLIKELY34 - Calls $2
KOSOVA - Calls $2
PRINTJAZZ - Calls $1
ZAXSAN - Checks

*** FLOP [4c,9s,Jh] ***
ZAXSAN - Bets $2
TORCH2002 - Folds
Me - Calls $2 (Open-ended straight draw on a rainbow board getting 8:1 on my money - Hello!)
BIFF2 - Folds
UNLIKELY34 - Calls $2
KOSOVA - Raises $2 to $4
ZAXSAN - Raises $2 to $6
Me - Calls $4 (I had to think hard about this; I'm up against overpairs, two pair, or trips, but I'm getting 6:1 on my $4; I had to make the call)
UNLIKELY34 - Folds
KOSOVA - Calls $2

*** TURN [4c,9s,Jh,8c] *** (BINGO!)
ZAXSAN - Bets $4
Me - Raises $4 to $8 (I thought about slow-playing my straight, but I wasn't going to give anyone a free card on their draws, nor did I want to get hung up in another 'monkey-in-the-middle' when I could still be beat. I may have given up some bets, but since Kosova didn't cap the betting previously I figured he was weak and wouldn't raise anyway.)
KOSOVA - Calls $8
ZAXSAN - Calls $4

*** RIVER [4c,9s,Jh,8c,10h] *** (Could be bad for me - now I can be beat by KQ or split with any other Q)
ZAXSAN - Checks
Me - Bets $4
KOSOVA - Calls $4
ZAXSAN - Calls $4

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Me - Show cards [10c,Qs]
KOSOVA - Lost mucks (Timeout)
ZAXSAN - Lost mucks

*** RESULT ***
Total Pot($70) Rake ($3)
Board [4c,9s,Jh,8c,10h]
KOSOVA - HI: [Lost mucks]
PRINTJAZZ - Folded on the FLOP
ZAXSAN - HI: [Lost mucks]
TORCH2002 - Folded on the FLOP
Me - Total ($67) HI:($67)Straight, eight to queen [10c,Qs - P:Qs,B:Jh,B:10h,B:9s,B:8c] (Hence the reference in the headline of this post - a blind squirrel found a nut!)
BIFF2 - Folded on the FLOP
UNLIKELY34 - Folded on the FLOP

So, now I have my deposit for Pokerstars so I can play in the WPBT and make my contribution to the prize pool that Otis or G-Rob or Iggy or anyone else but me will win. See you there!

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I need some feedback on this hand...

$12 SNG Satellite to AP's $100 WSOP Satellite. I had been very tight up to this point, only playing maybe 2 hands:

Stage #70536109: Holdem Single Tournament No Limit $20 [2005-01-22 23:56:19]
Seat 1 - BB12 $400 in chips
Seat 2 - GOLDSPIKE $1635 in chips
Seat 4 - DONWAND $970 in chips
Seat 5 - UKCATJJH $2870 in chips
Seat 6 - MIRAGE666 $1540 in chips
Seat 7 - TRWINNER $3235 in chips
Seat 8 - VHOCKEY66 $1075 in chips
Seat 9 - Hero $1775 in chips
*** BLIND [dealer 5] ***
MIRAGE666 - Post small blind $20
TRWINNER - Post big blind $40
Hero - Pocket [Qs,Ad]
VHOCKEY66 - Folds
Hero - Raises $40 to $160
BB12 - All-In(Raise) $160 to $400
UKCATJJH - Calls $400
MIRAGE666 - Folds
TRWINNER - Calls $360
Hero - Calls $240
*** FLOP [5d,10h,Qc] *** (Note: Main pot has ~ T1600 at this point)
Hero - All-In $1375 (I'm just trying to push out the KX's and straight-draws)
TRWINNER - Calls $1375 (Uh-oh, nothing I can do about it now)
*** TURN [5d,10h,Qc,As] ***
*** RIVER [5d,10h,Qc,As,10c] ***
BB12 - Calls
Hero - Calls
*** RESULT ***
Total Pot($4370:$1620,$2750,$0)
Board [5d,10h,Qc,As,10c]
BB12 - HI:One pair, tens [7d,8d - B:10h,B:10c,B:As,B:Qc,P:8d]
UKCATJJH - Folded on the FLOP
MIRAGE666 - Folded on the POCKET CARDS
TRWINNER - Total ($4370) HI:($4370)Straight, ten to ace [Ks,Jh - B:As,P:Ks,B:Qc,P:Jh,B:10h]
VHOCKEY66 - Folded on the POCKET CARDS
Hero - HI:Two pair, aces and queens [Qs,Ad - B:As,P:Ad,P:Qs,B:Qc,B:10h]

Ok, here's what I'm thinking: Other than checking on the flop and calling down whatever bets he makes on the turn (I've got to believe it would have been a significant bet with that straight and so much in the pot already), I don't see how I could have gotten away from it. Honestly, when he called, I put him on TT for trips, not KJ. I couldn't imagine the pre-flop call of 10X his blind with KJ. And to call for most of his chips with a straight draw on the flop... probably just about right mathematically, but I don't think I could have called for all my chips at this point in the tourney. Made a semi-bluff, perhaps, but a call...

I've gone over the scenarios in my head, and don't see how I could have helped losing a lot of money. If I had made a lesser (but still significant) bet of $400, he'd still have pot odds to call, and then he'd have put me all-in on the turn if I didn't do it to him first. Maybe if I had bet less and convinced myself he had trips before i pushed with my two pair...

Ah well, I could use some help. I think he shouldn't have played the hand PF, and got a lucky flop and made a great call. He picked up a monster against a playable hand. But, I probably missed something here, something that could have helped me get away from this.


Play at the AP .25 NL table continues to go well. I'm still buying in for the minimum.

Why, you ask?

Well, I win more money when I play from the minimum than when I do playing with the big stack. I think I get too loose and try to push people out too many times. Playing from behind, I'm forced to play tight, and my "aggressive" bets of 20-30% of my stack are small potatoes to the big stacks, so I get a lot of action. When I'm sitting on $50 and bet $3 on the flop, I get no action unless I'm up against a monster because they know it's going to be a big pot. I probably need to dial back a little and look for more information, do a little probing for weaknesss first.

Anyway, I've had a couple of good nights rebuilding my bankroll, as I've read some others have also (it's a good thing these online games are all rigged, isn't it?). Most have been steady climbs all night. I'm playing fewer sessions, but I'm committing to longer session times. It's taking some of the variance down, I believe. I can sit for an hour and not play, then catch my rush, triple up, and sit for another hour.

Tonight was a different story, however. Man, I was up and down! It was wild. I finished up, at my pre-determined time, thankfully. I was giving alot of action with my strong hands, and I got action back. I lost about half of my tripled-up stack on a suck-out at one point. But, I was down to the felt twice and rebounded each time. The last time, I had about $5 left and picked up 77 in MP. UTG raised it $2.25, which he'd done all night when had weak, but playable hands. I raised all-in to shut out the people behind me, but that just chummed the water for the KK on the button.

Man, he was pissed when I flopped a 7. Kept telling me I was lucky and I should just admit it. I didn't give him the satisfaction, nor did I try to explain why I thought it was strategically sound given the situation with the UTG raiser. It's just unfortunate that KK was behind me. All I told him was that I made my move PF, so it's not like I tried to make a move on him. But, I wouldn't say I was lucky.

Until... I have AJ UTG and limp. Flo comes 79J, rainbow. SB checks and I bet $1.25, with 1 behind me. He folds. A 5 comes on the turn, putting two diamonds on the board. I bet $1.50, and the SB check-raises me $4.

I don't know, it didn't feel right. There were loads of hands he could have done that with (two pr, trips, a made straight), but if it were me I might not have played the check-raise that aggressively on the turn. I concluded he didn't want me to call, so I re-raised back to make it $8 to go. He folded.

The guy from earlier chatted "[He] must have a big ****"

I just responded with, "Nah, just the luckiest guy at the table."


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Da' Home Game Report

No money in this series of winner-take-all freeze-outs for me, but I was satisfied with my play. I didn’t let anyone run over me, and when I went out I had gotten my money in with the best hand. Suck-out specialist Mark drew to an inside straight for all his chips and hit it to beat my pocket kings; and joeboddy made the tough, but correct, call when he called my all-in to catch one of his 13 outs to beat my 2 pr.

As I said, I was generally pleased with my play and would have liked to stay longer, but family obligations tomorrow dictate that I be fresh as a daisy.


I’ve agreed to write an article for a poker forum,, about poker from the perspective of a low-limit, poor discipline player. I figure that the world has enough strategy articles by the mid-limit and professional players, but none that describes the experience for those of us that play the game for the fun and challenge even though we’re hopelessly ill-equipped to win in the long run. It remains to be seen if they actually publish it, but I had my choice between $15 or a link to my blog. Like a good blogger, I chose the link. I’ll post when I know if it gets posted at their site.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

"It was the best of times..."

... and, yeah, that's pretty much it - it was the best of times.

After my cash in the MTT (a whole $10!), I waddled my fat butt into the .25 NL table and plunked it down for the minimum buy-in. I told myself I was going to play a classic tight-aggressive games. No tricks, no fancy business, just straight-up poker.

I left 2 1/2 hrs later with over $67.

Guess that tight aggressive stuff works.

It was a really tight table for the first hour. I mean tiiiiight. It squeaked. Almost no PF raising, and an incredible amount of folding to the blinds. I did not change my strategy and loosen up. I figured I'd just park it and play my game and make them play back at me if they wanted my money. I cannot tell you how many great hands I flopped that were folded back to me when I'd made a measly $.50 bet. Yeah, I did a little stealing, but I didn't push it. I managed to get my share of cards, and had a couple people that came with me a couple times, thankfully. I was aggressive, but I wasn't pushing all-in. A couple of them chose to, but I always had the best hand when they did. I took no major loss, just built my stack steadily. My biggest pots were a $13 and $20 pot. Other than that, it was a buck here, 3 bucks there. Even though the table changed over a couple times while I was there, I kept steadily building. I finally had to leave to pick my daughter up from school.

So, what I'm taking from today is that I need to be rested and focused on playing my A game. I can't play hours and hours every day. I need to treat the game serious, because most of the others at the table are treating it serious.

So, no poker tonight. I'm getting a good night's rest. I may go to da' home game tomorrow night.

I should probably take more breaks....

... because I managed to break-through in an MTT today.

It was a promotional freeroll, using 1000 reward points, at AP. Requiring that many points helped restrict the field to only 148 players. A good test, but not a total crapshoot.

I was late to start and had already lost one set of blinds. I splashed around a little early, went down to about T1000, then managed to catch some good pot-odd type of hands that paid off. I was one of the chip leaders early, but bluffed off about half my chips. I put the guy on a draw, tried to push him out, but he called and hit his flush on the river. Then, I took a bad beat and was crippled back to T1000 just before the first break.

Great, I haven't learned a thing.

I managed to pick up enough big cards to recover back to an above average stack during the next orbit and breathed a sigh of relief. I didn't really get lucky, I just managed to play my cards well - the table tightened up but I stayed aggressive with playable hands.

After the break, I knew I had to overcome my leak of playing too aggressively, trying to set myself up to compete. I tightened up for a while, and slowly built a nice stack until I was table leader. I managed to make the cash in great shape, but after the second break the REAL chip leaders got moved to the table. Because of all the big stacks, I was about 6th at my table, even though I was above-average. At this point, I decided to play to win and got aggressive. I stole a couple thousand with a big raise on the flop with second pair. A couple hands later, though, big stack drew out on me. I had AJs, and the flop came 68J, with 2 spades. I bet about T4000 again, about 1/2 my stack, and he called. This was a bad call, but I think he figured he got bluffed out a few hands earlier and he was going to hang on. Turn was a 9h. I was putting him on a flush draw, not a straight draw, and pushed. He called and turned over 67 offsuit. A straight draw, but to the ignorant-end.

Of course, he rivered a 10 and there I was with 16th place and $10 for my 2 hrs of work. I really thought I could make the final table with that hand, but at least I still get to keep that as my goal for next time. Initially, I couldn't believe the call after the turn, but as I analyzed it afterward, I saw that he had the proper odds if he put me on TPTK (although, with that board, he should've put me on the straight). He had 13 outs, and the T5000 or so that I pushed juuuuust about right for him to make the call. It's that call after the flop that's bugging me.

I was pleased with my play. I can't think of a single hand I got lucky on that put a bad beat on someone - I was usually ahead with my money in the pot, except for my occasional bluffs. That one bluff that got picked off was my only real mistake, as I see it. On my last hand, I had the best hand even if my read was off a little, so I was pleased that I got all my money in with it. All of my draws were played only if I had the correct pot odds. I changed gears periodically, which seemed to keep people off-balance.

So, I consider it a breakthrough, and I'm looking forward to taking another shot at it.

PS: It's been about a week since I whored myself for AP, so if you want to take advantage of some of the weakest MTTs and best bonuses, click my banners. If I can make the money, think about what you can do.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

"You're watching Indian tradition here at its finest, folks!"

Because the Indians have a long tradition of carrying cash into a casino and dumping it out on a poker table like NBA players in a titty bar.

Way to go, Mike Sexton, on the culturally insensitive remark of the year on WPT. Yeah, I know the Foxwoods broadcast was a repeat, but I remember bursting out in laughter the last time I heard it.

Not that the Indians are going to complain, with the way they are making money hand over fist at these places.


Not much poker the last few days. Taking a self-enforced break. I was feeling a little burned-out. I was card dead for about 2000 hands, and I combined that with come bad play (trying to force matters). The last dead period, I was pleased with my play because I had stayed disciplined. This time, I didn't. So, I'll take a little break until I'm ready and rested to come back fresh and ready to play one hand in five.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Hammer Rules

Notched another win with the hammer tonight, but for the first time I was downright obnoxious about it. Flopped a 2, kept pushing, and the poker gods took care of me with another 2 on the river. Gave them a big "HAMMER!" & "LOL" in chat.

Then, I did my happy dance. Online poker is cool. Sometimes, I'm glad it's rigged.


So, how are you all playing it? I don't play it every time I get it. Only if I'm first to bet, and I always raise. Then, if I get a piece of the flop, I'll bet it like aces, but if not, I just check and fold.

Suggestion for bloggers... has activated their webmail. While I don't have any plans to use it yet, I popped over there and secured my blog name, '', just to keep someone else from hijacking it and using it in the poker community. Even if you don't have plans to use it, and don't really care about, it might be prudent to secure your preferred names just to keep others from doing so.

I also read where they were going to start hosting blogs. I didn't see the link, but I've got to imagine they aren't going to be allowing advertising that isn't their own so alot of us affiliate whores wouldn't want to go over there. But, I see it as another indication of the power of blogging when the traditional media begins embracing blogs.

If anyone else knows if they have their blog client working yet, please let me know. Again, I just want to secure my name, and maybe set up a referral site to this one.

PS: Does anyone have the balls to go get "" and start e-mailing people about the stupidity of the hammer? ;-)... I know I don't...

Pet Peeves

I used to not care too much about the way people rip the pro players on the various forums, but for some reason it's starting to annoy me. The forum at is ticking me off right now - it's like the posters believe they hafta have a thread bashing people at CP if there's one at 2+2.

Anyway, I started calling people on it. Maybe a little more aggressively than I normally would, but no name-calling. Just a little sarcasm. Like thanking them for posting their feelings about Mike "The Mouth" Matusow's behavior at the WSOP 8 months after the event and 4 months after the broadcast.

Or, as in the Negreanu-Duke case, posters calling Duke all sort of trashy names because DN called her out on RGP 2 yrs ago for her behavior, as though the poster themself was the wronged party. And also (redundant, I know, but I tend to be when annoyed), pointing out that DN now says he is embarassed by his own comments and has apologized privately.

I guess I don't understand why people want to keep dredging up this stuff - everything that could possibly be said about them was said waaaay back when those events took place. I'm not saying people aren't entitled to call these pro's out for their behavior, but once the event and subsequent discussion are over... it should be over. Why continue, unless they feel that by tearing down someone else they make themselves feel better?

Anyway, just waging my own personal battle to raise the level of discussion on these forums a bit. I know it's a losing battle and there's more of them than there are of me and someday one of them will take the time to point out my own hypocrisies (of which, there are many). But, I never drop to their level with the name-calling, but I do my best to shut them down by holding up a virtual mirror.

I guess I'm Don Quixote, and this is my personal windmill.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Moving on…

Back to my favorite subject – me.

Played some MTTs tonight. First was a freeroll. I liked the way I played, made top 50, but I got crippled right after the break (as usual), and then got placed at the same table as the Big Dogs. Pretty soon, the only move open to me was all-in, and I took it with QJ and got busted out 48th by a pair of 5's. But, I was still happy, it’s a tie for my best placement finish in an MTT up to that point.

Second was a $2 satellite to APs WSOP $100 satellite being held Sunday evening (just a plug for AP, I think you good MTT players ought to pop over to AP, the tourneys are fairly easy pickings, especially early levels, and for a seat in the WSOP... (yes, I’d also ask that you sign up through my banner! LOL)). Got to drop The Hammer to pick up $600 in level 3... uh... er...

Anyway, I said I was moving on, right?

So, I was able to hang on and was in good shape until I called an all-in for about ½ my stack when I had AKs. His J9o hit a 9 for the winner and I was crippled again. Managed to scramble to 32nd place (now, my best placement finish), but no cash or spot in the big satellite.


Anyway, I was pleased with my play and my patience, but I didn’t play perfect and saw things I should be able to improve. I selected quality hands to play (well, except for the Ham-... damn, I was moving on, wasn’t I?), and nearly always raised with them. I just got snapped back once or twice by hands that were slightly better, or sucked out by hands way worse.

But if it wasn’t for luck I’d win every hand… [snicker, har, har]

Some new links posted today

Check 'em out!

There's a new blogger, Just Another Fish, and an old blogger, The Cards Speak.

Also, an online version of the book, Poker: A Guaranteed Income For Life. It looks kinda dated, and I've only skimmed it and it appears to be focused on home games, but it's a free resource for poker strategy, and I'm all about the free stuff!

Finally, a link to the 72o: The Best Damn Hand site. Ahem. Not sure how I came across that one, did something happen in blog-land yesterday that brought that one across my desk?


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Reason for hope in a bad run of cards….

I just broke out of a really bad run of cards (Note: I didn't tell you while I was going through it, instead finding other things to write about - aren't you proud of me? LOL). In the last 3500 hands, the best starting hand I had was JJ. No AA, KK, QQ. Occasioanlly, Big Slick, unsuited – and it lost every time.

The good news about this run is that my stats are starting to come down to a more acceptable range. Remember, I don’t have PT, so I just rely on the stats that AP provides. In my first 3000 hands, I was seeing the flop 40% of the time. It didn’t help that I was playing mostly 6-handed, though. Playing just the un-raised blinds will get you 30% when you’re 6-handed. About this time, I started playing more NL, and the rate was down to 37% by 5000 hands. Today, at 8900, it is down to 32%.

While this is great (but still needs to come down more - 20% or bust! Literally!), it has given me comfort in this bad run to see that my win rates have stayed steady. I win 37% when I see the flop, and this stat has not wavered a bit. My showdown percentage improved slightly from 49% to 50%. So, I think it indicates that I’m on the right track for improvement, selecting my hands and opponents more carefully. I've heard these are acceptable numbers.

With regard to aggression, I’ve read that you want to be raising about 7.5% of the time. I’m not sure if this is only raises, or if it counts initial bets and re-raises. For raises only, I am at 4.5%. Including re-raises, it is at 6.3%. Initial bets are over 10%. I believe AP counts this as a percentage of total hands played, not just hands where I went to the flop.

So, if anyone can help enlighten me about the aggression numbers, I’d appreciate it. I believe I need to raise a little more often, but when you’re on the run I was on, it makes you gun-shy. I need to take a page from Iggy’s book and play at levels that allow to “play with impunity”.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

SirFWALGman gives me food for thought

SirFWLAGman had a post earlier today where he talks about why he blogs and what he brings to the poker community. I've been wondering the same thing myself. Maybe it's the New Year that has made everyone so contemplative - time moving on, people moving up, people moving down, people is stasis.

I can say that I have never, ever stuck to any sort of journal or diary this long in my life. Even those teachers in high school that tried to require it as part of their "life skills" responsibility would have been sadly disappointed to discover that my wonderful journals were written the night before they were turned in at the end of the semester - after all, how hard is it to remember a few highlights and get them down on paper?

So, it has surprised me not only that I have stuck with it, but that I seem to have increased periods of posting frequency. I would have expected it to be the opposite. As I think about the "Why?" question, I realize that it's mostly selfishness. I like to belong to a poker community. My wife hates that I play, although she has come to the understanding that it is cheaper than golf (even when I'm losing). My home game buddies laugh at me - "You can't learn to get any better playing online!". So I guess I just do it to interact with those that appreciate it for the challenge and recreation it provides. By blogging, I get an outlet, and occasionally get a nice comment about my writing or about the fact that no one else blogs about the micro-tables. Those comments help me more than y'all know, psychologically. It's support I don't get anywhere else.

I don't have any illusions about my future in poker. I'm not disciplined enough to play my "A" game every time out, which is something that those of you that do this for a living have the ability to do. I also tend to play above my bankroll on occasion, but when you're talking about my total risk being my $20 deposit, it's not something any of us needs to be concerned about. I have a professional job that pays me enough that I could never take the cut in pay that I read some of the successful middle-limit players make. No offense, it's great that you can make a good living at something you love. But, I love my job also, I work with great people, and I make a comfortable living. So I guess until there is a "significant emotional upheaval" in my life to motivate me to think and act differently, this will be fine for me.

I guess if I have any dreams with regard to poker, it would be to have one of those miracle days where every card is just right, and win an entry to one of the big tourneys. That would be enough for me - the pinnacle. Getting to sling chips with the best and brightest.

For now, I'll settle for providing some micro-limit discussion and the occasionally entertaining piece of blog. I've seen that my traffic is slowly increasing, so being the selfish bastard that I am, I feel good.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Believe it or not, I took a bad beat with The Hammer

Yeah, I wasn't going to tell bad beat stories, but this one was so funny I couldn't resist telling on myself.

This evening, I picked up The Hammer in MP and raised it 2X the blind. I got one caller. Flop comes picture card, 3, and a 2. Check, Check, and the turn brings another 2. I bet 1/2 the pot. River brings a 4. Again I bet out about 1/2 the pot - I want to be called, I want to show this hand for advertising. He raises me. Shit, did he pick up a boat? I go in the tank and figure, no way, he's the big stack and he's trying to bully me out of my pot.

Bad read. He had A5 and rivered a straight.

Never heard of anyone taking a bad beat with the Hammer? Well, it probably doesn't even qualify to some people since it wasn't the best hand PF. But, it WAS the best after the flop and on the turn.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Without a doubt, some of the finest Poker reporting I've seen

If you aren't already aware of it , Otis has been reporting on the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tournament from the Bahamas this week. I believe he might be working a freelance assignment directly for PokerStars, but I could be wrong. Regardless, this is some of the most professional poker reporting I've ever seen - makes those Cardplayer folks look like hacks (no offense to to you guys, but Otis' stuff is just a step above, ya know?). Not only do we get the nuts and bolts of chip counts and bust-outs, but he does a fantastic job of finding and delivering on the human interest side of the tourney. Anyway, if you haven't checked it out yet, do so at the link in the title of this post.

Truly a tour de force.


As we all know, Otis has won an entry for himself into the Party Poker Million Tournament. It is presumptuous of me to say so since I’ve never played with the man nor know him in any way, but let’s just assume he makes the final table. WPT interviews each of the players to get their thoughts and feelings to play as filler between those heavily edited hands. With that in mind, I thought I would take it upon myself to write up some suggestions for not-so-air-able comments:

1. Doyle Brunson is a legend, and there is no one I want to see finish second more than Doyle.
2. Negreanu is engaged? To a woman? How is Lindgren taking it?
3. I talked to the boys in the pen and they said Matusow really DOES have big testicles.
4. That Juanda guy never blinks – must be all the snakes they eat in the jungle over there.
5. Lederer told me I could call him Bub... Bub... Bub... it makes my mouth feel funny saying it... Bub...
6. Boy, I hope Phil Hellmuth wears a shirt to the table.
7. Hey, Shana, nice boobs!
8. Well, Vince, they call me Otis... nope, just Otis... no, not Big Bad Otis... no, not Otis-Potis... No, just OTIS...
9. Lemme give a shout-out to my peeps, Iggy and Al and Maudie and especially my runnin’ buddies – G-Rob and CJ... whaaaaassssuuuupp!!!
10. Well, let's face it, with a name like "Chip", did he really have any other choice for a profession?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Note to self: Must play the Lottery tonight!

Man, that's how well I've been running.

The deck is smacking me in the face, today especially. I am not getting many, if any, premium hands, but I'm catching what I need and, more importantly, when I need it. My discipline has been sound (more on that later) and I'll take the credit for it, but fate defintely played a role in today's SNG.

Oh well, I'd rather be the luckiest player at the table than the best, I suppose.

It was a little $2 NL SNG. I picked up AA on the second hand in late position. I pot-raised it, I thought to weed 'em out. Not happening, there were at least 4 callers in that pot. Flop came Q77, with 2 spades. I bet $200, I think to isolate the Q or flush out the 7. Two callers.

Turn brings a third spade, and now I really don't like my hand, not having a spade. Now is where discipline comes in. With the previous callers, no way do I have the best hand. I check, and it gets checked around. A 4th spade drops, and I have to give it up. So, before the first orbit is over, I lose half my chips.

Well, the blinds were still so low that I could afford to bide my time. I got a few decent cards, but after a bluff with an open-ended straight-draw that didn't complete I was down to $110 with 5 left. Blinds were 100/200, and I was in the SB. Obviously, I just called it in. I don't even remember the cards, but I wound up winning and tripling to $330. Good enough for one more orbit. I picked up KJo, which is way weak but with my stack and an upcoming blind, I couldn't afford to wait for better. I pushed it in and there were several callers. I take it down and suddenly I'm back to 1500 and I've laddered up a little.

From there, I play my way into the money with aggression, and wind up heads-up at a 2:1 disadvantage. We trade blinds for about 10 hands or so, then I start losing a few and go down to $1400 with 500/1000 blinds. Then I think he made a big mistake.

I was in the BB, so $1000 was already in the pot and he called, so I put the rest in with Q6. Might as well at this point, it was hopeless.

And... he folds??? WTF? He calls the $1000, but doesn't call the rest?

Anyway, that has me back at 3000, still bad off, but enough to get right back in it if I can win a showdown. Which I did. And then kept on winning them until I took it down. I couldn't believe it. I still can't.

Anyway, I'm having a decent run this week in the SNGs, except for foolish parlay I pulled trying to play a $10 SNG that I busted out of real quick. In 8 SNGs, I have 5 cashes, with 3 Firsts, and a second and third. Take out that $10 parlay, and I'm 5 of 7 cashes and 3 of 7 firsts.

Something for me to look back at read for support when the cards start turning on me again...

Making money the old fashioned way…

grinding it out. I’m still at it after 2 hrs, and right now I’m up over $20. One decent pot (+$8), and the rest have been small. I’m playing very tight, low risk stuff. Not much slow-playing to build pots, since I’m not feeling like taking risks – when I have the best hand possible at that moment, I make the other guy make bad calls with aggressive bets. And when I actually draw into something, I’ve been blessed with calling stations around me.

Earlier, I was thinking about how it’s counter-intuitive that being aggressive is actually a more conservative strategy. I didn’t feel like having big showdowns tonight. I wanted to win money, and never give it back. And it’s worked so far. Get a couple people in the pot, then prey on their fear to shut them out.

Even got to “use” the Hammer (as opposed to “dropping” the Hammer, which I think of as raising PF – I was BB and checked it in). Flop was A73, so I led out with a pot-size bet and took it down right there.

Oddly, though, I had very few premium hole cards. My best hole cards all night were JJ, (which I lost to trip Q’s in my biggest loss all night) followed by KJs. That’s it.

So, there was enough grinding going on that if it had been a lap-dance, well… let’s just say I’d have had trouble walking afterward – you know, lots of foreplay, but ultimately, no big climax.

[My mistake – there was a climax! I just picked up 77 in the BB, smooth called a decent PF raise to make it three to the flop. Flop comes 79Q, 2 diamonds. I check, raiser goes for the same amount, next guy goes all-in for about $5.90. I have him covered easily, so I re-raise to try to push out the original raiser. He goes all-in for over $20. I am DAMNED worried about trip Qs, but it felt like he was trying to push me off – so I called nearly all my chips. He turns over AA, next guy turns over QJ and picks up a J on the turn, but my trips hold on for the $66 win! My biggest win ever! Woo-hoo!]

Friday, January 07, 2005

Had to dig deep for it…

I had 3 good sessions at the NL tables last night, the first 2 interrupted prematurely by family obligations while still profitable. Needed them, as Wednesday was my first losing day at the NL tables this week.

In the second one, I managed to pull down a $27 pot, big for me. Had JTo in MP and decided to make the minimum raise just to set up a play in case I flopped a straight draw. Had, like, a million callers… lol… anyway, flop comes AKQ, giving me Broadway. I was stunned, not quite realizing what I had nor how to play it. I checked suits, figuring on slow-playing a rainbow or raising it up if there was a flush draw… Rainbow, whew!... I figure with the AKQ there'd be some action from the big cards and I was right.

The guy ahead of me bets the minimum, $.25. Pretty weak, I put him on a weak Ace. Never found out if I was right. I smooth-called my slow-play, which looked right since I had been pretty passive up to this point. A couple other callers, then the lady (although, on the web, who really knows for sure – after all, I could be a 63 year old Filipino, a 38 year old American… or a dwarf… no scratch that one, it’s already taken by Iggy) on the button went for over $6, about 2x the pot. I put her on KQo. Weak Ace folded, and since I had a little under $9 in front of me, I pushed all-in... and the guy behind me called? Where the heck did he come from? Must've been slow-playing something...

Anyway, the lady called also, so we had three-way action plus the PF bets in the pot and me holding the Nuts at this point in the hand. I feel good about getting all my money in with the best hand. Lady turns over KQo, exactly as I had called it, and the other guy had AJ. I could see both of their thinking, although the AJ was a little bit of a loose call with heavy action already going on in front of you. After all, with 2 big raises in front of you, you had to figure you were fighting made-trips at a minimum, so he really only had 4 outs - an inside straight draw. Would you call 90% of your stack on a 4-outer? But, I’m not complaining.

Anyway, the KQ on the board did not pair and no 10 came, so my straight holds up and no split pots. Fortunately, my kids called me away before I could give it all back.

The third session was where I had to dig deep. I bought in for my minimum $10 and got crippled in the first orbit on two consecutive flush draws that didn’t hit. After 45 minutes of play I was down to $1.40. I was falling asleep since I was totally card-dead and tired. I picked up QTo in LP and decided I was too tired to go on and pushed it in. Got called by another Q, but my kicker wound up being the top end of a 6-T straight. A couple hands later, I double up again when I pick up KhJh and raise it up to .75, then someone comes over the top with $4, so I have to go all-in since I didn’t have that much. Weak of me, and if I wasn't in a mood and so short-stacked I wouldn't have made the call. One caller comes in behind me, giving me the opportunity for another triple-up. I pick up a straight on the turn that wins the main pot, getting me back to just under $9.

Next hand, I pick up KK and the guy in front of makes it $2 to go. I decide against smooth-calling, not wanting to give any weak aces or drawing hands the opportunity to be in a pot that I know will involve this guy going all-in. Which he does, coming over the top and putting me all-in as well. Cards turn over and he has JJ, so I’m liking this right now. A couple Aces roll over on the flop, making me thankful for my aggressive bet to push everyone else out. Fortunately, the rest of the cards are harmless, and I double up again and finally get back to a profit.

As I said, I had been falling asleep (although that NL alarm clock had the usual results for this short time period), so I folded around to my blind and left before posting.

I love sessions like this. The big wins are fun, but it’s here where I wait it out and dig and make good plays to survive that show me what NL is all about – discipline, never giving up, fantastic opportunities to catch up and profit. I still enjoy my ring games and I try to play at least one session a day to stay on top of it, but I have to admit that I’m getting hooked on NL, even with the big variance. It’s just more fun, and a more creative game. I enjoy just watching the other players and dissecting their play and trying to put them on hands. I don’t need to play marginal hands because the rest of the players make it so interesting.

It remains to be seen if my attitude will still be as good after a prolonged dry spell.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Warning: I'm getting on my soapbox!

So, I'm ticked off. Big time.

I've noticed a trend in the SNGs at AP - Sitting Out until the money. And I don't think it's right, I don't think it should be allowed, and I have a suggestion to fix the problem.

First, some background: It is very possible to fold your way into the money at the SNGs at AP. I play super-tight, and I cash 75% in the micro-limit SNGs. But, I play. I get in there, give action when I've got the best of it, and fold when I don't. That's poker. I saw this crap occasionally at Pacific, especially with the short-handed games. But, the blinds usually increased fast enough that you had to get in there pretty quick. I never did it, but I saw it done.

But at AP, this crap happens all the time - every tourney. Unless play is so tight that the blinds get material before the final three, these people sit on their chips like chickens on eggs. I also see it happen whenever someone scores big early. They go into Sit-Out mode, waiting for the rest to bust out. I can see folding every hand if you want, but to me there's a difference in terms of sportsmanship between the two. It isn't right.

There's a couple ways to handle this: First, you can speed up the blinds to force the action. But that hurts everyone. Alternatively, you can do what they do in the MTTs - remove someone from the table for not playing in a specified period of time. In the MTTs, anyone not playing during the first level (15 minutes, I think), is removed. For SNGs, I'd like to see something similar tied to orbits or hands. For instance, if you sit out an entire orbit or two, you're removed. You don't necessarily have to play your hands, but you have to be a live player.

I had an SNG where I was in the final 3 and we had a Sitter. We decided to not play, and alternate stealing his blinds. The sitter waited a couple of orbits to see if we were serious and would follow through, then jumped in and surprised us during one of our steals and pushed all-in. Fortunately, we had him and he was out in that hand.

Pretty bad that we had to resort to collusion to combat this garbage. It takes a leap of faith to trust that someone won't screw you over by deciding to play when you're steal with 83o, also.

My problem with all of this is that it affects strategy and the actual results the other players experience. Today, I was down to 5 and on the short stack, but not in danger, but there were 2 Sit-Out-ers. Blinds were still low, I could fold also, but the big stacks weren't stupid, they were staying away from each other and pounding me. Eventually, I picked up a playable hand and went with it, busting out 5th when someone called me with a marginal hand.

How would this play out differently with 2 additional, SIZEABLE stacks in the game? Would there be as much stealing? Would the other two players go up against each other and the 2 jerks? Would the other 2 players call my all-in with 2 additional big stacks stillt o act behind them? What if the Sitters were live but intended to fold every hand, but picked AA on the button and decided to play, and someone with KK rivers trips to beat them? I think we all know the answers. These are game-changing scenarios that happen every day, and good sports stick around to play them out.

Fianlly, we aren't talking about big money here - This is a $.50 buy-in SNG, with $2.25 to the winner! WTF??? What are these people going to do with that cash, buy a Big Mac?

[BSN, with righteous indignation, steps down from his soapbox]

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Need some poker psychology help...

So, I'm having some issues with playing after when I'm up big on the session. The last few nights, when I've booked these big wins, all I want to do is get out of there. Obviously, this goes against general gambling advice, which is to keep playing as long as you've got the best of it. But, paradoxically, I become irrationally fearful of losing, and it affects my play. In the past, I've either completely shut down, refusing to play anything but a top 5 hand because someone MIGHT river out on me with rags; or I go nuts and play marginal hands. So now, I get real antsy and leave, not wanting to take chances (odd for a poker player, huh?).

I guess it's good that I recognize this weakness in my game and get out with a win. But, I've tried telling myself that I will play my game for X hours or Y hands and book what I book, and that hasn't changed my mentality. I also tell myself that I'm just playing with OPM and not to worry about it.


Anyway, I guess one way of looking at it is that it's a nice problem to have: dealing with a nice win. Better than dealing with a loss.

How do the rest of you approach this situation? Anyone have any advice for sticking with it and continuing to sling chips?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Holy Pocket Rockets, Batman!

Unreal. This NL run I'm on has been unreal.

Ok, it hasn't all been great. I had two buy-ins go bust earlier today, making my afternoons just barely below breakeven. But the morning and evening sessions have been highly profitable.

I was worried about tonight's table when I first got there. Very tight. I picked up AA on the second hand and made about a pot-size bet PF. Folded around to me. Ok, nice little pot, but definitely didn't get value out of them.

Then, the table started changing. One guy ran his roll from $15 to $75 in about 10 minutes, basically busting out the tighties. A group of big stacks came to the table, and I started seeing lots of second pairs winning - don't know how bad the other guy's cards were that they called these guys down, but I was encouraged by this development.

I was staring at 40% of my buy-in gone by this time after seeing hands like KQo get re-raised PF. Anyway, I managed to get to the flop with another KQo and hit the Q for top pair great kicker. EP bet out and it folded to me, so I raised him. He put me all-in, and I was pot committed and feeling OK about it. He was one of the guys that had been betting out with second pair, so I felt like I had him at that point. I called, and I was right about the second pair, and managed to hit my K on the river as an exclamation point.

Two hands later I pick up AA again. I raise pot-size again, thinking I'll get callers because most people seem to want to get after someone that just won a big pot, like maybe I'm feeling flush after my win and trying to gamble a bit more. I don't know, I don't understand that way of thinking but I'm happy it exists. I get a couple of callers and pick up a third A on the flop. EP again bets out, this time $2, a little over our PF bets. I raise it up to $6 and the button folds. EP calls. The turn is a blank, so I go all-in. He calls and it holds up. I didn't see what he had.

Two hands after THAT, I pick up AA AGAIN! Again, I am raising and getting called PF. Flop comes AKx. A different EP bets heavy at it. He has twice the chips I do. I'm thinking he picked up 2 pr. We raise it back and forth a bit until I'm all-in again. Yeah, he was really pissed at seeing those Aces again, especially since he had been betting at it with AK. Guess I was right about that 2 pair.

So, I booked a record session win for the third night in a row. My online roll is healthier than it's been in two months. My cash roll still makes me a losing player, though, but I'm saving my pennies until I can afford to get back to some cash games. Hopefully this will carry over.

I am loath to say that my play had anything to do with it tonight, except that I stayed out trouble in this last session and gave myself a chance to get those big cards. I will take credit for the skill to get all of my money in with the best hands, though. I am getting better at spotting people that are either playing badly or are greedy (some like to play in any big pot), and I'm managing to exploit them. I suppose that's the name of the game.

But still, AA 3 times in 38 hands.... I'd have to be a moron not to make SOME money with them. I know, the message boards are replete with people getting AA cracked all the time, but at least in NL you have the ability to protect your hand with big bets. It sure feels better than watching all those suck-outs in my ring games (where I am still losing money).

That NL alarm clock kept me awake tonight...

I'm having the most weird run since new year's. I can't win shit at ring games of any size, but I'm playing lights-out poker in NL. Broke yesterday's biggest session-win record a little while ago, despite getting my A-high flush cracked on the river by a full house (my fault, though, as I flopped it & then slow-played it; 2 out of 3 times that I play a hand straightforward and aggressive, someone goes with me to the river, so there really isn't any sense slowplaying).

I'm serious, though, about how weird this has been. I can normally count on winning the ring games, with SNGs and PL as my leaks. I could usually count on modest wins in NL as I played very conservative. I'm still playing conservative, but I've been very aggressive when I get cards (except for the flush I brain-farted on). I'm also playing so tight I squeak, so it surprises me every time someone calls my post-flop bets/raises. About the only thing I can attribute it to is that they see me fold to raises when I don't hit flops hard, so they seem to want to bluff at itty-bitty pots. I'm learning to let itty-bitty pots go; I want great big pots. Anyway, I'll throw a decent size raise out there, usually about pot size, but there always seemed to be one dude that wants to raise me and get me to fold. Since I have cards when I'm in there raising already, I pound back, and before they know it they're pot-committed and praying for a miracle.

Or, alternatively, they're trying to hit a monster flush, and seem to be unaware that I have purposely set out to destroy their pot odds with the size of my raises. Like TOP says, every time they make a mathematical mistake, I'm making money in the long run. They might suck out on me that hand, but that just makes it that much more likely they'll make that same bad call again later.

I did a little math tonight as well. I realized that in the .25 NL game, with the SB .10 and the min-buy-in at $10, I can see 28 orbits without ever playing a hand. At 9 hands/orbit, I can see 257 hands. That's alot of poker for $10, and it is easy to see why it makes sense to wait for big hands, as the odds are that you're going to get them. For instance, I think the odds of getting AA is something like 221 to 1. If I'm patient, on average, I WILL get big cards. Yes, sometimes big cards get cracked, but alot of the time they don't in NL because I'm better able to prevent suck-outs with big bets early in the hand for protection. So, multiply it by the other big hands you get dealt (KK, QQ, etc) and you can see that you'll actually get a decent number of hands to play for your $10. The trick is not to get caught calling too many second-best hands, like getting your QQ busted by a K that flopped. My attitude in NL is that if someone says they have it, and the pot isn't worth fighting over, they can have it. Like I said, I'll let them have the itty-bitty ones. Seems to get them calling and raising into me when I have the nuts, allowing me to more than make it up.

Anyway, since I've made a resolution to focus more on, and celebrate, the positive aspects of my play, I'll be posting more about the good days than the lousy beats. Hope they're more fun to read, because they're sure more fun to write about.

Monday, January 03, 2005

"It's Like An Alarm Clock In The Morning!"

Wish I could remember the name of the guy that posted this in the chat of the $.25NL game at AP, but I was too excited about doubling up (and busting a guy) with pocket threes that flopped a set. I had just typed in something like "Oh, so THAT's why everyone loves NL so much!", you know just trying to lighten the moment a bit since hands like that can really piss people off, even though I was ahead when I was betting - I didn't river the set.

Here's the big hand:
Stage #69620402: Holdem No Limit $0.25 [2005-01-02 11:27:46]
Seat 1 - REDHAWK13 $6.90 in chips
Seat 2 - POKERSEAL $77.05 in chips
Seat 3 - Hero $18.40 in chips
Seat 4 - BTWSHESHINES $11.50 in chips
Seat 5 - KOY $21.10 in chips
Seat 6 - AMB135 $12.95 in chips
Seat 7 - KURTYK $18.81 in chips
Seat 8 - PBLUNTMN $91.11 in chips
Seat 9 - MARTY777 $9.45 in chips
*** BLIND [dealer 7] ***
PBLUNTMN - Post small blind $0.10
MARTY777 - Post big blind $0.25
Hero - Pocket [3d,3c]
REDHAWK13 - Folds
Hero - Calls $0.25 (Nobody raised me after my bet, so their mistake was letting me in cheap with these cards. I normally fold low pairs to any PF raises, but I always try to limp in and flop the set.)
KOY - Calls $0.25
AMB135 - Calls $0.25
KURTYK - Calls $0.25
MARTY777 - Checks
*** FLOP [Jh,3s,5c] ***
MARTY777 - Checks
Hero - Bets $2 (I believe, rightly, I am ahead. I want to take it down now with the low cards, though)
KOY - Folds
AMB135 - Calls $2
KURTYK - Calls $2
MARTY777 - Folds
*** TURN [Jh,3s,5c,2d] ***
Hero - Bets $4 (Now, I am concerned about the possible straight/straight-draw. I am vulnerable and want to end this, so I represent my made hand even though it could be 5th-best possible at this point. I start praying for the board to pair.))
AMB135 - Folds
KURTYK - Calls $4
*** RIVER [Jh,3s,5c,2d,10d] ***
Hero - All-In $12.15 (I am still worried about the straight, but figure he's been calling me down with the J; I can push and he should call with no overcards. It should look like I hit my 10 for 2 pr on the river and he probably has the same.)
KURTYK - Calls $12.15
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Hero - Show cards [3d,3c]
KURTYK - Lost mucks (Never saw his cards, but I've gotta believe he had 2 pr to call that last bet. I'd been playing super-tight, I can't believe he thought I was on a bluff. Or, perhaps he had an overpair and thought I played top pair that aggressively.)

*** RESULT ***
Total Pot($39.65:$39.65,$0) Rake ($1.95) (Oh, my, that was a big rake compared to what I'm used to!)
Board [Jh,3s,5c,2d,10d]
REDHAWK13 - Folded on the POCKET CARDS
Hero - Total ($37.70) All-In HI:($37.70)Three of a kind, threes [3d,3c - B:3s,P:3d,P:3c,B:Jh,B:10d]
KOY - Folded on the FLOP
AMB135 - Folded on the TURN
KURTYK - HI: [Lost mucks]
MARTY777 - Folded on the FLOP

Ok, so in retrospect, I probably played this too aggressively with a hand that was vulnerable. But, I was just trying to take it down early and get out. So, I probably got lucky that a) he let me build a monster pot, and b) he didn't hit a higher trips.

Anyway, after that one, the table went nuts, and I made my comment, and that guy put it all into perspective with the 'alarm clock' comment. Beautiful.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Musings on New Year's Day: Was it the Moneymaker Effect... or the Farha Effect?

Every one talks about the current poker explosion being attributed to the Moneymaker Effect: An unknown amatuer internet qualifier taking down the big prize, showing that with a little luck and decent card skills, anyone is capable of winning the Main Event.

I am willing to give Moneymaker his due. He played well, and deserved to win. But, was the poker explosion that followed due to HIM, or was it equally (or more) due to his heads-up nemesis, Sammy Farha?

Perhaps the best way to start to examine this hypothesis is the ask some rhetorical questions to get the mind wrapped around this concept:

Would the heads-up final been as dramatic against a solid, but less-colorful, less-known player like Dewey Tomko?

Would Moneymaker have even tried his aggressive bluffs and loose calls heads-up with someone like Lederer or Greenstein?

What if Moneymaker beat someone that talked as much trash, like a Randy Jensen, but was Caucasian?

That last question is what started my thinking prior to writing this post. Put that match into context with what was happening in Amercian society at the time - US troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, fighting people that looked like... well, like Sammy.

Was that match a methaphor for Americans, accustomed to seeing it's Army on the news every night fighting Arabs, and now seeing slightly doughy accountant from Tennessee take on the wild Farha?

After all, just look at Farha that night: with the unlit cigarette dangling from his lips, and the sunglasses that he would put on from time to time, I swear the guy looked like Ming the Merciless. Every comment he made seemed to drip with condescension and arrogance. He was the perfect enemy, the perfect foil for Moneymaker the Everyman.

When I first saw the 2003 WSOP coverage, it was the first televised tournament I'd ever seen. While I enjoyed the occasional home game with the boys, not really understanding the game made it about as exciting as watching paint dry. As it turns out, I tuned in one night and just happened to catch it as Harrington was busting out. I was mesmerized by the evil-looking Farha, imagining him cheating vacationing grandmothers out of their social security checks with marked cards.

(Before Sammy's lawyers serve me with a slander lawsuit, I want to clarify that I said that was how he came across, not that he would actually do those things. I'm sure he's a nice man and I know he's an excellent big game player and no longer plays vacationing grandmothers unless they sit down with $100K or so.)

Anyway, you have to admit, Sammy was perfect - the perfect opponent for the perfect underdog at the perfect time in the perfect place. When Moneymaker first bluffed him out of that big pot, and then went all-in and sucked out on the river, Joe six-pack saw Sammy getting what was coming to him for being so evil-looking.

Going back to the questions I posed earlier, consider if it had been Dewey Tomko sitting opposite Moneymaker: We'd have seen a wonderful underdog story, but Dewey's a nice guy you would feel bad for; nobody felt bad for Sammy. No way does this scenario have the Hollywood-like impact of the actual events. Let's face it, if you were going to make a movie on April 1, 2003, you'd have made it exactly like what actually happened a few weeks later, with a Sammy-like antagonist.

Howard or Barry? Another great underdog story, but both men are so classy and nice (hell, with BG giving his winnings to charity anyway, you'd have felt really bad for him to lose) that we'd have seen some impact on poker, about as much as John Daly had on golf when he won his PGA title as an alternate, but then it would have been over. The aftershocks of the actual match are still being felt in the poker community.

And if it had been a Caucasian trash-talker like Jensen? Probably more compelling than if it had simply been of the big-name pro's, but I still believe that Sammy's look added that "IT" factor, something Randy Jensen could never and will never have. When I saw Jensen mouthing off at Greenstein, I saw a brat; when I saw Sammy patronizing Moneymaker, I saw Saddam Hussein dodging UN sanctions for 12 years.

Anyway, that's probably my first non-narcissistic post in this blog, and I'd be interested to hear what the rest of you think about my theory. Please feel free to comment, and please keep it respectful.