Monday, May 30, 2005

What I did on over the long weekend holiday...

  • Contracted with a network of spies in Vegas to provide this blog with exclusive paparazzi shots of your favorite bloggers next weekend. Expect a photo-post on Friday. I even offered a bonus for the first-time-ever-published full-body photo of Iggy. I'm sure this network of double-duty-pulling cocktail waitress, bartenders, hotel maids, and strippers will come through for me. Bandwidth issues due to the millions of viewers should be expected.
  • Bought a car to replace the 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan piece-o-shit we owned. Been a long time since we've had a car payment. While I have a good job and make a good salary, I'm pretty conservative about vehicle purchases. The last "new" vehicle I purchased was in 1988, a 4-cylinder Dodge Dakota, for $8,700. Since then, it's been a series of used cars. We actually prefer buying rental cars from Hertz - low miles, great prices, well-maintained. But our local Ford dealer had one of those too-good-to-be-true deals on Explorers this weekend, and we were able to pick up a brand spankin' new one for under $19K.
  • Mrs. Big started looking for part-time work. Yes, this is a direct result of the aforementioned. That's what she gets for thinking she needs a WORKING vehicle. Sheesh, some people just can't be satisfied.
  • I love playing the 2/4 tables at 'stars, but just don't have the bankroll to play them like I wish I could. I gave some thought to popping $1200 into my account with the idea of trying to win my car payment each month.
  • Then, I sobered up and realized I'm too much of a pussy to to load up that kind of money. (By the way, is it just me, or do the rest of you have no problem playing for that kind of money and more (obviously, for some) when you've 'won' your way to that bankroll, but the idea of taking it out of a checking account scares the bejesus out you? No? It's just me then?)
  • Had not one, not two, but three certifiable brain-farts in SNGs yesterday. Bubbled out three times when I could clearly fold to the money (and even second place), each time overplaying my cards trying to take advantage of people that tightened up, but failing to notice larger stacks still waiting to act. And this, after I posted a few days ago about situational awareness being a key at the critical points in a poker match. Dumbass. I also made two other critical errors that beat me before I ever fired up the tables: I played with a headcold, and I played with children and Mrs. Big in the room. I know better than to do either.
  • Came back tonight and screwed down tight to play effin solid for another win. And stopped playing because I started feeling tired.
  • Reinforced all the crap that I read on everyone else's blogs about having to take my game seriously to perform my best.
  • Reminder: Enquiring minds that will not be making the trip to Vegas should pop over on Friday for the scandalous report, and even more scandalous photos (if I get scandalous photos, of course... it's not like I already have the photos and report written before the event even takes place... seriously, where'd you hear that, man? ... I'm a serious journalist here...)

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Y'all have fun...

But not too much fun...

Flight to Vegas: $300
Hotel room for the weekend: $300
Poker losses: $500
Partying with Al: Priceless


... or so I've heard... ;-)

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Update

I've noticed that I'm getting more self-critical as I've progressed at the MTTs. I suppose that honest self-examination is good, but I have to be careful. I had another freeroll scheduled right after this one, and played like an ass. I really need to remember what gets me deep in these tourneys, rather then the mistakes. Golf is a good analogy, I suppose; the best golfers have the ability to put the bad shots out of their mind and focus on the one in front of them

**********************

Checking my records, not including the little 2-table MTTs, I've placed 2, 6, 11, & 13 in the last 6 weeks moderate-sized fields. Most of my tourneys are freerolls though, so I didn't track the crap-outs when I didn't have money on the line. Makes it hard to figure out how well I'm doing.

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One way I can figure how well how I'm doing: Many, many months ago, long after I'd passed a statistically valid number, I had a very negative ROI in tourneys - SNGs and MTTs. Well beyond -50%. It's been a looooong, loooong road, learning how to play these things right. A long time of running well, making decent decisions, grinding it out in low-dollar buy-ins, taking an occasional shot at bigger tourneys (where I'm still a net loser, BTW). But, it finally paid off. I finally passed into the positive numbers, lifetime, for tourneys. A second place on those juicy jackpot tables put me there.

Another freeroll final table...



A little disappointing since I had worked myself in 2nd place, but I had AQ, flop came QJx. With over half my chips in the pot, he checks, so I push.

Yeah, the chipleader slowplayed the JJ.

My bad.

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Ok, so I guess he didn't slowplay the JJ, per se. Yeah, he slowplayed the set on the flop. But, he called my massive pre-flop raise (yeah, like 10x - I'm a dope). I misplayed my hand all the way. I had something like 45 BBs, was in second place, and could have probably folded to third. Dope. I should have put him on any hand that would have me beat: AA, KK, QQ, JJ.

Just hoped it was AK or a middle pair. And, instead of testing my read, I risked all of my chips on TPTK. Ick. Like I've said before, my post-flop play leaves alot to be desired.

********************

Mrs. Big took the Bigettes to a local farm to buy some sweet corn (it's harvest time here in FL). My littlest bigette had dressed up in her Snow White outfit earlier in the day, and refused to change.

Sweet corn-lovers come from miles for this farmers stuff. Mmmmmm...... nothing like sweet corn, wrapped in foil and grilled in butter.....

I only mention it because the farmer's harvest is a newsworthy event here. And the photographer couldn't resist a 3-yr old in a Snow White outfit, picking through ears of corn. When he asked Mrs. Big why l'il bigette was dressed in the outfit, Mrs. Big replied, "Because every day is Princess Day."

Friday, May 27, 2005

Funniest thing read today...

"That girl gives big tits a bad name."
- Carl Hiassen, Striptease


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Bad Joke Friday:

A woman was having a passionate affair with an inspector from pest- control company. One afternoon they were carrying on in the bedroom together when her husband arrived home unexpectedly.

"Quick," said the woman to her lover, "into the closet!"

She bundled him in the closet stark naked.The husband, however, became suspicious and after a search of the bedroom discovered the man in the closet.

"Who are you?" he asked him.

"I'm an inspector from Bugs-B-Gone," said the exterminator.

"What are you doing in there?" the husband asked.

"I'm investigating a complaint about an infestation of moths," the man replied.

"And where are your clothes?" asked the husband.

The man looked down at himself and said, "Those little bastards."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Jackpot update...

Let's get this out of the way: I lost.

But, I came in second, so the $200 bonus hunt for five consecutive 1-2 finishes is still on, and sitting at 3.

I didn't tell my opponent until after he won, and he seemed sorry. (Yeah, right!)

I stuck with my plan of tight-aggressive, executed a couple decent steals around the bubble, and managed to get heads-up at a 2-1 chip disadvantage. I got no cards heads-up except for a couple of baby pairs when my opponent folded pre-flop. We were both playing carefully. I changed gears between move-ins and working the post-flop play, anything to get this guy to commit a mistake, but he was solid. My commupance (sp?) was when I held Q9o, called a min-raise, then moved in on a 3-5-6 flop with 2 diamonds. I was called, and he held 77. With 2 cards to come, there was no miracle and I was out.

Don't know if I'm disappointed or relieved. Guess that means I need to keep studying Schoonmaker, looking to see if I somehow sabotaged myself. I think not, though. The blinds were so high, and getting ready to move up again (we'd played two full levels heads-up). I just made a bad read of him. I took the min-raise to be overcards when, in fact, he was laying a trap. I had come over the top of two earlier min-raises, and I think he expected me to do it again. Waiting until the flop was just a change-up for me, and he read it perfectly.

I got beat, fair and square.

Bad blogger beat...

So, I got sat at a table with G-Rob and Spaceman, with Otis joining after an orbit or two. Two to my right. Yep, my BBs were going to be in jeopardy. On the one hand, it sucked getting sat with such good players, but on the other hand I hoped their play would be a little more rational than some random maniac. Yeah, I could expect some moves, but if I was careful I could survive.

It started as expected; basically it felt like whoever was willing to be most aggressive got respect, with an occasional exception. I noticed that Otis was playing really tight [NOTE: This is important.] Our first real hand was when I picked up AA in the BB, and Otis raised me about 3x on the button. I played back at him for a big bet, maybe 3.5x his bet. I wanted it to look like I was defending, but wasn't strong enough to risk all my chips. He went all-in, I called, and he turned over 99.

I felt good. Right up until I saw that 9 on the board. But that wasn't the bad beat I'm talking about.

I still had just over my starting chips, about 1700 or so, and I was able to get some hands and move up a couple hundred chips when I picked up the Hammer. Honestly, I can't remember all the details, but I know I raised PF, had a couple callers, then I bet at the flop and picked up the pot. And showed the hand.

The next hand - I repeat: THE NEXT HAND - I pick up the hammer again!

Beautiful. No way anyone puts me on the Hammer two hands in a row.

Otis comes in for a big raise, probably 3.5x the blind. I come over the top for all my chips.

Now remember, Otis was playing really tight. And the only other raise I'd seen him make was with 99. Yeah, I probably shouldn't have played the Hammer into his raise. But I did.

He calls and flips KK. I don't know what he put me on, but if it were me I'd have thought 'middle-pair, doesn't want to see a flop'. For an instance I had a flash of a Pauly-like suckout to crack those kings, but it was not to be. I went down in flames, was left with 100 chips and a chair.

It was a brutal beat. I didn't deserve to lose with the hammer. Doesn't Noble know they're supposed to juice the cards to flop boats when we play the hammer?

So, after folding couple hands, I typed in "who wants to bet I make it to the break?" - and I got moved. Just like that, as soon as I hit enter, I got moved. Wound up at a table with Badblood, TripJax, and a few others. I type in, "Great, and I had those other guys right where I wanted them."

Needless to say, I did not last long. I held out until just before my blind when I picked up KTo. Of course, nothing came of it and I was out in something like 115th or so.

It was a igNOBLE defeat.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Pucker Factor

Man, I played solid today in the second $15k jackpot SNG I've played in. I had no effing cards through the early levels. None. Through the first 4 levels, I played the unraised blinds (3), and one small blind - and that was the hammer. And, yes, I raised it, had two callers, and bet out at it. I was so tight, I guess they had no choice but to respect it.

So, I didn't play any coin flips, and didn't chase anything. One guy went all in UTG when blinds were 10/20. What's with the monkeys risking all their chips when blinds are so low?

Anyway, I was a little below average chips when I got into some playable situations, but my best hand the whole tourney was AQo. I was able to drill the guy on my left two consecutive hands to rake all his chips. I was on semi-steals (I'm strong enough to play, but honestly, I'd just as soon you fold and be done with it), but he played back with absolute crap. Guess he showed me he wasn't going to be pushed around.

I can see how the jackpot is affecting play in the late stages. I suppose the jackpot tables at party are sort of like this, everyone just sitting around waiting for big hands and not wanting to take risks. While I would love to complete the sweep for the jackpot, I'm really focusing on the $200 bonus for firsts and seconds in 5 consecutive SNGs.

I'm putting on a lot of pressure when it's down to four and they fold without a top 5 or 6 hand. I'm accumulating alot of chips this way, late in the game. My focus is to play for second, then try to outplay the guy in first. For the entire SNG, I only played 9% VP$IP. 9%! The first one was 12%. Never thought I could play that tight.

So, I've got two consecutive wins under my belt, but I'm already feeling the pressure - the pucker factor. Choke-city. I'm desperately hammering through Psychology of Poker, trying to keep my focus on situational awareness. Wish I had a poker mentor/guru to keep my head on straight, but I'll settle for Harrington and Schoonmaker. If, god-willing, I win the next one, I'm going to be seriously in WAY over my head.

My plan right now for managing the pressure is to only play one SNG per day. If someone else beats me to the $15k, so be it. I know I cannot play that well, that consistently, playing more than one of these per day. If I focus on just the one, play it at a time when I'm alone in the house and can focus on the other players, I'll be giving myself the best chance I have to win. Even if I'm not successful in winning either the big or little bonus, I think I'll stick to the tables for a while because I've got a feeling that they'll be very profitable with everyone playing so conservative late in the game.

Monday, May 23, 2005

What's this about Vegas?

Who's going to Vegas? When? Why wasn't I told? ;-)

Nah, if you haven't already figgered it out from my silence on the issue, I have no plans to attend. Unfortunately, it is my mother-in-law's birthday, and it's one of those years that everyone celebrates, except the person whose birthday it is. The only way Mrs. Big was going to give me a pass was if I won the blogger satellite.

Although, I have one last, long-shot deal I'm working on. I think the odds are something like 100,000 to 1. I figure if I can win Noble's $15,000 jackpot (win 5 $5 10-seat SNGs in a row), there's no way I can be denied a trip to Vegas to parley 10% of the jackpot at event 2.

Hee hee... I'm such a realist...

At least, I'm off to a good start today. If I can get on a roll like I had at 'Stars last month, anything's possible.

Ok, realistically, I'm only trying to nail the $200 bonus. If you finish 1 or 2 at the jackpot table in 5 consecutive SNGs, it's worth $200. I'm not greedy. I'll have to play lights-out to do it, but I've had the kind of runs where I've done this in the last 6 weeks.

Wish me luck.

Fishy call or great read?

I admit it – sometimes I call people down with second pair, if the situation is right.

I limped in with 5-6s in MP with a bunch of others, only to see the SB min-raise. When I see a min-raise in the SB, I think two things – 1) Setting up to bluff at the flop, or 2) Ace-Big Card. I don’t read big pairs; most people raise more than the minimum with big pairs. I put the SB on AJ or KQ. If any of those cards came up, I planned to fold.

Flop comes 9-5-2 rainbow. SB leads out at it for half the pot. My read is still overcards – a bluff would’ve been stronger, in my mind, at least a full pot-size bet. Everyone folds around to me, so I min-raise. He raises me back, but it’s another min-raise. I am concerned, but still sticking with my read. I figure he’s trying to maintain the lead in betting. I call, but I start looking for reasons to fold.

Flop brings an 8, with two hearts. He bets 100 into a pot of 460 – pretty weak, I still put him on a draw. If a heart or big card comes on the river, though, I have to let it go.

No heart comes, but a T does. It’s a scary card for me. It’s certainly possible he min-raised pre-flop with AT or KT, or was on a draw with QJ. But he only bets $100 into a pot of 660. Getting over 7.5 to 1 on my money, I feel I have to call.

He turns over AQo, and I pick up a monster pot early.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Holy Crap!

I should've known this would happen, sooner or later. Mrs. Big is a research maniac when it comes to finding answers for illnesses, legal issues, whatever. Anything that's affecting us, she tries to learn as much about. So....
"I was searching the internet for imminent collapse and your blog came
up,..."
I ought to be surprised it took her this long to find me this way. But, oddly, she hasn't said anything to me about it. Just the one e-mail.

Hmmmm.... what's her angle....

**********************

The news on the house front is that the insurance company's engineer agreed our situation met the definition of imminent collapse under the insurance policy. From here on out, it becomes a negotiation between dueling contractor estimates.

So, my liability right now ends at my deductible. Never thought I'd be happy to be spending $1000 on a home repair, but considering the alternative...

It's Friday, and nobody wants to hear...

...about the series of bad beats I took this morning in getting busted out of some SNGs. Suffice it to say there was a plethora of runner-runners and river cards that drilled me when I got my money in with the best hand.

I really need to work on two weaknesses in my game, though: Post-flop play. I need to change gears better post-flop. I do ok pre-flop, but I play pretty much ABC post-flop. Second, I need to quit overbetting high pair. I believe these two items are responsible for alot of the variance in my game. I'm taking too many chances with coin-flips, looking for reasons to play rather than reasons to fold. I'm just concerned about how to resolve this with an aggressive mindset.

Anyway.....

Wonder if I can come up with a controversial subject to improve the traffic to my site?

Let's start a list:
  1. Which is a superior hand: The Hammer or the Jackhammer?
  2. Poker blogs that suck (uh, mebbe I don't want to bring that one up - I might win if there's any voting)
  3. Mid- and high- limit players aren't any better than micro- and low-limit players, they just have more money...
  4. Which is a superior shot: Soco or Tequila?
  5. Poker blogger who is just kidding him/her self about his/her playing ability.
  6. Dutch Boyd was just a kid, give him a break!
  7. Negreanu gay rumor-of-the-week
  8. Whose junk is biggest: Grubby or Otis?
  9. How are re-publishers any different from alcoholic cut-and-pasters?
  10. Anyone know if there's strip clubs in Glenwood, IA?

Nah... maybe not.... instead, why don't we do "Bad Joke Friday":

With all the sadness and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is
worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went
unnoticed last week.

Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey," died
peacefully at age 93. The most traumatic part for his family was getting him
into the coffin. They put his left leg in. And then the trouble started.

Shut up.
You know it's funny.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

At the risk of copying Iggy's style... ;-)

Illinois Governor Defends Offbeat Boast

May 18, 4:39 PM (ET)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Gov. Rod Blagojevich is defending his use of the phrase "testicular virility" to describe his ability to make tough decisions.

The remark prompted both laughter and complaints that it was sexist and an undignified thing for a governor to say.

But Blagojevich called such objections "complete baloney."

"I think the people understand that means: Do you have the fortitude - if you're a man or a woman in leadership - to put the people first?" he said Wednesday. "It's all about having the fortitude to fight for the people."

Blagojevich made the remark Monday in explaining his decision to temporarily close a landfill run by a distant relative of his wife.

"This is the kind of thing that I think frankly separates the men from the boys in leadership. Do you have the testicular virility to make a decision like that, knowing what's coming you're way?" Blagojevich said then. "I say I do."

I love it. And it's so applicable to poker.

*******************************************

I have sucked at limit lately. So much so that I mostly stick to SNGs now. In the last 6 weeks, I played 5 sessions of limit poker.

Lost them all. I had a serious confidence problem with limit.

Last night, I spent a little of my SNG winnings to play limit. Bought in for only 20 BB’s.

Left 66 minutes later, up 69 BBs.

Damn.

The tables were extra fishy. Honest-to-god, most of the time I don’t know what people were calling with – mostly bottom pairs, as far as I could tell. Obvious flushes and straights were being ignored. Everyone assumed anyone representing a monster was bluffing.

Guess I’ll have to go back again and see if these people are hanging around.

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Been kinda quiet here in Beantown. Heading back to FLA tomorrow morning. The elder Biggette graduates from kindergarten on Friday, so another milestone is about to pass.

Makes a Big Daddy wanna cry....

I'm so boring on these business trips, it's sick. No stories about doing shots of Soco. No existentialist conversations with strippers. No pictures of barmaids wearing tight jeans. No home games with donkey fuckers. I go to my meetings, back to my room, play a little poker, and listen to the quiet. It's a Dad thing. Those of you that work from home with small children know what I mean. I crave silence more than fake titties.

The most exciting thing that happened to me today is that the scrambled eggs on the hotel buffet were ice cold and crusty, but I ate them anyway. I figured, yeah, I'm risking a bout of road food poisoning, but I hafta live dangerously sometime.

Know what I mean?

I'm a wildman.

Oh yeah, there is an adjoining door to the next room that is not soundproofed. Sounds like the guy next door is watching hotel porn.

Hey, at least he's more exciting than me.


********************************************************

Go Bo!

Yeah, I admit it, I'm into American Idol this year. Bo seriously kicks ass. Last week, his version of Money was the performance of the season. Until last night that is. His a cappella was the ultimate all-in of the competition. It was like he said, "ya know, I'm in this with two chicks, so let just whip these testicles out and slam them on the table and see them match this!"

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That is all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Thoughts at 30,000 feet, headed to Beantown…

Funniest thing heard on the radio this morning – a country DJ interviewing an artist at the ACM awards:

DJ: “Shoot, me and my boys could roll into Arkansas and take over and be the head of Arkansas.”

Artist: “Yeah, but then you’ll just be the head of Arkansas.”

Ok, it was funnier when HE said it.

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I’m all about playing for the win in an SNG, as my stats will show. For SNGs that pay 3 places, my first’s and third’s are almost equal, with second’s a bit lower. But, playing to win doesn’t mean playing EVERY hand to win the tournament. It means choosing the smartest hands, based on your cards and your position, to play and then maximizing their value.

Sometimes, people have no freakin’ sense. I played an 5 a.m. SNG before my workout this morning. It was a 6-person turbo paying only the top 2, and I was chip leader and third place was down to 20 chips after posting his BB with blinds at 150/300. Second place was close to me, with nothing to worry about. He’s sitting in the SB, with $20-guy in the BB and me on the button with AK. I go all in to isolate and get $20-guy out.

SB calls. WTF? Must have AA or KK, right? I mean, with $20 guy going out, why risk busting out when you’re about 40-60 with the chip leader unless you’re rock solid pre-flop. Guess what he turned over?

Queen-effing-Jack. Off-effing-suit.

Of course, $20 guy saw what was going to happen and folded. If the SB hadn’t called, $20-guy would’ve just posted his remaining chips with any random hand and the SB could’ve locked up the money. Dingleberry.

So, my AK held up.

Why do I think my decision to push and isolate was better than the call?

Well, first, I give anyone willing to take the aggression in a tourney a little more leeway. In my case, I wanted to isolate. Had I just called or min-raised, the SB could’ve put ME to the test for all of my chips, and I would’ve made the laydown, even with AK. I had shown down only big aces and good pairs prior to this, so I thought I’d get credit for a quality hand on the push.

In a tournament with only 6000 chips, blinds already at 150/300, and holding AK, 450 chips is worth playing for. I HAD to make some sort of play there, and wanted to show strength. Why anyone would think I would bluff with a short stack on the ropes is beyond me.

Even if he had called with something like JJ or TT in that position, I think he’d still be making a bad play. I was pushing for most of my chips, but he was calling for ALL of his chips. And he was, at worst, only one or two hands from making money. In my opinion, with marginal hands, the person making the bet is always making a better play than the person calling the bet.

If I can attribute what little skill improvement I’ve displayed in tourneys lately to anything, it’s improving my strategic game. There are times where an individual hand is absolutely key to survival and you must play it to win it. There are other times where it pays to remember that “Discretion is the better part of valor”. Bubble-play is a critical skill. I know some people like to get aggressive on the bubble because most players tighten up and there’s lots of steal opportunities. The key here, though, is knowing when to stand up to or shut out the bully. If the bully gets in first, you need a good hand to call. But, if you can get in first, the bully is less likely to call without good cards. Timing and position are as important, if not more so, then the cards you hold in a bubble hand. At the risk of revealing too much of my own game, there’s some chance that I have marginal cards late in a tourney if I am the first aggressor. But, if I call or come over the top on the bubble, know that I have a good hand.

Situational awareness is key to any competitive endeavor, poker included. I have to thank Dan Harrington for helping me through this process. If you haven’t read his first volume yet, you’ve got some catching up to do.

*******************************************

So there are some half-baked thoughts on strategy. Here are some half-baked thoughts on the role of Luck in a tourney.

I have never, ever, ever won a tourney without getting lucky at least once. Ever.

Nor have I ever, ever seen anyone else win a tourney without getting lucky at least once. Ever.

I celebrate luck. When I get lucky in a hand and the other player chatters on about my luck, I just type "yep, you're right ;-)". I want them to think I'm lucky. I believe it gives me a psychological advantage. If they really think I'm lucky, they're going to tighten up and play predictably. If they think I think I'm lucky, they're going to give me credit for a wider range of hands than I would normally play. This gets me action when I'm holding solid pre-flop cards.

Nobody goes into every single hand they play with the best hand. Nobody makes mathematically-correct plays on every single hand. Nobody. Poker is a game of making the best decision you can with partial information. If you have done it, congratulations, you’ve played the Perfect Session.

Sometimes you get your money in thinking you have the best of it, and it turns out you don't. When you "get lucky", all that has really happened is that you put yourself in a position to get lucky. If you sit back and wait for aces and kings, you aren't giving yourself a chance to get lucky. And since those cards come up too infrequently to win a tourney, you're jeopardizing your result.

Going back to what I said about situational awareness, knowing when the time is right to take that chance is a skill. Perhaps the best example, and the one most people understand, is playing the short-stack. When those blinds start climbing, you have to pick a hand and make a stand. Sometimes, you ...um... get lucky... and pick up a big pair. Other times you're stuck doing it with ATo. But if you don't do it, you risk being blinded out, or having a stack SO small that you get no respect from the rest of the table. If I'm getting short, I want to try to execute a few steals while I still have enough chips to scare someone. I might not try it with the chip leader, but if I spot a tight player that looks like he's just trying to hold on until he's ITM, I'm going to take a shot with any reasonable hand. Worst case scenario is I get called and have to "get lucky".

Just to be clear, I am not saying that I deliberately count on luck; I never WANT to get my money in with the worst of it. I'm just saying that, in certain situations, I'm going to put someone to the test with marginal cards. I hope I don't get called, but if I do I celebrate my lucky win.

Even Phil Ivey admits to having never played a perfect session of poker. And, by all accounts, he’s well-ahead of the Big Game for the last few years; and when he lowers himself to play tourneys properly (as opposed to playing fast to build up a massive chipstack or bust out early to get back to the cash games) he’s one of the best out there.

Luck matters, and Phil puts himself in position to get lucky. And that’s a skill.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Depostors freeroll at Noble

Boy, talk about your dream table selection – started out with 5 sitouts, and went as high 7 during the first hour. Mostly played 3-4 handed. I got out to a chiplead, then hammered the sitout’s blinds, basically going all-in and daring the other 2-3 players to call for all their chips. Rode mostly steals and one bust-out up to almost T10K by the first break, good enough for 7th out of 495 starters at that point.

Midway through the second hour and most of the sit-outs have become bust-outs. Time to pick on the short stacks. I tighten up, then hammer shorties with any playable hand or decent flop. I find myself as high as second place, but there are 3 of us in the top 10 at the same table. Must tread carefully. There’s some real money (for me) for prizes at stake, and I’m in great shape to taste some of it.

Shortly before the second break, with 47 left and money coming at 30th, I pick up JJ in MP. UTG comes in for 2X the BB. I triple his bet. BB calls and UTG folds. Flop comes 998. BB bets 1K into a 15K pot. I have 11K in front of me, I go all-in quickly, basically figuring the only way he calls is with A9 or A8. One of those I’m ahead of, one behind, and if he had a 9, wouldn’t he have checked to me?. For some reason, I never gave AA, KK, or QQ a thought, although in retrospect I should have. Never figured he’d have called a 6X BB bet with 98 offsuit. I go out with a whimper in 47th place.

Anyway, I was pleased with my play, recognizing the potential of the sitouts and laying claim to more than my fair share. It wasn't so much heart as it was greed - after all, I didn't expect much fight back. It is disappointing to bust-out late with a big pair against offsuit undercards, but that's poker and it's going to happen sometime.

*****************************

Just some deja vu to report. Many, many months ago, I had a dream about a WSOP satellite and I was playing bloggers in it. I didn't recall it when we played, but I now remember the dream and remember thinking about the dream the day after and saying, "Who me? Play in a WSOP satellite? Yeah right..."

Too bad my predictive powers don't extend to the actual playing cards.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Boston-Bound

I actually got 5 whole days notice that my presence would be required in Boston next week.

Yep, that's right, 5 WHOLE days!

Can you tell I'm having issues with the man controlling my time?

I head out Tuesday and fly back Thursday morning. If anyone can recommend a cardroom (I couldn't find any on Cardplayer's directory) for Tuesday night that has low-limit games, please let me know. I 'spect I'll be unavailable Wednesday night since the folks I work with have a welcome taste for good food and fine wine.

**********************************

You would not believe the beats I took today... Oh yeah, Al doesn't want to hear about this stuff...

Pssst... got busted out of two SNGs today, back-to-back, when my pocket aces got cracked...

Back to your normal programming.

**********************************

Posted my secret shames in the comments section of BG's post on the subject...

**********************************

Gotta find some time to reciprocate with some links. Some folks graciously offered to link me up, and I just haven't had time this week to do the same. I promise I will soon.

**********************************

BuccaneerMike is planning a bigger buy-in Spring tourney for our home game folks. I'd send blogger invites, but we have a solid rule about no new people at the bigger buy-in games. We had a problem in the past with 'friends of friends' that watched too much "Rounders" setting the deck for each other when it was their turn to deal. After the dust settled, we decided that only people that were willing to play and win or risk losing $10 or $20 a game with us got invites for the opportunity to win $500+ in the bigger game. It sucks that a few rotten apples, blah, blah, blah... but regular readers may have picked up that the guys in this game don't necessarily associate with people from the ... um... most law-abiding segment of society. In fact, one of our regulars in currently in jail.

Again.

And he ain't the first one to do time.

We even have one guy whose ex-girlfriend sued his ass on Judge Joe Brown to recoup money she loaned him for mowers for his lawn business. Judge Joe told him he was one of the sorriest people he's ever seen in his (fake) court.

It's a wild, diverse group, with me and a couple other college-educated middle-management types, a C-level hospital executive, more real estate and stock brokers than you can shake a stick at (but they bring the best food!), and a rotating cast of blue-collar working stiffs. The one thing we all have in common is BuccaneerMike, a master networker. Whenever I have a problem, I always check with him first to see "if he knows a guy".

Emotions can run high with more money on the line, so it's just prudent to limit the field to known quantities. Especially since Florida allows concealed weapons, and some of our guys exercise that right. And now, with our new "shoot first" law, god only knows how long it will be before a check-raise leads to gunplay... ;-)

*************************

Early day tomorrow. We have a contractor coming at 7:30 a.m. We tried to replace our front door and discovered hidden termite damage from an infestation over 10 yrs ago, with the prior owner. As I pulled drywall off the studs, all of the studs, plates and headers began crumbling like paper. The further I went, the worse it got.

Yeah, I'm scared. When I got a glimpse of what the scope might be, I actually began hyperventilating. Baby Jebus... no, I can't use that... ;-)

We contacted the insurance company. They don't cover termite damage, of course. But, we still have an "imminent collapse" clause in our policy. Since the contractor refuses to work on it unless we agree to allow him to shore it up first (think very large building jacks), we thought we might be able to make a claim against the policy under this clause. They're sending a structural engineer out Wednesday to evaluate, so we have to get all of the drywall off to expose that area of the house and determine the extent of the damage. Hence, the early day tomorrow.

Never thought I'd see the day I'd be rooting for my house to cave in, but if we can't make the claim then many, many thousands of dollars will come out of my pocket to pay for it.

Please send your prayers and wishes for the imminent collapse of my home...

*************************

Ok, that's enough of my meanderings... get a good night's sleep, y'all...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

They call me "March"...

Because I came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

I think I busted out something like 42nd. My luck didn't hold out, nor did I get many good cards. I did manage to drop the hammer, once early for a big pot (and there's your Lion), and once later for a small one. I was physically exhausted. I couldn't get to sleep Tuesday night from my excitement over my finish in PokerProf's freeroll, but I still had to drag my ass out of bed on less than 3 hrs sleep to wrap up a big presentation I'm giving about an hour from now. Then, I played a freeroll over lunch yesterday that extended well beyond lunch, so I was Freerolling and PowerPointing simultaneously for a couple of hours.

Hmmm.... that may be a new catch phrase:
Freerolling and Powerpointing: The act of playing online poker while at
work/working.

I like it. Don't worry about my copyrights, I'm sure Microsoft would challenge it anyway. Microsoft owns the rights to most of the world now. I met Mrs. Big back in the early days of match.com (ooops, I just shared too much!), so I'm pretty sure Microsoft claims the rights to both of the Biggette's because the Windows operating system was loaded on our PCs when we first e-mailed one another. DAMN YOU BILL GATES!

So, back to my excuses. I was EXHAUSTED! I literally fell asleep at my monitor at one point, something I'm sure my table-mates can attest to given the quality of my play - suckier than normal. Sleep deprivation is the great equalizer, or in my case, unmasks the Fraud.

Anyway, I had a great time and appreciated getting to play with even more of you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I'll take it...

11th out of 500 in a freeroll that started right before lunch.

Planned to play just for the practice. Spent most of the tourney in the top 20, and most of the last hour in 2nd. UTG raised my big blind, and I went all-in with AJh. He had AdKh. Picked up my J on the flop, but he rivered a 4th diamond and I was crippled. Had to go all-in with 8-2o, one shy of the final table.

Only had one lucky hand, when I went all-in against what I thought was a bluff but in fact was top pair. Rivered a K to give me two pair. So, that felt better, a more solid performance than all the lucky stuff I caught last night. Also, lots of limping going on during the last hour by all the big stacks, including the chip leader who had 25% of the chips in the tournament, made it a different style game from the open aggression of the last two blogger tourney's I've played. I was in 2nd, and chip leader had me covered 3-1 and was sitting two to my left. Yeah, I wasn't able to do any stealing late in the tourney. So, opportunities to test people were few and far between.

On the other hand, I managed to last that long without seeing a starting hand better than TT or AK, so I definitely had to pick my spots to play. Of course, with the way I run, I'll pick up big pocket pairs all night long tonite and get them cracked continuously by the hammer. ;-)

So now I can be really pleased...

Noble revoked his chat:
------
Thank you for choosing Noble Poker. A pleasant good day to you. This is
Joshua from the support team. Our Poker Department would like to inform you that
player iAMtheLISH3 has had his chat revoked and therefore will not be able to
abuse anyone at the table anymore.

Please enjoy the rest of your day and best of luck around the tables!

With any more questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Noble Poker
Support Team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Best Regards,
Joshua
Noble Poker
"The odds are in your favor"
---------------------

Good enough for me.

Unexpected, but welcome, response from Noble Poker

I reported the guy that threatened to slit my throat during the tourney last night. Got this message in return:

---------------
Thank you for assisting us to make playing at Noble Poker a better experience. As an appreciation of your efforts, we have credited your account with $5. We will deal directly with the player who improperly abused the table play. We hope you will continue to enjoy playing at Noble Poker. Please invite your friends and acquaintances to join you.

Best wishes,
The Noble Poker Team
--------------

Quite unexpected, but appreciated. There was another message that said they were referring the matter to management in light of the severity of the threat, so at least it looked like someone read the complaint and did more than send an automated response.

Speaking for myself, I have some issues with Noble's interface. But I have to credit them with taking care of the players. I was also given a $10 immediate bonus when I used online support right after my first deposit.

Sometimes it actualy PAYS to speak up.

Good job, Noble. Now, just take away the child's chat privileges and I will be pleased. Ban him, and I will be ecstatic.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

LasVegasVegas Freeroll

The hammer was not kind to me in this one.

Earlier today, I rivered a straight flush to win a big pot, jamming it the whole way on my draw.

But, this evening, not so good. Played ‘em like Aces, which made them hard to lay down. Cost me huge amounts of money early on. I always said I can’t play the hammer like you phenoms out there.

Started off with CJ at my table, plus the 193 others. Others I recognized at my table thru the night included BadBlood, Maudie, PokerProf, TnSpaceMan, TripJax… and, of course, everyone in the peanut gallery that I didn’t get to play…

Had to break out Otis’ change-the-subject catch-phrase at one point…

Boy, I had the nice end of the suck-out stick tonite, too…

Then, there was the death threat…

Did some stealing… but they were “legit” stealing hands… you know, marginal, but with position, at the right moments, when I’d been real tight prior…

And, MAN, did I play tight most of the time? Until the final 3 I had played 11% voluntarily. I had a couple of moments where I caught cards and it looked like I was rushing, but mostly I waited. My aggression was up, though, and I pushed even more late. Why? Because I suck. I didn't want to get outplayed post-flop. I just had to keep taking coin flips when I'd get called.

But, I finished 2nd! Wow! I can’t believe it! Woulda been nice to win it… but it’s also nice to have that goal to shoot for. And, the $40 has me freerolling tomorrow night, too, so I get the added bonus of another night of witty banter.

But, let’s leave the death threats at home, eh?

Oh my...

I wimped out Saturday night. Didn't feel much like playing poker, so I didn't go to the home game at joeboddy's place. I missed a good time, though. BuccaneerMike's story was a good one.

They were expecting 14 players. There are normally alot of stragglers coming in late, so they cranked up the first tourney when they had 7. Joeboddy managed to knock BuccaneerMike out out of a tourney for the first time EVER.

EVER.

Then, he breaks the cardinal rule: He starts talking shit. Thus, the poker gods did exact upon him a most terrible vengeance.

But, I get ahead of myself.

So, BuccaneerMike says, "That's ok, because you know what I'm going to do? I'm going to go in your house, eat your food, drink your beer, watch your TV, and hit on your wife."

Joeboddy's wife is pretty nice looking...

So, he did. But, that isn't the vengenace - BuccaneerMike is always hitting on Joeboddy's wife. Once, he even tried to talk her into starting an internet porn site, one of those places where you pay $29.95/month to see the same woman getting boned three times a day. I think, if she'd been single, she'd have done it.

I'd pay to watch, but I bore easily.

So, Joeboddy loses the tourney, of course, despite his early chip lead. Everyone had arrived by that time, and they drew for seats for the big game, two tables of 7. Joeboddy and BuccaneerMike get seated at the same table.

First hand, joeboddy goes all-in on the flop. BuccaneerMike has a made hand, and joeboddy's tells were screaming at him to call. Joeboddy has the biggest tells, and he's one of those guys that thinks he doesn't have any. There's about a dozen. And he was giving off every one of them.

BuccaneerMike asks, "Do you want to reconsider that bet?"

"Why would I want to do that?"

"Because you're about to be knocked out first in your tournament at your house and you'll have to go tell your wife that 13 guys will be on her porch for the next 6 hours smoking and drinking while you watch TV."

BuccaneerMike has a gift for summing up the situation in a most intimidating manner.

Joeboddy responds, "So, call me."

"Ok".

Joeboddy is gone. First hand. At his house.

BuccaneerMike says to no one in particular, "More cowbell."

[While he has never admitted it, I suspected BuccaneerMike was a blog reader. There have been other AlCantHang references. But now I'm sure.]

For the record, joeboddy's wife WAS upset that he got knocked out on the first hand and had all those guys there all night. But what really PISSED her off was when someone left a door open when they went in to use the bathroom, and the cigarette smoke filled up her bedroom. Methinks joeboddy isn't getting any anytime soon.

BuccaneerMike went on to take 2nd place for a 20% share, the first time in over a year our game was not winner-take-all. He got down to the final four, with 2 strong players and a weak player, and told me he stayed away from confrontations. He wanted the strong players to take each other out so he could go heads-up against the weak player. That strategy worked to perfection, but he got it all in with 2 pair and was beat by a river 7 that made trips.

Not a bad performance. Of course, BuccaneerMike couldn't stop bragging to me about taking joeboddy out on the first hand, ignoring that I'd taken him on the first hand of a tourney the last two times that we'd played. BuccaneerMike is blessed with the inability to remember his own mistakes. A good trait for a poker player, if you ask me.

************************************
Just saw that LasVegasVegas is holding a freeroll over at Noble Poker, and it looks like a good warm-up for tomorrow night's WPBT tourney, what with all the bloggers I see represented. So, I jumped in. Not sure if I'm playing tomorrow yet or not.

Probably will.

I've been too much of a pussy lately... "I'm afraid to play"... "I'm running bad right now"... "I can't afford it"... Jeez, I make myself sick just reading it.

Time to Cowboy-Up. That goes for the rest of you, too - if you haven't signed up yet, do so NOW!

[Wow, I just now talked myself into playing!]

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I'm Back!

Didja ever think it would require a trip out of the country to get a laptop repaired?

Me either. Or neither. Whichever one is gramatically correct.

As I posted last week, I had a "fatal system error". My crack IT support thought it was a system board, so 2 days were lost waiting for IBM to come out and replace the board. Of course, it wasn't. It turned out it was either a bad hard drive or a corrupt OS. I'm bettig corrupt OS, because I know I downloaded some add-ins for Excel that got hosed up a few days earlier, and right afterwards I started getting gremlins.

Methinks there was a virus of some sort on the loose. And my corporate virus detection software didn't do it's job.

Anyway, the solution was that the who disk needed to be re-imaged. But, all of the networking and security is handled in Toronto. The easiest thing would have been to set up a hard drive and ship it to me. When I asked IT to do this, alot of hemming and hawwing started. Seems nobody had authorization to ship internationally.

The last time this happened to a colleague, it took several days just to get the item shipped out of the building; then customs held it for a few more days. And my boss was in Europe, so he was no help. So I got a ticket on the next plane to Toronto. It was the only way to get it handled in less than 48 hrs.

Toronto is growing on me, although this was the first trip in 6 that I haven't been deathly ill. I've been wanting to get out to the casinoes, but was never in shape to do so. And now that I could physically do it, I didn't have the time to do it.

Ugh.

Oh well. Home game at joeboddy's tonight. I may wimp out, though. With 5 days work to make up, I need to be fresh this weekend.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Hard Crash

I actually meant to sign up yesterday and play, but when I booted up my laptop a gremlin jumped up by the name "[Fatal System Error]".

Now, I may be overreacting, but that doesn't sound... good. So, I wasn't able to play. Mrs. Big gets sensitive about me downloading poker software to the home PC. While I don't worry about it's security, it isn't worth the battle, you know?

I don't have to win every hand...

So, my voluntary break just became an extended involuntary break.