Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Austin follow-up

A couple people have left comments indicating they'd like to play Thursday. If the details get ironed out, you can send me an e-mail at bigslicknut@yahoo.com. I will be in Round Rock, so I'd need directions. Also, just let me know what stakes we're playing for (or, what I'll be donating, I should say) so I make sure to bring enough.

I'll be traveling tomorrow and will be checking e-mail late tomorrow night. I'm in meetings all day Thursday, so if there's any changes after tomorrow I won't be able to confirm until the last minute, around dinnertime.

Hope to see you all!

Hasta luego!

Monday, June 27, 2005

I must vent...

but I won't...

Donkeys always draw...

Ok, just a little tease...

I had aces, and picked up a set... and lost...

Donkeys always draw.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Austin game...

I've invited myself to play some poker with the Austin bloggers, so April is graciously trying to set up a game. If you're interested, drop her a line.

I don't know what you folks are used to, but a/some $20 freezeouts work great for my budget.... or some low-limit stuff... anything with multiple $20 or a single $50 buy-in works, really... more interested in meeting everyone... ;-)

Audioblog

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Austin Bloggers

My trip next week is on. If anyone is having a game Thursday night, I'd enjoy meeting you guys.
Friendly stakes only, please, Mrs. Big will have my ass if I have to take a cash advance to get my car out of airport short-term parking!

Ahem....

Vegas Alibi Generator

... back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Just saw...

...that Spaceman posted a little while ago about Charlie's passing earlier today.

Deepest sympathies, Spaceman.

R.I.P., Charlie.

It's always nice to leave the game on a rush, and you guys should all be commended for giving him that.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Rock

It's just in the last couple of weeks I've realized that my playing style has to go through phases depending on my bankroll. I’ve focused on playing "right" regardless of whether I had a 50BB or 300BB bankroll. Playing "right" (aggressively) increases variance but is +EV in the long run. In the short run, it can bust you when you're short funds. Especially against the fish that don't know they're supposed to fold once in a while. All it takes is 2 or 3 of them to river monsters in a session and you've decimated your bankroll.

I'm in the 'building' phase so I've backed off right now, started playing more tight-passive and straightforward. I am playing micro-NL right now – I’ve grown to hate micro-limit games where a tight-passive strategy is little more than breakeven. When I catch hands, I get paid off big and when I'm not catching cards, I lose very little. What I'm giving up in EV I gain in risk reduction.

I’ve been reading some of DoubleAs archives and some things he’s written about money management just make sense. He points out the power of just 1% bankroll growth per day. This sounds more appealing to me from a risk reduction viewpoint while building my ‘roll than the way I’ve played in the past (playing for the ‘big score’ or busting out). I'm trying to experiment work up a strategy that looks something like:



Obviously, this is quite simplistic, and only applies to 9-10 seat NL and ignores game selection. If my goal is to average 1%/day at the micro-limits, this is very easy to do by just waiting for a solid hand and playing it in a very straightforward manner – pre-flop raises with big pairs, calling when pot odds are in your favor, and betting enough to take away other’s pot odds when you have a made hand..

Another shift I’ve made is to reduce the amount of money I bring to the table. In the past, I’d try to buy-in for as much as I was allowed regardless of the percentage of bankroll it represented. DoubleAs had a post a long time ago about only taking 2.5% to the table at any one time because of fear of ruin. That’s almost impossible to do when you’re below $100, even playing micros. But I try to buy in for just enough to keep from being completely run over, and no more. As my bankroll grows (slowly!), I’ll be able to bring more to the table – and as I bring more to the table, I’ll be able to take the handcuffs off and play more aggressively, without fear of ruin.

Also I never re-buy at the same table now. This has been –EV for me in the past. Whatever caused me to lose my first buy-in – crappy cards, superior players, poor mindset – will still be present. I get up and take a break before going back. If I lose a second buy-in, I’m done for the day. After all, I’m not playing to pay bills, I’m just trying to improve my skills and slowly build a bankroll, so there’s no point in pushing a bad situation.

Obviously, if I am disciplined about the level I play and only move up when I have sufficient funds to play aggressively, I can forgo the tight-passive phase in the future levels. A person’s risk tolerance is an individual trait; I’ve discovered that I’m no longer comfortable with a lot of risk when playing with donkeys. I’m not sure exactly where the switch from passive to aggressive should be for me, and I’m not giving advice to anyone else about where it should be for them. The above is more of a personal philosophy than a rule. My own experience is that a tight-passive strategy will work from the micro NL games up through 2/4 limit (depending on game selection), so you can safely move up a level at 300 BBs if this is how you play.

Obviously, there’s a lot to be said for buying in for the max and playing your stack. But with all of the donkeys/monkeys/fish at the lowest levels that don’t play rationally, I’m just not comfortable putting 20% of my roll at risk to some idiot that thinks 4-5o is worth a 4X pre-flop raise. One goofball like this can ruin your whole day, and cause you to tilt away another 20% trying to get it back from him.

Bah! With the way the poker economy works, he’ll give a hunk of it to the site in the form of rake, and the rest to another donkey who you’ll get it back from tomorrow. Why risk it when that money, and much, much more, will be there tomorrow?

Disclaimer: Yes, I know that good players will beat me in the long run if I am a rock. But, there’s enough sucky players at my level that I can build a bankroll safely this way until I can emotionally and mentally deal with the swings associated with more aggressive play.

Pokerstars FPP WSOP Super-Satellite

Top two play in Sunday's satellite; I came in 4th. So close.

Final Table


Generally, I played well. Played situational poker - waited for good cards, in position. Had to make a couple tough calls, but the situation dictated my decisions rather than any brilliant intuition on my part.

I was in 18th place with 19 left. I'd been sucking hind tit all night. Most of the night was spent below average, with just a few pops above. I actually went ahead and saved the pic when we got to 2 tables, to go along with my 'second-to-last' theme. Managed to hang on and make the final table, which thrilled me to no end given the size of the field. My best finish against a semi-large field.

I managed to get to 2nd place briefly, but went card dead. So much so that when I finally got KK and raised the standard 3X, everyone folded. So, I stole a few more to take advantage of my image, got caught once or twice after about 5 all-ins.

Down to 4, the chip leader had a massive lead - over 700K, compared to 162K, me with 110K, and 4th with 77K. 4th had shut down, waiting for us to make mistakes. 2nd tried to make something happen, but the chip leader was playing any two cards trying to end this thing. Rightly so, I'd do the same thing if I were him with top two moving on. I had hunkered down also with blinds at 3000/6000 with antes of 300. When 2nd place shut down with 50K more than me, I knew I'd have to play to make it.

I chose QhTh in the BB, when the chip leader min-raised. I pushed, knowing he'd call with anything. I just hoped they were random small cards. No such luck, he had AJo. Neither of us improved, and I was out like that. I'm disappointed, but I like my play at the end. I had to make a move and was just waiting for 2 big cards or a pair. I got what I wanted, my cards were live, but it wasn't meant to be.

I was just thinking to myself that I could have called the min-raise and gotten away from the hand, but the leader was playing his stack, not his cards, so he was pushing me in with anything on the flop. I guess that would have been a better strategy, getting away from the hand at that point. Live and learn, I suppose.

Still, I'm proud I made it that far, even though I'm disappointed with not moving on. I'll try a couple more this week, then I plan to save my FPPs all next year and try to buy into the FPP satellites directly rather than do this super-sat BS.

I'm really not sure what to think about my MTT skills at this point. In the last month or so, I've had a 2nd out of 193, an 11th out of 500, 47 out of 495, 6th out of 68, 19 out of 255, and now this 4th out of 725. Obviously, I'm going deep, but most of the tourneys I play are like this one - player-point buy-ins, or freerolls, or $1 tourneys. If you figure the majority of the people that play in these freerolls and near-freerolls are probably losing players, then I'm near the top of the losers pile. I've done well in a psuedo-blogger tourney(2nd in the lasvegasvegas freeroll at Noble), so that gives me a little bit of confidence that maybe I can break through at some point. I know alot of you are just playing around in those things, but even though it's not serious for you, you're the toughest competition I face.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

What I'm doing...

Followed through and spent alot more time with the bigettes this week.

Was nice. Very nice.

This evening, after dinner, I took everyone out to the lake where I ran all of my home cross-country meets over 20 yrs ago in high school. Reminisced about the great times and fantastic races, showing everyone where the best places on the course were for breaking the will of an opponent. Cross-country races are long enough and difficult enough that you couldn't just pass a guy and forget him - you had to make him believe he'd fail to catch you before he even tried. I had to play those psychological games to get an edge. While the times I ran back then would win most high school races today, back then I was fairly ordinary amongst competitive runners. I had to run a perfect physical and psychological race to make the All-Conference team my senior year. I did it, beating someone that had my number all year. Driving over the course this evening, I could still hear that gasp he gave when he broke. It made me dig down that much further and find reserves I'd never found before to set a new personal record and get my all-conference letterman's patch.

Yeah, my wife already told me I sounded like an old football player talking about the glory days. While it doesn't come close to matching the days my kids were born, it was still a big day in my life. I'm fat now. I was a fat kid, too. Slow. My little-league teammates had nicknamed me the "Steamroller" because of how I ran the bases. But, for a few years, I told myself that I could dig down and make my body do unimaginable things. That day was a major milestone of an effort that began almost 3 years earlier with me lasting only a half-block jogging. I ran 16:30 (3 miles) that day, and followed later in the year with a 4:50 mile, and a 36:00 10-K. I had better times at that distance later, and better individual performances in other track events, but for some reason that's the one that has always stuck.

The moral: The philosophers had it right - a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Work hard, play smart.

My next trip down memory lane? I'll probably take the wife and kids to the beach at Pine Island, and recall waking up on a picnic table with three pretty young ladies, watching the sun rise the morning after my graduation.

As Otis would say, Glory Days Indeed.

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

Played a little poker this evening after everyone was asleep. Card dead until I picked up KK, AA, and AK on consecutive hands. Only the KK held up, and that's only because I rivered a K to make a boat, which I had to have because some monkey cold-called my pre-flop raise with K4o and flopped trip 4s. When I won the hand, I just typed in "You deserved that."

When the AA and AK fell, though, I boogied out of there.

Life's too short to waste on tilt.
****************************

Made some minor changes in formatting, but major changes in mind-set, to the blog.

Took out all of the affiliate ads.

I had a ton of click-throughs, but very few registrations and even less depositors. Would they have stayed if I were more successful generating affiliate income?

Yeah, probably. But, I'm not. So why clutter up my beautiful white-space?

Next on the to-do list: Update the blogroll. I have more blogs in my bookmarks than I do on the blogroll. Don't know when I'll get around to it, but it's next.
**********************************

Austin bloggers: I may be out your way at the end of the month due to business. I'm just double-checking to see if they were really serious about gathering a dozen people from all over North America the Thursday before the long Independence Day weekend on less than 2 weeks notice. If so, I'll be out there Wednesday and Thursday evenings, so if y'all have any reg'lar games lined up and need a contributor, drop me a line.

New guy gets three hole cards in your game, right?

Sunday, June 12, 2005

I'm changing the name of this blog to "second to last"

After a weekend of party suckouts like I've never seen, I was all but ready to ditch poker.

I won't go into it. Y'all have been there, done that, on Party.

The weirdest thing of all, though: I felt like I was playing well. I mean, I'm going through a dead-card period right now, but when I do get a hand, I like my play. PT had me as a Rock, so I've been dialing up the aggression a bit more. When I see the other winning hands, I realized just how bad the other player's sucked. Nine out of ten hands I lost at showdown, I was ahead at the flop, and pounding away on 'em.

And I was thinking, if I can't beat these toads playing well, why bother? I mean, really?

And then I was thinking, why keep blogging? No point really. I mean, I go over and read Otis or Pauly and wish I could write 1/10 as well. Those two have completely unique styles, and each writes fantastic in his own way. Others contribute with posts about strategy, poker-news-of-the-day, ongoing hilarity...

What do I contribute?

The occasional "atta-boy" when someone has good news, dissertations about my scatological habits, and the occasional so-so funny pictures.

Not much, it turns out.

As for poker, I regained a little of my confidence as a player back at the Party new player tournament (all of $1, 'cuz you know I'm all about the free- and almost-free -rolls). Made the second-to-last table. Again. 19th out of 256. In these little MTTs, I'm building a decent record of cashes, made two final tables, but I'm not closing out the deal. Again, felt like I played good poker, getting that far with my best hand being a toss-up between TT and AKo. No big pairs, had to work for it and take some chances at the right times. Busted out with 44 when I didn't need to, because I got impatient. You see, the bigettes were in bed, and wanted me to come lay with them. They like me to rub their backs to help them fall asleep. I kept putting them off because of the tourney.

A $1 tourney. So I just pushed. Yeah, I realized that while I was doing okay as a player, I was being a lousy daddy. Second-to-last, as it were. It's not like I play poker to feed my family, after all.

As for this blog, I'm feeling second-to-last. I'm feeling like I'm at a turning point here. I started out like many of us, writing for myself. That quickly evolved to wanting to participate in a community. A long time ago, Pauly challenged new bloggers to step up and contribute. Or, STFU. Well, okay, I added the STFU.

So, I think I'm going to STFU for a while. I'm more of a 'taker' in the blogging community than a 'giver'. Gotta figure out a way to switch that around. Not sure how, but I'll think on it a bit. Read the rest of these great trip reports, along with Pauly and Otis' WSOP reports. Splash around in the kiddie pool at Party a bit less and play with my kids more and see if I find inspiration there.

Keep up the good work, y'all.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday stuff

First of all, thanks to everyone that took the time to respond to my question regarding how to sniff out a bigger pair to a pair that's bigger to the board. I keep looking for perfect strategies, but you guys are absolutely right - situations like this can be very difficult to sniff out, and sometimes I'm just going to get beat that way.

I suppose it's sort of like a situation with trips. I read in one my many books (SS?) that you should almost always play trips fast, and that if you get beat but didn't lose alot of money, then you didn't play them right. Probably a very similar situation.

I appreciate the time you guys took to think about the question.

****************
I'm loving the trip reports. Not being there, I can only draw conclusions about each of your real-life personas from these reports. Some preliminary assessments:

  • BadBlood married up.
  • The best and brightest blogger minds still go for -EV games, so I shouldn't feel too bad about playing suited connectors in MP.
  • Note to self: Do NOT stay at the Plaza. If circumstances ever require me to stay at the Plaza, be sure to request the non-feet-smelling rooms.
  • G-Rob married up.
  • Bloggers playing in Event #2 who stayed up all night beforehand to spend time with like-minds have their priorities... exactly right.
  • Pauly + Live WSOP Reports = BLOGTASTIC!!!
  • The AC/DC "I've Got The Biggest Balls Of Them All" Award Winner: BG
  • A single blogger can tilt an entire table
  • Several bloggers can tilt an entire cardroom
  • 70 bloggers can tilt Vegas
  • Never, ever, make reservations on the same flight as Al
  • Sleep is highly overrated

Keep 'em coming, y'all - I'll get to all of them, eventually.

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

Mrs. Big picked up a new addition to my Disney pin collection (below). For those that don't know, a few months ago I started collecting Disney pins that have playing cards in them. I have a series of pins shaped and painted like playing cards using Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy in the place of the King, Queen, Jack, and Joker, respectively. Those were limited editions (1000), and have doubled in value as a set. The pin below is a limited edition (500), so I have hopes for it as well. Not that I'm planning to sell them anytime soon. I just thought it was kooky to have a hobby based on another hobby, which is how it got started. Now, I kind of like them, and take them to home games to use as card protectors.

And for good luck, of course. ;-)

Who knows, maybe in 50 yrs when I'm dead the Bigettes can sell whatever I manage to accumulate and buy into Party Poker (Bonus Code Iggy). I 'spect the guinness will keep him going long after the rest of us pass.

My latest addition

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Post-flop play question...

I know I'M loving the Vegas trip reports that have started trickling in, and I can't wait for the avalanche to come.

But, in a non-Vegas-related hope, I'm hoping one or two of the experts out there might help me learn something: As I try to improve both my limit game and my post-flop NL tourney game, I'm getting hammered by the same thing that Paul Darden spoke about in this last issue of Cardplayer - getting milked by slow-plays. He spoke about having TT on an 876 flop, and KK was being slowplayed. I'm getting myself in that same situation.

In limit, and early in tourneys, I'm careful not to overvalue middle pairs pre-flop. But, I also don't get much information about other people's hands. Consequently, I find I'm blind post-flop when I've got a middle pair that's an overpair. Is the guy behind me that's calling me, calling with top pair on the board? Is he slow-playing, or just carefully playing, a big pair? Have any of you developed defensive strategies that allow you to smoke out a hidden big pair?

Personally, I don’t see any way to defend against the slow-play. A raiser, yes, you have to give a bigger pair (or 2 pair, or trips, etc) consideration. But, if you’re committed to getting value for your hand, and the guy behind you slowplays, you’re cooked. If I slow down also, I’m giving up value.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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

So, I finally gave in to the peer pressure and made a deposit over at Party (Bonus Code “Iggy”, y’all). And after my first 5 sessions, I have just one word to describe how I feel:

D’oh!

‘Nuff said.

Monday, June 06, 2005

I'm an insane idiot who doesn't know how to play poker

Go watch Matusow's bust-out video, it's funny. And, yeah, I admit to playing the way that drives him crazy...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Jesus Effin Christ

70 bloggers in Vegas, and I have yet to find one posting how our contingent has fared thus far.

Anyone, anyone?

As I read through a couple chip count lists, it occured to me that I don't know anyone's real name, except for Otis. I'm already feeling left out for not being there, so somebody help a brother out...

Spy Report from Vegas

[The following is meant in jest, and no disrespect is intended. If I've poked fun at you and you don't like it, I would be happy to remove the pictures. I have attempted to leave the source sites of the pics identified for attribution reasons, but if I'm not allowed to use the images this way, just let me know and I'll be happy to remove them. With that, on witht he show!]


I have armed several spies with digital cameras to document the debauchery that is the blogger convention. Here is their report:

Day 1, 12 p.m.: Upon arrival in Vegas, we set about to track one Mr. "BG". Here he is caught fondling the statues at the Venetian. Unfortunately, Subject notices a group of nuns walking towards him on their way to "play some slots for the poor" so he retreats for a more opportune moment.

Day 1, 12:20 p.m.: While passing Circus Circus looking for more Subjects, we came across a spectacular example of animal husbandry. We later learned that G-Rob had a prop bet going on how long it would take the male subject to reach orgasm. The over/under was set at 3 minutes, and Otis took the Under. He "claimed" that one of the trainers gave him a tip. When the male subject fell asleep at 2:50, G-Rob paid the first of what would turn out to be many losing prop bets.
Day 1: ONLY 9:00 p.m.: After a single shot of Southern Comfort, April began stumbling about as though she were more drunk than she should be. The male subject clutching the laughing female in this photo is none other than Wil Wheaton of Star Trek fame. It is surmised that Subject April was engaged in a "false drunk" in order to lure Subject Wheaton into a public sex act. Unexpectedly, Subject Wheaton's wife walked up on them as Wheaton was beginning to unbuckle his trousers, thus short-circuiting Subject April's plan.
Day 2: 1:00 a.m.: G-Rob passes out and Iggy, in a display of artistic talent heretofore unknown, captures the essence of the Vegas experience in a piece of body art he calls Plato Aroused. Given the morals clause in G-Rob's contract, it can be expected that this photo will have excellent value on the extortion market.
Day 2: 2:30 a.m.: Dr. Pauly attempts to pass what appears to be an oversized marijuana cigarette to Badblood. Badblood refused to toke by telling Pauly, "If you put that shit in my face one more time, I'm going to shove it up your ass."

Pauly learns a valuable lesson: Greenvill-ians don't speak in the figurative sense.
Day 2: 3:30 a.m.: JoeSpeaker is found in the lavatory at the Alladin. Apparently, he spent the evening playing no-limit hold 'em, trying to keep his game sharp before Event #2, when Al sat at his table. This was the result several hours later.

[Note: Someone has stolen JoeSpeaker's turtleneck]

Day 2, 4:15 a.m.: Maudie is discovered in the bathroom in G-Rob's hotel room. Unable to wake G-Rob from his persistent vegetative state, Maudie drank copious amounts alcohol and tried to perform the parts of all three witches from MacBeth simultaneously until overcome by the combination of Tequila shooters and the fumes of the burning bedside table that had served as a prop for a cauldron.
Day 2: 9:00 a.m.: Iggy arrives for registration at the WPBT Alladin Classic.
Day 2: 9:10 a.m.: In a move that caught many bloggers by surprise, the Stripper arrived. The phrase written on her shirt is her way of apologizing to the other bloggers for criticizing their prodigious use of "The Hammer" as a raising hand.
Day 2, 4:00 p.m.: G-Rob bets C.J. that he won't bungee jump from a roadside attraction they pass while traveling to the Rio to railbird Event #2. All of the blogger vehicles pull over to watch. Just before jumping, C.J. is heard shouting, "Hey y'all, watch this!" Unfortunately, an unexpected case of the "beer shits" overcomes him at the point of perigee with the ground below.

Day 2: 5:00 p.m.: The bloggers arrive at a music festival outside of town to give Otis a lift back to town, and find out exactly how big his c*ck is. While the subject matter in this picture can be a bit disturbing, we find it fortunate that the female and the child in the background do not appear to take notice.

Day 2, 11:00 p.m.: After drinking heavily, the bloggers move their party to the nearest strip club. Unfortunately for Donkeypuncher, a deranged Jimmy Buffet fan arranged for this "private dance".
Day 3, 1:00 a.m.: In a sign of his growing popularity, Al is tapped to break a tie in the Miss Krispy Kreme contest, being held ay the Palms. Apparently, Paris Hilton was set to cast the seventh, and tiebreaking, vote when she was heard to say, "What's a Krispy Kreme? Something people eat? That's hot." It was decided that Ms. Hilton should be disqualified from judging since it was apparent that she does not eat anything, including Krispy Kremes.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Who's there?

It's as quiet in blog-land as a darkened room in a Friday the 13th movie, right before the willowy blond opens up her closet and takes a blade to throat. In every effin movie.

So, while the powers-that-be are otherwise indisposed for a weekend of drunken debauchery, I am staging a palace coup - I hereby declare myself Poker-Blog King! All kneel before my bottle of Guinness and tell me how big my junk is while I smoke a brick of hashish the size of Herve Ville-whatever!

Ahem.

Don't know where that came from...

Ah, so, be sure to come back for my super-secret spy photos of Vegas happenings, tomorrow.

**********************
I'm having one of 'those' kind of runs right now. Totally card dead, and when I do get anything, it completely misses the flop. Or a monkey sucks cards out of his butt. For instance, while 2-tabling SNGs yesterday, I picked up AA, raised it hard, and was beaten by 6-4o, who rivered a gutshot while CALLING BIG RAISES AND BETS THE WHOLE WAY! Then, on the remaining table, I push with AA and get called by Jc4c ON THE BUBBLE and the fucker rivers his flush.

Yeah, I shut off the laptop and kicked the dog.

Every time I think this is what I get to deal with for playing micro-limits, someone somewhere assures me that these monkeys play at much higher levels also. So, buying in with a bigger bankroll might change the neighborhood, but not the neighbors.

A frustrating time, to be sure.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Although I'll be branded a Luddite...

... I have never downloaded music until today.

I still don't have an iPod, but I'm trying to learn how to burn CDs. Although, the one I made plays fine on the PC and in the car, but not on my crappy boombox cd-players in the house.

Hmmmm...

Anyway, if someone could drop me a link or some information to make this easy to understand, I'd appreciate it. Also, any tips on where to go for cheap, legal music would be appreciated. I've only used the MSN service up to this point, but I can see where $.99/song might add up after a while.