Friday, March 31, 2006

Basking in the afterglow

It’s 9:45 p.m. Friday evening, March 31, and everyone is down for the night. I just won a $225 turbo to bring my monthly winnings to within $150 of what my salary was in my former job. I won’t say what it was, but it was a good salary no matter where you live and a great salary for Brooksville, Florida. My bankroll is at an all-time high, even with the big cash-out earlier this month. I’ve won over two grand in the last 26 hrs, and everything says “go for it, get past that artificial number so you can say you made more playing poker than you did in your job.”

Naaaaahhhh… maybe next month.

A few days ago, I posted about logging off when you’re getting bad beat all over the place even though you’re sure you’re playing great and getting your money in with the best hand.

There’s also a time to book a win and call it a month. After the last two days, I’m signing off until tomorrow. I’ve played extremely well. I haven’t had many monsters, but I got what I needed when I needed it. Mostly in the form of other people’s mistakes.

The biggest monster, though, was a real doozy, cracking KK with 88. This is also why I never limp with KK from any position – ever! What happens when you flop an A and there were 3 or 4 limpers with you – you could be dead to A2o.

PokerStars Game #4479093527: Tournament #22290258, Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2006/03/31 - 21:10:26 (ET)

Table '22290258 1' Seat #6 is the button
Seat 2: BigSlickNut (1350 in chips)
Seat 3: Hacha_boy (1425 in chips)
Seat 4: mialfri (1385 in chips)
Seat 5: marlin5555 (1465 in chips)
Seat 6: tiger711 (925 in chips)
Seat 7: OmahaStudGuy (3425 in chips)
Seat 8: Buzzer1404 (1870 in chips)
Seat 9: mt_cpa (1655 in chips)
OmahaStudGuy: posts small blind 25
Buzzer1404: posts big blind 50

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BigSlickNut [8h 8c]
mt_cpa: calls 50
BigSlickNut: calls 50 (if UTG is limping, my limp encourages other limpers, giving me better odds, or gets a push-monkey to go all-in to punish us in which case it’s an easy laydown for me but maybe one of these others makes the call and someone else goes out.)
Hacha_boy: folds
mialfri: folds
marlin5555: calls 50 (see?)
tiger711: calls 50 (see?)
OmahaStudGuy: calls 25 (see?)
Buzzer1404: checks (see?)

*** FLOP *** [8s 8d Kh]
OmahaStudGuy: checks
Buzzer1404: checks
mt_cpa: checks
BigSlickNut: checks (Please, God, please tell me some idiot tricky player slow-played his KK)
marlin5555: checks
tiger711: checks

*** TURN *** [8s 8d Kh] [3h]
OmahaStudGuy: checks
Buzzer1404: checks
mt_cpa: bets 50 (Is it one King or two? Perhaps a flush draw trying to see where he’s at?)
BigSlickNut: calls 50 (Duh. I’m playing like I’m drawing to the flush. I can slowplay when I’m 98% to win with one card to come)
marlin5555: folds
tiger711: calls 50 (Cool!)
OmahaStudGuy: folds
Buzzer1404: calls 50 (Cool!)

*** RIVER *** [8s 8d Kh 3h] [2h] (Yeah baby, there’s the flush, certainly somebody drew to it)
Buzzer1404: bets 150 (And there he is!)
mt_cpa: raises 350 to 500 (He’s got KK, I’m positive.)
BigSlickNut: raises 350 to 850 (I went with the min-raise to look like I have either trip 8’s or the flush, but I fear the full house)
tiger711: folds (awww…)
Buzzer1404: folds (awwww…)
mt_cpa: raises 705 to 1555 and is all-in (cha-CHING!)
BigSlickNut: calls 400 and is all-in

*** SHOW DOWN ***
mt_cpa: shows [Kc Ks] (a full house, Kings full of Eights)
BigSlickNut: shows [8h 8c] (four of a kind, Eights)
BigSlickNut collected 3150 from pot

Boy, was HE mad! Lot’s of cursing about slowplaying. Yeah, I reminded him that he started it. At least he didn’t whine about the bad beat. Can’t call it a bad beat if you misplay it pre-flop, then put your money when you’re behind. Just my opinion.

NEVER slowplay KK! I’m not even in that pot, in that position in level 3, if he bets as little as a 3X the blind.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I swear

All I did was write a draft post. Then I deleted it.

Ok, so I discussed my stats in detail. But I never posted it! And I deleted it!


While it hurt, I recognized the bad frame of mind and got out before permanent damage was done. After a series of soul-crushing 2 and 3 outers, I was in "here comes the suckout" mode. I finally realized I was out of my head when I called off all my chips in the small blind with ATs. Because, "so what, I'm just going to get my AA cracked a 4th time tonight on the next hand anyway - maybe I'll suck out because karma owes me".


Oh yeah, have you ever heard of anyone getting AK, AK, KK, AA on consecutive hands in an SNG with 6 people remaining and still be the next one to go out?

Right here, baby. You're reading royalty today!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tuesday tidbits

There’s nice e-mails, and then there’s nice e-mails:

PokerStars Tournament #22112070, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $525.00/$30.00
9 players
Total Prize Pool: $4725.00
Tournament started - 2006/03/28 - 19:15:20 (ET)

Dear BigSlickNut,

You finished the tournament in 2nd place.
A $1,417.50 award has been credited to your Real Money account.

Thank you for participating.

Yeah, it was that time again. Time to take a shot. I had the bankroll earlier this month to take a shot, took it, and went out 6th. Then, I took a monster cash-out (for me) that I’m just now making up. Also, out of 595 SNGs since 11/1/05, I’ve won 99 and wanted number 100 to be huge.

No, it wasn’t a win, but it was the largest profit I’ve made in any single tournament. Second place in these things pays $142.50 more than 1st in the $210 turbo.

I played well, got some good cards, took two horrible beats, and laid one horrible beat. The guy who won was the same guy that laid the beats on me earlier in the game. Fortunately, I had played KK like a virtuoso early on (The. Most. Beautiful. Stop. And. Go. EVER.) and had the chips to survive the beats.

Not sure how often I’m going to play this game. Probably more on the weekends when the pool of players is a little larger. I recognized 75% of the players from the 105 and 210 games. Oddly, it was the two I didn’t recognize that made it to the money with me. One of them was a pseudo-maniac (not many REAL maniacs at that level, but he was close enough), and he was the guy I bad-beat to stick around after we were already in the money. I like having one maniac at the table.

They do all the work. ;-)

So, anyway, there we were, one maniac and 8 guys all playing the Exact. Same. Way. Super-tight, wait for hands, bet them, follow-up with continuation bets, maybe someone throws in a snap-off bet. I got my hands early, chipped up over T3000, took my beat like a man and wound up the short-stack with blinds at 100/200, 7 remaining, and my M was 4. The two big stacks on my right let it get folded to me on the button over and over and over. So I pushed and pushed and pushed on the button. Kept getting my money in with the best hand and it held up when I needed it to.

The rest of the time, someone else (usually the pseudo-maniac) was doing the raising, but I was lucky enough they never had enough to beat me into the pot on my button. Heads-up, he had me 3-1 and I went freaking weak waiting for at least one face card. I managed to hang on for 12 hands or so, and went out when he had top two pair and I had middle two pair.

It will be interesting to see if the cast of characters changes much over the weekend. If it stays such a small pool of players, I may have to mix up my game earlier than I like. It felt really silly to just be sitting there with everyone waiting for a coin-flip. At that rate, we’ll all just win/cash in our share based on a normal distribution of cards. And that’s a recipe for losing money.


All I’m saying is, I’ve got McPheever.


If I lost, like, a ton of weight, won the lottery, pawned Mrs. Big off on a douchebag poet (I keed, I keed!), and still retained custody of my kids, then I’d have to call dibs.


Thanks to everyone for your inputs on my interview wardrobe. It’s been pushed back to next week, which sucks, since it will be the day after we move. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Also, if I get the cam early enough, I’d like to test it out. I have to use MSN Messenger for the interview, so if there is anyone out there could hook up with me for a test, I’d appreciate it.

Please wear clothes. Or, if you’re female and hot, well…. you know….


You’re a VP at a software development company. You’re interviewing someone for a mid-level staff position. The interview is taking place via web cam.

This is the your third conversation with him, but the first time ‘seeing’ him. Do you expect the interviewee to be in a suit and tie, or nice business casual?    


Wow, it sounds like most are in agreement to go with the suit even though it’s a web cam interview! Interesting, I thought I might look like a tool sitting in my bedroom in a suit.

Anyway, some clarifications based on some questions in the comments:

  1. I am an external candidate.

  2. The company is located in Charleston, SC. If it was DC or NYC, it would be a suit, no question. Silicon Valley, I’d be going with nice casual. Last time I was in Charleston was my honeymoon, and I wasn’t paying attention to the business culture. ;-)

  3. I always wear suits to face-to-face interviews unless specifically instructed otherwise.

So, I guess I’m going with the suit. I suspect a very low-key tie would be best since a bright color might be distracting on camera… yes? I’ve never used a web cam before, so any advice about etiquette and presentation would be welcome.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Common Sense

I was going to write a post about the brutal beats I took in the VIP freerolls and some SNGs yesterday.

But, I can’t afford to pay each one of you $2 to read it.

Instead, I’ll write that I thought I exhibited good discipline in logging off before the damage got too extensive. And perhaps, express some thoughts counter to what we’re all SUPPOSED to do.

We’re taught that when we’re playing well we should stick the table, even when the donkeys are beating us. Eventually, the luck runs out and the superior skill kicks in.

Poppycock, I say!

Despite the beats yesterday, I felt I was playing very well – perhaps the best I’ve played in a long time. I kept betting and playing exactly the same as I do in a “normal” run, I wasn’t impatient, wasn’t pushing too early, or too often. It was solid, tight-aggressive play, making the right moves at the right times.

But, as The Man said, “It gets down to what its all about, I guess. Making the wrong move at the right time”. Sometimes, other people will do that to you. And they’ll get paid off, too – just like The Man did.

It happens. The thing we all have to worry about is how we react to it. Do we sit there and keep playing good, solid poker because Super System says we should stick when have an edge on the table? What about the idea that it’s all one long session, so what happens today doesn’t matter – a winning player will win in the long run? Seems to be a contradiction there.

I’m of the mindset that a bad day is just that, a bad day. Pushing yourself to play more hours or for more money because you KNOW you’re better (and I’m not arguing that your aren’t) will begin to take away your edge. I play, on average, a little less 3 hours/day. On a day where my bustouts in SNGs alone would have meant an additional $600 just for having my best hand hold up and move me up just one place, I was down about $90. Not bad, as I did manage to cash, obviously. But, it should have been a huge day. Sometimes the beats were on me when I wasn’t even in the hand. Should I have stuck around?

No. Oh, I was playing fine. But, I was approaching my limit for the day. It was late and I was tired. I know myself. I know this can be a dangerous situation, so I avoided it and logged off. Sometimes, an edge just isn’t enough to win. And when I sense that I’m fighting an uphill battle against variance, the poker gods, or implicit collusion, it’s time to sign off.

Tomorrow’s another day. There will be other games. I will have edges in some of those games, and I will win my fair share. There are some days where you have to dig down and find something and win one last time before going to bed. I FEEL those days more than MAKE those days happen. I can’t explain it any other way. Among the many experiences I am gaining as I grow in this game, recognizing something I can’t explain, something in my psyche that allows me to make one more fold, or bet one more street, is just as important as knowing I need to be getting 4-1 from the pot to see the river and make my flush. When I feel that ‘thing’ is about to go missing from my game, it’s time to go.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So this is nice

So this is nice:

“Dear BigSlickNut,

Congratulations! You have achieved the "GoldStar".

We invite you to learn about your many new PokerStars VIP privileges…”

I suppose I could get to Platinum if I wanted to donk off my whole bankroll mutli-tabling, but that wouldn’t be smart. Fact is, I just don’t play enough at any level to get there. But, I consider Gold a worthy goal to shoot for each month as long as I continue to play profitably. The monthly 100K freeroll is a good reason in itself.


We see many posts from professionals and good all-around players touting the benefits of developing all-around poker skills.

They’re right.


Knowing yourself and playing within your niche is a virtue as well. If you look at your stats and see that you’re bleeding cash in PLO or MTTs at a time when you’re trying to build a bankroll, then quit playing those other games.

Not forever. Just for now. Wait until you have the cash and time to dedicate to truly developing your skills at other games.

Playing limit hold ‘em for 2 hrs a night, playing profitably, then taking those profits to an MTT/7-Stud/PLO/HORSE/Etc… table to “work on my game” for the last 30 minutes before hitting the sack seems silly to me.

By all means, WORK on your game, but the operative word is “WORK”. Sit down in a game at stakes within your bankroll and KNOW you’re going to pay for some lessons. Then, keep going back there for a couple thousand hands. But trying to learn with an irregular schedule of hit-and-run sessions isn’t going to teach you much. If you can’t afford the time or money to work at it, stick to what makes you money/you enjoy the most.

Most of you have figured out by now that I’m primarily an SNG player. More specifically, Turboes are now my primary game. I single-table. It’s my bread and butter, and it’s been good to me. When I first started, I basically busted out a couple times by taking my profits and gambling on games at which I wasn’t skilled. I pretty much documented those efforts here.

When I analyzed my stats afterwards, however, I found that SNGs were consistently profitable for me. That is why, when I won my huge $1 prize in an AP freeroll, I decided to just use it for a $.50 SNG rather than donk around on the .02/.04 tables. I’ve stuck with the SNGs for the most part, infrequently taking low-buy-in shots at MTTs and LHE games. Big-field MTTs are almost gone from my schedule now because I’m so unprofitable in them. I’m finding the 6-max LHE tables very interesting in they seem to require similar hand selections and aggression as SNGs that are in the middle-stages. I’ve been profitable enough that I’m strongly considering going to “work” on them for a couple of weeks. But, I’m enjoying the SNGs so much right now that it’s hard to break away.

Being a niche player has been good for me, good for my game, and good for my bankroll. I wish that when I was starting out someone had told me, “find a game you think you can enjoy for a year or two, then play the crap out of it.” There’s a time and place to move on and learn new games, but only you can know when that will be. In the meantime, be satisfied being a big… um… fish (?)… in a small pond. (You know what I mean!)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Just a thought...

Has anyone ever tried to install and run a poker site on a thumb drive?

Might be a cheap alternative to my laptop purchase. If it works, I could move between desktops as necessary in order to play.

Of course, I’m seeing some really good deals on laptops at the big-box retailers right now and they are sure to get better as the end of the March quarter gets closer… ;-)


I almost never play during the day anymore. It’s pretty simple really – I win more money in the late evening. More people online, a lot of them more tired than me because of having to wake up for work, less distraction in my house, yadda, yadda, yadda… there’s probably a thousand reasons why, with no one reason being primary.

Yesterday, I found myself with some rare time to play during the day and the urge to go along with it. I decided to drop down in levels to limit any potential damage and proceeded to go 1-1-3 to make my daily nut in an hour and 45 minutes. The second one lasted only 27 minutes; the third one, I was out 3rd in 27 minutes. You can imagine what the hourly rate looks like.



When I grow up, I want to be Otis.

I’m just saying.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Actual poker content

Freaking internet ground to a halt for me last night. I’d just fired up a $210 turbo on Stars.


I managed to get a 24% signal somewhere around level 4, saw K9s, and said “fuck it”.

Sick, I know. AQs called me down, flopped 2 pr, and rivered the boat to rub it in.

Tried to get a signal going, dropped down to a $15 turbo, and the same thing happened. Disconnect, disconnect, disconnect, fuck, fuck, fuck. Pushed with QTs just so I could go to bed.

Made it up, plus a little more, this afternoon in a $105 turbo that saw quads 3 times. None of the hands I was in, thankfully. One luckbox hit it twice. First, he had JJ vs. 77, all the money goes in pre-flop against a well-known multi-tabler, and the cold-deck delivers a flop of J7J.

Rigged. ;-)

Later, he min-raises in EP with QQ (baby jesus wept again – he min-raised all his good hands). A short-stack pushes with KJo, then the well-known multi-tabler (who had made a most-excellent comeback) pushes over the top as well with JJ. The extreme short stack auto-called getting over 5-1 on his money when you include the blinds. The luckbox flops trips and rivers quads to take out 3 players.

I lost a coin flip with QQ vs. AK to cripple me on the bubble, but staged a comeback to get heads-up with the luckbox at a 2-1 disadvantage with an M of 4. The tried-and-true formula of selective aggression worked to expectation, allowing me recover last night’s misfortune, plus a little.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Man, I made a huge mistake signing up for the 45 SNG challenge!

It’s not so much that I suck at them (I must), but there is simply no pushing anyone off their hand. First hand of tonite’s tourney, what turned out to be an uber-maniac raises 8X from UTG, gets called, then pushes on an AKT rainbow flop. He has A9. Caller has A8.

Yeah, so it’s impossible to put people on hands. Just wait for a good hand and push and hope it olds up. It was nice when my short-stack tripled up with AA. Not so nice when I pushed from the button with 77 and the SB woke up with QQ.


Add to this that I have to win for my hourly rate to approach my hourly rate for SNGs and I’m left to wonder what I was smoking when I signed up.

Oh yeah, I need the MTT practice. Maybe I should stay away from the turboes and actually get some practice that will serve me well in the bigger MTTs


After busting out, I toodled over to a 210+15 turbo where I didn’t recognize anyone. I’m learning, that’s a good thing.

I won a $105+9 earlier this evening that gave me enough to take this shot. I felt good about my play, no distractions, etc. I have a lot of confidence at the higher levels right now, and even though I cashed out such a huge portion of my bankroll I felt good about stepping back in.

Wound up third. Ok, glad I cashed. I think I got pushed off the best hand early, but I just wasn’t strong enough to play back. So, that left me short stacked, an all too familiar place for me. I chipped up, made the bubble as the short stack, but had enough in relations to the blinds to wait and enough in relation to the other 3 that I could scare them.

Didn’t have to. A LAG-player two to me left pushes UTG and gets called by the button. LAG-y has 66, button has 99, and I cash.

I understand the play, and probably would have tried it. But, looking back, I think with me on the short stack, it might be better to make a big raise PF – 4-5X. If you get called or someone comes over the top, you can let it go; after all, you’re either dominated or in a coin-flip, and neither is a place you want to be with a short-stack in the game on the bubble.

But, I understand the play. Hopefully, I learn from his misfortune and play it better than he did and I would have.

Mrs. Big has me scratching my ever-loving-head these days.

She asked me to stop at Sam’s and pick up a Click-n-Pull order today. I get there, and there’s a float stacked high with emergency food: 128 bottles of water, a case of Gatorade, gobs of canned soups, veggies, and Chef Boyardee, 50 lbs of dog food,30 rolls of TP,  filter masks, god knows how many maxi-pads… oh, and there was a second order she placed an hour later with hand sanitizer and 6 more gallons of Zephyrhills water because apparently 128 bottles wasn’t enough.

We’re moving in 3 weeks. We’re spending our days weeding out crap, and here she is bringing it back in. I can’t even bring myself to tell you how much this crap cost.

Bird Flu.

Yep, she’s afraid that society is going to break down if there’s bird flu.

Ok, I can understand the canned goods – you don’t want to go to a store if society breaks down. And hey, stranger things have happened that society breaking down in the NEXT 3 WEEKS. But, I’m pretty sure the water will still run. As a matter of fact, I’m sure of it because the house we’re going to in Jax has a WELL!!! And Bird Flu won’t make the power go off!!!


It’s as though she woke up this morning and said, “Hey, how can I make my hubby’s life even more inconvenient?”

Where’s a douchebag poet when you need one? (I keed, I keed!)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sunday stuff

I’m holding off on signing up for the blogger WSOP tournies. I’d love to play, but the uncertainty of my employment situation makes it difficult to commit. Not that I expect to win, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. If I find a job, I’d have a lot of difficulty going in and saying, “I know I’ve only been here 3 weeks, but I need a week off to go to Vegas.” Also, winning a trip that will cost me $1000 in airfare and hotels will be a tough sell to Mrs. Big.

I know I could always just keep anything I won, but that’s not the spirit of these things. If you do that… well, you’re just a tool.

So, until my picture clears up and it is obvious that I won’t be employed at WSOP time, I’ll just stick with the site promo tournaments – something I won’t feel bad about selling if I need to.


Well, I finally broke down and told Mrs. Big about my recent success at the tables. I didn’t go into any detail, but we have a move coming up and she was fretting about how to pay for the movers. The movers we selected don’t take credit, so there’s no opportunity to charge it and repay it after closing. So, I offered to pay it out of my bankroll.

Ouch. Sorta.

While it slows me down a little, it’s nice to be able to take care of something big like this for my family after the last six months. I’ve only recently started taking out a small allowance, just enough to cover gas and a meal or two. Locking in a gain like this is probably bad poker, but good karma. It’s satisfying to know that even if I go broke tomorrow I’ll know I beat the game for several thousand dollars at a time when my family needed it most.

Of course, I did explain to her that I’ll be buying a laptop if I re-build the bankroll enough and I don’t want to hear any shit about it. We’re going to have our PC in our bedroom in Jacksonville, making my nighttime forays online just about impossible. BSN needs his flexibility! ;-)


Is there anything more annoying that signing up for a NL SNG and discovering you mis-clicked into a LHE event?


Last night, we celebrated Eldest Biggette’s 7th birthday by having a sleepover with a total of 9 girls between the ages of 4 and 7.

Check that one off the list, and make a note: “Never Again.” Two a.m., and they were still going strong.

Proud Daddy Moment: Hearing Eldest Biggette saying, “It’s the Fart Game!”

That’s my girl.

Use me

I’m enjoying the t-shirts you guys are making. I used to have a cafepress store (I suppose it’s still there…) but never sold one damn thing. Now, I have no interest. If I did, I’d throw this one out there:

I Beat Big Slick Nuts!
If anyone wants it, be my guest. The Total Available Market for this one is huge!

Friday, March 10, 2006

The day after

Just put on the big girl panties and get over it!
Sign in Mama Big’s gift shop

I used to wonder what it would feel like when I got my -$1K cherry popped. It was a strange feeling; regret, mixed with excitement from knowing I COULD lose $1000 in a day and still be ok.

Regret and excitement, just like losing your virginity.

SO, the sun came up this morning. The kids had to be taken to school. Mama Big needed help with a marketing project for her gift shop. Job search agents had to be scoured. Life went on.

Played some poker. Had a rollercoaster day. A total of 4 SNGs were cashless due to 3-outers today. Fortunately, I managed to win enough in the rest that the day was profitable. It’s funny, though, how perspectives change when it comes to poker. I made more today than I did in a day at my former job, and I’m just, “ho-hum”. Catching the positive end of the variance-bitch in a huge way earlier this week has spoiled me. Now, I’m trying to get my head back on straight, recognize that I played pretty good poker today, I made nice money, I’m still up for the week, yadda, yadda, yadda…

On another subject, I’m feeling poorly health-wise. Putting on even more weight again, started having syncope episodes again, and I think the sleep apnea is getting worse. So I’ve got to turn at least this part of my life around. I’m resurrecting the blog I created for myself during my last attempt to improve my health:

Please stop by, I could use the support. I’ll keep all this healthy crap over there so it doesn’t pollute this narrative of my ongoing descent into degeneracy.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


A couple of firsts for me today:

  1. First 0-fer on SNG cashes for the day in a veeerrrrryyyyy long time.

  2. First -$1K loss for a day (Don’t worry, I have enough to handle it, but still… ;-) )

Y’all have had days like this. The 2 and 3-outers came along for a junk-kicking party.

Ah, well. I’m still ahead on the week, believe it or not. Mostly due to winning 4 consecutive $210+15 Turboes earlier in the week.

Yep, 4 straight. $720 profit in each. Makes for a nice buffer for days like today.

Even though I took a blue-veiner today, I feel like I played well. After all, the nature of getting slammed by the 2 and 3-outers is that you make good decisions, get your money in with the best of it, and the other guy draws out. Saw some specrapular calls to beat me, which is probably why my ABC, tight-aggressive play pays off so regularly.

It will be interesting to see how the games look this weekend…

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Submitted to Jack Handy:

How come the guy that hits his 2-outer for all his chips in level 3 of a SNG is the first guy to berate someone for hitting THEIR 2-outer in level 6 to bust him on the bubble?

Sounds to me like that’s just Karma…


Tuesday, March 07, 2006


On PokerStars, I understand that T$ are the value of satellite entries won but not used for the target tournament. Can anyone explain to me what W$ are, and how they are earned/used?

Stars website seems a little unclear to me. I’m only finding them saying they are used for ‘special’ events. No mention of how they are earned.


Has anyone done enough research to make a recommendation regarding a low-end laptop? I just need enough to single-table my pokah and keep up with e-mails and job boards in a wireless environment. I might even look for refurb if I found a legitimate source.



Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saturday cleaning

A couple days ago, I hinted that I might do a results post if I felt up to it.

I do and I don't.

I don't really want to discuss the money aspect in any specificity. I'll just say that my bankroll is extremely healthy, hitting a new record high today after a rollercoaster Friday. I've taken shots (and won) at the $210 Turboes on Stars, but I've done this with a bankroll short enough that y'all would scold me for it. I've also managed to build a small bankroll at Party over the last month or so despite some pretty terrific beats at levels where people shouldn't be playing that badly. Definitely beatable, even with the 10th person in the mix changing the game slightly. I'm profitable, but should be doing better than my results indicate.

As for the shots, I'm very confident right now, and I stick to my own guidelines.

I won't say much more than that, except to post this histogram of my finishes in 504 SNGs since November 1, 2005:

The slope looks cool, but I'm still carrying that burp for the 6th place finishes. However, my 2-3's are greater than the 6's, something that wasn't true a few hundred SNGs ago. Also, having more first place finishes than any other has become a source of pride and confidence.

Thinking about it, though, I think the ideal shape would be a "U" shape, at least for a multi-tabler. If you don't make the money, you want to be out early so you can re-load another table, right?

Speaking of multi-tabling, 121 of these were in some form of a multi-tabling environment on various sites and at various levels. Both my hourly rate and ROI were less than 1/2 what they are single-tabling. A good multi-tabler will see his/her ROI go down, but hourly rate go up. What can I say, I suck at multi-tabling and rarely even try it anymore.

As for other types of games, I'm deeply negative for MTTs, slightly positive for SNG MTTs thanks to some cashes in the 180's, and surprisingly positive in limit ring games. Ah, sweet variance.


Well, the house is under contract, the buyer's inspector was out here for 3 hours today and couldn't find a thing wrong with it - a matter of some frustration for him since they always feel the need to justify their fee by uncovering something. We're good homeowners, though. When we fix or improve something, we take the time and spend the money to do it right. It also helped that we approached this as the house we'd live in until the kids were raised, so we wanted it right for ourselves. Now, it's perfect to sell.

I have a couple of phone interviews this week. One is just a few miles from a beloved alcoholic, the other just a few hours from the toughest homegames in the Southeast.

I fear I could not keep up in either place at either activity.


Warning: Bragging on my kid follows. I'd tell Felicia to stop reading here, but I don't think I make her grade anymore ;-)

A little good news, finally. For the last two years, we've lobbied the eldest biggette's school to test her for the gifted program. They don't like to do it in the first grade because they don't actually have a program until the third grade, and if she tests out then they are required to do something for her. Well, we finally got our way, she took a K-BIT test yesterday, which is a quick intelligence test that correlates with the better-known tests, and she scored very, very high - 2 points higher than her old man has scored in the past. So, she moves on to take a full-blown exam later this week.

Just in time to move to a new school. Ironical.


Hey, growing up Catholic, I'd usually give up desserts for lent. Mom always told us we were allowed to take Sunday's off, though.

I sincerely hope that is official church doctrine. I plan to ask the priest after Mass tomorrow.

This is getting harder than I expected.


Friday, March 03, 2006

Calling Phil Gordon! Candy-gram for Mr. Gordon!

Uh-uh, no you di-int! Not the vertical paper throw?!?! Angle-shooting! Angle-shooting!

Maybe This Dispute Can Be Settled Using Rock-Paper-Scissors

Two Leagues -- One Highbrow, One Not -- Spar Over Soul Of Familiar Child's Game
March 3, 2006; Page A1

NORMAL, Ill. – Gavin Vansaghi was sipping a beer at Brewe-Ha's tavern here when a woman in a Bud Light T-shirt approached with a proposition: Would he like to play rock-paper-scissors? If he won, she said, she might even go to Las Vegas with him.

"Of course," he recalls saying.

Scenes like that have the world of competitive rock-paper-scissors in an uproar. The weeks-old U.S.A. Rock Paper Scissors League, formed by a pair of Hollywood television producers, is enticing members with Bud Light girls, a racy Web video and a $50,000 prize. The tactics have drawn the wrath of the Toronto-based World RPS Society, revived a decade ago by two brothers who set out to bring decorum to the child's hand game.

"We are certainly not very happy with what the USARPS is doing to cheapen the grand sport of rock-paper-scissors," says Graham Walker, co-managing director of the World Society. Matti Leshem, who helped create the U.S. league, calls Mr. Walker's group "highbrow and intellectual," adding, "We're much more rock 'n' roll." Mr. Walker's brother, Douglas, says, "To put it really simple, they would call us pompous blowhards and we would call them ugly American knuckle-draggers."

The squabbling is over an ancient game that involves two players flinging a hand at each other on a 1-2-3 count. A fist is a rock, a flat hand is paper, and two extended fingers signify scissors. Rock smashes scissors, paper covers rock, scissors slices paper. Typically, the winner takes two of three throws.

The Walkers -- Graham, 38, an advertising executive in Prague, and Douglas, 34, a Web consultant for a public-relations firm in Toronto -- are lifelong rock-paper-scissors fanatics. Douglas says he stumbled upon a long-dormant Toronto society while searching for strategies to beat his brother. In 1995, they restarted the club with a new Web site, attracting players who eagerly chatted about playing without ever holding an official contest.

"The game is the most democratic game possible," Douglas Walker says. "You have all the equipment as long as you have one functioning hand." At the society's first international tournament in 2002, Toronto's Pete Lovering outlasted more than 250 players while competing in a green bathrobe adorned with "1974 World Champion." Today, the society counts 3,000 members and calls itself the sport's governing body.

Fox Sports Net broadcast the World Society's 2004 championship in a one-hour special produced by Mr. Leshem, 43, and Andrew Golder, 45. "We saw the potential to stage this on a much bigger scale and bring levels of show business they weren't doing," says Mr. Golder, who helped create cable-TV's "Win Ben Stein's Money."

The two, who had talked about forming their own league for a year, approached St. Louis brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. Its Bud Light brand agreed to sponsor thousands of local tournaments leading up to the April 9 championship in Las Vegas with the $50,000 prize. Marlene Coulis, the company's vice president for brand management, says, "We're always looking for fresh new ways to put beer drinkers together."

The U.S. league also cut a deal with the A&E Network to cover the championship. Nancy Dubuc, senior vice president for nonfiction and alternative programming, says the network "will explore the characters behind the events and look for that break-out star." Messrs. Leshem and Golder discussed a partnership with the Walkers but couldn't reach an

They launched the U.S. league in January with a news release declaring, "For too long, adults who gather in clubs looking for competition have had only pool or darts to challenge them. Finally, there's a true sport where talent can be showcased."

The World and U.S. leagues agree that rock-paper-scissors is a game of strategy. "Selecting throws in advance helps prevent unconscious patterns from forming and can sometimes reduce the subconscious signals that give away the next throw," the World Society's Web site advises. Advanced players twitch fingers to confuse fist-watching foes, or delay unveiling a throw until the last possible instant. The U.S. league asserts, "All cries of 'RPS is just random' disappear the moment one's opponent states, 'I dare you to open with rock, you sissy.' "

The World Society describes two throws of scissors sandwiched around a paper as "an invasive and devious gambit." The U.S. league says a man who throws two papers then a rock has never kissed a girl.

The World Society deplores the U.S. league officiating as lax. "There doesn't seem to be any accountability or quality control," says Shawn Ring, 29, a World Society member in Philadelphia. At a recent U.S. league event, he claims a referee allowed a contestant to make a patently illegal vertical paper throw. Mr. Leshem says the U.S. league is still learning, and it is difficult to enforce rules consistently with more than 300 Anheuser distributors organizing tournaments.

The U.S. league's Web site displays a video of the "Girls of RPS," scantily dressed women nicknamed Rock, Paper and Scissors, cavorting to pulsing music. The World Society posted a critique on its Web site saying the U.S. league had "chosen to go down that old tired and true
route of hiring strippers for a cheese-fest" rather than celebrate women "who have actually played RPS."

The U.S. league shot back on its Web site that the World Society was sexist for implying that an attractive woman couldn't be good at rock-paper-scissors. "Brothers Graham and Doug Walker obviously know nothing of beautiful women, most likely because they've never actually spoken to one," the Web site declared.

Mr. Vansaghi, a 21-year-old senior at Illinois State University, joined 31 contestants who crowded into a corner of Brewe-Ha's bar while country music blared. In the semifinals against Andrew Strickert, 28, a National Guardsman who plays left-handed, the Bud Light girl
told Mr. Vansaghi to play scissors. He listened -- and lost.

In the final, Mr. Strickert faced Kelly Collins, 21, a junior psychology major at Illinois State. On the decisive throw, he tossed a rock to Ms. Collins's paper. The crowd chanted her name as she was hoisted onto her boyfriend's shoulders. Now she can compete in a regional match to determine the 250 or so finalists who will vie for the $50,000.

Last year's winner of the World Society championship won only $6,158. But "there's more prestige to our title," Douglas Walker says.

Mr. Leshem says he doesn't see why the two groups can't get along. "If things go really well, everybody wins," he says. "Maybe we'll even buy them."

Write to Timothy W. Martin at timothy.martin@wsj.com8

Too. Much. Time. On. My. Hands.

Or, is it sadder that the WALL STREET JOURNAL put this on page A1??

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I am still the Master...

of my Domain.

But, I finally have proof that there is a God, and he has a sense of humor.

Scene: Ash Wednesday Mass.
Players: Yours Truly, Seriously-Hot-Blond-Coed (SHBC)
Location: Back two rows of the church

At first, I didn’t even notice her. But, the mind wanders as it often does during a homily, in that period between the priest’s opening joke and the final Message we’re supposed to leave with.

Then I saw her. SHBC looked old enough, but there was a couple sitting next to her that may have been her parents. So, who can tell, girls these days? I suspect the hormones in fast food hamburgers have caused overdevelopment of young girls.

Bookmark her - she's so close now
This girl is half his age
As we stand for the profession of faith, I notice SHBC is wearing a short denim skirt. Nice.

Temptation, frustration
So bad it makes him cry
We sit back down for the offering, then stand again for the blessings. Only this time, her skirt gets kinda hung up somhow as she stands and it slides down a ways.

Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me
Then, I see the black, lacy thong outlined by the top half of SHBC's alabaster buttocks.

It's no use, he sees her
He starts to shake and cough
Just like the old man in
That book by Nabakov

Well played, God.

Well. Played.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Shots, Limited

Are you willing to go broke?

A couple days ago, I took a shot at a post about taking shots. Primarily, it had to do with SNGs. But, I’ve also been taking shots at 5/10 limit, both full-table and short-handed. I’m a net winner at both (microscopic sample size of ~500 hands), but I think I have something to offer about the psychology of taking shots in limit ring games that is similar to SNGs.

I think (stupidly, maybe) that you have to be willing to lose your money before you can stop playing scared when you move up. The key for me is to buy in for the same number of BBs as I would at a .5/1 table, and then I truly think of them as “just” betting units. Yes, there is a small math difference between a game with a SB that is 50% of the BB vs. a game with a SB that is 40% of the BB, but for most people it isn’t enough to matter. What is most important when you are in ‘taking a shot’ mode is to be prepared to play the toughest of any SOB at the table.

This doesn’t mean that you should jump up and try to run over the table, nor call down everyone and their brother with 2nd pair because you just “know” he would have raised pre-flop if he had that Ace. It means you play hard – you raise the hands you’re supposed to raise, you fold the hands you’re supposed to fold, you punish the LAG when you think you’ve got him beat, and you change gears from time to time. The exact same thing that brought you success up until this point. You make it very hard for them to get your money, and make them pay dearly if you think your hand is good.

So, last night, I felt like I was ready for another 5/10 session and decided to multi-table it. First, I sat down at each table with 20BBs, what I typically buy in for at 2/4 and 3/6. Then, I took a series of wicked beats, and finally, I tilted until I was down 30BBs with “just one more card” bets.

BUT – I’d only played about 30-40 hands at this point, and I pulled it together, calmed down, and set about folding my way to bliss. I said out loud to myself, “play tough”. For me, this means stop giving away bets just as much as it means winning more bets. I managed a couple small pots to stay even, and then along about the 90th hand (I usually stop for a break around 100 hands) I started getting my big pre-flop hands hitting flops with people who also had enough to play back at me on one of my tables. By the 105th hand, I’d erased my 30 BB deficit and booked a small 3BB win. And it was all because I didn’t get scared of the loss, I recognized that I had become as much a problem as the donkeys, and I got my head and my heart right. No, it wasn’t a big win in terms of dollars, but it was huge in terms of confidence.

If you can’t go into the new game with the same mindset you go into your usual game, you’re beat before you start. One tactic people try is to buy short into a bigger game. Yes, I know 20 BBs is short to some, but it’s just what I’ve always bought in for in limit regardless of the level, so I just keep it the same. But, I don’t buy in for 10-15 BBs (as I so often see at this level), because you get beat out of one decent pot and you either have to re-buy anyway, or give up some EV on the next great hand you get.

Ever picked up AA when you were down to 5 BBs, hit the flop, and had someone willing to play with you? Yeah, you don’t want to be THAT guy. That has the same effect as giving your opponents free cards.

So, buy-in for the same number of units as normal. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, you aren’t ready.

Then, bet just as hard.

At the level you’re comfortable playing, you get QQ and you’re probably raising 90% of the time. If you find yourself just calling pre-flop and saying to yourself, “I just want to be sure the board isn’t scary”, then you’ve allowed all sorts of hands to stay in that wouldn’t be there otherwise. Being afraid to lose that money means you WILL lose that money through sub-optimal play.

If you’ve tightened up your raising range because you’re afraid to lose money, then you aren’t going to win as much as you should. So, you shouldn’t be there.

I guess I’ve said it enough. You just can’t think of it as money to lose. You’ve heard enough people say that there are plenty of fish to go around at each level, and I really believe that. Sure, I find myself completely outclassed on occasion, but I recognize that and get the heck out of there. But, mostly, I look for the guys who are buying in short, who are calling too much instead of raising, who are reacting to beats like they just lost their last $10 in the world, and I just know they are the players to beat.

Don’t be that guy. Be the same player tomorrow at 5/10 as you were yesterday at 3/6.