Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lunch Break

Ok, so here I am, sitting in my cube during my lunch break. Recently, actually, primarily this week, I've been staying in the office to eat lunch that I get from what they call a "cafeteria" downstairs. Considering the lack of choices, I don't think it even qualifies as a cafeteria and as for the food itself, it's a hit or miss with more misses than hits. But, it's cheap and it's quick and it's easy. I just blasted through my sweet and sour chicken with rice as I'm listening to the Jim Rome show. And basically, that is why I'm staying in the office this week. Noon to 3pm eastern time is when Rome comes on and generally, I'm not quite as dedicated to his show but this week is Superbowl week. He's kicking it down in Miami and the list of interviewees that he's got is sick. For me, the highlight was Hines Ward yesterday but I also like Chad Johnson who is coming up now... I'm hoping this will be a funny interview.

So, while I entertain myself with the premier sports radio show, I do a lot of browsing on the internet. And naturally, I discovered something I already knew. Which I guess one could argue that if you know it, there's nothing to discover. But I also wanted to know what other poker blogs are out there. And there are some entertaining ones with a lot more glamour and glory than my measily blog here. Here are some examples:

And those are two very different styles of blog, one is a major winning player, another is more like me but with even smaller stakes. Their writing styles are different and I just find them both interesting. I always think Negreanu's blog (the link is on the sidebar) is very entertaining especially when he talks about his personal life. I remember reading one time about how he was playing golf and he bets like $5,000 per hole. And the best part is, he shoots like 105-110! Then the other day, he was talking about it on High Stakes Poker and how he would go play with some people who claims that that's their usual score and they all have a "game of their lives" and shoot like mid 80's. That's good stuff. My "game of my life" would be like if I break a 100... Hey Daniel, how bout $5 a hole?

Ok, so as I'm typing, I'm listening to the ocho cinco interview. This guy's interview is boring. He has a lot of entertaining ideas on the football field and all the trash talk that he does but man, this interview is now dragging. Rome is trying so hard to make something out of nothing here...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

House of Bad Beats lives up to its name.... AGAIN

January is pretty much over. New year is awesome. You generally start with a lot of new goals, new beginnings, new this and that and your expectations are high. I guess that explains the increased memberships at the YMCA and I'm guessing most of the other gyms where many of us are trying to live up to the resolutions made in the new year. Well, my goal was simple. To get off to a good start in the Park Ave Poker Tour (self named based on location - aka Tuesday night poker tourney league). So, in reflecting back in January, how did I do? Zero cashes, no points. Disastrous. And the streak, of course, continued for me tonight when I failed to come in 3rd (which would have given me a point), and needless to say, another $25 out of my wallet. Aaaah, good times. Key hands? Key hands related to mine were probably as follows.

Early on, I was doing fairly well. I was making well timed raises, I was getting decent cards and I was playing them well. Poker is a funny game. When the deck hits you, it's an easy game. Well, there it was, and I was up to about $250 in tournament chips (we all start with $175) when the following hand came up. I believe the blinds were like 4-8 and so it was raised to $16 by JT who was sitting in middle position. RC (I'm gonna go with initials now) calls and I'm on the button with KQ. So I call. We see the flop 3 handed and the flop comes K-9-x. Exactly what I wanted. Or so I thought. Until I heard "all-in" and then a "I'm all in". And this was like quick. There was no pondering the call. And they both had the same amount in chips which was like $70 more maybe, and so it wasn't really a factor in terms of the chip stack. So I go into the tank. Everything about the way it played out tells me I'm ahead. Even to the point where I think that maybe they both have K-J. I think some more. Then an interesting thing happened. They decided that they would show each other the card. And the reaction actually screamed that they either had a same hand or not much or both. And then RC goes, "we're waiting for him to donate to the pot." Um, can you say Mike Caro 101. Strong = weak, weak = strong. If there ever was a tell, that was it. But, oddly enough, I decided to play it safe and fold. Stupid. JT flips over Q-T (he must have really wanted to go home) and RC flips over A-9. A-9 holds up and he doubles up (I would have won and knocked two guys out had I called).

But, we move on, I'm doing ok and the blinds are increasing steadily. JJ (initials, not cards) is nursing a very low chip stack of about $50 when the blinds are like 5-10. Well, I don't know how it ultimately ended but the poker gods were smiling down on him tonight. Initially, he goes all in with like A-J vs pocket pair (by "devilsad4c8") and he catches the ace on the river to double up. Few hands later, we knew the poker gods were on his side. The blinds now were like 7-14 or 8-16. "Devil" makes it 60 to go. I look down and see AJ from the button. So, I call thinking it will be a heads up match. Then I hear JJ from the small blind go all-in for $110 more. And the big blind, RC, calls. "Devil" and I look at each other, "devil" mucks and I have a decision to make. $110 more into a pot that is now over $360. I'm getting killer odds but an all-in and a call makes me think my AJ is beat. So, I fold. And what a relief it was when I saw that JJ had AJ also. RC turns over his pocket 9's. "Devil" shows his AQ that he folded. So RC is actually a huge favorite at this point. What looks like a coinflip is actually more like 80-20 because JJ only has 3 outs (only 1 ace remaining and 2 jacks remaining in the deck). Well, he hits is miracle 3 outer on the turn to take down a monster pot. Remember last week, he hit a 2 outer on the river.

So, we're still recovering from the monster pot that he raked in by getting ridiculously lucky. It gets 3 handed (at this point, I'm out but watching the entertainment that is the PAPT) and another lucky hand for JJ. JJ was tired of being pushed around and he goes all in against RC. RC calls and flips over his AQ. JJ turns over his Q-10 of clubs in disgust. RC 70%, JJ 30% (if WPT cam was there). Flop comes J-9-x. RC 62%, JJ 38% (with the straight draw, his odds actually increased). Turn is a blank. RC 75%, JJ 25%. River. Of course, a 10. To give JJ the pair and knocks out RC. Brutal. That left JJ and "devil" as the last two players and that's when I decided to call it a night. Crazy karma. And of course, without this, it wouldn't be the House of Bad Beats I guess.

Monday, January 29, 2007

One additional thing...

Hell, this is my lunch break so I will write however many additional things I want to write. I've been thinking this for a while since Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith won their respective AFC and NFC championship games to make it to the Superbowl. And the biggest deal that was made was the fact that this is the first time a black coach is in the Superbowl... let alone, two of them facing each other. Ok, that's great. But one of the first things that I thought was that it's kinda sad that in this day and age where we talk about racial integration and stuff, it's still a big deal because the Superbowl coaches are black. I don't know. I think I might be making a bigger deal out of this than I need to but I guess part of me thinks, so what? What does the color of the skin have anything to do with who coaches the Superbowl? I like Lovie Smith (not so much Tony Dungy) and so I think that's great. But instead of making a big deal about what the coaches have done (like the adjustments Indy made to all of a sudden being able to stop the run or the amazing job the Bears did in kicking Saints in the ass after everyone was picking the Saints to win), they are talking about how it's great for NFL that two black prominent coaches are in the Superbowl. Are we still in that phase? Hasn't this society come far enough to look beyond the color of the skin?

I guess the one key thing for me is that it is a historic moment and so even though the color of the skin should not be a big deal, anything that happens for the first time is probably a big deal. Also, I think it was Tony Dungy that said this but it was very interesting nonetheless. He mentioned that there's still a lot of very well qualified black coaches that are not head coaches only because they are black. But he also added that it's not so much racism as it is that it's more about the owners' comfort level. In other words, the owners may not be racists. But they just want to hire someone as a head coach with someone they are comfortable with. And in that sense, being that all the owners are white, they are more comfortable with the people of the same race which is quite understandable. It's not that they are biased. It's more the fact that they are comfortable with what they know. Thus, white owners tend to hire white coaches. Dungy's point was that that was why winning and making it to the Superbowl is important because the owners will not be able to overlook the fact that with qualified coaches, they could win. And in the end, that is the bottom line for all the owners (except Al Davis maybe).

So good for Dungy and Smith. Just one day, I hope that regardless of the skin color of the coaches, we could just celebrate the good job that they did in getting the teams to the Superbowl and not about what race they are.

Fighting the cold...

Last Wednesday, I had to leave work early because I didn't feel so good. I just felt like I was coming down with a cold so I wanted to go home, get some rest, and take care of my body before I actually come down with a cold... well, I guess I was on the losing end of the battle. I woke up on Thursday feeling worse than I did on Wednesday. So, I called in sick and slept most of the day. Friday, I felt better but since I started having some nasty coughs and I wasn't 100%, I decided to work from home. I was able to work for maybe 5-6 hrs but then I got really really tired so I went to sleep. All weekend, I was getting better and I was able to do a few things here and there but my energy level was no where near my normal levels. There would be streaks where I would feel much better, followed by periods where I feel kinda dizzy, really tired, and just worn out. One good thing about being sick is that it gives me an excuse to do nothing and just chill out. I was able to catch up on some of the shows that I recorded on my DVR. Which is good because I just don't have enough time to watch all the shows I want to watch. Thank god I don't have HBO. Crack TV. In my previous job, I used to travel a lot and when I did, I'd be in my hotel room, watch a few shows on HBO like Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage... and then I'd come home to no HBO and I'd be going through like withdrawals... I mean it's addicting. Those are great shows that you get totally hooked on. But anyways, so I don't have that and so now, the only shows that I watch are Heroes and Friday Night Lights. Actually, to be honest, I wasn't interested at all in Heroes until I watched one episode and then got hooked. And then the last episode was early December and new one wasn't coming out till late January. So, then I kinda lost interest but DVR automatically tapes it. So, while I was home sick, I watched it, and remembered why I got hooked on the show. Friday Night Lights... well, I'd pretty much watch any show with football in it. The only other show that I was kinda curious about but haven't seen is 24. I hear from all my friends that that is a great show. And apparently Negreanu likes it too cuz he talks about it on his blog a lot. I just don't know that I have enough time to get hooked on to another show.

One other thing I noticed is that my DVR is pretty much dominated with poker shows... Aside from the above two shows, my DVR was 80% full and it was filled with many episodes of High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark, and Professional Poker Tour. I have Seasons 2 and 3 (of the 3 seasons out) of WPT. And I watch that often. One thing I like about the WPT DVDs is that they also have commentaries by professionals. Like in Season 2, there's one event that Erick Lindgren won and it was a heads up match at the end against Negreanu. Now it's well documented that they are great friends and that was actually one of the ones that Negreanu and Lindgren does a commentary on. It was interesting to listen to them talk about why they made certain plays, what was going through their minds when they did what they did as they treaded through the final table. That was interesting as well as one where Esfandiari and Phil Laak (another pair of good friends) were doing the commentary. They weren't as good as the Negreanu/Lindgren commentaries but still, very interesting. If anything, it's actually very entertaining to listen to them.

So, it was nice to catch up on all my TV viewings but quite frankly, I'm ready to get back into my normal routine... which really aren't any different but I just want my energy level to get back to normal. As I sit here during my lunch break, writing this blog, I'm feeling pretty tired... and I've only been at work for 4 hrs... At least the next 3 hrs will be easy to kill. I generally listen to the Jim Rome show from noon to 3. He's down in Miami (Sia, are you gonna go check that out?) for the Superbowl week and his interview list this week is sick. He just got done with Donald Driver, I know Ocho Cinco and Hines Ward are coming on later in the week, Ronnie Brown later, etc. Great, great interview week. I can't wait.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


There are quite a few things in poker that I am quite paranoid of. First and foremost, someone flopping a set when I have a pocket pair. 2nd, that my play is too predictable. Which leads to my 3rd... that I'm a weak tight player instead of a tight aggressive player. So what does this all mean? Well, I guess this post will be about me confronting my weaknesses. But before that, let me explain how the above paranoia could affect my play.

My first paranoia... starts when I'm dealt QQ or KK where I feel like I cannot lay these down. In reality, I can, and I have but I think any player knows the general feeling. You've been playing tight, solid poker, occasionally stealing blinds but not getting out of line and you're finally rewarded with pocket kings. It's been an active table and even though you have the bankroll for it, when the pot becomes big, it's enough to make you nervous. And finally, you're rewarded with KK. Except you're under the gun. And there are some tricky players behind you. But you want to protect your hand and not let these players limp in so you raise it to 3.5x the blinds. You get one caller who's a typical player at these stakes. Relatively tight preflop (so he won't call your raise with like 7-3 suited) but fairly aggressive after the flop and showing down relatively decent hands on occasions he had to show. Flop comes 7-5-2. You bet 3/4 of the pot because that's what you always do. He pops you back the minimum. What do you think? Well, this is what I think. Sh*t! Did he flop a set? Is he now doing the minimum raise to sucker me in? I've been playing fairly well, I'm up about a $100 and I really don't need to lose my entire stack on this hand if he has a set. Honestly, that's how I think. What are the chances that someone with a pocket pair flops a set? 1/8. When I have a large pocket pair, I feel like it's more like 5/8. Paranoid? Very. And sometimes, I do wonder if I fold a little too often.

2nd paranoia. That I am too predictable. I feel like I'm almost like a robot. I raise with good hands, I raise from late position with more hands than I do in early position and I check if I completely miss and I'm in early position, bet if it's checked to me. Poker is a game of reading people? Hell, sometimes I feel like I'm in autopilot. How does that affect me? Well, it has the adverse effect when I start trying to make up for it. This is how my thought process goes. "Hmmm, I've been playing tight, solid ABC poker for a while. I'm starting to get too predictable because people are folding preflop whenever I raise so I get no action with my good hands. I need to start opening things up." Next thing I know, I'm involved in big pots where I have like 8-9 of clubs, but the board is like A-9-4 with no clubs. I push too hard and somehow I find myself donking away a significant amount of money in a pot that I had no business being in to begin with.

3rd. That I am a weak tight player and not a tight aggressive player. The above two paranoia starts playing into my mind and so I might be more prone to check calling with big pairs, letting someone catch up to me or I'm folding too many hands on the flop. So, what do I do? Well, how else to make up for it but by turning up the aggression. But sometimes, I just forget that poker is a game where you have to let the game come to you and not the other way around. At least not for me. I'm not an aggressive player by nature. I think everyone has a different comfort level of aggression and you just have to find your own and go from there. Well, I turn it up to the point where I'm totally uncomfortable with my aggression. And when I look back, I'm probably uncomfortable with it because it's an idiot aggression. It's one thing if it's under control and you're sensing weakness. It's another thing to push on a draw into a guy who has pocket aces. In other words, semibluffs are good if there's a chance (and you KNOW that there's a chance) that the guy will fold. If you know he will call you every time, a semibluff is what it is. A bluff. You're the underdog so more often than not, you will lose. During my phase of idiot aggression, I forget that and I push too hard.

The end result of all that above is that I look like a total donkey, I lose in one day, what I've built up over a week or two and have to go back at it again. Is paranoia normal? What are you most paranoid of at the poker table? And below, I put down two YMTC's for fun since it's been a while since I last posted. The results for both are at the very bottom of the page. They are both from $2/$4 NL, I started with $400 at the table.


Full Tilt Poker Game #1671588767: Table Brooks - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 2007/01/25 (partial)
Seat 1: mektin ($426.40)
Seat 2: markh59 ($400), is sitting out
Seat 3: ducks247 ($327.40)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($300.80)
Seat 5: loloPOZZEDu ($558.20)
Seat 6: dglebo ($1,069.40)
Seat 7: JoeyWorld ($282)
Seat 8: LittleStumpy ($75)
Seat 9: Oreily ($492.50)
Oreily posts the small blind of $2
mektin posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Qc Qh]
ducks247 raises to $8
RecessRampage raises to $16
loloPOZZEDu calls $16
dglebo raises to $100
JoeyWorld folds
LittleStumpy folds
Oreily folds
mektin folds
ducks247 calls $92

What would you do? One thing to add here though is that dglebo is very aggressive both pre and post flop. But, whenever he had to showdown hands, he's always had a very good hand (ie, AA, KK, QQ, AK, etc). So again, what would you do?

What would you do different if you knew the flop was gonna be lower than your Q? Would you do anything different? Also keep in mind that if you check, dglebo will bet the pot amount. In other words, he will put you to the test. What would you do?


FullTiltPoker Game #1680528600: Table Wetlands Park - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 11:50:22 ET - 2007/01/27
Seat 1: ZidorSkaya ($673.60)
Seat 2: Jockeyslut ($394.70)
Seat 3: souperman3211 ($499)
Seat 4: Acudad ($350)
Seat 5: trojjan99 ($384)
Seat 6: VegasDan21 ($446.20)
Seat 7: hayewe ($149.90)
Seat 8: RecessRampage ($500)
Seat 9: Joe Beevers ($400), is sitting out (btw, apparently, he's a professional - never heard of him but his name is in red to indicate he's a poker pro with some big tourney win)

hayewe posts the small blind of $2
RecessRampage posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Kd Ks]
ZidorSkaya folds
Jockeyslut folds
souperman3211 folds
Acudad calls $4
trojjan99 folds
VegasDan21 calls $4
hayewe folds
RecessRampage raises to $18
Acudad calls $14
VegasDan21 folds
*** FLOP *** [7d 5d 2h]
RecessRampage bets $30
Acudad raises to $60
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage calls $30
*** TURN *** [7d 5d 2h] [4d]
RecessRampage checks
Acudad bets $162

The $162 bet is a pot sized bet. What would you do? What would you have done differently leading up to this point, if anything? (Playing at lower stakes doesn't count as an answer though that might be a very legit response). Trust me, if you think I make enough to not care about a $160 bet, you're wrong. This amount makes me ridiculously nervous.

YMTC #1 - here's what I did. (this was the QQ hand)

RecessRampage raises to $300.80, and is all in
loloPOZZEDu folds
dglebo calls $200.80
ducks247 calls $200.80
*** FLOP *** [Th Ts 3h]
ducks247 checks
dglebo checks
*** TURN *** [Th Ts 3h] [6c]
ducks247 checks
dglebo checks
*** RIVER *** [Th Ts 3h 6c] [8d]
ducks247 checks
dglebo checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
RecessRampage shows [Qc Qh] (two pair, Queens and Tens)
dglebo shows [As Kd] (a pair of Tens)
ducks247 mucks
RecessRampage wins the pot ($921.40) with two pair, Queens and Tens
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $924.40 Rake $3
Board: [Th Ts 3h 6c 8d]
Seat 1: mektin (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: markh59 is sitting out
Seat 3: ducks247 mucked [Ac Js] - a pair of Tens
Seat 4: RecessRampage showed [Qc Qh] and won ($921.40) with two pair, Queens and Tens
Seat 5: loloPOZZEDu folded before the Flop
Seat 6: dglebo showed [As Kd] and lost with a pair of Tens
Seat 7: JoeyWorld didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: LittleStumpy (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: Oreily (small blind) folded before the Flop

Why did I do it? Because I wasn't sure that I could outplay dglebo on the flop if a card higher than a Q came. My read was that ducks probably had a lower pocket pair so at the very least, I just wanted to get dglebo off the hand in case he was playing like AK aggressively. At this point, I felt that if he had AA or KK, then I guess I'm screwed. But I knew he was a better player and I didn't want to give him the opportunity to outplay me on the flop.

YMTC #2 - Here's what I did.

I said, my paranoia is weak and I'm gonna fight this one. If he has a set, good for him. At least my K is a diamond so I have outs...

RecessRampage raises to $324
Acudad calls $110, and is all in
RecessRampage shows [Kd Ks]
Acudad shows [6h 6d]
Uncalled bet of $52 returned to RecessRampage
*** RIVER *** [7d 5d 2h 4d] [Tc]
RecessRampage shows a pair of Kings
Acudad shows a pair of Sixes
RecessRampage wins the pot ($703) with a pair of Kings
Acudad is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***Total pot $706 Rake $3
Board: [7d 5d 2h 4d Tc]
Seat 1: ZidorSkaya didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: Jockeyslut didn't bet (folded)
Seat 3: souperman3211 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: Acudad showed [6h 6d] and lost with a pair of Sixes
Seat 5: trojjan99 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: VegasDan21 (button) folded before the Flop
Seat 7: hayewe (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 8: RecessRampage (big blind) showed [Kd Ks] and won ($703) with a pair of Kings
Seat 9: Joe Beevers is sitting out

One last thought... what did you think of the play by Acudad? Was it a bad play or a good play? I mean forget the results for a second but if he put me on overcards, he knows that flop didn't help me. Should he have bet more on the flop? Or did he read my weakness correctly? Only misread being that my weakness generally comes from my paranoia and not necessarily my cards...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And the streak continues...

Another Tuesday night poker... and another $25 out of my wallet. This really sucks. It's only been 3 weeks of playing for me (since I missed last week) but either my play is atrocious, I'm not getting cards, or a combination of both... and this post is becoming kinda deja-vu-ish (if that's not a word, well, now it is). My last hand? Blinds at 8-16, I made it $40 with pocket 6's. It was down to 3 players and top 2 got paid. I had about another $80 behind me. The big blind goes all in which had me covered just enough but not by much. So it was $80 more into a pot that was approx $160+. At that point, I figured he would move in with two high cards so I called. He had QQ. End of story. For those who know, it's "devilsad4c8". What do you think? Should I have folded? I just couldn't see how I would survive with only $80 left if I folded and 3 players left. But maybe I give up too easy. I don't know.

The funny thing was that he had a massive chip lead for a while. Then a crazy hand happened. The blinds I believe were 5-10. It was 3 handed at this point. He raised it to $30. Then, another player reraised it $40 more. So he reraises again. This time all in. At this point, it's starting to be clear that they both have big hands. Especially the aforementioned devilsad4c8 definitely had a big hand cuz otherwise he wouldn't do this. Well, "JJ" calls and turns over pocket 4's!!!! Devil turns up KK and at this point, he had "JJ" covered so "JJ" is all in. Well, what do you know. He spikes a 4 on the river for a set and cripples devil. But, couple of questionable calls later when devil went in (and I say questionable because the all-in was for like $60 after the flop and he would call with absolutely nothing... not even like two high cards, I mean just random stuff. JJ, if you're reading this, some of those calls were very questionable). So, that gave devil second life... enough to bust me out.

Key hand that crippled me early was when I hit top pair, turned two pair, only to lose to a flopped set of 2's. The guy was relatively short stacked so I put him all in and he called in a heartbeat. That crippled me early, even though I was able to climb back up but not enough. I gotta win soon. It's getting very frustrating...

On a totally different note, during the day, I have two friends that I discuss a lot of poker with over email. It's great because if it's up to me, I could talk about poker all day. So, we discuss certain scenarios that my friend finds online or certain hands from Tuesday night poker group, etc. Well, one of the topics that came up today was about the pros and their opinions of the pros and who's good, who's not, etc. It was a very interesting discussion. They felt that certain pros were riding the wave because they happened to have the bankroll to play the tournaments and hence, they're popular. I think I was more in support for the pros than the other two were. This was the discussion that ensued:

I'm sure you guys watch poker as much (if not more) on TV as much as I do. I actually recorded a bunch of WPT and WSOP tourneys just to watch and analyze. And what I've come to realize is that a lot of "pros" aren't that much better than the average player. I see them make moves that any bluffer does or slow play a monster (who wouldn't?). So to Sia's point, a lot of these players are just riding the wave and somewhere along the way made a lot of $ and are able to play at high stakes and make a lot of money (as well as lose a lot). And a lot of them just 'intimidate' people at the table just b/c they are the "pro". Here are my additions to the list;

Not to sweat:
Chris Furgeson (although you can't get a physical tell, he pretty much plays by the book)
Josh Arieh (plays overly aggressive poker)
Dave Williams (see above)

Definitely don't want sitting to my left:
Scotty Fischman (very aggressive but knows how to apply the aggression)
Eric Lindgren (solid player all around)
Phil Laak (he's just too unpredictable)

This was my response:

And add Antonio Esfandiari on the list of not wanting on your left. I agree and disagree with you guys. I disagree about the point you guys make about they have money so they can win or lose a lot of money. The guys I listed were like high on the list of cardplayer tournament player of the year (including which I did not but guys errrrr kids like Shannon Shorr, Nick Schulman, etc) which means they are consistently turning in great performance. And you guys say that you watch them on TV and they're not that great. Well, do you realize the number of people they have to survive in order to get there? The fact that you see them maybe twice (anything more is downright impressive) on TV (which is generally just the final table) is actually more impressive than you give them credit for. And let me add this about Dave Williams and Josh Arieh. They may play Ramel poker but with much better timing and better read. If you only saw them make out of control moves, then you only saw them in bits and pieces or the TV highlights only focused on those things because if you're watching WSOP, they weren't prime time players at that point. Which is why I think recently, the more popular shows are like GSN's high stakes poker. It shows the poker players in a different setting and the poker they play there are pretty high level, though I immediately caught Negreanu's tell on one hand when he held K-10 and the flop was Q-10-5 and he pushed all in against Antonio's JJ. (Esfandiari picked up on that tell as well and called the all in, just to be rivered by the king and lose $80,000 of his own money).

Oh, and definitely add Tom McEvoy on that list of jokers. But I would include Dave Williams and Josh Arieh on the list of not wanting on my left.

Also, the stories I hear about some of these guys and how they "made it" is pretty unreal. You think you need a bankroll to be better? Think again. Take the Chris Ferguson experiment for example. If you haven't heard, it's where he made a $20,000 bet with a friend that he could take $1 online and turn it into $20,000. I think he did that in like 6 months maybe? Maybe a little more. And he won the bet. Kids like Shannon Shorr built up a ridiculous bankroll but he started with a few hundred dollars and the kid's like 22. I mean these are guys who are playing at a different level. I think it's the ability to adjust to different competition. It's not about playing a certain hand a certain way or slowplaying a big hand or making a crazy bluff. Those are just instances you are seeing on tv. I think being able to switch gears and adjust is the biggest thing and these top pros are doing that well. Much better than you guys give them credit for.

This conversation followed an initial email from Sia regarding how he thought a lot of "pros" that people sweat, including Doyle Brunson weren't all that great. Even though I don't agree with them, it was a very interesting discussion, I thought, about how different our perceptions were. If any of you other guys want to include another pro for a good one or a bad one, feel free to comment. And please, I think Mike Matusow being a donk is a given. What about favorite players? My all time favorite is obviously Negreanu, followed by a lot of the young guys like Erick Lindgren, John D'Agostino, Phil Ivey, and Allen Cunningham. I also seem to favor the European crowd like Marcel Luske and Gus Hansen.

One last note: No matter how much WPT tries, they're never gonna find a suitable replacement for Shana Hiatt. She was the best as the host for WPT...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

H.O.R.S.E. = Donkey

The weekends seem to be slower on the poker front for me. I don't really have a good explanation as to why that is. Probably because I don't play any more on the weekends than I do on the weekdays. Both Sat and Sun, I got my required 200 pts at FTP to keep up my status for the ironman challenge and then once I got that, I just switch over to video games or in today's case, football. This weekend though, I felt like I was playing pretty well. No significant profits (maybe $50 here and there but nothing too exciting) but I guess if I can earn my points and not lose my money, that's probably a good thing.

Recently, thanks to the bogus UIGE Act (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) that was sneaked in by Bill Frist (who I am happy to add is no longer a politician - he's back to being a doctor after that dirty sh*t he pulled) and supported by Jim Leach (also happy to add that after 30 years of representing Iowa, this is the first time he lost his seat), Neteller decided to no longer do business with US customers. Well, pretty much. Neteller agreed to no longer process transactions for US customers with online gaming sites... which sucks because I used Neteller. Just to clarify. Neteller is not going out of business. They are a third party processor that acts as an intermediary between a bank and a vendor and the only reason they would be used is if someone feels uncomfortable giving away their bank account number to do certain transactions online. one could set up an account like Neteller, fund the account like a prepaid debit card, and go from there. So, naturally, since the banks were already not doing transactions with these poker sites, I had a Neteller account. Well, since Neteller caved to the pressure of the US and the fabulous (please, sense the sarcasm here) Bush Administration (2008 can't get here soon enough), I had to open another account similar to Neteller. So, I decided to go with Click2pay, for no major reason except that was just another one that I knew of. Until I learned that just a day after I opened an account with them, they are no longer accepting new US customers. The only problem with this legislation that is causing all these very legitimate third party processors to deny US customers is that soon, once all the legit businesses refuse our request, we're gonna start turning to anything that would do it. That could potentially mean that we'll be funding money through unregulated, unsecure third party sites who for all we know could be using those funds for money laundering. Too far fetched? Possibly. But considering that Frist and Leach and Goodlatte all used terrorism and money laundering as the possible dangers of allowing internet gambling, mine is a lot more realistic than all those a$$clowns combined.

Alright, I'm starting to get fired up here so let me calm down and talk about something I'm starting to really get into. HORSE was a common terminology to me since I played basketball and the popular game of matching the shot that was made right before you in order to avoid getting the letter was played countless times when I was in school. How does that relate here? Well, it doesn't. But HORSE in poker has a totally different meaning. It is an acronym for Hold'em, Omaha hi/lo, Razz, Seven card stud, and Eight or better stud. I love it because of the variation it gives. The way it works is there's a set number of hands for each game. So in other words, after 10 hands of hold'em, it switches to omaha, 10 hands later, razz, etc etc until it repeats the whole cycle. Now HORSE is a limit game so in other words, it's quite different from the NL hold'em world that I am accustomed to being in. However, I read enough materials to at least understand the differences in gameplay between NL and limit hold'em. The other games give me variety on what I play because there was a period where I was starting to get tired of hold'em. Well, unfortunately, I am a total donkey in HORSE. I can obviously hold my own in hold'em and I do fairly ok (at least I can survive) in omaha and stud. But eight or better stud puts me in the donkey territory and I'm a total donk in Razz. Except, amazingly, I love Razz. That's starting to become my new favorite game. For those that don't know razz, basically it's a low ball game. In other words, the person with the 5 lowest card combination wins. If someone has a 7-5-4-3-2, then that person beats a 8-4-3-2-A because his first card is lower. 7-5-4-3-2 however will lose to 7-5-4-2-A, for example. Aside from that, it plays out just like a seven card stud. And for some reason I am totally hooked on it. I wish I could find more material about the keys to success in this game because I am getting killed (well, I play very very low limits so after like an hour, me being killed is like losing $10). But where it shows up most is when I play in a HORSE tournament, that's where I usually bust out or bleed all my money away. I believe Jennifer Harmon is regarded one of the best Razz players in the world... I wonder if she has a book out.

Well, that's about it. Not a major poker day. As much as I wanted the Saints to win, after seeing Lovie Smith, Thomas Jones and especially Brian Urlacher who's been with the Bears for a while, it was nice to see them make it to the Superbowl. Now, the Patriots just need to put Manning back to where he belongs during the playoffs (at home sulking) and that would be great. Speaking of Manning, how awesome would it be to see him and Marty Schottenheimer get together. Not that I have anything against Marty but that combo will break the record of the Dolphins and go 16-0.... and lose in the first round of the playoffs.... ha ha ha ha ha.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Last night in New Orleans!

Day 4 in New Orleans... this is my last night here in New Orleans so I couldn't just stay at the hotel and play online poker. So, despite the light rain and my laziness, I ventured out to go eat at Bone Fish Grill... except I got lost... well, kinda. Hard to believe but when I figured out where I was, I was a block away from Harrah's. Well, I was ready to eat and not ready to play so I was a little upset. Plus, even though I figured out where I was, I wasn't going to go back in the same direction just to eat at that restaurant... so, instead, I ventured over to Emeril's. My last experience there was a fantastic one so even though I wasn't going to have a big meal, I decided that since this could be the last time I eat at Emeril's in New Orleans, it was fitting. So, I enjoyed a hearty meal there, fantastic food, fantastic wine (it better be... the glass of cabernet cost $20!). And once I was satisfied, I walked 4 blocks back to Harrah's. Honestly, part of me just wanted to go back to the room and play online and avenge my losses from last night. Oh yeah, in case you were wondering what happened in the two YMTC's that I put down. First one where I had the aces, I folded on the river. My read was that he had trips. Either way, I was probably beat on the turn so I should have folded there. Then few hands later where I had the kings, I called the all-in. But the guy had AA. What a quick turnaround. Going from being up $50-60 to being down $400 within the hour. (Well, I did play this morning and actually made up about half of my losses back but nothing eventful happened there aside from the fact that I woke up at 5:30am).

Now on to Harrah's. Harrah's is great. I don't know what it is about this place or this casino. I've never seen a higher concentration of donkeys at the table than the one I play with on a monthly or bimonthly basis (sorry guys). But I mean these guys are literally throwing money around. Fortunately, I was able to catch some of that. No particular hands here and there. But there were plenty of calling stations so if you bet your hand strong, you were bound to be paid off. One memorable hand which didn't involve much in terms of the pot size was when I held 9-10 offsuit and I was on the button. Relatively loose aggressive player from middle position limped and there were maybe 2 more limpers before another loose aggressive player who was sitting to the right of me made it $10. Now generally, I would not play this hand when raised. But literally, he was in the cutoff seat and based on the way he was playing, he could have been playing anything. And because he was so loose, if I hit my hand hard, I was gonna get paid. Plus at this point, I was already up like $100 so it's borrowed money anyways. So again, I call and the early LAG (loose aggressive) calls leaving just the 3 of us going into the flop. Flop comes 5-6-7 with two diamonds. First player checks, the LAG to the right of me bets $15. I knew that he would bet regardless of the flop (I had a very good read on this guy) so I called with my gut shot straight draw. Then strangely, the first position LAG also called. So, still the 3 of us going into the turn (pot size approx $80). Turn brings a 6 of diamonds, completing the flush draw if there was one. The first LAG checks, guy to my right also checks, and it's rare that these two check. Before I continue, a little background. For the prior hour or two, whenever I bet or had to showdown, I had a hand. A very good hand. These guys would bet if they hit any part of the board. Even if they hit a monster, they would come out firing. So the fact that these two checked the turn with such a weird card was a good sign for me. Still, I didn't want to build on what was already a big pot so I checked after contemplating what to do. The river brought an offsuit 5 and the first lag checked. The one next to me on the other hand checked and then started playing with his chips as if to say "I'm gonna call if you bet." Trust me. I picked up on this tell quickly. As in, he wanted me to check also so he's showing off as if he's gonna call if I bet, indicating the fact that if I bet, I must have a monster. And he was doing it subtle but still a red flag. Plus, with 9-10 offsuit, I had no chance of winning this pot if it went to show down.... so I did what every good poker player would do here. I took a stab at that pot. And I contemplated what a good bet was to convince them that I had a 6 (and if you think about the sequence and how I reacted to the 6, though accidentally, which completed the flush draw), it makes sense for me to have a 6. So, I bet out $40 into the $80 pot. The only concern I had was the early position player possibly calling me. But when he folded, I knew I was golden. I knew it even when the LAG next to me played with his chips, separated out the $40 to see what he should do. I knew there was no way he was calling me. I'm telling you, my read on this guy was dead on. And so after a little while, he folded. And of course, as a courteous a$$hole that I am, I flipped over my cards. No harm done though. I was being nice to all of them (you would too if they're giving you money) but a little salt rubbing in the wounds wouldn't hurt.

So, a few more hands and 2.5 hrs of poker playing later, I'm up $254, bringing my trip total to a net gain of $350+. Vegas may get a lot of tourist traffic but boy, New Orleans gets the donkey traffic.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wow... 2nd of the night. YMTC part 2

Read post below. Same drill.

Full Tilt Poker Game #1623637233: Table Brooks - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:08:31 ET - 2007/01/17
Seat 1: RecessRampage ($340.40)
Seat 2: MadRasputin ($171.60)
Seat 3: Indi_T ($433), is sitting out
Seat 4: Stylistic ($398)
Seat 5: ziggyjer21 ($210.40), is sitting out
Seat 6: Iridium ($540.40)
Seat 7: 3pounder ($422)
Seat 8: jcm694 ($400)
Seat 9: Dagwoodz ($535.10)
Iridium posts the small blind of $2
3pounder posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Kd Kh]
jcm694 has 15 seconds left to act
jcm694 is sitting out
jcm694 has timed out
jcm694 folds
Dagwoodz folds
RecessRampage raises to $14
MadRasputin folds
Stylistic folds
Iridium folds
3pounder calls $10
*** FLOP *** [8h 2h 6d]
3pounder bets $20
RecessRampage raises to $60
3pounder calls $40
*** TURN *** [8h 2h 6d] [9s]
3pounder checks
RecessRampage bets $100
3pounder raises to $348, and is all in

Like the one right before, what do you do? What would you do different? Why? Thanks

You make the call...

Ok, this isn't really gonna be a part of my blog but I just want some opinions (well, at this rate, I'll probably only get one and it will probably be from Sia but so be it... ooops, dude, hopefully, you don't mind if I put your name in here.... since your name is all over the comments...):

Full Tilt Poker Game #1623563543: Table Brooks - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 21:58:37 ET - 2007/01/17
Seat 1: RecessRampage ($453.40)
Seat 2: MadRasputin ($177.60)
Seat 3: Indi_T ($433)
Seat 4: Stylistic ($417.60)
Seat 5: ziggyjer21 ($214.40)
Seat 6: Iridium ($523.40)
Seat 7: 3pounder ($374.50)
Seat 8: jcm694 ($414)
Seat 9: Dagwoodz ($337.90)
Stylistic posts the small blind of $2
ziggyjer21 posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [As Ac]
Iridium has 15 seconds left to act
Iridium calls $4
3pounder folds
jcm694 folds
Dagwoodz calls $4
RecessRampage raises to $22
MadRasputin has 15 seconds left to act
MadRasputin folds
Indi_T folds
Stylistic folds
ziggyjer21 folds
Iridium calls $18
Dagwoodz calls $18
*** FLOP *** [Tc 7h 2c]
Iridium has 15 seconds left to act
ziggyjer21 is sitting out
Iridium checks
Dagwoodz bets $20
RecessRampage raises to $50
Iridium folds
Dagwoodz calls $30
*** TURN *** [Tc 7h 2c] [Jd]
Dagwoodz has 15 seconds left to act
Dagwoodz bets $96
RecessRampage has 15 seconds left to act
RecessRampage calls $96
*** RIVER *** [Tc 7h 2c Jd] [5c]
Dagwoodz has 15 seconds left to act
Dagwoodz bets $169.90, and is all in

What would you do?
What would you have done differently?
Responses would be best if you also told me why. Thanks!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Orleans... Day 2

Let me start with a quick nonpoker take. I know I said it in my previous post. But Mother's is freakin amazing. I mean it is fantastic. If you ever have the chance to go to New Orleans, you have to check out Mother's. And their poboy.... a treat for your tongue, little tough on your stomach. What do I mean? They have this thing called a "debris" which is basically like all the soft juicy meat that usually falls off when they are cooking the roast beef. And this restaurant is like a hole in a wall. The atmosphere really reminds you of like the cheesesteak places in Philly. There's always a line, no one is in any hurry to prepare your food but the food is fantastic, atmosphere is very homely and it's just a very cool place. Well, the legend goes that long time ago, when this family owned Mother's, there were always the same customers. So one day, when one of the customers was waiting for his food, he was looking in the kitchen and noticed all this juicy meat that was accumulating at the bottom of the pan. He asks, "What's that?" "Why, that's debris. That's just the meat that falls off the roast beef. It's really soft and juicy. You wanna try it?" "Sure, why not." So then, the cook slapped some debris on the bread and a legend was born. I know, that to some, this sounds nasty. But seriously, if greasy food doesn't turn you off, then this is like heavenly. I mean it's not grease and fat. But it's soaked in the grease from the roast beef which is why it may be tough on the stomach a little. I had the "John G." which is baked ham, roast beeft, and debris. The poboy is huge and the bottom bun is soaking with the juice from the debris. Mmmmmm.

Well, after that treat for my dinner, I walked two more blocks to play at Harrah's. Based on my previous trips, for some reason, that casino is filled with less than average poker players. So, I got myself on the list to play 1-2NL but meanwhile, I noticed a few open seats at the 3-6 limit table so I played just to kill some time. Nothing significant happened there so maybe after 30 minutes, I was up like $5. But spending 30 minutes at the table confirmed what I already knew. These guys were not good and so if the caliber of play is the same at the NL tables, as long as I don't get unlucky, I should do alright. Well, sure enough, my name was eventually called and I went over to the 1-2NL tables. Just to set the stage. Opening hand, I had the button and I'm dealt pocket 5's. Everyone folds to me so I raise to 7. Both blinds call (I also forgot that a raise to 7 is like nothing at this casino. 7 is a standard raise online at 1-2 NL but not at Harrah's). Flop comes out K-10-5. Both blinds checked to me so I bet $10. Small blind folds but big blind calls. I don't remember the turn but it didn't help my 7 and he bet out $15. I fold. Made it seem like I was trying to steal the blinds with nothing.

Few hands later, I'm first to act (under the gun) and I'm dealt AQ off. I raise it to $10 hoping to eliminate most people. After getting 4 callers, all acting behind me, I wasn't too excited about the prospect of my hand. Until the flop came Q-4-4 with, rainbow. Ideal for my holding. No weird straight draws or anything and very unlikely that anyone has a 4 so the possibility of someone having a set is slim to none (and more none than slim). But I'm not one to slow play a hand like this with 4 players behind me and the pot is already like $50 so I bet out $40. I get one caller. Since this was very early, I had no read on this guy as to whether he might be tight, loose, donkey, chaser, etc. Well, the turn is a 2 of spades which now puts two spades on the board. I really wanted to protect what I thought was still the best hand so I bet $80. Well, this guy calls again. Now, even though I don't know him, I couldn't imagine that he's on a flush draw because well, there was no reason for him to call the flop if it were. So, I narrowed it down to two possibilities based on the preflop action. He either has JJ or 10's or KQ. So now, I'm hoping for another low card and the river comes 3 of spades. I was convinced that he didn't have spades but rather that he held KQ so I pushed all in, hoping he would call with KQ. He just smiled, checked his cards again and then mucked it. I don't know what he had but I couldn't get him to call so it must have been pocket pair lower than a Q. That gave me a pretty healthy stack (we all started with $200... well, most of us did. That was the max buy in and there's always people that buy in short).

Few hands later, I'm under the gun again and this time I have KK. I wasn't sure how to play this one so I decided that I will limp and see what happens. Well, the very next guy behind me raises it to $20. Very big raise. So, I immediately put him on a medium pair, QQ at best but more likely 10s or something and everyone obviously folds to me. I wasn't sure what the best move was at this point so I decided to just call instead of reraising and giving my hand away. Now at this point, I have seen this guy play and he's one of those players that is looser than he thinks he is. So I am fairly comfortable when I see a flop of Q-10-x (it was a low card I can't remember) with two hearts that I am ahead. But I check to see if I can really trap him. He bets out another $20 so I call. Turn comes another low card and I check but he quickly checks behind me. I felt like I missed my opportunity. The river completed a flush draw by bringing another heart but for some reason, I was very confident that he didn't have a heart so I bet like $20 thinking that if he had any piece of the board or a pocket pair, he'd pretty much have to call. He muttered something along the lines of how there were too many hearts on the board and folded. So, I assured him that I had him the whole way.

Now that guy that just folded in the above paragraph was kinda short stacked. So, maybe another round and I am dealt pocket 10s from under the gun (I had monster hands UTG tonight). I limp this time and sure enough, my next door neighbor makes it $15. The caller who was involved in the very first hand calls, and I obviously call. So, there's $48 (including the blinds) in the pot. Flop comes J-6-6. I check, just to see what ensues and the guy next to me goes all in for $40. The other guy folds and now it's back to me. Now I had to go in the tank on this one and I really had to think about it. But like I said before, this was a good who was looser than he thought he was so I honestly thought he could be making this play with an overpair, maybe even middle pair (like 99, 88, or 77) or with two overcards. I just couldn't give him enough credit for a J so I decided to call (plus I was getting better than 2-1 odds so given the range of hands I put him on, I thought it was laying pretty fair odds). Well, I was wrong. He had AJ. And as I congratulated him and said "nice hand" a 10 spiked on the river to give me a full house and the $128 pot.... I really felt bad and so even though it's generally not like me to apologize for a bad beat, it was more a reactionary thing and a "I'm sorry sir" spilled out of my mouth. He took it well saying that's the way his night's been going. I truly did feel bad.

So, I was sitting pretty with over $200 in profit when this hand came up. I was in the big blind this time with K-3 of clubs and bunch of limpers later, I got to see the flop for free. Well, the flop comes 7-9-3 with two clubs. I just hit bottom pair and a 2nd nut flush draw. I checked as did everyone except for one player who hasn't really been active and he bet out $15. I felt like that was a pretty big bet so I immediately thought that maybe he had a 9 or something weak that he wanted to end the hand right there. Well, it was folded back to me and so I call because now, at this point, I'm thinking I have 14 outs (9 to the flush, 3 other kings, and 2 other 3's). Well, the guy I just gave the bad beat to also calls. The turn comes an offsuit 8 which doesn't help me and so I check, my neighbor checks, and the initial better bets $50. That was a tremendous bet and so once again, I had to go into the tank. Based on what I see out there, I still thought I had 14 outs (if for some reason he played J-10 and made his straight, I still had 9 outs). The only concern was the guy next to me who also called the bet on the flop. I was worried that he also had a flush draw. I wasn't worried that he might have a better flush draw but I was concerned that maybe two of my outs were in his hands. But, with the pot being $55 and his bet of $50, it was giving me approx 2-1 odds. I also thought that if I call here and my neighbor calls, my implied odds would be 3-1. In other words, I only need a 25% chance to win. Based on my 14 outs, I was getting close to 30% so I called and sure enough, neighbor calls. River is unfortunately an offsuit 9. For some reason, I hesitated and I thought about firing out a bluff but I didn't have it in me. Well, I should have. Because we all checked, I showed my pair of threes, the guy who did all the betting folded but my neighbor had like 8-x of clubs and catching his 8 on the turn, his pair of 8s held up for a monster pot. Oh well, at least he got his money back from the bad beat I dealt him.

So, at the end of all that, I left Harrah's up approx $100. Not bad for a couple of hours of poker. And I will say... even though I didn't get to be involved with some of the other players, there were some real bad ones out there... I forgot how juicy that place could be. Harrah's could expect to see me very soon.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Harrah's New Orleans Day 1.... or Not.

So here I am in New Orleans. For those of you that never been, this is a great city. I've never been here during Mardi Gras and I imagine that this is one of those events that will probably live up to and exceed the hype that surrounds it. But even without that, this place has a culture that's based on food. And one place you have to go when you're here is Mother's. They have poboys and gumbo to die for. I went there for lunch today and I wanted to go back for dinner but it was raining and I was lazy.

So, now that I'm down here in New Orleans and Harrah's casino is literally two blocks away from the hotel, you would think that I'd be there in a heartbeat to play poker... however, here I am sitting in my hotel room playing online. What happened? Well, I was going to play a couple of hours of online poker to accumulate my 200 points for the day for the iron man challenge... until I found a very soft 2-4NL table. And a very soft 2-4 NL table translated into a very nice profit for the session. I think the keys to my success was tight play when it required, avoiding couple of players that seemed pretty solid, and playing my position and opening up my starting requirements for late position. Here are couple of key hands that happened during that time:

FullTiltPoker Game #1608576715: Table Bunch Grass - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 19:04:19 ET - 2007/01/15
Seat 1: Bobby D Man ($153.90)
Seat 2: PlayFoFun ($41.90)
Seat 3: sp12 ($293.50)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($642.20)
Seat 5: sk1952 ($582.10)
Seat 6: Ypsi Dog ($429)
Seat 7: Trefzilla ($131.80)
Seat 8: nlhplayer ($197.70)
Seat 9: Iridium ($392.50)
sk1952 posts the small blind of $2
Ypsi Dog posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #4
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Jh Th]
Trefzilla foldsnlhplayer raises to $14
Iridium calls $14
Bobby D Man folds
PlayFoFun folds
sp12 folds
RecessRampage calls $14
sk1952 calls $12
Ypsi Dog calls $10

At this point, calling was a must. I'm on the button with JT suited. Good drawing hand, great position and with already one caller, my call would also give pot odds for one of the blinds to call. And, if I miss it, it's not a hard hand to get out of.

*** FLOP *** [9h 7h 3s]
sk1952 bets $24
Ypsi Dog folds
nlhplayer calls $24
Iridium calls $24
RecessRampage calls $24

I considered raising here but then I thought to myself, why open up the betting when I just got amazing pot odds. With 9 outs to a flush and 3 outs to a straight (4 8's in the deck but one of them is a heart), that gives me 12 outs. Amazing pot odds. This hand is turning into exactly the way I want it.

*** TURN *** [9h 7h 3s] [2h]
sk1952 bets $28
nlhplayer calls $28
Iridium folds
RecessRampage calls $28

All of a sudden, I got worried. When the heart came out, and with that many callers, sk1952 had to know that there was a good chance for a flush. And yet he continued to bet into the pot. That immediately made me think that he had trips. But then I couldn't figure out what nlhplayer was doing in the hand. And then it occurred to me that it is possible that he could have been drawing for a flush also.... and now I was worried about a possibility of a higher flush... and since the pot was already growing very quickly, I decided to just call and see what happens on the river. And I was profusely praying for the board to not pair.

*** RIVER *** [9h 7h 3s 2h] [Jd]
sk1952 bets $40
nlhplayer has 15 seconds left to act
nlhplayer: i hate aces and kings on this site
nlhplayer folds
RecessRampage calls $40

*** SHOW DOWN ***
sk1952 shows [3d 3h] (three of a kind, Threes)
RecessRampage shows [Jh Th] (a flush, Jack high)
RecessRampage wins the pot ($327) with a flush, Jack high

Not sure why I didn't raise the minimum here. I already knew he had the trips. That comment by nlhplayer was unnecessary but that was what he said. I'm pretty sure I would have gotten a call if I minimum raised him. But, I did feel that the pot was good enough and in case he had like AK of hearts (and the betting sequence does make sense), I didn't want to unnecessarily add to what was already becoming a significant pot.

It helped when early on, I had a monster hand that went like this:

FullTiltPoker Game #1608038303: Table Bunch Grass - $2/$4 - No Limit Hold'em - 17:48:30 ET - 2007/01/15
Seat 1: Alphafoil ($378)
Seat 2: steamingdonkey1 ($613.30)
Seat 3: crispywanton ($299.90)
Seat 4: RecessRampage ($362)
Seat 5: okkie ($227.90)
Seat 6: phatness ($177.55)
Seat 7: JemFlopper ($267.10)
Seat 8: nlhplayer ($164)
Seat 9: Iridium ($666.40)
phatness posts the small blind of $2
JemFlopper posts the big blind of $4
The button is in seat #5

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [4s 4h]
nlhplayer folds
Iridium calls $4
Alphafoil folds
steamingdonkey1 folds
crispywanton raises to $18
RecessRampage calls $18
okkie folds
phatness folds
JemFlopper folds
Iridium calls $14
*** FLOP *** [4c 7s 6c]
Iridium checks
crispywanton bets $50
RecessRampage raises to $150
Iridium folds
crispywanton raises to $281.90, and is all in
RecessRampage calls $131.90
crispywanton shows [9s 9d]
RecessRampage shows [4s 4h]
*** TURN ***
[4c 7s 6c] [Qc]

*** RIVER *** [4c 7s 6c Qc] [6d]
crispywanton shows two pair, Nines and Sixes
RecessRampage shows a full house, Fours full of Sixes
RecessRampage wins the pot ($620.80) with a full house, Fours full of Sixes

Pretty simple hand here but I think there's one key step and that was my raise on the flop. I don't like to slowplay a set when there's such a draw possibility. Plus, based on the betting I immediately put crispywanton on a high pocket pair so I thought I could exploit some money out of him. I just wanted Iridium out because he had a deep stack there and the last thing I needed was to contemplate what to do with my set when the flush is completed on the turn (granted, I ended up with a boat but I wouldn't have known that). By raising, I got Iridium or any draws out and made the initial better come over the top. A lot of people tend to slowplay 3 of a kind too often so sometimes, jamming it hard from the beginning could actually be somewhat deceiving. Nonetheless, I obviously got lucky by flopping the set in this situation. It just helped that crispywanton was a donkey. I couldn't believe it when I saw pocket 9s. I thought for sure he had AA, KK or at the very least JJ.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Buff in 6 weeks???

Ok, maybe not. But this weekend, we ended up buying the Bowflex at Costco. I always feel retarded when I pull up with a convertible and I ask them to throw this gigantic box in the back seat with my top down since that's the only way I could take it home. Fortunately, it was like 70 degrees on Saturday so I could justify having the top down. The weather recently has been crazy. It's like mid January and I could walk around comfortably in shorts and t-shirt. It's nice but I wouldn't mind seeing some snow before the winter is done.

Well, the Bowflex is very intimidating to put together. It comes in this box that's probably about 3ft x 6ft and maybe a foot high. There are all these random looking parts and a huge booklet which is the assembly manual. Well, me being who I am, I did plenty of research online about the Bowflex and one of the comments I read did address the issue of putting it together. The way the guy put it, he said that if you have basic reading skills and basic mechanical skills, there's no problem putting it together. Well, after spending a few hours, I concur. In total, it probably took me about 3 hrs to put that thing together. Pretty neat. Now, we just have to actually use it. If not, it would make for a nice clothes rack though.

This was also a very big weekend in the NFL. I was shocked to see the Ravens lose to the Colts. Especially considering that Manning is looking like his usual "playoff Manning" self, I thought the Colts would have a tough time getting by the Ravens who I thought had a good shot at going deep. Well, I was obviously wrong. And it was great to see the Saints win. What a story. And how about that game between San Diego and New England. Tom Brady and Bill Belichek is ridiculous. I kinda wanted the Chargers to win but it's hard to root against the Patriots. It will be a nice classic matchup between the Colts and New England next week.

On the poker front... I really have nothing to say. Surprisingly, I didn't really play much poker at all this weekend. The main reason was because I got hammered last night (Sat night). It's been a while since I got drunk like that and I was paying the price for it all day on Sunday. One of my friends is moving to GA so we planned a surprise party for him and his wife and we drank like the old days when we used to go downtown every weekend and do shots after shot... So we started with the honorable shot of Soco since that was our shot of 2004. 2005 was the year of the Jagerbombs so we did that. Then we stopped going out like we used to in 2006 so we had to think of something. So we did Soco lime as recommended by our waitress. And then we did another and then another.... Honestly, I don't remember anything. Hell, I didn't know the Saints won until I checked the score online this morning. And the beers were $1. And yet my tab.... was a shocking $144... I don't even know what the hell I ordered. Those shots obviously add up. It's like 11pm on Sunday and I'm finally feeling better/back to normal. I'm ok with not getting drunk like that anymore. Too painful for me the next day. It's not like my younger days when I could do that and then come back strong the next day. I'm all disoriented. So, needless to say, no poker for me today.

I am headed to New Orleans for work tomorrow morning and I'll be down there all week so I'll probably be playing less online and a lot at Harrah's down there since the casino is like 2 blocks away from my hotel. Hopefully, I'll have some positive things to report from down there.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dare I say... en fuego baby!!! and some nonpoker stuff...

I'm not gonna bore you with the details tonight but I just wanted to pass the word that I just came in 5th out of 57 players (top 6 qualified and again, after that, it was an all in fest so it really didn't matter - I hate that FullTilt doesn't just automatically end it when it's down to everyone who qualifies) in the $69+6 tournament to qualify for events #1, 5, and 8 (monetary value of $648). Couple that with last night's qualifier and I'm now in 4 of the 10 FTOPS events. This is very exciting for me. I really want to do well. My main concern though, is that I really had to get lucky a few times in order to win. One major one was when we were down to like 11 players and I was relatively short stacked, I raised from late position with AJ suited, got reraised by a fairly aggressive but solid player. At that point, there are only 5 of us at the table and the blinds are coming around fast, obviously, so I felt like I had to call. I did, he flips over KK but I catch two pair to win. Without that, I'd be sitting here talking about how I came close again, etc etc. BORING. Anyways, I need to brush up on my omaha and limit hold'em skills.... see if I can qualify for those also.

Ok, the past few posts have been mainly about poker and since my blog is so appropriately titled, I guess that's ok but I'm gonna veer off topic here once I mention one more thing... I just like to point out that I'm an idiot sometimes. Since I pretty much accomplished my goal for qualifying for all the hold'em events in FTOPS, I kinda want to take a few days off from playing online poker. The problem is, they have this promotion. And they have it every month and like a sucker, I fall for it every time. They have this iron man challenge where if you accumulate certain amount of points per day for x number of days, you qualify for a tournament. There's a different level depending on how much you play and obviously, the more you play, the better the payout on these freeroll tournaments. So, even today, while I'm furiously concentrating on the satellite, I have two $1-2 NL tables open, bleeding my money away like an idiot, content to be down $50 after being down $100 early between the two tables, and actually happy that I got my 200 points (that's the max level) for the day. But whether it be points on poker sites or miles on credit cards, I'm just a sucker for those things...

On to nonpoker related portion of this blog. Yesterday, one of the guys from the Tuesday night poker group mentioned he got a PS3. Very nice! I can't wait to get mine also. It's actually funny that only a few months ago (and I guess it won't be funny for those that either stood in line or was held at gun point), people were held at gun point to hand the PS3 over... I mean they only waited like 5 days in line to get it. Ridiculous. Reminds me of the South Park episode where Cartman is like going back and forth in front of the store uttering "30 more days till the Nintendo Wii comes out!" And now, PS3 is like all over the place. I saw it the other day at Best Buy, just stacks of them on the floor. The guy said he got his at target. Errrr excuse me, his girl got it for him at target. WOW. That's a keeper, dude. But, before I buy my PS3, I gotta upgrade my TV which I am planning on doing soon.

So, if anyone is actually still reading this post, I need some help. Please send money to "new plasma tv for alan so he can buy a PS3" fund. Just kidding. At the rate I'm playing on Tuesdays, I'll never have a TV. Well, actually, I have a decent TV downstairs but all my video games, surround sound system, etc are all hooked up on the 3rd floor and the TV up there is just not up to par. Kinda defeats the whole purpose of paying $600 for a PS3 where the main attraction is the awesome graphics if you have a black and white tv. Ok, it's not that old but it's not HD. Enough said. Anyways, so in all honesty, here's where I need the help. I've seen all these things about LCD, plasma, and DLP. Which one should I get? I probably want to stay in the mid-40 inch range. As for the money... well, I like to keep it under $2,000 but if I have to fork out another $500-$1000 for a truly exceptional jump in graphics, I'm willing to do it. It will take longer for me to get it because I am planning on cashing out from Full Tilt to buy it so it will take me a little while to come up with that extra cash (or I might never get there). Anyways, so if you guys have any opinions, feel free to comment or email me. I think all of you who are reading this knows what my email address is.

Another big purchase we are looking into is this. Actually, it's more my better half than me but I'm not totally opposed to it is we're looking into buying bowflex. Has anyone heard of anyone using it? I mean I see it on commercials all the time. Here's the situation. Instead of paying gym memberships to a gym we don't go and on rare occasions when we do go, we have to share equipment, we thought maybe that if we had bowflex at home, we'd actually work out. Yes, I realize that this could turn into the most expensive clothes rack and actually that's my argument against it but Costco has one on sale for like $600 and the similar model on bowflex (and it is actual bowflex, it's not a copy or I don't have to buy 10 of them or anything) website has it listed at like $1,200. That's quite a bargain, it seems. So if anyone knows anyone else that uses it or if anyone actually uses it or if anyone has it, uses it as a clothes rack and would love to get rid of it, please let me know.

Wow, this is getting long. One last thing. Last night, my friend emailed me a link to the apple store to show me the new iphone. And I have to admit... I'm a sucker for electronic gadgets. Hell, most of you know where I'm originally from. Of course I'm into electronic gadgets. We invent that sh*t. Anyways, so I take a look and that is cool. I mean I'm just looking at the demo and I'm like wanting that phone. Phones these days are amazing though. They come with all these features and I don't use like half of them. At least I'm not one of those guys that keep that stupid blue tooth ear piece on all the time. I hate them. I can't stand people who eats at the dinner table with those things on. I remember when I was a kid, I got yelled at if I answered the phone while we were having dinner and proceeded to have conversation with my friends. My parents were like "finish your dinner and tell them you'll call them back!" Now, people are like "yeah, and did you see the game last night? That was freakin awesome. Oh. Wait. Hello? yeah, it's me. Hey what's up man? Yeah, we were just talking about that." DUDE! Pay attention to people you are with and not some douche bag calling you in the middle of a meal! Ok, I digress.

Well, once again, it's freakin midnight, I really should be going to bed. If it's not poker, it's blog, or video games.... man, I need more time. Video games are so addicting too. And I get into all sorts of games. I mean I love sports and my favorite game is NCAA 2007 right now but I also get into those Age of Empires type games as well as Final Fantasy games. So, I could totally relate to that other South Park episode (they had the South Park marathon and I just saw like 4 episodes so they are fresh in my mind) where the 4 of them decides to train and do nothing but play video games in order to level up so that they could beat this total nerd loser who's like conquering the world of whatever that game that was. But I could totally relate to it. Playing outside and working out is overrated. Let me just sit on my arrrrrrssss and play my video games. Alright, f*** the bowflex. I'm getting the PS3. I'm out.

FTOPS satellite tourney

Alright! So, like I posted earlier after my dismal performance on the Tuesday night circuit, I came home and signed up for the tournament I wanted to play. This tournament is actually a qualifier (ie satellite) to one of the events of FTOPS which is the Full Tilt Online Poker Series. It's like a mini-WSOP where they have like 7 or 8 events which are mainly NL hold'em but they also have a short handed (where all the tables are 6 seat instead of 9) game, limit game, and they also have Omaha Hi/Lo and Omaha Hi, and a HORSE event. Anyways, so now, they have a daily satellite for $69+6 which can either get you a seat in 3 events that are $216 a piece (events 1, 5, and 8, which are NL, short handed, and limit, respectively) or another one for $69+6 to event #3 which is a $300+22 NL event. I actually wanted to play in the qualifier for the 3 events but that one starts at 9... if I'm home by then from the Tuesday night game, then that means I literally gave my $25, went all in the first hand, got called, and lost. But the 1opm game was the satellite to the $300+22 event which I also wanted to qualify for.

Well, luck was on my side at least online. There were 55 players that entered and top 11 places qualified (12th got $253 in cash). Well, I played very tight the first hour, hour and a half maybe and then I opened it up when I was convinced that a lot of players pegged me as a very tight player. On rare occasions where it had to go to a showdown, I held strong hands too so that helped my bluffing a lot which became a necessity when the blinds got really high with antes and people were on the bubble. When there were 15 players left, I literally started stealing people's blinds and raises (some would raise and I would come over the top with pretty mediocre holdings but generally, nobody wanted to bust out at that point). When it was down to 13 players, everyone tightened up. That's pretty normal but this was tighter than usual. And couple of short stack all ins survived but finally, one of them failed to improve and was knocked out to the joy of 12 other players. After the 12th place guy got knocked out, all 11 of us qualified so it was literally an all in fest and I ended up in 8th place. I'd like to qualify for as many FTOPS events as possible. Prize pools for these events should be pretty healthy so hopefully, I'll do ok in one of them. GOOD NIGHT NOW!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Tuesday night poker - too short to blog!?

Tuesday night poker, aka PAPT... maybe I'm cursed, maybe I'm just really really unlucky, or maybe I'm not as good as I think. Whatever the reason, being busted out in the first hour when the blinds are still $3/6 is pretty bad no matter how you cut it. Someone mentioned that I needed to be in the tournament a little longer if I want to blog about it. Not true! But point taken. I just had a feeling it was going to be a relatively short night for me when I lost about half my chips early... we started at $1/2 blinds so I really had no business losing off about $90 in chips that early.... but here's how it went down. From about two or three away from the button, I raised to $7 with AQ. I get only one caller who was the button and also a pretty aggressive player with relatively loose starting hand requirements. So needless to say, I didn't like that an aggressive player had position on me after I raised but I felt better when the flop came A-K-8. I bet $15 and he calls. At this point, I put him on a weak ace or maybe even a hand like KJ/KQ/KT. Turn comes a ten and I bet out another $15 and he doubles it. Now, I'm concerned that he may have ace-ten or KT and caught his second pair but I call. With approx $90 in the pot and $15 more to call, that's plenty of pot odds there. River comes another 8 so the board looks like this: A-K-8-10-8 with no flush possibilities. I check, hoping keep the pot small and he bets out $40. At this point, I'm pretty sure I'm beat. Unless he has K-T which was a possibility, the way the hand played out. So, literally, I put him on either A-10 or K-10 and with 145 in the pot and $40 to call, I was getting better than 3-1 odds on what I thought was a 50/50 situation between him having A-10 (which I can't beat) or K-10 (which I could beat, thanks to the 8 pairing on the board). So I call off another $40, just to see that he had a boat with A-8. Boom, there goes about $90 of my $175 starting chip.

After that, I really didn't catch anything but I didn't think I was really on tilt. I was just getting short stacked.... relatively speaking. I was down to $71 in chips and the blinds were at $3/6 when I got dealt AQ again. This time, I am on the big blind so I wait to see what happens. Well, early position player who is also aggressive raises to $20. Then right behind him, another player calls and now it's folded over to me. I was pretty sure one of them (if not both) had a pocket pair. But mainly, I put the initial raiser on a pocket pair based on the raise. Well, I figured that since I was relatively short and there was no way I was going to fold this hand, if I call, I'd be down to $51 and if I hit my hand, there was no guarantee that I was going to make any more money. And it's no guarantee that I hit my hand and I'm first to act. So, instead, I decided that I'd rather force it into a heads up coin flip situation or even better, have both of them fold. So, I pushed all in for another $51. Sure enough, I get one caller (the original raiser) who had JJ and it held up. I think I saw the flop 4 times excluding any unraised big blind situation and lost most of my chips in the two hands above. Was it a bad move to push in for another $51? Maybe. But I do know that I was not in the mood to try to grind it out with $51 and the blinds soon moving to $4/8. Again, I'm not sure if that's a result of me being on tilt or just a result of me being so shortstacked so early that I didn't leave myself the choice. I do know this. I never should have called that $40 bet on the river. My gut said fold. That's what I shoulda done.

On the plus side, there's a tournament online at Fulltilt that I wanted to play and it starts at 10pm. So, instead of playing till 11 or so and busting out 4th or something, I guess I'd rather be the first of the 9 to bust out and be home in time for this tournament. And there's always next week.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Poker for fun

It's no secret that I love playing poker. I take the game very seriously and even though I want to make a lot of money playing poker, that's not my primary goal. This will sound like a cliche but it's generally not about the money. Money is more like a score, the amount of money in my poker account is more like the scorecard. But still, there are times I just want to play the game for fun. Play where not much money is at stake and try things you never would at a serious table. Well, this past Friday, a group of my friends and I got together for a poker night. This random gathering of friends to play poker is really different from the regular, grinding poker that I play. We generally play once every 1-2 months. In the 5 or 6 times we've played so far, I don't think I've ever folded preflop. Maaaaaaaybe once, but I really can't remember. And of course, when I make a hand and I know I could get a call, I still don't go for the kill. I sometimes tell them what I have after the river card comes out and they're contemplating a call (like "if you can't beat 2 pair, then you shouldn't call"). And I've never lied. It's just not that kinda poker. It's for fun... amazingly, I never lose which I should be due at some point. I managed to grind out a $6 profit from Friday. But the main highlight of Friday was when one of the guys decided it would be funny if the first person to have to rebuy would have to go into the dog cage that our very good host had. So, when a relatively tight (again, a "tight" player on Friday night is very relative) player went all in for $5, I decided to call with 2-5 of clubs. We bought in for $20, I had close to $30 at that point so for $5, the chance to put someone in the cage was irresistable odds (pot odds plus cage odds made it a must call). Then, my friend next to me who also plays poker pretty seriously (but not with this group) immediately caught the drift of the cage odds and so he calls... with 3-4 of hearts. No one else wanted to put that much money in (I mean it was .$25/$.50 blinds) so we flip our cards and the all in has AJ and the two of us has the 4 lowest cards. Well, all heart flop sealed the AJ's fate since he didn't have a heart. The guy was a very good sport and got into the cage while all of us pulled out our cell phones to take pictures of the guy. I'm tempted to post this here but I realized that I do draw the line somewhere and posting a picture of a guy who was a good sport about getting in the cage online where everyone can see was not something I want to do. But man, that was funny. Profit from Friday night = $6. Seeing GS go into the cage while someone was waving a dog treat in his face with at least 3 of us taking pictures with our phones = priceless.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Before it's too late... Happy New Year and Goals 2007

Happy New Year to everyone. My New Years actually was very nice. We were gonna join some of our friends to go out and celebrate like we used to in our younger days but the one place that I was interested in going closed at like 9:30... New Years Eve. This is a brewery we're talking about. I mean I thought they might actually have a special event or something but apparently, they're just closed. Hell, I'll even tell you where. It was Capital Ale House... hopefully, this isn't like slander (well, I know it's not slander but) or something. Maybe my lawyer friends could tell me if I need to remove their name. Anyways, we were gonna go there but since they were closed, that threw a wrench in our plans... so my friends actually ended up coming over.... Which was nice. Apparently, that's more up my alley. Hanging out, drinking, and chilling.... I find that more appealing than going out to clubs and bars. Boy, how things have changed.

Well, I am generally not a New Year's resolution kinda guy. I feel like if I need to have a goal, I'll have it whether it's the first of the year or September, or whatever. I don't feel like I need to come up with goals just because it's a new year. But, just to play along, I figured I'd come up with a few goals. So, here's my goal for 2007 in no particular order:

1. Winning an entry into a $10,000 event (whether it's WSOP, WPT, or whatever)
2. Winning a MTT tournament (multitable). I don't care what the buy in is or how many people there are (I would say minimum of 50 to qualify as a legitimate MTT) but I just want to win one.
3. Winning the PAPT Season 2.
4. Get to the point where I could profitably multitable 2-4 NL over the course of 3000 hands.

Obviously, these are my poker related goals. How realistic are they? I don't know. I honestly think I have the potential to achieve all 4. But honestly speaking, if I do achieve all 4, that would be quite amazing. But I also think these are realistic enough that I might be able to achieve one of them.... We'll see.

For poker players - What would you do?

Here's an interesting hand that came up when I was playing online... You are RecessRampage and you started the table with $200. And the following hand happens.

Full Tilt Poker Game #1528322921: Table Horizon Lake - $1/$2 - No Limit Hold'em - 23:05:14 ET - 2007/01/03
Seat 1: shipda_sherbert ($232.15)
Seat 2: shtcards007 ($118.50), is sitting out
Seat 3: bkpkr ($42.80)
Seat 4: playerplaz ($253)
Seat 5: joesxm ($200)
Seat 6: drdrillem ($195)
Seat 7: EddieTheEdge ($191.40)
Seat 8: RecessRampage ($240.65)
Seat 9: loloPOZZEDu ($228.30)
EddieTheEdge posts the small blind of $1
RecessRampage posts the big blind of $2
joesxm posts $2
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to RecessRampage [Ah Ks]
loloPOZZEDu folds
shipda_sherbert folds
bkpkr raises to $9
playerplaz calls $9
joesxm folds
drdrillem folds
EddieTheEdge folds
RecessRampage calls $7
*** FLOP *** [3h 4h Ad]
RecessRampage checks
bkpkr bets $33.80, and is all in
playerplaz raises to $244, and is all in

What do you do?

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Tuesday poker tournaments... and first bust out 2007!

So I've made references to this Tuesday night poker weekly tournament crew in my previous posts. As promised, let me talk about this group before I go into how the opening tournament of 2007 went. Every Tuesday, there's a group of like 8-10 guys that rotate in and out based on work schedule, personal business, etc but are fairly consistent in terms of showing up. Everyone has their own style and some are better than others but actually, the skill level is probably fairly even. Well, it's basically a one table tournament with a $25 buy-in that happens every week and usually, top 2 places get paid unless there are more than 8 people and if there are, then top 3 gets paid (3rd place basically gets the money back). An interesting twist to this thing is that each week, there's a portion of the pot that's taken from the main pot into this side pot. This side pot ends up as the prize for the most winning player of the year. Each week, the winner of the tournament gets 5 pts and 2nd place gets 3 points. When there are 8 or more players, 3rd place also gets 1 pt. Whoever ends up with the highest score takes down the side pot. It just becomes a nice little incentive to win and also to encourage participation.

So, this was the opening week of the Tuesday tourney. I was determined to start off the year right but I guess it just wasn't meant to be. I busted out 7th place out of 9 when I pushed with my short stack with A9, to be called by a guy with pocket tens... who flops quads. Nice. There were couple of turning points for me... the first one that really hurt was when I flopped a flush with my 6-2 of spades. Why was I in the hand to begin with? I think I was in the big blind. I checked and so did everyone else. Turn comes a K (nonspade) and I bet out. Short stack pushes in for another 30 (at this point, there's about 30 in the pot) so I call instantly. He flips over KQ but Q of spades and the river comes another spade. That was a pretty big pot to lose for me.

Another key hand came when I had about 100 left in chips and the blinds were maybe 4/8. I was on the button with pocket 10s. One player who is relatively aggressive raised to 3 times the big blind so I call. It was heads up and the flop comes 3-6-8, all hearts. I didn't have a heart. He bets out $25 which was a pretty healthy bet at that time so I didn't think he didn't have a flush. So, based on him being a relatively aggressive player but not one to get out of line too much, I figured he might be one away from a flush. Either that or a high pocket pair with a heart (so, I thought, AK, AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AQ, AJ, KQ, KJ with one heart for any of them). After the bet on the flop, he had 80 behing him so I thought about pushing all in but I just wasn't sure. So, I just called. And when I did, he didn't look like he liked that. Turn came a 9 and he checked so I figured this was my chance. I bet 50, just to be reraised all in for 30 more which I pretty much had to call. He had pocket nines, caught trips on the turn and since one of his 9 was also a heart, I basically had a one outer that I didn't catch. That pretty much crippled me which led to the hand I described in the beginning of this paragraph. I left shortly thereafter so I don't know who ended up winning but this was not the start I was looking for. I need to step it up next week!

Monday, January 1, 2007

What's your poker IQ??

Anyone interested, go to It computes your poker IQ. Very interesting. Here was my result (Apparently, I'm very average):

Personal Intelligence Profile forAlan
Poker IQ Score
Your Poker IQ Score of 106 shows how able your mind is in general. Anyone with a Poker IQ Score this high is considered to be of average intelligence. This score is better than 52.66% of all persons taking this test. 70% of all occupations can be comprehended with a Poker IQ this high. You should be able to handle most academic challenges.
You scored higher than your average percentile score in 7 individual ability categories. 1 of these better scores could be called statistically significant and may indicate special abilities, or that you were distracted on those parts of the IQ Test that counted more heavily in the other ability categories.
Solving many of the IQ Test's problems required the ability to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers mentally. Many mental tasks require arithmetical operations even though numbers may not be involved, and thus number manipulation abilities can strongly indicate general intelligence.
Your Positional Play score of 59% is exceptionally higher than your average percentile score.This score is better than 72.57% of all persons taking this test.
Spatial Skill
Understanding what changes will occur when conditions vary is a deep and powerful ability of the mind. All invention and creativity of every sort is based upon this ability. Although test problems usually involve manipulation of objects in space, persons with a stronger ability to spatially manipulate can also be expected to use this ability to be able to better predict how social and psychological situations would change due to variation.
Your Blinds score of 48% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 44.70% of all persons taking this test.
This is the ability to determine if a set of rules has been correctly followed. This ability is most useful in combination with other mental skills listed above. Those with strong logical ability are quicker to see where a given set of conditions is going to lead, have a strong sense of justice, and better understand--from an intellectual analysis--the benefits of harmony.
Your Tournament Play score of 55% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 63.06% of all persons taking this test.
The ability to spell can indicate general intelligence. Remembering a set sequence of letters indicates the mind's ability to retrieve remembered facts. Learning how to spell and use the words of a language is almost a complete IQ test in itself. Although poor spellers with high IQ scores can be found, it is rare, and in general--everything else being equal--the better spellers have higher IQ scores.
Your Big Pairs score of 68% is exceptionally higher than your average percentile score.This score is better than 88.49% of all persons taking this test.
Short Term Memory
The ability to remember things for a short period of time allows the mind to check back and retrieve facts needed to complete a problem solving operation. This ability becomes more critical when problems have many aspects that need consideration and/or need to be solved mentally. This ability strongly determines how efficiently one handles the many aspects of normal life. If your short term memory ability is strong you are much less likely to seem inattentive or "slow to get it" to others.
Your Small and Medium Pairs score of 46% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 39.49% of all persons taking this test.
Rote Utilization
This is the ability to take a set of memorized facts and mentally extract and/or operate with or upon the facts within the set that are pertinent to the problem at hand. Persons with more of this ability can be expected to spell well, remember telephone and other numbers easily, be more adroit in procedural operations, and have a stronger foundation for tasks that require the use of memorized material.
Your Bluffing score of 52% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 55.30% of all persons taking this test.
This is the ability of the mind to abstractly handle quantities and qualities. Persons who are strong in this ability can more quickly and more deeply understand analogies, stories, derivations, equalities, and hierarchical structures.
Your Flop Texture score of 46% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 39.49% of all persons taking this test.
General Knowledge
Knowledge that is casually picked up and remembered can indicate intelligence, because persons with higher intelligence will exhibit greater retention of those pieces of information that are encountered less often. Because higher intelligence allows a person to have a deeper appreciation of the connectivity of facts that may seem disparate to others of lesser intelligence, memory of such facts becomes easier.
Your Pot Odds score of 58% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 70.31% of all persons taking this test.
Visual Apprehension
This is the ability of the mind to mentally picture visual information and to be able to extract portions of that information for separate use. A person whose visual apprehension is strong enjoys a richer, more creative appreciation of visual aspects of experiences.
Your Logic score of 58% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 70.31% of all persons taking this test.
How well one can comprehend geometric relationships of lines, sides, planes, angles, and topological properties strongly determines one's ability to make sense of visual information. The strength of one's geometric ability can strongly determine how quickly knowledge can be absorbed if it is presented visually.
Your Betting Patterns score of 48% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 44.70% of all persons taking this test.
Knowing the meaning of words is an ability that directly increases along with the increase of general intelligence. The meaning of a word is more easily remembered with higher intelligence, because it takes more intelligence to understand and correctly use words based upon the subtle differences between words with similar meanings and to comprehend difficult concepts which are sometimes symbolized by a single word.
Your Hand selection score of 59% is exceptionally higher than your average percentile score.This score is better than 72.57% of all persons taking this test.
Intuition is defined as that ability of the mind to develop answers to questions without consciously dealing with the problem at hand. Often a question will provoke your mind to answer without using conscious processing time, and the answer is said to come "out of the blue" or "suddenly, it just struck me". Of all the many abilities of the mind, this is one of the most often used. Just knowing what to do is often an automatic process that occurs without much conscious figuring. Those with stronger intuition make less mistakes and can seem luckier, wiser, or more mature.
Your Aggression score of 50% is not significantly different from your average percentile score.This score is better than 50.00% of all persons taking this test.
Computational Speed
If you can correctly solve a variety of problems faster than another person, you may be demonstrating a generally more orderly internal arrangement of your mind's problem solving methods. While speed cannot be the sole factor in determining overall superiority in one mental operations, in general faster computational speed will often indicate that a problem's comprehension was more complete. With everything else being equal, a person with faster computational speed than another person's will be better at tasks that require the synthesis of many bits of information.
Your Computational Speed score of 12% is significantly lower than your average percentile score.This score is better than 0.56% of all persons taking this test.