Saturday, June 27, 2009

Today's Seats

Holy crap! This is the view from our club seats. Section 202 seat 30.
Look for me. I'll be the guy eating from the buffet and drinking free

Friday, June 26, 2009

Twins Win!


Baseball Heaven

The locals call these seats baseball heaven. Is there a bad seat in
the house, because there are no seats above or behind us. Wow!

We made it!

A change of plans

It would appear my wife and good friend, TheBiggTree, have conspired.
Seems the plan is for me & TheBiggTree will be heading to St. Louis
for this weekends Twins games!!! Tonight and tomorrow, I'll be in St.

Can you say roadtrip???

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Change of scenary

A few nights ago, I was sitting around getting bored staring at my usual poker sites. Ok, I was tilting and looking to go donk off some money with strangers.

I'd been reading about other players trying some lessor known sites and finding the fish o'plenty lurking at other online poker sites like BetUS. How hard can it be to play texas hold’em on a different site?'s not real hard...and the fish are there :)

One thing I found really pretty interesting was the site seems really focused on texas hold'em. The 3 main variations are there, limit, pot limit and no-limit. There is some training available as well. I really just skimmed past the beginner training. That was pretty standard stuff. For people with a bit more experience, there was also a section that reads much more like a blog and has tips and news bits suitable for someone with a bigger appetite.

One article I found particularly interesting was on bankroll management. It had some serious information about staking and lending that I hadn't really seen stuff.

And so it begins...

The participants in the Summer Bankroll Challenge have started a blog...duh!

I'm sure I'll be updating both places with trash talk and the like, but just thought you should know. Ya know.

Good Luck Everyone!

Exhaustion FTW!

Have you been sleeping well lately? I haven't. I'm not really sure why, could be middle age, or the fact that the temps outside are more like Texas then Minnesota, but what ever it is, I miss my quality pillow time. Last night didn't help.

The Mrs and I swapped the kids last night after swimming lessons so I could make an increasingly rare appearance at poker league. The last 8 week league, I made 3 nights. No points the first night, 2nd and 3rd the other two nights.

I went into last night with two top 3 finishes in a row. The last tweak to my game had seemed to help. I switched to playing league like a do the 45 person sngs on Full Tilt. Freakishly tight to start, let my M fall and not hit panic until it reaches ~6. Playing only big hands and stealing pots that go unclaimed.

I took this approach again last night. To be perfectly honest, I played a lot like I do online. I twittered a lot, mostly just to keep me awake. CK was playing well at the WSOP so my rambling tweets probably just annoyed the hell out of people. Not like I should really care all that much. It's friggin' twitter.

My stack stayed pretty low for most of the night. If memory serves, I voluntarily put money in the pot once in the first hour and half. I played AA out of position for a raise and got callers. What the hell did they think I had? J3o? Gawd I love people.

The fun thing about poker league is if you sit there long enough, you can watch as player after player takes a gun and shoots themselves in the head. By the time I started moving chips around, we were down to 16 people from a starting field of 36.

Two times last night I had to make tournament decisions, surprisingly, they were about the same concept: Pot size control. I don't remember the details of the second one, cause I'm sleepy, but the one I do remember went like this: I was in the SB with K9c. CK always says crubs are da best, I believe her. The under the gun player shoves, but for a little over 2 bets. 3 call this barely-a-raise and I figure if I hit, nice pot. The BB calls two. My major problem was I only had about 10 bets left myself, if I miss, I'll be sad.

The flop comes JcTd7c. That's probably as close to gin as I'm gonna get. I most definitely don't have a made hand here, but I'm drawing every which way. Flushes and straights. Since no one was really showing strength, I had to guess that no one had a big hand, but I'll be perfectly honest, I'm actually happy with the amount of money in the pot right now. I shove. A couple of players really think about it, one guy give me props and says that he's laying down because he respects my play and figures I'm not drawing dead. It folds around and the all-in guys turns over AJ, no clubs. I'm still quite alive, but didn't improve.

I was actually very happy with that play. I guess it was in a way a defensive shove. I really didn't want a caller, but I wanted to draw to the river for free. 2 bets with a pot that size is a nice return for the money.

We collapsed to the final table, at this stage, the blinds are stupid. Brook - you listening? The biggest stacks at the table have about 12 BBs. Everyone else...yeah. ShoveFest. I stayed alive by sticking to the blackjack rule. If I'd play it in blackjack, I'll shove it here. Got into a lot of coin flips and won a few and lost a few. More people took aim at the heads and hit their targets.

We played 4 handed for quite awhile. By now, the dead wood is gone and the remaining players are all fairly solid. In two hands in a row, BOOM, were are down to two. And look! with blinds of 2000/4000, I have 6000 chips. I started in the BB and called his first raise without looking at my cards. Do they matter? 10 8o hits and I double up. Next hand double up, and the next hand once more. We are about even now. Yikes.

This is the same guy I played a few weeks ago when I finished second. So I took what I learned the last time and applied it to tonight. Get him covered was a good thing. I kept the pressure on slowly dwindled his chips to my stack. In the last hand, he limps to me in the BB. I have 23o. The only way I see a flop with this is if it's free.

The flop comes 723 rainbow. I declare gin. I checked it to him because he will open for a raise on a junk flop about 80% of the time. I min raise, he shoves, I call and AT doesn't find any friends.

For at least the next week, I'm the league point leader.

Geebus I can ramble when I'm exhausted. Whiskey club is Friday night...anyone want to go? Only rules is ya got to be a dude, no chicks, and you HAVE to drink the first one neat. You don't know what neat means? You should probably stay home...I'm out of's nap time somewhere.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Bankroll Challenge

I have no idea what we are fighting for, but a bankroll challenge seemed like a good way to keep me motivated to move the bankroll in the right direction...MeanHappyGuy, Dr. Chako and others (?) what are we fighting for???? Hopefully, I'm also not too late. Seems Father's Day weekend got the best of me and I forgot do it on the 20th. Am I too late???

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Luck, Lucky and Luckier: Part 2

This topic is something I need to write more about. I've been really thinking about it lately and how it relates to poker. The friend I mentioned in the last post chimed in with another doosy of a comment:

Sure, there's a lot of skill in poker, but if you put the best players in the world together on the same table, the skill cancels out and you are left with just the cards.
Is that really true? Is there no variation in the way we play that if we all become optimal, we are back to just playing the cards?

TripJax has that series of posts he's written on that subject and I hope to get back to talking about those soon. I recommend heading over and reading them. I have to reread them myself, cause like him, I have a very short attention span. Thankfully, I learned a while ago to make lists and take notes. The notes usually suck, but they are some place to start.

Tuesday night, I was back at poker league. This was the final night of an 8 week league. Seems I'd only made it to two other nights. 3 out of 8 makes you an awesome major league hitter but makes it tough to be in contention for bigger prizes in a poker league. Still, if I finished in the top 2, I'd go to regionals. I know...sick.

I started the night on a freeroll taking advantage of the people at the tables fighting for spots in regionals or even the league championship. It was a good night on the felt. I really felt on top of my game and was picking my spots well. This is where we, as poker players, change the luck factor. I really wasn't playing my cards much. Sure, I'd glance at them. Heck, I'd even consider what they were once and while, but for the most part, it's the people I'm playing that I made my decisions about.

For me, poker isn't about luck, being lucky or getting the right cards, it's about learning to execute risk management. I took a couple of bad beats early, but I'd kept the damage small. This really helped keep from tilting. When I'm tilting, I slip in to my "Elements of Poker" C game in a bad way.

My tight/conservative play was keeping me at the low end of a average chip stacks. No biggie. All I need to do is remain calm and play good poker. Other tables in the room started breaking and soon I found a player I've played many hands with had joined my table, 2 to my left giving him position, oh, and he had chips too. But he does have a problem, he's a loose aggressive player that just doesn't know what to do with a large re-raise.

Large re-raises in poker league are pretty rare. Most of the people that play are either loose-aggressive/passive or just loose/passive. Once the flop comes, it's all about the cards. The last two sessions for me it's been about playing players and hitting their weaknesses hard.

Grant and I have been playing each other for years but if theirs one thing that's consistent: it's his penchant for bluffing off his chips. He's also good for an over bet to scare people away. Here's how he builds his stack.
  • Player A raises in early position.
  • Grant re-raises (could honestly be any two cards)
  • Player A folds
Over the years, I've watch him do this. It works for him. He either goes deep or he goes home early. I've also noticed patterns to how he does this. Probably shouldn't tell ya either. Here's where poker and luck don't cross.

Tuesday, I made the vast majority of my chips re-re-raising Grant. Only, unlike him, there was no min raising. We are talking full on pot sized reraises. If I was the original raiser, I'd come in for 3 or 4 big bets. He'd raise another 3 or 4 bets folds back to me and I'd add up all the bets on the table let's say: 3 (mine) + 3 (his) + 1 (BB) + .5 (LB) + 2 (limpers) = 10 bets is my new raise, which is on top of the 3 I already have out there so now it's 13 bets to see the flop with his any two cards. At first, he called to see the flop. I had AK and hit the K. So did he, only his 6 kicker sucked. My 26 bet opening was way more then he wanted to call and he laid down and I showed.

I showed on purpose; to send him a message. I wasn't gonna be cheap or easy.

So for the next hour, I kept coming back over the top and my stack was growing fast. I was being dealt cards, but they didn't matter.

He was growing visibly frustrated. It probably didn't help that I had talked about how good he was at hitting river cards, but that's besides the point. I open raised with A6h and now he's just calling me. He's learned his lesson. Unfortunately, the flop came all hearts. Removing luck from your game is knowing when you give a guy rope. I gave him rope and he used it. Putting in a big bet that I was more then willing to think about and call. You know, like you do when you've got the ace but need one more...ya, that way.

I suppose, it was lucky for me to flop the nuts flush. But those things happen. You are bound to hit good hands about as much as you hit bad hands. The hardest part of learning to play poker is learning how to ride that curve until it's flat. Lose a little on the bad hands and win a lot on the good hands. Grant didn't have a heart, in fact I don't even think he had a pair, but he does have a style of play that for him is hard to shake.

There are many factors build to give us the illusion of luck. Long losing/winning streaks do a good job. 2 outers on the river in a big hand, but these are isolated events that we attempt to put meaning to. There is a probability to every event in poker. 1 outers do happen, it's in the numbers. Just because something is only supposed to happen 2% of the time doesn't mean it will NEVER happen. In fact, we want people to put there money in chasing 2 outers. 94% of the time we make money on that. We won't win every hand, I can only hope the fish keep looking for pots of gold at the ends of rainbows.

Monday, June 15, 2009

WSOP Fun Find of the Day

Just read this; Phil Ivey has never won a bracelet in a No-Limit Hold 'em Event. According to wikipedia:
Bracelet summary
Year Tournament Prize (US$)
2000 $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha $195,000
2002 $2,500 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo $118,440
2002 $2,000 S.H.O.E. $107,540
2002 $1,500 7 Card Stud $132,000
2005 $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha $635,603
2009 $2,500 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball $96,367
2009 $2,500 Omaha Hi/Lo / 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo $220,538

(Although I'm noticing a serious lack of No-Limit razz (Game of the Future ™). I should probably spend more time playing in the Big Game if I want to get better at my mixed games. Or at least visit CK more often in Vegas - Big Congrats BTW!)

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Phil Hellmuth.
World Series of Poker bracelets
Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1989 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $755,000
1992 $5,000 Limit Hold'em $168,000
1993 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em $161,400
1993 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em $173,000
1993 $5,000 Limit Hold'em $138,000
1997 $3,000 Pot Limit Hold'em $204,000
2001 $2,000 No Limit Hold'em $316,550
2003 $2,500 Limit Hold'em $171,400
2003 $3,000 No Limit Hold'em $410,860
2006 $1,000 No Limit Hold'em with rebuys $631,863
2007 $1,500 No Limit Hold'em $637,254

I suppose everyone else already knew this. Oh well. I slept like crap last night, my on-call pager is white hot from continual beeping since it decided to wake me up this morning long before my alarm clock and I'm way ready for nap. Bite me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

PPA Chairman Alfonse D'Amato - Well played sir!

Saw this posted by the @theengineer2008 on Twitter. Well played sir! Does he play poker...another reason if you haven't already done so, go be a member of the Poker Players Alliance.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Visions of sugar plums and neon lights

Reading about all the bloggers gathering in Vegas is making my mind wander...south and west and to a more desert like climate.

Must stay focused. Must stay focused. Must stay focused.

This chanting crap ain't helping. Friggin' time/space continuim/responsibility stuff.

Good luck to everyone in Vegas! Let me know if I need to say screw it and hop a plane to rail one of you at a final table. Be there as fast as I can. Frequent Flyer miles rock.

Friday, June 5, 2009

State of Minnesota No Longer Begging to be Butt of More Jokes

Hallelujah! After deciding to proofread their work and double check their "can we do this" list, Minnesota Department of Public Safety has decided that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to do this in the first place. Morons.

Shuffle up and deal.

BTW - Thank you for your efforts to keep me safe and be my nanny. It's pretty sweet of you to care so much about my personal liberty money not being spent at local casinos safety.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

For the love of the Mookie

Admit it. There's really only a few reasons we play the Mookie.

Reason #1

Reason #2

And the best reason of them all!

I shoved pre-flop...damn it.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Eh Vegas: Eh?

So, I bet you figured I'd never get back to writing about the blogger gatherings. Ha! OK, I really figured I'd be back in Vegas before I got back to this, but apparently, I forgot just how little poker I play in the first couple months of summer. I live in Minnesota and the 6 hours of summer we get just can't be missed.

My poker of late has been spotty. Went really deep in poker league and then went from a seriously nice looking upward trend at $.25/.50 LHE in April to an almost matching downward slope in May. So in June, I've done what any good blogger has done when they find themselves sliding backwards...I've moved up to $.50/1.00 LHE. Strangely, this has helped. Go figure.

[Cue flashback di do, do di do...]

Back in March, I went to Toronto, Canada. A beautiful southern city that has a lot of people that say 'Eh' a lot. The lovely Kat didn't have to try really hard to convince me to go. I love to travel and even though I could drive to Canada in just to my north, I've never actually been there. Heck, my roommate freshman year of college was a Canuck.

The last post on this subject basically brought you up to speed to me having my crap in my room and meeting the TuckFards. I suggest you go read that post if you have no idea what going through customs can be like. I'll wait...[cue theme from Jeopardy] Back already?

I remember being asked several times where I wanted to go for supper. It might not be several times, it might have only been once, these memories are only 3 months old, but I was asked "Where do you want to go?" I remember thinking just how difficult a question that is. I've been in Toronto for about 2 hours now. I've had one beer. I've had only airport food for the better part of 9 hours and they no longer serve a snack on the airplane. "How about the Distillery district?" I might have answered. I'd heard of it, Kat and Astin had both had written about it. It sounded lovely and frankly, my standards had fallen to the being thirsty for good beer, laughs and food.

Most of the rest of this post will be done with pictures. Some of you know that I have 2 major hobbies, poker (duh!) and photography. Besides being something I find quite fun, it also remembers things way better then I do.

This first photo is The Distillery District. It really was quite a photographers dream spot to shoot, but I wasn't here to shoot. I was here to meet up with some bloggers, drink beer, laugh, and eat. Focus young grasshopper.

I'm showing this shot above for background, I actually shot it after we'd been there a while. Amazingly, I shot it freehand (meaning no tripod or steadying object). I'm guessing that having drank a fair bit of beer had really steadied my hands. The colors were just amazing.

When we entered Mill St. Brewpub it felt like home. Just look at all those lovely taps serving beers I've never tried before. I'm not sure what that bartenders name is, but he was serving beer. That's tops in my book. Ed(?), a poker blogger who apparently no longer blogs and I'd never met, was already there. He was kind enough to buy beer for some of us waiting for a large group table to be ready. I believe I started with the Pilsner. It's been 3 months...better note taking would have been useful.

Not surprisingly, the lighting sucked for photography in here. It would have been nice to have the whole group at one table, but it just wasn't in the cards. The New York crew had arrived, so I got to catch up with VinNay, whom I'd met in Vegas resulting from a story that I've yet to write about that starts with a tournament that I've only hinted at cause, I like to write about my blogger gatherings in reverse order. Umkay?!?

We shared the table with Kat, Mary and Dawn Summers. Now, just to clear the air. I had met all of these people in Vegas last December. I met Dawn and VinNay at the poker table. Unfortunately, the story you haven't heard yet is that I actually busted both of them. Oops. I called a shove from VinNay with jack high cause I was pretty sure I had him (more in another post) and Dawn was on my left when I was in the LB. I shoved into her with ducks and she instantly called with AKo. The ducks held.

Hello! My name is OhCaptain. Yes, we met in Vegas. I'm the dick that busted you with [insert hand that ain't huge].

Now, Mary, I was introduced to her at the end of the tournament after I had busted to Karol's then fiancee. This blogger world seems so small at times. Anywho, I'm really not sure what your brain's consistency is at the end of 9.5 hours of a poker tournament, but mine is complete Jello with a healthy smattering of emptiness. I probably said I was sorry to Mary for not remembering her 20 times, but the truth is, I really don't remember much at all from the hour immediately following my bust out of the tournament.

I'm just a sucker for neon. I could spend a lot of time down here shooting...sorry.

So the group spent a lot of time getting to know everyone. I hadn't got a chance to mingle with the other table yet. You can see the group walking away in the picture above. This small size didn't do it justice. The lighting and the structures down here were really impressive. I can't wait to go back next year (hint, hint!)

We return you to our regularly scheduled programming - Poker. Back to the Kat's apartment building for cash game poker. Canadian style!

DonKay is standing there, dealing out the cards. For some reason, this picture reminds me of DaVinci's Last Supper. Minus the Lord and the disciples and the whole Priory of Sion 'V' thing that means vessel or woman thing, but fun people sitting around playing home game poker.

This was cash $.25/.50 CA poker. It played more like $.20/.40 US poker, but that was apparently due to the exchange rate and not the quality of players. I'm really not sure how long we played. I do know that Astin and VinNay were down $60 CA ($48 US) in what seemed like 10 seconds. It could have been longer, but again. it was 3 months ago.

Most of us didn't care. If two players are down $120 CA ($96 US), then there has to be players up...and up we were.

Astin did explain his methodology. "I can't win if I fold." Enough said. (I think he explain it as a Durrr thing, but again...3 months ago...)

I somehow ended up something like $10 CA ($8 US). It might have been less, but that's where my mind is taking me and I like it.

Not really sure why, but I really liked the above photo as good stock photo. It does show Dawn putting out a rather large bet. The way she was winning, my guess it she won this pot too.

This was a much better atmosphere to get to know people. SOOOooo much more quiet, but the waitstaff sucked. You couldn't get just any beer. It would seem we were limited to what the TuckFards were drinking.

The game ran for a while and I gotta tell ya, it was fun. Next year...I think I'll try Astin's style. I think he made a comeback. Not sure he got it all back, but I don't remember him or VinNay buying in again.

At some time way past my usual Central Standard Time bedtime, we had hit the hay. I've never been much of a sleeper and this trip was no different. When the bright light of the morning sun came through my window, it just didn't feel like a lot of sleep, but no worries. They have Coke Zero in Canada.

Kat and I had a system for morning greetings. It's exactly what text messaging was invented for. She had sent me one to let me know that Keith was making gourmet coffee. I love the smell of good coffee. How could I refuse? I grabbed some more Coke Zero and headed up. A little known secret? I don't drink coffee. And yes, I am in IT.

Kat took us to the restaurant above, Jawny Bakers. I have no idea how we got here. Trips like these remind you who your friends are. You are literally in a foreign country and have no idea where you are. I'm pretty sure there were some left turns and some right turns. This restaurant RAWKED! The food was really quite good. I seem to remember having eggs and some really tasty bread. Again, notes would have been useful. One memory I do have...Aussie Millions was on the TV at breakfast...priceless.

Here in Minnesota, brunch is a meal served between breakfast and lunch. I had always assumed that that was the origin of the know BR(breakfast) + UNCH (lunch), but I was SADLY mistaken. Here in Toronto, brunch is served until damn near supper. OK, that's probably not really true either, but it was still being served after one, which here in middle America, is AFTER lunch. I got really confused...but thankfully, I was able to hide my confusion.

After we left here, we were on a quest for beer. VinNay was supposed to follow Keith and I in the silver/grey Honda(?). We later found out that they actually made at least two of these silver Honda's...VinNay followed the other. Oops. It gets better, he also had his cellphone off...

No worries. Kat, Keith and I went beer shopping anyways.

I think it's time to take a break. I'm hoping not to wait another 3 months to do this again, but you never know. I leave you with this. After buying the beer, it was time to go back to the apartment building and help Kat set up the Eh Vegas Blogger Poker Tournament. We played a fantastic game called Jungle Speed. Despite what you may have heard, I didn't actually slam Mary's head into the table...on purpose...

But that will have to wait until later.