Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'll give you one guess...

How anxious do you think OhCountess & I are to get to Vegas?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

You asked...South Park OhCaptain!

Really? No, no one asked, but after seeing Cheer_Dad follow the Zooks (anyone else notice she seems to post these first...?)

Here's OhCaptain by day:
And Here's OhCaptain by night:
Got it?

Feel the need to South Park's here

You are free to move about the country.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Valuable Lessons

Last night was another night spent honing my live poker skills at the local tavern. The numbers are down, but that only means the average skill level is higher. The fishes are few and far between.

I've been hitting my stride lately, in live poker any ways. I found my patient groove and the ability to pick spots better. I think I'm still missing a few spots now and then, but for the most part, I'm not getting my head chopped off for stealing something I shouldn't.

I played one hand particularly bad last night. This post is an effort to never forget it's valuable lesson. As Matthew Hilger talked about in Card Player, Vol 21, #20, "Stack Size is Everything in Tournaments". Funny thing, I had just read this column...d'oh!

When I'm on my game and making good decisions, one piece of information that is essential to include in that process is the stack sizes. Your stack, and the stacks at your table. I try not to worry too much about the stack sizes at other tables on any single hand decisions. Those chips aren't available.

We are on the last hand of the 100/200 blind level. It was announced that the next hand the blinds would move to 200/400. I'm sitting in the little blind with 4200 chips. Right now I have 20BB sitting in front of me, but on the very next I will suddenly have just 10. 

The action at the table folds to the button who just limps. The button is a good player. He understands position. After he's done I look at my cards and find A9o. With only 3 people potentially in the pot, it would be reasonable to guess that these are the best two cards on the table. I know the button would limp with almost any two cards. I decide I will raise it here. I chose 4 BBs to represent a very strong hand bringing the bet to 800. or ~20% of my stack.

The big blinds folds and action returns to the button. This is when I noticed I skipped a step. I never checked his stack size. A T$800 raise was about 60% of his stack. Why is this important? Well, know he needs to decide if just wants to shove it in here or wait for a better spot. So now I'm faced with calling his shove bringing the bet to T$1400. It would be hard to fold to a $600 raise, but now I've committed 33% of my stack with A9o. Son of Julius Goat!

This also means that if I lose this hand, I'm in some serious doodoo the very next hand when the blinds make it to 200/400.

To properly play that hand, I needed to consider whether or not I risked facing a bad situation by putting in a bet of that size. A smaller bet, he may have only called and seen the flop or I could have easily gotten away without much effort, but the size of this bet meant for him, he only had two choices, fold or shove and I'd have a tough time folding to the relatively small raise to the size of the pot. His KQd was too much to fold at this stage. He called and flopped two pair.

A few short hands later, I saw OhCountess stand up and I shoved it all in with an open ended straight draw and a back door flush draw...AA held. Of course, OhCountess wins her all-in moment and I'm relegated to the loser bar to lick my wounds and learn from my mistakes.

Buttoms up!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Trigger pulled - We are going to Vegas!

Our trip to Vegas has now been booked.

Travel for 2 (OhCountess IS coming!)
We arrive at LAS 4 PM, Thursday, December 11.
We booked the Deluxe room at the IP.
We leave at 9AM on Monday.

Anyone want to share a cab to or from the airport? Anyone offering rides? Anyone gonna be there? Have I lost my mind completely?

I'm bringing my camera. I'm hoping some of you more experience Vegasites will have some great tips for photo ops. I'm also taking requests for photos. I've been able to shoot many things in Vegas, even a few places you aren't supposed to be able to shoot. The poker room at the Bellagio is very photogenic :)

OK...2 weeks. Let me know if you will be there too. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Product Review: Apple's Texas Hold 'em app

When you get to know me, you find out that I love poker. I like to watch it on TV. I like to read about it as much as I can and as you can see, I like to write about it as well.

My pokering adventures have been pretty meh to losing lately. There is something wrong there. My letter to the poker gods has yet to be answered. We are 2 weeks and a half weeks away from Vegas and I can't wait.

One of the ways I keep my mind on poker is to maximize my opportunities to play. Besides being a poker degenerate, I'm also a geek. I've had my iPhone since a few weeks after it was introduced. The first app I ever paid for was Apple's Texas Hold 'em app.

This app runs for $4.99, not exactly the most I've ever paid for software but I'm a guy that doesn't like to part with his money easily.

One of the first things I noticed about this game was really how well done the graphics were. This app looks very good. At right is the vertical view of the game. You get movie view of human players and this isn't just the cardboard standee version like Swank or Party Poker. These players come to life and look like movie based animation. Very nice.
Turning the phone horizontal reveals a look and feel we only players should be used to.

It actually looks to me to be much more intuitive than many of the online site software.

Most of the tournaments built into the game are 2 table games. You start in the Garage playing a freeroll single table SNG, but after winning a few, you move up to the bigger games. These are all 2 table SNGs.

The problem is, there are more like a shootout sng then a true 18 person sng. Once you beat the first table, you advance to the next table only taking a portion of your stack. This seemed odd to me.

The bots play is pretty horrible. It seems to me that each character in play has a built in style. Some players seem to be looser and others are very aggressive. These traits do seem to follow the avatars around. But don't expect much. It's truly donkey bad poker.

One thing I've never been able to try with this game is the multi-player version. If you are on a wi-fi network with someone else with an eye phone, you can play them live. This would definitely make this game much more interesting.

All in all, I do like this game. It's really not good for your game and playing these bots will probably make me dumber over time, but it's only $5.

I can now play poker in the can or in an extremely long boring meeting held in a lecture hall.

Have you played this? Are there any simulated poker games you've found that are fun to play? You still think the Crackberries are cool? Let me know!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dear Poker Gods,

I'm sorry. I seemed to have displeased you in some way. 

Please give me a sign as to what I need to do to get back in your good graces. I played but 9% of the hands dealt to me, only opening with raises and continuation bets on the flops I hit; flopped the nuts straight 3 times last night to lose to flushes and full houses with runner, runner cards; hitting the second nut flush using both cards in the hole only to find the nut flush hit at the same time; and flopping top set kings only to end up 3rd to a straight and a flush (again runner runner); holding AK 7 times and playing them to a win rate of 0% - has taught me a valuable lesson - I have offended thee.

I'm sorry.

I paid one extra buy in last night before closing the lid on my laptop pushing completely crappy cards into an amazing collection of AA, KK and flopped nuts held by some of the most passive players in the history of poker. I felt that this was good penance for my disobedience. If it is not enough, please give me a sign.

I'm on bended knee, gravelling at your feet. I'm so very sorry I have offended thee.

With faith and obedience, your humble servant,

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Bourbonators Series of Poker

On this blog, I have written about my experiences playing our regular monthly home game. We call our group, The Bourbonators. Looking back, I've never really described what this is.

Bourbonators, by charter, is a men only Whiskey Club. It was founded about a year before I joined as a group of friends that got together once a month to sample a whiskey, scotch or bourbon chosen by the Chief Bourbonator. One member hosts the group at their house and is responsible for providing the food and an estrogen free environment.

When I first joined the group, it was required that the host's female house companions not be present. This requirement has gone to the wayside because most of us have wives and kids. When it was mostly a group of newlyweds and single guys, this wasn't really a problem; add years of marriage and kids. Ain't gonna happen.

At the beginning of each meeting, the Chief Bourbonator introduces us to the beverage of the month. We use a copy of the Jim Murray's Whisky Bible as a guide. The monthly dues to the club are $5. This money is used pay for both the liquor of the month and a traveling bottle of something that mixes well and isn't very expense. Think 1.75 L.
Any good whisky connoisseur will tell you, the only way to evaluate a spirit is neat, and this is just how the first drink must be poured. Neat is defined at Wikipedia as 
"...referring to a single, unmixed liquor or spirit served at room temperature, without any water or other mixer."

This method provides the taster with the highest level of contact with the flavors and smells of the libation. It also separates the men from the boys. After a member has finished their first glass, they are free to mix the traveling whisky with ice or a mixer and some of us regularly switch to beer for it's cold amber goodness. I'll be honest, I'm much more of a beer snob then I am a whisky connoisseur.

If you aren't familiar with the differences between whisky, whiskey, scotch and bourbon and wonder why a group known as Bourbonators talks so much about whisk(e)y, I'll refer you to here. It's all in the location, location, location and what is used to make the mash...after that, it's all about time.

But this isn't a whisky blog and my name isn't Astin. This is a poker blog and my name is OhCaptain (it isn't really OhCaptain, but that's too bad for you). So why am I jabbering about this now?
After sampling and discussing the booze of the month, we settle down and play some poker. For the most part, we play No Limit Hold 'em, but when the winds are right, we deviate and play a mixed game. By the winds being right I mean when there's not a lot of us and those that remain know more then one doesn't happen often.
To spice up the home game, we've added "The Bourbonator Series of Poker Championship". or the BSOP. We are really that creative. The is a point series so regular attendance and consistent play are vital to your success.
Each month, we play 2 sit-n-go's. For about the last 9 months, we've averaged between 12 and 14 players, so it's two tables. The stakes are high at $5 a tournament. One of the biggest reasons for the success of this group is the wives have a horrible time complaining about it. I mean $15 for a night out with the guys...come one. You can't even walk into a bar for that price.
The group consists of many different skill levels and each month there seems to be at least one stranger. One the greatest influences I've noticed over the years is the influence the flavor of the month has on play. Those months that the Chief Bourbonator chooses a 150+ proof beverage, the games are extremely loose...I mean...VERY LOOSE. Those are also some of the meetings we get 3 games in...but I think you'll know why.
The BSOP keeps people focused. You get one point for ever person that finishes before you and a point for yourself. So if you are Gigli, you 1 point. To make sure you aren't just sitting their folding to the points every month, you also get 1 point for every knock out.
Each month we grind it out until one person finishes the tournament with the greatest number of points above 150. As was the case this month, 2 people had enough points that if they both made it deep, we would go down to basically, who finished deeper.
So what is the prize? What every man wants. The trophy you see in this post and a bottle of booze. Oh, and bragging rights. The latter is probably the most important. Who doesn't want bragging rights.
If you made it this far in the post. Thank you. I decided to write this post now because I finally did it. I won the BSOP Championship. I'm pretty excited about this. I'm heading to Vegas to play in the Blogger Winter Gathering Tournament with this title under my belt. Should put fear in the heart of all the rounders sitting at the table at the Venetian.
Well, maybe not fear, but...OK, this probably won't make a bit of difference to anyone there, but I am going and very much looking forward to meeting who ever it is that will be there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bring in the machine that goes "Ping!"

My bankroll has been yo-yoing at the same level for weeks now. Up 30...down 30...up 30...down 30. One day loose a bunch playing sng's. Then I win it back playing limit hold 'em. Then I lose a bunch playing limit hold 'em and win it back playing sng's. Sigh.

Our house has been busy beyond belief lately. Who keeps signing the kids up for all of these activities? I mean really?

I had been working on a piece about how I've been successful at the limit hold 'em cash games. Then I check Poker Tracker after an extremely disappointing session. You may not want to read my advice...just sayin...

The election last week put my brain into one of those hazy funks. I wrote quite a bit about it over at my personal blog. I saw quite a few political posts over here in the poker blogging community. If you really want to know what I think click here.

Anyone have any recommendations on how to break the funk? Yikes. 

In other news. I'm 99% sure I will be at the winter gathering. Yes. Not sure why, but I'm making the trip to Vegas in December to meet people I only know from their writings. Quite possibly the biggest leap of faith I've ever done. The biggest question right now is if OhCountess is coming. If you want to help me talk her into flying to Las Vegas in December to meet and party with a group of strangers...let me know.

I think I will start working on limit hold 'em observations and strategies. I've been having a lot of fun figuring this variation out. I think most people's biggest problem is that try to hard to play it like no-limit hold 'em. One thing I've done that has really increased my win rate is to spot the no limit players at the limit table. You people just give away money...this is for another post.

Tomorrow night is the ESPN broadcast of the WSOP Main Event final table. 20 some hours of poker condensed into 2. Geez, I wish there was more. A $14 million sit-n-go. That would be good TV.

Julius Goat has announce his first foray  into the blogger tournament arena. A $50 + $5 deep stack tournament. He's calling it the Bad Bankroll Management Tournament (BB(m)T or just BBT for short). Check it out!

I missed the TuckFard tournament again this week. 6pm is dang near impossible to get to. I work til ~5pm ish, take the bus to my car, race in the door, say hi to the kidos, kiss the wife and then hope my family doesn't notice me playing a tournament at the dinner table...this is gonna take a lot of work to get. Hope to be there again soon...

OK...I've rambled enough. One last photography blog should be fully loaded for almost the next two weeks. That poor blog is the red headed stepchild of my blogging universe. Check it out.

See you on the felt.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

It worked! WSOP Main Event to start shortly

In just two short hours, the Main Event of the WSOP will begin.

I am just a wee bit excited! What to do though...Vikes vs Packers? or WSOP ME Final table?

Yes, I will be multi-tabling today...hehehe

Live audio coverage to be found here...

Anyone find video coverage? Let me know if you find it...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Deed Is Done

I voted. Did you?