Wednesday, December 23, 2009

WBPT Trip Report: Part 3 - Playing poker with Teddy "KGB" #WPBT

By now, PirateLawyer has fallen over dead waiting for me to post pictures from the Pinball Hall of Fame. The truth is, I'm just about finished going through the pictures from the trip. Just about. I'm just shocked I've actually gotten to put up post #3. I mean, I really never finished last year's recaps...Bravo! Besides, last night, one of my neighbors invited me over for $.10/$.25 NLHE cash. Degeneracy before all, right? (A tidy profit too :)

In my last post I alluded to my final poker session of the WPBT weekend. I personally found this to be the most fun I had had all weekend at the card table. Gotta thank my buddy Drizz for getting me there. After dusting off my profits the night before, I wasn't sure I was really playing +EV, but he was in the mood to play some donkey poker before we left. How could I say no.

He suggested we head over to the Flamingo and try that card room. He was staying there and I'd never been there, sounded like a winner. It wasn't $10/$20 NLHE at the Bellagio so I figured I didn't need a second mortgage to play.

The card room is another one of these converted space areas on the casino floor like so many other Vegas rooms. When we asked about $2/$4 LHE, wouldn't you know there was no waiting and we could sit right down.

Drizz tried buying in for $400(?) but for some reason the floor staff gave him a ton of static. Sure it was more then most people needed but he was in philanthropic mode...right?

I was determined not to let the play of the previous night distract me or follow me to this game. The first sign I'm about raise into a guy when I put him on the nuts, I was standing up and leaving. This table felt angry when I sat down. There wasn't a lot of fun in these faces. I was in the 8 spot, Drizz on my left, an Asian woman that looked like Mimi Tran was on my right.

2 or 3 spots to my right was a young man that asked if we were from Minneapolis. If you aren't from Minnesota, you might not understand why I asked him if he meant from Minnesota. You might be surprised at how many people think Minneapolis is pretty much the whole state, even though, surface area wise, Minnesota is a pretty big state. I'm not from Minneapolis or even the Twin Cities area, so frankly, I sometimes just answer no, I'm from Minnesota. He snapped at me for having the gall to even do that. He too was from the Twin Cities. He calmed down after some small talk, but I could tell, he was a man on the edge.

Everyone at the table was on the edge and it didn't take long to figure out why. In the 1 spot was a very drunk Russian guy. In my experience at live limit hold 'em at low stakes in casinos, there's one "strategy" you'll see a fair bit of. It's the jerk that raises at every opportunity. He's usually drunk and pisses people off because the price of poker gets spendy and most people just won't keep calling him with top pair all the way down. I've also learned from experience that trapping these guys doesn't do much. You've got to wait for cards that may or may not ever come. What I've found particularly effective is go after them. Reraise them, make it friggin' expensive to keep firing blindly at the pot. Turn their game against them. It does take a complete disregard for the value of the money in front of you and you definitely need to check your ego and fear at the door. You've got to play some pokah.

I mucked the first 3 or 4 orbits, playing only a couple of really cheap hands from the blinds and the button. I think there was 2 times maybe I put money in voluntarily. When I saw the flop for free, I mucked to any raises. Drizz...well his VP$IP was asymptotically approaching 100%.

Teddy "KGB" made a quick comment about how tight I was and I took that as my cue. Time to play some pokah. I figure it was time to change the mood of the table. The frustration over Teddy's constant raising and his growing stack was making everyone so angry.

Sitting up very tall in my chair, I blurted out loudly, "All day with the check, check, check." trying as hard as I could to sound like I had a Russian accent. On the ride side of the table, reserved laughter. Teddy, he laughed and smiled at me. The dealer, had no clue what that was all about. I swear, how the hell do you end up a poker dealer in Las Vegas and don't know the movie Rounders??? I mean really.

From that point on, I tried out a few more quotes from the movie and a little table banter starts. Ah, we might actually have some fun...playing a game! Some side action about the year the movie came out was all it took to bring some smiles back.

Not long after, Teddy raises from UTG+1, still not unusual. The table actually folds to me in the little blind, I looked down and found one of my favorite hands, so I call. Drizz, perks up, makes a confused grunt and calls as well.

We see the flop. KK7 rainbow. I check, Drizz checks and Teddy raises (no surprise there), I was next to act and with supreme confidence and calm, I announce raise and make it $4. Drizz takes a second and mucks his cards like they were covered in H1N1. Teddy seems confused, I can tell from his face he's thinking, "Did I really just check raised?" I looked back at him confident in my play and when he reraises, I grab the chips for one more raise. He reluctantly calls.

The turn is a blank. I grab my $4 a put in my raise. Teddy calls. At this point, he seems reserved to the fact that I made my hand. I'm not sure why he's still in the hand, but he is. I don't remember thinking there were draws.

The river is another blank. I grab $4 more and firmly throw the chips into the pot. Teddy grabbed his cards and declares "I missed my draw, you win." I took my cards and threw them in front of the Russian, "I missed too." My J 10 of spades was complete air. He was not a happy man. The most aggressive and crazy betting man at the table had just been bluffed out of a $2/$4 limit. I smiled. I played pokah.

"Don't worry, I'll get those chips back. Just wait, I'll do the same to you," he tells me. I felt very confident I could out play this man. I gestured to my stack like Vanna White, "They are right here. Come get them." No fear.

Drizz was just shaking his head. I know, things can go so wrong in a hurry at $2/$4 LHE. Bluffs get called all the time with someone making a pair on the river or ace high, but today, I had a read on Teddy. We talked about ordering him some Oreos, but never did it. Would have been funny, don't you think?

Teddy had some tells. He was obviously drunk and the casino kept serving him. We hypothesized as to what he was really doing there. He showed some definite skills at the table, I mean to lay down to my river bet meant he was at least thinking about something. Was he a better player that was just drinking hard and letting off steam? Was he really just a moron with too much booze? We never did find out. His tells were as thick as his Russian accent.

When Teddy played, he talked like crazy when he had a hand. He was also betting differently. When he had nothing, he just grabbed the bet and threw it when it was his turn, very slow and distant from the game. When he had a hand, he counted his chips carefully and couldn't wait to get them in when it was his turn. These tells were just sitting there. In the open and about as rock solid as I've ever seen.

I played 2 more hands with him and one more with the Asian woman. I bet into Teddy every street with top pair and a medium kicker. He didn't like me doing that with just a pair of kings. The Asian lady called all my bets. She had top pair and an ace kicker. The mortal nuts in LHE, right? Well, if someone had raised preflop, I might not have been there when my 94o hit two pair on the flop. She seemed disgruntled.

The last hand I played with Teddy "KGB" seemed to leave him a little upset. I let him bet every street. He was just grabbing and firing. I like my chances with my hand. On the river he fires the last $4, I grabbed my $4 white chips and tossed them in front of me, turned my cards over and threw them to the middle face up, "My ace high is good, isn't it." His cards were thrown hard into the muck. Ace high? Yeah, he missed. Funny how that works.

Not long after, I was hungry. Vegas is hard on the body. You leave your normal schedule behind and eat when the need arises. There are so many fun things to do.

Stay tuned! More to come: the Pinball Hall of Fame, Gamblers Book Shop, Steel Panther and living the good live at the Palazzo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

WPBT Trip Report: Part Deux - They play poker in Las Vegas

The Winter Gathering is an event that needs to be experienced to be believed. Like I mentioned in the last post, Thursday night is all social for me. Meeting people and drinking way to many Sam Adams is the only item on my agenda. I should apologize to Otis for commandeering his phone to do this. Not sure how many of those Sam Adams where in me, but one should never drunk tweet from another man's phone. Sorry dude.

For the first time in my life, I was in Las Vegas without my better half, OhCountess was home recovering from a tonsillectomy she received two weeks prior. She's an awesome lady, for those of you that have met her, I'm proud to admit I did the blogger thing and married up. I'll be forever grateful to her, but since she wasn't there, I didn't feel any pressure to ever not just sit down and work on thickening my leather ass. On this trip, I actually played 5 session of cash poker and one tournament.

After a lovely breakfast at Bellagio with Astin, Astin's friend, Lightning36, Katitude and JJOK, I played that one and only tournament; the blogger game.

I had high hopes, my team rocked. PokerPeaker and Lightning36. Peaker and I final tabled last year and Lightning is as good as they get in donkaments. Personally, I found the structure a bit steep for my taste, but you usually think that when you are card dead. I never really got anything going and busted out just after Peaker, we were both around the 2 hour range. Lightning fought on for a while, but he too went down early.

My starting table consisted of poker legend Dr. Pauly, Astin (the winner of the whole damn thing...CONGRATS!), Penner3, Melissa Hayeden (Melissa was the only pro in the tournament. She's also Allen Cunningham's girlfriend. If you didn't know, she's currently 17th in All-Time Female Money Winners. - taken from Dr. Pauly's blog- I had to ask who she was, I'm such a noob.), and Joe Speaker. There were a couple of other people at the table, but I had no names. Pauly had a bit more detail.

I basically sucked the life out of poker. When my stack dwindled to ~3200, I shoved the preflop raise of Elissa Harwood, her QQ was more then good against my A7o. She liked my bounties. Pauly and I explained the history of the bottle of Wild Turkey. Good times. Now it's up to her to give it back next year. Hopefully VinNay gets to sign it too.

I think that recap of the tournament took longer to write then I was actually playing. Hm.

I played 5 cash session of $2/$4 LHE. The goal of this trip was to prove to myself I could beat a game. I know, I shoot low but hey, we have to start somewhere.

My first session was Friday night. I had spent some time walking around with Lightning talking about life and stuff and we kinda decided not to head over to the Hard Rock Hotel to play the $1/$2 mixed game hosted by Pokerati. I kinda waffled back and forth on that one. I'm kinda glad I went to the MGM. I didn't want to miss the Blogger Mixed game (even though I did) but I did get to witness #Table16 (also documented here & here) Holy crap that was one wild table. At one point, I believe there was over $3,000 on a table of $1/$2 NLH. Jeebus. I was sitting in the minors one table over playing $2/$4 LHE. Me likey my spot. I finished up a $100 buyin in about an hour and a half.

My next session came after the night out at Steel Panther (this is a whole other post, I took a ton of pictures here - stay tuned). After the concert, DrChako, Drizz, myself, Cuban, F-Train, CK, TheWife and I'd swear I am missing someone or two or three. I'd just like it known for the record that they had Red Stripe beer for sale at the concert for cheap. While I had a good buzz on, I still knew to sit to the left of the Doc and Drizz, they were well lubricate. I made a few sets in this game and walked away up $60. Not too shabby. Blogger money is pretty sweet.

After busting out of the tournament on Saturday, I found myself in uncharted territory. I had no idea what to do with that much free time on a Saturday afternoon. Last year, finishing 5th got me out of the tournament at 11pm. It was 3pm this year so I figured I should go spew some cash since that short run had barely started to scratch my poker itch.

I felt good about the MGM session from the night before and headed back. The table was full of tourists, not like I'm not. I was sitting in the 4 spot. There was a really large English guy on my right and a Dutch kid two to my left and down at the other end were a pair of drunk middle aged guys. One of them kept bragging about how rich he was. I figured him for a Car Dealership owner. He probably had some money, but dude. You are playing $2/$4 at the MGM...whipping out the nice little cigar kit was cute, but...

This session wasn't nearly as good as the night before. I ground it for about 4 hours to lose $7. I guess there are bigger losses to be had in Vegas. I though I had played pretty well. At one point, the drunk guys and the Dutch kid were folding to my raises post flop. The large British guy called every raise of mine to the river with jack high. I had pretty much stuck to TAG poker.

I left the MGM looking to catch the tail end of the tournament but I didn't make it. Everyone at Caesar's had left. BloodyP had been twittering looking for other bloggers. Since I was now wandering alone I suggested he join me for $10/$20 NLHE at Caesar's. Har, har! Yeah, like we are bankrolled for that. Ppfffttt. Without sufficient funds or skill to sit at that game, we headed back to the IP's Geisha Bar. We were back to boozing it up.

I learned a valuable lesson this night. After busting from the tournament playing poorly, grinding to a tiny loss at the MGM, I decided to go over to the IP's $2/$4 LHE game in their poker, um, room? (It's more like a little fenced in area off the floor, not sure what you call that) I should have never gone over there. Feeling toasty and REALLY tired from not sleeping and pretty much going solid for the last 36 hours, I dusted off $80 and left it with some of the world's worst players. I remember one particular hand, I put a guy on KJ. The flop come I cap the flop with him. Not one of my better moments.

I played one more session of cash the last night. It was one of the funnest live session I have ever played. This session was so much fun, I'm gonna save it for another post. Here's the teaser, Drizz and I sat down at a table being run over by Teddy "KGB", a drunk Russian guy. I'l leave you with that and go play a little online poker. Poker After Dark is playing on my DVR and I've got that itch again.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

WBPT Trip Report: Part 1 #WPBT

Holy crap. I haven't slept like that in ages. Monday night was a 9 pm lights out for me and if it was for the fact that I was behind the wheel of a car driving from the Minneapolis airport to my cozy home in southern Minnesota, it would have happened a lot earlier. Do I have any complaints? Nope. The exhaustion was worth every red line in my eyes and my complete inability to focus on any task that took more then 5 seconds.

The Blogger Winter Gathering is like no other adventure. My memories are both vivid and hazy. I'd recommend a tour through real time archives of our collective hast tag #wpbt. It was by the use of Twitter that many people were communicating for the weekend. April had a good idea and maybe we should do it next year, Twitter training. It was essential for much of the shenanigans that occurred.
Drizz and I decided to meet at MSP at around 2pm. Since we are some seriously organized chaps, this gave us time to hang out before we got on our separate flights. Wait, what's this? Oh look, our

tickets have the same flight number. Yeah, we were actually on the same flight.

No fear, food and cocktails aren't a problem at the airport. As we all know, the Winter Gathering is all about celebrating his birthday, so a birthday cap'n & coke were on my agenda...Happy birthday BTW!

As I would soon learn was gonna be typical for the weekend, our flight was delayed. A connecting flight was running behind so we needed to wait. Yawn. We did what any other upstanding Minnesota boys would do, pinball. Seems Drizz is a phenom at this. In the course of a few minutes, he'd lined up a few free games for us to kill. I killed mine quickly and with few points accumulated. He, kept the points rolling. Sigh.

This final shot from the airport is Drizz winning yet another hand of Chinese poker. I had never played it before, shock, I know. The very first hand he dealt me, I had a royal flush, but as someone twittered back to me, your royal flush is only as good as the other 8 cards....they sucked. He went on to win the first 5 hands I ever played. I suck. Need cash? Play me.

In preparation for the weekend, he also introduced me to Pai Gow, minus the casino, and the money and the complete intoxication. This too...I sucked at. Go me.

Our plane boarded almost exactly one hour late. If you ever met the two of us, you will notice that he's a few inches taller then me. He's actually a fairly tall, I'm average. Seemed only fitting I'd get the exit row and the flight attendant would use a shoe horn to squeeze the big guy in the row behind me. Gotta love fate.

Thursday night of the Winter Gathering is all about the hugs, the howdy's and the booze. There were so many people I looked forward to meeting for the first time and old friends I needed to pick up from where we left off last year. This post went on way longer then I had planned. I used to want to write about Thursday night, but frankly, I don't take notes. You really need to attend this event.

Here's what's on the agenda and these next posts I promise to organize a lot better. I played some poker, stories are plenty. If I don't write about the Pinball Hall of Fame, PirateLawyer will explode, that's coming. Steel Panther Friday night at Green Valley Ranch. Neon Graveyard. Lagasse Sports Stadium for Sunday football and random shots around town.

I've almost finished going through the 800 pictures I took. For some reason I always get hung up on getting this first post out. Some more sleep tonight and probably some more writing tomorrow. More linking to come. I'm still friggin' exhausted. I have no idea why I go back to work right away on Tuesday. Ugh.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reunions, sleep and transition to normalcy - on hold #wpbt

Immense boredom. Total exhaustion. Sleepy eyes. I'm sitting here at McCarran airport, midway between the surreal life and the quiet home I had left behind. The shuttle I included in my package picked me up an with plenty of time to get here, go through security and find my gate. The little bit of extra padding was magnified as it is again snowing in Minnesota. Deicing planes takes an hour. Sigh.

This past weekend was truly epic in scale. So many little perks added to what is normally a rockin' good time. From the overlay in the tournament's last longer bet provided by PokerStars, to the simply lavish suite and awesome service at the Laggasse Stadium suite in the Palazzo, this weekend was over the top.

I took some ridiculous amount of pictures this weekend (~800). While it was cold, my camera clicking finger was ready to go, even if my stomach was doing some kind of funky chicken dance.

I didn't win the blogger donkament. I did play more cash poker then I ever have in a 3 day window. I did not get my -EV on. I did tilt like there was no tomorrow in one session of cash. I also ran good enough in 3 other sessions for it not to matter.

My flight will be boarding soon and I can't wait to reach new levels of REM sleep. I miss sleep but I think I miss OhCountess and the kids more. Funny, just last Thursday, I couldn't wait to get out of town, hop a plane and fly to Vegas. Today, that friggin' plane can't get here soon enough.

WPBT crew: I miss all of you already.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shuffle up and deal!

The annual blogger tournament has begun. 84 runners and team D-Listers is in the house. In the photo are my bounties.

Hopefully, this will be a long day!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Location:Las Vegas Blvd S,Las Vegas,United States

Friday, December 11, 2009

I love the neon

Walking around Las Vegas with Lightning36. Good times.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The story of 3 bags and a broken clock

Here they are, 3 bags. My suitcase, camera bag and the bag I'll take to work with a change of clothes.

I'm updating all my blogs with this post because a trip to Las Vegas is when all 3 cross paths. I have poker, photography and fun all planned! The only thing missing will be my bride at my side. This will be my first trip to Vegas without her. Some parts won't be the same without her.

Have fun in Minnesota! While it's not warm this time of year, Vegas is also not 3 degrees. I won't be jealous. Promise!

Many updates to come! Laters!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snowed in

No doubt, I'm gonna be here at the house for the forseeable future. We got around 11 inches of snow and top that with a lovely cherry, we now have wind gusts in the 40 mph range.

My street has 3 and 4 foot drifts. Until I see a plow, it's cookie decorating time!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Location:County Road 22,Rochester,United States

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Preparations and Plans #wpbt

Snowmageddon is bringing with it the 4 horsemen here in Minnesota. Loads of fun. Our local weather people have promised me that my plane will leave MSP as planned barring the freezing solid of the planes fuel. The forecast for Thursday is a balmy high of 9°F, that's -13°C for our Canuck friends. Those highs in Las Vegas of mid 50's sounds FANFRIGGINTASTIC!

Not to sound too excited, but I finished packing Sunday, a full 4 days early. Here's a sample checklist for the weekend:

  • Pocket Purell
  • Camera, lens and select gadgets
  • Chargers
  • Ibuprofen
  • Tums
  • Imodium
  • Bounty (Part 1)
  • A couple of books

Yeah, packing for this thing ain't all that hard, it just that when I rush at the last minute, I forget all my chargers. I know me.

The rest of this week has been all about building up my anxiousness. One way I've found to get me really in the mood has been listening to the Gambling Tales Podcast. I'll make it real simple for you, here's the iTunes link. This podcast is brought to us by WPBT bloggers Falstaff and Special K. Their 3rd episode is out. Awesome stuff. What makes the show so fun is these guys are pretty well read in the gambling history and use that converse on more modern topic. Very cool.

Twitter has been buzzing this week as well. If you are looking for the best way to follow the live action of this weekend, I'd suggest following Peacecorn's list. As far as I've heard, she's got the most comprehensive list any where. Go check it out! I stopped using Tweetdeck for iPhone a few months ago. The damn thing was as buggy as it gets. I've heard it's gotten a lot better, but it also sports the ability to have columns for searches. #WPBT should be your hash tag of choice.

One addition to my preparations this year was purchasing a portable battery for my iPhone. I'm still sporting one of the first units that came off the assembly line. The aluminum jacketed iPhone 2G. The biggest problem I've had when traveling with it has been battery life. This year, I bought the 3GJuice iPhone/ iPod Battery Charger. It should give me a double long day without having to crawl under the table looking for an outlet. Let's just see how it does.

After all that, now we wait.

So here's my plan for the weekend. To avoid outrageous parking fees, I'll be meeting my brother at he'll drop me off at the airport. Unfortunately, his only free time to do this is a little under 4 hours before take off. So I'll be getting to the airport at 2 where I should also be running into Drizz. His flight leaves just a few minutes after mine. Yeah, we planned that well, but I should be buying him his first tasty birthday beverage(s) before take off and discussing the opportunity to wager on our arrivals.

Thursday night: drinks at the Imperial Palace's Geisha Bar. I should arrive there around 8? My plane is scheduled to land at 7, so we will have to see. I believe Colombo described this as EXTREME networking. Actually, it is, and it's a ton of fun. New for me this will hopefully be drunken pai gow. I'm really looking forward to meeting people I've been connecting with over the last year through twitter, facebook and their blogs. More massive link dumps coming soon!

Friday, I'll be joining Kat and others at the Neon Graveyard. Vegas continues to be one of my favorite places to photograph. This trip will be now different. I need to go to the Pinball Hall of Fame sometime too. Not exactly sure when everyone is going. I need to figure this out Thursday night.

Friday night, we head over to the MGM, more drunken games. The WPBT Mixed game table is something I really want to try that this year. Not saying I'll avoid the cowboys at the limit hold'em tables, but mixed games it is.

Saturday, the only thing planned is the Blogger Tournament. This year, Otis hooked up the Luckbox Last Longer Challenge with a surprise from PokerStars. They are juicing the pot with an extra $2,000. Even before that big news hit the intertubes, we had created Team D-Listers: Lightning36, PokerPeaker and myself. Should be really fun. Guys, let'show those A, B, C listers how this game is played!

After this, my weekend is pretty open. I'd like to check out the private box Luckbox has set up for the sports betting day on Sunday. Kat has suggested she'd like to rent a car and go shoot more of the Las Vegas and surrounding, I think maybe it was to head up to Red Rocks or even Hoover Dam. Kat, I've brought with about 100 GB of storage. Let's do this.

Monday morning, my adventure ends. I'll get back in a tin can and prepare to be flash frozen, but I'm not thinking about that right now. I'm about 36 hours away from leaving the office and getting the hell out of Dodge. You going too? Looking forward to see all of you again!

Tick tock, tick tock...

Crap! Forgot to mention...Saturday, 12:30AM - STEEL PANTHER! I'll be there! Rock on!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The return of Kenny Tran

Kenny Tran was back at the microscopic stakes LHE tables. I just found it right when he sat down and got to be first in line on the waiting list. It didn't take long for me to get the seat on his right. Yo, the pro's got position on me. Bring it! :)

The last time I sat down with him, people asked if I played any hands with him. I didn't really remember much. This time, I tried a little harder.

The first hand, I called from the BB and went heads up against him. When playing limit like this, many players will defend their BB with any two cards. I have a strong hands for heads up, but I'll be out of position for the entire hand. I called to keep the pot small. No reason to raise only to completely whiff the flop and dump a bunch.

Yeah, that sucked. I probably lost the minimum to him.

This next hand was the only other hand I played with him. Not sure what he's doing down here, but I think I know how you might get the nickname "Sick Call". To me, calling with Q high is just kinda stupid, but then again, I'm not a well known, red letter pro.

Yeah, ace high is the winner for me. Let this be a lesson. Bet your flush draws. Kenny "Sick Call" Tran will call you with queen high.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Just when you think the doom switch is fully engaged

I've had a really unfun run of cards lately. Actually, I found away to give back a few buy ins in just a matter of a couple minutes at limit hold 'em. You know when AKs flops AAX and some donkey decides it's positive EV to cap every street with you and that damn deuce on the river just had to give him a full house, right? Of course you knew that. Friggin' deuce on the river gives the donkey a full house A2o is the gawd damn nutz...fricka fracka...why I oughta...

Anywho. This time next week, I should be lining up to see Steel Panther with a group of bloggers at the WPBT winter gathering. I'll just say it now, sorry for any drunken tweets or posts that might show up. happens.

So, I really did figure the doom switch had been engaged the last couple of days. I probably shouldn't be playing poker exhausted, but we all know, we don't play bad, there's evil people that run these poker site that are out to get us. That's why they invented the doom switch. To get us. (I kid...I'm pretty sure I was WAY too tired to play poker)

Well, tonight, I felt like I got a little bit of my karma back. Check out this screen cap -

Now, before you go and think, "Well, OhCaptain, did he slow play those aces all the way to the river?" The answer, of course, is absolutely, positively, no way. We got it all in on the flop cuz I think diamonds are purdy.

Here's the replay:

I'd love to hear some theories or explanations of how I had a suspicion that he had a big pair and this was some awesome play. He was not normally not that passive early, but why do I care, I'm trying to shake off a doom switch and pretty much just tilting the night away. I suppose I really should be writing about Vegas. I said I'd write about Vegas...but but but, no excuses, I was just wasting my time playing cards.

Doom switch is still fully engaged. The most passive bubble play you've ever seen. I went artic card dead after the straight flush. Doing my best to stay afloat with stealing and position play. I finally ran KQh into KK and then did this sick orbiting for like forever watching the most passive moronic play. Sigh. It finally took KK to take down my QJ. Sigh.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

168 Hours but who's counting? #wpbt

WPBT Winter Gathering is 168 hours away from beginning for me, but who's counting?

Questions that need answering:

Who's Team D Listers?
Will Drizz be standing at the Geisha bar with drink in hand before me?
What's gonna be the line on the race to Vegas?
Will I forget something?
Will I remember something I really don't want to?
How long will it take me to drink the first beer? the second? the third?...
Can I really get it all done in 4 days without puking on my shoes?
Can I invert my biological clock and make it to Steel Panther?
Why so many friggin' questions when the clock ain't moving?
Can I learn Pai Gow and Craps and continue to pay my mortgage on time?

Answers coming soon...stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PokerSluts recaps in a timely manner

Yeah, timely. That's me. Thank goodness for hand histories! Not this past weekend, but the weekend before, I played the Limit Hold 'em edition of the PokerSlut Tour XVI. I love me some limit hold 'em because it's a really great way to learn how to play a much wider variety of hands and also play more optimally post flop. I had a really fun time playing the tournament, even finishing 2nd. By the time we got heads up though, I was way ready for bed and just couldn't wait for it to get over. Probably why I never stopped firing raises to stpetebeach...probably why he also didn't stop calling any of them either.

There are a few things I'll rarely do playing no-limit that I will do in a limit game. One thing I do if I think a player is mostly raising with big cards is play small, suited connector type hands and see a flop, especially from the button. Take this hand:

If felt there was a good shot that SmBoatDrinks was raising with a ace or a bigger pair. We are short handed and my button limp screams weak. Which it is, but in limit, I'm getting 5:1 to call from position. I've also got a fairly sizable stack. I can let go of this hand if I completely whiff the flop.

When the flop hits, I know I'm never laying this hand down, that flop is perfect for me. The trick now is to get maximum value, unless of course he's got a bigger flush draw, but still, two outers make it difficult to worry too much at this point. I flopped the nuts and have the stone cold nut draw.

By the way the action turned out and what he had for cards, I'm assuming he didn't have me anywhere near that flop. Which was good to know, I think my play with a bigger stack had been eradicate to hopefully be confusing.

In my opinion, that's one of the keys to limit hold 'em. You want people to think you are playing different cards then you are.

This next hand actually happened earlier, but I figured I'd lose you by now and could just lay it out for discussion. I'm disguising my hand since I didn't actually play in the hand, but I do question the comments of others as to why, why would they say what they say...My comments are in red, if you can't read red, let me know I'll provide a copy in an alternate color.

Full Tilt Poker Game #16056750288: PokerSlut Tour XVI (111159087), Table 1 - 200/400 - Limit Hold'em - 22:34:32 ET - 2009/11/15
Seat 1: Julius_Goat (2,270) <-- Good to see you on the felt!
Seat 3: Zerbet (2,250)
Seat 4: stpetebeach (7,100) <--Isn't this Fasso from Ante Up? I asked and no one would say.
Seat 5: OhCaptain (5,000) <-- 2nd in chips :(
Seat 6: wvapoker (290) <--Gonna be making a move soon
Seat 7: SmBoatDrinks (3,125)
Seat 9: WiredAces77 (3,965)
Julius_Goat posts the small blind of 100
Zerbet posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to OhCaptain [Ap Aq]
stpetebeach folds
OhCaptain folds <--I know, pocket aces, but look at the suits. I never play those unsuited.
wvapoker raises to 290, and is all in <--As long as we understand that this will be called with any two shiny cards in a later spot to act...just sayin'
SmBoatDrinks folds
WiredAces77 calls 290
Zerbet: double you tee eff
Julius_Goat: gg light <--well played comments are always welcome in blogger games
Julius_Goat calls 190 <--Can't say that talking while calling is a good move live, but here, I'll let it slide
lightning36 (Observer): later, mates <--Good game my friend!
Zerbet calls 90
*** FLOP *** [2h 6h 9d]
Julius_Goat checks
Zerbet checks
WiredAces77 checks
^--check, check, check? No one bets? I know there's someone all-in but it's not like he'll have a huge stack when he's done. Let's build a side pot.
*** TURN *** [2h 6h 9d] [Ac]
Julius_Goat checks
Zerbet checks
WiredAces77 checks
^--sigh. More checking.
*** RIVER *** [2h 6h 9d Ac] [2s]
Julius_Goat checks
Zerbet checks
WiredAces77 bets 400
OhCaptain: later <--Saying good bye to Lightning suck.
Zerbet: sigh
Julius_Goat has 15 seconds left to act
SmBoatDrinks: gg <--well played comments are always welcome in blogger games
Julius_Goat folds
Zerbet: betting into a dry side pot? really? <--I don't know Zerbert, it looks like a value bet to me. Most people only do this when they have something. According to my math, that bet would make a side pot with enough profit to make up for the initial bet if called.
Zerbet has 15 seconds left to act
WiredAces77: really <--representing a 2.
Zerbet folds <--representing not a 2.
Uncalled bet of 400 returned to WiredAces77
*** SHOW DOWN ***
WiredAces77 shows [2d 4d] three of a kind, Twos <-- See, a 2.
wvapoker mucks <--apparently, not a 2.
WiredAces77 wins the pot (1,160) with three of a kind, Twos
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 1,160 | Rake 0
Board: [2h 6h 9d Ac 2s]
Seat 1: Julius_Goat (small blind) folded on the River
Seat 3: Zerbet (big blind) folded on the River
Seat 4: stpetebeach didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: OhCaptain didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: wvapoker mucked [8c 8h] - two pair, Eights and Twos <--nice! sorry it didn't hold up.
Seat 7: SmBoatDrinks didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: WiredAces77 (button) showed [2d 4d] and won (1,160) with three of a kind, Twos

Now, Zerbet went on for a while and seemed to get pretty steamed over some of us not seeing that bet as being a bad play. I personally didn't think it was horrible or even donkish. It's the last opportunity for a value bet with what is most likely the winning hand. The only hands the all-in dude could have that would beat you are a 2 with a bigger kicker, a set of 6's, 9's or aces. If no one was betting those by now, then they are morons. If that's what the all-in hand had, so be it, but we are looking for value from the others.

Zerbet was right that there was probably no one at the table that would call just to see, but there was a chance that someone with an ace might call. There was almost no chance that the person calling would have a better hand, but to say you shouldn't bet because no one is likely to call is just crazy. How would you know that in some weird twisted moment, the guy with K9o doesn't call just to keep him honest. In limit hold 'em, you bet to build bigger pots. I don't see the harm in fishing for value. Getting that one extra bet can make or break your day.

Here's the replay if you want to just see it play out. And no...I didn't muck aces, but thought it looked cool...kay?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just for giggles

I signed in to Full Tilt looking for a little poker something to pass me into dream land. Look who's playing the super cheap stakes Limit Hold 'em...not me...the dude across from me. What the hell is he doing at this level?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ah. It's a night to relax

Home game poker. Nothing better. Whiskey club is at my house this month. Thankfully the cash game after the first tournament is helping to fund the night. I learned a game called 3 Card Monty. Not the street hustle but something else. Definitely -EV.

More on the whiskey layer. Time to play some cards, listen to music, rate the cartoons of the 1980's and drink tasty beverages.

Hope your Friday rocked too!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Learning How To Fold Kings

I really need to find more time to write about poker. This week has been full of topics: the $100 bonus on Full Tilt, PokerSluts, WPBT and Poker League. For now, you'll just have to work with me on a hand from poker league and try really hard to convince me I made the right decision...I'm really doubting it...

So, I missed the last two weeks of league and hadn't played any live poker in that time. I know, shocking. I felt good going in to the night, no bad beats swimming in my, no fear of one outers, really, no baggage what so ever.

I had done a decent job of chipping up for the first 30 minutes. I sat at the table mostly enjoying the table chatter. We had the return of a guy that used to play quite often and then sort of disappeared for the last year or so. My memories of playing him mostly go back almost two years ago.

In our conversations, this guy had told us that he's spent most of this time playing online and going up to Canterbury to play the tournaments there with a bit of success. When we last played, his game was fairly ABC with a bit of a passive nature broken up with some recklessness. But I wasn't really sure how to use any of this early on. I don't like to rely on someone's tendencies from a long time ago, people change.

We are about one hour into the tournament, my stack sits 2025, a little more then starting stack. My chipping early had been whittled away. There were 7 people left at our table and I'm now under the gun with blinds at 50/100 T$. This early at poker league, I'm hard pressed to ever play much from this position. The play tends to be weak/passive and even raises will get called by a party, but for this hand, I was dealt KK. I'll play that from any position. I raised a standard raise, to 300.

The guy to my left folds. On his left is the guy returning from the past. He quite firmly moves all in for 1600. This really struck me as odd and my "somethings up detector" was going off like the alarm on LOST. Why so big? AK? AA? KK? QQ? Hm. the next 3 players fold until the BB announces he's all in for 1850.

I have a rule in my head at poker league. Never fold AA or KK preflop at poker league, but what's going on here. I stuck to my rule and called. I had both players covered but I have to tell you, I had a feeling one of them had aces.

The BB player was true to what I expected from him. He'll do this with almost any pair 99 and up or any painted ace.

But the thought I couldn't get out of my head came true. The guy that hasn't played for a while had played me like a fiddle. He tables AA. The BB guy...yeah he had AJo. Crap, I know now I'm in big trouble, but with one ace left in the deck, my odds improved...son of ace on the turn. I'd need a K on the river to take the tiny little side pot. Nope. AJo gets that one too.

Now, the dude with aces is talking after then hand about how he'd hoped I'd perceive the shove as weak and call. I'll be perfectly honest, I call with Kings regardless right there, but should I?

I think here is where I should really integrate more 3rd level thinking for a select few players. He's talked about playing a lot more online and in the casino. I think his game is definitely improved since his explanation is 3rd level thinking...he's making this move on the hopes that I perceive him as weak. Well played. Being a 4:1 dog with kings sucks, but should I consider folding that hand? My something fishy alarm was going off and I ignored. Can you fold kings pre to anyone? When do you give a guy credit for an improved game and use that in your decisions? How do you smell a rat?

Without looking, I covered the next two cards dealt to me in the BB with my remaining 175 chips. With about 4 others in the pot, the community cards get dealt, The cut-off shows their paired ace and I find JJ. Yep...running like a god can be fun.

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's all booked

I'm in.

I should be landing in Las Vegas at ~7 PM Vegas time on Thursday December 10th. Which means I'm hoping to have my first bottle of beer drank at the Geisha by 8:01 PM. This of course assumes it will take me an hour to get from the airport, check in to the hotel and get served by 8 PM. I think I can still drink a beer in under a minute.

My return to the frozen tundra will begin with a take off at 9:30 AM Monday morning. This should give me ample time to enrich the economy of the local community through generous giving at the [insert table game]. I hope someone can finally give me lessons at playing -EV games.

Unfortunately, I'll be making the trip sans OhCountess. She's just pretty sure the tonsillectomy won't be ready for prime time by then. She does send her warmest regards. Does Astin need a new hat? Maybe something to keep you warm?

To do's:

  1. Get contact information for Lightning36.
  2. Finish plans with Katitude to photograph the hell out of Las Vegas.
  3. Drink a few.
  4. Play some pokah.
  5. Drink some more.
  6. Play some pokah.
  7. Pinball Hall of Fame. (It's link for details)
  8. More photography.
  9. Steel Panther.
  10. There's just too much to list...damn it.
Do I really need to wait a month for this...damn. I better start charging my phone. I feel some twittering coming on. I'm thinking about getting this charger...any one tried it?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I think maybe it's time...

Here's hoping the stars align and I can actually find the time tonight to play in this...hope to see you there! I'm already registered, not that my dead stack would play any different then I would.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Details Are Up! #wpbt

Poker writing has been a bit absent from my life lately. It's mostly because I have had precious little to do much playing and I doubt anyone comes here for the up to the minute WSOP Main Event news. If you are, why aren't you reading this, or this. Although on that subject, I thoroughly enjoyed the Bluff Magazine live broadcast when Joe Sebok and Annie Duke were doing it. They did a fantastic job of describing the action on the felt. After the dinner break, I missed who was doing it, but they sucked.

So what's up with the title of this post??? The details of the Winter Gathering tournament are up!!! April got the details done and if you haven't already RSVP'ed the YES that you know you want to do, then head over and find out how! Um, did you miss the link? It's right here...

The Main Event is gonna start some time after I fall asleep tonight. Friggin' Pacific Standard Time. Night all!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Presto is not gold - presto hates me

I sat back down to the felt on Tuesday night exercising my weekly hall pass to get out of the house unchaperoned by the Mrs and kids. I was still feeling the pain of having played poorly at state and decided before the first hand was dealt, I was going to play a bit unorthodox, well, at least for me. I really just wanted to get my gambool on.

I did just that and I have to tell you, shoving K8o into JJ is a lot of fun, especially when that beautiful king in the door shows it's face.

Normally, at league, I play a very tight and conservative game. I think my record is not playing a single hand in the first hour and a half. Most of the time, this strategy works. The loose/passive play gets into serious trouble when I still have most of my starting stack and double through the likes of Q4h, but I the take away I'm taking from Saturday is I need to be able to switch gears and play a different style when the need arises.

I've been really enjoying the Yahoo Messenger app on the iPhone. Chatting with other donkeys while playing poker can be very rewarding. Waffles was playing online and chatting telling me the stories of being sucked out again for the billionth time that night, all the while, I was shoving 10 3s into a paired board with two spades on it. It was so fun to hit that 5th spade on the turn. The dude that called my all-in flopped two pair with his 10 9. I had to ask, why would you call an all in with pair of 9s and a 10 kicker? He figured I was on a draw, which I was, but failed to realize that while yes, I was drawing to a flush, and a back door straight and had an over card, it's damn near a coin flip and I was getting my gambool on. Cha ching.

By some miracle, I made my way to the final table. I was basically freerolling and enjoying a night away from the grind of tight/aggression. I figured I made it this far, I might as well play good poker now. Chipping up a little more, we whittled the table down to 5 people.

From under the gun, I did a standard 3X raise with the hand of the devil. I know, final table I should just muck AQo, it can't possibly win. The big blind calls. The flop comes J76 rainbow. Looking at the dude, he missed it completely but shoves all in. Me, being pulled by the devil to misplay this hand, knew that since he missed this flop, I must be good...he couldn't have a medium pair...

Unlike Fuel55 (posting soon?), presto was not gold for me but it was, however, gold for the dude holding it across the table from me. Friggin' donkey.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Can't you smell that smell

Saturday, I headed up to play in the state tournament for my bar poker league. I was pumped, I was psyched and I really had no idea how to play poker once the tournament began. Well, I might have known a little but that's not really how it looked in hind sight.

Curiosity (got a blog yet?) chimed in on one hand that precipitated my decline. She was the "villain" (actually seemed like a pretty nice person, but in forum lingo...she was not me) in basically the first hand I entered from a spot other then the big blind.

Take a deep breath and a step back and let's luck at my plan for the day. My plan was to play the first 190 knockouts as a satellite. The top 20 spots pay the same, so that's a completely valid strategy. To get there, I was going to play tight/aggressive poker like it was my job. Same way I play a token frenzy. Reality was a little different. It's how I played, but I failed to account for two things: 25 minute blinds and mostly passive pre-flop pay.

First problem: 25 minute blinds. This is way more like a turbo then anything. Even with the great Drizz dealing, no way my 10,000 charting chips last long folding like it's my job.

Second problem: really it was an opportunity: passive pre-flop play. There was a lot of people putting money in to see flops. Now, in some tournaments, this would be something of an opportunity to turn on the heat, but this is also a freeroll with a variety of skill levels. Seeing the river is almost a certainty.

I never called an audible and changed the plan. Damn it. I seriously thought about playing more flops from position but I really didn't want to risk chips for later when I would get a better hand, but considering that better hand never came, I'll play for about 4-5 hours for nothin'.

The hand Curiosity was talking about in the comment had to do with a the first big hand I got dealt, KK. A nice hand, even raised it up good pre-flop. Drizz put the Ace out there and I got quite cranky. I knew I was probably beat, but had to know for sure. That value bet on the river was too tempting to not call. It was pretty much how my day would go. Before 1st break, I played a bit more, lost with AK a couple of times to a smaller ace, thus the "Can't beat ace rag..." headline.

These tournaments can be so frustrating, adapting to them has always been a challenge for me. Play too tight, get crazy later, or start a little crazy and stay there. I just never know when to switch.

I stole blinds for quite awhile, hovering right around half a starting stack all day. Never really regaining ground or losing ground.

Much of this post game time has been spent thinking about how I could have improved my game and gotten deeper. Being able to switch gears and finding other spots to gamble would probably be a good place to start. Patience can only get me so far.

My quote of the day came from the lady that devastated my stack. It wasn't so much that she called me, I can see doing it too, but her words just took my breath away.

The blinds were at 600/1200, I'm under the gun. I open raise to 4200 which was just more then half my stack. I think I had around 7700. This bet size had been fairly effective at stealing enough blinds to keep me treading water for a while. It folds around to the little blind. She starts counting out her chips. I'm pretty sure the big blind is just waiting his turn to fold, he can't wait to release.

While counting her chips, she starts talking out loud:
Do I double up now or wait for later. Hm. I know I have you beat because there's no hand you'd raise with that could beat me. I have to be ahead, but do I want you to draw out on me.
If she's got kings or aces, so be it, but what in God's name is taking her so long to do this? Is she slow rolling me with aces?

The fact was she was ahead, I had AKs. All she needs is a pair to be statistically ahead. She moves all-in for her remaining 7,300. I'm not folding here anyways, so I call. Her hand? 55. Presto. The collective jaws on the table hit the floor. The guy on the button asks, "Ma'am, why would you possibly think that no one would raise with a hand that could beat you?"

Her reply, "Ha, this is a pocket pair. Not likely anyone would have anything bigger then this."

Sigh. The poker gods did hate me so, flop came King high. Yep out flopped her, but the 3 diamonds lead to her hitting the turn diamond flush. Poker can be so cruel.

One thing I took away from this was the complete lack of live tournament play over the last year. I don't think I've played a live tournament outside of the bar league Tuesday night game or whiskey club since the Winter Gathering. This has got to change. Anyone borrow me a few hours every week? Sit-n-gos are forming at the casino near me and I need to be there.

Back to the studying this crazy game. Another Tuesday night league is starting tomorrow.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

I'm out :-(

Couldn't win a flip or even a 4:1 favorite to save my life. Better luck next time I guess. Thanks for all the support. It's time for dinner with the mrs.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

You can't out flop ace rag

Been pretty brutal so far. Played three hands in 2 hours and have 5550 left. Drizz just can't deal me anything. Ugh. Thankfully, he can't resist the call of the Pai Gow. No dealer after the break. Need some mojo soon.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Shuffle up and deal

It's starting a little late but I did find Drizz and um he's dealing at my table. The format is two satellites. We play down to 20 and then play to 9 with the top 9 going to Vegas. As soon as I know the number of entries, I'll be able to do my satellite math.

Time to shuffle up and deal.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Now, where's Drizz?

Made to to Running Aces Harness Park. Not a bad drive at all. Gonna walk around and check the place out. Time to relax and find my game face!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tomorrow is the big day.

Back in the day, you know, all of 2 and half years ago, I started this blog with Bodie25. Back then, the idea was to chronicle my rise to poker greatness by winning the Minnesota Poker League state tournament. Yeah, delusions, but delusions can keep us warm at night...just say'in.

So here we are, October and two years older. Yippee ding. My dad always says, "You are only as old as who you feel..." and thankfully OhCountess isn't old yet :-D but maybe I am wiser then I was back then. I've learned a lot about my poker game and the game itself.

Way back in August, I wrote a quick post about winning my bar poker league. Fun times. Tomorrow, I head up to Running Aces Harness Track for the state tournament.

I'm actually feeling fairly confident in my live game right now. To win the league, I did it quite convincingly. Check this out. You get 20 points for showing up. Depending on the number of people (we averaged 32) you get points for placing in the top 30%. Example: for the first week of this league session, there were 36 people. 11 people made the points, 11th got 61, first got 201. I finished the 8 weeks with 798 points, 2X1st, 2nd, 7th and 8th winning the 8 week session by 82 points. The even cooler part of this run, the total promotion was 16 weeks, with two 8 week sessions. The guy that with the most points total for the 16 weeks beat me by 13 points and showed up for every single week. Why is that cool? I missed 5 weeks of the first session and by miss I mean, I wasn't there. Show up for one more night, I win that too.

Rumor has it that this tournament's structure is gonna be a bizarre mix of tournament strategies. All the contestants will start with 10,000 chips and play down to 20 people, at which time, the tournament will be reset and we start over and play to the grand prize. I'm thinking I probably play phase 1 like a satellite and phase 2 like a 2 table sit-n-go. Thoughts?

This is my 3rd trip to the state tournament for a promotion. I think I've learned a lot about these things, I've also played more casino tournaments since then. Normally, I'm quite nervous heading into these. No idea why, but I was. Today, I'm pretty calm and actually mostly just excited to go. I'm really looking for to hooking up with Drizz as this place is right in his Minnesota relative backyard (relative backyard here is a bit larger then other places...). Gonna try me a nice cocktail before it's shuffle up and deal time. I think he's also promised to harass the other people at my table while being an obnoxiously drunk railbird. My guess, he finds a juicy PLO game and cleans the burbs of their milk money.

So, consider this a warning, if past performances are any indication, if my phone is working and with a functioning battery, I'll posting and tweeting up a storm tomorrow. Let's hope it goes on for hours!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What a game

What a game. My hat goes off to the Tigers, this is probably the most exciting baseball game I have ever seen. I took an absolute ton of pictures and have many stories to tell, but alas, 12 innings and a really long drive home makes me really sleepy and way behind. For the moment, I'll just enjoy the moment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pregame warm up

Just having a beer at Huberts. 2 hours until first pitch. Must get the liver properly lubricated :-)

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

See you Tuesday night!

Tickets purchased! We will see you Tuesday night!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

All tied up! #wintwins

Whew! Tigers lose (Thank you White Sox!) Twins win! What a day! Tomorrow, both teams are really starting the season all over again. This is what baseball is all about. You are in Twins Territory now. Win Twins!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Be the win. We can do this.

Be the win. See the win. Visualize the win. We can do this. Bring it home boys! Win Twins!!!! All the pressure is on Detroit. You guys still want to start a rookie?

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Remember this - we call it a R-E-C-A-P: Mookie Style

Have you noticed, around the blogasphere, people are writing the death tome of the blogger tourneys? Hoy recently weighed in his opinion of the state of the blogger tournaments. His yadda, yadda, yadda and woe, woe, woe sounded like an old man, yearning for the days when the grass was greener, people worked harder, the Kaiser was crushed by the good ol' boys and the wheel had just been invented. sound like AN OLD MAN whining in the barber shop.

You know, the Mookie doesn't draw like it use to and have you noticed who isn't there??? I mean besides Mookie. Just about everyone that's complaining that the blogger tournaments are dying. If these tournaments are to be missed and I'm supposed to feel your pain for their passing, at least show up at the hospital and say good bye. Geez.

I haven't been playing the Mookie much at all. Why? Mostly time. My kids are older, they go to bed later (and for the love of all things holy, this doesn't mean I'll play it if it's later...I'm old and need to go to bed before dawn) and as I just mentioned...I'm old. I like going to bed a little earlier then I used to but that doesn't mean I haven't had interest.

One thing I know for a FACT that's really been missing from the blogger tournaments that used to be the highlight of my Thursday morning, and I mean that, was the Mookie recaps everyone USED to write. Remember when we used to play poker and write about it? Hm. Wonder what went wrong...

So here it is. My Mookie recap from last night: (you ready for's been a while. I think I'm rusty :-D )

My wife was working late last night and by some miracle, the kids were in bed, on time and no little feet were running about needing a stern holler, "For the last time, lay down and GO TO SLEEP!" I even managed to crank out and check off every damn thing on OhCoutness' honey-do list. With time to spare, I realized, holy crap! It's Wednesday, 8:30 PM (CDT)...I can play the Mookie!

I had just completed the Take Two promotion from Full Tilt and with that extra $50 about to hit my bankroll, I figured it was time to dust off a Hamilton and a Washington and play me some deep stack Mookie (Every Wednesday, 9pm central time on Full Tilt Poker. Private tournament $10 + $1 - Password: vegas1) action. I missed it.

Participation was light, which I figured might help me since it would be far few donkeys to wade through on the way to my second Mookie victory. I'm pretty much just good at playing sngs, so this is more or less what I'm used to. I didn't do a screen grab of the starting table because I'm lazy and woefully out of practice at this. Lightning36 on my left, with (as I remember) Mike Maloney on his, and some others at the table (which I could probably dig up from the hand history of it weren't for the laziness and the woefully out of practiceness).

For some stupid reason, I tend to change my play at the Mookie from what I normally play when I'm making money playing sngs. Which of course is stupid cause when it's ain't broke you aren't supposed to fix it, which I do every time I play the Mookie because for some stupid reason I'm trying to impress you people. Anywho. I steal some blinds to start a little above the 3000 chip starting stack. See, normally in a sng, I'll just sit there folding for the first hour and not show any signs of aggression, but this isn't my plan right now. Remember...dusting of a Hamilton and a Washington.

Things are chugging along nicely, I even stole some chips with AQo (for those of you that are new, it's the hand of the devil and should never be played because it's evil and can't possibly win). Of course there are no screen grabs because I'm lazy and way out of practice at doing these.

I'm pretty sure we were in the second blind level when I was dealt JJ in the BB. I remember this hand precisely because, well, you'll see. I think 25 people limped ahead of me, so, to disguise the strength of my hand, I just checked. (See, I'm being sneaky) The flop comes 2,3,4 rainbow (rainbow means one of each suit...kay?) I check. Here's where the details get fuzzy because some how, Lightning36 (remember - under the gun[UTG]) had limped and now bet pot.

Hindsight is a lovely 20/20.

It folds back to me. Do these people know something I don't? I think this through almost carefully in my head. I came to the conclusion that there is no way, he limps UTG with 56 or A5. Those hands are way to weak for his range to limp UTG. Right? I'm thinking he's got a medium pair or something like A6. Avoiding thinking about some other details that I should have, I get into a pot raising fight and we end up all-in.

I figure he's got no idea I've got a hand as big and powerful as I do and he'll lay down his draw/pair and oh, crap, he's got A5h. DAMN IT!

See moments earlier, he had said, "Damn, it's a bit nitty here." Which I promptly made some wise crack about the other tables guessing the sex positions that Jo and Buddy were doing on their honeymoon. Lightning36 is a damn good tournament poker player and I really should have read that as, "Damn, I should be limping more with a wider range of hands because no one is offering to show any aggression right now."

Next hand, I'm all-in because Lightning36 either didn't have the balls (which I'm sure he doesn't after spending the last few months with the White Sox kicking them) or he didn't have the chips to cover me, but this donkey went home on the next hand with King high and one Hamilton and one Washington lighter in the bankroll (which of course I just promptly turned around, played a $5 sng and got back)

Poop. (I know, doesn't count, but I don't really like Bud Light either)

So, there you have it. A blogger recap of the Mookie. This was actually really fun to write! Maybe you should try one. Let me know if you start recapping the blogger games again and we can have some fun listening to each other stories of playing poker together and laughing and teasing and laughing some more. I miss that.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

You won't see this everyday

Here's Bodie25 and DeeBakes tippin' the 40's.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Being a good short stack ninja

I think I normally play the role of short stack pretty well, at least in live tournaments. I think it's an essential skill for bar league poker. Most players are loose passive or loose agressive so a logical counter is tight/agressive. Bar league blinds are also pretty fast so you'll reach a short stack pretty regularly.

I've always struggled with super shortie pile and when to just gamble. Case in point, a hand from last week.

We were playing 5 handed and my stack to blind ratio had evaporated to 2 bbs. When I get this low, I figure I'm getting action so I might as well just see what cards I get.

I let the bb go by. 52o is no hand take to battle with action ahead of you. LB? 82s. Again, more action ahead of me.

When I finally get the button with my .5 bet, I'm of course dealt AA. Sweet!! I quintuple up and the blinds raise. Sweet. Back to two bets.

This is where I struggle. My next hand was 58c and the table really seems weak looking at their cards. I seriously consider shoving but muck in the end.

Sure enough, it goes blind vs blind and they just check it down. I would have had a full house and tripled up.

What are your thoughts when you get very short stacked? Any two cards? Wait for something pretty? I hate shoving into action, even when very short. Seems like suicide.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this!

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It's calling station night!

Nothing like a table full of calling stations and I'm stone cold card dead.

Time for chip up so I just went from 10 BBs to 7. Battling the boredom is the hardest part. Or is it watching 2 people go all in. One with king high the other with queen high and knowing my 74o would have hit two pair.

At least I can play with my phone and try out this new blogging app. Oh well. Chip up means pee break.

-- Posted from my cell phone that starts with the i.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Noob's First Blogger Gathering: Just making sure I get this part out...

"Good lord." I can just hear Kat now. Nine months have past and here I go resurrecting the the title "A Noob's First..." I really have a purpose for doing this...just bare with me...

A few weeks ago, discussion started heating up about the Winter Gathering. The golf, the pinball and especially the poker in Vegas, I can't wait for it! We've got one small fly buzzing around our ointment. OhCountess is scheduled to have her tonsils out exactly 2 weeks prior. She's not sure where she stands...until we know more, firm commitments are gonna be a problem. Make no mistake, I'll be there, but OhCountess is planning on sitting on the fence until we get closer. They have ice cream in Vegas, right?

All this talk about the gathering has me thinking about some of the details I really wanted to write about 9 months ago. (Christ, 9 months ago?) So, if you really want to see where I left off with the recap, the links are here, here and here.

It was kinda funny, we had a whole bus full of bloggers, having just attended the wedding Gracie and Sweet Sweet Pablo, show up just in the nick of time for the WPBT Tournament at the Venetian. Most of us needed to make a quick pit stops to change close, or get stuff, I think everyone made it...

The Venetian is a great place to play poker. It's beautiful and the card room was set up with our little game of skill tucked nicely in the back. I'm gonna recount some things that may or may not be accurate. It's been 9 here we go.

I had Snuffy, emptyman, Joanada and BadBlood at my starting table. Of course there were others and I probably go digging to find out how. Seems other people wrote their recaps months ago, but alas, I'm lazy. I went looking for a few hand recaps I remember being outstanding by Snuffy and emptyman, but I can't find them...bummer.

Meeting Snuffy was kind of a surprise. When I sat down at the table, he introduced himself to me, "You must be OhCaptain." I had been reading The Corporation Poker blog for quite some time and we had exchanged many conversations on Twitter. I think it was my Minnesota Twins jersey that gave it away.

I had never played live poker with any of the people in the tournament. I was really excited to see what parts of people's online game would make it to the felt. I was comfortable live, but still pretty new to casino run games.

I played one hand that was recapped somewhere else in which I layed down a king high flush draw and gut shot straight draw in a multi way pot with emptyman and Snuffy. I seem to think emptyman had the ace high flush. First bullet dodged. Whew.

Now, I think it was later, I raised in middle position with a suited hand of the devil (AQ). Now, I've read and heard on many occasions that one should never tell others of a man's tells and since this is about a specific person, I won't go into specifics. If he ever wants to know, I'd be glad to tell him, but this is what happened.

My raise was just a table standard raise and I had been pretty much playing like a rock. It got around to BadBlood, he looked at his cards, and in a glance I saw something that told me he was about to make a move and with that, he reraised me. It folded back to me and I had to make a decisions. He'd put in a nice little pile of chips, but I was confident that what I saw was correct. I move all-in (or made a huge reraise...not sure). He thought for a moment and then folded.

Now, this was where live poker differs greatly from online poker. I'd played a few times with him online and new that he was a fairly aggressive player. I'd also been sitting at this table with him and had observed his game. Online, I would have probably just called him there, but with this new information, I had a feeling that he would fold to massive pressure from the rock/super tight player across the table.

This wasn't the last time I was positive I saw something in a player that helped me make a critical decision.

For pretty much the entire first 2/3's of the tournament, I played extremely tight. I worked really hard to stay very patient and pick good spots. Some where around the 2/3 spot, I found myself very short and got it all in with King high. My shove was for like 5 BB's and it was a multi-way. I can't even remember how many people were in the hand, but it was the hand the brought me back to life and got me chips to play with.

If you looked ahead, you might have seen that this post has some pictures. These pictures are the main reason I really wanted to write this post.

I'm a big fan of history. I love to read and study it. In preparation for last years gathering, I'd been working really hard trying to think about what to bring for my bounty. Tradition, I was told, was to bring something that has something to do with you as a person. I brought a framed copy of this picture. Early on in the tournament, a tight ass like myself wasn't collecting many bounties, but I had some momentum and started to bust a few people.

I was really disappointed just how few people were handing out their bounties. In fact, after busting out several people, In the end, I collected only one bounty...

VinNay and I played only one hand that I remember and didn't end well for him.

The details in my head are sketchy. I do know, that I had JT and had raised from the button.

In the LB, VinNay looked at his cards and again, it was a glance that I noticed something in him that told me he was making a move. In fact, this information told me that he was really making a big move.

He shoved.

I thought about what I saw and what hands he would play that would have him giving off this little nugget of unintentional information. I was ready to gamble with this and called with Jack high.

He makes an "oh shit" grunt and turns over 5 or 6 high. He was making a huge move and just trying to pick on me. He doesn't improve and I took him out. Dejected and shocked that I would call him with Jack high, he walked away from the table.

Now, I was gambling that jack was good, I admit that. I've already told him what I saw that gave his move away, but it was from this moment that I later got a piece of blogger history.

You see, he walked away from the table with not so much as a hint of what was to come. I busted a few more people before the end of the day. I remember taking out Dawn Summers when I shoved my ducks from the small blind into her AKo in the BB. I seem to remember busting PokerWolf when I attempted to bully his weak looking raise. I had A9h and he had JJ. I had him covered and hit my ace. I think there might have been a couple more, but that's all the details I got.

So, what's this all about? When I got back to the Imperial Palace after finishing 5th, I was approached by VinNay. I don't know about you, but when I get done playing several hours of live poker tournament, my brain is pretty much jello...he wanted to talk to me.

He handed me this bottle while we walked to the Burger Palace up one floor at the IP. Interesting. And wanted to make sure I knew the story, which was good, cause an airplane bottle of cheap whisky ain't the coolest bounty and I had wondered if it was like tipping a waitress a penny.

"I got this bottle at my first blogger gathering," he begins. "I really thought it was important that I give this to you but was a bit shocked at the table and forgot to give it to you."

"If you look at the sticker on the back you'll see, it's signed by Dr. Pauly. He gave this to me when I bust him. It signed and dated."

We went on to talk about how we were both fans of traditions and history. I really thought this was pretty cool. We had a really nice conversation over some rather unimpressive food. I can't say that I recommend the food up there...but when you are hungry and it's eat what you can find.

I needed to share this before I show up this December. I'm planning on presenting this as part of my bounty again...if I have to give one...

I'm thinking I'm gonna track down VinNay and have us both sign and date it. Maybe we can get a little tradition going. I'm also hoping that more people bring a bounty. It's a really fun way we can share something of ourselves with people we don't get to see as often as we'd like.

That's probably the last of the recap from December. I'm not closing the book on Eh Vegas, that might still happen...but you never know. So..see you in December!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Summer's last breaths

Summer is winding down. Figured I would finish it the way I started
it. Sitting around the fire.

My thoughtful neighbor dragged his TV in the backyard so we could
watch the feabile Twins pitching look terrible against Cleveland. The
TV is that square glow you see.

Back to my bottle of Fat Squirrel...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Luck, lucky and luckier: Part 3

Over the last few weeks, my previous posts (here & here) have been generating traffic from interesting searches.
  • short tem luck in poker
  • full tilt lucky people
  • things to do to get luckier at a poker game
  • poker's just luck
  • is fulltilt poker luckier when you first join
  • luck factor by richard weisman
  • can't find the fold button
  • deebakes blog poker
What makes me so interested in this is just how much people want to be believe it's true. It's really fascinating to me the people always have to find an external force that's gonna change the way that random events happen.

There's a story I've heard that claims Mike "The Mouth" Matusow tracked his hands to show that online poker's results are skewed out of the statistical norms.

I've kept a every hand history I've ever played on every sight where money was involved. Running the numbers on those histories, it would appear I'm behind the curve when it comes to getting monster hands. It took me 49, 837 hands to hit my first royal flush. If found that in the 2 + 2 Forums, it was calculated that you should be apart of a royal flush every 30,939 hands. Every 32,486 hands using one of your hole cards. This would mean that I'm way behind on my royals, but interestingly, I've seen a modest growth rate in my bankroll, or in other words, I've been play other people's money for years. My record for not being dealt AA, KK or QQ is 763 hands. Heck, in live poker, I lost to quads 4 times in 2 months playing only one night a week in a bar.

How is this possible? I've already proven that statistically, I'm on the unlucky side of variance. If anything, I should have been broke several times already. Unlucky people shouldn't be's just unAmerican.

Luck is an illusion. It helps us to cope with things we can't control or things we don't realize we can control. In TripJax's posts, he mentions making your own luck. I think that's the part the people don't quite understand about poker. They miss the nuances that make this game different.

In poker, we are asked to make some decisions: Raise, call, fold. Those are the usual suspects, but we have a little wiggle room in the raise option. Depending on the game, we can raise a little or a lot or just the right amount. It's been said by the pros for years, poker winning are the sum difference between your mistakes and your opponents mistakes.

Poker is also a game of imperfect information. The better player you are, the more details you get from the ether. Knowing more information can help you lay down a hand that's got inferior probabilities then you might normally think or keep you in a pot because you know your opponent is weak. There is no luck when you see all the cards.

One of my favorite days as a part time rounder was a trip down to an Iowa casino to play some $1/$2 NLHE. In 4.5 hours of play, I eeked out a small profit. I was really card dead that day, but you'll notice, I eeked out a profit.

How? I was card dead (read unlucky)? You see there were a couple of farmers there with money and time to burn. They had tells when it came to how they played their hands. One in particular had a bad habit of holding his cards when he was on a draw and capping them when he had a big hand. I played every hand with him know this and when I saw him holding his cards, I never missed an opportunity to bet and raise. You see, math tells us that a person on a draw will only hit their draw every so often. I pumped up the pot because I knew that he would just call and when we got to the river, he'd lay it down when he missed. Every time.

Mathematically, I'm profitable over the long term because when he does hit, I don't bet the river, I save those bets, but I made up the ones I lost the other 7 times he was going for a flush draw.

I too get bitten by the bug that I'm just running bad, but I really try not to let it get in my head. We do from time to time spend more time on the losing side of variance, sometimes longer then we want to, but it's in the nature of the game. It's not bad luck, it just the natural flow of the cards. Keep playing profitable poker and learn how to make better decisions, pick better games and look for the soft spot to exploit and your bankroll will see the difference.

My not really poker play friend I've talked about before that thinks that poker is mostly about luck said something that had my mind turning. He hypothesized that if you took the 2 great players in the world and put them heads up, the game would be decided by the cards and the cards alone. I just don't believe this. I've watched the pros play, sure it was mostly on TV, but still, when you watch them even online, you notice that they are masters at mixing up their games. It's this ability to alter your game to your opponent that makes them better pros then me.

How lucky are you? Do you make your own luck? Have you found a way to close the lid when you start losing your mind, your edge?