Sunday, January 31, 2010

January: we rushed for the very first time

I have two recaps to finish from December's WPBT Winter Gathering. I so wish I would have had my camera's sensor cleaned before going. It's taking me absolutely forever to get the last two posts pics cleaned up. Sigh. Until then, let's try something odd for OhCaptain Poker...

I see people post their monthly recaps. They talk stats and figures and such. I usually don't post much about such things. The slow rate at which I grind I just can't imagine being all that interesting but since Rush Poker started, I figured I'd share some details of the month that was.

You have to keep in mind, I play WAY below my bankroll. I rarely ever leave my comfort zone of the $2 9 person sng on Tilt. I started the month trying an experiment. My new routine was going to be playing one sng at Tilt and then play limit hold 'em cash at Poker Stars until it was bed time. I was hoping to A) get more accustomed to that UI at Stars B) build a better bankroll at Stars C) do some bankroll building at Tilt and recover from a pretty flat 2009.

$2 SNGs at Tilt are fun:I didn't really play as many sngs as I usually do. You see, Full Tilt invented Rush Poker. Friggin' crack. It looks like I did play a couple of $1 sngs. I seem to play those when I come home drunk from a home game. My brain usually wants to play a little more, but thankfully I'm not dumb enough to blow the bankroll. Two for two drunk ain't to shabby either.

Now, I like those stats, that's a pretty solid ITM(In the Money), but what I don't like seeing and will probably work to improve is that 3rd place finish quantity. A better mix of finishes helps make more profitable months.

Everything was going well until, well, I let you see the calendar:Grinding a sng every night doesn't get you many Full Tilt Points. In fact, it took me almost 3 years to accumulate my first 10,000 FTPs. In just a little over a week, I've accumulated about 1200. Holy crap! Too bad I'm not trying to clear a bonus. Also too bad I'm no where near Iron Man status either.

I like Rush Poker, it's alright, I still kinda suck at cash games. The results others are posting are much more impressive then mine. All those points have only accumulate ~$60 for the month. Meh. I'm grateful I had a positive month, but for the 6,988 hands, that's not much. Geebus, I played almost 7,000 hands of cash game this month. Probably explains why I go $16 in rakeback. I realize that some of you are used to getting a payback much bigger then that. My previous peak? $2. Average? $.80. Woot! Woot!

So, what? Right? Rush is pretty cool. I do enjoy playing it. It's tough for a sng grinder to get used to the idea of being stacked. I hate that but it appears to be something that rush players have to get used to. It's a fast paced game and playing that many hands per hour, craziness is bound to happen.

I've slowed down the rush a bit. I feel I need to keep my sng game up. Playing rush is not good for that. Sng poker feels REALLY slow. I think I'm more motivated by the points at rush then the money. It's weird, but a boy will dream. I've always wanted one of those Full Tilt custom baseball jerseys and 1.75 points a night, it would take me a while to get there. Let's hope they don't change that point system. It's the best part for me.

How was your January? Love/hate the rush?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Feeling the rush

Play Online PokerI've spent a good portion of this evening playing the new poker crack, Rush Poker over a Full Tilt Poker. You know, it's actually pretty fun.

I was a bit nervous getting started. I'm not much of a multi-tabler and cash no limit hold 'em is a bit of an enigma as well. I pretty much stick to the limit hold 'em and razz cash games and no-limit hold 'em sit-n-gos. I just feel way more comfortable in a tournament then a cash game.

I had tried the Matrix games and figured those to totally -EV. I sucked and it was obvious from the get go, any money I put into one of these would just vaporize.

So here comes Rush Poker. You are in a pool of players all floating around. You get placed randomly at a table of 9. The cards are dealt, you can play them, fold or quick fold. If you play them, it's business as usual. If you fold them, WHOOOSH! you are taken to your next table and we start this all over again. You can literally see 700 hands/hour.

At first glance, I think F-Train has pretty much got it down. There's no table image, bluffing has more to do with the texture of the flop, your position because your opponents are pretty much playing their cards too. DeeBakes has been enjoying these and it sounds like he's make something doing, but he's been playing 8 tables at a time for a while.

Thus far, this has been +EV for me. I'm probably not gonna make a ton of moolah right away, but we'll see. Here's some quick hits that I've noticed:
  • Come up for air every now and then. You can sit out a few hands and take a look around. In some ways, it was just like a high paced video game. I got some of the same feelings like when I used to play Decent on the PC.
  • While the game is fast paced, I did notice a few names appear more regularly. I have no idea if they noticed me or how to use that yet, but you won't be a stranger at every table.
  • I'm SOOOO glad I've been putting notes on people for the last few years. I have a couple of color codes that actually were helpful. The most important color was the one I used to tag all of the bloggers...I saw a few of you wiz by...sorry about taking that pot from you, Gentleman Jim - :)
I guess I'll go back to the grind as well. Home game / bar / live poker is nothing like this. I still enjoy those more then anything. Gotta stay sharp some how, right?

Have you played any of these yet?

Monday, January 18, 2010

How do I stop tapping the glass?

Today, I was reminded for the billion time about something I've only begun to improve in my poker game. While catching up on the Gambling Tales Podcast, episode #5 contained an interview with Lee Childs. During that interview, the topic turned to a topic that an online poker company (I think) had asked him for his opinion.

The topic they were discussing was protecting the fish. From how I remember it, what the card room wanted to do was rate players on their skills and group the sharks with the sharks and the fish with the fish. From the card room's perspective, this is a great idea(ish). They are protecting the fish from the sharks. I think Lee is right though, the sharks will hate this.

This got me thinking about the whole fish/donkey/dumb ass thing. In Super System by Doyle Brunson, Doyle talks about being competitive with class:

"Not only is it bad's bad business." (pg. 47)
One of our goals as a better poker player is to cultivate competitors that will continually bring money to the table that we can when, if we play better. Make sense, right?

But the hardest thing to do at the poker table is keep a level head on this subject. Take this hand I played to end a sng the other night. We are in the money 3 handed. The villain min raises from the button. He's done this so many times and when he only min raises and his cards exposed, it's always been an ace. I figured he was always doing this just to steal the blinds and his min requirement was A high. In the BB, I decided to just smooth call with AKo. My thought is there is an extremely good chance I have this guy dominated. He hits two pair, so be it, but if we both pair our ace. BOOM. I should be a 3:1 favorite. Let's do this.

Everything went as planned. Ace in the door, he min raises again, I pot size reraise and there's the shove. I call to find my dream, he's got AQo. Right where I want to be right? 3:1. You might just suck at poker if you don't know where this is going, but there was a Q on the river.

I don't know why this is so hard, but with all my strength, I just really wanted to make a comment about what a sucker he was. I mean damn! Friggin' hand of the devil beat me! Ugh!!!

Why is this so hard? Deep down I know every time I put my money in the middle, I want the other guy to do something stupid and leave me way ahead. But when that 3 outer hits on the river...this game can be so cruel.

I've noticed over the years that every now and then I can't take the beats any more I just dust off some of my bankroll playing like an idiot myself. Why is this? I suppose, Doyle mentions in the same section a few pagers earlier,
"Never Play upset." (pg. 39)
But yet I do.

Telling people they are morons because they got in weaker then they should isn't helping the bottom line. What I want to learn how to do is take my beat and let the other guy walk away thinking how much fun it is to play poker. Sure, he's a got a little bit of my money in his stack, but in the long run, won't I win it back? Isn't this just like spotting them a little for the next encounter?

How do you keep from ripping into the winner of a crazy 3 outer?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Playing Kings or Queens Short Stacked

Two blasted weeks in a row, I've gone home early from poker league. Last week, with QQ. This week it was KK.

Last week, I knew I was throwing the night away. Blinds were 50/100 and I was on the button. With two limpers in front of me, I made it 600. The little blind called after thinking for a while and the limpers folded. When the flop came AJ6 rainbow I heard the LB say "Let's go 600 again." I've played with this guy now for a few years. He's an older gentleman and either goes really deep doubling up with crap aces and small pairs or goes home early. My little voice said, "A 10" I did what any tilt monkey would do, I counted all of my remaining 1450 in chips and said, "All-in." My little voice was right.

This week was different. The blinds were 100/200. Under the gun raises to 600, a fairly standard raise and this guy only raises with big aces (AKo/s, AQo/s, AJo/s) and pocket pairs 8's or better. I'm short stacked (not atypical for me in this game only about 2 hours in) with 1,700. I was next to act and found KK.

Now, here's the decision that I need your help with. There's no way I fold, duh. The question is call or raise. If I call, it doesn't exclude others from the party and I'm not sure more people is necessarily bad. I am hiding behind a tight playing raising from early position. Or, do I shove roughly 8 big blinds over the top and keep the party small?

As it turns out, the flop didn't contain an ace, but the turn did. This got me thinking and hopefully fishing for advice. Had I just called and seen the flop, my post flop shove would have gotten his AQo to fold, but since I shoved pre-he insta-called me with the AQo. leaving no room for wiggling.

My question(s) to all of you: shove or call pre? Is a min raise even worth a shot with only 2 BB's left behind when I'm done? Is there any reason I could ever friggin' hope to have a hand hold up playing poker?

*on a side note: as I was leaving the table, the guy tells me, "Man, you just can't win a coin flip can you." - Sigh. If only we were that close. I've got me as a 2.5:1 favorite. Not sure what kind of coin he's talking about.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

WBPT Trip Report: Part 6 - Steel Panther #WPBT

With OhCountess not travelling with me this year meant finding my way out to the Green Valley Ranch to see Steel Panther was a given. I turned 40 years old this past summer. If you do the math, you will notice that I was a snot nosed, pimple faced teenager during the '80. Metal music rocks. I'm pretty sure I burned all of the pictures of me with a mullet.

Before heading to Vegas, I had to do a little research into this phenomenon. My first stop was Wikipedia. As it happens, this band used to be called Danger Kitty. I stopped reading. That was plenty. It listed them as a parody band, but as far as my knowledge of parody bands goes, Spinal Tap rocks...Hello Cleveland!

So the proof always being in the pudding, I purchased their album, Feel The Steel. From "Death to All But Metal" to the "Girl From Oklahoma", parody my ass. This metal rocks! (Note: this ain't safe for work. Please wear your headphone and if you don't like songs about Asian hookers (she smells like sushi...), fat girls, and odes to, this ain't your bag). This is over the top metal...basically it's about hookers, blow and sex and not your high school heath sex. 'Nough said. (*Disclaimer: there's no way this is actually PG, the lyrics are damn near X. Be warned it's pretty much the definition of offensive.)

After playing limit hold 'em with the cowboys, we left the MGM in various cars, limos and magic carpets. As is tradition for me, I took my annual ride with F-Train only this year, it was in HIS car. So glad I did, it's about a $30 car ride. Thank you sir!

Since this post is gonna turn into an ├╝ber post in no time, and also because I lack the skills to trim the photos to a number smaller then 22 (23), I'd also like to thank CK for the gracious ride home. To say I was really sober enough to find my way back is a stretch. Thank you!!!! ($3 Red Stripes - the cheapest beer I drank all weekend. I should been buying more each time...)

Without further fanfare, here they are, my photos from Steel Panther.

Our view from the table. The venue ain't huge. It's just right.
Satchel complaining about [some degeneracy]
Rocking the metal axe. Well done dude.
Never missing a high note.
Not much prompting necessary getting crowd participation.
My shot for the cover of Rolling Stone.
More high notes. By the end of the night, he left no notes unplayed.
Dude! Chicks dancing on stage!!!!
It's a dirty job, but someone needs to do it.
More from the full stage. Lighting was awesome.
Lexxi Foxxx - the perfect metal hair.
This is how bass players pose.
OK, maybe this one is the cover of Rolling Stone.
Kick it!
Oh, shit. That crap makes my nose burn.
Rock goddom.
Chilly and Badblood. Thank you Mr. Badblood for introducing me to the band.
Happy livers. Chilly, Badblood and the good Dr. Chako.
Chilly, The Wife and the Doc. ROCK ON!
CJ, not sure and some guy that wondered into the booth.
Cheers! (Um dude, we usually do this with glasses)

Well, that's the night at the Green Valley Ranch in a nutshell.

[Secret devil sign fist pump] Until next year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Co-ed Invitational - Holiday Ed. v2.0

One year ago some where around this very same time, OhCountess and I hosted the first holiday home game. If you want a review, try this link and this one. Usually an awesome good time.

Our modus operandi is to run this game a little different then normal. Since it is the holidays and a time of giving, there are couple of twists that make for a fun twist on the old home game.

First, there's an add-on. If you want an extra 500 chips, we asked the guests to bring non-perishable food suitable for delivery to a local food shelf or charity. I have yet to hear a complaint and again this year, we gathered together 40 items! Last year, we gathered 38 which was pretty awesome, but this year was even more special. Attendance was down a bit, we had 11 runners this year, so the extra effort is even more awesome! Thanks everyone!

The second twist comes in the form of something I like to call a reverse bounty. It's not a perfect name but I have no idea what else to call it. Everyone is asked to bring a wrapped present. Something fun and something around $10 in value. We the guests arrive, the place their present under the tree in our basement. As everyone busts from the tournament, the losers get to chose a present from under the tree. First out, first choice. You'd be surprised how fast boxes that look like the ones used at liquor stores disappear from under the tree.

With 11 people, we decided to just play deep at a single table. Our first bust out didn't occur for quite a while. First we lost Eloise, then Bodie25. I had been folding for pretty much the first 2 hours and then I went. AQo (yeah, the hand of the devil...friggin' cursed hands) It was no match for the mighty KJo. To be fair, I figured Ross for a King when the flop, of course came king high. I had a gut shot straight draw so I shoved it in the turn when the board made both a straight and a flush a real possibility. He thought for a very long time and with the help of a lot of table chatter, he made the call and I didn't improve.

Yet again, I didn't win my own home game :(

I moved over and joined Eloise and Bodie25. They were playing dealer's choice cash. A little omaha, pineapple, I called stud...Quickly, I dropped another $15. I was playing well.

OhCountess was moving chips in the other direction.

Mrs. Bodie25 went next, followed by Darrin and DeeBakes. Mrs. Bodie25 took her hubbies and my money home. I worked back in the direction of even playing Eloise in some PLO and Pineapple but she still left with a bit of my funds.

Ross's wife losing her last chip lead us to the bubble. Soon, my neighbor Steve became the last of the sore losers. OhCountess made the money!!! Way to go honey!!!! So glad one of us doesn't suck at this game! She actually went into the money with a very healthy stack.

Now, I know as the host, I probably should have been paying way more attention of the main game, but I was trying desperately to get back to even in the cash game. 3 handed PLO can be a bitch.

I did stop concentrating solely on the cash game long enough to document the rest of the night in photos. I was pretty excited to get the camera out. I had just recently had the sensor and the innards cleaned and purchased a Gary Fong flash diffuser. I was pretty excited to try things out!

OhCountess had busted leaving us heads up with Jerry and Ross.

Here's the cash game with DeeBakes and Darrin. That stack of chips on the right, that's me battling back. Yeah it looks somewhat healthy, but most of the cash piled up next to the box is mine. Sigh.
The scene of the carnage.
Jerry busts second and is more the happy to take some cash home.
A happy Ross showing off his winning hand and he new pride and joy, the travelling trophy that comes with winning one of our Co-ed Invitationals!
As always, OhCountess is there to be the hawt babe doing the money presentation. One of these days, I'm gonna get a few big bundles of ones at the bank just to make the payout look impressive. Might make for a good photo op :)
Another home game is in the books. These things are fun to host and it's been way to long since our last one. Seems we somehow missed the entire year and never hosted a home game. That's gotta change. I wouldn't mind even hosting a blogger game here at the house. As long as some of you promise to be house broken before checking in.

Thanks to everyone you who came! I'll be sure to post pictures of the kids dropping the food off. The idea of the food drive is OhPrincess1's, she still deserves all the credit! Hopefully we get a picture of that, unless of course we forget to take the picture like me forgetting to take a picture of the stack of food before we got it all loaded in a box...a pretty much hiding it...damn.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Holiday Home Game v2.0

Our annual holiday home game is under way! Candy cane martinis and poker.

We miss you Drizz!

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker - um, it's back

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! This PokerStars tournament is a No Limit Texas Hold’em event exclusive to Bloggers, you too can take part by registering on WBCOOP

Registration code: 050580

Who's in?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WBPT Trip Report: Part 5 - The Gamblers Book Shop #WPBT

I think every time I've gone to Las Vegas, there's always a few things that surprise me. Sometimes, I know I'm setting myself up to be surprised, but on every trip I always hope to discover something I had no clue was in my future.

When Yestbay got us to the Pinball Hall of Fame, I just happened to notice in the other building in the parking lot there was a store I'd only heard and read about; The Gamblers Book Shop.

It would be hard to believe that poker and gambling would have advanced as far as they have without this store. Many of the authors we read today got their start with the help of this store. David Skalanky's first book on Hold 'em, aptly titled, Hold 'Em Poker, we first printed and sold here.

The store is small and cozy, these pictures pretty much show the whole thing. Circling just below the ceiling throughout the store are pictures of gamblers that make up the history of our games. It's respect for the past can be seen and felt everywhere.

I was looking through the shelves, and found a few of the old hand bound manuals that you hear about. Early authors with no publishing deal would type up what they had, bind it together and put it on these shelves in hopes someone would buy it. They were so cool.

I've gathered together some links to much more definitive histories of this store:

I wish I would have asked the gentleman below what his name was. He was fascinated by my coming from Minnesota. He used to live up here but had called Las Vegas his home for quite a while. He was just full of a fascinating stories about Las Vegas. He could name people at the drop of a hat and connect them to all sort of tales. If I was a real writer, I would probably have been more prepared for this, but I wasn't. My loss and I feel it. He took the time to show me around to tell me stories about some of the books. I found a few books I had on my to read list. Two of them had stickers stating "Signed by author." Yep, those found their way back to my suitcase for the trip home.

Another story I listened to made me a little disappointed. He told me Doyle Brunson was in the store the day before signing his biography, The Godfather of Poker: The Doyle Brunson Story. Son of a bitch! That's a bad beat. I would have waited in line all day to be there for that. As bad luck would have it, they sold the last copy of the extra's he'd signed earlier in the day. Did I say, son of a bitch? How bout, gawd damn it!

Next year, I know we will be going back to the PHoF, that's becoming a tradition. PirateLawyer even promises a much better process for organizing the trip. I'd like to suggest we also take the journey a few feet away and visit this little book store again. I'm thinking I will also be checking out their web site to make sure we aren't missing a super cool book signing. I mean come on, who doesn't want to watch Texas Dolly autograph his biography on a little table right in front of you! Heck, next year, I'll probably even remember to bring a notebook, pen and a voice recorder to do a better job of listening.

Stay tunes, I'm not quite done yet. Steel Panther and the rise of the Purple Pride are still to come!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy new year!!!