Monday, February 28, 2005

I Was Moneymakered

Who doesn't remember the final hand of the 2003 WSOP? Recall Chris Moneymaker flopping two pair holding 4,5 while Sammy Farha flopped top pair with his J. Moneymaker went on to win the hand and the title when his two pair filled up with a 5 on the river.

****

The last post left off when our hero turned his $20 buy-in into $303 at a side NL ring game after unceremoniously busting out of a local live $50 buy-in tourney. After the fireworks were over, I drove home on a mini-high with my wallet fat with cash. I finished watching my TiVo'd "Poker by the Book" WPT event and by the time it was over, it was 2am.

I wandered upstairs and made myself ready for bed, but the thoughts of Texas Dolly were wandering around in my head. "Play the rush," it said, "Play the rush."

With a few quick double-clicks, I found myself at a 5/10 limit game at FullTilt. While this shorthanded table was well beyond my bankroll, I still bought in for $200 hoping to continue my good fortune. To make a long story short, by the time 3am rolled around, I was up 25BB and was one happy camper. Sleep found me easily, having won nearly $500 in the last 7 hours.

****

With Saturday still having Mrs. Blood out of town, I continued to press the luck. At 2pm, there was a "Bust the Pro" type tournament at Full Tilt, featuring Andy Bloch, Rafe Furst, and GambleAB. For $50+5, anyone could win back their entrance fee by taking down one of the targets.

Our favorite consumer of SoCo was online and I expressed both my interest and hesitation at participating. Al didn't have much to say except that "You're running hot lately." Good point. I clicked the register button.

Let it be known, that while Al may not be able to Hang, he most certainly can sweat. From my perspective, Al has brought me the most luck whenever he's been sweating my play. No lie. I'm not sure what it is, but all I have to do is type my starting hand into the IM chat window and it would hold up.

An early, key hand for me was when I was dealt pocket T's. Three callers saw my pre-flop raise and a flop of J,T,3. The early position caller made a weak min-bet lead out. I didn't want to lose the player to my left yet, so I simply called. The turn brought a 6. EP weakly bet out again and I tripled the bet. LP came over the top of me all-in and EP quickly folded. I called just as quickly and saw my set of T's take down LP's set of 6's. The flat call on the flop let LP catch a hand and I was able to take him out.

Later on in the tournament, I made a play that backfired. In LP with A,4 off, I'm bullying the table with a standard 3xBB raise first into the pot. The button calls and both blinds fold to a Q,4,2 flop. I bet the pot to see where I'm at and the button smooth calls. A few warning flags are raised by his call, but when the turn spikes an A giving me two pair, I push the button all-in. I'm barely covering his stack, so when he shows A,Q for top two pair, visions of being crippled flash into my brain. When the river comes, and I manage to hit my two-outer with a 4, I'm vaulted into the top 10 with about 50 remaining.

I never got to sit at a table with one of the pros, but I wasn't concerned. Oddly, I wasn't dealt very many premium hands during the whole event. In fact, I didn't get pocket A's until the final table. As player after player busted out, I kept alive by stealing pots when I could.

****

With four players left and me 3rd in chips, I'm dealt T,4 suited in the BB. UTG min-raises it and everyone calls. Pot odds dictate that I call here and I catch my miracle flop T,5,4. The SB, who is the chip-leader at this point pushes all-in. I initially think he may have flopped a set, but with me holding two of the cards already out there, 5's is the only set he could reasonably hold. If he did have a set of 5's, there's no way he'd push. So I call and the others fold.

The SB shows 4,5 and is drawing dead to any of the two remaining 5's.

When the 5 hit the turn, a virtual unlit cigarette fell from my mouth and I was out.

While it would certainly be within my right to complain about the bad beat, I really couldn't. I put a bad beat on someone earlier in the tournament, without which I'd have been crippled and most likely out of the tournament. I told Otis, who joined Al in sweating my progress, that I was living on borrowed time. Also, the $875 payout made things easier to take.

****

The bankroll certainly had been boosted quite significantly in the 48 hours that encompassed Thursday through Saturday nights. Mrs. Blood has decided to already spend some of it, but the rest will stay in the bankroll in hopes of riding the wave even further. The fruits of my success will hopefully provide the basis of a decent Vegas bankroll in June.

Hope to see a lot of you there!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Side Game Circus

Paul Phillips once wrote "Tournaments are for suckers."

Coming off fresh from a $90+ Thursday night home game win, I was plenty flush with cash to participate in a Friday night tournament held at a local neighborhood's clubhouse. The buy-in was $50 and there were 50 people entered in this freezeout tourney. Local favorites Teddy Ballgame, The Rankster, G-Ron Hubbard, and Matty C. joined yours truly in this attempt to win a four figure 1st place prize.

The structure wasn't too bad: T1000 to start and blinds began at 1/2. An interesting variation called for antes right away which sweetened the pot significantly relative to the blinds. My strategy for the first 3 levels was to hopefully see a cheap flop and catch a hand. Not too much in the way of cards came my way and after the first break I was sitting at T1090, only 4 chips above average.

My table quickly broke during level 4, the blinds were 10/20 with a 5 ante. I bought the first pot at my new table with A-rag when it was folded to me in late position. That would be the last pot I would win. The very next hand I found pocket 7's and limped. When the flop came 8,3,2 and it was checked to me, I bet T200. A drunk, clumsy, wild old player from early position check-raised me to T900 which would have put me all-in. I thought about calling with my initial read having put him on a draw with two clubs on the flop. I folded, opting for a better opportunity.

It never came.

I got blinded and ante'd down to T385 and when I found A,8 suited on the button, I pushed. I knew I'd get called because my stack was simply too small for a big stack to ignore. In fact, two players called. I had a glimmer of hope when the flop came 8-high. The other players checked it down, but the turn and river of K and Q respectively were bad news for me and great news for the guy holding K,Q. Out in 37th. Ugh.

****

I wandered over to a side game, not really intent on playing. It was still early and I was still up some cash from the previous night. Mrs. Blood was away and I thought I might head out for a bit. A seat opened up and I ended up deciding to sit down. The game was 1/2 no-limit but only a maximum of $20 for the buy-in. Not ideal, but this was a table of people who busted out of the tournament earlier than I did. Perhaps I could take advantage of some weaker players.

First hand I'm UTG and find pocket 2's. I limp and there are about 7 players to see the flop. Talk about loose. I loved the flop: A,Q,2 - with two clubs. SB checked and BB bet $4. I said "There's my Ace." and re-raised all-in expecting it to get folded around back to the BB and I'd be heads-up. Well, my re-raise of $14 enticed FOUR other callers. Three of whom, like myself were all in. So after constructing the side pots, we flipped the cards. BB had A,Q for top two pair. Some other guy called with J,T clubs and a third called with A,T off. My set was currently the best hand. I was shocked when it held up and all of a sudden I've got nearly $70 in my stack. Schwing!

Very next hand, with me in the BB, I look down at 4,5 off. It's checked all around and we see a flop. A,2,3. Unreal. Only problem was that it was all spades. I checked and called a $5 bet from the button who I put on either A-rag or a good spade draw. The turn was the Q of diamonds and I pushed. This time I got only 1 caller, the same guy who called the previous hand on a club draw. I don't even remember what his hand was, except that it contained the 4 of spades. The river brought the board its 4th spade and I was out-drawn. My stack was still healthy, but I was absolutely thrilled I sat down at this table. The players who have no issue calling all-in's on a draw are my favorite type - except when they catch.

I built the stack up further, busting someone with pocket J's when I had the Hilton's tucked neatly away in the pocket. As player after player left, we found ourselves down to 5 players. Then came....Hand....of....the....Night!

I limped in LP with 8,9 off. The flop was a very favorable 4,7,T with 2-diamonds. I checked and the button bet $5. The SB raised all in to $11 and figuring the button would just call, so did I. A beautiful J of hearts came on the turn and I slow-played it by checking, perhaps inviting disaster. The button bet $20 and I smooth called. I didn't even want to look at the river card, I just needed to avoid a diamond or the board pairing to maintain my absolute nut status. The river paired the T. I figured that I'd simply check-call a small bet on the river and take my chances. The button had no such thoughts.

He pushed all-in. For $120. Coincidently or not, that was EXACTLY what I had left in my stack. I asked him to count it and thought I caught a glimmer of surprise in his eyes that I actually wanted to know how much it would take me to call. I stood up and the button sat back and said "Take as long as you like, I'm here all night."

I basically pulled a Hellmuth and began pacing behind my chair. Teddy Ballgame had seen my hole cards as he was on his way out and chuckled a laugh at my predicament. He knew I was slow-playing and knew the river was a very, very, very BAD card for me. I considered folding as I'd still be up close to $50 for the evening. But then I thought I'd be up huge if I called and won.

I heard Josh Arieh in my head and realized I was not here to play tiddly winks.

I called.

He flipped up a T which I already knew he had. His other hole card? A glorious K. My straight took down a $303 pot. As amazement set in at having won over 14 times my buy-in, the other player took his loss about as graciously as possible. We shook hands agreeing that this hand is what poker is all about. I found it easy to agree and thanked him for taking the loss as well as he did.

What a night.

****

G-Ron and The Rankster had made the final table at the main event, but only the top 6 placed. I'll let G-Ron write up his experience which included a monster dropping of the hammer.

For now, I'm home with the mini-Bloods with Mrs. Blood out of town. I'm still trying to put together some form of home game at my house tonight to see if I can ride the wave any further. Anyone interested?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

News and Notes

I'll be playing in the 2nd incarnation of the Talking Poker forum invitational tournament this Sunday. If you'd like to join yours truly, you'll need to head on over to Talking Poker, register in the forum and contribute 10 posts. The forum moderator will then get you the password to participate in this PokerStars-based event. The buy-in is small, but the trash talk isn't. This tourney will most likely feature the return of SirFWALGMan to the virtual felt. You can watch me take him out and relegate him to the railbirds where he will most likely start playing .50/1.00 limit poker and give play-by-play analysis of his badbeats in realtime via instant messenger.

Other significant tourney news is that CJ from UpForPoker has secured a date for the 2nd live WPBT event to be held at the Aladdin Casino on June 4th. I believe he is working on a room rate discount for us, which should entice more people to get out there and participate. This event will feature the returning champion Felicia and her attempt at defending her throne. I'll be sure to wear my sleeveless hammer shirt for all the ladies.

So I'm playing on Full Tilt last night when someone joins the table with a name of WPBT. Suspicions arise when said person proclaims their love for my blog. The person chose a female icon, so my first suspect was Maudie. She claimed innocence, but knowing her to be capable of such chicanery, I still had doubts. It wasn't until WPBT asked me if I knew Otis and G-Ron that the identity of this prankster was known. I can't explain why, but G-Ron struck a chord and made me laugh out loud for several minutes, to the point of tears. That G-Rob can be a funny guy.

I had IM's last night with 8 other bloggers: Otis, CJ, G-Rob, Al, Maudie, Felicia, Glenn, and Hank. Why? Well, we were trying to get signed up for Full Tilt's RGP HORSE tournament. I tried to get Al his entrance fee via transfer but the big goofball hadn't filled out his personal information completely and the first request got declined. The second request was approved. Two minutes after the tourney started. Doh! Major props to Hank for helping out some fellow bloggers while he's furiously pounding away at development code. I think we can all understand when work is kicking our ass and some yahoo needs a favor. It's not exactly great timing. Nonetheless, Hank was happy to help, so as such, we should all help promote his company whenever possible. Go Full Tilt Poker!!! :)

As far as the tourney went, I think I outlasted all the other bloggers participating, but finished a mediocre 41st out of 157. My undoing was the limit hold 'em portion at the 500/1000 level. My pocket 8's lost to AQ when an A hit the turn. Then, in a hand I should have gotten away from, my AJ lost to AK on an A-high flop. I had barely enough to post blinds for the Omaha Hi/Lo round and quickly found my exit when someone's pocket K's flopped a set. Still, I had a blast. Ask G-Ron about not noting the transition from Razz to 7-card Stud and how a great hand in one is not so great in the other.

Today I received approval for my trip to Austria. I'm lucky enough to be over there during the Vienna segment of the EPT. I'll be working in Graz, homeland to the Austrian Oak, Monday the 7th through the 11th, then getting my ass up to Vienna to meet up with Otis. Hopefully the EPT tourney will be winding down to the final table that night and Otis will have some spare time to get some poker in with me. If not, then I'll just bring him shots of SoCo. I hope to get in some playing time there as well as the casino located in Graz. I'm predicting this will be a fun trip, I've never been to Europe before. I hope the Austrians can appreciate my Schwarzenegger impressions, I think they are spot-on!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Relentless

Didja ever see the movie "They Live?"

Not exactly a cinematic classic in the eyes of many reviewers, it holds a special place in my heart thanks to its star: Roddy Piper. For the uninitiated, the story revolves around Piper's character who stumbles upon some special sunglasses that when worn, reveal the world to be not as it seems. Subliminal messages, aliens disguised as humans and surveillance drones are now visible to the Rowdy one.

But that's not the point.

The scene that makes the whole movie is when Piper tries to get his construction worker friend named Frank to put on the sunglasses. Frank won't do it, he thinks Piper is crazy. Thus begins perhaps one of the greatest fights ever recorded in modern movie history. Just when you think it's over, it begins anew. Piper goes down and Frank begins to walk away. Fight over? No. Piper gets up and keeps at it, pleading with Frank to put on the glasses. He won't do it. Again, Piper goes down and you think it's over. It's not.

In the end, after what seems like a 15-round marathon, Piper gets Frank to wear the glasses.

Well, the last few days at Full Tilt Poker, it feels like I'm in the middle of that fight. Just when you thought I couldn't get outdrawn again, it happens. It's like Party used to be, people are calling all-in bets on draws - and getting them. Forget about me catching a two outer on the occasion I make the bad play.

But, like Piper, I keep getting up. It's easy when you know you're in the right, but frustrating when your inferior opponent gets the upper hand in the short term.

I only know this: If you see me at Full Tilt or anywhere else for that matter, eventually I'm gonna make you wear those fucking sunglasses.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Questions Answered

Before I get into answering the questions from the comments in the previous post, I just wanted to relay this story. I’m entitling it “Only in the South.”

Saturday night while waiting for our names to be called for seating outside the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, I saw and overheard this conversation. A man’s daughter, who was roughly 18 years old, pointed to her fathers shirt near the pocket where a clear plastic sticker labeled with a capital “M” remained stuck and asked him “What? Are you mild?” Wondering to myself how someone could be so dense as to confuse the shirt size sticker with the flavoring of chickenwings, I was taken further aback when the man’s son corrected his sister and said “That doesn’t mean mild, it means men.” That guy’s gotta be one proud pappa.

On to the questions:

From DoubleAs, we get a trio of poker-related questions:

Would you rather
a) lose your left nut or
b) stop playing poker for the rest of your life?

At this point in my life, I’d probably sacrifice my left nut. As some of you know, my sperm-producing days are over, so I’d only need it for testosterone production which obvioulsy helps me in weight training. However, having one removed would be sufficient reason to procure a legal prescription of steriods from my doctor. I shudder to think how huge I’d be if I was on the juice. Shudder.


Would you rather
a) beat the best online poker player in the world in a 3 week-long headsup game which obviously proved that you were the best ever, but it only makes you $5 or
b) beat the worst player ever for $10,000

Good question. I’d take the cash.


In a NLHE game, which horrible play would you rather do
a) min. raise in the SB with Aces or
b) fold the hammer on the button

Mis-playing the hammer at this point in my poker career would be sacrilege. I’m picking “a.”

From Joe at Obituarium:

Does it get any better than tracks 4-6 (Pleasure to Kill, Riot of Violence, The Pestilence) on Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill?"

Ah, Kreator. I confess to being behind the times with respect to this classic thrash band. The last I’ve heard from them is Coma of Souls. I’m going to have to pick up their latest few discs as I’ve heard from multiple sources that they are near masterpieces.

From CJ at UpForPoker:

If heavy metal is the worst music ever... what's the second worst?

Heavy metal is only the worst if you’re looking at the list upsidedown. The true worst music ever is that genre of music that The Cure falls into. That whiny, bitchy, she-male woe-is-me crap. That music really makes you want to kill yourself. See, with heavy metal, you want to kill other people. Big difference.

From BG at GamblingBlues

Do your teeth go numb too when you hear G-Rob's voice in the mornings?

I usually don’t wake up to G-Rob’s voice, there’s really no time for me to watch TV in the morning. But on that one occasion in Vegas when I did wake up in the same room as him, it was actually my sinuses that went numb due to the amazing level of stench.

Wait, that's not my question.

Which of the following scenarios playing 25NL is most likely to put you on tilt:
1) Folding 50 straight ugly hands while the table is action-packed
2) Getting a big hand cracked by crap
3) Missing every flop you've seen for a solid hour
4) Having someone type "nh" to the guy who just runner-runnered you

Actually, none of those scenarios alone would do it. But, the combination of events 1,2, and 3 occurring one right after the other would surely accomplish it.


Oh, and what would be your last meal on death row, should you ever decide to snap CJ in half over your knee?

Last meal on death row would be a 12 oz. Filet mignon with a caesor salad. And when I’m done, I’d have another one for good measure.

From Lacerated Sky:

What is your favorite album of all time?

I’d have to put In Flames’ Whoracle up there, simply for the fact that it was that album that got me into the extreme/death metal scene. Anders Friden’s vocals on that disc are ground-breaking for that genre.

Favorite song?

My favorite song changes all the time, but for now, I’d have to say The Crown’s Death is the Hunter. Tomas Lindstrom’s vocals are perhaps the most consistent of any lead-growler.

From Johnny Flopbot:

Does smoking weed have any adverse effect on the results of the workout when you smoke:

A. Shortly before the workout

B. Shortly after the workout

Unfortunately, I can’t answer this question. Not because I don’t want to, but because I really don’t know. I do know that a beer or two before hand can both be good and bad for your workout. Good in the sense that your intensity level can rise, but bad in that you can more readily injure yourself if you’re not careful.

Kevin from the SF Bay Area asks:

I regularly beat my 3 year old daughter at NL Holdem and now own all her Lil Ponies.

Questions:

1) Am I ready to play Al Can't Hang at O8 on Party Poker?

If you are conscious, you can play with AlCantHang at O8 on Party Poker.

2) Will my daughter be a winning player on Party Poker?

If your daughter is conscious, she can be a winning player at Party Poker.


3) How do I explain to my wife I won the Lil Ponies fair and square?

In these parts, you just don’t ‘splain anything to the wife. You just do what you want, when you want, all the while appending each sentence with the word bizzatch.


4) All my poker books have been highlighed using Crayola Crayons, do you think my daughter is about to win her Lil Ponies back?

Tough one. Don’t risk the ponies in a heads up match just yet. Seed her with some real money at Party and see how things go there first.

From Marty, who eliminated me at the Holiday Classic:

I want to wear a sleeveless 7-2 shirt, but I don't have the guns...what can I do to bulk up my arms so the ladies will take notice?

Here’s a common misconception about working out the arms. It’s not about the biceps, it’s about the triceps. The tris are about twice as voluminous as the bis and gains you make with them will make your guns larger faster. The only bad thing about tris is that it’s tough to kiss them when you flex them.

From the BlogFather:

cream or clear?

Depends where I’ve been. If it’s the restroom, than it’s most likely clear (albeit with a slightly yellow tinge). If it’s Platinum Plus, then it’s most likely cream. You’re referring to the stains in my shorts, right?

G-Rob from UpForPoker asks:

What is a LAN party?

LAN == local area network. We bring our geeked out PC’s to the same house, connect them all together on the same network then frag each other’s asses in various multiplayer games like Unreal Tournament and Battlefield 1942. Some people aren’t cool enough to admit they play computer games.

From Studioglyphic:

Spinal Tap: original track or commentary track?

I’ve been outed. I’ve never seen the commentary track. I don’t even own the DVD. I do own the VHS though. Hangs head in shame….

STB asks:

Which would be worse, listening to boy bands for 24 hours or having to listen to Culture Club perform Slayer in a faggy manner for the rest of your life?

God, that’s too easy, it’s the latter. “Slayer in faggy manner for the rest of my life?” That’s Hell defined.

Talking Poker Forum Maniac Aequitas58 asks:

How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?

Why anyone would put a piece of chocolate inside a lollipop is beyond me. I’ve not been able to muster the courage to put a tootsie roll of any form in my mouth. Ever.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Ready, Aim, Fire

With my creativity at an all-time low, I figure I'd take an all too easy way out by opening up this blog for some reader questions.

Have at it. Fire away. I'll answer most, if not all of them as best I can. At least in so far as not to incriminate myself too greatly. But I'm swamped and temporarily out of interesting ideas.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The World Is Simply Too Small

Much of my trip to Houston has been uneventful, of which I'm thankful. I'm not a big fan of eventful things happening. I'll admit, I'm a very conservative guy and living life in the status quo suits me just fine, thank you very much.

This trip did however give me an opportunity to meet with my general manager who basically wants me to take over the manager job left vacant by my predecessor. That's not status quo, that's a big step change, especially for a guy like me. I fully admit to being a geek, and managing my brethren is not something I've ever really considered. For whatever reason, the GM thinks I could do it well. I'm not so sure, but saying "no" to such an opportunity at this company is a sure fire way to relegate your career to the slag heap. Mrs. Blood and the mini's are depending on me not to squander this chance, so I'm having to come to terms with giving it my best shot. Talk about rising to the level of your incompentance...

Sadly, I had basically no free time to see much of anything here in Houston. Each day ended with business dinners that lasted far longer than anticipated so my only recourse was some online poker after hours in the hotel room. I lost a bit on Monday, but won much of it back by placing 2nd in a two-table SNG on Full Tilt.

Back to the title of this post: I'm waiting in the lobby of my hotel room for two travelling companions who need a ride to this morning's meeting. I see a woman approach the area who looks strikingly familiar. It turned out to be Lindsay with whom I had breakfast back in Vegas at the Aladdin. Most definitely a coincidence. However, what's even a bit more scary is that during his trip to Vegas last month, CJ sat next to Lindsay on his flight home. Now that's some crazy ass odds right there. I had to immediately call CJ and let him know that Lindsay was now stalking bloggers for a living. j/k :)

I'm looking forward to getting home today. I've only been gone a couple of days but the family's gentle tug on the heart strings has become a downright yank.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Insert Title Here

I don't have much in the way of coherent thoughts, poker or otherwise at the moment, so I'll just metaphorically sit down and see what flows.

This past Friday I went to a work-related freeroll poker tournament. I've brought the joys of No Limit Hold 'em to my group and judging by the fact that we've now had 6 such tournaments, I'd say it's been a success. Luckily for me I won the inaugural event and placed in a couple more. It's all in good fun and makes for some good trash-talking at work, which I'm all for. I finished up in 10th place when my K,Q lost a race with J,J.

Immediately after the tourney finished up, I headed for downtown G-Vegas to meet up with the local yahoos who comprise the SouthEast's contingent of UpForPoker. It was Otis' last day at his job and he was celebrating with his co-workers. AlCantHang made a virtual appearance with more dial-a-shots simply because he's AlCantHang.

I played a boatload of more poker basically all day on Saturday in between taking care of the mini-Bloods. All of it was spent on FullTilt in an effort to clear my bonus. It was a day filled with ups and downs, ending up down. I felt like taking a bit of a shot at the $200NL buyin tables. I played a decent game but unceremoniously lost most of my stack with A,K vs. pocket 7's on a K,7,x flop. If I'm not losing a whole bunch with sets, I'm losing a whole bunch to sets - another glaring hole in my game that must be worked on.

I also entered the $50+5 at FullTilt with a bunch of pros who had bounties on their heads. In perhaps one of the quickest ways I've lost $55 this side of a decent lapdance, I busted out 280th out of 285 when my set of 3's lost to someone's nut straight on the river. See last sentence of previous paragraph.

I also took a shot at the 5/10 tables, but found nothing in the way of anycards. For you limit gurus out there, the 5/10 short-handed games on FullTilt are probably a goldmine for you if you have the requisite bankroll. Horrible, horrible play, at least at the table I was seated at.

On Sunday, I got to do what every minivan-driving Dad lives for - change a flat tire. The flat couldn't have come at a better time since I'm leaving for Houston early Monday morning. Luckily Mrs. Blood's parental units live nearby to assist with getting the mini-Blood's to their bastions of higher education here in the nations highly ranked public school system. Yes, that was indeed sarcasm.

April was kind enough to come up big in recommending a few places for me to check out while in Houston. While I'm not sure what kind of free time I'll have there, during the evenings I'll either be online losing money or offline losing money. Wink,wink. Nudge, nudge. Say no more.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

I'm A Travelin' Man

Did I just quote a Ricky Nelson song?!?!

Looks like I'll be travelling for the company next week to Houston. I'm posting about it to see if anyone in the area knows of any "must-see" locations a guy like myself should visit. I'm not sure what kind of free time I'll have, most likely only Monday night and Tuesday night for only a short period of time.

****

In other news, there is a small chance I'll also be travelling for the company to Graz, Austria the week of March 7th. Oddly, that coincides with a certain blogger's coverage of the EPT. That would be nice as Graz is only a couple hours drive to Vienna.

****

That same guy sat down last night with me at a Full Tilt Razz table. We need to get a blogger table playing Razz some time guys. It's a game where it's actually good to have the hammer.

****

Mrs. Blood was playing in a $5 SNG last night. When she lost with 2-pair against a flush, the winner of the hand typed "lol" in the chat space. Did that ever piss her off. She called me at work to tell me what jerks people are online. Baptism by fire.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Weekend Recap

Another ye olde weekend recap...

Friday night after the Blood-lines went to sleep, yours truly d/l'd and installed the Full Tilt Poker software. They have a fine and dandy 100% initial deposit bonus that should only take a few millenia to clear, so I figured why not check out a new site and new interface.

Some initial impressions: I like the interface even though the number of avatars is a bit limited. The game selection is standard, but includes Razz which I've been dying to try. At peak hours, it looked to have about 2,000 to 2,500 players which is a bit small compared to the Party/Empire juggernaut. I'm not a huge fan of the SNG's there. While the blind structure is decent, 5 minute levels are not. I'd still rate the SNG's at PokerStars superior. The no-limit players appear to be a bit softer than the maniacs at Party, but I haven't played enough to make a true judgement. Won a bit at both Razz and .50/1 NL. Also saw the Quiet Lion at the 5/10 NL tables giving and getting his share of trash talk. He's not hard to miss with his custom avatar.

****

Saturday was the Blood homegame, standard set up with .25/.50 blinds and $30 max buy-in. Otis was AWOL in family-guy mode which was completely understandable given his travel schedule. G-Rob made it, but not after some controversy surrounding his local celebrity status. Apparently simply using the restroom at a local gas-station/convenience store is enough to get the cashier running out the store after you asking "Aren't you so-and-so????" Luckily G-Rob hadn't stolen anything so he got off in the clear.

I started off playing very tight and played nothing out of the blinds. I had 5,8o in the BB and flopped two-pair for a nice win. I played 3,8s in the SB to 5 limpers and flopped trips to win that hand. I never looked back and finished at +$95 for the evening. TeamScottSmith was big winner at +$230. DoubleR, a co-worker, finished up +$25 rounding out the 3 winners of the total of 9 players who played. In the "Timing is Everything" Department, my lone bluff for the evening didn't work out so well when not one, but two players flopped a flush.

Mrs. Blood had to play a hand for me when our daughter woke up with some foot cramps. I came down to see her heads up against the Rocket who was in position and betting heavily a Q-high flop. Mrs. Blood was check-calling holding K,Q off and I was convinced the Rocket had A,Q. Finally, the Rocket bet $15 on the river and I told Mrs. Blood she basically had to call based on the pot-size. Luckily for her, and for me, the Rocket was bluffing with the Hammer the whole time. Lesson for the day: Hammer Bluff only against those who know to fold a hand.

I spotted Mrs. Blood a buy-in after that since someone had busted out early. She busted out after about 45 minutes and called it a night. She's getting better, but I can't give her more than one buy-in at this home game. If you see Mrs_Blood online, give her a shout out. I'm staking her $50 for her to play $5 SNG's.

All the while during the home game, NFC champ and Superbowl runner-up Fan kept calling in for dial-a-shots. Yes, AlCantHang from Ocean City, Maryland got myself, G-Rob, TeamScottSmith and another local player, RichieRich, lit up by trying to match him shot-for-shot. Granted, most of us were quite content to drink on our own, but Al's contribution should not go unnoticed.

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Fast-foward to Sunday. Full Tilt had a 4pm scheduled tourney for $24+2 where the winner would get the Howard Lederer fantasy camp prize package worth over $4000. Only 96 people entered, so it was quite an overlay for Full Tilt. I entered knowing that I may have to play well into SuperBowl XXXIX. However, the poker gods granted me no pocket pair higher than 7's and my hopes were finally extinguished when I went all-in over-the-top on the nut flush draw. I didn't catch my card and was bounced in 35th place. It was quite a struggle just to stay alive given the crap I was dealt.

The Big Game rolled around and Al and I exchanged more dial-a-shots after each team's touchdowns. I won't go too much into the game, but as I mentioned in CJ's blog, I feel a bit spoiled with the success the Patriots are having. Kudos to the birds for putting up a great fight.

I continued to bonus whore after the game trying to clear my Empire bonus. I'm only down $60 so far trying to clear my 1050 raked hands and get a $150 bonus. Here's hoping I can stay positive. I'm convinced that the quickest way to clear it is through multi-tabling the $50NL tables. If even two limpers see a flop, the hand is raked. You can clear easily 150 hands/hour.

****

Lest I forget, during my play on Empire, I noticed a name at the tables that wasn't familiar to me, but did strike a chord. LaceratedSky sat down and I immediately had to ask if it was Raining Blood as anyone familiar with Slayer would have. He answered in the affirmative then let me know he read this here blog. He mentioned he had a blog too, so I've added it to the roll on the right. I don't think you can ever have enough MetalHead poker players.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Anatomy of a Hand

The sooner I can get that tourney report off the main page the better :)

With that, some strategy talk.

I want to give an example of a hand I played in where things really could have gone either way. It involves, at least from my perspective, some Level 3 thinking and decisions based on that thinking. Here's the setup:

Party Poker, $50NL Table - 10 handed

I'm in the BB and am dealt pocket Q's. MP1 limps for $1 and LP also limps. SB folds and I raise to $4. Both MP1 and LP call the raise. The flop is 7,9,T rainbow suits.

In early position with what I currently believe is the best hand, I simply check. Why? Information gathering. Betting out and getting called gives me no opportunity to put anybody on a hand and I'm not always comfortable betting into the unknown. Granted, I could have bet large and taken down the pot right away, but I'm not convinced yet that it would be the best play. Also by checking, I'm potentially giving out MISinformation about my hand. A check could lead my opponents to believe I had AK, AQ, or even AJ.

After I check, MP1 bets out $5 into a $13 pot and LP folds. I like the fold by LP here because my hand has a better chance of holding up in a headsup scenario. Here's where I lob my first salvo as I raise the bet to $15. MP1 smooth calls. Now, it a situation where I'm trying to steal the pot, I'd get a bit worried. But I'm not trying to steal in reality, but my check-raise could appear as just that.

The turn comes and pairs the board with a T. I'm not too pleased with that card, so I check again. MP1 bets $25 into the $43 pot and I begin to go a bit into the tank.

Obviously any hand with a T beats me. Did he limp w/AT suited or otherwise? My hunch is no, perhaps being first into the pot would warrant a raise here. I don't leave A,T out of the set of hands I'm working with just yet though. Also, I'm eliminating pocket 9's as well. I believe I would have been re-raised post flop if he flopped a set due to the potentially co-ordinated flop that could yield a potential straight draw if I'm holding A,J.

I end up calling the bet.

The river comes and it re-pairs the board by spiking a 2nd 7. With the board reading 7,9,T,T,7 I check again. There is $93 in the pot and MP1 goes all-in for $35 more. Here's where the various levels of thinking come in. Level 1, my hand, is two pair Q's and T's. Level 2 is what I think he has. Perhaps AT, 88 or JJ are the most likely cards he is holding. Level 3 is what I think he thinks I have. Here is where I'm convinced he thinks I have AK or AQ. So it was with Level 3 thinking that I made my decision to call.

Results of the hand are in the comments.

Craptacular Tourney Report

Well I'm not going to have a very interesting post today. My finish in the WPBT event last night was, shall we say, less than stellar.

At least I managed to find myself at a friendly table with UpForPoker's CJ and Dr. Jeff, who is perhaps best known for being the brother to some hack of a writer named Otis.

Early on, I'm treading right about even, managing to outlast a certain travelling, well-staked, internet celebrity who got sucked out on the river and finished 150th.

I used what I now call "the move" when I defend my blinds with J,8 suited. The flop was total rags and I checked to the original raiser who bet out T80. I check-raised it to T240 and took it down. That was my lone highlight.

In late position in level 2, I call a standard sized pre-flop raise with pocket 8's - The Snowmen. I flop my set and am ready to bust the first person at my table. I let the original raiser keep betting into me. The turn brought a Jack, the river brought a rag and I put April98 all-in, having her covered by about T500. She called with her pocket J's and I was crippled.

During the entirety of this hand, my jinx...err...I mean Mrs. Blood was talking at me about whatever went on that day. Now don't get me wrong. I love Mrs. Blood to death, but she constantly picks the wrong times to watch me play poker. On our honeymoon, she'd come over to the craps table, watch me lose $100 in near-instant fashion, then wonder why my demeanor had soured. Life is all about balance, but I tell you, I will NEVER combine husband/wife activities with any serious poker because it just ain't gonna work. God bless Al and Eva for being able to. I'm sure the problem is with me, but a man's got to know his own limitations.

Anyway, back to the debacle.

It couldn't have been much later after losing this set-over-set hand that I'm dealt A,J diamonds on the button. CJ, in early position, makes his standard 3xBB raise. It's folded around to me and from my perspective, those chips in the pot look mighty precious. If I push, CJ's going to have to make quite a call for more than 1/3 his chips. I'm pretty sure, but not 100%, than I'm behind here, but I have to make a move. I go all-in and CJ pauses only slightly before he calls. He shows A,Qo and I get no help.

135th. I wonder where that will put me in the player of the year standings? Can't wait to see.

On a slightly more pleasant note, at least I'll be confident that my bounty will be sent to someone who can truly appreciate the Hammer and all its glory.

Congrats to all the high-place finishers like Darice, Cincinnati Sean, and a local friend who finished 6th having never played an online tourney before. And a special "Balls of Steel" award to Pauly who pushed all-in with the hammer and took down A,A and K,K at once. That right there is the stuff of legends.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Apple Falls Not Far From The Tree

There is a bounty on my head this Wednesday. Before I get to it, I give you this true story:

****

The rules are simple. Each player starts with 8 chips, there are no blinds, and the rest is standard no-limit tournament poker.

Some nights before bed, the Blood kids are given a choice: They can either watch Tarzan on Toon Disney or play this thing called a Chip Challenge. Monday evening they chose the latter. Off to the table!

Mini-Mrs. Blood went out first, she just didn't get any cards. Her duties were relegated to helping Mrs. Blood evaluate her hand-strength and place chips into the pot for her. Mini-Blood himself had been doing well, but lost a key pot to Mrs. Blood leaving him a bit short-stacked with 6 precious chips left.

With BadBlood on the button, mini-Blood checked. Mrs. Blood tossed a lone chip into the empty pot which caused BadBlood to fold his garbage.

Mini-Blood says "I'm all in."

Huh?

He's 4.

Did he just check-raise his own mother all-in? Apparently he did.

Mrs. Blood called and flipped over A,2 off. Mini-Blood flipped over K,Q.

Mrs. Blood and I exchanged glances, each thinking the same thing. How the hell did he make the right play there? I mean come on!

The flop came with all under-cards and I had to explain to mini-Blood that he was currently losing since his mommy had the highest card with her Ace. I said, "You need a King or a Queen, buddy."

The turn: A Queen. Holy crap. He's gonna win this hand and double up against Mrs. Blood. What's going on here?

When the next card came, it was then that I realized he is truly my son. I still have no idea where the blonde hair came from, it's especially confusing given Mrs. Blood's trip to Switzerland 9 months before he was born. And that guy Lars that keeps calling at odd hours...

The river came and it was an Ace. Mini-Blood had been rivered with a 3-outer.

Like father, like son.

****

Bounty information: Whoever busts me out of the WPBT gets their choice of Hammer Time shirt. Pretty simple, you don't need to even bust me with the hammer, just bust me.