Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Before I throw up another hand analysis spewage, I’d like to take some time and space to send out a note of thanks.

Over the years, I’ve always been kind of a private person.  I’m not a huge social kind of guy with 8,000 friends to hang around with.  I guess you could say it’s a quality, not quantity type of situation.  So whenever there’s any talk of birthday parties or any kind of celebration where I am the focus, I try to keep things low key.  I’m not sure why that is, but it is.

The biggest ancillary benefit that playing poker has brought me is new friendships.  Sure we’re all out to take each other’s money when we play, but with that stated, at the end of the day, we’re still all friends who respect each other as people.

With that said, I’d like to thank everyone who came to the house Saturday to play poker and hang out with me during my birthday weekend.  Shep, Wolverine, Stina, TheMark, Axeman and AngieAces, Otis, Random101, UncleTed, G-Rob, a remote TeamScottSmith and Frank the Tank – thanks again for making the weekend extra fun.

Of course, I have to thank mrsBlood for putting up with me and arranging the whole deal.  Like I keep saying, she’s my better half by a mile.


Winning at poker is primarily about making fewer mistakes than your opponent.  Recognizing mistakes and capitalizing on them is a difficult undertaking at times.  But sometimes, you can force your opponent into making a mistake.  Here is one such example.

One of the things I do when I sit down at a NL ring game table online is do a quick player search for the players at the table.  Why?  I just want to see if anyone is multitabling.  If they are, I’ll note it; because more often than not they’re going to be playing simple ABC poker and miss some of the subtle clues you need to catch in order to succeed.  These are the players you can actually outplay.

In this hand I was dealt pocket 5’s in MP and limped for $2.  We’re 6-handed, and the table texture was somewhat passive.  A player in the blinds kicked it to $8 and I called for two reasons.  The obvious reason is that stack sizes were large and the potential payoff for a set was large; the other reason is that I will call raises more frequently in position.  The raiser had me covered.

The flop came 267 rainbow and the raiser led out with a nearly pot-sized bet.  I can’t call here, that much is sure.  The question I’m asking myself is how much am I willing to spend on information to see if my hand is good.  I have to raise to find out, so that’s what I did.  The raiser simply calls.  Mistake number 1.

The call of my raise here sheds no light on his hand from my perspective.  Does he have an overpair or simply overcards.  At this point, I’m not 100% sure.  The turn comes and it brings a 9 to the board.  My opponent checks.  Mistake number 2.  At this point, I’m happy to take a free card so I check behind.

The river comes and it’s an 8, giving me the ass-end of the straight.  If my reads are correct on my opponent, I’m trailing only AT and TT.  I think I’m good, especially when my opponent checks the river.  At this point, I fire out a 2/3rds pot-sized bet as more of a value play.  My opponent calls, mistake number 3.  He had pocket Kings.

After he called me a “fukkin’ idiot” in chat, I really had to suppress the urge to reply back, “Hey, don’t beat yourself up.  We all misplay pocket K’s once in a while.”  But I just kept quiet and let the 6-tabler steam for a bit.  He logged off not soon after probably wondering how he could have misinterpreted my post-flop raise.  Playing 6 shorthanded tables simultaneously probably didn’t help.

Position, aggression, a little luck, and a gross misplay by my opponent netted me a decent sized pot.  Lesson for the day:  Don’t be afraid to re-raise.  Many raises are signs of strength, but often times they are also requests for information.  Give your opponent the information they deserve.  So they will fold.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Birthday Bash

Random pics from Saturday night’s birthday bash tournament:

Otis fixes up some martinis, courtesy of some Grey Goose. Awesome stuff!

A mrsBlood classic birthday cake. She doesn’t often cook, but she can bake.

TheMark with his pre-game drink. Juicy Juice.

The Wolverine, who would go on to take the entire tournament down and collect the bounties on my head.

Shep Tiltstein. With a beer. Duh.

Random101 in happier times, before his QQ loses to Wolverine’s JJ on the turn.

Otis learns Badugi, drawing 1 card.

Mr. and Mrs. Axeman. It’s not a G-Vegas tournament without the Axe.

UncleTed giving thumbs up to the food situation.

Post news cast cash game with G-Rob. Note, there is hair out of place, albeit not much.

The cash game heats up with more players.

BadBlood’s short-lived chip lead with 3 players left.

I forget who, maybe it’s the Axeman, but someone survives a shortstacked all-in with TQB’s.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Target Practice

You’ve all seen them.  They stand out from the crowd like a sore thumb.  Some internal poker-based radar picks up their particular behavior and you begin to track their every move.  The sights are set, the plans are laid, and it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game until they fall into your trap.

They’re the people that you KNOW will double you up.


G-Rob and I again ventured out into the dark realms of the underground G-Vegas poker scene last night.  As the summer months approach, people instinctively get busier and putting together a sustainable home game becomes more difficult.  Not impossible, just more difficult.

And so it’s at times like these when it’s just easier to make the drive to a game with a dedicated dealer and a guaranteed player base.  The free food, free beer and dealing services make the rake tolerable.  The player base makes the game profitable.


When I sat down at the table, the guy to my left had the largest stack.  He was a fresh face, completely new to me.  I had to give his stack some respect even without a read on how he built it.

Depending on your playing style, sitting down at a table of unknowns can mean different things.  If you’re an aggressive player, more often than not, you’ll make the players at the table adjust to you.  If your style is more selective, it may take some time to get a read on people before you know how best to play against them.  The latter is more descriptive of my style.

But it didn’t take long at all to realize that the guy to my left was my primary target.  After a couple of orbits, it became painfully obvious how he built his stack.  I’m sorry CJ, but you don’t hold a candle to this guy.


The target loved him some draws.  Of any kind.  Inside straight draw?  I saw him call off over $200 chasing one with KJo on an ATxx board.  He missed.  I saw him call of his entire stack on another inside straight draw.  He hit.  His swings were wild and the whole night, I stayed out of his way.  Until the time I didn’t.


It wasn’t necessarily a really bad beat and I don’t even really care that much that I lost the hand.  Suffice to say, I got all of the target’s money into the pot as a 3:1 favorite after the flop and lost.  No big deal, just a small measure of disappointment at the lost opportunity.  I figured there would be more.

I was wrong.


The final hand my target played was a 4-way all-in on a flop of K53 with two hearts.  The pot was well over $900, 4 ½ buy-in’s worth.  It was pretty sick.  Player A had a set of 3’s, player B had KQo (what was he thinking?) and player C had a set of 5’s.  What did the target have?  What two cards were worth nearly $300 to him on this particular hand?  Pocket Kings?  No way, what were you thinking?  Ax of hearts?  Get out of town; that would almost be reasonable.  Two random hearts?  That makes more sense, but that wasn’t it either.


Yeah that’s right.


You may be recall from the above paragraph that I said that this was his final hand.  You may be thinking he lost the hand, went bust and left.  You are quite wrong.

He hit a 6 of hearts on the turn and avoided all the re-draws the other players had and raked in a $900+ pot.

Then he left.

He cashed out and left the game after pulling in the biggest pot I’d seen played there in the three sessions I’ve been to the game.  And he fell off my radar.  The guy that was going to double me up took my expected value and left the game.

That was my bad beat.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Over the long haul, (how long is that, really?) eventually we’re all dealt the same cards.  If that is the case, then how do you separate the long-term winners from the long-term losers?  It’s all in the way we play them.

Some players are able to get value from hands with negative expected value.  For those of you who watched High Stakes Poker on GSN, you saw a couple of episodes where Sammy Farha basically took control of the table.  He played his opponents in such a way that the cards that he was dealt did not matter.  If you can read your opponents and predict their actions, you can make junk hands valuable.

Another way to get value from certain hands is to bluff with them.  I’ll always remember a “WPT Corner” segment when one pro said “If you’re not getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar every now and then, you’re not playing good poker.”  I couldn’t agree more.

Here are a couple of recent hands where bluffs, bluff inducement, and bluff calling have played key roles.

Hand #1:

I’m on the button with 75o.  Yes, it’s garbage.  However, when a pre-flop raise is called twice before it gets to me, its value rises ever so slightly.  I call the raise and four players see a 764 flop, two diamonds.  I have no diamond, but I’ve got top pair, open ender.  The pre-flop raiser bets half the pot and it’s folded to me.  I flat call.  The turn pairs the board with a 4 and again, the pre-flop raiser in early position bets about half the pot.  I flat call again.  The river brings the A of diamonds and the opponent checks and opens the door for me to bluff.  I do.  I go all in.  I’m hoping to represent the check-call, draw to a flush that just hit.

I got called by pocket tens - both black.  At first, I was a bit amazed that he called, but after discussing the hand further with Random101, I realized that I didn’t sell my bluff well enough.  Depending on the type of player my opponent read me for, the call made sense.  I played the hand as if I were drawing to a flush and then pushed when it hit.  Which, if seen from the other player’s perspective, is exactly the line to take if you’re going to bluff.  Re-thinking things, if I were truly on that draw, perhaps a raise on the turn or even the flop would have better sold my story.  A simple raise on either of those streets coupled with my all-in on the river would have made better sense in my opinion and potentially won me the hand.

Hand #2:

It’s the G-Vegas Big-Game™ and I’m sitting on the BB with pocket Queens.  After about 5 limpers come along for the ride, I bump it to $25 and get called (as I always do) by TheMark who’s on the button.  The flop is ten-high, all clubs.  He knows that I’ll check that flop if it hit me hard and since I don’t have a club in my hand, I still need to know where he is.  So I continuation bet $40 and he smooth calls.  The turn is an offsuit undercard.

Sometimes you can raise for information.  But sometimes you can check for information too.  I checked and TheMark fired out a $60 bet.  Just as in Hand #1, the EP player (me) checks to induce a potential bluff.  I know he doesn’t bet the flush there if he has it, so I can eliminate that holding.  I check call the $60 still thinking my hand is good.  It’s still vulnerable, but it’s still good – at least I think so.  The river pairs the ten and there is cause for concern.  I check and TheMark bets $90 into what is now a $275+ pot.  I have to call, for two reasons.  The first reason is that his holdings in that situation are wide enough that I can still beat some of his hands.  The ten pairing could have helped if he had a lower two-pair.  Also, my passive plays on the turn and river have opened the door to bluffing opportunities, and I know he’s the type of player that will take advantage of that.

I call, he mucks and I win.

Both of the above hands were bluffs based on position and board texture.  Granted, neither worked, but those are the types of plays that have to be made in order to be a long-term winning player.  In those hands, arguments can be made that the bluffs could have been executed better.  One can also argue that the winning hands should have in fact folded to the bluff.  It can go either way.  This is one of the more esoteric facets of poker and one that truly fascinates me.

But that’s where my game has been of late, focusing on bluffs, recognizing opportunities to execute them, and even more importantly, knowing when to call one down.  Hopefully I won’t get too enthralled with this part of the game and lose focus on the fundamentals.  It’s not too much fun to bluff all-in into the complete, stone cold, utter, dead-to-rights nuts.  And I’ve done that.

It hurts when the lid to the cookie jar slams against the top of your hand.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Monday to You

Many thanks to EasyCure for setting up the Hammer out Cancer tournament on Full Tilt last night.  I went out in an unceremonious 42nd spot, garnering zero WPBT PoY points for my efforts.  The problem with last night’s play was that I had to pee.

You see, 15 minutes prior to the first break, my back teeth were floating.  Since I was the big blind and SirWaffleHouse was currently all-in, I figured I’d just make a break for it right then.  As soon as I got back, I had the button and it was folded around to me.  Hell, gotta raise the button, right?  The Q5o I was holding was immaterial, until my raise and continuation bet was called by the small blind.  I got a free card on the turn, needing a K for an inside straight draw, but missed.  It was embarrassing that I had to fold to a min bet with over 1k in the pot.  It was all downhill from there.


Here are the results from the previous post’s contest:

Top 25 Most-Played Songs on BadBlood’s iPod:

25.  Blood and Thunder – Mastodon
24.  The Power of I and I – Shadows Fall
23.  Suburban Me – In Flames
22.  Pinball Map – In Flames
21.  Shadow World – The Haunted
20.  As We Speak – Soilwork
19.  Devour – Strapping Young Lad
18.  Mirror Mirror – Helloween
17.  Rise – The Cult
16.  The Pursuit of Vikings – Amon Amarth
15.  Jotun – In Flames
14.  Episode 666 – In Flames
13.  Needled 24/7 – Children of Bodom
12.  Bloodline – Slayer
11.  Fistful of Hate – Pro-Pain
10.  Can You Feel It? – Pro-Pain
9.    The End of Heartache – Killswitch Engage
8.    Crowned in Terror – The Crown
7.    I Live For Your Pain – Helloween
6.    Death Is The Hunter – The Crown
5.    The Deepest Gray – All That Remains
4.    Swim – In Flames
3.    Blood Pigs – Otep
2.    Sixpouner – Children of Bodom
1.    Medusa – Anthrax

So the winner of my contest is StB with a grand total of 1 correct guess.  On a percentage basis, he was infinitely more successful than anyone else.  It will be in his name that I make a donation towards Robert Wristlet’s soccer-a-thon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Savvy Freeroll...and Contest!

I played in the Poker Savvy freeroll last night.  We had 47 bloggers sign up, but I have to confess to not recognizing a large number of them.  I attribute that to the fact that when most of us signed up at Titan poker, I believe it was somehow connected to Noble poker’s player database.  It refused to let my use my previous nickname, so I was forced to choose “TherealBadBlood” since both BadBlood and BadBlood44 were taken.  At first I thought some imposter had stolen my alter-ego, but the aforementioned scenario made more sense.

Poker Savvy ponied up $1000 in prize money to be split among the top 15 places.  Spots 6 through 15 paid $25 while the rest of the places jumped up in payouts towards the $250 first place prize.

At the final table, I was 2nd with 8 remaining.  And…..I finished 8th.  D’oh!  I ran my 99 into TripJax’s KK when he limp re-raised from what I recall as mid-position, not early position.  Nicely done.  Then I bluffed off my chips on a Q-high, paired board with middle pair and someone (I forgot who) made a kick-ass call with pocket Jacks.  Again, nicely done.  I was out soon after, but it was fun.

Now, I await to determine if Titan processes my cash out quickly.


OK, it’s contest time.

Some of you may have seen Bobby Bracelet’s request for help.  I have yet to make a donation, but I plan to.  Now, if you win this contest, you can too.

Whoever wins the following contest, I will make a $25 donation to that cause on their behalf.

Here are the rules:

Guess as many songs in my iPod’s “Top 25 Most Played” playlist as you can.  You may submit 10 choices and whoever gets the most correct will win.  Ties will be broken by each song’s ranking on the list.  For example, if two people guess 5 songs correctly, then the songs with the most times played will determine the tie-breaker.

Now, I have doubts that anyone will get more than two correct, so as a bonus, I’ll double the donation in your name if you get 5 or more correct.

Deadline is Sunday, April 16th at midnight.  You can email them or leave the guesses in the comments.

Good luck.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More Thoughts From The Weekend

“Those who can’t, teach.” – George  Bernard Shaw

I’ll try to answer some of the comments from the previous post.  Basically, how did I get unstuck?

I don’t want to ascribe any watershed moment to last weekend’s turnaround, because the data size is really too small.  It could be coincidence, it could be a true change in my mentality; but most likely, it’s a little bit of both.

Some bits and pieces that contributed….

MrsBlood has been playing the $5 SNG’s on Stars.  She’s actually doing decently, having made the $50 transfer I sent her on March 1st last longer than any other seed-cash that I’ve given to her.  During a bad stretch however, when her flopped sets got out drawn by runner-runner straights, I saw a bit of myself in her reactions.

I gave her the tried and true lecture of “getting your money in with the best of it” and “it’s all about decisions, not results.”  When you see it happen to someone else so close to you, it really hits home that those phrases are really universal truisms in poker.  It’s difficult to see that when it’s you getting outdrawn.  I just have trouble detaching myself from the occasion.  But when it happens to someone with whom you’ve shared just about every other emotion, it’s just easier to realize the truth of the matter for whatever reason.  It’s hard to explain, but it’s like seeing something you thought was true actually become true right before your eyes.

Another part of the turnaround was simply experiencing the higher limits and not noticing any drastic changes in game play.  The sessions at $200NL were just like the sessions at $100NL.  The same plays, the same cards, the same outcomes.  My first foray into the higher limits was met with familiarity rather than apprehension due to a different play style.  So there was some inner confidence that I could call upon to get me through.

Contributing still to my detachment was the fact that my poker bankrolls are truly separated from my other family-based money.  Keeping that separate has been the best idea for me.  Like I mentioned previously, the losses in an absolute sense were larger than what I’d experienced in recent years, but they were most definitely within the guidelines of proper bankroll management.

I guess when you add all that up, the loss was met with more of a shrug than some back peddling.  Also, having experienced a major downswing before (*cough* Vegas *cough*) and subsequently recovering, it gave me more confidence that I could do it again.  And that’s important, because I will experience these losses again and I will recover from them.  Again.

In reading the 2+2 forums in the last few months, I’ve seen this word posted whenever someone complains about some bad beat or downswing or any other negative poker experience.


My weekend experience?  Standard.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Turn Around

I’d been through this before.


How do you come down from a rush?  To be sure, a rush is that fortuitous combination of playing well and having a little luck thrown in for good measure.  Not getting sucked out on when you’re ahead and coming from behind when you’re not.  But sometimes, maybe even just a little, you aren’t looking at your play objectively any longer.  You could be playing worse than you think - even poorly - but the luck of the rush is still with you and it masks your true performance.

Late last November, I was on a rush.  Then came Vegas.  And then went my bankroll.

It only took a few days, but I decimated my live game cash roll by playing horribly.  My final day in Vegas was spent playing at some lower limits, concentrating more on having fun than anything.  I basically threw in the towel.  My losses were too large and I couldn’t turn things around.  I fell off the horse and watched it ride away.  My self-confidence was in tatters.


This past February and March, I went on another rush.  There was a stretch of about thirty days of playing poker where I posted winning days on all but five.  The online and live rolls were at all-time highs and I was playing well.  At least I thought so.  Because I was on a rush.


Thursday night the wheels came off.  I played poorly at the medium game and dropped $180.  The following night at the local underground raked game, I dropped $420.  After I drove G-Rob home, I hopped online and proceeded to drop another $400.  Saturday morning I woke up to flush over flush and set over set, dropping another $450.

In the span of about 36 hours, I lost nearly $1500.


If you can’t learn from past mistakes, then you shouldn’t be playing poker.  If you don’t have the willingness to take a step back and objectively look at yourself and your playing abilities, then you shouldn’t be playing poker.  If you’re going to let results dictate the levels at which you play, then you shouldn’t be playing poker.


I took a break in the mid-afternoon and hung with the kids.  During that time, I thought about the past few days.  I could choose to hang my head low, tuck my tail between my legs and crawl back to some lower stakes and rebuild.  That’s what I did in Vegas.  Sure it worked, but to me, it was almost like giving up even if it was for only a while.  I’m too damn stubborn for that.  I chose another option.  I chose to go back and play.  I chose to do my best to put the losses aside and just play good poker.  This was another personal test for me.  I had to leave the losses behind and ignore them, not let them affect my play.


Saturday mid-afternoon session: +$200.  Saturday late-afternoon session: +$200.  Saturday late-night session: +$300.  Sunday morning session: +$200.  Sunday night session: +$550.  Total winnings?  Equal to the total losses.  A wash.


For some readers, the dollar figures are but a pittance while for others they are significant.  For me, it’s within bankroll management guidelines, but it still represents a healthy chunk.  But the results aren’t important.

What’s truly important to me was the fact that I was able to turn my play around so quickly in the face of recent, significant losses.  That is the test that I passed this time.  Yeah, this is all rah-rah-rah BS, me patting myself on the back.  But it does represent somewhat of a milestone for me.  It is a step up the ladder in improving my own game, a rung that I’d tripped over before.

Friday, April 07, 2006

See CC

The host’s curse lives on.

Last night we had the welcome addition of CC from Quest of a Closet Poker Player and his brother-in-law Marshall, who henceforth will be known as Marshall-Will-and-Holly-on-a-Routine-Expedition.  As it is always with the home game gamble, when you invite new people to your game, you never know what you’re going to get.  I like to think that you can paint a decent picture of a person’s personality by reading their writings, and having read CC’s blog for a while, I really wasn’t worried.

Sadly, he turned out to be a very disrespectful, obnoxious, evil-doing, poker-playing bastard that will never get another invite to G-Vegas.

I kid.

CC and his cohort were great guys and fun to play with.  They were introduced to the G-Vegas home game in all its glory.  Stacks were pushed, stacks were lost, and yours truly managed to play some pretty horrible poker.

I played three big pots poorly.  Here’s a rundown of my missteps.

Pot #1:  I flopped top two pair with 65o and check-called knowing my hand was good.  Until the river of course when the straight draw hit.  Pushing on the turn or even a nice check-raise would have won me that pot and I blew it big time.

Pot #2:  In late position, I called a raise with J7h and saw a flop of J72, all diamonds.  The pre-flop raiser bet into that flop and I put him on a single high diamond.  I raised 3x and he came over the top all in.  Remaining with my read, I called.  He had 2 diamonds.  I was able to spike a 7 on the river for a full house, but still, it was a big misread on my part and not a hand I’m too proud of.

Pot #3:  AQo in EP and I raised it up standard style.  TheMark, who’s called 90% of my pre-flop raises sitting directly to my left, called.  The flop was AK7 with the A and K of hearts.  The Q of hearts was in my hand.  I made a standard continuation bet and TheMark smooth called.  The turn was the 8 of hearts giving me TP-good kicker and nut flush draw.  I checked with the intention of check-raising all-in.  TheMark bet, and I executed.  He went into the tank and I thought my raise might be able to push him off a two-pair type of hand.  Unfortunately, he asked to see one card and I obliged by showing him my Queen.  Bad move on my part.  It solidified his read on me of holding AQ and he called with his set of 7’s.  No heart on the river and the $400+ pot slid to him.  I was busto and we quit.

All-in-all it was still fun, especially having met new poker playing friends CC and Marshall.  I’m sure they’ll be back as the Sleestack-fighting patriarch actually lives in G-Vegas proper.  CC himself lives not too far away, so hopefully he’ll be able to make it back up for some tourney action that I’ve got planned for later this summer.

Oh yeah, Otis set the record for biggest medium game cash out so far.  Bastage.

But still, the curse of the host lives on.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I am the Chump

Ok fools, here it is.

I am not the Poker Champ.  I am 100% guilty of falling for this extended prank, and you know what?  I am disappointed.

Here’s why:

I was hoping to set up a UFC-style match between myself and Poker Champ at the December blogging gathering.  And now that can’t happen.

I was busy intensifying my training, cutting back calories, getting fucking RIPPED!!!  And now it’s all for not.  I was cycling through my iPod to determine a proper entrance music selection.  And now, who the hell cares?  Nobody.  Because Poker Champ is not real.

Seriously, who wouldn’t have bought a ticket to see Blood vs. Champ?  I have absolutely zero training in mixed martial arts, but so what.  I gotta figure that with him hitting the heavy bag after a few bad beats, he may have actually had the upper hand.  We’re both nearly the same age, but still, how hard can he possibly hit?

Damn you bastards.  Damn you straight to hell.

And for the record, I’m with Axeman – he thinks it’s Daddy.

Staying Power

Congratulations to the two winners from last night’s WSOP satellite, Lucko21 and myradiohead.  I logged onto Stars this morning to check the results.  What caught my eye was the finish time, 4:10AM EST.  That’s an assload of poker right there.

Part of me wishes I had played, but the other part of me realizes that if I went deep in that tournament, my Tuesday would be shot to hell.  I was at the G-Vegas Big Game™ donking off buy-in after buy-in.  When I was into the game for about $600, I thought I might have been better off just taking the night off from poker.

But that’s heresy.

We were 6-handed most of the night, yet that didn’t stop the pots from being huge.  Thankfully I won half of the only $1000+ pot of the night with the second nut full house in NLO8.  I had to call an all-in for about $300, and let me tell you, second nuts doesn’t seem so great when you’re facing that move from a check-raiser.

One scooped pot later and I’m back to positive for the evening.  The swings are crazy at that game, and that’s part of the reason it’s looking for more players.  I was just happy to turn things around from a big losing session to a minor positive one.


That’s really the name of the game, being able to play your best under adverse conditions.  Whether you’re losing to suck outs or losing because you’re simply playing poorly, you have to be able to maintain focus.

A player-to-remain-nameless has some trouble doing that.  There have been times when after losing a sizeable amount of cash, he’s had the wherewithal to just get up and leave.  He knows that he can’t turn things around for whatever reason, and understands that the best decision right then and there is to stop playing.

I almost left last night.  But I’m too stubborn and perhaps a bit too proud to get up from a game while it’s still going on.  I wasn’t really even on any form of tilt, but I did realize I was playing rather poorly.

And just like I’m sure last night’s tournament winners had to do, I buckled down and re-focused on the game at hand.  Home games in G-Vegas usually last between 4 and 5 hours.  Some players lose focus and their game deteriorates over the course of that time.  I like to think my game holds steady.  If I can keep my play level up while others tend to weaken as the night wears on, then my edge increases the longer we go.

And that’s why I stay and play.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Some news and notes…

There is of course a WSOP Satellite running on PokerStars tonight at 9pm. The diminutive uber-blogger has set this thing up. The end result should be someone joining Ms. Gracie in the winner’s circle.

Shep “8-ball” Tiltstein has joined the blogging crew over at Poker and Liquor. Surely, the Apocalypse is upon us.

I busted out of the FullTilt WSOP satellite during the 2nd hour last night. I had an above average stack at the break and then moved into the top twenty with a flopped set of tens that turned into a full house. Sadly, tens were my undoing as well. On an 8-high board, I pushed in an attempt to get someone off what I perceived to be his drawing hand. My opponent had KK and not once raised or lead out post-flop. Oddly played, but it worked as I went broke.

I won’t be able to make it out to Vegas for the Summer Classic. It turns out that the family has made reservations at a campground in North Carolina for that weekend and I’m expected to be there. Like, what’s up with that? I’m already taking them all to Disney World in June and now I have to spend more time with them in July???? Sheesh. I will attempt to make up for this with a late-July, early-August visit if I can swing it.

Revisiting tonight’s satellite, I have an appointment at G-Vegas’ big game, but may be able to multi-table online and live play for the first time ever. TheRick does have wireless access up in his swank poker den of debauchery, so I’ll at least bring my laptop and see what happens.

This week’s home game may see another semi-local blogger make his first appearance. An invite will shortly go out to the regulars of the game, but this time it will include Quest of a Closet Poker Player author CC. If you haven’t been to his site, go check it out for some very insightful posts on the balancing act we all perform with poker and family life.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Young Addict

The scene: Sunday - early evening. After a long day of playing, both of the mini's are relegated to the shower prior to turning down for the night.

The eldest hits the showers first.

miniBlood, having stripped down in anticipation of showering, realized that his older sister got into the shower first.

Hey, with all that free time, why don't I play an SNG on Empire while I wait. I'm sure that must have been his thought process. Had to be.

I turn to my left and see it.


Playing online poker.


It's just not right.

I Wake Up In the Late Afternoon

Yeah, this year’s April 1st joke(s) were a bit lame and over the top. As with G-Rob, I’m loving the fact that the people who bought it the most were the ones actually there that night. Way too funny.

Tonight (Sunday), I’ll be playing in the Full Tilt 9pm WSOP satellite. I managed to win a $24+2 to gain an entry fee there yesterday evening. I hope to do well, have fun, and if the cards fall my way, well that’d be amazing.

Have a great rest of the weekend.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Premature Professional

Some of you who know me personally know that I’ve been working for the same company for the past sixteen years, ever since I graduated college. To say that what I’m about to post constitutes a drastic change of lifestyle for me is most certainly an understatement.


For the past several months, I’ve been the recipient of a bunch of poker schwag, much of it in the form of hats and shirts. Oddly enough, some of the collared shirts - both long and short-sleeve - are not half bad. As such, on several occasions, I’ve worn them to work as part of business casual attire. I didn’t really give a second thought to it, until this week.

Thursday morning, I had a meeting notice schedule pop into my inbox. The meeting requestor was our Human Resources representative. Since it was only last week that I had my annual performance appraisal, I wasn’t concerned because I was ranked rather well among my peers.

When the meeting time came, I went to the HR guy’s office and walked in. My manager and his manager were already waiting for me. Still, I had no cause for concern, but my curiosity was piqued because my boss’ boss was based in New York.


To cut to the chase, I was given a mandatory “leave of absence.” Apparently, some anonymous co-worker had suspected me of playing poker while at work. This was patently false, but nonetheless the accusations had been made. My choice to wear online poker site’s apparel was considered to be part of the evidence.

I was steadfast in my denial on both professional and technical grounds. Professionally, I would never do such a thing, it just didn’t make sense for me to risk my career for something I can easily do while at home. Technically speaking, our corporate network won’t even allow web-traffic to online poker sites, let alone game play data.

The HR guy gave me a copy of the employee handbook page delineating the penalties for gambling at work. The arguments I gave to them are what ultimately “earned” me a leave of absence instead of being flat out fired. The IM team is investigating my claims and I hope to eventually be proven correct.

But still, I’ll be home without pay until early June.


As confident as I am about being cleared, I still decided that now would be as good a time as any to finally find out if I have what it takes to play poker professionally. In about a week, I’ll receive a check in the mail, the result of me making a $20,000 withdrawal from my 401k savings plan. I’m going to go the route others have gone before me and focus on playing limit poker, starting at the 20/40 level. My goal is to earn between 1.5 and 2.5 BB/hour during the next two months.

I understand the risks involved, but feel that there is no better time to try. If you’ve read the blog for a while, you know I’m primarily a NL cash game player with a few NL tourney successes thrown in for good measure. But based on some reputable sources, the online limit games are beatable, even at this admittedly elevated level.

If I succeed, I’m not sure what I’ll due come June when I can resume my old career. Two months is a long enough trial to make that determination and perhaps it may be the beginning of a major life change.

Here goes nothin’.