Monday, January 28, 2008

Tales From The Road

Hopefully you'll find this hand as ridiculous as I did and can laugh along at the "regulars" who play the Harrah's New Orleans $1/2NL game. Because these regulars had to be the worst players I've ever seen in a live casino environment.

I finished down for the trip. Natch.


I had seen my target sit down. He was horrible. The whole table knew it, except of course for this one poor bastard who tried to run a bluff on him. On a board of A272, the target check-called a $230 all-in bet with A6o. On the turn, the pot was just over $100 and this horrible player had limp-called pre-flop and then check-called both the flop and turn. His hand was good amazingly enough and all I heard was the poor kid who tried to force him off his hand mutter "How can he call that?"

I didn't know the answer to that question, but that was all the behavior I'd need to see to get him to double me up.


Our target was under the gun, and raised to $12. Before it got to me there were two more callers and I found pocket 7's in the cut-off. It's an easy call, so I made it and four of us saw a flop of K75 rainbow. I figured I was good.

Target-boy then fired out about $40 and the two intermediary pre-flop callers folded. Based on the previous data I had, I just pushed all-in immediately. I knew he'd call with just about anything.

Here's where it gets funny.

As I pushed my $200 into the pot, the target honest to goodness said, "Thank you! Thank you! I CALL!!!!"

At first I was crushed, I had to be up against a set of Kings. I flipped up my set of 7's and he triumphantly slammed down his AK having just about no idea how far behind he really was. I was in pretty good shape.

The dealer peeled off the turn and it paired the 5 on the board. I became leery.

Here's where it got even MORE funny.

The guy to my right stood up and said, "You have a full house now. You CAN'T LOSE!"

As soon as he said that, I knew I was dead.

The river came, and I died a little inside. Set over set would have been less painful I think.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Relative Worth

2006_BadBlood: "The Big Game at Gucci Rick's is still pretty tense for me to play in. I'm probably considered overly tight, but I still manage to get my solid hands paid off. This home game is definitely a step up for me and I look forward to the challenge. I consider this game a requisite stepping stone to advancing my game to the next level."

2007_BadBlood: "Great night last night at Gucci Rick's. Posted an expected win worth a couple of buy-ins. Can't wait to take my game to the underground circuit on Wednesday and then again on Saturday. Hopefully there's not much going on at home this week so I can play all three nights. This is the year I make my mark on the local scene."

2008_BadBlood: "Funs times at Gucci Rick's. Posted a winning session, but more importantly, it was a good time. Lots of laughs around the table, interspersed with some good poker made the night really enjoyable for me. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I should see them again next week. Winning was fun, but to be honest, I just caught some good cards at the right time. No need to let it go to my head. I made one bad call, but nobody's perfect."

Monday, January 21, 2008

More Disjointed Poker Thoughts From BadBlood

Lately, I've been unable to come up with much poker related material to write about, as if you couldn't already tell based on the frequency and content of the posts below. A year ago, I was playing far more than I am now. There were more stories to tell, more people to profile and more places in which to play than there are at the moment. To be fair, that's not entirely true. Much of the decline in my live play is a self-imposed restriction based on my assessment of what's best for my current life situation.

With all that said however, I look back on last year and I'm not 100% confident that I was happy where things were going.

There is a certain life style associated with a poker player. There are long hours. There is some drinking. There are the mood-altering financial swings in either direction. And each takes its toll. When you play two or three nights a week, it's not hard to fancy yourself a player. When you run good, you're one of the best. When you run bad, it's because of the luck. No matter how I ran though, far too much of my mental capacity was focused on playing poker.

I'm glad last year happened though. It taught me more about who I was than anything else ever has.

There was a time in 2006 when my game and my confidence in my game were at their peaks. I was winning regularly locally and I was winning at a decent pace online. It was a rare confluence of events. Externally, there weren't many distractions. Work life was going well, family life was too. I had devoted much of my time and intellectual capacity to bettering myself as a player and it was paying off. But that zone I was in was short-lived. There are simply too many distractions in day to day life to maintain that zen-like state. You have to dull yourself to life's stimulii in order to maintain the laser-like focus required to be your best at poker. At least I had to.

My 2006 poker year was an illusory veil of success that hid what was and what should have been truly important to me. I am not really a poker player. I am a husband and a father who really enjoys playing poker. There is actually quite a difference between the two. I suppose I have 2007 to thank for helping me realize that.

Some of you G-Vegas folks may have at one point met DealerTim. If you didn't know, he has his own blog. He's currently out there in Las Vegas chronicling his efforts to make it in that city, and to be honest, I find his story fascinating. For one thing, he's a surprisingly talented writer. And as I've told many people who'd listen, if I weren't married, if I didn't have any children, I have a hunch that I would have given the thought of moving out there with him much consideration. If I were living a solitary life, I think I would have the capacity to do well more consistently even out in the Mecca. But I'm not. So I can't.

My ego will always tell me that I have (or at least had) some of the characteristics required to be a talented poker player. But there are too many missing ingredients for me to be at my absolute best 100% of the time. The diminishing returns of my quest for excellence are too great. The cost is too high. Even now, typing this, I think to myself that I will always play, that I've put too much stock in myself as a player to ever quit. And all that is true. But I can't let success blind me and I can't let failure cripple me like I used to. I have to keep the game in its place.

And that is my goal for 2008.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Zero Poker Content Post With Parent Brag Pics

Years ago when we were in dire need of babysitting, we were fortunate enough to find a dedicated high school student who pegged the meter on the responsibility scale. She was by far the best babysitter we've ever had.

As your kids age, so too does your babysitter. We kept in contact as she went to college and finally graduated. We became friends and went to her wedding last year. On some occasions, she'd bring her boyfriend/fiance/husband to the house to help watch the kids. He's a great guy too and our kids love both of them.

Why did I like her choice in husband? Because he likes my type of music, that's why. Both of them came back to babysit for us once again last month, even though they're pretty much grown adults now. After we got home he asked me if I wanted to go to a concert with him in January down in Atlanta.

It was a band I'd never seen but always wanted to. So, tonight that's where I'll be. If the metal gods treat me right, they'll perform their cover of Holy Diver.

"Look out!"


In the meantime, here are two pics from my parent's recent visit. My son has never received instruction on his golf swing, he's just a natural. Check the form and follow through!

Friday, January 11, 2008

THE Glenlivet

It wasn't a special day by any means, especially if one were to ascribe meaning to particular days on the calendar.

But today I had a chance to sit back and relax on my front porch, sharing a scotch with my dad, just the two of us and the Carolina sun.

Scratch that. It was a special day.

(Thanks to everyone who made recommendations)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Let there be no doubt that this poker blogger is thrilled with the 2007 poker year being over. Wow did it suck. Or more appropriately, wow, did I suck. I had a losing year both online and more disappointingly live as well. There is a certain level of pride in being able to say "I am a winning poker player." At least there is for me. I'm still not sure if that's good or bad, but it's true.

Last year's losses were roughly 2/3rd's of my 2005 winnings, which isn't horrible considering all things. But still, it's no fun looking at a spreadsheet full of red numbers with parenthesis around them.

I'm the type of person that doesn't like to forever dwell on the negative, so I'd be foolish to stress over 2007's results. However, I'd be even more foolish if I didn't find something to learn from the experience. I will always believe this:

The true measure of a poker player is how he/she handles losing.

Winning is easy sometimes. Few people look back on wins and say, "I played terribly." The extra cash in your pocket dulls the internal questioning inherent in every player who wants to get better. Get better? I just won. Screw being introspective.

2007 provided ample opportunity for me to look at poker through a different lens.

I think the most important thing I learned in 2007 was just how much variance there truly is in poker. I can remember about four pots this year, all-in pre-flop, where had I won, 2007's results would be in the black. Four pots. Out of probably thousands of live hands. I can also remember focusing too heavily on losing those pots and their impact on my bottom line.

I recall forcing things.

I recall calling off too much money when I knew I was beat.

I recall worrying too much about factors surrounding the game rather than playing the game itself.

I recall worrying too much about my table image, my reputation as a player, rather than the proper play at the proper time.

Hopefully, as we all continue play and continue to show enthusiasm for the game, we'll continue learning. Even if it's not learning more about the game, it can be learning more about ourselves. The money I lost in 2007 won't go completely to waste as long as I remember the lessons the poker gods were trying to teach me.

Hopefully I took good notes.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Luck and Scotch and a Joke

We'll go with the Scotch first. My parents are coming up next week to celebrate the holidays after the fact with our family and my dad likes him a good bottle of scotch. He's a fan of Dewar's, but after a conversation with my sister, she mentioned he would like Johnny Walker's. I've never seen him drink that and was assuming that Dewar's is a better brand. But what do I know? So for the scotch drinkers out there, can you recommend a decent brand? I'm thinking in the $35-50/bottle price range.


Now, off to the luck. Yesterday's tournament had its share of lucky moments for me. I won two races, both to eliminate the UpForPoker crew. The first was ye-olde classic QQ vs AK race, all-in pre-flop between me and G-Rob. Sadly he flopped his set on a QJx board. The K on the turn was a bit meaningless, and yes, when the 10 hit the river, I did feel a bit bad. I had G-Rob outchipped by a 4x factor so I re-raised his initial raise to isolate him and get him all-in. The strategy worked and I got a little lucky.

The second race I won was when Otis had to open push for T1700 with the blinds at 250/500. I was the big blind, found pocket 2's and called. I won the race against his JTs.

Now, winning races isn't that big of a deal, we all know that you have to win them in tournaments to do well. Had I lost either, I would still have had plenty of chips in each occasion, but obviously extra chips and eliminating those two guys is fortuitous.

The luckiest hand for me was when we were 4-handed. The blinds were 1000/2000 and I had about T12,000. I was the button and shoveled with Q3o. Falstaff woke up with pocket 8's and made the easy call. "I have an over," I said. "Just one?" he replied. The flop came 737 and I had a small breath of life. The turn boated me up with another 3 and I dodged the two remaining 8's on the river to stay alive. That was lucky.

The last bit of luck was when we were 3-handed. I limped from the SB with 64 of hearts and Falstaff checked his option. The flop came K73, with two hearts. I led, he pushed, and I called. He had middle pair with 74 and I had 12-outs twice. I hit a 5 on the turn to take it down and effectively eliminate Falstaff in 3rd.

I avoided getting unlucky all day, which is nice when you're hosting a tournament at your own house.


And lastly, a joke. This joke is FAR better told by Teddy Ballgame, and I'll most likely fail to do it justice. But here goes anyway.

Young Johnny late one night wanders into his parents room when he stumbles upon his dad and mom going at it. His dad has his mom bent over the bed and is really, as Teddy would say, pouring it to her. Dad gives young Johnny a wink and a smile and continues on.

After his dad is finished up, he goes looking for Johnny to check in on him. When he opens up the door to Johnny's bedroom, he sees Johnny giving it to Grandma, bending her over a chair and really pouring it to her.

The dad yells "Johnny, what the hell are you doing?"

Johnny replies, "Oh sure, it's only a problem when it's your mother, huh?"

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

4th Annual New Year's Day Results

23. Phil Levin
22. SpecialK
21. Mrs_Blood
20. ChapelHillInc.
19. Lusky
18. Wolverine
17. G-Rob
16. Big Pirate
15. Tresa
14. Random101
13. TeamScottSmith
12. Otis
11. Rich Lavalla
10. Shep
9. Stan McKinney
8. TheCurt
7. TripJax
6. The Rankster
5. Jeff Newman
4. Jim
3. Falstaff
2. TheMark
1.. BadBlood (not a typo)