Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Excitement and Anticipation

Much to my delight, I've just recently been confirmed as the official winner of Pauly's crack the Hilton sisters contest. I'll be receiving an official exclusive Pauly painting as my prize. I will for sure post a picture upon receipt so those of you who came so close can be green with envy :)

Hopefully the painting will be Bad and Bloody.

On the poker front, I've got lots of live game action in the coming few days. Thursday is my regular rendition of the home game where I hope to redeem myself from my debacle last week. Also, on Saturday, Otis has graciously again invited me to another live NLHE tourney witha $50 buy-in. I'll be bringing two of my home game regulars - Teddy Ballgame and the Rankster.

This whole blogging community just rules with these tourney invites and free works of art. I hope to pay back the community somehow in the future. If I ever win the lottery I will definitely pay for everyone's entry and expenses for that year's WSOP. Unfortunately the odds are against it. I'll have to think of something creative instead. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Off Topic

This past weekend, I spent sometime pursuing my other diversion: LAN Parties. For those not in the know, LAN parties are where the participants bring their computer(s) to a common location, set up a local area network (LAN) and proceed to slaughter each other in the virtual world of computer games. This past weekend's game of choice was Unreal Tournament 2004.

I am usually responsible for server duties as it is most efficient to have a dedicated machine acting as game server while the other PC's can focus solely on playing the game itself. These games are very CPU/Videocard intensive, so you really don't want any unnecessary processes running which could impact your game experience.

This weekend, there were people who wanted to play but couldn't attend. The normal solution is to open up the required ports on the firewalled internet connection and allow these players to play. However, the person in charge of the network decided to put my server in what's known as a demilitarized zone or DMZ. This zone is basically outside the protection of the firewall and is effectively directly connected to the internet. This is generally a bad idea.

My server machine was one I threw together at the last minute, so I admittedly didn't have all the required Windows XP security patches installed. Had I known this PC would be placed in a DMZ, I'd have never allowed it. My machine was "owned" in less than 2 hours.

Trojans, viruses galore ran rampant through my server machine. I effectively became a spam generator and flooded our LAN with bogus packets causing everyone's experience to be less than ideal. Upon realizing the terrorizing my server suffered through, I took it offline and basically had to reformat and do a fresh install.

So lesson to those who are directly connected to the internet: Run a firewall and keep your machine fully patched!! Can't say this enough as it is many home users who are indirectly responsible for much of the spam that gets generated these days.

Ok, next post will be back on the topic of poker.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Kicked in the Kicker

Had my home game last night and boy was it awful. The beats just kept coming and I can honestly say I was outkicked 4 times last night. I can understand getting outkicked once or twice, but 4 times really killed my bankroll.

The worst hand for me was when I was simply outdrawn and didn't even see it. Obviously I was too tired or something, but it's a play that cost me about $30 simply for being stupid. I'm dealt QQ and hit my set on a Q,8,4 flop. The turn is a 9 and I think to myself I still have the nuts, stone cold version. Those of you reading can guess what my opponent has right now. I, however, didn't. The river is a 2 and there's no flush draw and I think I'm still good, raising the pot at every opportunity.

I really sank back in my chair when my opponent showed me J,10. I absolutely didn't see it. I felt worse about not seeing it than actually losing the money. I was going to see that hand all the way to the end anyway, but I did cost myself about 6 BB.

I'm going to blame it on lack of sleep. (read previous post :)


So I'm sitting at a $50 NL table on Party, and it is obviously cursed. This poor guy to my right just had his AA cracked by my JJ when I caught my set on the flop. The VERY NEXT HAND this guy is dealt AA again, catches his set on the flop but loses to a flush. Kudos to him for not even whining about it.

Then I'm dealt AA and there is a massive straight and flush draw on the board. After my $5 is re-raised to $20 on the river, I did it. I laid down AA. I think that's the first time I've ever done it. Like I said, that table was cursed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Decisions, Decisions

Ok, so the wife and kids are out of town. I'm trying to play at Party Poker and can't, seems like they're having problems.

(Notice I didn't use their, I used the grammatically correct they're.)

So I'm forced to watch the WPT and drink. At 11pm, when the WPT is over, the choice is this:

Nepals or Platinum Plus.

If you see this before 11pm, please submit your vote.

9:58 Update: No votes!!!! C'mahhhn!!! Vote!!! Aren't you furiously refreshing this blog???? I am.

Miscellaneous Update

Couple of quick items...

Due to being an "active blogger," I got an invite to use gmail, the new "in" thing on the internet right now. In fact, because you can only get a gmail account by being invited, invites are actually being sold on eBay. A friend said he saw them being sold for around $15 or so. My email address there is No, I'm not selling invites, just posting that for information :)

According to Wil himself, Wil Wheaton will get to appear on the WPT celebrity home game. That's cool as judging from Wil's poker posts, he actually seems to know what he's doing. The celebrity home games are less entertaining to me from a purely poker perspective, but because I've been following Wil's website for a while, I'll definitely tune in to that episode.

I've played in a few $30 3-table sit-n-go's since the Brad-o-ween tourney and have had decent results: 5th, 5th, and 12th. The 12th place was mainly due to a crippling KQ (me) vs. KJ (otherguy). The flop was Q,J,4 and I bet out T200. Otherguy goes all in and I call, correctly assuming I had the better hand. River was a J, and I'm down to T360 with the blinds 50/100. This other guy also called an all-in bet with a gutshot straight draw before the river and caught it. So I don't feel too bad about those results as my decisions during the tournament were mostly correct.

I'm thinking about writing about my tendency to finish just at or near the money mark in multi-table tournaments. I've got too much data to convince me that my finishes are coincidental.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Brad-o-Ween Tourney Report

I had the fortune of being invited to a local poker tournament by fellow blogger Otis at Up For Poker. I'd only known Otis from the WBT II online tournament held last month by Iggy, but as luck would have it, we lived only about 20 minutes from each other.

The hosts were gracious enough to let me invite a fellow local poker player from my home game, Roger, a.k.a. Rocket. The structure of the tourney was supposed to make it last roughly 4 hours or so, but with 33 players, it actually lasted a bit longer.

At the beginning of the tournament, I vowed to play very tight as there was a myriad of player skills among the entries. Starting off w/T1000, I found myself at about T1350 by the end of the first break, having won a couple of hands. I had 66 river a boat that also rivered someone else a flush which was nice. I also ended up stealing one pot to test the table a bit.

After the break, I saw probably one of the most unusual hands I've ever seen. One of the short stacks went all in on a flop of 9,4,7 and was called by two others, first caller being Otis. The turn was a 4 and nobody bet. When the river spiked a 2nd 9, Otis went all in. The player to his left immediately called thinking he had the full house 9's over 4's, but to his dismay held only A,8. He had forgotten that his down card was the 8 and not the 9. So he was relegated to playing the A against the two pair on the board. Well, unfortunatley for Otis, that A held up as Otis was trying to bluff steal the pot. The original all-in held only 10,3 diamonds and the biggest pot of the evening thus far was taken by someone who had no idea what he had. Had he realized he only held A,8, he said he would have folded giving Otis a decent pot. Unfortunately, the tournament's host got bounced on this crazy hand.

By the second break, I didn't catch many cards and got whittled back down to my original T1000 with about 18 players left out of the original 33.

After consolodating to 2 tables, I called a pre-flop raise from the biggest stack holding 3,3 and saw an A,3,5 flop. The big stack was on the button and I was the BB, so he had position. Didn't matter to me and I went all in. He asked me what my kicker was and I looked at him and said "Kicker? I don't know what my kicker is." He showed me A,4; I avoided a 2 and doubled up.

My first of two hands that I played really poorly happened not soon after as I'm dealt K,K. I predicted correctly that the flop would have an A. It didn't let me down: A,10,8. I checked and just smooth called all the way to the end to an obvious A. I lost about half my stack on that play and should have really laid down the K's but just couldn't. Dumb.

Meanwhile, I hang around long enough to make it to the final table of 8 players. The pay out is for the top 5, and thoughts of bubbling out filled my head. Since I bubbled out of the WBT II in 4th, I was really determined not to let it happen again.

I doubled up once more against the big stack holding A,K to his Q,3 diamonds. A,10,10 on the flop helped tremendously and I built my stack to over T3500. I didn't play too many hands after that as two more were eliminated including the person who entered the final table with the biggest stack. He just kept doubling up everyone and finally lost interest and bailed by calling an all-in with 9,4 off suit.

Now that we were down to six players, including both my buddy Rocket and CJ from Up For Poker, I really wanted to get into the money. Rocket was the short stack now and was being slowly blinded to death. I just waited out the inevitable and saw him get eliminated when he held A,J vs. A,K. Sweet, finally in the money.

As I mentioned before there were two hands where I played really poorly. The K,K and the hand I went out on. It was 5 handed and I was UTG+1 with the blinds at T500/1000. I held about T5000 which really wasn't too bad given the average stack was T6600 at this point. I'm dealt 9,10 clubs and raise it up to T2000 truly hoping to just buy the blinds. Unfortunately for me the button calls and the blinds fold. The flop is Q,8,8 with two clubs. In hindsight, the correct play was for me to go all-in here, but I checked. The button checked and the turn brought a non-club 2. Mistake #2 was again not going all-in again. I checked again as did the button. The river was a non-club 3 and I realize I'm sunk. I can't win this pot by checking and now I feel I'm forced to go all-in as I should have done 2 betting rounds earlier. I'm given a glimmer of hope as the button thinks long and hard about calling. But unfortunately for me, it was close to 12AM and according to the button, "My wife has to work tomorrow morning anyway, so I call." Ugh. He held A,9 and eliminated me with his high card A.

Oh well, too bad I made one of my mistakes so close to the end. Thankfully, I made the money which I'm happy about, especially since this was the biggest live tournament I've ever played in.

I'd like to thank the guys from Up For Poker for inviting me, especially Otis for allowing me into his home to play my favorite game. I hope to get his crew of players and mine together sometime for a big tournament as they were a cool bunch of guys to hang out with.

I think the bounty is mine

Saturday afternoon at a $10 sit and go:

***** Hand History for Game 687044874 *****
50/100 TourneyTexasHTGameTable (NL) (Tournament 4267258) - Sat Jun 19 15:43:31 EDT 2004
Table Table 11482 (Real Money) -- Seat 7 is the button
Total number of players : 9
Seat 1: XXCANTSTOPXX (500)
Seat 2: osudon (1160)
Seat 3: badblood44 (615)
Seat 4: AlooNYC (768)
Seat 5: sonval (490)
Seat 6: hockeyzebra (512)
Seat 7: swillig (1010)
Seat 9: dmcohen (805)
Seat 10: ERIC2013 (2140)
dmcohen posts small blind (25)
ERIC2013 posts big blind (50)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to badblood44 [ Qc, Qd ]
osudon folds.
badblood44 raises (100) to 100
AlooNYC folds.
sonval folds.
hockeyzebra folds.
swillig raises (250) to 250
dmcohen folds.
ERIC2013 folds.
badblood44 calls (150)
** Dealing Flop ** : [ 7h, Ks, Qh ]
badblood44 checks.
swillig bets (760)
swillig is all-In.
badblood44 calls (365)
badblood44 is all-In.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ 5s ]
** Dealing River ** : [ 9s ]
Creating Main Pot with $1305 with badblood44
Creating Side Pot 1 with $395 with swillig
** Summary **
Main Pot: 1305 | Side Pot 1: 395
Board: [ 7h Ks Qh 5s 9s ]
XXCANTSTOPXX balance 500, didn't bet (folded)
osudon balance 1160, didn't bet (folded)
badblood44 balance 1305, bet 615, collected 1305, net +690 [ Qc Qd ] [ three of a kind, queens -- Ks,Qc,Qd,Qh,9s ]
AlooNYC balance 768, didn't bet (folded)
sonval balance 490, didn't bet (folded)
hockeyzebra balance 512, didn't bet (folded)
swillig balance 395, bet 1010, collected 395, lost -615 [ Ad Ac ] [ a pair of aces -- Ad,Ac,Ks,Qh,9s ]
dmcohen balance 780, lost 25 (folded)
ERIC2013 balance 2090, lost 50 (folded)

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Too Funny

So I hit a quick $10 sit and go, call a T75 raise with A,J. The flop is K,Q,T rainbow. Nut straight. Three players. T100 is bet, call, call. I'm in 2nd position. 8 on the turn, but it's a 2nd spade. T350 is bet, call, call. A junk rag spade is the river. Check, all-in, call, call. Q,5 spades take the pot. Very 1st hand. Just had to laugh at that one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Streak up to 9. Where's Larry Csonka right now???

Knock on Wood

Ok, I'm completely aware that I'm about to jinx myself, but I've got 8 winning days in a row, 7 of which are at the no limit tables. I want to extend my streak as long as possible. Posting about it is probably not the best idea though due to karma and all that. The wins are smaller, but a bit more consistent so far than those I experienced at the limit tables.

So look out '73 Dolphins, Joe DiMaggio, and Cal Ripken Jr! Your streaks are in danger.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Some More Hands of Note

Thought I'd pass along a couple of interesting hands and my perspective on them from this past weekend. All action occurs at the $25NL tables on PartyPoker.

First hand of note has me holding Q,9 diamonds on the button. I call a modest pre-flop raise of $1.00 from the UTG player as do 3 others. The flop is Q,6,6 - one of the 6's being the diamonds. The BB bets out $1 again, the UTG calls and I am the third and final player in to see the turn. At this point I'm thinking one of the two other players has a 6 due to this being Party Poker and all. The turn is the K of diamonds, leaving me with a flush draw and middle two pair. Neither of these hands is great at the moment, but based on my assumption of one or both of the others holding a 6, I feel I can see one more card if the price is right. BB bets out only $2 and the UTG calls as do I. The final card is the 3 of diamonds giving me a decent flush as only the Ax diamonds beats me. Still holding to my assumption about the 6's and realizing either one of them could have just drawn the full house, I await the betting. Amazingly, both the BB and UTG check to me. At this point, my thoughts are pretty much confirmed that they've been slow playing their 6 and neither has caught the boat. If they had, they'd bet into me as there's not a big reason to believe that I would bet and give them the opportunity to check-raise. So I bet out $5 into a $10 pot. The BB simply calls, but the UTG raises it to $20. Now I'm thinking this is a last ditch effort on his part to buy the pot. If he were truly a shark and was holding the boat, he would let me draw out my flush and then hammer me. I wasn't giving him that much credit though. So I call the $20. The BB then goes all-in for an additional $5 and then the UTG goes all in. Well now I'm pot committed and call the final $10 or so. Result: My flush is good and I don't end up seeing what either player had. They leave the table having been busted out and I take in a nice $81 pot. Lesson learned: I'm not a big fan of slow-playing small trips like that if in fact that is what they had. Any overcard that pairs the board immediately drops your boat to 2nd best, let alone allowing someone to draw out a flush or straight.

The second hand is where I'm handed my ass back to me on a plate. I'm holding A,10 and see an A,10,9 flop with two other callers. The 9 and 10 are hearts so I'm not giving anyone the chance to draw their flush, so I bet out $3 into a $2.75 pot. I'm called by both remaining players and a rag hits fourth street. I again bet out $3 and am raised to $6 by one of the players to my left, third player folds. At this point I should have stopped and did some thinking. My rushed analysis concluded that he had A,K or A,Q and thought he out kicked me. So when another rag hits the river, I put the player all-in for about $21. He makes a very easy call and his trip 9's take the pot. So I go from about $104 to $75 and decide to quit for a bit. Lesson learned: When you're raised back by a person smooth calling you all the way after a rag hits, they have a really good hand more often than not.

Not much else to say, hope you enjoyed the show.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

So much bluffing, so little cards

I'm aware of the value of bluffing, and yes it hurts when you're bluffed out of a winning hand. But damn! The $25 buy-in no limit games are full of bluffers. For whatever reason, they feel that their big bets should "earn them the pot" so to speak.

I've found out that doing a bit of slow-playing lets me double up more than anything else. Checking a good to great hand in early position is sure to get a bet from someone later down the line. It's almost a certainty. Then when you simply call their bets, they can't let go of their hand and make their bets just a bit bigger each time. Only after you raise them all in do they consider folding, and even then many don't.

The hands that hurt me the most this weekend were of the A's up variety. Two pair may seem decent, especially when it's the top two on the board; but there are those sneaky sets to worry about. I got hurt for a $50 pot with A,10 vs. 99. Oh well, it's not like I hurt someone else with my 66 vs their KK earlier in the day.

I made a little dent in recovering from last weekend's big loss. Not quite back to where I was, but I do have an entire 7 days of winning sessions behind me which is quite nice, six of which are soley on no-limit tables. Makes me kind of wonder why I was playing the limit game earlier.

Friday, June 11, 2004

More No Limit Hijinx

I tried to follow up my recent successes at the $25 no-limit tables again last night. I should have guessed that based on my first few hands, it would be difficult to achieve a repeat performance.

It was either the first or second hand, but I'm dealt AK in the small blind. I raise the .50 bet to $2, somewhat of my standard opening raise at these tables. The big blind flat calls and everyone else folds. The flop is K,Q,2 - pretty nice flop if you're holding AK, right? I bet out again $2 and the BB goes all in for about $10. Well I call right away to find he's got Q,10 off suit. Nice, I think to myself, I read him right in having an inferior hand. But wait, in Hold 'Em, you get 5 community cards. The turn brings a 10 and the river brings a Q to cement his full house and I'm down about $15 nearly immediately.

I didn't want to be short-changed at this table so I bought in for $10 more to keep me afloat. I ended up cashing out before dinner with just that $10 so I was down my first initial buy-in of $25.

After dinner I grab another seat and something very similar happens. I've got A,7 in MP and call the .50 big blind. The flop is 4,6,7 and I bet out. I'm check-raised all in for about $10 by the BB and call - again feeling that I've got him out classed. The turn is a rag, but the river is another 6. He shows 3,6 for trips and takes my money. Groan. Not soon after I'm out my second $25 buy-in.

But, let me remind you, I refused to go on tilt or anywhere near it. I managed to successfully shrug off the losses and get back into the game on a still very even keel.

For my third $25 buy-in, I play the same way I've been playing all night and the past few days, simply waiting and picking my spots according to the information at hand. I ended up cashing out that session at $104, more than recouping my prior losses and posting my 4th straight winning day. I'll certainly take it and plan to continue these no-limit tables for the forseeable future.

Thoughts on Party Poker's new features.....

The bad beat jackpot is nice, but because it's only for the 2/4 and 3/6 limit tables, I probably won't see much action there. Also, the quad tens requirement for being a bad beat seems quite steep. I have to admit to playing online for close to one full year and I've never seen a beat like that or one close to it. But it is a nice change and I'm sure someone will hit it and be thankful that it's there.

The new sit n' go multitable tournaments look to be fun. I may have to try one this weekend. My only concerns will be that it will take longer for the tourney to fill up, but that is a minor issue. I'll make my judgements after I participate in a few.

That's all for now. See you at the tables, if you spot me - say hi.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

What Comes Around Goes Around

I saw/played a couple of intriguing hands last night at a $25 NLHE ring game (6 players max).

Player A goes all-in ($12) post flop with A2K on board. I'm holding A9 and sense he's got a weaker kicker just because of the table's tendency to slow play big hands. I'm the only caller. Turn brings another 2 and the river a 5. I was right. He was holding A5. So player A has some of my money and I make a mental note of it.

Later, player A is raising a JJ7 flop like crazy, but also getting re-raised by player B. From my perspective, I have to believe they both have J's. Player A, in my opinion, isn't even considering what player B has, only the fact that he's got trips. Well player A was holding J9 and player B was holding JK. Not only was player A outkicked, but the turn brought a K for the boat for player B. Player A goes home. I haven't yet recouped my money he owes me.

Later on, I'm holding around $50 and a 4,5 is dealt to me. I'm mentally praying for A,2,3 so I can win some cash against someone holding an A. Next best thing: 2,3,6 with 2 spades. I'm holding the nut, but very cautious about the flush draw. I bet a single dollar and am called by the aforementioned player B. The turn is a J, no spade. I bet $2 and again am cold called. The river is a Q, again no spade, leaving me with what I believe us folks call "The Stone Cold Nuts."

I make a pot sized bet of $7. I am re-raised to $20. Wow. I re-check the board to make sure and after confirming my "nut-ness" go all-in. Player B calls. He was holding Q,J. Now I have player A's money via player B. I am happy, leave the table up $88 and begin to like no limit more and more.

Less Cheese, More Meat

Ok, enough with the blathering and on with the poker content....

The writings of many of the bloggers out there (most linked to the right) inspired me to try my hand at a no-limit ring game. Buying in for $25 wouldn't kill me and the thought of the extra ammunition to prevent river card suckouts intrigued me.

I bought into a short-handed ring game figuring that I could get a bit more creative with my starting hands. This was especially true at this table where it appeared that most people would simply limp into a hand and hope for the best. Many times a $2 raise on the .50 BB would bring folds all around.

During many initial hands, an opening raise and a bet representing top pair post-flop would be enough to win the pot right there. My assessment of this table was weak passive.

Believe it or not, I limped in twice with A,4 off only to find 2 4's on each of those flops. A bit of slow-playing them didn't bring any draws and I managed to double up once and win a decent sized pot the second time.

A few hands later, I'm dealt 8,7 spades and raise it to $2. I get two callers. The flop is 2,4,7 and I bet out. Nobody is going to put me on this hand, however, one of the pre-flop callers folds. The turn is another 7 and I bet out $4. The remaining player raises me over the top for $10. All-in baby. He calls and I double up again.

I cashed out my first session with $96 and felt pretty darn good. I then spent some quality time with the wife watching a TiVo'd "The Young and the Restless." Did I just admit that? It's not sad that I watch the show, it's sad that I enjoy it....

Anyway, I decide to play a bit longer afterwards at another $25 no-limit table. Not much really comes my way as far as starting cards go. Holding A,K with an A on the flop lets me bet out a pot-sized bet. I'm raised by one caller who I suspect also has A,X. I'm a bit worried that he's got 2-pair right now as the flop brought A,2,4 and he simply called my pre-flop raise. He ends up putting me all-in and I call. We split the pot with both of us holding A,K.

I'm next dealt 10,7 in the BB and see a flop for free. The flop is 3,9,10 and I of course bet out. I'm called by another player and the turn brings a 10. I bet out and am called again. The river is a 9 giving me a very strong hand, 9,9 being the only hand that beats me. I bet out $5 and the other player folds. I'm greeted to a "nh" by Pauly. Always nice to have someone watch me win. A truly rare occasion :)

So we'll see where I go from here. The no-limit games were fun for a change of pace. I can only play one table at a time as the subtleties of no-limit play are greater and my attention must be fully focused on the table in order to do well.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

A New Resolve

How often is it that you learn a life lesson from playing poker? I'd wager that it's not too often. I decided to do some thinking about this past weekend's debacle and see if I could let something positive result from it. I believe I have.

For the last few months, I think I've been letting myself react to the situations occurring around me in completely inappropriate ways. At work, at home, even at the virtual poker tables I was struggling to understand why things were going the way they were and why my attempts to control them were futile. The simple answer was that I couldn't control those situations, as much as I tried or thought that I could.

I am a control freak, no doubt about it. I hate flying for this very reason - I'm not the pilot in control of the flight. For whatever reason, my ego needs to believe I'm in control. My ego believes that I'm smarter than most of the people with which I interact; and as such, should be able to manipulate the outcomes of every encounter to just my liking.

Truth is, I can't. Never could. Even when I thought I was controlling things, I wasn't.

When my attempts at controlling my environment would go awry, I'd fly off the handle and get upset at those around me for not behaving as they should such that the situation would properly go my way. This included getting upset at my wife for asking me to hold her keys. When we both ended up forgetting that I had them, I had to turn around from my drive to work only to return home and give them to her. My thoughts: "Her fault." Even at work, where I support over 1,000 users of a software program I develop, I get angry at the simplest of questions. "Idiots!" I say. I create documents and utilities to help these users diagnose and solve the problems for themselves, yet they still come to me with these questions.

And especially at the poker tables.

Bad beats-a-plenty were causing me to pound my fists on the desk, scream obscenities at the monitor and basically go on tilt like never before.

The bottom line was that I was not truly happy with myself. Now what follows might sound trite, but I had a moment of self discovery where I made what will hopefully be a change for the better. I decided that I can't really control many of the situations where I formerly thought I could. What I can control, however, is my reactions to those situations. I am the one causing me to get angry, nobody else.

As much as I'd like to think that playing a certain style of poker will control your outcome on a hand to hand basis, I now know this is blantantly untrue. I can't make someone fold J,8 off suit when I'm holding A,A no matter how much I raise. It is their decision to fold, all I can do is offer evidence to them of the strength of my hand. Their play decisions are under their control not mine. If they choose to fold, that's great. If they choose to chase me and beat me, well I've just got to live with that. I couldn't have done anything differently.

I said I'd be taking a break in my previous post. Well my break lasted about 18 hours. I played some more last night with a resolve to hold true to my new mindset. It worked, at least last night it did. I had some bad beats early on for sure. How did I react. I smiled. My set of 7's didn't hold up and I actually properly folded them knowing someone hit either the straight or flush draw on board. Didn't phase me.

During yesterday's work day, there were several opportunities for me to lose my cool. But I didn't. Now I'm not so naive to think that such a drastic change can take place overnight. In fact, it's not a trivial amount of work to change your initial reactions. I found myself several times heading down the previous path towards contempt for situations that would come up during the day. I was able to turn those thoughts around and move on. To me, this is much different than simply hiding your true reactions. That would be worse than before. I had to really and truly change the way I was thinking. It's going to take practice but I hope that this lesson will stay with me for a while.

It was either that or begin chanting "Serenity Now, Serenity Now"....

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Weekend of Doom

This could be long.....

Obviously poker is a game of mental fortitude; and to perform well, your mind must be in top form. When I woke up Saturday morning, I had $813 in my bankroll and was less than $200 from breaking even in my long term goal of recouping my stupidly spent $2100.

Then the phone rang.

It was my mom. I don't normally get phone calls from my parents unless there's a computer problem that they need fixing. But this was kind of early in the morning, and I thought something may be amiss. My wife was out running errands while my kids were playing video games and I was still in bed when I picked up the receiver.

Turns out she had a small growth removed from her chest, a malignant one. Not good. The big "C." I really didn't quite know how to take it. She seemed to be taking it well as it is still very early and the mass removed was very small, only about 3mm. So her good spirits and calm demeanor was good to hear, but still, it's quite bad news.

After speaking with her and my dad for a bit, I logged on for some Saturday Party Poker action. This was either the first or second stupidest idea I've had in the last calendar year based on the results.

I knew I'd be playing a lot of poker this weekend, since my wife's brother's family is visiting and we get to be hosts. I have trouble staying in a good mood around them, mainly due to the fact that they parent so differently than we do. For example, the first night they were here, their 3 yr. old stayed up past both my kids and my wife. Their schedule is so much different than ours, and since my wife and I like to have some quiet time at night, this deviation from the norm was a bit annoying.

So I begin Saturday's foray into poker by getting crushed at the $2/4 tables. Absolutely crushed. The poker gods shat on me like a salmonella victim who accidently downed some Exlax chocolates. I went with a buddy to some $5/10 tables to "quickly" recoup my losses. Duh. Didn't happen. Tilt became off-balance became totally collapsing.

So I play some more on Sunday. More duh.

Here are some hands I lost in the two hours I played Sunday evening:

Me - Them - Pot
AA - 77 - $25
AA - J8 - $47
QQ - AJ - $16 (not completely bogus)
trip 5's - Flush on the river - $38
A3 - 63 - $37
AT - 93 - $50
KQ - TJ - $30
KQs - 78 - $71 (with a Q on flop no less)

So right now I sit here typing away, very much down in real life and in poker life. I think the decision that makes the most sense is to take a bit of a break from online poker and come back with a fresh mindset and renewed enthusiasm. I've come close to my goal, so I know it's attainable. This is hopefully but a bump in the road.

I should also learn to put poker into perspective as there are obviously more important things out there. Patience and perspective, patience and perspective, patience and perspective....

Saturday, June 05, 2004

You Too Can Win

So I play a few rounds at Party Poker tonight and win a pedestrian $7.

I then go out drinking with a friend until about now - 1:30 am.

I say "What the Hell" and log onto Party Poker.

I check my account and there's a little bit of extra money in there.

Huh? I'm no dummy at math, but that account balance is a bit off.

So I click check history.

What do I find?

"Lukcy Account Promotion Give Away" $15.00

It's like winning the lottery except it's only about 1E-06 the amount. I'll take it though :)

Friday, June 04, 2004

Hosting the Home Game

Had another bi-weekly home game last night with the usual suspects. For whatever reason, we could only get six attendees, a far cry from the nine we had last time. No matter, as I much prefer the additional elbow room around the table.

Two of the absentees were the notorious flap jaws, constantly talking about whatever may cross their minds - even when they are supposed to be dealing. "Oh, am I still dealing?" they'd say as those still in the hand try to grab their attention by yelling over the noise. The result of these two no-shows was more poker and less chit-chat. Fine by me.

I got off to a less-than-stellar start, losing my first hand of seven card stud as my straight and flush draws didn't pan out, leaving me with a lower two-pair than the eventual winner. Then during a 2/4 Hold 'em deal, I'm greeted by two cowboys in the hole. Checks all around to me and I bet the requisite $2. Fold, fold, fold, fold, fold. Yay. I win the antes on what would be my best starting hand of the night.

One player was on fire last night. Of the six of us, he was the big winner having well over $250 profit by the end of the night. From my perspective, he stole about $70 of it from me. One hand, I'm dealt 10,8 offsuit, but plan on one of my flat out steal attempts. I narrow the field to where it's just me and him and I'm very sure he's on a flush draw with the two hearts that fell on the flop. Granted, I have garbage, and when the 5 of diamonds falls on the river, I continue to bet out. He calls the bet with Q,5 hearts having only paired the 5. I muck and ask him how he could call. I didn't push things since I didn't want to come off as Annie Duke :)

Another hold 'em game sees us two heads up again. He calls all the way to the river with 6,8 off suit and catches his straight when a 5 hits. My pair of K's are decimated. I figure I'll have to start playing garbage too if I want to win any money.

A few hands later, one man's garbage is another man's treasure. My garbage: 6,4 off suit. I pay $3 to see a flop that includes a K,6,2. Another $3 bet, and I call thinking 6's have been good to me lately. Fourth street brings a 6. Schwing! I smooth call the $6 bet to me knowing I'm risking someone catching a flush draw as there are two spades on board. The river is the 8 of diamonds and I raise the $6 bet into me to $12. The flush-chaser folds and I'm called by the original better. My lone 6 holds up nicely for a nice pot.

Because I had been treading water all night constantly shifting between up and down profit-wise, I decide to tighten up quite a bit near the end. I don't see much more action and finish up for the night $62. That was good for the 2nd highest win total as the suckout artist amassed a ton of chips. There was one other person who finished up less than $10 and the three others were losers for the night.

Since today is Friday and I've got cash to spare, that means lunch at Hooters. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Otis has probably been here a few times and can confirm that usually the talent is decent for Friday lunches. Here's hoping today is no exception.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Just when I thought I'd be approaching positive results, the lords of poker decided that my ideas were made of eggshells and decided to crack them to pieces.

AA, KK, JJ, KQs, all cracked. Yowza. I was due for a losing session, but sheesh, did you have to river trips, flushes and straights on me all night? Huh?

So I took a hit and will have to regroup later. I really shouldn't have played tonight as I got home from work late, had a late dinner and then a lovely glass of Shirazz (pronounced Your-Ass) put the final touches on my drowsiness.

One long session right? Right.