Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Free Rollin'

Free rolls are funny. If I have AK vs AK, the board will usually come runner-runner flush for my opponent. He was of course free-rolling. Such events may lead the winner to rise from the table screaming. He may even kick over a trash can or something in celebration. (That's for you Broc.)

Other times, when I'm the one free-rolling, the board bricks out and it's choppin' brocco-lay. Such is life.

Tonight however, I was graciously invited to play in a free roll on Full Tilt by Joe over at Seems they have a blogger over there named LeCheese who wanted to challenge some of us other poker bloggers to a duel of sorts. He seemed quite confident, even issuing a $100 bounty on himself.

Well, guess who was first out. No, not me. LeCheese succumbed to an unfortunate wrap draw on the flop against his pocket Aces. Wrap draw? Yes, wrap draw - we were playing PL HA.

I managed to chip up early, but then lost a race to Seattle John when his JJ held against my AKs all-in pre-flop. I had plenty of chips left though and didn't get too worked up about it. Unfortunately, TripJax and DoubleAs couldn't show up and got blinded off. We hit the final table a bit early - and those two still made it.

Sadly, I eliminated Drizz when I flopped a set of Kings and he didn't improve. We were 4-handed with myself, Seattle John, Mookie99, and another Rakebrain forum player JJProdigys Gran.

It was a winner-take-all free roll for $500, so it was going to get interesting. And because I'm a pretty boring person in real life, when I managed to acquire the chip lead, I offered a 4-way chop. Who wants to play for 3 hours, come in second and get squat? Not me. Perhaps a bit vag-tastic, but $125 guaranteed is $125 guaranteed.

So when the all-in fest came after we agreed to the chop, guess who won?


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mass Times Acceleration

I consider myself a lucky guy when I can shed the tethers of an insane work environment, drive to one of many local watering holes, and relax for the first time since the day began, saddled up to the bar beside Otis. A lot has to come together for that to happen. Even though it happens semi-frequently, taking it for granted would be a mistake. So I don't. And I go with the flow.

Poker is the same way. A lot has to come together in order to have a winning session. You need to play your cards well. You need to capitalize on others' mistakes. And if you make a few of your own, you'll need luck on your side to bail you out.

In an off-handed comment made to me a few weeks ago, Otis spoke of Gucci Rick's huge rush over the past few months. "I don't see him make many bad calls," he said. After doing my own bit of recollecting, I had to agree.

The biggest mistake I used to make was forcing things. Jamming square bets into circular pots. It just wasn't working. Perhaps now I'm jaded by my recent results, but I think I've managed to avoid making horrible plays that not only used to kill my profits for the session, but also my mindset. I'm going with the flow. Rather than trying to generate my own current upstream, I'm letting the river take me where it naturally wants to go. If there's a winning hand at the end of the rapids, I'll find it and scoop it up on my way by.

I had another nice win last night and have recorded by far my best ever poker month of my career.

Friday, February 22, 2008

2008 > 2007

It took 52 days. After another winning session at a Thursday night game, I've totally erased the 2007 live poker loss column with 2008 live poker winnings. Obviously my losses couldn't have been that huge for me to accomplish this feat so early in the year. And of course, this little bit of good luck thrown my way will only last a while.

I only post this as another in a long-list of poker platitudes whose truth manifests itself only so frequently.

It's all one long session.

Hey, look over there. Is that what I think it is? Yes, it is. It's a bankroll.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Runnin' Goot

One of the cardinal rules of poker blogging is that you never post about having a good run. Doing so is THE sure fire way to an earlier-than-normal reversal of fortune.

But I don't care anymore.

If you can't learn to enjoy running well, then why bother?

Last night I took 2nd in a 90-man $24+2 deep-stacked, turbo, knockout, play-while-naked, download-porn, hand-on-jock, sit and go. I think I have an edge on these things. And by edge I mean tons of hand cream and tissues.

Ok, enough of me sounding like Drizz.

With about 7 knockouts added to the $351 payout and a very nice session at the .5/1 PL HA table, I have taken my online bankroll from a Fwalgman-like $143 back in September to a near $3k level.

So yes, there's an added bounce in my step today. And yes, I'm aware that this rush will come crashing down any day now and you'll read about hands where my opponent says in his thick Asian accent, "You have full house, you can't lose!" right before the two-outer on the river.

But until then, I'm going to enjoy my temporary moment in the sun.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Medication

The medication knocks the edge right off.... - The Haunted

If you will, allow me to indulge myself.


I was drinking my dirty martini at Brick City Grille, Otis to my right. "You know, all I need in life is something to look forward to. It doesn't have to be much, just a little something to get me through the week."

"Indeed," Otis replied. It was his way of agreeing.

We were feeling a bit nostalgic. Nostalgic for times gone by wherein myself, Otis, G-Rob, and TheMark would find a way to meet before a night of poker, have a few drinks and then go play. Times have sadly changed though and the anticipation of the weekly pre-drink has waned. G-Rob works early mornings and TheMark plays at his old haunting ground. They say "The more, the merrier." What do they say about the fewer?

On Sunday, Otis pinged me about playing Monday night at Gucci Rick's. "Maybe pre-drink Monday?" was the query. "No maybe's about it. I'm a definite."

And so it was, even though it would be just the two of us, I had something to look forward to.


Both of us pulled up the driveway to the Gucci Rick Compound and found more cars there then we anticipated. Maybe this game does have legs, I thought to myself. A few new players have made the game vibrant again. No longer is it a struggle to find six players to cross the threshold of viability. Onward and upward I say.


My first hand of consequence did not go as anticipated. There was a pre-flop raise to $12 from UTG+1 and two callers before it got to me in the big blind. I had AsKs and re-raised to $42. I don't do this frequently with AK since in a cash game it has little fold equity. It's a great late-tournament, low-M hand wherein pushing pre-flop is the easy, correct play. In a cash game, in early position, it's still just A-high. However, I re-raise frequently in this game with big pairs and that's how I planned on playing this hand.

The initial raiser called, semi-reluctantly and everyone else folded. The flop came down T55 with one spade. I continuation bet $75 which is exactly what I'd do with JJ-AA. The other player called. The turn brought the 4 of spades giving me the nut flush draw and two overs. I knew the other player held something mediocre, but the question was, could I get him off his hand. Unless he held a monster, he'd fold to a push. Or so I thought.

In went my last $120 or so.

"I think you're making a move on me," he said. He wanted to call, I could tell. He must have had a ten. People always want to call me. Getting bluffed by me must be something akin to losing your firstborn, because people will go out of their way to avoid it. I should know better too. But this bluff was a semi-bluff and I still contend it's not a horrible way to play the hand. Unfortunately, I did not get the fold I was looking for.

He called and tabled T9 of hearts. I had some outs. Fifteen to be exact. Fifteen outs once is still a 2:1 dog though and I whiffed the river. My first buy-in of $300 went three seats to my left and I wondered if this was how things were going to go.


Luckily, that's not how it was going to be.

There were three players to the river on a four-club board. I had the Ace of clubs. I was in the hand because I had a straight on the turn and the draw to the nut flush. It's why I called the $30 turn bet. When the fourth club hit the river and it was checked to me, I bet $100. It was nearly pot sized.

People want to call me. I need to remember that.

I was called in not one, but two places. Both the other players and turned a flush. With the King of clubs on board, one player had QXc and the other JXc. Nobody raised. It was a mistake and I got lucky to river the nuts. I got even luckier that I got called. More mistakes.

But I was back to my original buy-in with $600 in front. In business, so to speak.


My hand of the night came perhaps an hour later. In the meantime, I had chipped up to about $875-$900, squeezing out a small profit for the session. Otis, also playing well this night, was also deepstacked. That's why I called his $25 raise in a straddled pot on the button with As7s.

Oddly, the big blind bitch-raised to $52. "Big pair," I thought. Let's see how the action goes before I proceed. Frank the Tank, who had just only recently won his first pot of the night smooth-called the $52 and the action moved back to Otis. If he re-raises, I'm done with the hand. If he calls though, I think I have to as well.

"Call." Otis announced.

"I'm no longer very thrilled with my hand," I announced to the table. But $27 into a $180 pot warrants me playing along.

Four to the flop. It's Js7d4s.

It's a semi-dream flop. Pair and a flush draw. As expected, the initial re-raiser in the big blind simply pushed all-in for $178. "Big pair," I again thought to myself. If it's folded to me, it's an easy call with all my outs.

However, Frank the Tank put a wrinkle in my plans by going over the top all-in for $246. "Does he have a set?" I really had no idea at this point.

Otis turbo-mucked.

The table looked at me. "Do you have a decision?" Otis asked.

"Yeah, actually I do." Since both players were already all-in I tabled my hand. If Frank had that set, many of my outs were dead. My outs to two-pair and some of my spade outs were gone. But I just couldn't put him on JJ. That was the only hand I really feared based on the pre-flop action.

In the end I called. The pot was $878.

The big blind flipped up pocket Queens, one of which was the Queen of spades. Good read so far. Frank the Tank flipped up pocket Kings, one of which was the King of spades. Otis claimed to have folded AQ, so three of my outs were gone.

But that was OK. I think I had the most pot equity at that point. Two outs with any 7, two more with any Ace, and 7 more with any spade. Eleven outs twice against two opponents.

The turn paired the four.

"That's no help," the dealer said.

"Not yet," I agreed.


A sweet, sweet 7.


By the end of the night, I had $2000 in front of me.

It's been a while. In a blog filled with bad beats and a 2007 poker year filled with losing results, last night felt like the Golden Era of G-Vegas poker for me.

So allow me to post a story about a winning session. After the last few weeks, it was just what the doctor ordered.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back From The Felt

It was as if I had went bust.

Over the weekend I went back to the gym for the first time in nearly three weeks. I hadn't had such a long layoff since early 1992. Memories of being too sick to work out are just as intense as the memory of your final bad beat that ultimately destroys your bank roll. When you eventually return to the felt, you have to take it slow.

You ease back into things. You find easy games at lower limits, something to get you back in the saddle, so to speak. On Friday, I figure I worked out to about 80% capacity. I never let myself get so intense as to overdo it. It's difficult scaling your intensity down, just as it's tough to restrict yourself to lower limits if you're used to playing higher.

Back in 1992 I was a near-rookie at weightlifting. I had no concept of the phrases "over-training" and "cycling intensity." I got sick, but refused to stop working out. I put my body into a 3-month long period of fatigue that had me nearly convinced that Magic Johnson and I would be sharing hospital rooms.

Lose a little at poker? Play bigger to win everything back. Lose a little weight because you're sick? Workout even harder to gain everything back. Recipes for disaster. My bank roll of stamina was running on fumes. But if you can't learn after going bust, then you weren't meant to play the game.

I booked a small win at the gym. I worked out again on Saturday, once more at 80% intensity. On Sunday, I woke up rather sore; but I woke up with the ability to workout harder on Monday rather than over-tired and in need of more time off.

It's all one long workout.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Battling The Lucky

I think if you play cards long enough, there are a certain few individuals that you simply have a hard time beating at the tables. They own you. Either through luck or through skill, you can never seem to show down a winner against them.

After fully boycotting the "s" word, I took my battered immune system to Gucci Rick's last night. The game had been on a two week hiatus due to lack of players and I was not going to sit idle and let the game die. It turns out pretty much everyone there was getting over some kind of cold as each pot was contested in a cacophony of hacks and coughs. I felt like I was one of the healthiest ones there. Otis of course was feeling fit and hardy since he'd quarantined himself for the past three weeks. Smart man.

A new entry to the Gucci Game, but an old time player from the era of the Gaelic Game, showed up last night. Mean Dean the Drawing Machine. I'll never forget the pot I lost to him probably over a year ago when I rivered a set of Aces, but lost to his just-completed straight draw. He played the hand aggressively and took the action away from me and then pushed on the river. It was a large pot and I had a ton of trouble putting him on a hand for whatever reason. Some hands stick with you over a long enough period of time and that was one of them.

So it was not without trepidation that I entered any pots with him last night. Luckily for me, I had position sitting two to his left. It took three tries, but eventually I did win a hand against him, but not without any BadBlood patented statistically improbable hands.

On hand #1, I called a raise from Dean with JhTh. The flop came AcKhQh. Not bad for my hand. I had the nuts and a re-draw to the uber-nuts. Now the question is, is this hand safe to slow-play? What if I told you my opponent had K8o? I took a gamble and just smooth called the flop lead out. The turn paired the Ace and it went check-check. The King on the river prompted me to fold face up. I run goot.

On hand #2, we got it all in on the turn. I had AcQc, with a QhQd9c8c board. Dean had KsQs. The eight on the river made it a chop pot.

Then finally, my AA held up against Deans TT wherein he had half his stack in pre-flop and the rest in post-flop. I dodged a two-outer and finally won a hand against him.

Without doubt, I do feel snakebit against certain players, Dean being one of them. I'm hoping he returns to the Gucci Game - even though I have trouble winning pots against him, he's a great guy with a lot of gamble in his game. Those characteristics are always welcome at one of the few remaining home games I get to play in.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Five Crackers

How good do you run? Not like me, that's for sure.

Saturday was the first day in a couple of weeks that I felt pretty decent. I went to mini's 9AM basketball game and then took the family to lunch. I drove with the windows down, because in G-Vegas, sometimes February hits 65.

The Mrs. managed to find a place for both kids to stay that night, each at one of their friend's houses. We decided we'd go to dinner. I even had a drink. With alcohol.

Things took a turn for the worse not soon after.

We got home and got a phone call. My daughter had a fever and didn't feel well, so the Mrs. went to pick her up. We all went to bed and slowly, but ever so surely, my dinner decided that normal digestion processes were out of the question.

I laid down in bed and the mere thought of what I had for dinner made waves of nausea rise and crash against my weakened body. I'm a trooper though and rarely vomit. I figured I could sleep it off. Sleep? Did someone say sleep?

I awoke at 7:30 am and did my duty to God and Country. It wasn't pretty. I stumbled back to bed and went to sleep again.

I awoke at 9:30 am and did my duty to God and Country. It was less pretty. I stumbled back to bed and went to sleep again.

I awoke at 12:30 and managed to drink some water with ice chips. I lasted until about 2:30pm and went back to bed for more sleep.

I awoke at 6:30pm and had some diet Canada Dry ginger ale and 5 saltine crackers. I lasted until 9pm. Crash. Back to sleep.

I awoke at 7am this morning. Feeling better, but not 100%, I willed myself to work with a box of saltines and some Lipton Diet Green Tea.

There's a game tonight at Gucci Rick's. I'm gonna fucking play in that game if it kills me.

What's next? Measles?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Less Human Than Human

I will have completed a full week of work by the end of today - no small feat given last week's mega-illness. Thinking back with the wife for a while, we determined that 1994 was the last time I had the flu.

During this last two week period, I've basically done nothing. I've missed three live game opportunities and I am suffering major withdrawal. I've played a ton online and, believe it or not, have been winning, even if only a little bit. I've lost contact with all my friends and the best I can do for my family is be conscious during the evening hours. Thursday was the first night I got home from work and didn't have to take a nap.

I envision a weekend of nothing during which the highlight will be the Full Tilt Iron Man freeroll. Captain Bronze is here.

My advice to you youngin's out there. Don't get sick.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Overheard at the Doctor's

"Wow you look like you feel awful." Nurse to BadBlood
"At least your eyes are working OK." BadBlood to Nurse

"This won't be the most uncomfortable thing I've done to you, but you will feel some discomfort." Doctor to BadBlood right before inserting several inches of swab up each nostril, likely referring to it not being as bad as a prostate exam.

"That was one of the most rapidly converging positive influenza tests I've seen." Doctor to BadBlood, obviously unfamiliar with my leet skillz with initial guesses and Jacobians.

Ultimate Un-Fun

....or how I am "so sick." But not like Kenny Tran.

I'm home from work again today for the 3rd consecutive day. My fever was 102 this am and I woke up at 9am drenched in my own sweat. I suppose it's better than being drenched in someone else's, but that's really all I got going for me right now. Yes, I am finally going to the doctor's today.

I haven't had the flu in probably around 20 years, which is why I never get shots for it each winter. In yet another sign of my ever increasing age, I ain't what I used to be.

Me + Flu = Teh Suck