Tuesday, August 31, 2004

No Cruise for You!

The PSO Poker Criuse Freeroll went off last night, I wish I could say without a hitch.

It started when I got home and logged in one hour before the tourney. I also joined the chat room from PSO and people were freaking out. It seems when Party Poker created the tournament, they made it a freeroll instead of a restricted freeroll. OOPS! As soon as registration opened, non PSO people started registering for the tourney. The poor freeroll starved Party Poker people were JUMPING at the opportunity to play for a free Cruise. OUR FREE CRUISE. After about 15 minutes and 300 people registering, the Party Poker staff canceled the whole thing, and re-created it correctly before the kickoff.

The only other technical glitch was when it went to hand-to-hand with 50 players left, instead of 40. The payouts started at 30, so when 50-40 went out, it took forever as all tables had to wait for play to complete at all tables. But when it was 40 left, it resumed normally. So someone could "theoretically" stall their way into the money. Nobody did though, as most of these folks know each other from the PSO forum.

I really wanted to beat a user called "bouncer" who logs on to Party Poker as IGotASet. I did manage to finish higher than him, but He finished 30th, just barely in the money and I finished 21st, the highest spot to make EXACTLY the same amount as 30th. Oh well. At least I got done at a decent hour so I could get 5 hours of sleep before going to work.

It was the tightest freeroll I have ever been in. I barely saw a showdown the entire night. I never caught much in the way of cards all night. I got KK once on the Big Blind, but the table folded around to me before I could even attempt a raise. The small blind folded to me at least a half dozen times, even when I had 92o. I stole the blinds from the button with King high a few times, and went all in with a naked ace quite a few times too. Every time, it was folded to me.

Finally someone called me when I tried to steal the blinds with king high. I had KQo and got called with ATs. Neither of us improved and I went out 21st. I probably could have folded the button and lasted at the very least until 20th place, almost definitely higher, for more money. But I thought I could steal and it was a good percentage play that backfired. C'est la vie.

KingLucky busted out fairly early, in the 160's I think. He took a big lead on me from the beginning when he held 88 and the board flopped KT8. He re-raised MSOCougar all in and got called because Cougar held KT. MSOCougar finished just in front of me, 20th place despite this bad beat.

KingLucky took a tough blow when he held KK against AA. It knocked him down to around T1400, about the same as what I had. But he went a little bit on tilt and went all in with QJ and got out drawn. I think he knows better than to put his tournament life on the line with top pair and a decent kicker, but there were still a couple of crazy players left, and sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Minor tilt, and I think KingLucky was still in the freeroll mentality.

I was definitely NOT in a freeroll mentality on this game. I played it like I payed $1000 entry fee. It's really important to me that I put in a decent showing to these people. I spew poker advice contantly on PSO's forums, and I want to back that up with some decent poker play when they can actually see me. I think I have done at least that, cashing in both PSO freerolls so far, in addition to TGCs rookie freeroll that a lot of those folks played in. I also bubbled out on both Forum Challenges in which I represented PSO, but I did beat thousands of players to get to the bubble.

My multi play continues to improve. I'm playing more and more "foxy" and less "bricky". I still look for the opportunity to play VERY weak opponents, but fortunately for me there's plenty of them around. I adjusted to this very tight environment well, capitalizing on fold-ready opponents to keep myself alive for a long time. A few better decisions and a couple of better hands would have put me at the final table.

Monday, August 30, 2004

"Here Comes The Pain"

The Poker Cruise tournament from PokerSourceOnline.com is tonight. I'm very excited about it. I have played against these players 3 times before with considerable success. I like the field, I like the format. I like my chances. Not necessarily to win the cruise, but to place in the money. There's $1500 to split amongst the top 30 or 40 who don't win the cruise.

KingLucky is registered for the tourney too, so I figured that doubles my chances. I don't know who else he'd take on a cruise besides me, so I hope he wins. I told him if he wins he has to take me, and if I win I'm going to take my wife. He said "Screw you, if I win, I'm taking your wife."

I have been playing in a lot of freerolls in preparation for this tourney. Most of the players are not very good, and it is a freeroll after all. Hopefully most players will be taking it more seriously than your everyday $250 freeroll, but you have to know some won't. There will be crazy all-ins on the first hand, no question. My usual strategy is to play super tight the first hour, then ruin the clutch by speed shifting into super aggressive after the first hour. If you can stay at the same table for a long time, this is a very effective way to play. The psychos will be long gone, and the tighties left will believe your image as a GRANITE STONE. Many blinds to be stolen, at a time when they become worth stealing. In limit tourneys I always try to make a steal when the blinds reach 25/50 or 50/100 because the sudden increase of having to call that extra 50/100 usually shocks a tight player into folding. It's a good way for me to find out what kind of competition I am against. I did this effectively in the limit tourney I played last night. I bubbled out of the final table, but managed to cash in 11th place. First 30 places paid.

For the first time EVER I misread an online hand. I thought I had A4s when I in fact had A5s. When 4 flopped and another came on the turn, I thought I was golden. I raised on the river and got called by TJ. When he won with a pair of Jacks I said "What the...." and then looked at my cards again and saw the A5 of hearts. It was inches away from where I was focused, and I didn't see it. It's happened to me in the casino, and in a home game too, but this is the first time I've misread online. Made me very uncomfortable. I will have to be rested for the tourney tonight.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Poker Theory? Here?

Friday is a bad morning to go out and read blogs. I guess nobody posts in their blogs on Thursday, or maybe Thursday night is a bad night for poker in general. I know I got bounced out of my freeroll (I did make the money, but just barely) on a bad play.

Instead of rehashing that, I thought I'd post a comment from the forum at PokerSourceOnline.com. The original poster didn't really ask a question, but I thought I'd give him an answer anyway:

so i was playing partypoker tonight and i flop top pair or T's with my AT. Two spades out there so i bet 2 bucks, one dude raises me to 5 and i call. Next is an under card of spades, i bet 5 bucks, he goes all in with 2 more. Of course i call... he ended up having the flush. So i kind of bitched about the horrible play... reraising with a flush draw... i mean comeon he's a 3 to 1 dog at least.

Amazingly enough i get called an idiot for thinking so. Everyone was saying reraising is a good move.. does anyone else actually agree? My theory is if you're gonna call you want to put the least amount of money in the pot as possible before you make your hand. They were saying this way you have two possible ways to win, me folding and picking up the flush. I think they're just fish getting on my nerves.

Funny how everyone that makes a play you don't agree with is a "fish" isn't it? It doesn't occur to most people that they were actually making a legitimate play, and they're such a fish they don't see it.

Here's my response:

First of all, he raised you, he didn't re-raise. Re-raise is what you should have done.

Raising a flush draw is not as dumb a move as you might think. It's called "betting the come" and it's a legitimate play. It accomplishes a couple of things. It's a semi-bluff. If he has put you on a mediocre hand, he might take the pot down right there. Secondly, he is throwing you off the fact that he is on a flush draw. By disguising his play, he is increasing his expected pot odds if he hits his flush. Also, sometimes when you raise after the flop on a draw, you can get the river for free when the player checks the turn to you because you raised.

When you say "You should always just call on a flush draw" you should know your mistake right there. You can't "always" do something, or everyone will "always" know what you are doing.

The real question is, when he raised, if you felt like you had the best hand and he made a horrible play, why didn't you re-raise him back? Because you didn't have a great hand. He got this information from you by raising you.

To quote Scott Fischman in the most obvious "DUH" statement on the WSOP: "Maybe I still have something to learn about this game." You think?

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Party Poker Insanity

I played PL$25 Hold 'Em last night, and I had forgotten how INSANE the Party Poker tables are. It seemed like every table I was at had some morons raising the max at every street with a draw. If there were two suited cards on the flop, you could count on at least one idiot raising $30-$40-$50 with no hand, just a 35% draw.

I bought in for $10 and cleared $180 in about 2 hours. You just keep doubling up on these idiots. If the third suited card comes, just shut it down. You know what they have. A lot of the time it was two idiots, BOTH with flush draws. I saw Ace high win a HUGE pot (+$100) because two morons raised until they were all in on the same flush draw. One had AK of spades, the other had J8.

The ultimate moron was a player named Ms_Melissa. She won a $115 hand when I sat down at my first table of the evening, and proceeded to lose $290 in the next hour. She l0st the $115 in the next three hands, holding quality cards like 72o in middle position. She hit two pair on the flop but was behind the whole way when someone had trip 4s and caught the fourth 4 on the river. I bet I saw her play 150 hands that night, and folded 2 of them pre-flop. She tried to bluff at every orphan pot. She won A LOT of them, but they were usually $2-$3. Then she would bluff at the pot and when someone re-raised, she would pay them off, usually to the tune of $50 or so. You gotta steal a lot of $2 pots to make up for $50 payoffs, and she did it by rebuying, rebuying, rebuying.

Here's one example. I held QQ on the button and raised $2 pre-flop. Three of the limpers called me, including the above mentioned genius. Flop was Q23 rainbow. It was checked to me and I was glad there was no flush draw. I knew Ms_Melissa would buff eventually so I checked. The turn was the case Queen and I cursed the fact that there was no flush draw. It checked around to me again and I again checked, not fearing any kind of out-draw. The river was a 6, and FINALLY Ms_Moron bet the pot. A steal? I raised for my entire stack. She quickly called...with JACK SIX. She thought I was bluffing? She had Queens and sixes with a Jack kicker, and she calls an all-in bet. What beats her? A 6 and anything higher than a Jack. A pair of 7s or higher. Any queen. Oh yeah, and my TWO QUEENS.

You have to love idiots like this. I still don't think I'm a very good poker player. I can't beat very good players. Thank goodness for party poker. You don't have to be very good. You can just be barely average and look for the right situations. USE THAT FISH FINDER PEOPLE. If you play at Party, read this and don't add Ms_Melissa, you're crazy.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I guess this is an OKAY call...

From the intertops tourney I was in last night:

***** Hand History for Game 860868881 *****
50/100 TourneyTexasHTGameTable (NL) (Tournament 5336823) - Thu Aug 19 21:53:34 EDT 2004
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: SNOWTWINS (2690)
Seat 2: c47aviator (1828)
Seat 3: AA889d (1330)
Seat 4: DARIU327 (750)
Seat 5: JOHN5658 (735)
Seat 6: J1065670 (2110)
Seat 7: DuggleBogey (1875)
Seat 8: MFNGOODSON (1065)
Seat 9: M2912153 (715)
Seat 10: ChaostiKA (720)
SNOWTWINS posts small blind (25)
c47aviator posts big blind (50)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to DuggleBogey [ Jd, As ]
AA889d folds.
DARIU327 folds.
JOHN5658 folds.
J1065670 calls (50)
DuggleBogey calls (50)
M2912153 folds.
ChaostiKA folds.
c47aviator checks.
** Dealing Flop ** : [ Td, Ks, 9s ]
c47aviator checks.
J1065670 checks.
DuggleBogey checks.
** Dealing Turn ** : [ Qd ]
c47aviator checks.
J1065670 bets (50)
DuggleBogey raises (200) to 200
c47aviator folds.
J1065670 raises (300) to 350
DuggleBogey raises (1625) to 1825
DuggleBogey is all-In.
J1065670 calls (1475)
** Dealing River ** : [ 6s ]
Creating Main Pot with $3825 with DuggleBogey
** Summary ** Main Pot: 3825 Board: [ Td Ks 9s Qd 6s ]
SNOWTWINS balance 2665, lost 25 (folded)
c47aviator balance 1778, lost 50 (folded)
AA889d balance 1330, didn't bet (folded)
DARIU327 balance 750, didn't bet (folded)
JOHN5658 balance 735, didn't bet (folded)
J1065670 balance 4060, bet 1875, collected 3825, net +1950 [ Js Ts ] [ a flush, king high -- Ks,Js,Ts,9s,6s ]
DuggleBogey balance 0, lost 1875 [ Jd As ] [ a straight, ten to ace -- As,Ks,Qd,Jd,Td ]
MFNGOODSON balance 1065, didn't bet (folded)
M2912153 balance 715, didn't bet (folded)
ChaostiKA balance 720, didn't bet (folded)

He did have a straight, although not the highest possible, and he had a flush draw, also not the nut. He might have thought I had two pair and he had me beat, or maybe he did know I had a higher straight and might catch a spade.

Honestly, I wasn't even looking at a possible flush. I knew I had the nut at the time and was delighted to have someone call my all in.

Very disappointing, considering I had the Ace of spades so he only had ~15% chance of catching that spade.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Added a Counter

I added a counter to the page this morning. It was easier than I thought it would be. First one was free...

I only played for about 10 minutes last night. I logged onto IntertopsPoker and saw I was just 9 raked hands short of a big tourney at the end of the month, so I thought I would play. But I really had the wrong mood going to play. I went all in on the first hand and out kicked a guy with my AQ over his Q9. But blew it all later when I overplayed TT against AA.

At least I realized I was in the wrong mood to be playing right away and limited my losses to $10. My stomach was upset so I laid down for a while instead of playing. The crazy sleep schedule for the weekend probably had something to do with it.

Monday, August 16, 2004

33 hours of poker and driving.

This weekend I put down the mouse and travelled to Kansas City for some real LIVE poker. I do this around once a month. Luckily I have a friend in KC that hosts a home game once a month and invites me to stay at his house. He plays online using the name KingLucky. He's a degenerate gambler just like me, so after his home game we go to the Casino for some live poker and other games.

I usually leave home around noon and drive for five hours to KingLucky's house. He cooks some food and everyone brings side dishes and desserts. They joke that it's really just Men's bunco night, which I guess it really is. Dealer's choice poker follows, with 6 or 7 players. $.25 max raise usually, but we play Iron Cross for $2 max match and Limit Hold Em or Omaha with $.25/.50 limits. The pots can be decently sized, and a player can Win or Lose $25 - $30 in a night if he plays every hand like a nut. I dropped quite a bit which is unusual for me in this game, but I sold a lot of change to a player that only brought bills, so I think I actually fared okay. Maybe lost less than $10. Last month I cleaned up at the home game, maybe making $20 but got killed for $200 at the Casino. If I had to choose I'd rather lose at KingLucky's and win at the Ameristar. The most notable hand of the night was when I got two pair in my hand in Iron Cross and matched one of the cross cards for a full house, before the hidden cards were even exposed. And the boat didn't hold up. Both other players that stayed in said "I have a bigger boat." One was KingLucky, who was lying, the other wasn't and took the $6 pot.

The home game usually breaks up around Midnight, but this time I had to ask if we could end it because I wanted to head to the casino. Out of the seven original players, one had busted out very early, his last dime going on AA in Texas Hold 'Em. Two more called it a night just after midnight, but the last three wanted to keep playing. KingLucky had a qualifier tournament online at noon, less than 12 hours away and might want to sleep for a couple of hours before then, so we set a time limit of 7am at the Casino. Since we wouldn't get there until 1am even if we quit then, I had to break up the game. I don't like playing 4 handed anyway, you just pass the same $1.50 around the table usually.

For the first time in my life, I walked into the poker room at the Ameristar and got a seat without putting my name on the list. Not only that, but KingLucky and I got to sit at the same table. The reason is the recent poker boom. You'd think that would make it tougher to get a seat, but since Harrahs and The Isle of Capri both opened poker rooms, a lot of the Ameristar regulars are trying out the new digs. But KingLucky has a preferred player status at Ameristar which gets us preferred parking, and gets us into the Players Club that has free food and free drinks after noon. So we stick with the lady that brought us, the only place I have ever played poker in a casino, the Ameristar in Kansas City.

KingLucky and I sit right next to each other, which is more fun. The table seemed immediately fishy, with one whale at the end of the table. I'm not talking about a big money player, I'm talking about a guy that weighed as much as a whale. I feared for the safety of his chair. There was an open seat next to him when I went to sit down, but no way was I getting close to that guy.

I played tight and tried not to raise pre-flop, as it accomplishes nothing in this game except notify the table that you've got a big hand. On the second hand I held K3o on the big blind which hit a King for top pair on the flop, I stupidly held it even though an ace came on the turn and I knew an ace would stay past the flop unassisted. My rationale was that I didn't want to fold to his bet (I checked when the Ace came on the turn) and let them think they could run over me all night. I hit a few good hands soon after that including a Q9s that flushed on the turn. It folded to me on the river so there was no showdown. I had hoped my weak play early would earn me some calls, but apparently I was getting some respect I didn't want.

My best hand of the night was JJ on a kill. I raised pre-flop, because raising $6 pre-flop usually works much better to thin the field at a $3/6 game. Two players stayed with me. The flop was all unders. The turn paired a 3 on the board, and the river brought the third 3, completing my boat. I amazingly got called to the river by both players, so I tripled by $36 investment.

Worst played hand was against KingLucky. We usually don't butt heads much when we play, because if one of us bets against the other it's easy for us to fold. I should have known he had me, but I walked into a bear trap. I held KQs on the big blind and he raised in first position. I called and hit a King on the flop. When I bet and he raised, I thought he was bluffing a JJ or QQ on me, so I called, and we were heads up. I called his turn and river bets and he turned KK . I was kind of happy to pay him because I was way up and it brought him back to even, maybe even up a few dollars.

Strangest hand of the night was my Q10s in early position. I limped in but got raised by a big black guy at the end of the table. He had only been there for a little while, but it seemed like he played a lot of pots he had no business being in. The flop was 6610 and I checked. Blackfish bet $3 and got called by a nice older man across the table from me. I called, but thought to myself "The guy across the table has Ace-Ten, why are you in this pot?" but I already had $6 in the pot and it was only $3 more to see another card. My reward was another 10, and his kicker lost all significance. I checked and Blackfish bet $6. Older man gave me an odd look and raised to $12. I called and Blackfish called too. The final card was a 4 and I bet $6, sending a clear signal to Older Man that I had a boat. Blackfish raised to $12 and Older guy looked at me. I said "There's only four 10's in the deck, right?" and he raised to $18. I thought "no way that guy has sixes" and capped at $24. Blackfish and Older Man called and I turned my 10's full of 6's. Older Man turned his 10's full of 6's and joked "But I have the ace." Nice read by me! We both half-stand to see Blackfish's cards, and he flips over presto. 55? He called a $24 river bet with two pair 10's and 6's with a 5 kicker? The dealer says "10's and 6's with an ace kicker" and starts sliding the chips to Older Man. Even the Older Man said "Woah, I was just kidding about the Ace." It only took the dealer a second to realize it was a split pot and started counting the chips, which were in a pretty big pile after three players nearly capped twice.

I played for almost four hours, ending up +$171 for the session, or 27BB. KingLucky and I played some of his favorite Let It Ride quarter machines and then shot craps until 6am. We ate breakfast at the restaurant and headed for KingLucky's. I slept on his couch for about 3 hours and then watched him play a WPT qualifier with about 2600 players. He played well and finished 52nd, but the tournament was winner take all.

I headed back to Oklahoma just before 4:00pm, and got home before 9:00pm, even without speeding. Door to door in 33 hours, with a lot of poker in between.

Friday, August 13, 2004

TGC makes a comeback

Apparently the stink I made about The Gaming Club in the PokerSourceOnline.com forum had some effect, because they came back with a bit more than "We looked into it, and are going to do nothing." They did agree that I did not disconnect at any time, but also said there was no evidence of a software problem. That leaves only two possibilities, that I folded by accident or on purpose. Neither of these happened. Folding on purpose with QQ would be SHEER STUPIDITY. I am willing to play QQ at a loose table for less than my full stack EVERY HAND. Even if I had folded accidentally, it would have had to make it around the table to me in order to fold, and the option never even appeared on my screen. All that came up was "You are on break." I had to look up the history to find out what happened.

On top of this they say there is no evidence in chat that anything strange happened. WHAT? Except for all the people at my table saying "What happened?" and "That was strange," and "It happened at the other table too."

So either they never looked, or they missed something completely obvious. Their choice, either they are liars or they are stupid.

But I did go back on my promise to cash out and never play there again. I'm not going to cash out until I receive delivery confirmation on my table top, which is long overdue. According to them I have 605 raked hands, but they are three days behind in their report to PSO. They are claiming to have database problems. This doesn't fill me with confidence as a player there that they can't handle the hand traking system. Can they handle the money tracking system? Am I going to log in there tomorrow and see all my money gone, just like a lot of people logged in and saw their promotion points gone?

I did play there again. A $2+.25 freezeout tourney. I like the freezeouts because the rebuy-addin tourneys are so crazy. I had a lot of jobs to run on the computer that required attention every half hour, so I wanted something that would consume a lot of time.

And boy did it! It took 3 hours and 20 minutes but I managed to come in 3rd. I bouced around a lot late, and even had the chip lead when my 77 was cracked by 66 which spiked SATAN on the flop. 666 took me down to 50k in chips against two 200k stacks.

Still $60 payoff for a $2.25 buy-in is a great ROI, especially since I got half the work done I needed to. TGC account up to $330 from the initial buy in of $100, plus a theoretical poker table top.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

One Hand Per Player

It's actually a rule, you can't give a player advice in chat. Nobody plays by the rules in online poker.

In a freeroll at IntertopsPoker.com, I am in the small blind with Q10o. 11 left in the tourney, I am small stack with 10k in chips, 5 players at the table. The other table has 6 players, all with less than 10k in chips. I would be pushing that table around, but instead I am being pushed around by all the players with more than 20k at my table. Damned luck.

It's folded to me with my Q10o, and I raise, just doubling from T600 to T1200. BB calls, he's pretty comfy with 25k in chips. And, I should mention, a total moron. He had just won his all in when he called with A5 on a KQ3 flop. Turn 4 and River 2 makes his miracle A-5 straight good against Kings and Queens. I can smell the tuna over my ethernet connection.

Flop is 10s8d3c. I got TPTK, so I bet 600. Call. Turn is a rag, 1200 bet, he calls. River another rag, I bet another 1200, he raises to 4000. Warning bells go off, but I go all in with my last 1,500 or so. He is thinking REALLY REALLY hard. Timer is up.

Everyone at the table is saying "Call! Call! You're pot committed! It's only another 1,500!"

This is explicitly against the rules. Of course he should call, even with Ace high, but this guy is just dumb enough to fold. But he takes the advice and calls with his 83, knocking me out in 11th place after 3 hours.

I remind the table of the "one hand, one player" rule, and they start going off like I was a moron or something. Freerolls. Feh. Willing to cheat to win, when they aren't even risking anything. Why does it feel like everyone on the internet is 12 years old?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

TGC comes up EMPTY

As expected, The Gaming Club was a no-show when it came to explaining what happened to me in their rookie tournament. Despite the evidence that I sent them that I, nor anyone else disconnected when the hand just suddenly ended and a break was started, and despite the same complaints coming from both tables at the same time, they chose to blame it on MY INDIVIDUAL internet connection and say "So sorry, take your $100 and shut the fuck up."

So I am through with them. I will take my $270, my free poker table, my $40 in bonus earnings, and carry my business elsewhere.

Why is it so difficult for these people to understand that money lost, even in a freeroll tournament, is still money? Why can't the understand that problems that occur in freeroll tournaments are indicative of the overall quality of the site? Why don't they understand that the poker community is an intelligent and chatty group of people who will communicate problems like this amongst themselves, and they will get a reputation as an unreliable site?

Now for the good news. PokerSourceOnline.com has taken it upon themselves to make things right, even though they will be doing so out of their own pockets. They gave me 5,000 FFP points which amounts to a $50 gift certificate from Amazon or Best Buy. These guys are really incredible. I'm having a difficult time understanding how they stay in business with all the giveaways and refunds they dole out. But I am happy they are, and I hope they are successful as hell. I will do anything I can to help them be successful, because I believe they treat people with the respect they deserve. They even treat people well who don't deserve respect at all. People who are rude and destructive. People that accuse them of dishonesty. They're really incredible. Anyone reading this should join up with them. NOW.

Use DuggleBogey in the referral field and I will split the bonus with you.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Worst play ever

I think I saw the worst play ever on a table at TGC this weekend. I was barely in the hand, I can't even remember what I held, probably low suited connectors or something.

The flop was AKJ of hearts. The betting is pretty stiff, I folded quickly. The turn was the 3 of hearts. More betting, three players left. Last position is a player named 11maniak, but he was playing pretty calmly. The river was the 10h. Player one checks, player two bets $1 into a $20 pot and 11maniak, who just called on the turn, calls. Player one folds.

11maniak turns over the q of hearts to take the pot with A ROYAL FLUSH. I can almost understand the call on the turn, since he had the nut flush and wanted to keep as many players in as possible. But not raising in position with a RF? The only explanation I can come up with is that he didn't realize he held the RF. When I asked him in chat why he didn't bet that hand, he never responded. Either he had chat off, was ignoring me or doesn't know how to work a keyboard.

Anyway, that's the level of competition you can expect at The Gaming Club.

Another example. QQ (death hand) in early position. I raise the max (PLHE) and get three callers (!) flop is a jack high rainbow. I bet the max again, and all three call. Now I am worried about someone flopping trip Jacks. The turn alleviates those worries when the Queen of Spades falls. It's the second spade though, so I bet the pot to try and get any of the ZILLION TGC flush chasers out. One caller. River spade and I check to the one player left, who puts me all in. I call to see his 84 of spades. $35 chasing runner runner spades, 8 high. Two hands later someone catches a card on him, and he complains "You're lucky." What?!?!

I did have a wonderful freeroll on Sunday. Wonderful fun, even though I didn't finish in the money. I held 88 and made a moderate raise, called by a player named AApocketAA. Now, you might not have noticed, but anyone that has a "pokery" type of nickname in a poker room is generally a bad player. The flop was K of spades 57 of hearts. I call a small bet and the turn is a 6 of hearts. One of my eights is a heart, so I have an open ended SF draw. AApocketAA makes a big bet, and I call. An offsuit 9 comes and I bet big. AApocketAA calls, shows his KQo and says "nice catch."

Nice catch? "Good play you mean." He says "No, you got lucky." I said "Count my outs."

He didn't even know what I meant by "count my outs." An open ended SF draw is more likely to make a straight, a flush or a straight flush than it is to miss. Calling with an open ended SF draw is an AUTOMATIC move. But AApocketAA wouldn't hear of it.

I folded a lot of hands in a row after that. I even got the hammer twice. I commented that I kept getting the hammer, and one player asked me what the hammer was. I said "Doyle," I refused to call him AApocketAA because that's such a gay name and he was obviously an expert at Texas Dolly's level, "explain to WarEagle what the hammer is." His expert reply? "A hammer is what you use to drive nails into doors."

After much humiliation like this, I finally play a hand. 89s on my big blind. Doyle raises, just because it is my BB and he sees me playing tight. He wants to steal. I like playing 89s so calling the raise is easy, especially because he only riased to 600 and my stack is around 3,400. Doyle is sitting with 3,200. The flop has two spades, which is fortunate, because my 89 are spades. One of them is a King, which is also fortunate, because Doyle has a king. I check, and Doyle bets another 600. Easy chase, considering the implied odds. The implied odds are increased by the fact that Doyle DESPERATELY wants to beat me. The turn is my flush card, and I check again. Doyle goes all in. I call and knock him out. "BTW WarEagle, the hammer is a 72."

Friday, August 06, 2004

The Universe Conspires Against Me

I was really cranked about Poker yesterday. I was sitting pretty in my PSO promotion, and ready to take full advantage of the Rookie Freeroll Tournament at The Gaming Club.

I started pretty soon after arriving home. I told the wife I was excited about the Tourney, there was only about 250 people entered and I really liked my chances. Plus I would get the chance to compete with some of the PSO players and hopefully impress them with my vast poker skills. She was excited for me and (so I thought) happy that I was enjoying my hobby.

I made some small change at the ring games while warming up for the main event, and really got into a groove early in the tournament. By the first break I was second in chips, flirting with the lead constantly. If I held high cards, I would hit every flop. AJo produced a Jack, AKs would flop two pair. I wasn't dominating every hand, but when I chose to play things seemed to work out well.

After the first break, my wife kind of wanders into my computer room and asks "Do I have a place in your life anymore?"


I'm in the middle of something I have told her, repeatedly, is very important to me, and I am obviously concentrating hard on it, and she has to come right into the middle and start talking about our "relationship?"

Anyway, I deal with her, pretty rudely, and go back to my tournament. Its still in the back of my head, however. "Why the fuck would she choose now to jump my shit about poker? Of all the million times she could have come in, I could have just left the ring game I was in and I could have done all that reassuring BULLSHIT that husbands have to do once in a while."

Things still progress pretty well in the tournament. I make it to the final two tables. 20th place is a pretty critical spot, because 20th pays $50 and 19th-10th pays $100. I'm dealt QQ just before the break. "Good" I think. I can pick up some chips here and be in good shape for the stretch run. I am around T15000 and bet T8000. I still want to be able to dump out in case of a disaster flop and hold on for the extra $50. A player in front of me raised to 14K, which I could barely cover, and I was preparing to call him. I would still have 1K and would fold to any Ace or King flop.

Suddenly the hand ends and we are on break. It folded me automatically and took my 8k. There was no internet lag, no timeout warnings or anything. Just bang, you lose. The player who raised said "What happened? I didn't want to raise."

So now I am crippled, 7k in chips. To make matters worse I doubled through when the big blind reached me. Had I won the hand with QQ, which is likely, I might have doubled up near the chip leaders, or even higher. That's not certain of course, but now I will never know.

Things like this happen to me WAY too often in online tournaments. It's as if someone came up to your table in a B&M tourney and grabbed 8k in chips and gave them to your opponent. Nobody would stand for it, there would be pandemonium. But online, people go "It happens, get over it."

It shouldn't happen. This is a Rookie Freeroll. It's for all the new players. If this is how things work in tournaments on their site, if their software is THAT SHITTY, how can they expect that to make these "rookies" want to stay and play more? When playing in a tournament, things are made THAT much harder for them to win. They have to deal with all the other players, stupid calls and suck outs from hell, you also have this little glitch that can ruin your otherwise perfect play?

No. I simply will not tolerate it. I know there are people out there that think I'm a jerk because this was a FREE tournament and I did end up with $100. But my pride was at stake, and I was beaten by a fellow PSO player who was BEHIND me at the time of the glitch. It made me look bad, and I will do everything I can to make TGC look bad unless they go to extraordiary lengths to make this right.

I have sworn to never deposit money in another Poker Site because of their intolerable software problems, and I will probably end up doing it again with TGC. I don't anticipate them doing anything special for me. I'm sure their attitude will be "It was free, you made money, go fuck yourself."

We will see, they have 48 hours. I will try to finish the promotion this weekend in turbo mode, and it may be the end of TGC.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Poker Blogs

One of the hardest things about poker blogging is that there are so many poker blogs out there to read, you can find yourself reading them INSTEAD of posting in your own. I have been reading them for about 45 minutes, and I almost got some poker stories. I DO know whether some childish poker blogger would marry Pamela Anderson if he had the chance (what kind of fantasy world are some of these morons living in?) Sometimes they are boring, sometimes interesting, and occasionally they inspire me to post in my own. I finally got to the one that inspired me, but all it really said was "A lot of poker blogs are dying." Oh well.

Things are going swimmingly at TGC. Another 50 or so raked hands last night and more than $50 in profit give me confidence that this "free" poker table might actually be "free." The "rookie" tournament is tonight at 5:00pm, so that could determine if I actually come out on the plus side of this arrangement. So far I lost a little money on the Aztec Riches Chipset deal, which I gave away, Made a little money on the Party Poker Chipset, which I kept, and won $100 in the freeroll tournament I got into by participating. So overall I am way ahead. The rookie tourney starts paying at 50 places ($20) and there were 147 people entered last time I checked. Unless the cards slap me around early, I figure $20 is almost a sure thing.

One disturbing hand from last night, in the early going. I had J9s in late position and managed to limp in. The board flopped T,8,2 rainbow and the player in front of me tossed in $1. $1 for an outside straight draw is automatic, so I call. The turn brings my queen, and I'm holding a nut straight. He bets $2 and I go all in, raising him to $8. He calls with his predictable two pair, Queens and 8s. As I'm saying "no queens, no tens, no twos," an eight hits the board and his boat flips over and the "Do you want to visit the Cashier" window pops up on my screen.

Shit. "At least it counts as a raked hand," I tell myself. Always a silver fucking lining.

The suckouts eased up however, and I won quite a few hands with questionable cards. Bottom pair holds up, nut flushes caught runner runner were the norm for me. I like the low pressure tables that will let you draw to your nut hand cheap or even free, although it makes it harder to bring in the raked hands.

I played from 4:00-6:30 and 8:00-10:30. 50 raked hands in 5 hours is like blitzkrieg pace for me, especially showing a profit too. When I crossed 300 TGC sent me a nice email notifying me of $20 added to my account, bringing me over $200. The rookie tourney will slow me down tonight, but at this rate I could have the job done by the end of next week.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Every good poker player loves ACDC

Yes, I'm Back in Black. Well, back in the black, anyway.

My raked hand efforts at TGC started out very poorly, even though I got five raked hands in my first five hands. Hand number 5 was a doozie though, when I started out on the button with QQ. QQ is kind of a death hand for me lately. KingLucky calls them "bitches" and they treat him accordingly. I think that attitude has rubbed off on me too. I generally play them like a medium pair, but I didn't want to play the TON of limpers at this PLHE table. I raised the max and to my suprise, the BB re-raised the max. I had only played 4 hands at this table and had no feel for his play, so I called, which put me all in. I was happy when the cards turned over and he held 55 vs my QQ, especially when the turn was a Q. But it was a Q of spades. Meaning I didn't hold the Q of spades in my hand. The three other spades on the board made his 5 of spades the winner, and I was busted.

I felt the need to comment. In chat I typed "Re-raise with 55?" and he said "Any PP"

Now, I normally like it when people tell me how they play in the chat window, because it usually identifies them as a pretty good player, and I can mark them as such. But I LOVE it when someone tells me how they play BADLY in the chat window. It's like opening a can of tuna fish, and everyone smells it immediately.

I sat out the next hand so I could buy back in, and was rewarded for my patience with AQs. Fishy55 raises the max (for the 3rd straight hand) and I smooth call. The flop is Q, Rag, Rag and I go all in. Not only does Fishy55 call me, but three other players do too. Nobody believes anyone anymore. Turn is an offsuit Ace and I am golden. Fishy goes bust on the next hand, obviously tilting, but he seemed to be on permanent tilt anyway.

This put me back over my buy-in, plus another positive session later that night got my total over $140, plus almost halfway to the raked hand requirement.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


TGC stands for The Gaming Club, and it's my new home. Not permanently, by any means, but until I am done with the latest PSO promotion, it is my home. I bought in for $100 last Wednesday night (or was it Thursday?) with the intention of winning a free Poker Table Top from Poker Source Online.
A pretty simple offer, but I had to go and complicate things. All you have to do is play 600 raked hands and the poker table top is yours. It's a nice piece of poker equipment, wood with felt covering, plastic drink holders and 8 spots for players. It breaks down in half and comes with a carrying case. I have been eyeing them for around $75-85 on eBay and elsewhere. When they announced this promotion, I thought about it and then just bought in on kind of an impulse. I was growing more and more bored with the Intertops Poker freerolls.
I started by playing 7-card stud. Not my best game, not even a game I was good at. My restlessness with Hold 'Em has been alleviated by Omaha Hi/Lo at Intertops and Party Poker, but TGC is a Prima Poker room (Same as Aztec Riches and Royal Vegas but with different colors) and there is no Omaha Hi/Lo, just regular Omaha. The great thing about Omaha Hi/Lo is that a lot of people stay in to see the flop, so the hands are almost always raked. And most of the pots are split, so you can really play a long time with just a little money. Long Play + all raked hands = free poker table, get it?
Well I thought 7 card stud was another good game for raked hands. I was extremely wrong. I went through a lot of cash before I realized every hand made it in just under the raked hand limit. I would have to bet the pots up myself if it were going to make the limit. "No Problem," I thought. "I can bluff a few hands, make some money too." WRONG. Stud players never fold. NEVER. There's always that guy who makes his straight or his invisible flush on the river card. So I was down a lot early on, with very few raked hands.
Raked hands work a lot differently at Prima Poker rooms than they do at Party Poker. At Party, if you are sitting at a table when a hand is dealt, and there is a rake from that hand, it counts as a raked hands. Basically if you can play 100 hands in an hour, 95 of them will be raked hands. Once I was short 120 raked hands to play in an end-of-the-month big money freeroll at Intertops poker. You needed 1500, and I had played 1380 with an hour until the deadline. I opened up 4 tables of no-limit hold em, and had 120 players and won $130 in 30 minutes.
At Prima rooms, you only get credit for a raked hand if you contribute to the rake. Since I am a fairly tight player, I fold most hands pre-flop. So raked hands are very tough to come by. If I can get 10-15 per hour, I am playing very loose. And that is part of the problem. When I am trying to get raked hands, I am more willing to play hands I might normally toss. I play all suited connectors. Probably not a bad adjustment. I'm playing all connectors. If it's not raised, I play almost any cards that reach. I'm pretty much throwing away my pre-flop bets. Then I have to hope and hope that it makes the $5 limit to be raked. Roughly half the hands I limp into and then toss when the flop isn't the miracle 3-card spread I need never make the $5 limit.
It could be worse, there are places that don't count a hand as raked if you don't see the flop. At least when I fold the big or small blind or an early call because of a raise, that usually counts as a raked hand, so long as the raiser gets a call.
So after losing my ass at 7 Card Stud, I tried some 5 Card Stud. Same result, losing my ass. And 5 Stud hands also seem to NEVER get raked.
When I was down below $30 of my initial buy in with less than 50 raked hands out of 600 required, I began to think this promotion was pointless. If I am going to lose $600 trying to win a $75 table, I'd have to be nuts. Yet I know there are people out there doing it. I vowed to not buy in again. This meant only one thing. I was going to have to play Hold Em and Hold Em only, and I was going to have to play well. I know I am capable, it just takes concentration and not letting the raked hands thing affect my game. I had to play for the money and let the hands come naturally.
I went to the $.50/1.00 Pot Limit table. I prefer to play $.25/.50, but the promotion says that you must play $.50/1.00 minimum tables. I was always confused by this, because at limit, the $.50/1.00 refers to the pre-flop and post-turn bets, where in NL/PL it refers to the blinds. Blind wise, a $.25/.50 table would be the same as a $.50/1.00 Limit table. I thought this was unfair, but I knew about it going in and figured I could deal with it.
The problem came when there are a lot fewer $.50/1.00 players at TGC. Tough to get a table. But I found one with enough players to get the raked hands in, and started working. Very tough work, but I worked my way back up to $46 in one evening, and earned another 30 or 40 raked hands.
Then I remembered: When I played at Royal Vegas they had these high dollar freerolls that had ridiculous raked hand requirements. I now am making ridiculous raked hands, I should play in them! I joined the next $3000 freeroll, starting at Midnight Saturday night. It only had 479 people in it, and 300 were gone in the first hour. I played my normal tournament tight tighter tightest, until I was in the money. It started paying 80th place, $3. Once I made the money I eyed the payout list, trying to last until the next highest level. 40th payed $4. That's a lot of players to beat for $1, but I was thinking of my raked hands. $1 means one more raked hand. I tightened down even more, making it to 40 in AMAZING speed. Maybe there are players who just play for the $3, because in 10 minutes we were down to 40. Then 30. Then 20! I was starting to get close to real money.
I was in the top 10 in cash with 11 players left when disaster struck. A player with a smaller stack than me went all in, and I had 88. I foolishly put this ultra-tight player on Ace high and called, along with another player who was all in under the ultra-tighty, who had KK. OOPS! This knocked me down into last place chip wise. I checked the payout schedule and saw that I was in for a $5 payday for 10th place. Oh well, it was free after all. I got Ace crap on the next hand and went all in with my smallest stack. Tighty called me, and I caught an ace to beat him. "Ha," I thought. "I got some of my chips back." Next hand was JQs, and I just called...with 4 other players. "Hmmm...interesting." Flop had 9, 10. I check, someone bets the smallest amount and I called. Flop 8. Jackpot. Three players all in, including mr. tighty. All had 2 pair or worse, and my wheel put me in first place with more than 127,000 chips. Even better, it knocked out two players and guaranteed me $20.
It was 3:30 in the morning by that point, and I went brain dead with a pair of 8s and got crippled, going out 5th, winning $60. I could have just posted and probably taken 2nd for $120, but the $60 put me back over my initial buy in of $100, so I was back in business.
The next day I made an astounding discovery. The $.25/.50 PL tables count toward raked hands! This was big news for me, as I am comfortable with this game.
Now I am at $89 with around 260 raked hands. I feel confident that I can make 600 in the next week or two with leisurely play, and I won't have to re-buy. If I play well, play my game and limit my mistakes, I could even come out ahead.