Odds And Ends On A Friday
Friday, March 31, 2006
Actual conversation from a Limit Stud ring game on Gaming Club last night.
The names have been changed to protect the donkeys.
Announcement: Please excuse the delay while we record the last hand.
xxxxxxx: Why would they record that hand?
Yyyyyyy: To prove what an xxx you are.
Yyyyyyy: yeah you, you xxxxxx chaser
GCox25: No, they record certain hands just to prove that on-line poker is rigged!
Xxxxxxx: Get out of here, seriously???
Xxxxxxx: It sure seems that way tonight
Yyyyyyy: it is that way all the time
GCox25: yeah, you better get yourself a tin-foil hat
Dealer: GCox25 wins $14.85 from the pot with three of a kind, Kings.
Yyyyyyy: lucky xxxxxx
GCox25: see, I bet they recorded that hand too.
Playing it by the book?
We’ve all read countless posts in the blogosphere regarding strategies for all the different on-line games that we play on a regular basis. From ring games to tourneys, short-handed to full table, fixed limit to pot limit to no limit and from Hold Em to Omaha to Stud. Some of the posts out there offer tremendous insights from players that started out with a bankroll as low as mine and played their way up to the highest limits offered at any of the poker rooms. Some of the posts are from regular guys, like me, who play the lower limits and have accidentally stumbled upon something that they think might be useful to others in the same situation. Some are from know-it-all table coaches who think they know everything there is to know about playing poker and poker strategy.
The common theme among all these posts is that the person doing the posting is sharing information that they think might be helpful to others out there toiling away. The question to each of us doing the reading is this: How much of this information is actually useful to you? It’s a bit like the overwhelming information available from a host of professional poker players who have written books regarding their “strategy” when it comes to the poker table. I recently read both Harrington On Hold Em, Volumes 1 and 2. Both of his books are fantastic strategy books for the up and coming NL tournament player. I would recommend them to anybody that plays tournaments on a regular basis. But, recommendations aside, the sheer amount of information in those two volumes could be overwhelming to a beginning poker player.
When I started this odyssey a year and a half ago, I began by playing single table SNG’s. I fancy myself a pretty good SNG player. I am very patient and normally do not play anything less than top ten hands at the outset. I have found that the patient style in a single table tourney will go a long way to getting you in the money, more times than not. After reading Harrington’s books, I went back to the tables with a renewed spirit and a bucket full of new knowledge but I had absolutely no idea how to put his advice to work for me. You have to know your pot odds, your implied odds, your “m” factor and a host of other information that is a bit overwhelming. I basically knew what he was talking about, but I had no clue how to put this information to use while I was at the table.
The first bit of information that struck me in the head, a light bulb moment if you will, was that of “position.” Your position at the table, in relation to the raiser, the blinds, etc. is one of the most important things available to you while playing a poker tournament. How many times have you limped into a pot in the small blind with K-Jo only to check and fold after a horribly low flop? Save that money, because when you are on the button with K-J and that same low flop comes out, normally it will be checked to you and you can throw out the bet that rakes the pot when the others (out of position) have to fold. I also learned more about hand selection while the whole position thing was starting to make sense to me. In other words, mediocre hands that I was folding out of position or in early position were the same hands that I was beginning to steal with from the button or late position. I’m still not a huge, gambling stealer, because it is still difficult for me to put a nice raise in the pot with mediocre cards, but I’m working on that and getting better at it all the time.
Lee Jones talks about position in his book and he says that when you are out of position, you should “look for a reason to fold.” Somebody else raised the pot before it gets back to you-that’s a damn good reason to fold a mediocre hand. There are not enough limpers ahead of you, which in turn does not offer you the pot odds to limp into the pot-another good reason to fold. The stack behind you is a maniac, capable of raising with any two cards at any time-a great reason to fold, unless you like calling big raises with mediocre cards.
At the limits I play, it is all too common for two players at a ten person table to get all their chips in the pot on the very first hand. It is amazing to me that they still have money in their accounts and are able to continue to play, despite calling all in re-raises on the first hand of a tournament with K-J or the like. Sunday night, for example, I logged onto Party Poker and quickly signed up for a $5 SNG. I am dealt A-A on the very first hand in middle position. I raise it up 5X the big blind and before it gets back to me, two people have all their chips in the middle. When Party only gave you 800 starting chips, I might have understood their moves a bit better, but not with 2000 chips. I call and my opponents turn up 9-9 and A-3 suited. Neither of them get enough help and I start the second hand of the tournament with over 6K in chips. Time to bully.
The part of table bully is a part that I am neither familiar with nor comfortable with. I am so used to playing tight, raising with good starting hands and being patient that when the opportunity arises for me to do a little bullying, I am not very good at it. The most common result for me is calling a few too many raises and taking a few too many coin flips when I know that is exactly what I will be facing. Pretty soon, my 4K chip lead is out the window and I am back to scratching and clawing my way into trying to make the money. I watch others when they get out to a big chip lead early and the way they are able to run over the table, constantly raising with any two cards, putting people to the test for all their chips and luck-boxing their way to a first place finish when they are called down. It is definitely a role I would like to be able to play, but one that I am certainly not comfortable with at this point.
Where am I going with all this? I’m just kind of rambling today, but basically what I am trying to say is this: There is a ton of good information out there in book form, blog form and in your own experience. It is up to each individual player to determine what information is useful to him and how he is going to put it into practice. Being able to take all that information and break it down into what is useful for you and what is not useful is what separates the good, winning players from the poor players, who are constantly offering up “on-line poker is rigged.” No, it isn’t rigged, dimwit, you just suck at poker!
When you have some spare time, click on any of the links in my blogroll and you are sure to be able to dig far enough through each person’s blog to find some sort of strategy post. Most of them are very good and almost all of them contain information that could help you become a better poker player. It is up to you to determine which one.
posted by GaryC @ 4:40 PM, ,
Thursday, March 30, 2006
E-Tard, my ass!
As Cowboy Troy would say, GET YOU SOME OF THAT!
posted by GaryC @ 8:20 PM, ,
I only played in four tournaments last night when I got home from work. I had my normal Stud game going at Gaming Club in the background, but during the tourneys, my luck was atrocious.
First tourney-$10 + 1 on Party-single table SNG
Down to 4 players and I’m all in with A-K against A-J. He makes a straight on the river. Bubble.
Second tourney-$5 + .50-3 table-6 Max at Ultimate Bet with TripJax.
Three places pay and we are down to four. I took one coin flip ahead (3-3 vs. A-9) and lost to double up a short stack. I end up all in with A-Q against K-J. King on the river. Bubble.
Third tourney-$10 + 1-3 table on Stars with Mowenumdown and TripJax.
This one pays four places, so I’m set right? Not! I went out in 5th with A-K. I don’t remember what the other hand was, but I was ahead when the money went in. Are you sensing a trend here. Bubble.
Last tourney of the night-Mookie’s tournament on Stars-$10 + 1 with several bloggers.
I made it to the final table along with TripJax, Katitude, SirFWalgman and 4 others. Mowenumdown took several hideous beats last night, including the one that sent us to the final table with only 8 players. I ended up bowing out in 7th I think, when my 10-10 was no match for the two-out hitter, 6-6. A six on the turn sealed my fate. Oh well, at least I didn’t bubble out of this one, just kind of close. Still a fun tourney and the chat makes these worth playing in, regardless of the outcome. Hoyazo dropped the hammer, but that was the only one I remember seeing last night.
Big announcements coming soon on DADI 5. Stay tuned for all the details or check out Poker In Arrears or High On Poker for the big announcement. It probably will be up before the time that you read this.
I’ve got some bowling to do tonight after work and mucho poker to play Friday and Saturday this weekend. It’s my Saturday to work until noon, so I will be home and looking for a game.
As most of you know, I am from Oklahoma and I am a huge Oklahoma Sooners fan. It doesn’t matter the sport, I am a Sooner fan and I always will be. Having said that, I thought I would weigh in on the Kelvin Sampson news of late.
Our ex-Head basketball coach, Kelvin Sampson has been in a bit of hot water with the NCAA infractions committee for making too many phone calls to recruits. He resigned this week to take the head coaching job at Indiana, a fabulous job in the hierarchy that is college basketball. In my opinion, one of the top 7 jobs in college basketball today, perhaps even top 5. The people in Oklahoma and even some of the national media have accused Sampson of running away from his troubles, abandoning ship, if you will.
My personal opinion of the situation varies just a bit from the over-zealous idiots that inhabit our sports-talk radio shows. First off, Indiana would have never hired Sampson if he were in serious trouble with the NCAA. Let me repeat that, NEVER! I don’t care if he made a million too many phone calls to recruits, this is not a serious infraction and every coach out there does it or he gets out-recruited every year. It’s not like he was giving them money or plane tickets, etc. In his own words, he felt like he was out-working the competition and I agree with his assessment. Should he have played by the rules? Absolutely. Was this an infraction of NCAA rules? A very MINOR infraction. I expect Oklahoma’s self-imposed penalties to be as harsh or more harsh than any penalties handed down by the NCAA investigating committee. That’s just my opinion.
To the University of Indiana fans, you have hired yourself a blue-collar, working man’s coach. A trait visible in every Sampson-coached team, minus this year, is hard work. He won a lot more games at OU with less talent than he had this year, because of one intangible, heart. The team this year had no heart, outside of Bookout. His teams in the past would scratch and claw until the final buzzer and more times than not, beat you in the end. Most of his other teams would fight to the end for him and I fully expect him to get the same results or better at IU than he did at OU.
Some say his style produces ugly basketball and that’s why OU could not fill up the Lloyd Noble Center on a regular basis. Bull-shit. The reason LNC was not full for basketball games is because OU is a football school, not a basketball school, plain and simple. He no longer has that concern. IU will be standing room only every time they take the court and that will motivate Sampson and his team more than the ghost of Bobby Knight. Wait and see, IU will be back to the Final Four before Oklahoma will, I guarantee that.
Indiana fans, you got yourself a great coach, support him and he will bring home the bacon.
That leaves us OU fans in a tough spot. Some high profile coaches have already been scooped up and we seem to have missed the boat, with the unfortunate timing of his resignation. Some of the names being tossed out there are Mark Few, from Gonzaga-not sure how much interest he would have in leaving a basketball school to come here. Mark Turgeon-Wichita State-probably the leading candidate right now, although as an OU basketball fan, it will be hard to see a former Kansas point guard on our sideline. Tubby Smith-Kentucky-Okay, I don’t know who started this rumor, but they need to lay down the crack pipe and join the real world. Tubby makes about three times what Kelvin made here and he is at the center of the universe for college basketball. This rumor made me gag, I was laughing so hard the first time I heard it.
The guy I would have loved to see get the OU job already took the Missouri job. Mike Anderson, from UAB, a former top assistant to Nolan Richardson at Tulsa and Arkansas, is doing some great things and will have them back in the hunt for the Big 12 title soon. 40 minutes of hell, indeed.
That’s all the college basketball I’ve got. Oh, one more thing, to the 8 or 10 guys/gals out there that had George Mason in the final four: Blow me!
posted by GaryC @ 3:06 PM, ,
What's The Big Deal?
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
If I want to advertise on my blog in order to generate a few extra bucks for my on-line poker addiction, what’s the big deal?
If I want to pimp a site or sites on my blog in order to cash in on a few referrals and to generate some business for a site that I not only have used, but honestly believe is doing a great job for poker players, what’s the big deal?
I’ve read a lot of material on this very subject around the poker blogosphere lately and quite frankly, I cannot figure out what the fuss is over. If the two ads that I have over in the right hand column of my blog offend you, then by all means, do not come to my blog. If the fact that I make a little, extra jack due to the fact that the ads are over there and people have signed up for those sites using my referral code offends you, don’t read my blog and/or don’t sign up for what they offer. You are the one missing out, not me.
I never intended to use this blog as a money-making tool when I first started this journey, but now that it has become available, you bet your butt, I will try to increase my revenue any way I see fit. I realize that my content has been hit and miss at best since the restrictions were installed at my work. I am working hard to remedy that, but couple the restrictions with the fact that I am busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest (no offense to any one-legged men) and that leaves me very little time to take care of my blogging business.
I’ve come to grips with the fact that my reading will pretty much all be catch-up in the evenings and on the weekends, but that still disappoints me to no end. I’ve gone from reading every blog on my blogroll every single day to trying to catch up with a large percentage of them in the evenings and on the weekends. I have not been able to make a time yet to do the kind of reading that I was able to do at work, prior to the restrictions.
I have come up with a reasonable solution to the posting problem, but it, too, is a pain in the ass. I have to type all my posts out in an e-mail to myself at home and then copy and paste it into blogger. It isn’t that it is so difficult, it’s just that when I get home from work, it is time to play poker, not spend 15-30 minutes getting a post up with the proper links, etc. I am starting to get used to it and I hope my content gets better as a result.
Back to getting paid for advertisements. I, personally, see nothing wrong with trying to make an extra buck of this thing we call our blog. Does that mean that the next time you stop by here there will be an ad-farm with bells, whistles, blinking lights and auto-links all over the place? Not a chance. Does that mean you could see a few more ads over on the right side of this page? Most definitely. If somebody approaches me about advertising on this little blog, I will most definitely listen to what they have to say. If it is a place that I already do business and am pleased with the service they provide, you will definitely see their ad on this site. Any income that I can realize as a result of this blog would be gravy. It would mean a guaranteed, albeit small, boost to my puny little bankroll every.single.month. I have absolutely no problem with that at all.
If it bothers you, either don’t stop by here or answer me this question. What’s the big deal?
posted by GaryC @ 8:31 PM, ,
Monday, March 27, 2006
First off, thanks for all the comments today on my bonus-clearing post.
I have to absolutely agree with Wes on the non-ability to play more than one table at a time while playing Stud. That is absolutely right. However, the speed of clearing the raked hands is not my main focus, moreso the ability to clear the bonus and make money at the same time without risking much of the roll is higher on my priority list.
After the weekend, I had cleared more than 100 of the 750 required hands and had posted a +51 dollar profit. THAT'S what I'm talking about.
Thanks again for the comments.
posted by GaryC @ 5:35 PM, ,
Fool-Proof Bonus Clearing
Sunday, March 26, 2006
I started another Poker Source Online promo this weekend and it appears that I have stumbled onto an excellent source to clear bonuses.
I downloaded Gaming Club poker after reading their stipulations:
750 raked hands to clear the PSO bonus.
You have to contribute to a $5.00 raked pot for the hand to count.
You have to play at a minimum of .50/1.00 to clear the bonus.
So, I deposited my money and went to work. .50/1.00 Limit Stud. If I'm not mistaken, and correct me if I'm wrong here, I contribute to every hand with the .10 ante. If two players make it to the river, which they usually do, then the hand nearly always reaches $5.00.
Does this seem to good to be true to clear bonuses or is it just me? I am contributing to every single hand and nearly every hand gets raked. I just sit back, wait for huge Stud hands and play them strongly and fold the rest of them. Can I not make money at this?
Please agree with me and tell me I've stumbled onto a gold mine at Gaming Club.
posted by GaryC @ 2:58 PM, ,
Poker Source Online
Friday, March 24, 2006
|I am registered to play in the|
Online Poker Blogger Freeroll
Win your share of $25,000 and a set
of Nevada Jacks poker chips.
Hosted By: Absolute Poker
Sponsored By: Poker Source Online
Registration Code: 28492976
If you have a blog, do yourself a favor and sign up for this freeroll offered by Poker Source Online. I have blogged on and on about their benefits and this freeroll just proves my point. They do more for their members than any site on the net.
posted by GaryC @ 7:32 PM, ,
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
This is my good buddy, Jim-Jim. The reason his picture made it to my blog has many different reasons, but recently, he cemented his stature with me even stronger than I could have ever imagined.
Jim and I have been going back to the "annual" softball trip in his home state of Kansas for about 9 or 10 years now, maybe even more than that. I know this year will be my 13th trip and this might be his 11th or 12th. Time flies when you get as old as I am. We have hung out and drank beer and swapped stories and played ball together for what seems like all our lives, at least to me. He is a great friend and I think of his family like I think of my own.
I've told the story on this blog of the "Legend of 25." Take a second to read it if you haven't seen it before, it's short. Back? Okay, I will continue. Last year, Jim's favorite baseball team, the Royals, hired my favorite player of all time as their manager. Now, to say that I obsess over the number 25 would be an understatement, I mean, I have it tattooed on my arm after all. Every jersey I own has the number 25 on it and I have even shelled out a cool $300 for an official game-worn Rockies jersey from back when Buddy managed the Rockies.
Anyway, Jim hears that the Royals caravan is coming through his town and decides to head down to a local watering hole (where I have had entirely too many shots of whiskey, by the way) and see if he can wangle an autograph for yours truly. Unknown to me, he handles this business and a few days later I get a very nice autographed picture of my idol, Buddy Bell. It is personalized and Jim also got a very nice picture of him while he was signing the card to "Dewey." That's what I go by every summer for a couple of weeks. He includes a little note that says from #14 (his number) to #25. By far one of the coolest gifts I have every received and to say thank you for that is just not enough. So, I am dedicating some of my precious blog-space to say Thanks brother, I really appreciate it.
Jim, I can never express how much that token means to me, but I think you already know. I've already framed it and it is sitting on my computer desk awaiting space in "the room" if I ever get it. Thanks again and the beers are on me in a month and a half. I absolutely cannot wait.
posted by GaryC @ 8:40 PM, ,
I got home last night from the bowling alley (236, 270, 178-don’t ask) and I was itching for a game. I IM’ed TripJax and he was done for the night. I pinged Jordan and he was already involved in another SNG, so I sat out to find a game. The regular 45-person SNG was not filling up very fast, so, against my better judgment, I entered the $6 + .50 Turbo 45-person SNG. Apparently, my judgment sucks!
PokerStars Tournament #21735622, No Limit Hold'em
Total Prize Pool: $270.00
Tournament started - 2006/03/21 - 23:29:44 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 1st place.
A $84.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Thank you for participating.
I took over the chip lead with about 35 players left and never relinquished it until we were down to four. I actually became the short stack of the four for a while, but in the end, I was able to take control and finish off my opponents. It was a much needed victory for the challenge, vaulting me, at least temporarily, into second place overall. I have three more tourneys to play and I will be finished, so I have to make them count. I figure I will need to finish in the money in all three tourneys to have any chance of making the top three in this challenge.
To be perfectly honest, I had just about given up hope after only two cashes in my first ten attempts, but another cash and last night’s 1st place has the blood boiling and the will to post a strong finish as high as its’ been in a while. There is talk of a 180-person SNG challenge in the future and I don’t know if I’m down for that or not. I am sitting out the HUC3 because of time constraints and because I suck at HU, but that is beside the point. The time involved in the 180-person SNG’s would cause a hardship on the household, so I may or may not join up for that one. I will still jump in and play one now and then, but it has to be something I have scheduled in advance, in order to not upset the family.
I haven’t done much playing on the laptop since I got it, in fact, I’ve only played one SNG on it so far. But, the wifey is using the laptop to play her games at night while I am hogging the desktop with my addiction. Speaking of addictions, last weekend nearly killed me. I didn’t get to play at all on Friday or Saturday and going from Thursday evening until Sunday evening nearly broke me. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a wireless signal down at the lake, so the laptop is no good down there at all. We did have two very successful Karaoke shows on Friday and Saturday evening. Big crowds and lots of singers at both places=happy owners. Reminds me of a line from a song by the Warren Brothers:
“I don’t sell a lot of records, but I sure sell a lot of beer!”
posted by GaryC @ 3:37 PM, ,
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Don’t ask me why, but before I left work yesterday, I had made up my mind to take a couple of shots last night at higher stakes. I ended up starting out with a $20 + 2 SNG on Party and I also played several $10 + 1 SNG’s, as well. The 10 + 1 tourneys are not outside my bankroll, but the $20 + 2 is a bit outside my roll. I just felt like I needed to take a shot last night. Here’s what happened in the first one:
Live Blogging (via tape delay) $20 + 2 SNG on Party Poker
1st Level -limp in with 7-7 and lay it down to a big raise.
-fold, fold, fold.
2nd Level -limp in late position with 5-6 suited and make a straight to take down a pot. 2370 chips.
-lay down A-Q suited to an all-in re-raise with 10-10. A-8 calls and spikes a set on the river. Gotta love Party.
-lay down the hammer to a pre-flop raise. Bad blogger.
-limp in with J-9 suited late and made another straight. 3000 in chips.
3rd level -still have 10 players, which is a little unusual for Party Poker. Exact same witty banter, but the players seem a little better overall.
-Lost a big hand with Q-Q vs. A-A, but won the side pot while 2 players were eliminated. 2725 chips.
4th level -Still have 6 players left. Blinds are 100-200. No room for fucking up.
-A-A holds up against Q-Q, down to 5 players. 4300 chips.
-4-4 stole the blinds, 4600 chips.
-9-7 big blind special, flopped two pair. 4935 chips.
-fold, fold, fold. Still in 2nd. 4335 chips.
-Oops, big stack had an Ace and I didn’t believe him. 3435 chips.
5th level -200-400 blinds are horrendous. Everybody is short-stacked, it won’t be long now.
-Pete0005-chip-leader to out in two hands. Down to 4, I’m limping home, leaking oil.
-Doubled up with A-Q. 5000 in chips.
-One to go and he’s on life support.
6th level -Woot! Made the money.
-Out in 3rd place when A-A gets cracked by those damn Hilton Sisters.
I got A-A four times and they held up every time but the chance I had to take control of the tournament. Damn the luck.
10 + 1 MTT on Party Poker with Surflexus and 1320 of our closest friends.
140 make the money.
No notes, too many tables open. Surflexus went out in 164th. I limped into the money and went out in 102nd. This one paid almost 5K to first place and I can feel that I’m going to hit one of these for a good payday soon.
I played three 45-person SNG’s last night, as well. I bombed out of the first two somewhere in the teens, but the last one I joined was a $10 + 1 with Garthmeister and Jordan. I made a couple of really good calls and one really questionable call. I called a lemur down with J-J on an Ace high board to chip up fairly early, but went out in 5th when I flopped top pair, top kicker and couldn’t get away from an obvious over-pair. At least it’s pretty obvious now, the way he played the hand.
PokerStars Tournament #21675619, No Limit Hold'em
Total Prize Pool: $450.00
Tournament started - 2006/03/20 - 22:29:01 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 5th place.
A $40.50 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Thank you for participating.
Overall, I played solid poker and had a very good night. I also won a 10 + 1 sng on Paradise somewhere along the line, so I had a pretty good night of profit as well.
No Limit Texas Hold'em Tournament Summary for table "Durour" $100 Prize Pool, $10 Buy-In, $1 Fee, 10 players
Tournament started 2006/03/20 @ 22:10:33 (CST) -- Game #1,363,614,235
1st: GCox25, $50 prize awarded (Level IX, Game #10) ***
2nd: stmpoker, $30 prize awarded (Level IX, Game #10)
3rd: lpmiami, $20 prize awarded (Level VII, Game #6)
4th: coldstop (Level V, Game #1)
5th: YangMills (Level IV, Game #10)
6th: Bi$hop (Level III, Game #9)
7th: orton (Level III, Game #1)
8th: asilomar129 (Level II, Game #10)
9th: DevilFish61 (Level II, Game #10)
10th: Pogue57 (Level II, Game #2)
After a week of no profit, it was a nice change of pace. I think I’ll continue that for the rest of the week, if you don’t mind.
posted by GaryC @ 3:09 PM, ,
Trouble Hands, Maniacs and Bullets
Monday, March 20, 2006
What are the most troubling hands in NL Texas Hold Em?
Big Slick, whether suited or unsuited is a very powerful hand when you hit the flop after a pre-flop raise, but what if you don’t hit any piece of the flop? You are destined to throw out that continuation bet after a check from your opponent, right? What happens next? They either fold (say, 60% of the time) or come back over the top of you, knowing full well that the flop missed you.(say, 40% of the time)
I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules regarding how to play big slick. I usually play it very hard pre-flop with the thought that I’m done with it if I miss the flop and get played back at. It’s a very difficult hand to play after missing the flop and takes a lot of guts as well as a lot of knowledge to play it well and not go broke.
K-J or K-Q
Beautiful cards, indeed, especially after folding for two full orbits, but is there a bigger hand that people lose more money with than these two? I had a conversation with Garthmeister last night and he has dubbed K-J off-suit “the donkey.” K-J suited of course becomes the “super donkey.” If I remember correctly, Will-Wonka’s two most troubling hands were K-J and K-Q when he sat down and analyzed his play. I see it time after time at my limits especially. I think more people go broke with these two hands than any other two hands in Hold Em. Even if you flop top pair with these holdings, you are probably not ahead, unless you are at a supremely fishy table. Delicate hands that must be played absolutely correctly or they will cost you a lot of money over the long run.
Small and medium pocket pairs
Another of those hands that look really good pre-flop, but are almost always folded post-flop unless the flop is perfect or you make your set. I love to play these small to medium pairs as cheaply as possible unless I’m on the button. If I can limp in and flop my set, the chances of winning the hand are huge and it is just a matter of playing it correctly to extract maximum value.
I normally won’t call anything post-flop if I miss the flop altogether, but occasionally, if your read is strong enough on certain players, your small pair can be good on a very low flop when you catch someone overplaying A-big. Of course, when they call you (and they will call you), they will still have two live cards that you will have to fade in order to double up. I make this play occasionally, but only when I have a pretty good read on the opponent and feel like he is making a play at the pot. (Watch for the classic over-bet move here)
This is a hand that I used to play fairly often from mid to late position, but after reading Harrington and Lee Jones, I have found that throwing this hand away most of the time makes more sense in the long run. Of course, half the time I throw it away, the flop comes with my nut flush draw and nothing particularly scary on the board, but I would rather not be tempted and wait until I have a hand I can raise with, rather than limping into the pot.
Commonly referred to in blogging circles as the “Hammer.” This hand has gotten more than one blogger in trouble at the tables, but is commonly seen cracking Aces or other premium hands as well. I normally make a big pre-flop raise, only to have somebody go over the top of me and I then fold meekly to their aggression. I have sucked out on more than one blogger with the hammer, though.
These are just a few of the trouble hands in NL Hold Em. I think the more of these we can identify, the better off in the long run we will all be. What’s your trouble hand?
Another player profile brought to you from the $5 tables at PokerStars:
I was playing a 45 person SNG last night on Stars and was sitting comfortable in 13th with 26 players remaining when a true maniac was moved to my immediate right. He had about 800 chips and immediately started going all-in every single hand. A couple of people called him down eventually and he luck-boxed his way up to around 3500 chips.
The blinds aren’t out of control yet, so I decided to stay out of his way until I picked up J-J in the big blind. He pushes all-in (and has me covered at this point) and I went into the tank. I finally decided to take the coin flip, since I needed to double up to make a good run anyway. He flips over 8-9 off-suit. Ugh. 6-7-3 on the flop. 4 on the turn and say it with me now, a 10 on the river and IGHN.
This is how I’ve been running the last five or six days. I’m not at all unhappy with my play, just the results and that is what I am not supposed to worry about, right? Come on, Mr. Variance, get off my ass. You’ve had your fun, now let me have a hand hold up for a change, okay?
So far, I’ve played 8 out of my 15 45 person SNG’s and the results are not pretty. I’ve only managed a 5th and a 6th out of eight tries and am trailing the leaders by a significant margin. I’ve definitely got some work to do if I’m going to make it into the money.
I can dodge bullets, baby, NOT!
posted by GaryC @ 3:07 PM, ,
Sunday, March 19, 2006
This is what I have to look forward to in a month and a half. Back when we started our little tradition, 13 years ago, there weren't quite this many of us, but we've grown a lot over the years.
Family is what it's all about after all, and this is a big part of my extended family.
I can't freaking wait.
posted by GaryC @ 7:42 PM, ,
Short and Sweet
Thursday, March 16, 2006
I managed a 6th place in two tries last night in the 45-person SNG Challenge.
PokerStars Tournament #21391172, No Limit Hold'em
Total Prize Pool: $225.00
Tournament started - 2006/03/15 - 22:01:11 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 6th place.
A $13.50 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Thank you for participating.
DrewsPop was still in good shape when I went out and went on to finish in 2nd place. Nice job, Chris. It appears that PokerChamp is off to a good start as well. I expect this to be a hotly contested challenge and will probably go right down to the wire. I’ve played in five tourneys so far and placed in two of those, so I’m going to have to pick it up if I want to get into position to win. Good luck to all the contestants, I hope to get in a couple of tourneys on Sunday night after I get back from the lake. Not much to post about so have a good weekend.
posted by GaryC @ 8:12 PM, ,
Challenge is in full force.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
45-Person SNG Challenge
I have recently entered into the 45-person SNG Challenge with a bunch of poker playing bloggers. Here’s the list of contestants:
Pres. Dave Lee
This challenge was the brainchild of Jordan or Trip and is a nice change of pace. We are basically allowed to choose our own level and our own type of tournament. If turbos fit your game, get after it, but if you are a slow, methodical player like me, you don’t have to play turbos. It really works out well.
Basically, you have to play 15 of these tournaments before April 13th.(one month’s time from the start) There is a point system set up here to show you how they will be tallying the scores. Check out the comments to the posts as well, as it contains some valuable information. It should be very easy to do, especially when you bust out of the first one you enter early and get to do two in one night. So far I have played three and cashed in only one of those. I busted out of my first two on Monday night after the DADI tournament, but last night when I got home from the bowling alley (***bowling alley updsate”256,246,245”***) I sat down and played my third such tournament and was able to stay awake until 12:45 and bring home 5th place for 4 large points. They aren’t really that large, except that I am now in the game and off the schneid.
I won a few pots early and then doubled up to cross the 4000 chip mark with four tables left. I never got too much ahead of that or below that the rest of the way. When we finally got to the money, I pushed immediately with A-K and doubled up off of the chip leader, but I turned around and called an all-in right after that and my A-J was dominated by A-Q. I went out a few hands later and finished in 5th place. It took a lot of time, but I knew if I didn’t play a turbo, it would take at least two hours to get into the money, and it did. I have to stay where I’m comfortable and if that means only one tournament a night, so be it.
PokerStars Tournament #21342836, No Limit Hold'em
Total Prize Pool: $225.00
Tournament started - 2006/03/14 - 23:49:21 (ET)
You finished the tournament in 5th place.
A $20.25 award has been credited to your Real Money account.
Thank you for participating
Don’t you just love the $5 Professional Poker players that play our game on-line?
I was playing a $5 SNG on Party Poker last night in the background of my 45 person SNG on Stars and when we got down to 4 players, there was one particular player with a large chip lead……..and it wasn’t me. Anyway, the chip leader was being a typical bully, raising every single pot and forcing me off my big blind more times than not. I was rapidly approaching the final table at the Stars SNG and the blinds were becoming astronomical at Party.
I finally had all I could take and called him all the way down with K-Q suited and I rivered a flush on him to beat his TPTK. Oops, sorry buddy. He still has a commanding lead and I had about 4000 chips at this point. We had one guy with under 2000 chips folding every single hand hoping to make the money and another stack about the same as mine. The chip leader goes right back to bullying and it isn’t long before I look down at A-J suited in the big blind. He, of course, raises my big blind yet again and I decide to put him to the test. I move all in and he calls immediately with Q-10 of the same suit. We’re going to be almost even if my hand holds up, but of course, a farking 10 on the river and IGHN.
I went back to my SNG on Stars but for some reason, I left the Party table up in the background. This is where it gets interesting.
Tool folding every hand: I guess that’s payback for the 5 to 1 flush earlier
Chip Leader: he was a fool
Chip Leader: called off his whole stack with a-j
Third guy at table: he was playing to win
Chip Leader: yeah, but that was stupid
3rd guy: if he doubles up there, he is even with you
Chip Leader: still a fool
3rd guy: He was ahead
Tool: barely, a coin flip
3rd guy: still ahead
Thanks guys, I knew I was at the right table.
Moral of the story: Chip leader went out third, Tool folded to second and 3rd guy at table took first. I was sending him good karma.
This will have to be a short post today. The family is making their way back home from Arizona and I’m expecting them home any minute. I have to get the house cleaned up and ready for inspection. Have a good rest of the week.
posted by GaryC @ 3:39 PM, ,
Profilin' and Stylin'
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I’m going to try and write up a brief description of the type of players that I see on a regular basis throughout the on-line poker world at the $5 SNG’s.
LAG-loose, aggressive player.
This type of player is rampant at this level of SNG. At Party Poker, it is not uncommon for more than half of your table to be this exact player. They will raise with any two cards and continue betting and raising despite what is actually on the board and whether or not it fits their hand. They are relying on their aggression and their betting to take down pots uncontested, but most of them are not smart enough to get away from a hand when they are played back at. They provide the opportunity for trapping with any decent holding that hits the flop hard and this is my normal strategy for dealing with this type of player. If they ever do show the ability to lay down a hand after playing it fast pre-flop, I give them a little credit but for the most part, this player cannot get away from a hand.
Example: The very first hand of a Party SNG, I limp into the pot in EP and the player directly to my left raises to 4X the blinds. The button moves all in and the player to my left calls. EP shows J-9 suited and the button turns over 8-8. EP rivers a 9 and wins the pot and is told by three different players at the table, NH. I knew I was at a great table and eventually took all of his chips and won the tournament.
Another example: Last night on Party Poker, first hand of the tourney, I picked up K-K in EP and raised to 4X the blinds and am immediately re-raised by the guy to my left. It comes back around to me and I move all-in and he insta-calls with 9-9 and I double up on the very first hand of a SNG. Well played sir, well played indeed.
Other adjectives used for this type of player:
These definitions are usually saved for when they have just drawn out on you for a big pot or when you have waited 42 hands to actually get involved and your K-K is run down by 10-2 soooooooted.
This type of player is most often seen at the $5 levels as well. They are pretty easy to take note of because their betting patterns are very random and they seem to take a long time to act every.single.time. I remember when I was starting out on-line, I had played quite a bit of live poker. Not as much as some, but I had a pretty good understanding of how the game worked and when and how much to bet. Some of the new players you will see at my level will ONLY min-raise. It’s like they haven’t figured out that they are playing no-limit and by dragging the bar to the right, you can actually make a significant raise that will force somebody off a hand. At the $5 level, NOBODY will fold to a min-raise, except maybe me.
These players are pretty easily moved off of their hand with well-timed re-raises, however, stealing from them is a double-edged sword, because they sometimes will call with only a draw and inevitably, they will hit their draw occasionally. The newbie becomes more and more difficult to deal with when he acquires some chips, especially if he acquired them from you. He will tend to not trust any of your bets and will get the feeling that he can bully you, since he has already beaten you for a big pot. Trapping becomes just about your only strategy against him now as he is unlikely to ever believe what you are representing.
I’ve mentioned often times that this is my style of play. It’s not that I’ve chosen to adopt this style, it just kind of happened that way. It serves me well at this level, but often times in an aggressive, blogger-style tournament, my style does not transfer to success. I have tried to develop some selective aggression and have done well with that for the most part, however, at blogger tables, they all know my style and know that I don’t raise with any two cards, I will fold to most steal attempts and the only time I get played back at, I am usually behind.
There are plenty of weak/tight players at this level as well. They are usually pretty experienced and normally are winning players, like me, for the most part. They are also very easy to read, as I am. Fold, fold, fold, fold, RAISE! Fold, fold, fold. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this type of play and it can be profitable at the lower limit SNG’s. I know because I’ve done it now for over a year.
The best way to deal with this type of player is aggression. Play your cards against them aggressively at every turn and more times than not, they will fold their hands. The only instance where this doesn’t work is when they have successfully trapped you and if you can’t see that coming, they will bust you or double up. I know, because I do it on a nightly basis. Well, sometimes I do it on a nightly basis, other nights I just donate. Most of the time, if you have stolen their blinds and bets enough, you will still have chips left, but the more chips this guy/-I-/weak-tight guy has the more difficult it will be for you to make the money. Most weak/tight players, myself included, are very good at folding to the money when they have a decent chip stack. They will avoid confrontation at all costs and if they are the chip leader, will only call all-ins with premium hands. They don’t gamble much until they are in the money.
This is by far the most difficult player to deal with at your table. It is also the most common type of player among poker bloggers.
This player is very difficult to get a read on and you must respect his/her raises in most instances. They are able to change up their play enough that a good read is almost impossible to have on them. At first, they will appear to be the loose/aggressive player, but once they have busted one or two players and shown down some very good hands, they will appear to be tight, which is exactly what they want you to think.
This type of player is usually playing at higher limits than I play at and just about the only time I run into this style is in the blogger tournaments. These players may have started at the $5 level, but they progress quickly up the ladder and are usually playing at the $20 level and beyond in a very short time.
This style is the style that we should all try to strive to achieve and the style which I believe to be the most dangerous, in terms of making money at this game we love. Incorporating all styles into your game and changing it up as often as possible will lead to more mistakes being made by your opponent. If they cannot get a consistent read on your betting patterns, the time it takes for you to bet or the consistency of your raises, they cannot determine what range of hands you have in any given situation. Alternating styles and changing up your consistent patterns is one of the many keys to being a successful poker player.
Just my opinion.
I set what I believe to be a modern day SNG record last night. I played a two-table SNG on Stars and by the time we had reached the money with 14 players eliminated and only 4 players remaining, my stats looked like this:
Flops seen: 6 of 103 – 6%
Pots won at showdown: 1 of 1
Obviously, this is uber-tight and much tighter than I normally play, by at least 4%, but I had messed around and gotten short-stacked before we reached the final table and was pushing or folding for the most part. The pot that I won was a multi-way pot when I held pocket Kings and allowed me to fold to the money. I actually had plenty of opportunities during the final four players, but took a couple of bad beats and finished fourth. Still, with those statistics, I was happy to make the money.
Good lord, I am such an incredible donkey sometimes.
We had a nice turnout for the DADI tournament last night. I believe 56 was the magic number and following a WPBT event on Sunday night and scheduling it against 24 on television, that was a nice showing of bloggers and readers.
My first table included SirFWalgman and Weak_Player along with two (readers?) players that I did not know. Mourn eventually joined our table, but was sitting out the whole time. That strategy could have proved more valuable had I employed it, because my short-handed skills are non-existent. The 6-Max tables were made for the likes of Weak_Player and SirFWalgman because of their aggressive style of play. Try as I might, I can not adapt to that style and should probably avoid it in the future. I will certainly be avoiding it like the plague, other than blogger events.
I started out treading water, raising and getting respect with decent holdings and folding the rest of the garbage, I was hovering around the 1400 chip mark. I forget the hand that I lost half my stack with, but I remember it was one of my craptastic “reads” when I thought my pocket under-pair was good. Doh! Not this time genius.
The hand that I went out on was an ignorant call on my part. One of the readers, sorry, I have forgotten the name, was in the small blind and raised my big blind. I defended with A-3 suited and saw a flop of A-8-8. We ended up getting it all in and I was left hoping for another 8 or paint when my opponent showed A-10. No help came and IGHN. Again, another one of my “reads” led me astray. I think I got caught up in trying to play aggressively and that just simply is not my game. I was uncomfortable from the start and should have probably folded the A-3 pre-flop, looking back on it now. No complaints at all with the play of the other players, they had the goods and played their hands well. I played like a freaking donkey and got exactly what I deserved.
I then went on and played a couple of 45-person SNG’s for the newest challenge and bombed out of both of them. It was bad enough and early enough that I didn’t even bother to write down the placement. I’m sure they were both above 30th and for that, I receive no points. Then I did the smartest thing I’ve done in a long time, I logged off and went to bed.
My play has taken a bit of a turn from the solid, selectively aggressive play I have employed of late and until I find that level again and begin to trust my reads again, I will be playing less and less. Right now, my plan is to try and play one of the 45-person SNG’s a night and if I find success in one, then maybe play another. No more two-tabling these during the challenge for me. I ended up with a one table SNG on Party and two 45-person SNG’s on Stars all going at the same time and that is a recipe for disaster for a simpleton like me. My results are always better when I play at one table at a time and pay strict attention to the betting patterns and cards shown down by my opponents. It just figures that if you watch three or four players play 40 or 50 hands and pay close attention, you will figure something out before the end that will help you. I just have to remember to take my own advice and put it to work.
Back to grinding out small profits a little at a time for this guy. No more $20 tournaments in the near future and I will be sticking to the full-table, regularly timed SNG’s. Remember, don’t ask me how I know, I just know.
This weekend will allow no poker until Sunday evening when I get back from the lake and even then, the Sopranos second episode will be on and my attention will be diverted. We have karaoke shows both Friday and Saturday night this week and I will be busy until early evening on Sunday as well. I’ll be playing tonight after bowling and tomorrow night until the wifey and family get back from Arizona. Come find me if you’d like to play a game.
posted by GaryC @ 3:07 PM, ,
21st Century DADI
Monday, March 13, 2006
If you are not signed up for the DADI 6-Max NL Hold Em tournament tonight on PokerStars, what’s your problem? Check out the ad to the right of this post for all the information. I promise you this will be a good time and I expect the turnout to surpass all the previous DADI tournaments. I’m looking for over 100 players tonight. Monday night seems like a good night for poker to me, how about you?
The GCox25 family took a decisive step this weekend, moving into the 21st century along with everybody else and hooked up wireless internet at the household. Of course, I had to pay somebody to come out and do it, that way we are assured that it works. I honestly think I could have done it, but the “geek squad” at Best Buy had to do the installation of spyware, etc. on my laptop anyway, so I just let them do it all. It saved me the headache and it took about an hour, so instead of spending all night Saturday evening trying to get it hooked up, I was on-line as soon as he left the house.
I also bought myself a laptop this weekend. I went with Gateway, mainly due to price, but it had all the features I was looking for and it is a handsome piece of equipment. I went ahead and paid the $300 for the service contract, just in case I ever spill any beer, er, anything liquid on it, the parts and labor will be covered. I don’t anticipate dropping it, as I have clutched it like a football player headed to the end zone since I got it, but that also will be covered if it happens.
I played last night in the WPBT Player of the Year tournament on PokerStars. $20 + 2 Pot Limit Omaha. Enough said. I would have been better served to enter four 5 + .50 SNG’s with that money, but it was a good time, nonetheless. I went out in the first hour when I flopped a set of Aces but my opponent had flopped a full house. I probably should have seen it coming, but my Omatard skills are just that, completely omatarded. I will have to pay much stricter attention to the game before the next tournament and do a little practicing beforehand, so I have a better feel for the game.
The bankroll has taken a bit of a hit in the last week, down around $80, but I am discounting it to variance. I’m still playing a strong game in the SNG’s and more times than not, have had my money in with the best of it. I’m looking forward to the 45 person SNG Challenge and will probably play my first one tonight at some point. If you are interested in joining me, let me know before the DADI tournament and I will wait for you after I bust out of that one. The short-handed SNG’s are not my strong point, so I anticipate an early exit from this one. Of course, you never know, the hammer might hold up. I also expect the competition to be fierce in this particular tournament, as it seems just about everybody is tearing up the short-handed tables right now. Everyone, that is, but me. Doh!
Get the headsets hooked up and let’s get ready to rumble. I’ll see you later on tonight.
posted by GaryC @ 3:30 PM, ,
Sunday, March 12, 2006
I'm posting this from my new laptop, which I purchased last night.
I had the "Geek Squad" out to my house for about an hour and a half last night as well. That was the best money spent in a long while as the dude that came out set up my security on the lap top as well as the wireless network in the house. Those guys, as most of you probably, are simply amazing to an e-tard like myself.
I felt like a bit of a moron with that little black and white car sitting out in front of my house for an hour and a half last night, but he handled stuff for me that would have taken me twice as long to do. I've got wireless throughout the whole house and three functioning computers that now have access to the internet. I still need to buy a new cpu for the old set up in the front room, but it does work, albeit very slowly.
I ended up buying a Gateway laptop and am very pleased with the purchase thus far. My wireless connection in the living room appears to be excellent all the time, so connectivity should not be a problem at all.
I plan on playing tonight in the WPBT if time allows and I will definitely be playing in the DADI tomorrow night. I've also sent Jordan the entry fee for the 45 person SNG challenge and will be concentrating on those at Stars in the coming weeks. Good luck to all the competitors.
This will have to end my first laptop post. Have a good Sunday.
posted by GaryC @ 6:25 AM, ,
It's Thursday Already
Thursday, March 09, 2006
I’ve received very limited response to my query from last week regarding who is planning on coming to Oklahoma in June. So far, here is the list of definites:
Surflexus and friend-definitely in.
Kipper-definitely out due to family matters.
Maudie-not sure when she will join us, but she will be playing cards with us at some point.
Here is the list of maybe/maybe nots, as I know right now.
Jordan-definitely still a maybe at this point.
DNasty-trying, but cannot commit due to school/work.
Will-Wonka-again, trying, but not sure yet.
TenMile-Invited, but I haven’t heard from him either way.
DuggleBogey-he’s a maybe only because of work and possible relocation.
If anyone else is interested in getting together in Oklahoma from June 7th-11th, let me know here. I will be glad to get you all the information and let you know some of the details. If 4 or 5 people is all we have, that will be fine, but we will probably have no concrete plans if that is the case. We have enough card rooms and things to do around here that we can do just about anything we all want to do and we will still have time to kill.
I played my first 45 person SNG last night on Stars with a bunch of bloggers. We decided on the Turbo variety because of the time and it only reaffirmed my position that I will NOT be playing Turbos once the challenge starts. I will still sneak in with other bloggers now and again, but my focus will be on the regularly timed SNG’s. I started out with Duggle at my table and doubled up fairly early, but a run of cold cards and the ever-increasing blinds ate away at my stack and I was under pressure before the final table. I have to be comfortable when I sit down to play and unfortunately, the turbos do not leave me feeling comfortable. I always feel like I am under the gun and that I need to make a move or face rising blinds and lowering chip counts. I realize that the regular SNG’s will take longer to complete, but that’s just a sacrifice I will have to make in order to expect acceptable results.
If you do not have Yahoo Instant Messaging service set up on your computer, you are truly missing out. I was immediately invited into a blogger chat room last night and was lucky enough to witness a true expert teach me how to play A-5 off-suit against what seemed like 48 outs twice. Kelly, aka Mowenumdown, went on to finish 5th in a 180-person SNG on PokerStars. Well played, sir, very well played, and to be honest, I think it was only 13 outs twice. Nice finish, Kelly.
My favorite Uncle, Uncle Sam, came through yesterday with a nice chunk of a tax return. We had already received our State return and the Federal came in the mail yesterday. This means I will be shopping this weekend for the laptop and wireless router, etc. to turn my house into wireless accessible. I’m also considering buying another desktop PC for our front bedroom and a wireless card for it, so we will then have three computers with access to the internet at all times. There are some really good deals out there right now on some cheaper desk top models and we don’t need anything special, just something to get to the internet on and maybe play a little poker now and again.
I received my 2500 points from PokerSourceOnline yesterday or the day before just like clockwork. If there is one thing that you can count on with Mike and his crew, they handle their business as well as anyone out there. Thanks again, Mike, for doing such a good job and for providing the service you provide. I appreciate it and I cannot stress it enough, open an account with PSO and you will not be disappointed.
I’m preparing for 5 days on the lam starting tomorrow morning at 5 am. The wife, daughter and mother-in-law are leaving for Arizona bright and early in the morning and I will be in charge of the household and the animals for 5 glorious, er, long, labor-intensive days and nights. I’m looking forward to it even though I have no real plans other than a home game on Friday night at a friend’s house. I may head out to Lucky Star Friday after the home game if time allows and throw down some chips with the local alpacas. Other than that and a little yard work, I have nothing concrete planned, other than the WPBT event on Sunday night and the DADI event on Monday night. I may be playing all weekend long and I might not play at all on-line until Sunday evening. I’ll be playing it by ear and rollin’ however I want to roll.
The downhill slide to the weekend has begun and I am already counting the minutes.
posted by GaryC @ 7:11 PM, ,
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Not much playing going on until Saturday this week. I did squeeze one SNG in on Party last night, but went out in 5th place due to the escalating blinds and the lack of playable hands. Sometimes the cards hit you in the face and sometimes they don’t. I play these SNG’s extremely tight, for the most part, and if I don’t catch any cards, I am normally a short stack when it gets close to the money. When I do catch some cards, though, I can almost guarantee a money finish, so I think my style works very well for me. I don’t always get calls when I want them, especially at blogger tables, but in these SNG’s at Party, my opponents don’t pay enough attention, so tight is right for me.
As I mentioned previously, my wife and family are headed out of town early Friday morning and I will have the house to myself until the middle of next week. I’ve got a home game lined up for Friday night at a buddy’s house, so I won’t be able to indulge in the Crazy $3 Re-Buy tournament on Stars this week. Damn, crazy indeed. There is also a possibility that I will be road-tripping north on Saturday, if my buddy in Wichita decided he can break away from the Mrs. for an evening of drunken debauchery.
I’ll definitely be home in time Sunday to play in the WPBT event. I don’t have the details right in front of me, but I plan on playing in this one on Sunday evening.
45-Person SNG Challenge
I was asked this morning if I was going to enter the latest TripJax/HighOnPoker creation, the 45-person SNG Challenge. Hell yes was my immediate answer. Due to my inability to read at work, I had only seen a brief question thrown out by Jordan, looking for responses and gauging interest. I missed the post yesterday detailing the rules and regulations and I want to send out a big thank you to TripJax for notifying me of the challenge and pointing me toward the web-site to register.
It looks like a great challenge with some stiff competition, as usual. I’ve enjoyed the previous challenges immensely and am looking forward to this competition as well. This challenge definitely appeals to me more than the last two HU Challenges, as, at least in my mind, I am more qualified and will provide better competition at the SNG’s. It looks to me that these 45-person SNG’s will require a goodly amount of patience in order to make a deep run to the money and if there is one thing I have, it’s patience.
The set-up for the Challenge is that each contestant plays in 15 of these 45-person SNG’s between March 13 and April 13. This should allow plenty of time for everyone to get in the required number of tourneys and also allow each competitor the ability to play in whichever format best suits their game. I will be playing the non-turbo variety of these tourneys, probably at the $5 + .50 level, at least to start out with. I know that TripJax and Jordan do not have the time that I have and they will probably be playing the turbo varieties of these same tournaments. The turbos don’t work as well for me, as I constantly feel like the pressure of the blinds rising so fast that they dictate when I have to make a move. I prefer to play extremely slow and cautious in the beginning and that usually allows me to chip up enough to stay ahead of the blinds. Slow and steady wins the race for me on a fairly consistent basis.
The points structure will be called out on the 45-person SNG Challenge blog. If you haven’t seen it, check out TripJax’s blog or Jordan’s blog for all the details. The points system looks to be quite fair and should be a good determination of who our winner should be. Good luck to all the combatants and I look forward to playing some of these together starting next Monday.
Speaking of next Monday, DADI 6 Max tournament is scheduled for next Monday, the 13th. Check out the link on the right for all the information. If you’ve never played in one of these, let me urge you to join this one. They are always a blast to play and I would expect the turnout for this one to near 100 players. If you don’t have money on PokerStars now, make sure you move some over there before Monday. Also, if you do not have a Yahoo IM account, get that set up before Monday as well. The chat rooms are more fun than the actual tournament most of the time. Feel free to join us.
Here’s a typical SNG scenario at the $5 tables. Tell me if you’ve ever seen this guy.
XXXXXXX raises nearly every single pot.
XXXXXXX plays nearly every single hand.
XXXXXXX gets lucky twice in the early going and doubles up to a huge stack compared to the other players.
You still haven’t played a hand and your 2000 chip starting stack has dwindled down to the 1600 chip range. Meanwhile XXXXXXX has approximately 5900 chips and is not slowing down one bit.
He’s still raising every pot and calling all bets to the river, sucking out enough to maintain his huge chip advantage over the rest of the table.
At this point, you are down to about 1500 chips and there are only 5 people left at the table. Considering that the blinds were just raised to 100/200 and you are right near the shortest stack at the table, you are in push or fold mode, right? That’s usually the way I have to play it at this point. Any standard raise is going to commit the rest of my stack to the pot anyway and even a standard raise will not push XXXXXX and his card-drawing skillz out of any pot, regardless of his cards.
I’ve played around with trying XXXXXXX’s strategy and playing lots of hands early on in SNG’s, but more often than not, just end up short-stacked from calling too many bets. If the deck is running over you, it’s one thing to be super-aggressive, but if you are playing sub-standard starting hands for raises, that’s just plain stupid.
Or maybe not????
Congratulations, XXXXXXX, you placed 1st in the tournament. Your real money account has been credited with $25. Blah, blah, blah.
I ended up going out 5th, with A-K suited against XXXXXXX’s K-J off-suit. Well played, sir, well played indeed.
What’s a guy to do?
Happy hump-day, we’re just two days away from the weekend.
posted by GaryC @ 6:43 PM, ,
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Is there anything at all worse than bubbling out of a tournament?
I haven’t been playing a lot of $10 SNG’s because I am being uber-protective of my measly bankroll, but last night, I let Jordan talk me into a 27 person, $10 + 1 SNG on Stars right before bed. To be completely honest, all he did was ask and I, or course, jumped at the chance. He didn’t really do any arm-twisting, so it is nobody’s fault but my own. Normally, I wouldn’t even bring it up but I was bounced out in 6th place, one spot before the money, and it really pissed me off, for some reason.
Another to be completely honest, I had no reason being at the final table. I started out tight and had chipped up to around 2600 chips, having made a good call with 8-8 and all unders on the board. The aggressor had A-K and was not happy with my call. What can I say? I’m a calling station when I don’t believe your bets and I certainly didn’t believe he had anything. By the time we got down to 10-11 players, Jordan was out and I was a micro stack with about 700 chips.
Somehow, I lucked into doubling up against the small blind when my Q-8 flopped two pair. Then we move to the final table and I make a few strategic all-ins to steal the blinds and actually double up once to around 3K when my hand holds up. We get down to 6 players and I am still the short stack with around 2500 chips and find 9-9 on the button. Big stack in the big blind calls me with A-9 suited and makes a flush on the river to send me packing.
That’s when I snapped. Dikhead! I typed in to the chat box. He laughed at me and that just incensed me further. About this time, DuggleBogey sends me an IM and says that sucked. I agree and I’m wondering if he saw my classless message in the chat box. I’m sure he did and I now feel like a complete moron. Obviously, it is time for me to log off, because if I continue to play, I am going to tilt off a lot of money. Smartest move of the night? I log off and hit the sack.
Looking back at the play, I really have no problem with it, because he had me out-chipped more than 4 to 1 and I might have done the same thing in his shoes. My question is this: How can I go from uber-competitive in one second to piss-poor loser in the next second? Especially given the fact that his play was not particularly fishy. Granted, he sucked out to win, but given the stack sizes, I really don’t think it was that bad a play.
Emotions are part of poker and a part of us all, but when they cannot be controlled, it is time to quit. I am extremely competitive in just about everything I do and sometimes, my temper gets the better of me when things don’t go well. I was a bit out of control last night, but at least I had the good sense to log off and quit right then and there. No good was going to come out of saying anything to the player or from playing any more last night. I was done and I am thankful I was able to realize it at the time. Believe me, there have been plenty of times I haven’t realized it and went on to tilt off another two or three buy-ins before realizing what was going on. Maybe I am growing up after all, I’m only 40 remember.
I also want to apologize to MrTynRyn or whatever the hell your name was. I know there is no chance in hell of you coming by here or ever reading this, but just look at it as a kind of therapy and a way to build up some karma points for next time. I’m sorry I lost my cool and apologize for calling you a dikhead.
Is there anything in the world better than a hot Krispy Kreme donut in the morning with your coffee?
I don’t believe I’ve ever tasted anything any better in my life. I could very easily become addicted to those things and balloon back up into the 285 range in a matter of days. They sure are good, though. I’ve seen AlCantHang sing their praises many times over the last year or so and I absolutely agree with him wholeheartedly.
Have you checked out Maudie’s latest Maudecast? Man, if you haven’t listened to it, you are truly missing out. Fabulous piece of entertainment. Maudie has set the bar so incredibly high that I’m not sure there is any way to keep up. Very nice Maudie, very nice.
Has anybody received their 2500 PSO points for posting regarding their 25,000 members? DuggleBogey was nice enough to share it with us when it was still pretty early on in the process and I haven’t seen any of the points yet, so I was just wondering if anybody else had seen any points. Time to pimp:
Simply put, they are at the top of their game and if you don’t have an account set up with them, you are missing out on bonuses and free swag that you can earn just by doing exactly what you already do. If you read this blog then I assume you are an on-line poker player and assuming that, you can earn PSO points to buy some really cool stuff, along with better deposit bonuses at most sites. Check them out and tell them GCox25 sent you.
I don’t think VPP has been around as long as PSO, but Dave is doing a great job too. I have absolutely no complaints with their service and they have a few rooms that are different than PSO’s rooms. So, if you already have an account with PSO and are looking for an alternative, VPP would fit the bill nicely. Click through on my link on the top right and join up today.
That’s going to do it for today. I won’t have a lot of time to play this week until Friday. If you missed it yesterday, I will be hanging out all weekend and the first part of next week by myself at the house. Well, not completely by myself, I will be hanging out with my dog, my two cats and my mother-in-law’s dog and cat. So, me and the animals will be playing some poker all weekend. Hunt me down and I’ll be ready.
posted by GaryC @ 3:13 PM, ,
Monday, March 06, 2006
I had a long weekend of drinking and pokery, blogger goodness on both Friday and Saturday night. I didn’t play very much on Sunday, but did manage to make the Wafflefest on Stars last night, after Full Tilt’s servers crashed, or some such nonsense. We still managed 30 or so combatants, despite the last minute change of sites. It was a good time. I wasn’t able to stay up late enough to catch who won it, but I’m sure that is posted somewhere out there. Congratulations to SteelerJosh, who busted the WaffleMan himself and gets the honor of renaming his blog for a week. I like the Brokeback Mountain references myself.
When I logged on to play some Saturday evening, I found an entire chat room full of drunken bloggers. I fit right in, believe me.
When I got home from work on Saturday at 12:30, the wifey had purchased an Ab Lounger 2 from the local Wal-Mart. I now had my reasoning to get out of the yard work that I so wanted to get out of in the first place. I cracked open a cold beer and went to work. I like to lay the thing out and then compare the directions to the pictures on the box. This did not look too difficult, so I went about laying the pieces out in the order I was supposed to put them together. Time for the 2nd beer.
The first attempt was going very well, as everything appeared to be going together fine until I glanced over at the picture and realized that the chair part of it was upside down. You are supposed to be able to read their Logo in the seat of the chair and I, of course, had it upside down. Doh! Another beer and I set about taking it back apart. All.the.way.
Next attempt went much better until I realized that I was missing some parts. I should have known. The box had been previously opened (Isn’t everything at Wal-Mart or Sam’s already opened?) and it turns out there were several bolts and nuts missing that I needed to make it work. I got out my coffee can collection of miscellaneous nuts and bolts and tried to locate just what I needed.
By the way, we had a late lunch/dinner scheduled with my mother-in-law and I was supposed to charcoal the steaks. We were supposed to eat at around 3:30.
I got the necessary nuts and bolts and finally set about finishing up the Ab Lounger. By the time I got it all together, it was 3:00 pm and I had finished 8 or 10 beers already. Oops.
After all that, I fired up the grill, cooked the steaks to perfection and we had a great dinner. We all tried out the Ab Lounger and it worked perfectly as well. My wife broiled lobster tails and that, along with baked potatoes and salad made a damn fine meal. We sat down afterwards and watched “Walk The Line” and it was as good as advertised. If you like Johnny Cash’s music, you will enjoy the movie. It is a bit of a dark tale, with the drugs and alcohol, but the performances of Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon more than made up for that. I was blown away by both their performances. They sing as well as Johnny Cash or June Carter ever thought about singing and I recommend the movie with two hearty thumbs up.
So, after all that, I log on and am promptly invited to a chat room with the following:
If I have forgotten anybody, I apologize, remember, I was drinking. It turns out everybody was drinking heavily and I may or may not have been behind at this point. I know by the time I was finished, I was behind in the number of shots of Tequila, but not in the total amount of inebriation. Luckily for me, I made Quads Beeeetches (hereafter known as DQB, for short) right before logging off and posted a small deficit at the $25 NL table. Several people lost way more than I did and I was thrilled that my losses at that table were minimal. Great times everybody and I appreciate the invitation.
I am anticipating a fine weekend upcoming. I don’t have to work and my wife, daughter and mother-in-law are leaving early Friday morning to go to Arizona and move my grandmother-in-law back to OKC. They will be gone until the middle of the next week, so I will be flying solo for about 5 days. Of course, I still have the yard work to take care of and I will also be baby-sitting the mother-in-law’s dog and our dog and two cats the entire time also, but I still plan to get in some poker, probably more than normal, while they are away.
I do have a home game to play in this Friday night, so I probably won’t be on-line until late that evening. I plan on playing in both the WPBT event and the DADI event coming up on Sunday and Monday. Again, there is a link with the DADI information on the right of this blog. You may also check out the organizer’s blogs for more information. TripJax and Jordan are doing a fine job with this and their interview on the radio show was very good. If you have not listened to it, I recommend it highly.
That’s all I got for Monday. Have a good week.
posted by GaryC @ 4:31 PM, ,
DADI and Waffles
Sunday, March 05, 2006
I played in the Wafflefest on Stars last night with a goodly number of bloggers. Here are a few of the highlights:
-DuggleBogey went out on the first hand with the Soooted Hammer! Well played, sir.
-Waffles busted Trip in about two hands.
-I had a nice stack with 10 to go until Mrs. Sox Lover lowered the boom with A-J to my A-10. Well played, maam.
-Missed the ending because I was tired and ready for bed.
Check out the announcement for the new DADI on the right hand side of the page. My IT guy is a genius. Thanks buddy.
I'll be working on a write-up from the drunken blogger adventures of Friday and Saturday night tomorrow at work. Productivity be damned!
posted by GaryC @ 7:26 PM, ,
From The Fish To The Fisherman
Saturday, March 04, 2006
I got home last night and took care of a few things around the house before I sat down at the computer. When I did finally sit down, I went into blogger and took care of getting my post up and then started reading, and reading and reading. It was nice, I haven’t been able to do that in a while and I spent probably 45 minutes just cruising around and reading.
I noticed a few things while surfing.
-Maudie kicks ass. I was already well aware of that, but her performance in the Chicks vs. Champs tournament Thursday night just confirmed it. Nice job, Maudie.
-Joe Speaker. Divorce is a true kick in the junk. I know it’s hard right now, Joe, but believe me, you will come out the other side a much better man for having gone through it. I didn’t want my divorce any more than you do, but looking back 11 years, it was the very best thing that could have ever happened to me. Stay strong and take care of that boy. Do your best by him and everything else will take care of itself.
-Jordan is a banner making fool now. Between he and DuggleBogey, they must have outfitted the entire blogosphere with new banners.
-I listened to Jordan and TripJax do their interview also. I meant to mention this yesterday, but if you haven’t listened to the webcast, it is definitely worth your time to give it a listen. I thought both of you came off very well. Very clear, very informative and most of all, you didn’t make all of us bloggers sound gay one time. Nice job, fellahs, I am green with envy.
During my reading last night, I got an IM from SoxLover asking if I would be interested in the 3 dollar Re-buy tourney on Stars. Sure, why not, I haven’t played a MTT since, oh, last night, but it sounded fun, so off I go to join. They give me a warning that it is a “crazy” re-buy tourney and I should be prepared to re-buy early and often. They did not lie.
One particular player at my table re-bought and added on well into the teens, probably 15-18 times. I, myself, re-bought 6 times and took the add-on at the first break for a total investment of $21.30. After all was said and done, 396 places paid and first place paid a whopping $4800.00 or thereabouts.
I was card dead early on in this tournament and started the 2nd hour with +/-4900 chips. Both SoxLover and Weak_Player had chipped up nicely during the first hour and were both on well above average stacks. I, however, had done no chipping up and appeared to be playing even more conservatively than normal. In actuality, I was folding an endless stream of 7-3’s and 9-2’s.
After the break, I went on a bit of a run, winning one medium pot outright and scaring away everybody for a blind steal on the other. Then, in the small blind, I look down at A-Q. Two limpers to me and I limped in as well and saw a beauty of a flop. A-Q-x, rainbow. I ended up getting it all in with another fellow and doubling up when he had bottom two pair and I had top two pair hold up.
The same guy doubled me up again a few rounds later when my K-K held up against his J-J. I made up around the 20,000 chip mark and was well above average for a while. I continued to play tight, but trying to get the maximum value for my big hands. I flopped top two out of the small blind again with J-4 and they held up to bust out another player. SoxLover took a bad beat about this time, re-raising pre-flop and having a donkey call with Q-J. I don’t remember the exact hands or flop, but said donkey caught his 2nd pair on the turn and sent Sox packing. I could tell he was steaming and I would have been steaming in that situation too. Weak_Player still had a nice stack at this time and we eventually neared the cut-off to the money.
In the meantime, we entered an 18 person SNG on PokerStars with some other bloggers. Here’s the lineup:
My table: GCox25 SoxLover
Other (TV) table: Weak_Player HighOnPoker Kaellinn18 MowenUmDown
With six bloggers out of the 18 participants, the other 12 players were in for quite a shock.
I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to this tourney, just folding or raising, but after one double up, I noticed we had reached the final table. Everybody but SoxLover that is, who ran his 7-8 suited bluff into Big Slick of Weak-Player. To be fair, the chat was flying and I might have made the same move at that pot myself. Oops.
Weak_Player had a huge chip lead and one by one, bloggers and players alike went down until he and I were heads up for 1st and 2nd. He had a good chip lead, about 2 to 1 I think, and was very aggressive. My new found “very tight” label paid dividends with steal attempts not being called, but one wrong move with an Ace on the board sealed my 2nd place fate. Nice job, Weak.
Back to the re-buy tourney and Weak has busted in this one, sorry, I don’t remember the details. We are in the 170-ish players left range and I am starting to get devoured by the increasing blinds and antes. I finally look down at Q-Q and get my last 20,000 or so chips into the pot against, gulp, K-K. IGHN. 151st place out of about 6,000,000 players. I made a little bit on top of my 7 buy-ins, but it sure seemed like a waste of 4 hours.
My game was solid. I’m not sure I’m cut out for re-buy tourneys, because the aggression required to really chip up is not in my arsenal right now. I am working on trying to be more aggressive, but unfortunately, it does not work well for me. Toward the end of the SNG, Sox or Weak, can’t remember which, mentioned that they had upgraded me from a rock to “very tight.” I think that is an improvement in my image, but I still have miles to go. There is so much to learn from playing and chatting with good players and I appreciate the invite guys. I really enjoyed myself.
Wow, am I rambling or what? It is Saturday and I am at work, bored out of my mind.
Have a good rest of the weekend.
posted by GaryC @ 5:40 PM, ,
Final Table For Me
Friday, March 03, 2006
I had another productive night at the tables last night, despite donking off $25 at a NL table with SoxLover and Weak_Player. I flopped an UN-golden set of 9’s and ran my stack into the uber-golden set of Aces. Doh! I still enjoyed playing and chatting with those guys, even though we all had multiple tables and chat windows going. It was difficult to tell who was talking about what for a while last night.
My consecutive money-finish streak at the Party SNG’s also ended last night at 5. I bubbled out in 4th place of the first one I played last night, but came back later to take down another 2nd and make my money back. The structure is not ideal for me, but jebus, those players are horrible, for the most part. I also played a SNG with SteelerJosh on PokerStars and folded my way into the money there after some tourist could not get away from his 10-10 despite my re-raise with A-A. Thank you sir, patience is a virtue and I am loaded with patience right now.
WWdN West Coast Tournament ReCap:
Somewhere along the way last night, somebody, I think Surflexus, suggested we all join the WWdN West Coast Tournament that was starting up in a few minutes. We take a look and there’s only like 18 or 20 people signed up, so what the hell? Five or six of us decided we hadn’t had enough to drink and hadn’t been up long enough, so we joined the tourney.
I don’t remember a lot of particulars, but here goes nothing.
I think Will-Wonka was the first bust-out of the WWdN, thus earning the Gigli award for this particular tournament. Hoyazo, SoxLover and I all made the final table, with my stack the meekest of the three. I avoided confrontation at all costs, especially against the CJ-esque luckbox who time and time again, displayed his nearly uncanny ability to play trash hands and come out on top. He took out nearly all of the final table, including Hoyazo and we were suddenly down to four players, Sox and myself included. The pay-offs started with third place, so we were on the bubble. I was way behind in chips and looking for a hand to push with. Fortunately, for me, SoxLover picked up pocket Aces and the luck-box, now chipleader, once again sucked out and I backed into the money. I was out shortly thereafter, but happy with my third place finish.
I enjoyed the chatting and playing last night immensely. It is amazing what a few weeks of good results will do for one’s confidence and psyche. I’m in such a better place right now, compared to two months ago, and I’m sure my mood reflects that in the chat room.
Jordan often talks about how odd it is that such a diverse group of individuals is drawn together through the wonders of the web. I agree with him completely and thought I would spend a little time today exploring that topic.
I’m a forty year old husband, father and ex-jock who hasn’t completely grown up yet. I have very few friends outside of the web that are 15 years younger than I am. However, on the web, both at the poker tables and in the blogosphere, I am regularly conversing with, laughing with and confiding in people who ARE that much younger than I, some even younger than that. As I’ve realized lately, age is a state of mind and as I’ve said before, I do not feel or act like I’m forty years old most of the time. Even if I did, it would not change the relationships that I’ve developed through the blog one bit, in my opinion.
The common denominators for this group are poker and blogging. After all, we all play poker all the time, but the thing that drew us together was the writing. I remember the first time I happened onto a blog, I thought, I sure would like to do that, but who in the hell would read it? How in the world do these guys come up with something to write about every day? I wasn’t sure that I would have anything relevant to add to any conversation and back then I wasn’t sure I knew enough about the game to give any meaningful advice. I’m still no internet-pro poker player, nor am I a Pulitzer Prize-winning blogger, but I feel like what I write is meaningful sometimes and even if that is only once a month, it is all worth it for that one comment every so often.
I play poker and chat with lawyers, car-parts salesmen, high-finance guys, accountants, IT dudes, working Moms and college kids. When I am in one of the chat rooms, it never even enters my mind that they are in places like Erie, Australia, NYC, Boston, Washington D.C., Atlanta, LA, Greensboro, Ohio, Florida or even “across the pond.” It’s as if we are all sitting around one big table either playing against each other or sweating somebody else into the money. I have no doubt that should we ever all sit at the same table, either in a casino or a home game, we would all get along just as famously as we do every night on the internet.
When Okie-Vegas arrives in June, I have all the faith in the world that the friendships I’ve developed over the last 8 months or so will be cemented into life long friendships. I can see us planning family vacations in the future that center around getting together to play poker and enjoying each others’ company and families. I’m really looking forward to showing off my “game-face” live and in person with fellow bloggers. There will be so many inside jokes at the table that the fishy locals will not know what hit them. I promise you that if you are at my table and I raise, you’ll know when I’m holding the hammer and you will probably know when I’m holding Aces, as well.
I’m not sure where I was headed with this bit of rambling, but I wanted all of you to know that I value our friendships and I look forward every night to that little Yahoo box appearing and being invited into a chat room filled with other bloggers. Thanks to each and every one of you for making life a lot less dull. If you have never experienced it, you are truly missing out. If you don’t own a headset, get out and buy one. For god’s sake, they are only $25. Call it a poker investment and take the write-off. I can’t tell you what a difference it makes in your perception of people when you can actually hear their voice. It’s a whole new ballgame when you can just speak and not have to type in every response or LOLOLOLOLOLOL.
If you ever want to join one of these and have never been invited, here is your chance. My Yahoo ID is GCoxy25. Hit me up and if things are rolling in a chat room, you are there. It is a great time and I wouldn’t trade any of the friendships I’ve made over the last months for anything. Good guys and gals, all, I promise.
That’s about all I have for today as I am by myself at work and covered up. Big brother knows when it’s slow enough to surf the web, but when he could help a brother out, the eyes seem to be glued shut. Imagine that.
Have a good weekend.
posted by GaryC @ 3:31 PM, ,