Thursday, November 30, 2006
25 degrees and dropping by the second. *Edit*18 degrees as I write this.
Thunder-Sleet (they actually used this word) pelting Oklahoma like the worst ice storms we have ever seen here.
Thunder-Snow (another new term for me and I have lived here all my life) is on the horizon. Forecasters are predicting 6-8 inches of snow in a very short time.
Idiotic, donk-tastic displays of driving ability, or the complete lack thereof, by every single moron on the road. Have you ever been in LA traffic when it rains? Basically, all the oil on the highways out there make it the equivalent of driving on a sheet of ice and those poor bastards do not know what hit them. Same thing here when we get ice. Cars in ditches every quarter mile, wrecks on every conceivable spot on the road and this morning, a complete fucktard driving ONE mile per hour in the fast lane. I shit you not, ONE fucking mile per hour. I could have parked my truck, gotten out and walked as fast as this jackass was driving. Now, I am a conservative driver when the roads are dangerous, and they were dangerous this morning, but come on, you need to stay on the side streets partner or you will cause more accidents than there are currently on the road.
Is it the end of the earth as we know it? Nah, just a typical week of weather in Oklahoma. 75 degrees and breezy on Monday, the above shit pelting us like a shotgun blast on Thursday. If I have heard it once, I have heard it one thousand times, if you do not like the weather in Oklahoma, give it an hour, it will change.
We typically have a few very cold spells every winter, as well as a bit of snow and ice along the way, but this storm is being hailed as the biggest snow storm in many, many years for our state. It is a damn shame I am typing this in my little monkey-cubicle at work, while the sleet pounds the north side of my so-called office. I would have, and should have, stayed home today, but of course, my last two vacation days of the year are scheduled for next Friday and the following Monday. Mmmmmmm, Vegas baby!
We have to head down to our place at the lake this weekend and do karaoke at the bar on Saturday night, weather permitting. We have already changed our plans from the usual. Normally, I get everything loaded on Thursday night and then leave straight from work, in order to get down to the lake at the earliest second possible. Of course, normally means in July, when I am putting the jet-skis on their chargers and preparing for a booze-filled trip around Ft. Cobb Lake all day on Saturday. The motivation for such a trip when the wind chill is 0, mmm, not so much. So, we are going to head down on Saturday afternoon, if the roads are clear enough and just set up, do the show and head straight back home early on Sunday morning. My wife is staying home today and will be loading us up with the necessary survival pieces to withstand an extended stay indoors.
Coffee – check
Chili ingredients – check
Firewood – check
Stew ingredients – check
Several 30-packs of Keystone Light – check
I cannot honestly think of anything else, other than a few bags of ice to keep in my cooler of beer.
What all of this means is that I will be available for a little bit of on-line fun both tonight and probably Friday night, as well. I have to say, I am not playing winning poker right now, but the chat rooms have surely made it all worthwhile the last few nights. It has also added fuel to the anticipation of arriving in Vegas next Thursday evening. I was already uber-excited about flying out to the WPBT gathering, but the last few nights, chatting with Kat and Joanada, as well as playing in the blogger events, have me in a tizzy. I am ready to do this right freaking now!
Has anybody else tried the BlackJack tournaments on Ultimate Bet? Now, first let me say that I like me some blackjack, but the tournament format is really cool. I have been playing around on the 5 + .50 one-table tourneys and have been able to make the money in about half of them. There are 7 players and everybody starts out with 25K in chips and you wager against the house, but are competing, chip-wise, against the other players. There are elimination rounds along the way, where the lowest stack following the hand is automatically eliminated. Of course, if you go bust, you are eliminated, as well. I have not watched a lot of these on TV yet, but it does not take long to realize that there is some strategy involved and it is really an interesting new tournament style. I like it, but after all, it is still blackjack and decidedly –EV.
I think I am done for the day. This post is going to make it up earlier than usual, because I am taking off work early this afternoon in an effort to avoid Mario Andretti and Larry the Cable guy on the Oklahoma City roads. Get ‘er done!
posted by GaryC @ 1:53 PM, ,
Dreaming of Sin City
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Im dreaming of a white,er, scratch that, Im dreaming of Vegas baby!
Seeing as we are only 8 freaking days away from taking off for Vegas, I thought it was about time to post about it, again and again and again.
I am anticipating some of the white stuff invading Oklahoma tonight and, although we never get a lot of snow, it is kind of cool to know it is coming. We saw the temperatures drop from a high of 75 yesterday down into the 20s some time today. I know some of you, (Jo!) have experienced temperatures much lower in recent days, so I will not bore you with any I am freezing stories, but suffice it to say, temperatures in the 20s and the wind blowing as hard as it does around here, it is damn cold for us. Of course, whatever hits the ground will probably end up melted away by the weekend and hopefully we will be back on our way to some warmer temperatures around here.
I am extremely eager for next Thursday to get here. After playing in the Mookie on Wednesday night and working a full day at the job on Thursday, Miss Maudie and I fly out of OKC around 10:45 on Thursday evening and arrive in Sin City around 11:20. We will be greeted by my new dial-a-shot buddies, Joanada and Kat, and head straight for the IP for some pokery goodness. Anybody that is already there be warned, the Jack and Coke will be flowing on the flight and I will be in the mood to sling chips ……. or fold, whichever the case may be. I understand I just might find Drizz at a table behind a mountain of chips on Thursday evening and, if that be the case, I got the first Captain and Coke brother.
I read Venenos post this morning about all the things she is looking forward to doing whilst in Vegas and it got me to thinking. What exactly am I expecting to get out of this? Far, far too many things to ever get down on a list. Aside from meeting everybody for the first time and slinging chips with them in real life, I would not know where to start in forming my list. So, I am going to Vegas with NO expectations, but to have a good time and meet, slam back a libation and play poker with a bunch of folks that I have wanted to meet for the longest time. I have said this before on this here blog, but the reason I started blogging in the first place was when the fever hit me two years ago at this time, sitting at work on a cold December day, reading all the trip reports from that first gathering. Good lord, that sounded like fun. I want me some of that fun.
I have had the opportunity to meet several bloggers in person and play poker with them as well since that time and the entire experience has been fantastic. Every single blogger that I have met has been exactly as advertised, or rather, exactly as perceived by me after reading their blog and I have had nothing but great experiences thus far. I do not expect that to change one bit after next weekend. I do, however, expect that my liver will be going on strike the following week as a direct result of the events that are yet to take place. Bah, he has been on strike before and probably will be again, I am not scared.
One thing has to be said right now though, I do not drink Tequila! Actually, I used to drink Tequila and I used to love Tequila, but from a certain night back in the day until this very day, all I have to do is smell Tequila and I am throwing up somewhere that night. I had a very, very bad experience one night after about 10 Cuervo Golds and Tequila has lost its luster for me. Damn, I just threw up in my mouth thinking about it. No Tequila whatsoever for me.
Things I will drink while in Vegas:
-Any kind of beer available, although, if I am at the tables, I tend to drink liquor because of that whole tiny bladder thing. After I drink about 10 beers, I am in the can every 15 minutes for a while and that does not lend itself to playing poker.
-Jack and Coke is my standard drink in Vegas. I say standard like I have been 56 times in the last year, but actually, I have only been to Vegas twice other than this trip. I do have one piece of advice for you though, do NOT spill your Jack and Coke on the blackjack table, they frown on that. This is what will be in my hand a solid 75% of the time next weekend as well as on the plane to and from Vegas.
-Captain and Coke-this being the drink of choice for Drizz, I will definitely be partaking in one or two of these next weekend. I generally like Rum, so this is not a stretch for me.
-Guinness-Although I think it is a stretch to call this a beer (at least in my terms) I think it would be a sin to go to Vegas, meet the Blogfather and NOT drink a Guinness (or 12) with him.
-Southern Comfort-the shot of all shots and the weapon of choice of the man himself, AlCantHang. I got a bit of practice in May at my gathering here in Oklahoma and have had a few since then, so when this opportunity arises, I will most definitely be ready.
Things I will try to avoid next weekend in Vegas:
-being any type of geeky fanboi. While I will most certainly be meeting people that I have admired for a long time, I will try not to be a geek about it. No promises though.
-winning the Drunken Lewey award for the weekend. While I could see this happening accidentally, I will be trying my best to avoid this award.
-GIGLI-ing the WPBT blogger tournament on Saturday at Caesars. This is actually my biggest fear on this trip. I have already had two dreams involving this exact scenario and believe me, I would rather be stuck between third and home, running in quicksand and finally being tagged out, than continue dreaming about bouncing first from this tournament. You think I play tight on-line, wait until we kick this tournament off. I will be taking the re-buy right off the bat and trying to stay out of the way, at least until somebody goes out.
By the way, here is the short version of the dream. I sit down at my first table and here is the lineup.
Wow, I really do not see a lot of pots being left for me at this table. Could this nightmare get any worse? Yes, young grasshopper, it could and it does. I look down at A-A on the first hand and Sox has raised from EP and CJ has re-raised. I am not folding, right? I re-raise and every single person at the table calls. The flop is A-7-2. I end up getting it all in with Maudie and she turns up the hammer. Turn 2, river 2 and I am bounced from the tourney on the first hand. After accepting my GIGLI award, I am overcome with despair and disappear for the rest of the trip. I told you it was a nightmare.
There is actually no chance of that happening on the first hand, because I will fold Aces face up after that flop, just on principle!
So, I guess this has really turned into a bit of a dreamy post after all. The fact is I DO have a lot of expectations coming into this trip and I absolutely cannot wait for it to get here. No, my game is not where I would like it to be right now (btw, thanks to everybody who commented and/or emailed, your thoughts are very much appreciated) but I will try to make do the best I can. It will probably mean a folding session, the likes of which Vegas has never seen from a tourist, but I am okay with that too. After all, that is my game for the most part.
Have a good one and I will see you at the Mookie tonight!
posted by GaryC @ 3:27 PM, ,
The State Of My Game
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
My poker game is in a state of flux right now. I have messed around lately on a variety of different fronts, all to the same varying degrees of non-success. Go deep in a tournament one night, bust out early the next. Tear up a cash table one night, donate to everybody else the next. I have spent a lot of time concentrating on individual games, as well as the HORSE tournaments, all to the same non-successful results. Oh, I have had my moments, just last week I made a run to 13th of 500 or so in a UB $30 + 3 tournament. I was primed for a final table and had the chips to do battle, but for one foolish call. Of course, at the time, being a 80% favorite appealed to me, stupid me. One good cracking and I am down to push or fold mode and pretty soon, ushered to the rail.
My frustrations have as much to do with me as they do any bad beats I have had to endure. I certainly have not been asked to endure any more than anybody else lately, it just seems that they come along at very inopportune times. The big money in that tournament was the final four spots, so I took a very small payout in relation to the field and the buy-in. Last night, in a donk-tacular free-roll on Stars, I managed to outlast some 6800 or so players and was in nice shape coming out of the second break. The free-roll was the Moneymaker Millions challenge and 50 lucky lucky people would receive a ticket to the next level, after outdistancing nearly 8,000 flaming idiots in this one. Congrats to the other white meat on a great showing and nearly making the money.
Anyway, I am sitting at around average or a little below with about 500 folks left when it happened. I have Q-J sooted in the big blind and check to see a flop of 8-9-10 rainbow. Showtunes are NOT going off in my head, because that is not how I roll, but, if I was Vince Van Patten, I assume they would have been going off at this point. I end up getting it all in with an equal chip stack and am looking at doubling up to around 30K. He has Q-7 off-suit. Q on the turn and J on the river and we split the pot. Sorry, dude, that is a bad beat in my books and it took all the wind out of my sails. I woke up everybody in the house, along with a few neighbors I’m sure, with a loud, one-syllable word that starts with F and ends with UCK!
So, then what do I do? I take a coin flip for my stack shortly thereafter with 9-9 against A-Q. At least Stars was kind enough to wait until the river to pair his Q. He also had a double belly-buster and the nut flush draw as well, so I think he had 53 outs to my -1 at the end. Did I have to take the coin flip? Nope, nobody made me shove, I did it of my own free will and I still really like the spot. Three limpers before me and just the blinds behind, I move in and the big blind wakes up with A-Q sooted, just bad luck right? Oh well, I am still ahead, until we see a J-10-8 flop with two spades. I am no longer ahead and of course, he catches the Queen on the river and he had me covered. Thank you for wasting 2 and a half hours of your life in a meaningless freeroll.
That is how my entire game feels right now. I am so looking forward to playing live in Vegas because of this rut that I find myself in on-line right now. I am still enjoying playing and I get a great deal of satisfaction when I play well or make a great read, it just does not seem to be happening as often as it used to. I know my beats are no worse than the next guy and, in fact, I have been running pretty good when in as a favorite, it is just my problem to deal with right now and unfortunately, I am not dealing with it very well.
Bleh! What a whining ass that sounds like, huh?
I think most of my problems stem from watching the success of others. I realize that my style of play suits me very well, but that it has also been shown over and over again that tight is definitely NOT always right. As much as I would like to believe it, there are different and distinct advantages of playing a fairly loose, aggressive game. It is a game with which I am not familiar for sure. The attempts I have made in recent weeks to change up my play have not been disastrous, but largely unsuccessful at best.
It is clear to me that playing with guys like Hoyazo, BoobieLover, Waffles and Surflexus on a regular basis in the blogger tournaments has taught me a lot. I pay very strict attention to the play at my table and especially the play of players like these. My problem is integrating some of that type of play into my game. Just.Cannot.Seem.To.Do.It. That is my challenge and something that I am working toward on a nightly basis, but I am far from there. It is an inner struggle with my tightness to even make moves at the $5 level. I have had decent success with strictly ABC poker at this level, but, I also have not moved up on a regular basis, nor have I had any sustained success at the higher levels.
So, I am not in the best shape, game-wise, to be heading to Vegas to play poker with all these folks I have been reading for so long, but you know what, I do not care in the least. I am going to have a blast, win, lose or draw and that is all there is to it. I am so stoked for next Thursday night to get here and the festivities to begin, that I can hardly contain myself. Work is, well, work, and I have a full plate between now and next Thursday night, but I am not going to let it get me down for a second. By the time we touch down in Vegas, I plan on having a decent head start in the Jack and Coke category and playing some poker with my new friends. Who knows? Maybe I will catch some cards too???
No poker for me tonight, it is bowling night after all. Average is still around 210, so that's going pretty well. I will be playing the Mookie tomorrow, you should to.
Have a good one.
posted by GaryC @ 3:13 PM, ,
Saturday, November 25, 2006
It's that time of year here in the great state of Oklahoma. Bedlam football means two things around here: The radio talk shows have more idiots calling in than normal and the Sooners usually beat the OSU Cowboys.
This year we have an added bonus: Will's Texas Longhorns choked one off yesterday against the Aggies in their annual rivalry game, so my Sooners are playing for the Big 12 South Championship AND the opportunity to beat the shit out of the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Big 12 Championship Game. There is nothing we would like more than getting a crack at the Cornhuskers every year.
But, the Sooners have to take care of business first against Oklahoma State. My take? Take the crimson and cream and lay the points. I look for a big game from our defense this year and my Sooners are hungry for a BCS bowl game after their early season screwing at the hands of the Pac 10 officials in Oregon. I took a great deal of pleasure watching the Ducks choke one off yesterday against the Beavers.
Since being dominated in Texas, the Sooners have looked extremely solid on both sides of the ball and especially the defense. I look for OSU to struggle on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense. They have some good players, especially on offense, but our defense has shut down everybody as of late and I expect more of the same today.
Good luck Aggies, you'll need it today.
posted by GaryC @ 7:01 AM, ,
Monday, November 20, 2006
I had a very short weekend due to a couple of things:
I stayed up fairly late (at least for me) on Friday night, playing $25 NL on Full Tilt with a bevy of bloggers. The game itself was not the problem, it was the dial-a-shots accompanying the game that eventually led to my demise. As I mentioned in my last post, Kat and Joanne dialed me up for some shots during the cash table play and both conversations lasted much longer than a simple dial-a-shot. If you did not already know, I am headed to Vegas in a few weeks for my first WPBT get-together. To say I am stoked would be a huge understatement. As it turns out, Kat is arriving in Vegas on Thursday evening at almost the exact same time as Maudie and I arrive. Ms. Joanne has kindly offered to pick us up and take us to the IP, since she is already going to be there to pick up Kat, so we had a lot to talk about and more of a get-acquainted kind of dial-a-shot. Needless to say, I am even more stoked now than I was before the phone call. I am looking forward to stepping off the plane and having some live shots in Vegas with my new pals.(Note: When you see a big, mullet headed oaf walk into the Imperial Palace with these three lovely ladies, note to yourself: That's how I roll!)
Following the late night buffoonery, I dragged myself up the next morning and went in to work until Noon. But Gary, you worked last weekend, why two weekends in a row? Well, you see, my boss offered me the overtime and with Vegas right around the corner, I decided I could use all the time-and-a-half I could get on my next check, so I bit the bullet. It should make for at least one more round or one more SNG in Vegas, should those opportunities arise.
I got home in time to watch most of the OU-Baylor football game and then, while preparing to rest my eyes for a few hours, I realized the Ohio State-Michigan game was firing off on ABC. Wow, what a game! I watched it all and before I could realize that I had not gotten my nap on Saturday, it was time for USC-California and some SNG action at Stars and Tilt. I ended up playing 4 or 5 SNGs while watching the game and actually went on a bit of a cashing spree, as I cashed in every one I played Saturday night. I ended up going down right after the last game and slept soundly until around 9:30 Sunday morning, when the smell of bacon, biscuits and gravy woke me from my peaceful slumber. I hate a huge breakfast and set about to clean up the yard from the leaf festival that is November in these parts. I last exactly one jumbo bag full of leaves before deciding that shit could wait until next weekend.
I went back in the house, took a shower and promptly slept soundly until the Dallas-Indianapolis kick-off at 3:30. Nice game, how bout them Cowboys? They are by no means world-beaters yet, but I really like what I see from Romo so far. He reminds me a bit of a young Bret Favre. I certainly would not compare him to Favre in his heyday, but so far so good with young Romo. He certainly held his own against Manning yesterday and the Dallas defense looked pretty good for most of the game, as well. Now, if they would just throw the damn ball to T.O. (joking, of course)
I finished off the night with some low limit SNGs and completely forgot about the Big Game last night. It was just as well, as I did not have a token and could not have played if I wanted to. Week after next I plan on making a concerted effort to earning my token early enough and signing up for Dons Big Game. I could use some $$$ like that from his tournament prior to leaving for Vegas, so I plan on trying to play.
Congratulations go out to the following:
Iakaris, on a fabulous finish in a FTOPS event last week.
Iggy, for finding himself a new home and continuing on without missing a beat. I, myself, was able to waste a solid 3 hours of productivity alone, with his most recent uber post. Go by his new digs and say hi.
I am not sure if I can play the Mook this week or not. I will be at my Moms house early for Thanksgiving and basting my ass off all night Wednesday, as it is my year to cook the bird. I am going to take the computer though, just in case I can hook into her internet and if I have time, I will be there.
Don't forget Hoy's MATH tournament tonight on Stars.
That is just about it for today. I look forward to meeting everybody in a few short weeks at the IP and dispelling this silly notion that I play tight! Until then, if I raise, please fold.
posted by GaryC @ 3:11 PM, ,
Saturday, November 18, 2006
-HORSE SNG's on Full Tilt: +EV
-HORSE SNG'S on PokerStars: +EV
-$25 NL at blogger table on Full Tilt: -EV
-Triple Draw on Stars and UB: +EV
-Token SNG with 5 or 6 other bloggers: -EV
-Dial-A-Shots with Kat and Joanada: PRICELESS!
posted by GaryC @ 1:46 PM, ,
Friday, November 17, 2006
First off, let me say to everybody involved in the DADI last night, I apologize. There is no other way around it, we fucked up. It was my donktastic idea in the first place and had we had any inclination that it would turn out the way it did, we would have done something different. Again, I am sorry.
We had no intention of cheating in the first place. It was going to be a big joke that we could blog about and tell stories about and it did not work out that way at all. Everybody is exactly right, we were definitely in the wrong. While I think cheating is too harsh a word to use, I cannot help but see their point. Again, I apologize, it was not our intent, I promise you that.
I do not have anything else to say about it. Lesson learned.
posted by GaryC @ 3:17 PM, ,
A Sad Day Indeed
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Rest In Peace, Indeed!
It is the dawning of a new age in this realm we call bloggerdom. A giant has passed on and it is left to us to continue in his wake.
For those of you who have been asleep for three days or have not been doing your required reading in the last several days, Iggy, the Blogfather, has decided to shut down Guinness and Poker. It is indeed a sad, sad day on many fronts. A mentor for many, a terror at the poker tables and a good friend to all who have known him, Iggy will most definitely be missed in our little community.
I had the opportunity to talk to Iggy on IM a couple of times and I always felt like I was talking to an old friend, somebody just like you and me. Despite his stature in the community, he always seemed to have time for anybody that wanted to chat or some pimpage for all of us newcomers at one time or another. I will never forget the day he commented on my blog for the first time and the day my lowly blog was mentioned in Guinness and Poker. Now, let me first say that I am a 40 year old man, but the day he commented on my blog, I ran home like a thirteen year old, zit-faced teenager and yelled through the house, come and look at this to anybody who would listen. No, you do not understand, that is the Blogfather! That is a big deal.
So, no more from a constant source of news, information, pictures and quotes. No more uber posts. It is truly a sad day.
Go in peace, my brother, you have earned your hiatus and our respect. Do not forget to come back and visit some time.
*In a completely unrelated bit of news, the Department of Labor noted an immediate spike in workplace productivity following the previous announcement.*
DADI X is tomorrow night on Full Tilt Poker. See the banner in my previous post for the details or click the link to go to the web-site.
Over the last year or so, there have been 9 tournaments and the culmination of Donkeys Always Draw is tomorrow night. The 10th installment, sadly, will be the last installment. My good buddies have decided that it has run its’ course, and with the plethora of blogger tournaments running on a regular basis, I can see their point.
I have been graciously included in the inner circle of DADI planning, but to be quite honest with you, I have not done much of the planning. These DADI tournaments were the brain child of Jordan and TripJax. They included me as a courtesy and I appreciate that, but the planning and setting up was all done by them. I just throw up a picture every now and then, offer my 2 cents when asked and play in the tournaments, when I have the time. I can also understand fully why they are ready to pull the plug and I say, good show old chap, you have had a nice run, but it is time to move over and let the newer tourneys have their moment in the sun. I shall miss you, but your time is through.
So, with that news, you have one last chance to become a hero to millions, an idol to the masses, yes, the penultimate DADI X champion. With the entry fee being a $24 + 2 token, it should be quite a hefty payout as well, so, what are you waiting for? Get over there and sign up, I am, although I will probably be a bit late.
Do not forget the Mookie tonight either. If you have not played in this tournament, you need to give it a shot for sure. There is always a virtual who be who of bloggers in this well attended tournament. Perhaps somebody could talk the Reverend into live blogging the tourney from the Boathouse tonight??? By the way, great post Al, I sure hope to hoist a few Socos with you in Vegas next month.
SirFWalgman asks what constitutes a good call and/or a bad call, a good trust-your-gut read or an error in judgement.
Unfortunately, as we all know in this wonderful game of poker, it just depends. Sometimes that push by an opponent on the river just reeks of a missed draw and sometimes that push is supposed to reek of a missed draw. It is used by solid players, holding the winning hand (in all probability) to make us over-think the situation and make a poor decision as a result. In this age of modern, televised big-money poker tournaments, No Limit Hold Em is all the rage. Everybody has a home game and everybody you and I know is playing some form of poker. Whether it be penny ante, poker on the play station, free money on the dot.net sites or big money on the cash, dot.com sites.
One thing that I have come to realize over the last two years is this: At the lower limits that I play at least, putting your virtual opponents on a range of hands can be your greatest asset or the biggest detriment to your ability to make money at this game. The old mantra any two cards can win is more prevalent today than it ever has been. Like the example SirF pointed to in his post, can you honestly put an opponent on 2-4 of Clubs in that situation? Certainly, the prospect of him having at least one club if you have none (from Penner’s perspective) is a likely occurrence, but is Penner supposed to be able to define SIrF’s hand well enough to shut it down when the flush comes on fourth street. I know I would not be able to that in that situation. This all goes back to something I talked about last week, looking for a reason to fold. In my opinion, playing these types of speculative hands, hoping to hit that miracle flop and stack somebody is just a sure way to bleed off chips to the rest of the table over the long run.
Making a good, tough call on an opponent at the poker table is almost as good as sex. I know this guy has been bluffing all night-all I have is 2nd pair. I know this guy has been bluffing all night-that board is pretty coordinated. I know this guy has been bluffing all night-He did be the pot on every street. What it all boils down to, in most instances, is your read on the other player. Do you think he is a fish or a solid player? There are very few instances where you are going to be put to the test with a marginal hand that you are going to make a GOOD call against a savvy, tough opponent. Occasionally, you are going to look them up when they are on a stone cold bluff, but for the most part, that pressure that you feel mounting, as your time clock kicks in, is the type of pressure he is trying to put on you. The reason for the pressure is simple, you are not trapping him, he is either A) trapping you, B) bluffing you or C) betting for value with a better hand. If you were holding a hand that you felt was the best hand, your call (or raise) would be instantaneous. There would be no build up of pressure, because when we feel like we are ahead, we throw that pressure back on the other guy, right? (Pressure Points)
I do not think there are good calls and bad calls nearly as often as we seem to think. The more likely description should be hard calls and easy calls. (and good laydowns, for that matter) The fact that you called a donkey with 3rd pair on a flush board and won the hand does not necessarily make it a GOOD call. It was certainly a hard call and you certainly made a GOOD decision, but to call it a GOOD call would not be accurate, in my opinion. Suppose you were sitting at a blogger table across from DoubleAs and called his pre-flop raise in position with 7-7. He is a bit short on chips, but the flop comes out A-K-Q with two to a flush. He moves all-in immediately and you reluctantly make the call due to the size of the pot. He flips up 6-6 and you take it down. Does that constitute a GOOD call? Not in my books. It was a call that was statistically right (at least in this example) money-wise, but knowing who the opponent is and the type of poker that he plays, this would be a TOUGH call, in my opinion. From a strictly pot odds view, it was right to make the call, but you cannot feel like you are still ahead in this situation post flop. This could also be called a CRYING call.
Here is another example from a hand I played last night on Ultimate Bet:
I have 5-5 in the big blind and call a LP raiser before the flop. The flop is 7-8-9 and he bets the pot, which I call. I have the guy on big cards, probably A-K, but I do not think he has a big pair. The turn is a J and again, he fires out a pot-sized bet. That Jack on the turn could be my undoing, but I stick with my read and make the call. The river brings a 6 which makes me the azz end of the straight and my opponent checks. I feel like my 5-5 was good from the start and I throw out a half-pot value bet, which he happily insta-calls. He shows A-A and my little straight holds up.
Obviously, my read was nowhere near on target and I was extremely lucky to win the hand, but was my play that bad here? In my opinion, yes, it was that bad there. I called a raise and two pot-sized bets after the flop and turn from out of position with an inferior hand. That is horrid and I deserved to lose the hand. My biggest problem has always been lack of aggression and this particular hand is a perfect example of that. What would I have done had he moved all-in after the turn? He had me covered and I would have certainly considered folding the hand if he moved all-in, but looking back now, I probably make the call and suck out on the guy on the river. I really thought he had A-K or A-Q in that situation and I would have probably called him. By the way, the guy called me a donkey in the chat box too. I told him I was the Smiling Donkey over at Full Tilt.
Regardless of the situation, there are going to be hard calls and easy calls, whether at the cash tables or a multi-table tournament. I just think the terms good call and bad call are not doing justice to player that is faced with that decision. Some nights, every read is right and we look like geniuses. Some nights, our reads are somewhere out in left field and we look like the Drawing Donkeys that we all tend to be from time to time. The difference is the reading ability.(and it never hurts to have notes on the other player)
My 2 cents.
That is all I have for today, join us on the felt tonight and tomorrow.
posted by GaryC @ 3:21 PM, ,
I am in!
Monday, November 13, 2006
The flight is booked and I will be making my first appearance at a WPBT live get-together. I can't explain how excited I am. Okay, maybe I can. Would it be uber-ghey to admit that I have wood right now? I thought so, but you know what? I am uber-ghey and I do have wood right now. Can't help it. I'm excited.
It appears that I will be flying in with none other than sweet, sweet Maudie on Thursday night-late! Hopefully our seats won't be too close together or she will be tired of me before we hit the airport in Vegas.
I'm booking a room at the IP tonight, so the offer still stands, if somebody needs a place to stay and doesn't mind splitting costs, hit me up and you are in.
I have nothing else to post today other than a little pimpage:
Tonight at PokerStars, new home to the crack of card playing, Triple Draw. Try it, you'll agree sooner of later.
Hoy has added a $10 bounty if you can knock him out as an underdog. That's pretty much every time he gets knocked out, right?
Wednesday night at Full Tilt, the Mookie has taken over the blogger tournaments as the best represented. They continually have 50-60 entrants week after week, well, except for last week when there was a timing problem.
Get out there and help them reach Al's goal of 80 players.
Thursday night marks the 10th installment of the Donkeys Always Draw Invitational. Okay, it's not really an invitational, but if you read this, consider yourself invited and get out there and win your token for this event. See more about DADI here.
Finally, MiamiDon has quite a hit on his hands with his bi-monthly Big Game. All the details are on the left and the token sng's provide an excellent opportunity to free-roll into this bigger buy-in event for virtually nothing.
Get after those tokens!
That is all I have for today, except to add that Triple Draw is as addictive as crack, mark my words.(okay, they weren't really my words, but somebody told me that once)
Have a good week.
posted by GaryC @ 3:26 PM, ,
Wanted: Roomie for a weekend
Friday, November 10, 2006
I need to put out the same deal Mr. Speaker threw out there yesterday. If you are going to Vegas on Dec. 7th or 8th and would like to share a room in an effort to defray costs, I am looking for a roomie. Apparently, Joe is planning on wearing his Halloween mullet and the thought of that much hair in one room was more than he could stomach.
So, let me know. I am probably flying in on Thursday night, but probably will not check into a room until some time on Friday. If you already have a room lined up and would like a roomie, let me know that. I do not snore much, er, unless I have been drinking, but, we will not be drinking in Vegas, will we?
I am absolutely stoked to be going back to Vegas, especially with the opportunity to meet so many of the people that I read on a regular basis. Since my pal, TripJax, hooked me up with Google reader at work, I have been able to read everybody again and that is cool. I am not able to comment until I get home, but at least I am staying current with what everybody has going on.
One of these days I am going to discuss exactly how this (me getting to go to Vegas) happened, because it is a bit hard to fathom, but, for now, I shall only say that it was a completely unexpected, but much appreciated blessing.
The grinding has begun in earnest in an effort to build up a playable bankroll for Vegas. To be completely honest here, the poker will be more of an afterthought and while I do really want to sit down and play cards, I want to sit down and chat and toss back a few cold beers with a ton of different people while I am there. However, I also want to have a playable amount of money in my pocket. I have not heard if there will be a tournament this trip or not, but I am hoping there is, because I definitely want to play a tournament or two while I am out there, along with the mixed games at the MGM.
Back to the on-line world, my time is spent these days at the 6 Max NL tables on Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet and PokerStars. I have been spending less and less time at Stars, simply because I have bonus money at Tilt and UB that I need to get released. I cannot speak for everybody, but as far as I am concerned, the level of play at all three sites has declined since the announcement from Party, banning US players. It looks to me like all the US players that were at Party have migrated to UB, FT and Stars now and the level of play reflects that. It is still not as fishy as Party was, but it sure has gotten a lot fishier in the last month or so.
I am quickly running out of time and must end this. I have to meet the family for dinner in a few minutes.
Have a good weekend and let me know if you are interested in sharing a room in Vegas.
posted by GaryC @ 4:01 PM, ,
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Is that one word or three?
Last night, I joined the Mookie as soon as I got home from work and it turns out that was a damn good thing. Had I waited, I might have missed it last night, due to the earlier starting time. I suppose this was just a one time deal, since Mookie is in Vegas right now and we will be back to our normal starting time next week.
Anyway, with a short field of just 36 or so runners, we were off and slinging the virtual chips at 8 pm here in my neck of the woods. Virtually everybody at the table was a solid player and I picked up nothing in the way of hands for the first hour or so. Then, when I did pick up some semblance of a hand, I was more often than not, completely dominated when my chips went in the middle. But, I am not the smiling donkey for no apparent reason. First, my 3-3 bested Duggles Q-Q when I miraculously flopped a set. Then, not ten minutes later it seemed, Summer_Babe called my push when I held Q-Q and she held K-K. The Hilton triplet showed up on the river, reminding me oh so much of PokerStars, except that it was normally the other way around for me there. So, I got back to a playable stack only to see Summer_Babe push in front of me when I held A-K sooooted of Clubs. I make the call and Duggle, in the blinds, makes the call as well. The flop was A-high with two diamonds and I pushed my paltry stack (about 1500 left) into the middle, only to be called by Duggle with an OESD. Summer_Babe showed A-K sooooted of Diamonds and was free-rolling for half of the main pot, until that third Diamond hit the turn and she tripled up, but my big Ace held up to take the side pot (about 3K) from Duggle.
After that, things got incredibly blurry for me. I remember being the first one bounced from the final table, but I have no recollection of what hand I held or who did the bouncing. I know for a fact that there was no reason for me to even be at the final table, the way I had played up to that point and the fairly cold deck I had dealt with. I had a few premium hands early, but ended up getting zero action on those, so, whoever knocked me out, I am sure it was a donkey play by me, but I did not have very many chips, so congrats and congrats to whoever won it last night, as well. I did not make it late enough to catch the winner. It was a good win over a solid field, though, I do know that.
So, why did things get so blurry for me?
Apparently, I will be joining in on the Storming of the Castle in less than a month in Vegas. I did not think it was possible this year, but due to some rather fortunate good timing and an extremely kind gesture, I will be making the trip out there in December for the blogger gathering. I am still in a state of shock and I hesitate to discuss any of the details, but suffice it to say, it would not have happened without a huge helping hand from a friend.
All that being said, I am SO looking forward to meeting everybody and playing in a live tournament with a bunch of folks that I know. Okay, maybe I do not really know them, but I feel like I already do. After spending nearly six months reading blogs on a daily basis, the trip reports from the first December gathering in Vegas convinced me to take the plunge. I know full well that I do not have the writing ability of a lot of the bloggers out there, nor do I have the poker playing ability or drinking ability of still others, but, what I lack in grammar skills, vocabulary and liver-toughness, I can more than make up for in mullet-ability.
I cannot wait for next month to get here now. I love December anyway, but this year, Christmas is coming early to my house. Thanks again, buddy.
Things I am currently wondering about:
1) What is it like to knock back a shot of SoCo with Al?
2) What is it with Iggy and his fascination with Guinness?
3) Is Drizz as funny in real life as he is on the internet?
4) Is Iakaris as cool in real life as he is at an on-line poker table?
5) Will my live game measure up with all the other bloggers that I read on a regular basis?
Hmmm, I guess I will be finding out about pretty much all of these in about a month. I am in!
See you in Vegas!
posted by GaryC @ 3:03 PM, ,
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Join us tonight so Al will keep up with the NSFW pictures, please. It is much safer clicking on his links than surfing porn these days.
See you tonight.
posted by GaryC @ 3:32 PM, ,
Poker and Politics
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I played some poker last night, including playing in the MATH tournament on PokerStars. I played like a donkey for most of the tournament and went out when my A-9 ran into Byrons A-Q. To be completely honest here, I was not paying a lot of attention. (stupid me) I was in the latter stages of a $26 token SNG on Tilt and pretty much folded everything I saw on Stars, not that that is not standard operating procedure for me anyway. I do think 23skiddoo made a move on a pot with Iakaris and I both in it though. I folded my TPTK to his check-raise, but something was telling me I was good there. Maybe not. I certainly ended up picking a much worse place to bust, so I probably should have tried him. (anybody have Skiddoo's blog address?)
I did end up winning my token after being the short stack with four players left. I finally pushed with A-3 and flopped two Aces to double up and a very short time later, I was heads up with the chip lead. (my K-K vs the chip leaders K-Q will turn things around in a hurry) I played the K-K hand perfectly too. It folded around to me and I, er, pushed all my chips in the middle and he called. How perfect is that? Yes, I am a push-donkey. (sorry, Waffles)
Begin political rant
I am not a very political person, in fact, I am probably the least political person in the entire blogosphere, but, if I can get my fat ass up early and go vote today, you should, as well. I echo everybody who has mentioned it on their blog, go vote these jackasses out today.
End political rant
You will make better decisions more often if you avoid the most difficult situations entirely. And these situations arise when you are playing a marginal hand from out of position against an aggressive, unpredictable opponent.
Finally, I just got my first issue yesterday and have nearly devoured the entire magazine. It is actually the November 14th issue with J.C. Tran on the cover. It is filled with useful information from tournament times to their take on the current UIEGA to the many strategic and commentary posts by many professional poker players and authors. Many thanks to Mookie for hooking me up with the subsciption, as well as to whoever supplied it via a bounty some time back,
I read the quote above in Barrys article entitled Playing a marginal hand.
Too often we, as players, force ourselves to make tough decisions. The more often we are put into these situations in a single tournament, for example, the better the chances are that we are going to eventually make an incorrect decision and be sent to the rail. As Barry so aptly notes, all of us have a difficult time playing in marginal situations. I could not agree more and after reading his article, it took me back to one of the first poker books I every read, Winning Low Limit Hold Em, by Lee Jones. Lee advocates looking for a reason to fold. Now, not only does this fit in with my personality, fairly conservative, despite the mullet it also feeds right into my style at the poker table, be it virtual and on-line or live and in person.
I am, and have always been a plodder, one of those guys that may or may not be the fastest, best, etc. but one that could be counted on in every way, shape and form. When I approached poker following Moneymakers win in 2003, I knew full well that I would never be able to play the same style that he employed. He was fairly aggressive, even without cards, and after bluffing Farha off one of the last few hands before the finale, he had Sammy exactly where he wanted him. I started out as a very cautious player and, in fact, today I am still a fairly cautious player. Some call it weak/tight, I cannot disagree. Some call it calling station and to some point, I have to agree with that. I have come around to a more tight/aggressive approach than when I first started, but I still tend to call too much, when often times I should be raising.
When I first deposited real money on-line to play poker, I knew going in that I would not be able to re-load my account at any particular whim. In fact, the first time I went busto, I had to wait nearly a month to re-load my UB account. My wife and I, while comfortable, do not have a ton of expendable money lying around, just looking for a place to go. And my wife would certainly not be allowing me to flush $100 per month down the toilet at my whim, because I wanted to play poker. So I started grinding away at the low limits and learning what I could learn along the way.
As the quote above says out of position. The first tangible thing I learned playing on-line poker was exactly how powerful position was in the game of NLHE. I began playing $5 SNG’s only and it was amazing to me to watch how many times a raise or opening bet from the button was met with fold, fold, fold. I began employing this strategy quite often, open-raising nearly every hand from the button in an orphan pot and then making that ever-important continuation bet when it was checked to me post-flop.
Back to the quote and to Lee Jones advice to look for a reason to fold. While both of these bits of advice are aimed specifically at Limit Hold Em, I, for one, can think of many times that this advice would be well-heeded in a NL tournament or cash game, as well. I see it over and over again, especially at the lower limits where I play. I will fold for three or four orbits and finally, open raise from the button for 4X the big blind and either the small blind or big blind call my raise, only to fold post-flop. Those bets, when called from out of position, looking for a miracle flop, are better saved to raise with when you have a premium hand, in my opinion. Obviously, if these players were paying particular attention to the table and moreso, to my actions leading up to the raise, they might deduce that I am a fairly tight player who comes into pots with premium hands and comes in raising whenever possible. Or not. That is the one thing that is fairly consistent across all the poker rooms I have played on, no matter how patient you are, no matter how long it has been since you played a hand and no matter how much your raise is, you are likely going to get action, sometimes unwanted action, but you are sure to get that action.
I have found that avoiding the situations that Barry mentioned in his article, you are almost guaranteed to make better decisions a greater percentage of the time. Lately, especially in the token SNGs on Full Tilt, I have taken to avoiding the chip leader at all costs, until we get to heads up play at the end. When we are down to four players, unless I am the micro-stack and have to push/fold, I will try not to even play a pot with the chip leader at the table. I want to be heads up with that guy and by playing a marginal hand, whether in position or out of position, you put your entire stack at risk and will nearly always be forced to make a difficult decision. On the flip side of that coin, if you are always playing solid starting hands, for a raise more often than not, and always in position, your opponents will have to make the tough decisions.
Another thing I think about, before a steal attempt, late in these SNGs, is the relative stack sizes of the blinds. If the BB is short-stacked, do I have a hand that I want to call an all-in with from the BB. If that answer is no, no steal attempt from me, it is that simple. If I am the far and away chip-leader at the table, of course, these rules are relaxed quite a bit and I raise with any number of hands from any position, but normally, when that is the case, I am raising enough to isolate a single player and putting them to the test for their chips. Just as I hate to be the short-stack faced with these decisions, I enjoy putting others to the test for their tournament life.
So, in closing, I found all the articles informative and even the ones intended for High-Limit games have some useful information that every poker player can put to use in some version. There is a ton of good information in print and all over the internet, it is up to you to find out which information works for you and to incorporate it into your style and strategy.
Thanks for reading and good luck.
I plan on playing the Mookie tomorrow night for sure and hopefully it will be a night filled with pokery goodness. Since I have earned my token for the DADI, I will be taking a few shots at the $75 Token SNGs in hopes of winning one for the next BIG GAME. I had my strategy all mapped out and spent most of Saturday and Sunday playing these qualifiers last weekend, but it was not to be. This time I will start earlier and hopefully win one early and get signed up for the next one early. I do like playing these bigger buy-in events because I tend to concentrate much harder and take it all much more seriously, even though my buy-in was won from a much smaller tournament. The sheer amount of money in the prize pool certainly makes me sit up and take notice and I think that is a good thing for my game.
Friday night might actually get to be a poker night for me this week, as well. We do not have anything scheduled as of right now, so perhaps a run at the Crazy Rebuy tournament on Stars is in my future for this Friday night. By the way, since re-depositing money on Ultimate Bet a week or so ago, I have fallen back into my crack-induced ways at the Triple Draw tables. I love this game and it is incredibly addicting, much like Omaha and Razz were at the beginning. I played last night for about an hour and clicked away from the table with a net profit of $1. Woot, I be goot! If you have never played Triple Draw, I will pass on the one piece of advice given to me by a much better player than I, SoxLover. Position is as important in Triple Draw as it is in Hold Em, perhaps even moreso. Also, much like the low limit Stud and Omaha games, if you expect anybody to lay down a hand in this game, you are in for a rude awakening. This is a drawing game and you better be prepared to show down a solid hand, because somebody will call you all the way, drawing the whole way and beat your ass if you are not careful.
Anyway, I do love me some Triple Draw. Come join me Wednesday or Friday night, because I am sure that is where I will be playing.
Have a good rest of the week.
posted by GaryC @ 3:18 PM, ,
Monday, November 06, 2006
I finally qualified for DADI X tonight on my first try of Monday. When we were down to four players, I finally had to push with A-3 and the short stack and flopped two Aces. The guy that called me said "See what happens when you play?" I answered with "I still have time."
About ten hands later, I was heads up with a different player and took it down. I did indeed have time left and, of course, pocket Kings are always good when the big stack is raising.
I do have a conflict on the night of DADI, so I will probably still be a bit late for the start of the tournament, but I am registered and will be there sooner or later. Please fold when I raise.
posted by GaryC @ 8:36 PM, ,
I ain't scared, are you?????
Do you ever have one of those days where it seems like every single move you make goes wrong? Welcome to my entire weekend.
I sat about on Saturday to catch up on some much needed sleep and to take a few shots at some token SNGs, in order to try and win my tokens for the BIG GAME and DADI X. Wow, to say that I was coolered or ran bad would be a bit of an understatement.
I made it to heads up in 5 tournaments where a $24 + 2 token was on the line and finished second every time. I also made it to heads up twice with a $69 + 6 token on the line and finished 2nd twice there also. Now, a few of the finishes I was extremely lucky to make it to heads up and really had no chance at all of putting a dent in the big stack, but three separate times in these tournaments (twice for the $24 + 2 and once for the $69 + 6) I was the chip leader and had my opponent all-in holding a dominating hand. Three straight times my opponent outdrew me with only two cards to come and two of those were runner-runner flushes.
I have been through bad runs before and have dealt with bad beats on a fairly regular basis. (I’ve even dealt with them quite poorly as has been chronicled on this very page) Yesterday was different for some reason. It was almost as if I suspected the exact cards that came. It is difficult to explain and even more troubling to have to deal with, but somehow, once the cards turned over and I knew I was well ahead, I still felt like I was going to lose the hand and that is exactly what happened every single time.
I did not blow up, throw anything or break my computer. I sat back, took a deep breath and in at least two cases, got up and took a break from the action. I still felt like I was playing optimal poker and I was not steaming in any way, so back to it I went, only to have it happen again and again.
So, at about 7 pm last night, I logged off and accepted the fact that I was not going to get to play in the BIG GAME this week. Nor was I going to earn my token for DADI X before Monday night either. I could have just bought straight into the BIG GAME with the amount of money I spent on qualifiers this weekend, but fortunately, I was able to make some scratch at Stars and UB to make up for the losses at Tilt. I probably am going to be able to play the Hoyazo MATH tournament tonight and you should as well. It is a little higher buy-in than I am comfortable with, but I am hoping that increases my concentration, or my beer consumption, whichever comes first. I will also be grinding away at the lower limits, feel free to join me.
I was very pleased with my play this weekend, even though my results were very poor. I made the right decisions, for the most part, and my hand was ahead more times than not when the money went in. That is all a guy can do right? I was also very pleased with the way I dealt with my results. Not so long ago, things would have been tossed about the room in a very poor exhibition of self-control, but this weekend, even though the results did not show success, I was successful at dealing with the results in a positive manner. My time will come and my strong hands will start holding up again, they have to sooner or later, at least that is what I keep reading.
May the felt, er, Aces, er, make mine, er, have a good one.
posted by GaryC @ 3:21 PM, ,
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Okay, so I haven't been playing my best poker this weekend, but give me a fucking break. It appears that Full Tilt has turned on the suck-out-on-Gary button and it has been whipping my ass.
I've made it to heads up in two seperate token SNG's only to have the button activated and my opponent catch runner-runner for a flush to flush my set down the drain.
Thanks, FT, thanks a fucking lot!
Big Game is in serious doubt for me today.
posted by GaryC @ 9:27 AM, ,
Thursday, November 02, 2006
I finally got back home tonight from the frigid state of Wisconsin. You know, 25 degrees wouldn't be so bad if the wind weren't whipping off Lake Michigan about 40 mph. My plane was delayed in Green Bay because Chicago had 50 mph winds on the ground. Luckily, I had enough time to get there, use the facilities and jump on the plane headed for Oklahoma. I stepped out of the airport, fired up my first cigarette in 8 hours and took in the clear, 57 degree night. I don't mind travelling, but there is nothing like coming home.
I came to a bit of realization on Monday this week also. I've talked many times about my little trailer at the lake, my redneck riviera, to borrow a phrase from a famous blogger. After taking off out of O'hare on Monday, headed north to Green Bay, we flew out over Lake Michigan. I now have a new understanding of the term Great Lake. My trailer is by a little mud-hole now and I truly know the meaning of what a lake is after seeing that monstrosity. You can't even see the other side, it is truly amazing and impressive.
I still have to go to work tomorrow and sing tomorrow night, but I plan on getting in some time at the tables this weekend. I had a killer post ready to go this afternoon until the inevitable two-outer cracked me in the family jewels.
Cost of WIFI at the airport: $6.95
Cost to enter the Token SNG: $4.00 + .40
Winning a $24 + 2 token for DADI X: Priceless!
Needless to say, the two-outer hit on the river and I lost my momentum after that.
Have a good weekend and come and find me to play some token SNG's this weekend. I have to win a token for the BIG GAME as well.
posted by GaryC @ 7:25 PM, ,