Pokerama-rama! Now with more beer!

Beer, brewing and poker, with possibly some inane drivel on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Friday night went well, over all. Not well for me, though, as I was the only person that finished negative for the night. Only $25, though, and I'd rather pay $25 to play poker all night, than throw it into overpriced drinks at a bar.  I can't whine about the loss, because these home games aren't about adding to my bankroll, they're about having fun, and I had much fun.
We played two NLHE tournaments, and followed it up with a few hours of dealer's choice. I bubbled in the first tournament, finishing in 4th place, when I was getting shortstacked, and raised all-in in LP with KJo, and was called by the chip leader, who had AQo. I can't complain about that, because I was behind all the way, and he'd had a horsehoe firmly planted up his ass all night. In the second tourney, I went out in 5th, and I was a little more disappointed in the way I was eliminated. Not really shortstacked, but looking to steal some blinds, I held A10o in the BB. It was folded around to the SB, who completed, and I decided to push all-in. He called with A7o, and I was pretty happy with that. That is, until he hit his straight on the river. Ugh. Had he hit a 7 on the flop, or turn even, I wouldn't have been so annoyed. Also, had he not thought he'd made a good call,  that would've helped. Getting outdrawn happens, and it rarely effects me, but this stung for some reason.
After this tourney ended, we played dealer's choice that included Omaha, 7-stud, 5 card draw(which is stupid, by the way), and some other game that I forget the name of. All I know is that the pots got bigger than we're used to. I had more fun with these games than I did with the other tournaments, that's for sure. I think the next time we play, we're going to raise the buy-in to $20-$30 and only play one tournament a night, and follow that up with side games. Everybody enjoyed the late night games more, even the people that lost the most money in them. We might even try an Omaha tournament, who knows.
I'm in the process of looking for a new apartment, because our lease is up Sept. 1st, and we all need a change of scenery. If our new place is bigger(and it can't be much smaller), I'm going to try to set-up a bigger tourney. Maybe 15-20 people, depending on how many we can accommodate. Right now, we have room for, at most, 10 people, and that's even a little cramped. I'll know soon enough, I suppose.
Online play:
I haven't been playing online at all, really. In the last week, I've played for a total of an hour at a $25PLHE table on Party. My back has been messing with me lately, and the more I sit, the more it bothers me. The more my back hurts, the less my desire to sit at a table for hours on end. It's an ugly cycle. Until my back is feeling more normal, I'm going to stay away from playing online.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Friday night:
Here it is, the night of my home game. I have to say, I'm more than little excited  and nervous for 8pm to get here. I'm one of those people that gets nervous every time a Vikings game is about to start, or hell, even for the kick-off of one of my soccer games, and tonight falls in the same line. I'm not sure why I get so nervous, because it's not like we're playing for a lot of money. The night is geared more towards drinking and guaranteed to degenerate into nothing but Fantasy Football smack-talk,  rather than serious poker play. Don't get me wrong, nobody wants to lose, but losing $10 isn't going to break anyone's bank.
I think my nerves stem from the fact that I have yet to make a decent showing in one of these home games, and I need to stop looking like a complete tool. I play more than everyone else involved, definitely have more "poker knowledge",  yet the end result is that I still fair craptastic at best. Of course, I realize that all of this knowledge that I possess doesn't nesessarily add up to good play, but it should benefit me.
One thing that I do think is funny, though, is that all of the guys from my work think that they've got me figured out. Sure, they know I play fairly tight, but for some reason, they also think that I like to bluff a lot, which I rarely do. Of course, bluffing a lot and playing super tight mix together like oil and water, but they have yet to put that together. It's odd, really, because I can't remember even one instance where I've bluffed at a pot when they were around. Of course, they don't understand the concept of the "semi-bluff"-which I might do- or the benefit of raising on the button in an unraised pot holding mediocre cards, so maybe they think that these actions are outright bluffs. Who knows?
I wish I could take better notes, a laPauly, orRichard Brodie but the instant booze hits my lips, all desire to write leaves my body.  Also, nobody cares to hear about how I won T750 with the wheel, while my coworker was holding 78o. Believe me, it'll happen.
Celebrity Poker Showdown:
I didn't catch much of this other than the end. Here's what I have to say;
Jeff Gordon,
600! All you had to call was 600! Sure, you held a measly 47o, but you can't call Ms. Dickinson's all-in reraise of 600, and then have no problem calling "only another 3600" on the very next hand? What gives? And all this time, I thought Nascar drivers were supposed to have heart and balls of steel.  You're just lucky that Phil Gordon didn't pummel you like a tent stake into wet ground. It sure looked like he wanted to. Next time around, when you're in the finals, pull your balls out of your mom's purse and call the 600.
American Poker Championships:
I thought about mushing all my thoughts into a couple, rambling paragraphs, but I think I'll break it down by each piece of the puzzle.
The play:
Personally, I appreciate this sort of broadcast over the WPT or WSOP episodes that are being rammed down our throat daily. They're so anticlimatic.
"Oh! It's 9:58pm, Paul Phillips has a 10-1 chip lead, and Dewey Tomko just went all-in. Again. Geez, I hope Dewey can double up! That man-of-a-million-hairstyles is sooooo smarmy. "
Now there's a thought that never crossed my mind while watching the WPT. I like those inbetween, "boring" hands that show both people involved in a pot checking down to the river because they're both afraid of getting reraised by the other person setting a trap. It makes me feel like less of a pansy when I do this.
The commentators:
The lack of the following cliches was greatly appreciated:
"Got his hand caught in the cookie jar"
"He's got fireworks going off inside his head"
"He's running into whitewater..."
I'm not sure it's so much of a cliche, but I hate when Mike Sexton says "Of course, because of the WPT cam, we can see..." Huh. No, shit? And all this time I thought I could see everyone's cards because my prayers for omnipotence had finally been answered.
Howard Lederer did a great job, in my opinion. He showed nothing but respect for people at the final table, and didn't rip anyone because of their age, or heaven forbid, what they were wearing. Another thing that was appreciated was how he explained everything by "dumbing it down", without making the audience feel dumb. Not that I, personally, needed much schooling on the concept of a "limp"-I know it all too well- but for beginners, he explained these concepts fairly well.
I'd like to talk about the other two commentators, but you know what? I couldn't tell them apart. I couldn't tell when Michael Konik was talking, or when it was...the other guy. I've just started watching the Showdown at the Sands, so I'm not familiar with either of their voices.
Phil Ivey:
Why is everyone on RPG  ragging on the man, saying that because of his table manner, he's autistic? I didn't see that at all. I saw a player that was intense and focused on the game, and doing a damn good job of not showing any emotion. I wouldn't call that "austic", I'd call it "damn good play".  I also found out that Phil Ivey and I are cut from the same mold. What, you don't believe me? I can't tell you how many times I've been involved in a tournament, caught halfway between last pee break and the next pee break, only to have it impossible to leave the table because it's short-handed or heads-up. In that respect, we're basically the same person!
On a whole, this broadcast, despite it's technical glitches early on, is on the top my "watchable gambling programs" list. World Blackjack Tour being in the basement.
My online play:
I haven't been playing all that much, really, so there's really nothing to report. It's been far too nice outside, and there's too much beer to be drank on a nice patio, to sit inside playing poker. If only I could find a bar that has a patio, and wireless internet, and I'd be in heaven. Also, I can't fathom the idea of being a the person that can play poker 8 hours a day. Now, this isn't because I don't understand the game, or get bored even. With enough determination, and studying, I think that almost anyone can be a winning player. The thing I don't understand is how people that play every damn day of their lives, for hours on end, can keep their ass from not hurting.  All this sitting makes my ass hurt. The last time I sat this much was in January 2003, when I spent 2 weeks straight, 4+ hours a day, driving around Ireland.  And by the end of that trip, my ass hurt.  A lifetime of ass pain is surely not for me, which is a great crime deterrent, I suppose.
My bankroll is a rollercoaster, but not enough to make me question my ability. Variance, all variance. I'm not one to post hand histories, because I know if I made the right move, or not. I don't need someone else to tell me I'm stupid, I already know. There may or may not be a home game report coming sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Home game.

Friday marks the return of the home game I'm hosting, and if things go smoothly, I think I'm going to start looking outside my coworkers and friends groups for people that might be interested. I need to make sure all the wrinkles are ironed out, as I wouldn't want people coming into the game and having a terrible time. It's one thing if my friends have a shitty time, because I know they'll be back regardless. "Outsiders", on the other hand, would never return if things are managed poorly.

I've got tournament managing software, which really helps keep things run smoothly. I can't count how many times before that we'd just estimate when the blinds should be raised, and by how much. Doing things that way, it makes a tourney go over 4 hours, and people that get knocked out early get bored. Sure, you could say it's their own fault for getting knocked out, but as odd as it sounds, they never think that way. I also don't need to be staying up until 5am watching other people play poker, as I have an innate "ability" to get knocked out fairly early in these home games.

Speaking of tournament managing, why is it that all the legitimate companies can't make a decent product? I tested most every tournament related software package on the market, and out of about 10(ok, I'm sure there are more, but I lookd into a bunch), there was one, just one that looked good. Sure, there are donationware programs out there that will work just fine, and that's what I'm going to use for now, but if this turns out to be more regular, I'd like things like stat tracking from night to night. You know, let's say that so-and-so has played in 4 of the tournaments-and I know it's geeky of me to like this sort of thing- but I think it's cool to see things like average finish, and amount of money won, etc. Come to think of it, I could track that in excel, but that's not quite as fun. The one software program that I think looks pretty slick is also $50. Phooey.

I've also got enough chips for 25 people to buy-in, but I just don't have the room to put all those people. My table fits 9, maybe 10 if they're small. Even if 20 people did show up, I don't think I'd be able to play because I'd have to be watching everything all night long. I'd rather play than watch everyone else have fun.

If any of you are in the Minneapolis area and might be interested in playing in future games, let me know.

Friday, July 09, 2004

5:00am on a Friday morning, sifting through poker blogs, per the usual, and I come across Mini Iggy's entry on Phil Hellmuth's chip set. Nothing too surprising about this, really. Until you look a little closer.

...What the hell is that? That's cheesier than that silly-assed Chad Brown promo piece on this year's WSOP 7 card stud event. Anyone see that? Wow. Just, wow. It looks like Phil should be saying " wittle wascal, you. Ah-kee-kee-kee. I'll get you back. Hey, how about we resolve this with a tickle fight? No? Ok, you're loss". Nobody does, Phil. Nobody. And that's defintely a $10,000 pose, not a measly $500.

Ah, I digress. Let's get down to what I've been up to, shall we? To do so, I'll have to back up a little. I started out playing on UB, and didn't like my results so I moved over to Party Poker because I'd heard the games were the softest. And they were. After some initial success, I hit a plateau. No matter what I did, I just couldn't make my bankroll go anywhere. It just sat there like Anna Nicole on a couch with a box of powdered donuts, minus the whiney, annoying mumble-voice. I'd win a SNG, and then lose out of the next five. I'd have a winning session at PL HE, and then the next session I'd be down about the same amount I won the last time. It was all just stagnant. Then, a buddy of mine decided to deposit money into Party. He started off playing .50c-$1 limit games and made money immediately. I thought to myself "Hey Chad, you're better (read;more experienced) than he is. Try it!" Mistake. I've never worked on my limit game because it's just a plug-plug-plug away sort of game that I get no excitement over because grinding is such a chore. And my laptop can only fit, at most, two tables at a time, otherwise I'd be liable to have seizures from tables popping up all the time. I hate that, by the way. One or two table grinding is painfully slow. I'm not one to argue with making money, though, so I decided to try my hand at ring games again. Not good. I bled my bankroll down to $19. One-nine. Yup, that's horrendous.

Not wanting to completely destroy my bankroll, I left the $19 on Party, and moved over to Stars to try my hand at their SNG's. I've had some decent success at Stars, I just need to tell myself that my bankroll just isn't ready for $20 MTT's quite yet. No problem, though. After a tough run on Stars the past few days, I decided to run off the rest of that money I had over at Party. Glad I did, too. I've driven that miniscule bankroll up to over $150 after a few decent sessions on the $25 PL games. It would've been over $200 if I hadn't felt bulletproof and had a few beats that knocked me down. I'm a little mad at myself that I even tried to dive into something that I had really no background in. And at low-limits, no less.

So, that's that.

2004 WSOP
I'm sure this has been done to death, but I'll post about it, anyhow. James Vogl is probably a dick, but who am I to say after seeing him on tv for less than an hour? He came off as a pompous ass, but he also had a humble "My mom could win with these cards" side, too. I'm sure that if I played against him, I'd want to throttle him in the throat with a Judo Chop, but that's neither here, nor there. I'll tell you this one thing, though; he's a mighty uncomfortable hugger, that's for sure! Norman Chad was the bigger ass. Come on, quit ragging on the kid. He made more in a few days than you'll make all year. How many WSOP bracelets do you have? Hmmmm? Ahhhhhhhh SNAP!

7 card stud coverage
I'll admit that I know very little about stud, other than the game basics. That's it. The coverage of the event on ESPN definitely didn't help me get a firmer grasp on it, either. They didn't tell us it what the blinds were at, or that it was limit stud. It was obvious after watching a bit. Like I said earlier, I find limit poker incredibly boring, and watching it is even more boring. I'd rather pee on an electric fence*. Just plug away until someone has all the chips. Oh joy! What I did find amazing is how Ted Forrest called down Chad Brown with a pair of 2's in the hole(pocket 2's? I'm unsure of the terminology). The way he slapped his cards on the table, I was expecting him to say "Ha! Take that, you bitch! Ha-ha, just kidding. You win.", fully expecting that he was beat. There had to have been some huge tell that Chad Brown had that I completely missed, though, because Ted's card slap was a confident one. I guess that's why he's there, and I'm here, typing this tripe out.

*I watch Myth Busters, and I know it's highly unlikely to get a shock from peeing on an electric fence. So, I guess by saying that I'd have more fun peeing on an electric fence than watching limit stud, I'm really saying "I'd have more fun peeing".

Saturday, July 03, 2004

I finally broke down and bought Sklansky's Theory of Poker. Many of the concepts in there are things that I already knew, either through Two Plus Two, or other readings, but it's nice to have all these concepts in one, fairly easily readable book. It's a lot less intimidating than Super System, that's for sure.

I've been spending most of my time on Stars, playing in two table SNG's. In my opinion, they're much looser than the one table SNG's, and the payout is double. With most of the people getting knocked out early, it's essentially just like a one table, only that the top 4 get paid, instead of the top 3. I've yet to win one of these, yet, though. A lot of 2nd and 3rd place finishes. It seems that I make it down to the final 4 fairly regularly, but am so far outchipped that I need to push all-in on any quasi-decent hand I get. I need to learn to turn up my aggression when I still have a fair amount of chips, with the blinds being relatively small.

The one thing I dislike about Stars is their lack of $5 or $10 MTT's. I've sworn off the $1 and $2 MTT's, although they are good for practice, I just don't see the reason to sit around for 4+ hours to win a couple dollars. Unless I win the thing, I'd be better off looking for change on the street. I think I have the ability to play at a higher level, I just don't have the bankroll to do so. Soon, though. Soon.

I had a lot more to write about, but I need to get outside. My ass is going to start getting sores on it if I sit around any longer.