Pokerama-rama! Now with more beer!

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It's been, what, about 11 days since my last entry? Yeah, that sounds about right. I'm not even sure why I've not been writing in here, even though I have been playing a lot in the last week. I tend to go in waves, where I'll play thousands of hands in a week, and the next week I'll play absolutely zero. I have to work on getting back to playing an even amount per week, rather than this erratic schedule, because my return to the tables always leaves me a little off my game. There's nothing quite like throwing money away by being rusty. So lame.

So, let's get to what I've been up to, yah? Dah.

Don't get me wrong, please understand that I love the game of poker, and everything that comes along with. The camaraderie, the knowledge used in other facets of life, and of course, there's always the money, albeit for me, that's a small part of the deal. I do, however, think the obsession might've gone too far when I sat down in front of my computer on Sunday, and watched the PokerStars month end $500 tournament. I watched almost the whole tournament, as digital representations of chips, cards and people zipped around the screen faster than a baby on crank. What excited me so much about this? There was no DVP spouting off poker chiches, no fancy lighting, and no studio audience cheering on the players. True, there were a thousand railbirds surmising that "dblgutshot" was Daniel Negreanu, and "devilhorns69" was, in fact, Satan himself, but that's not the same as a true audience cheering the players on. I just sat back and said absolutely nothing, absolutely giddy that I got to watch some of the big names play, in real time, and in the privacy of my own home. Why yes, I am rather lame, thanks for noticing.

While watching the final table, I also perused blogs and noticed-much too late-that Pauly was doing a lot of the leg work on the WPBT Holidy Classic tournament being held at Sam's Town Casino. Man, oh man, I wish I'd known about this sooner. Not that I would've had any chance of placing in the tournament, but if I'd been able to play, it would've been wise for me to just mail a check to Pauly and get a t-shirt. I wouldn't even be playing poker for the sake of playing, but the amount of fun involved would well be well worth the entry fee, that's for sure. It's sort of akin to the time your cousin-who just happens to think that Black Sabbath is still together- shows up to a family function completely annihilated, and all you could think is "It's about time the entertainment showed up!". Like a plane crash falling directly on a train wreck.

I can't even begin to comment on my play as of late, as it tends to be a tad on the boring side. I've just been working my online bankroll back up after withdrawing for some unexpected expenses over the past month, and though it's not hefty by any means, it's getting back to a level where I feel comfortable that a big hand won't break me. Yes, it was that small.

As far as live play goes, it's been going, well, bad. I need to learn to up my aggression level a little when playing home tournaments, as I'm seeing fewer hands per level, and fewer hands before I get shortstacked. While looking through PokerTracker the other day, I noticed that most of my 2x-3x buy-in wins in a night, come when my V$IP is between 20-25%, and I lose the most when my V$IP is lower than 15%. I'm a tight player, but I should start taking notes to figure out if my live aggression level is the problem. I wish I could expand on that right now, but I don't even remember many of the hands played, as the last home game was a few weeks ago.

Speaking of home games, I'm planning one for this Friday night. Chris, if you're interested, let me know if you'd be able to make it. It seems like it's been 6 months that we've been trying to plan this damn thing!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Hmmm. Well, I guess I could say that I'm back, though I don't remember ever saying that I was leaving in the first place. Up until last weekend, I hadn't played much poker in a little shy of a month, so that means that there wasn't all that much to write about. "You better have a good reason", all two of you say. "I do", I reply.

You see, there's this little game called Halo 2. Have you heard of it? If not, you've been living under a hobo. I was one of those freaks that waited in line at midnight last week to be one of the first to play it, and I really haven't stopped playing it since. You'd think that getting completely, and utterly schooled by prepubescent 12 year-olds in a video game would make me want to cry into a pillow. On the contrary, it makes me feel so much better to frag a little punk, even if that's the only point I score when the match is over. So, I've been spending much of the past week and a half playing Halo 2, but that doesn't account for the other 2 weeks.

Right after the last blogger tournament, I was running good and starting to feel like my game was finally coming around. And then I started becoming too session oriented, and I know that I'll get absolutely nowhere by doing that. I had to take a step back and look at what I wanted to accomplish in regards to my poker playing, and the answers I came up with required a break. I didn't think it would be this long, though. Of course, I want to be a successful player, but I'm too practical to think that I'd ever be driven enough to make it a career. That would be silly of me. I also don't ever dream of playing in the WSOP, or any other big tournament for that matter, because those types of situations just don't make me comfortable. I was just worried with wins and losses per session, and not what the long-term picture held, and that can spell distaster. Anyhow, I'm sure none of that makes sense, just sayin' is all.

My return:

A buddy, Anthony, called me on Saturday afternoon and invited me to a home game down in Eden Prairie, and I figured it would be as good a time as any to break back into groove. Plus, Anthony needed a chaffeur.

We started at 5pm, and by the time we finished 7 hours later, I was just frustrated. It wasn't even a case of being on tilt, I just get frustrated with disorganization, especially when I can't control anything. There was so much that I had issues with, and I think that comes from playing online a lot, where everything is structured so well, that when I come into a different situation, I have trouble.

For one, we started out with an assload of chips, and though that doesn't bother me-because it gives everyone enough play for their money-the blinds stayed the same until someone has knocked out. This meant that, for the first hour, we were stuck at 1-2 blinds, and even after the first person was eliminated, they were only bumped up to 2-4. This accomplishes nothing more than passing chips, and there is no sense of urgency to make a move. I could sit back until I got premium starting hand-which I never did-and then push. There's really no decision making skills involved. And I couldn't really speak up and say that the structure was one of the worst I've ever seen, because I was a guest. Luckily, the second tournament we played, we changed the levels to be on a per-minute basis, which was a lot better.

The second problem I had-and I realize that it has a lot to do with my reluctance to speak up, because I didn't run the game-were the players. The guys that I knew were decent, but a few had never played before. The problem isn't in that they were new, and had to be walked through a few hands, just that one kid inparticular had shitty etiquette, and that bothers me. Yes, I know, I should've said something. For instance, when this kid was dealt his hole cards, he'd hold them in his hand the entire hand. This had never occurred to me before, and at first it didn't register that this was a huge problem. It wasn't until the second tourney that it became apparent that he was the one slowing down the game because nobody ever knew if he was in the hand in the first place. Secondly, every time he folded, he'd angrily whip his cards into the muck, and I'm surprised that Anthony didn't clock him after getting hit by cards for the 5th time.

Oh well, enough about that. I can't even say much about my play, because I can't recall any specific hands. One of the guys-who was fairly decent as far as I could tell-said "I'm afraid of playing a pot with you, because you haven't been in a hand for awhile, and if you come in, you're probably going to have something". Respect is a nice thing, if I'd used it to my advantage. I loosened up for a few hands after that, but unfortunately the others didn't have the same respect for me, and I lost a pot or two on steal attempts gone horribly awry.

In the first tournament, I bubbled, and in the second I went out in 4th, losing 3 consecutive hands to the bad kid when I was a significant favorite in all 3. Oh well, at least he bubbled in that one.

Last night, the Halo 2 servers were all wonkified, so I jumped on Party $25 NL tables, and 30 minutes later, I was up a full buy-in when my AA held up against someone else's KK. The Party dealers welcomed me by dealing me aces 3 times in 15 minutes. If were only that easy all the time, I'd never leave in the first place!

I hate to cut this right here, but I think that'll suffice for another month, or so. I need coffee. Or lunch. Or a nap. All three would be nice.