Thursday, December 18, 2008

Vegas report

Another World Poker Blogger Tour Winter Classic has come and gone. I know I had fun because the time flew by so fast. Renewing acquaintances from last year's bash, making new ones, playing poker, and generally enjoying the Las Vegas experience - is there a better way to spend a weekend?

I chose to stay at the Imperial Palace this year, partly because that seemed to be Blogger HQ last year, partly because I found a very good rate on a room there, and partly because the hotel has one of the best locations on the Strip. My room was acceptable, and a good value for what I paid, although it showed signs of age and wear. Still, everything worked and I didn't have to complain to the hotel staff about anything, which is always a bonus.

When I arrived at the IP on Thursday night, there was already a big contingent of poker bloggers in and around the Geisha Bar. It would take a while to name everyone that I met there, again or for the first time, but one person I was especially happy to finally meet was Joanada. I first got acquainted with Jo when she wrote for the late, lamented Card Squad blog with my old pal Wil Wheaton. I posted a few comments and questions on Card Squad, and she and I played in Wil's tournaments on PokerStars many times. I still remember the time in one of those tourneys when she cracked my QQ with the Hammer when she caught a four-straight. Recently, I busted her in the NumbBono ten-cent rebuy tourney on FullTilt and won a bounty that she had placed on herself. It's the "Bob and Doug McKenzie Two-Four Anniversary" Special on DVD. She brought it to Vegas for me, and I'm really looking forward to watching it (yeah, I'm behind on that).

I hung out for a while on Thursday night and then crashed early (compared to everyone else, anyway). Friday morning, I met Maudie and Kat for brunch at the Wynn Buffet (good but not fantastic, IMO). Not long after that, it was off to the Hard Rock for the Poker Jingle charity tournament. Lots of poker pros showed up, plus a non-poker celebrity or two like former Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser. In the tourney, I sat just to the right of pro Brad Booth. He was easy-going and friendly with all of us at our table, and donated several rebuys to the cause. I didn't get much going in the game, and busted out not long after the first break. I had a good time, though, and I'm glad I got to play. Garthmeister was at my starting table, and went on to finish fourth in the tourney! He won an assortment of prizes but none of the really big ones. Some photos from the tourney are here.

Maybe the best part of the stop at the Hard Rock was getting to spend a few minutes playing blackjack with Gracie and Pablo there. One downside to these gatherings can be too many people and not enough chances to spend quality time with any of them, so I am very pleased that I got to hang with the happy couple for a little while.

Soon, it was off to the MGM Grand for the traditional blogger mixed games. As usual, it was a blend of donkery and confusion, among the players and the dealers, with a good time being had by all. I quit about $60 behind after 4 hours or so, which I look on as a success considering my lack of skill at most of the games we played.

Saturday it was time to try another buffet for breakfast, this time at Harrah's. Perfectly fine, and the $5 coupon I got at the IP made it even better. I drove downtown to meet up with the wedding party for the big ceremony, and on my way I stopped to get my contribution to the festivities. I had asked Gracie a while ago if they would have wedding cake, and she said she hadn't thought about it. I decided that it wouldn't be a real wedding without cake, but how to do it? I knew things were being done on the inexpensive and expedient side, so I stayed with that theme. I went to the supermarket and found just what the circumstances called for: Fancy Cakes, by Little Debbie. A few boxes of those and I was ready. After getting downtown before the rest of the gang, who arrived by shuttle bus (!!! Nobody told me there was bus service!), we marched down to the court building where the judge performs the marriages. The troop of well-wishers was quite a throng, and we couldn't all fit in the tiny room where the ceremonies usually are held. The judge invited us out into the lobby so we could all gather around for the exchange of vows and rings and such. The Rev. AlCan'tHang said some beautiful words, the judge did her thing, the bride and groom said their "I do"s, and several people cried. Afterwards, I passed out the Fancy Cakes, much to the surprise (and occasional dismay) of the guests. Gracie and Pablo seemed genuinely touched by my silly gesture, to which I can only say, it was my great pleasure to do such a small thing for such a wonderful occasion. You can read another nice report on the wedding at Linda's PokerWorks blog.

Shortly after that, it was time to make our way to the Venetian for the blogger tournament. Thanks go again to Falstaff for organizing the tourney and to the Venetian for hosting. I lasted longer than last year, which was my first goal, but didn't go deep. I made a few mistakes, including not paying attention and calling a raise when I thought I was just limping in the small blind. But I also was getting very little in the way of cards to play, so I ended up busting shortly after the second break. Next time, my first goal will be to make it to the third break. One benefit to sitting where I did was getting to know Bacon Bikini Mary a little better. She was directly to my right, and I found out that she is a prog rock fan like me. I discovered this when I told her what my bounty was: a Yes Greatest Hits CD. Dawn Summers won the bounty when her KK busted my JJ. Mary was glad to hear this, hoping that it might improve the music that Dawn plays when the NY group goes driving together.

I played some $4-8 Limit HE at the Venetian after busting out of the tourney. At one point, I was ahead by almost the amount of my tourney buy-in. I should have quit then, but I hoped to build my profit past that amount, and I didn't get there. Instead, the loose players who were giving their chips away left the table and my card rush dried up. I did leave with $20 more than I bought in for, so that was a plus.

Sunday included breakfast at the Flamingo buffet (my favorite of the three on this trip), hanging out in the IP sportsbook for a bit, taking a walk on the Strip just to look around and get some exercise, and railing some of the bloggers playing $1-2 NLHE at the IP. Then off to McCarran and my flight home.

I still don't feel like a full member of the poker blogger group, at least not yet, but this year was a little better than last year when I only knew a handful of people that I had met at Okie-Vegas. Assuming that I go to more of these events, I may feel like I fit in more each time. I'm not a drinker or all-night partier, but I do enjoy some of the same things as several of the other bloggers, such as a nice meal, sightseeing, and some card playing. I don't expect to attend a Summer 2009 bash because of other plans around the time of the WSOP, but I might come back next winter. To all of you that I saw this year, thanks for the good times, and forgive me for not calling you all out here by name. To those I missed in Vegas, and those who couldn't make it, I hope to catch up with you soon.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Blowing the (Bo)donkey

Last night in the Bodonkey, I got off to a slow start, picked up steam (and chips), and then ran right off the rail on a poor call of way too many of my chips.

I don't have the hand history, but what it came down to was, I had over 10K in chips, MiamiDon on my right had between 5K and 6K, and the player to my left whose screen name was Nate-something, I think, had some number of chips in between. Blinds were around 200/400. I picked up QQ. MiamiDon raised to 1,150, I reraised him to 3,000 trying to get heads up with him. Nate re-popped it; I think he shoved. Don also pushed all his chips in; I had them both covered and it cost me just over 3,000 to call. The pot was big, so I suppose I could be considered pot committed at that point and had favorable pot odds, and my call might be justified for that reason. But if I had been thinking things through, I could have reasoned, "What could Nate have called a raise and reraise with?" A couple of obvious answers are Aces and Kings, both of which are beating the crap out of my Hilton Sisters. Plus, Don probably had at least an Ace and good kicker, or better, if he called Nate's shove. Considering that calling them both would cost me over half my remaining stack, I should have folded my queens and let those two fight it out. But I didn't think it through, I made the call, and saw that my QQ was up against not one but two pair of pocket rockets. Yes, AA vs AA vs QQ. No two-outer suckout for me, and they chopped the pot while I got crippled. I busted a few hands later, in tenth place, when I called a raise all in with KQ and ran into AK. Although I was very short at the time, I should have waited for a chance to be first into the pot instead of calling a raise with a marginal hand like KQ.

So now I am pretty much out of the running for the Bodonkey TOC next Thursday, unless I can earn a seat in the Last Chance game on Wednesday. I can't play tomorrow because I am on my way to Vegas, and I can't play Tuesday due to family commitments. Oh well, I still have fun in these tourneys and I hope there will be another blogger series. I will definitely play if it comes back.

I'll be seeing some of you in Sin City starting tomorrow night!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

More updates on the Winter Classic and Bodonkey

More bounties are being offered in the Bodonkey tournaments this week. On Tuesday, Iggy himself will be playing in his first Bodog Blogger tourney, and whoever busts him will win a T$109 bounty. The same prize goes to the player who knocks out Smokkee in Thursday night's game. I'll be there on Tuesday with my sights on Iggy, and on a high finish to earn some leaderboard points so I can qualify for the TOC on December 18. I have a lot of ground to make up, so I'm aiming for a win.

On Thursday, I will miss the Bodonkey because I will be on a plane headed to Las Vegas for the WPBT Winter Classic blogger blowout. As of now, the big items on my agenda for the weekend are the Poker Jingle charity tournament on Friday at the Hard Rock, which I have registered for already, and the blogger private tourney at the Venetian on Saturday. If you are coming to Vegas this weekend, I encourage you to sign up for one or both of these games. I am sure I will do some other fun stuff; what that turns out to be will depend partly on how long I last in each tournament. Hopefully I will go deep enough to make it worth skipping some of the other things I have in mind.

I played in two of the PokerStars Double or Nothing SNGs today and cashed in both, which was nice. I'm getting the hang of the strategy that works for these games, which is mostly to conserve chips and let the looser people knock each other out. Maybe I can add a few bucks to my Stars bankroll with these games, because I haven't had much success in MTTs or cash games.

For those of you going to Vegas this coming weekend, I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

All bloggers can play in this exclusive online poker tournament.

Registration code: 585205

Monday, December 01, 2008

Updates: Bodonkey and Winter Classic

I played in both Bodonkey tourneys last week. Didn't get far on Tuesday; made it to third place (again) on Thursday. More cash, more T$, more leaderboard points: I'll take them. I also played the Mookie on Wednesday, since I didn't have an early wake-up on Thursday. Only made it to 19th, but it was fun to play in that one again for the first time in ages.

More Bodog blogger action is coming up this week, so be sure to register. I expect to play Tuesday but will probably miss Thursday.

I saw something today that looked very interesting for anyone who will be in Las Vegas for the Winter Classic. PokerWorks has an article about a charity tournament being held at the Hard Rock Poker Lounge on Friday December 12. The tourney, called the Poker Jingle, is to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Southern Nevada in honor of avid poker player Mindy Trinidad. Tom McEvoy is the host, and a long list of poker pros and celebrities are mentioned as planning to attend. Perhaps the most enticing aspect of this tourney is that the buy-in is only $200 + $30.

I will be in town that weekend for the blogger gathering, and I am signed up to play in Saturday's blogger tournament at the Venetian. I expected to spend at least part of Friday playing some poker, most likely mixed games with other bloggers Friday evening. But this charity tournament looks like a very nice option for several reasons:

*The buy-in is not high at all, comparatively speaking and the juice is quite reasonable - even better than what we are being charged by the Venetian for our private tourney.

*This could be one of the cheapest chances I could have to play in the same tourney, maybe at the same table, with some name pros. What the hell, maybe I can tilt Phil Hellmuth with a well-timed donkey play.

*There ought to be a fair amount of dead money in this game, coming from people (who, me?) that would like to rub shoulders with some famous players without having to lay out a grand or two.

I am going to give this some serious thought, and spread the word among the rest of the poker blogger community to see if there might be others interested in playing too.

What do you think? Should the bloggers storm the Hard Rock and represent at this tourney for a good cause? I'm game.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2009 Poker Bill in Texas Legislature?

You may recall from last year that Texas state representative Jose Menendez introduced a bill to legalize poker in Texas, but the bill died without being discussed or voted on.

It appears that he has revived the bill, now called the "Poker Gaming Act of 2009," with which he hopes to create safeguards for poker players and revenue for the state.

A few articles about the new bill can be found here and here. No doubt, more news will be coming soon. I expect our friends at Pokerati will be keeping a close eye on it as they did the previous bill. Be sure to check in there for updates.

In other news, I played some poker last week myself. I was invited to the Monthly Venue Championship tournament at my local Amateur Poker League venue, since I earned enough points with my second place finish in an October tourney to qualify. Things did not go my way in the MVC, though, and I busted in 15th place. I also played the Bodonkey on Thursday, but only made it to 13th. Not sure how much I will play this week but I'm sure I will get in some time at the virtual tables.

Just three weeks until the Vegas gathering; I'm very much looking forward to that. Don't forget to contact Falstaff if you are going to be there and want to get in on the private tourney.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

2008 WPBT Winter Classic tournament info

Great news for those of us headed for the WPBT Winter Classic gathering in Las Vegas next month: Falstaff has set up another private tournament at the Venetian for poker bloggers and their friends, fans and stalkers. Here is the info, shamelessly copied from his blog post:
Here's the deal -

Private Blogger Tournament
Venetian Poker Room
Saturday, December 13th
$135 ($100 buy-in, $25 juice, $10 toke)

Please email me [Falstaff, not me] your real name and blogger name if you want in. I need to let Tim at the Venetian know by a week beforehand. If you have FOBs (friends of bloggers) who want in, let me know how many.

You have to have a Venetian Player's Card to play, so if you don't have one, get there early.

Bring knockout bounties, that's the coolest part of a blogger gathering.
Hopefully you have Falstaff's e-mail address; if not, I guess you should leave a comment on his blog. I'm not one to post other people's e-mail addresses on my blog without knowing for sure that they are OK with it.

I hope to see you in Vegas and give you a shot at my bounty! Hint: it will be something related to my screen name, yestbay1.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Some small successes, and a short break

Last week was a pretty good one for me on the poker front. I made a 50 BB profit playing some cash NLHE, and finished third in the Thursday night Bodonkey game. The cash game was only $0.01/0.02, so my 50 BB gain only came to a buck. But I play so little NLHE ring game that it feels good to know I can outdonk the other microlimit donkeys once in a while.

The Bodog games have been hit and (mostly) miss so far for me, but I hung tight on Thursday and survived a couple of my own misplays to win $50 cash and T$50, for a nice profit in the series so far. Not to mention some leaderboard points towards the TOC in December.

I will miss both Bodog Blogger games this week due to activities with my son's high school marching band. We are going to Indianapolis this weekend for the Bands of America Grand Nationals championship competition. It should be an exciting trip.

See you next week!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Coming up short

The Bodog Blogger tourneys last week were not shining moments for me. I played in both, and made the final table on Tuesday, but I was a very short stack and busted out shortly after the final table was set. I missed the T$11 rebate by one spot. Thursday wasn't even that close, with a 16th place finish out of 26. I don't expect to play in every tournament in the series, but I hope to perform well enough to have a shot at the Tournament of Champions in December.

I have also played a few of the Double-or-Nothing SNGs on PokerStars. I "won" the first one I played, i.e. I finished in the top five and won double my buy-in. "These are easy," I thought afterwards. Yeah, right. I played two more and didn't finish in the money in either one. I made a ridiculous play in the second one I lost, when I called all-in with JJ against another short stack who barely had me covered and there were bigger stacks behind me yet to act. When the whole point is to survive to the final five, and not to accumulate all the chips, there is no reason to call all-in with a hand like JJ. I should have let the bigger stack take out the other shortie and waited for someone else to bust, or for a much better hand to play.

I expect to play in at least one of the Bodonkey games this week, possibly both. Other than that, I will try a few very low buy-in tourneys on PokerStars to make up my losses in the Double -or-Nothing games. Falstaff has posted a question for anyone going to the Winter Classic in December, about who would play in a private tourney if one were organized. Head over there to post your response.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bodonkey Redux reminder

Don't forget, the Bodog Blogger Tournament series revs up again starting tomorrow night. If I play, I won't be able to be there at the start due to a meeting at my son's school. I may have to skip the game completely. But I do plan to be there Thursday night. Here is more info....

You are invited to play in, post or forward this information.

Don't Miss Tuesday's Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament!
Start Time 9:05 pm ET.

Think you have what it takes to bust out a poker pro?

On Tuesday October 28th, 2008 professional poker player and author, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, will compete in the Bodog Blogger Tournament Series.

There will be a $75 bounty on Eric's head and the poker blogger who takes Eric's last chips in this tournament will receive a $75 credit to their Bodog member player account. This blogger will also receive a signed copy of Eric's book, Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time. If Eric wins this tournament, he will give the $75 credit to the poker blogger that places 1st runner up. That player will then receive the credit of $75 to his or her account.

This blogger tournament series is open to poker bloggers world wide and runs on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 9:05 pm ET.

More details available at the official blogger series site at

If you are new to Bodog, please sign up at

So what are you waiting for?

Register today and may the best poker blogger take the bulls eye on Eric "Rizen" Lynch!

Nadia Alterio
The Bodog Poker Blogger
Yahoo ID: bodogdirectory

Tune into Buddy Dank Radio for live tournament recaps and updates while you play at

Friday, October 24, 2008

The NumbBlowMe marathon

This will be short because I am writing this on my lunch break at work and hope to take a power nap after I post.

I played in the NumbBlowMe ten-cent rebuy tourney last night. After about 5.5 hours of roller coaster donkery, I finished in second place. More results and info can be found here.

How did I do it, you ask? Besides rigging the RNG, you mean. I can sum up my strategy for success in this tournament in one word:


As you might expect, when you are playing in a tourney where rebuys are only a dime, there is a bargeload of maniacal play and ATC pushing. I chose to wait for opportunities to get my chips in with reasonable hands, and not shove against bigger stacks unless I had what looked like a better than average chance to take the pot. I double or tripled or quadrupled up a few times during the rebuy period using this method. Getting good cards was a big part of it, because they held up a lot of times. By the break, I was well above average in chips, although I took the 1,500 chip add on anyway (it was only $0.10, after all). I only rebought for $0.20 during the first hour; there were a total of 4,417 rebuys in this tourney. What does that tell you about how wild things were during the rebuy period?

I won't say that I played championship level poker, but I feel like my decisions were pretty good most of the time. Still,I was racking cards like crazy all night. I had starting cards of AA, KK, QQ or JJ more times than anyone would expect, even over the course of 5 hours, and they didn't get cracked as often as you would expect either. One particularly painful hand (for my opponent) was late in the game when I had JJ and flopped quads against Joanada who, on the short stack, pushed to my check on the flop. Although I took a couple of nasty beats myself, it seemed like I was dishing out more than I was getting.

I almost didn't play this tourney, but I'm glad I did, for the experience and for the bankroll boost (but not for the lack of sleep). And I'm really looking forward to the bounty I am supposed to get for busting Joanne. Beauty, eh?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bodog Blogger Tournament Series - The Sequel

My favorite blogger tournament series from earlier this year is getting into the starting blocks, and the gun goes off October 28.

Yes, the Bodog Blogger Tournament Series is back, with some new features. Among other things, the tourney will run twice a week this time, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the tournament structure will match what Bodog uses in their 100K Guarantee game. The prizes for the Tournament of Champions at the end of the series aren't quite as sweet as the WSOP seat that they had for the previous series, but aren't anything to sneeze at either, including a grand prize of T$2,000 plus $100 Bodog casino credit. More details and the registration page can be found here. I have already registered for the series, and you should too. If you don't have an account at Bodog yet, go here to get more info and sign up. You can also check Smokkee's blog for updates and info about the series, since he is the Bodonkey host and chief pimp.

In other news, my recent poker sessions have been decidedly mixed. I played in the local Amateur Poker League weekly tournament this past Tuesday, and finished second. That got me a T-shirt from the venue, and what should be enough leaderboard points to enter me in the monthly venue championship for October. I also played in a few online tournaments over the past couple of weeks. Out of five SNGs at PokerStars since my last post, I cashed in one, but it was a first place finish which made up for the losses in the other four. I also played the Riverchasers tourney at FullTilt on Thursday for the first time in many months. Only five people showed up, and I finished fourth. My play was quite poor and disappointing. I guess I'd better play a few more of the lower buy-in SNGs there before I buy in to any more blogger games.

I am still curious about who all is going to the Winter Classic blogger gathering in December. I'm picking up mentions from people who are talking about it here and there, and making note of them. Maybe someone will be (or already is) putting together a list of attendees. Whoever is going, I look forward to seeing you there.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Choosing where I play on line

I have realized something about my playing patterns that might be a bit surprising to some, but it isn't to me now that I think about it. It concerns how I decide which poker site to play on when I feel like sitting down for a session.

It used to be that I would first find out whether any tournaments were scheduled that were hosted by the poker bloggers that I am acquainted with, or that I knew some of them would be playing in. I haven't been doing that very much recently, in large part because most of those games were played on FullTilt, and my bankroll there had dwindled to the point where it would take most of my balance just to buy in. Since I wasn't playing in those games, I would look for tourneys with buy-ins small enough for me to handle and have a decent chance to build up my roll.

I chose to play those micro games on FullTilt so I could try to win enough money to allow me to play in the blogger games again. Then, as mentioned in my last post, I did win a tourney that more than doubled my bankroll there. Still, it would take about one tenth of my balance to buy into a typical blogger tourney. So, I looked at my balances on other sites. I'm doing fine at Bodog, thanks to the cash and T$ that I won during the Blogger Series earlier this year. I have more money there than at any other site. PokerStars is another story. I haven't had a lot of success there over the course of 2008 so far, and my roll has fallen well below $100.00.

So where do I play most often these days? Why, at PokerStars, of course. Since I am comfortable at Bodog and no longer on life support at FullTilt, I feel the need to work on building up my stake where it is the smallest. I've done pretty well there over the past few weeks, playing in eight low buy-in SNGs since the middle of September and cashing in three of them. I barely eked out a $2.30 profit over that period, but I consider it a positive sign that I have done at least that well. I'm hoping that the trend continues or even improves so that I can pump things up at Stars. Wil Wheaton has said that he is thinking about hosting tournaments again, and I assume that they will be on PokerStars. I would like to be able to play in them, which means I need to have some funds in my account there. As big a hassle as depositing can be, I would certainly rather win to increase my roll rather than have to try to deposit. Who knows, I may try to deposit anyway, to give myself a cushion sooner than later, but we'll see.

Meanwhile, looking ahead to some live poker playing in the future, I am all booked for the WPBT Winter Classic in Las Vegas the weekend of December 12 - 14. American Airlines changed my original flight booking so that now I am scheduled to fly home on Monday morning at 6:00 AM instead of on the red-eye about five hours earlier. That sucks, because I did not book a hotel room for Sunday night, but I also didn't plan to stay up the entire night like I may have to now. I will need to look into seeing if there is any other option to fly home, that won't cost me big bucks in change fees.

I have not yet seen or heard much about what is planned for the Winter Classic, nor a list of people who are planning to go. If anyone out there is compiling such a list and wouldn't mind directing me to it, or letting me sign up for it, please leave me a comment or e-mail me. I'm looking forward to seeing many of my blogger pals in just a few months!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Still bouncing...

Let's see, how have things been going for me at the poker tables since my last post....

$5.50 HORSE tourney with some of the PokerWorks gang - only 11 players, I finished 9th. I didn't play all that well; I haven't played enough HORSE to have a good feel for it.

$3.40 1-table NLHE SNG - finished 3rd for a big profit of $2.00. Hey, I cashed, which has been really rare for me at Stars lately.

Another $3.30 Deep Stack Turbo Knockout 10-table SNG, my favorite kind of tourney these days. Not that I have had a ton of success with them lately, mind you, but they can be fun. I was actually playing in this one while I was writing my last blog entry. Although things started slowly for me, they picked up later and I ended up winning it. Yeah, baby, took it down and fattened my bankroll by more than I had when I bought into the game. Gee but it's nice to have some breathing room in the old roll again. I'm still too short (under $150) to feel comfortable entering any of the regular blogger tourneys, but another couple of decent cashes like that and I ought to be able to join in again.

Friday Night Donkament, $1 + 1 rebuy - I hadn't played in this one in quite a while, and I was glad to be able to jump in again. Only 12 runners, and I had to sit through the usual maniacal play that happens during the rebuy period. That part of the game is my least favorite, because I don't like to throw my money away like so many of the people who enter this tourney, and there is very little actual poker playing going on. I only rebought for $4, and lasted to 5th place. I made at least one bad call which probably cost me a shot at a higher placement.

One more $3.30 DSTKO - only got as far as 13th. I tried to turn up the aggression in a couple of spots but it didn't do me much good this time.

I played a couple of short sessions of nickel - dime - quarter cash games at Stars and Bodog, for a profit of under a buck. Wheee.

Since I am booked for the WPBT Winter Classic gathering in Las Vegas in December, I feel like I should play regularly to make sure I don't get too rusty and embarrass myself more than usual. If I could actually learn to play better, maybe I could garner a modicum of respect from my fellow bloggers. After all, I'm not much of a writer, and I know I'm only a fringe member of this poker blogging group. I suppose if I posted more often, and made an effort to write quality posts, it could conceivably enhance my standing from Z-lister to Y-lister. But that isn't why I should try to write better. It should be for my own growth or to get stuff off my chest or out of my system. If others read it and get something out of it, great.

I'll cough something up here periodically. If you are stopping by to check things out, thanks, and have a great day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A little bounce back

I haven't had a great year so far in 2008, except for my decent successes on Bodog during their Blogger Series during the first half of the year. The cards have not seemed to come my way this summer. However, the month of August hasn't been too bad. I have cashed in three SNGs on FullTilt, including one first-place finish. They were only $3.30 and $2.25 tourneys, so the bankroll hasn't exactly ballooned as a result, but at least I haven't gotten closer to busting.

I find myself trying to play a bit smarter, since I think I have been too loose in recent weeks. That will probably sound very strange to anyone who has seen my usual weak-tight style of play, but I know that I have played too many marginal hands lately and that is bound to be a big leak. At the same time, I am (mostly) trying to turn up the aggression at the right time, especially when I manage to get a decent stack and I have position. Yeah, I know, this is Poker 101 stuff, and I should know all this by now. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of what works instead of straying from the tried and true. Since I play at such low stakes, there isn't much point in trying to outthink my opponents, many of whom barely think beyond their cards. That isn't to say that there aren't some fair players at the micro level, but part of what I am working on is picking up on which ones have a clue what they are doing, and which are just donking around. It would be nice if these skills would sink in faster for me, and if I could remember to apply them consistently, but I won't claim to be the quickest learner around. I'll just have to keep at it and put a little more effort into improving.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tao of Poker 5th Anniversary tourney, August 5

Everyone's favorite poker blogger, Dr. Pauly, is celebrating the fifth anniversary of his outstanding blog, Tao of Poker, by hosting a tournament at PokerStars on August 5 at 9:00 PM ET. Entry fee is $5 + 0.50, the game is NLHE. Besides the usual prize pool from the entry fees, the first place finisher also gets two nights at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City and the $5,000 buy-in for the Borgata Poker Open tourney on September 12. Is that sweet, or what?

More info can be found at Tao of Poker, so check it out and register for the tournament. I will be playing, which means another $5 in dead money for the taking.

See you there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Random update including WPBT Winter Classic info

I have been wrapped up in the play that I am in, so I haven't played much poker lately. One thing I have done, though, is make my hotel reservations for the WPBT Winter Classic over the weekend of Dec. 12 - 14. I will be staying at the Imperial Palace this time, the unofficial WPBT headquarters. I found a very good rate on rooms for that weekend, and I recommend that you take a look if you are planning on partaking in the debauchery. I still need to buy my air tickets, and will probably do that very soon.

The play closes this weekend, so I should soon be able to start playing poker a bit more regularly. One thing I plan to try again is playing in my local Amateur Poker League tourneys. I had dropped out because the venue closest to me gets very smoky, and their tourneys are held on Tuesday nights when the Bodog Blogger game was going on. Now that the Bodonkey is on hiatus, I think I will give the APL game another try.

I'll be back at the online tables soon, to see if I can build my bankroll on the sites where I have some money. I hope I haven't got too rusty.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

WPBT Winter Classic 2008 info and other updates

Quick update....

My wife and I spent last week on a vacation in Scotland, as chaperones with my son's high school band. Everyone had a fantastic time. I did not have an opportunity to play any poker.

I am fully immersed in rehearsals for "Laughing Stock" at the Runway Theatre here in Grapevine. With rehearsals every evening so far this week, I have had no chance yet to play any poker since I got back from Scotland. Maybe I can squeeze in an online game this weekend. Maybe. Rehearsals are going well and I think we are going to have a side-splittingly funny show.

According to a post from The Rooster, the 2008 WPBT Winter Classic gathering will be in Las Vegas the weekend of December 12 - 14. I have no idea yet whether I might be going, but I plan to keep the possibility open.

That's all for now.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bodonkey TOC results

It's a well known saying, if not cold hard fact, that you have to win a race or two if you want to go deep in a tournament.

In the Bodog Blogger Tournament of Champions last night, I lost two coin flips that, had I won them, could have kept me going longer than I did.

The first was this hand:

Blinds are 50/100. Players and chips:

JD Schellnutt - 1,350
ScottMc - 7,075
cbags - 5,385
JL514 - 1,505
Drizztdj - 1,880 - SB
smokkee - 4,265 - BB
yestbay1 - 5,180
emptyman - 3,275

UTG, I pick up 9h 9d. I raise to 500. It folds to JL514, who shoves his 1,505 in the middle. Drizz and smokkee fold.

I have more than 3 times as many chips as JL514, and since it only costs me 1,005 to call to win the 2,150 in the pot and knock out someone, I call. JL shows Ad Kc. We're off to the races.

Flop: 2s 7d Ac
Turn: Kh
River: 3s

That knocked me down to 3,675, but with an M of over 20, I was still in good shape.

Unfortunately, the cards didn't come my way after that. Just about everything I got was an auto-fold due to crappy cards or bad position. Eventually, with blinds up to 125/250 and my stack reduced to 2,700, I push from UTG+1 with Ac Jh. ScottMc in the SB with 13,515 in chips calls me with 7h 7c. He catches a 7 on the flop, I can't catch runner-runner, and I'm out.

I feel like the great majority of my decisions were good. I may have played tighter/weaker than some people, and probably folded some marginal hands that others would have played. Unless my call of the shorty with 99 was poor, I think I did OK with what I was dealt.

I really enjoyed the Bodog Blogger series and my thanks go once again to $mokkee and Nadia for putting it all together and making it the success that it was. Congratulations to GoldenHammer who won first prize and the $12K WSOP ME package. Complete TOC results are here.

I will be away from the tables for a few weeks, because I am going on vacation next week and then rehearsing a play which will perform in July. I hope to squeeze in a game now and then, but my Tuesday nights are going to be otherwise occupied for the next several weeks. But when my schedule loosens up, I'll be back for more Bodog Blogger tourney fun.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Limping into the Bodonkey TOC

I played in the Bodog Blogger Tourney last night, the final game in the series with the grand prize of a WSOP Main Event package. I was very card dead the whole time I was in; I got KK once with no action, and that was about as good as it got. I misplayed one hand with 77 where I should have folded to Ingoal's bet after I missed the flop. Other than that, my decisions were easy because I barely even got any marginal hands that could have got me in trouble. I busted in 32nd place, well out of the points which I hoped to earn to make sure I stayed in the top 18. Incredibly, even with everybody gunning for him due to the T$270 bounty on his head, $mokkee finished first last night. GG, sir.

Fortunately, only a couple of people behind me in the standings picked up enough points to jump over me on the leaderboard. I got bumped from 14th to 16th in the rankings, but that is still good enough to move on to the Tournament of Champions next Tuesday night. The list of finalists is here. I congratulate everyone who made it to the grand finale, and I wish them all good luck, but not as good as mine. The competition will be tough, and the person who wins the WSOP package will certainly need to earn it. I'd love to take it all down, and a 1 in 18 chance is better odds than I may ever see again. I'll be studying and practicing as much as I have time for between now and Tuesday to maximize this opportunity.

I know that the Bodog interface is flaky sometimes, but I must say that I have enjoyed playing in this series. The players have generally been friendly and not quite as prone (although not immune) to the trash-talking and whining that has plagued some of the other blogger tourneys. The overlays have been enormous, which has been a great incentive to play in these games. After the TOC, I will be taking a forced break from the Tuesday night game for a few weeks due to other commitments. But I plan to use the T$ and cash that I have won to play in other tourneys and ring games on Bodog and see if I can build my bankroll there.

I am also entered in the BBT3 banner freeroll on Sunday, so I have that shot at a $2K WSOP prize. That tourney will be a mine field of craziness, so I will just hope to get lucky in that one.

Last note: I will be driving up to Tulsa, OK this weekend to geek out at the Trek Expo convention. While I am up there, I plan to play my first live poker since the WPBT Winter Classic, at the Cherokee Casino. I hear they have a very nice poker room; I'll try to remember to post a report about it when I get back.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Bodog Blogger Tournament series - one more chance!

The Bodog Blogger Tournament series that has as its grand prize a WSOP Main Event package will hold its final qualifying tourney next Tuesday, June 3, at 9:05 PM ET. At the moment I am in 14th place on the leaderboard, and only the top 18 finishers will qualify for the Tournament of Champions to be held Tuesday June 10. Anyone who has earned even a few points in the series so far could conceivably jump into the top 18 with a win or high finish next week. I hope we have a big turnout and an exciting conclusion to the qualifying series.

I played in last night's game in hopes of earning some points to cement my place in the TOC. I had to join late because of an important meeting at my son's school, and by the time I took my seat I had already lost 200 of my 3,000 starting chips to the blinds. Still, 2,800 is plenty to work with and I felt comfortable coming in with that amount.

Unfortunately, the cards didn't cooperate and I dumped off a fair amount of chips within a few orbits of starting out. The few playable hands that I got, I ended up folding most of the time to raises or bets when I missed the flop. The blinds kept gnawing at my stack, and I busted in 18th place when my TT ran into BuddyDank's QQ. Now I have one remaining shot next week at making sure I move on to the TOC.

As far as I know, the Tuesday night Bodog blogger game will continue after the WSOP series is over. This series seems to have been a success, so it won't surprise me if Bodog puts up some more incentives in the future to make it even more worth our while to play every week. Of course, the Tuesday night game is only one of a truckload of tourneys and cash games that Bodog offers every day. Many of the tourneys, especially the guarantees, have fabulous overlays. I have been concentrating most of my Bodog time on the Tuesday game, but I plan to branch out and play more of the other tourneys. There is a lot of soft play out there and I intend to take advantage of it.

Before I finish this post, I must once again give props to Smokkee for selling the Bodog folks on hosting the Tuesday blogger tourney. Thanks to him, we have had these great games and fantastic prizes to shoot for, and even some Bodog pros sitting in with us, and he deserves many kudos for his efforts. Thanks, man.

See you next week for the final chapter in the Bodog Blogger qualifying series, and hopefully the following week in the TOC!

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Matter of Trust

CJ over at Up for Poker asks a pertinent question: Given the scandal at Absolute Poker and other shady activities at various poker sites, why do you play where you play, and are you worried about cheating?

In answer to the first question, I currently play at three sites: PokerStars, FullTilt, and Bodog. In the past I have also played at Party Poker and the old Doyle's Room.

I play at PS, FT and Bodog because I happen to have funds on all three sites. If I were to go bust on any of them, there is a good chance that I would stop playing there rather than try to add money, unless the UIGEA goes away and it gets easier to do so. I try to practice good bankroll management and hope that I never do get so low that I can't play anything but freerolls and play money.

Does the reputation of any of these sites influence whether I chose to start playing there, or to continue to play there? So far, that hasn't been a major factor. I never had an account on Absolute Poker so their stupid actions have had no effect on me. I have not heard of anything questionable on the sites I frequent now that has made me think about giving up any of them. I do feel pretty comfortable with the integrity of all three, at least to this point. If I heard of a scandal at one of these sites along the lines of the superuser foolishness at Absolute, I would immediately stop playing there and get ready to withdraw my money if it became clear that the site wasn't taking strong, decisive steps to rectify the problem.

CJ posts a quote from Bill Rini where Bill says that cheating will always happen in poker. I have no doubt of the truth of that statement. What is important to me is how the parties in charge react when it occurs, and what those parties do to try to prevent such problems. As long as PokerStars, FullTilt and Bodog, do their level best to maintain the highest standards of integrity and honesty, I will be happy to give them my business.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Movin' on up, a bit

I made the final table in the Bodonkey last night, and busted in eighth place when 55 < AA. But I earned some much needed leaderboard points, which pushed me to ninth in the standings going into next week. I have been second-guessing my decision to push with 55 and an M of about 5, thinking maybe I should have folded that and hoped for something better. Just my bad luck to run into rockets with Presto.

I can't play in next week's tourney due to family obligations, so I have to hope that those just below me in the standings don't all make the points and pass me up. I should be back for the last two tourneys, although I may be late for the one on May 27.

Not much poker playing for me otherwise. I played in back-to-back $2.25 two-table SNGs recently and didn't cash in either one. I think I will try another FT $3.30 DSTKO tonight while my son does homework.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Good news, bad news

Good news: last week in the Bodonkey, I made a good laydown of two pair on a flushy board.

Bad news: I didn't make the laydown of my KQ when the board came A-K-x and Instant Tragedy went all in, with me only covering him by a few chips. His A beat me and I was short stacked.

Good news: I'm still in the top 18 on the Bodog Blogger Leaderboard.

Bad news: I haven't earned any points in a few weeks and could be in danger of dropping out of TOC contention if I don't pick up some points between now and the end of the series.

Good news: I am a few cents ahead in the micro-stakes cash games that I have played over the past couple of months.

Bad news: I haven't cashed in a SNG or tourney in over a month (except $0.35 that I won in a $1.25 single-table Razz SNG).

Things could be better, could be worse. At least I'm not on a big losing streak. I'm hoping that the Bodonkey tomorrow will go well for me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A not-so-gentle reminder to myself...

...Don't call off virtually all of your chips to an all-in reraise when all you have is AK soooted and you aren't in the orange or red zone.

Yes, I donked out of the Bodonkey last night committing just such a move, against 23skidoo. One of these days I will learn. I hope.

I have fallen to 12th on the leaderboard. Sure, I'm in better position than a lot of people, but with six more tourneys to play in the series, it wouldn't be hard for several players further down the list to catch up and pass me. I would really like to play in the TOC, not because I feel like I would have a snowball's chance of actually winning it, but just for the feeling of accomplishment for getting to that point. If I could place high enough to win some of the T$ they are awarding to the top finishers, that would be very sweet. But I know that I will need to earn some points over the next few weeks to solidify my spot in the standings.

Another strategy, I suppose, would be to root for everyone who is above me on the leaderboard now to win the points. As long as those lower than me don't move up, I should stay in the running for the final tourney.

In any case, I'd better bone up and work harder on playing better in these things (and in general).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cooler victim

Last night in the Bodonkey, I was running pretty hot most of the night. I got AA at least three times but only made any money with them once, when Instant Tragedy pushed his 33 into them and I busted him. But I also got TT three or four times and they mostly held up, including one hand where I rivered a straight with them to bust Bayne_S.

I had built my stack up near the lead, although I wasn't far ahead of the rest of the pack. Then this hand came along:

Blinds were 150/300/25. My stack was 12,660, so I was comfortable compared to the blinds and the others at my table. We were down to three tables, so the bubble was a ways off. In the BB, I woke up with KK. It folded to Sed the Icon in the SB with a total of 7,370 in chips, which he shoved into the pot. At least, I thought he had pushed, but it turned out he had 85 chips behind after his raise. Nevertheless, I instacalled.

Flop: Ad 2c 5h

Sed threw in his last 85 chips and of course I called again. He showed As 6h.

Turn: 8c. River: Ah.

I was knocked down to 5,030.

Now, I suppose I could have folded my KK to his push. But I only truly feared AA, and was expecting something more along the lines of what Sed had, which I was ahead of. With a chance to take out another player and add a nice chunk of chips to my stack, I couldn't see folding the second-best starting hand at that point. If anyone is reading this and has any feedback on this play, please leave a comment for me.

The very next hand, I was put to another decision. I got Ac Kc in the SB. With only 4,780 left after posting my blind, I was ready to shove with this hand if it folded around to me, or with a limper or two in the pot.

But Mondogarage in the hi-jack seat pushed his short stack of 3,975. Sed the Icon also went all-in with his now big stack of 15,360.

I would have called Mondogarage in a heartbeat. But with another player in the pot, I didn't like just AK suited. I decided to wait for another spot and folded. Mondo had AQ, and Sed had.... AK. The board came 5-3-5-K-8 rainbow and Sed took the pot, busting Mondo. Sed and I would have split the pot and I would have added half of Mondo's chips to my pile. Maybe I should have called and taken my chances, but I prefer to play AK heads up. Any thoughts on calling vs. folding here?

Just a few hands later, I got unlucky again.

Blinds 200/400/50. I had 4,630 and had to make a move. In MP I found Ad Qh. I thought about pushing but decided to try just a standard-sized raise to 1,400, to represent a stronger hand than just a push-and-pray, in hopes that the others would think twice about staying in with me. I was ready to deal with a caller. But GoldenHammer reraised me with all 4,095 of his chips. I didn't have him covered by much, and knew that folding would leave me with very little to work with. I hoped that GH had a marginal hand and was looking for me to fold, and I called. I got what I hoped for: GH had Ah Th and I dominated him.

Flop: Kc Ks Kh

That looked good to me. This didn't:

Turn: Tc

River: 6d

Boom - crippled to 285 chips. I busted two hands later.

I should have shoved the AQ instead of trying the 3.5XBB raise. GH might have folded his AT, but then again he might not. But he would have had more motivation to fold to my push than to my smaller raise.

I was really hoping for a higher finish so I could add to my leaderboard point total and maintain my spot in the top 5, giving me a better shot at the TOC. But other than the AK and AQ plays above, which could be argued either way IMO, I think I played pretty well last night. I'm currently in 8th place, so I feel like I still have a decent chance at the TOC. I certainly can't coast there, so I will have to bring my A-game in the coming weeks and do my best to earn more points.

I haven't played much poker otherwise, just a couple of the FullTilt $3.30 DSTKO SNGs, in which I did not cash. Not sure how much play I will get in between now and next Tuesday; we'll see. PokerStars is running a bunch of freeroll satellites for the WSOP, and I played in one of those tonight, busting early. I might jump into some of those if the timing works out, to see if I can luck into a ticket to the next round.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I'm forever blowing (it on the) bubble(s)

My lack of endgame experience and/or skill showed itself in two recent tournaments. In the Bodog $30 + 3 $4K Guarantee this past Saturday, I made it to the final three tables but as one of the short stacks. With 21 players left, and blinds at 200/400/50, I had 2,821 left, for an M of about 3. The top 18 places paid, so I was close to cashing. I knew I had to push and pray if I were to make any kind of comeback.

However, there were two stacks smaller than mine at my table, and at least one other stack about as small on another table. I was aware of this situation at the time, but didn't give it as much weight as I should have.

In MP I picked up Ah 8c. It was folded to me. Normally this is an easy push for me, with an Ace and a kicker above 7, and a low M, so I shoved all my chips in.

The problem, though, is that four players behind me had plenty of chips and could call me without too much risk. I had to hope that everyone would fold, but my stack wasn't enough to scare everyone away.

The chip leader at my table, with a stack of over 17,000 and sitting on the button, reraised, doubling my bet. The blinds folded, and the button turned over Ad 9d. I did not improve and busted out in 21st place.

Although in most cases I wouldn't give this play a second thought, I realized later that I could have held on for a few more hands, even with my low M, to see if any of the other short stacks would take a stab and bust out, moving me closer to the money. I might also have got lucky and picked up a better hand and some chips, or I could have considered pushing with a hand less likely to be dominated if called. Perhaps if we were right on the bubble, instead of two or three players away, I would have been more conscious of it and more patient. I still might not have made it to the money, but I feel like I didn't give myself the chance that I should have.

I did it again in the Bodonkey last night. At the final table, I had built up a nice stack but saw it get whittled away on a few hands. The crippling hand went like this:

I'm on the button with 18,333 in chips. Six players; top five get paid cash and T$109 each. Blinds are 800/1,600/150; my M is just under 6.

My hole cards come Ad Td. If it folds to me, I'm shoving.

Drizz folds UTG. Donkette pushes her last 16,050 chips in. RecessRampage2, the short stack, folds.

Donkette had gone all-in several times in the last few orbits, so I put her on a fairly wide range of hands, although not any two cards. But if she had an Ace, there were several hands she could have that would dominate me, and of course any pair was ahead. If I had been smart, I would have let her have the blinds and antes, or let someone else challenge her. But I called, everyone else folded, and she showed As Jd. Sure enough, I was dominated. The board brought no help for me, and I was crippled. I busted just a few hands later.

Once again, I could have waited for a better hand or better situation since I was right on the bubble and had chips left. I called with an easily dominated hand and paid for it. The consolation is, I got my T$11 entry fee back for finishing sixth, and I got some leaderboard points to move back up to fourth place (from fifth last week, but down from third the week before).

Hopefully going through this bubble crap in two tourneys within days of each other will make me think harder when I have a similar decision to make in the future.

Side note: I cashed in another FullTilt $3.30 DSTKO SNG the other day, and then blew those winnings (all $6) in the special Martini rebuy game hosted by Katitude on Monday night. I suffered a couple of ugly beats early on, which I won't recount here, and decided to save my FT funds for another day. But I will be back for more of those $3.30 games to try my luck again.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fumbling the Hammer against Josh Arieh

Last night, poker pro and Team Bodog member Josh Arieh played in the Bodog Blogger Tournament, and I drew his table at the start of the game. This was scary and thrilling at the same time. Bodog had put a $100 bounty up for the person who would bust Arieh, which meant I had a shot at that. It also meant that I would be playing against a known aggressive pro, and I wasn't sure how that would affect my play (not for the better, most likely).

Josh actually played fairly tight to start. Probably sizing us all up. Not too long into the game, I picked up 2c 7s UTG. Blinds were 10/20. Of course, I raised with it, to 80. Josh was in the cutoff, and called me, as did GCox25 on the button and odets in the BB. Pot was $330.

Flop: 3d 4c 2s

odets checked. I bet $160 with my pair of ducks; Josh called. GCox and odets folded. I should have bet bigger to reduce the calling odds.

Turn: 8d

Having missed the turn, I checked. Mistake # 2. I should not have given Josh a free card; I should have continued my bluff and represented the strength I started with. Josh checked also.

River: 5s

Great, a straight card. If Josh has an Ace or a 6, I'm dead. I check, and he checks behind. He shows 7d 5d and his fives beat my deuces. He flopped an OESD and I can certainly understand his call of my half-pot bet.

Right after that, Josh asked in the chat box, "You raised with 27?"

A brief explanation of the blogger tradition of the Hammer followed. Josh's comment: "Whatever it is, I LIKE!"

Not too long after that, GCox got everyone to fold to the Hammer preflop, and later, emptyman beat Josh with the Hammer when his 7 paired the board and Josh bluffed into him with air. He didn't like the Hammer much there.

Josh was friendly in the chat, and seemed to have a good time. He busted out on the early side to Abby17 when his 77 ran into AQ that flopped an A and rivered a Q to rub it in.

I didn't last a lot longer than he did. I had bled away some chips trying to pick up some draws and missing. I did catch quads on an early hand but didn't get much action. Eventually I made a donkey call with TT against emptyman's AA to bust in lowly 46th place. No leaderboard points for me this time, unless I picked up a couple just for playing. I have now slipped to fifth place in the standings, which means I had better step things up in the coming weeks so I don't lose my shot at the TOC.

On the other hand, I did finally cash in one of the FullTilt $3.30 Deep Stack Turbo KO (damn, that's a mouthful) SNGs on Sunday. After falling behind early, I caught some much needed cards and doubled up about midway through, then went on a tear. I had not scored a single knockout in the previous KO tourneys I had played; in this one, I racked up eight of them. At $0.50 each, I made back my buy-in and then some just by busting my opponents. I made it to the final table, and eventually heads up, with a comfortable chip lead for a good part of the time. But HU I made at least one iffy play which cost me my lead, and I ended up finishing second. Still, that one cash, and the $4.00 in bounties, wiped out all my tournament losses on FT so far in 2008. That is a very good feeling. I am sure I will be playing in more of these cheap DSTKO SNGs.

Friday, March 14, 2008

No more BBT3 for me

After my pathetic performance in the Riverchasers tourney last night, I am officially swearing off the BBT3. Sorry to anyone who was looking forward to any dead money I might have contributed. I don't feel like bleeding off what I have left in my FT account in games where I will just embarrass myself in front of other poker bloggers.

I have not cashed in a single tournament or SNG on FullTilt so far in 2008. I don't blame FT for that; I've just run poorly there. My FT bankroll is such that I can play the $3 and under tourneys for a while longer, but if I don't cash soon, I will be busto on that site. Not a goal I am aiming for.

I will continue to play in the Tuesday night Bodonkey, where I have somehow built up a nice roll of both cash and T$, and even leaderboard points. We'll see if I can make that last.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Double-stack turbo?? Yes, Virginia, they exist

In looking for a way to add to my roll on FullTilt without jeopardizing too much of what little I have left there, I found some 90-player $3 + 0.30 SNGs that I hadn't paid attention to before. These odd little NLHE tourneys are like Frankenstein monsters, with all the extra features added on:

*3,000 chip starting stacks
*Turbo blinds
*Knockout bounties

At first I didn't realize the double-stack and turbo nature of these things. When I registered for my first one, I saw the large stack and thought, "Hell, this is going to take longer than I planned to play." After a while, I noticed that the blinds were going up awfully fast, and figured out that it was a turbo. Normally I don't like turbos, as I prefer to have some time to get a feel for my table and such. But, I realized, a deep stack tourney that was also a turbo might not take as long as I feared. That was a good thing, since my poker playing time is limited.

I was right. Things moved along fast. People were making really baffling plays, like calling off all their chips with middle or bottom pair or crap like K6. It was almost like they thought *they* would get the 50 cent bounty if they got knocked out, instead of the person who busted them. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't in a position to benefit from the donkery I witnessed. I got lousy hands and had to fold and watch the fireworks around me.

I played in two of these games over the last few days, and didn't cash in either one. I might well try them again, because they don't seem to take much longer than a regular two or five-table SNG, and the prize pool is bigger because of the higher number of entrants. If I can make a decent score in one or more of these, I ought to be able to play in some of the BBT3 events. I might take a stab at a Mookie or Riverchasers anyway, since a cash in one of those would set me up for some future play too. But I have to be careful about my bankroll on FT, or I'll be stuck doing the freerolls just to try win enough to get back into the $1.25 SNGs.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Still running strong in the Bodonkey

I finished fifth in the Bodog Blogger Tourney last night, maintaining my record of finishing in decent position more times than not. I even stayed in third place on the leaderboard, which is quite a feat for me. Now, if I can just keep the streak going and earn more leaderboard points in the weeks to come, I might actually have a shot at the TOC in June. And if a donkey like me can do this well, everyone should take a crack at this thing.

I stood a good chance at finishing even higher last night, but I made what I think was a bad play that decimated my stack at the final table. It went like this:

Blinds: 1,000/2,000/200
Five players
I was on the button and picked up Ac Kh. My stack was 33,776.
UTG folded.
23skidoo, with 32,061 in his stack, raised to 8,000.

I knew I was going to play this hand, but how? Our stacks were virtually even. His raise of 4XBB could mean almost anything - A-X, medium to high pair, the Hammer. Rather than push preflop, I thought I would just double his bet, to try to get him to think that I had a very strong hand and wanted a call, thus causing him to fold. I raised to 16,000. The blinds folded, but Brian called.

The flop came 3c Jh 2c.

No pair for me, and only a vague backdoor straight or flush draw. If Brian had AJ, A2 or A3, he just caught two pair. If he had a pair of anything else, he was still ahead of me. Even if he had the Hammer, he just paired his deuce and took the lead.

Brian pushed. I felt like I was behind, although he could have missed the flop like I did and was just hoping to push me off the hand or race me for the pot. But I felt like I could come back with the chips I would have left, so I folded.

Looking back, I feel like I should have just pushed over the top preflop and taken my chances with my AK. He might have folded, and if he called I would have got to see all five board cards.

I welcome any feedback on this hand. I do feel like I am developing a better feel for the game, but still have a long way to go in many areas.

A few hands later, I picked up JJ but ran it into emptyman's AT which ended up Aces full of Tens. Congrats to Drizztdj for winning it all last night.

See you Tuesday at the next Bodonkey!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

BBT3 looking less likely for me

I tried to add to my FullTilt bankroll today by playing in a two-table $5.50 SNG. I was doing OK at first, sitting back and watching people knock each other out and swap chips around on loose plays. I was crippled when I made a bad call of a raise on a three-flush flop with only top pair. My FT roll is down below $75, which means I can only play a few Mookie or Riverchasers tourneys before going bust, unless I manage to cash in one of them. That isn't an easy task for me. I expect that I will try again to build up in more micro buy-in tourneys before risking my stake in the BBT games.

On a more entertaining note, I got this lucky hand in a Bodog ring game a couple of weeks ago:

I didn't make a lot of money on this hand, but I had one player in with me to the river who ended up turning a ten-high straight. Too bad it was limit, or I might have profited a bit more.

I should be in the Tuesday Bodog Blogger Tourney this week; I've got a nice roll there now, and they are offering a WSOP ME package to their TOC winner. Maybe I will have a chance at that.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Battle of the Blogger Tournaments 3

Although I don't know how many BBT3 events I will get to play in, I want to pimp this series as a tip of the hat to Sir Al Can't Hang, who has worked his cheeks off to set these things up. I hope to score some wins soon on FullTilt so I will have the necessary bankroll to play often enough to qualify for the ridiculously fabulous prizes being offered. Check out either of the links above for more info on this fantastic opportunity.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Riding the Bodonkey roller coaster, all the way to the end

I think the wild ride started when I folded AA preflop.

In the Bodonkey last night, things went slowly for me early on. Not many hands worth playing, not many pots won when I had something. I stayed tight and didn't try to make any tricky or fancy plays. "Keep it simple" was my motto, and I stuck to it.

My stack dwindled down but I hung in. When we were down to about three tables, I picked up AA in late position. One player raised to 1,550, it folded to me, I min-raised to 2,500, hoping for a reraise all-in so I could call. On cue, the raiser pushed. I reached for my mouse to click the "Call" button, but my finger clicked the left button as the cursor was crossing the "Fold" button, and my bullets vanished. I nearly jumped out of my chair. I couldn't believe that I had screwed up my chance at what might have been an easy double up. Lucky for me, I still had a barely decent stack of chips left, but I was sure that my doom was sealed. I have been telling myself ever since that the Aces probably would have been cracked.

Then again, maybe not. Not long after that hand, just about everything started going my way. I picked up some strong starting cards. I bet them, and either picked up the blinds or won the hands on later streets. If someone pushed, I had a strong enough hand to call, and it held up. I still played extra tight, folding hands like AJ and 88 when I was out of position or sensed strength in my opponents. It got to the point where, by the final table, I could do no wrong. Mostly, I got my chips in ahead and came out ahead. I remember one suckout where I got all my chips in with 99 against Columbo's A-x. He flopped an A, but I turned a 9 to cripple him. A few hands later, Columbo doubled through me when he came from behind on one hand. But my rush would hold out and I started knocking players out one after another.

The end of the final table went so fast that I was able to pull these from Bodog's hand histories without much trouble:
Columbo pushes with JK; I call with 66. A Jack flops, but the turn is a 6, and I bust him.
Three hands later:
Kurokitty pushes with 44. I call with 88 and bust him.
Next hand:
Newinnov pushes with 99; I call with TT and bust him.
Two hands later, blinds $1K/2K/200:
I raise to 3K from the SB with J4; TFG in the BB calls.
Flop: 3h 4c 5c
I bet $6K; TFG raises to 12K; I call.
Turn: 6c
I check. TFG pushes for 8,856. I have over 116K so I call. TFG shows Ad 2d for the flopped straight, which has become a 6-high straight on the turn.
River: 2s
We play the board and chop the pot. TFG goes on tilt.
Four hands later:
I have Ac Jc on the button and open raise to 9K.
TFG in the SB pushes for 20,356. Pokerpeaker folds. I have over 120K so I call. TFG shows Ah Th. Board comes Q-3-J-6-J rainbow and I bust him.
Very next hand, heads up:
Pokerpeaker in the SB/button pushes for his last 8,684. I have 4d 3c but I have $150K so I have to call. Peaker shows Kc 6d.
Board comes 3s 5s Ad 5c 9s. My pair of 3s busts him.

Come on, say it with me - sick, sick, sick.

Stop the presses - I won my first ever blogger tournament. My previous best finishes in any blogger tourney were one second place, and two third places. But I'm not fooling myself by thinking that I won last night by my mad skillz. The Card Fairy dumped a boatload of good luck dust on me, and I know it. Now I plan to use the bankroll boost and T$ to play a few extra games and practice so I can improve my play. I don't want to depend on the good graces of the poker gods every time I sit down at the felt. But if they choose to smile on me again like they did in this week's Bodonkey, I will take any favors they are willing to bestow on me.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Poker hara-kiri & break time

Last Tuesday in the Bodog Blogger Tournament, I performed the poker equivalent of throwing myself in front of a moving train, even though I saw it bearing down on me, and knew that the chances of it stopping without running me down were slim to none.

You see, I had been dealt KK in MP, raised 3XBB PF, got reraised by a LP player. The flop came with an Ace. I bet big for information and got raised. Gee, do you think he has an Ace in his hand? I called anyway. The turn was not a King, but I pushed. Of course he called, of course he had AQ, and of course I was out. 54th of 56. I would be hard pressed to think of a more foolish move to make.

I did not play poker for the rest of the week; I needed some breathing room after such utter donkery. I spent my spare time reading, watching a little TV, and hanging out with my family. I enjoyed it, and found that I didn't miss playing. But I wasn't giving up poker for Lent; just for a few days.

I broke my poker fast Sunday. I had (and still have now) the vestiges of a cold and wasn't feeling like running errands with my wife and son, so I stayed home and looked for a tournament to get into. I found a 180-player $4.40 SNG on PokerStars. Busted out in 83rd place after a long stretch of getting few hands to play and having to fold the ones worth playing. Then I decided to look at the guaranteed tourneys on Bodog because they so often have big overlays. I found a $4k guarantee with a $30 + 3 buy-in that only had about 40 people signed up. Normally I wouldn't play at that level, but with the $T that I had won in earlier Bodog Blogger games, I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to get into a tourney that could really pad my account if I could cash in it. By the time the tourney started, the guarantee had been exceeded, so there was no overlay. But, what the hell, I thought, might as well see how the mid-level play is. I didn't find it to be much different from what I am used to in the blogger games. I did OK for a while, and lucked out a few times to stay alive. I eventually finished 46th out of 140 runners. I know I could have played better on a few hands and possibly gone deeper, but I wasn't altogether unsatisfied with the decisions I made overall.

Once I busted out of the $4K, I felt like playing one more, so I jumped into a single table $2.20 SNG on Bodog. I very rarely play one-table SNGs because the payouts are negligible, especially at the micro-stakes where I play. But I figured it wouldn't take too long and I could scratch my poker itch one last time for the day. I ended up taking that one down for a $6 win (= a whopping $3.80 profit). I had to suck out a couple of times while on the short stack, but once again I felt like most of my decisions were good, or at least reasonable.

So far in 2008, I am roughly at the break-even point, bankroll-wise. I still have a nice cushion in $T on Bodog, so I can play the Tuesday night blogger tourneys for several more weeks without touching my cash there. I may not be able to make it regularly on Tuesdays, though, if I get cast in the play that I auditioned for Sunday evening. We'll see how that cuts into my poker playing time, if at all. If I am out of the Tuesday night games for a few weeks, I may have to seek out some of those other Bodog tourneys and maybe catch one where the overlay is in effect when the game starts.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series begins February 4

The official announcement is out, and Bodog is pumping up their Tuesday night poker blogger tournament series. Here is the scoop, straight from the Bodog's mouth:

Bodog Introduces Poker Blogger Tournament Series

Bodog is proud to host the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series opened to any Online Poker Blogger. Join up and challenge other Poker Bloggers each week in our Bodog Poker Room and live to tell about it. Earn points and work your way up the Tournament Leader Board for a spot in the final tournament for your chance to win a $12,000 World Series of Poker* prize package and be a part of Team Bodog 2008.

How it Works
The Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series is composed of a series of 18 qualifying tournaments that run weekly beginning Tuesday, February 5th, 2008 to Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008. The top 30% of finishers in each qualifying tournament will earn points based on their finish. These points will be used to rank players over 4 months of qualifying. At the end of the qualifying series, the top 18 players on the Tournament Leader Board will play in the Final Tournament on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008 with the first place finisher winning a $12,000 WSOP* prize package!

Weekly Tournaments
Buy-in: $10 + $1
Prize Pool will be distributed as per Bodog's standard multi-table payout table. In addition, the top 5 players each week will also win T$109 to be used to buy-in to the $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament held every Sunday at 4:00 PM ET. The top 5 bubble players each week will win a free buy-in to next week's Weekly Tournament. (T$11 will be credited to these players' Bodog account within 24 hours after the completion of the tournament)

Final Tournament
Buy-in: $0 + $0 (must finish in the Top 18 on the TLB to be invited)
Grand Prize: $12,000 WSOP* Prize Package with Team Bodog
2nd place: T$540 to be used to buy-in to (2) World Series or Players Choice Semifinal
3rd place: T$379 to be used to buy-in to (1) World Series or Players Choice Semifinal and (1) $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament
4th: T$270 to be used to buy-in to (1) World Series or Players Choice Semifinal
5th: T$109 to be used to buy-in to (1) $100,000 Guaranteed Tournament

Bodog Blogger Tournament Leader Board
The Tournament Leader Board will be available at
throughout the course of the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series. It will provide the point totals for every player that has played in the qualifying tournaments. The top 30% of players in each tournament will receive points according to finish which at the end of the qualifying tournaments will ultimately determine who will move on to the Final Event. The top 18 players on the TLB at the end of the qualifiers will earn their way to the Final Event.

How To Register
To register for the Bodog Poker Blogger Tournament Series, poker bloggers must first go to and sign in with their Bodog account information in the upper right hand corner. Once this is completed, they then must click on "REGISTER NOW" to register themselves into the tournament series. Bloggers will each have to do this once in order to play in the series. Once this is done, they then need to find the "Online Poker Blogger Tournament" in the software and register as they normally would each and every week.

Bodog Blogger Tournament Host Site will host this tournament series and will provide poker bloggers with weekly updates on:

* tournament results for winners and losers
* announcements for special promotions or guest players
* the latest in Bodog Poker Room news and gossip
* tips on how to succeed at Bodog Poker

Follow any of the links above to get more info. Props must again go out to $mokkee for hosting the Tuesday night games and working with the Bodog folks to sponsor this weekly tournament and now up the ante to make it even more attractive for bloggers to enter.

See you there!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fifth is the new first

For the second week in a row, I somehow managed to finish in fifth place in the Tuesday night Bodog Blogger Tournament, hosted by $mokkee. It took even more lucksackery for me this week than last; there were at least two hands where I pushed with small pairs, got called by bigger pairs or overcards, and flopped a set to double up. Thanks once again to Bodog's generous overlay, I had $T109 added to my tournament credit balance, to go along with the real cash for my fifth place finish. I think I'll be playing more at Bodog, as I understand that they often have a nice overlay in many of their other tourneys too.

Pokerpeaker was the other luckbox in the game last night. He was down to 65 chips at the final table, made an astounding comeback, and took second place. Go read his blog for the gory details. Lightning36 came out on top at the end, for his fourth (!!!) Bodonkey tourney win.

Starting next Tuesday, the Bodog Blogger Tourney will become a series of 18 weekly tournaments which will include leaderboard points and a Tournament of Champions at the end of the series, with a "sick" prize (sez $mokkee) to be awarded to the champ, plus other prizes for the rest of the top finishers. The announcement of what the prizes will be is scheduled for Friday Feb. 1, so stay tuned to $mokkee's blog for the dirt on that. I'll be playing and hoping to keep my rush going.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What's a donkey to do?

Has it really been three weeks since I posted here? Feels like longer. Occasionally I'll get an idea that seems like it might be worth posting, but that feeling usually passes quickly. But, if for no other reason than to pretend that I am still a poker blogger, I figure I'll throw something up here.

Let's get the trivial things like results out of the way first.

Cash games since last post = in the red
Tourneys since last post = in the black*

*The asterisk is because my "profit" has come from the tournament credits I won in the Bodog Blogger Game last Tuesday. I folded and luckboxed my way to fifth in that tourney, which got me $29.60 in real US money, but also $T109 in my Bodog account thanks to their generous bonus program for these tourneys. If not for that, I would still be well into the red for tournaments so far this calendar year. I plan to use the $T to play in the Tuesday night games as regularly as I can, and possibly to check out some of their other tournaments.

Because I am a consistent loser at tourneys these days, I am trying to play in more ring games to see if I can perform with some semblance of success. I stick to the micro-limits, to make my bankroll last as long as possible. I have no desire to jump through the hoops or pay the fees to fund my accounts at the poker sites, so I'd like to milk my meager stakes in the three sites where I am funded for as long as possible.

A problem with that is, playing for nickels and dimes means that any wins I bank don't amount to much, so my roll doesn't grow with any speed. That isn't to say that I am impatient; I can fold hand after hand with the tightest of them. In fact, I am doing that as I type this, in a $0.02 - 0.04 Limit O8 game on PokerStars. I have had a bunch 0f hands with middle cards, and very few Aces, so my Fold button is getting a real workout. What I need is a run of decent hands so I can win some pots from the any-four-cards playing fish in these games. Maybe I need to switch back to Stud 8, which I did OK at for a while last year.

I'm playing strictly Limit poker in the ring games, mostly because I feel more comfortable playing Limit outside of tournaments. I have not, however, played in any Limit tourneys yet, because they generally take way too long.

I'm in my usual quandary about what to do about poker. Am I enjoying it enough to tolerate the steady diminishing of my bankroll? Will it do me any good to read more poker books, or have I reached a saturation point with those? Should I find something better to do with the time that I spend on poker now?

Here's one I'm wondering about: Should I take a bigger risk, play at slightly higher levels where I can use what little I have learned about how to play correctly against other players who might actually fold their crap hands to my bets and raises? I have resisted this temptation for a long time, partly because I am a wuss and don't like to get in over my head, and partly because I know that variance could easily cripple me with a few losing rounds as well as give me a nice cushion if I were to have a few winning sessions.

I expect that I will just plod along as I have been. I'll play in the Bodog Tuesday night game as long as my credits and bankroll there hold out, and try to slowly build my roll on PokerStars and FullTilt as I get the chance.

And now, a word from one of our sponsors:

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Okie-Vegas 2008 - be there!

GCox has posted the announcement that everyone (who is anyone) has been waiting for:

Okie-Vegas 3 is go for launch this summer! Go check his site for the lowdown. I'll be there, good Lord willin' and the crick don't rise, so don't miss your chance to take my money, hang out with some wild and crazy poker bloggers, and have a whooping-hollering-yeehaw-good time.

And if you are wondering what Okie-Vegas 2 was like, check my report here, which also has links to other folks' accounts of the festivities.

See you there!

Looking behind, looking ahead

A new year has begun , so it's probably time to review how I fared in 2007, and what I plan to do in 2008.

I keep records of my play, so I have a pretty good idea of my results for online play for the past year. (I have left live play out of this review because I played so little live poker.) Here are some figures that I have to chew on:

Tournaments played (SNG and scheduled): 107
Tournaments cashed: 21
Tournaments won (finished first): 3
Cash game sessions: 88
Cash game sessions where I quit with a profit: 42

I don't even know what constitutes a "good" record for cashes per tourneys played or anything like that, but I definitely lost a chunk of change, compared to the stakes I play, in tournaments in 2007. I came out just a few dollars behind for the year in cash games, but I didn't spend nearly as much time at ring games as in tourneys, so I don't think I have a good sample to know if I am better suited for ring game play than tourneys.

Here are some more telling stats:
Tournaments played with buy-in of $11.00: 22 (of the 107 total above)
Tournaments cashed with buy-in of $11.00: 4

These $11.00 games were all blogger tourneys, and my performance in them was pretty poor. Other than one charity tourney where I put in $40.00, these blogger tourneys were the highest buy-in games that I played, and therefore put the biggest dents in my bankroll. Although my cashing percentage in lower buy-in tourneys isn't much higher than for the blogger tourneys, they also don't drain my roll as much when I finish out of the money.

What does this tell me about how I am doing as a poker player, and about what I should do in the coming year?

First, I have to look at my roll. I have funds on three sites at the moment: FullTilt, PokerStars, and Bodog. I only have money on Bodog because they offered to stake me in exchange for the link on this blog; the other two sites have been funded for a while, although I needed some help to get more money onto FullTilt when that account got low. As of now, PokerStars has the most and FullTilt has the least. One significant equation that I have looked at is this:

FT is where almost all the blogger tourneys are.
Blogger tourneys cost $11.00 or more to enter.
I have less than $100 on FT now.
I don't do well in blogger tourneys.

All of these factors add up to:
I won't be playing in any blogger games on FT until I build my roll there.

I don't want to deposit any more funds on any sites right now; I would rather add to my accounts the old fashioned way: by EARNING (read: winning) it.

I have less than $100 on Bodog too, so I will have to see if I can build that up through smaller-stakes tourneys and such so I can play in their Tuesday night blogger game more often.

I have a somewhat bigger roll on PokerStars, although it is still under $200, so I might be able to play in a few mid-level games there if I do so intelligently. Unfortunately, the blogger group that I know best doesn't seem to play much over there, or at least doesn't have regularly scheduled tourneys or games, so it isn't quite as much fun.

So, I know I won't be playing in the blogger games any time real soon. But what is on my list of things to *do* rather than *not do*?

1. Read and study more to improve my game. I know that I need to refresh my mind and memory on the proper techniques so I can make better decisions, which should help my bottom line results in the long run.
2. Work on playing my opponents more and my cards less. I really need to develop these skills a lot further if I hope to succeed at all.
3. Play more ring games and see how I do there. I want to be a well-rounded player and not narrow my focus too much onto tournaments.
4. Learn more about, and play more often in, several varieties of poker. I don't want to spread myself too thin and try to become an expert in everything, but I do want to have a decent working knowledge of multiple games and of poker in general.
5. Be more focused and in the game, and not allow myself to be distracted while playing. If I can improve at this, I'm sure it will help me perform better and, again, make better decisions.
6. Take more notes on my opponents, and use them to my advantage. I've done very little of this, although I know that it could be a huge help to me, so I need to be more disciplined about it.

How are those for New Year's resolutions? I'll bet they match those of some of the rest of the poker players in the world, and maybe some of you who read this. I wish us all luck in keeping up with them, and in becoming better poker players in 2008.