Sunday, December 26, 2010

Belated WPBT Winter Classic 2010 trip report

Yes, I have been back from Las Vegas for almost two weeks. I will use the "busy holiday season" excuse for not posting my report sooner. If you want to read into that the "too lazy to get around to it" excuse, I won't say that you are too far wrong.

One big difference about this year's trip compared to previous years is that my wife Pat came along for the first time. That changed my activity schedule somewhat, but I still participated in a fair amount of poker blogger fun. Another change this year is that I didn't arrive until Friday, so I missed the usual introductory get-together at the Geisha Bar at Imperial Palace. I think I will try to make it out on Thursday next time, partly to join the gang at the Geisha Bar and partly so I will have the early half of Friday available for additional tourist time.

Friday evening, after checking in at Bally's and grabbing some dinner, my wife and I went to MGM Grand so I could play in the traditional blogger mixed games. Pat went off to look around the casino and hotel, while I sat down with a blogger all-star group that included CJ, Snuffy, Poker Grump, Special K, Very Josie, and 23skidoo. I know there were a couple of others there whom I either did not know or have forgotten (sorry). We played HORSE, and I went up early during the Hold'em and Omaha 8 rounds, but then went card dead during the Razz, Stud and Stud 8 rounds. I walked away a whole $7 in the black, but had fun playing with the group, which is the main thing. There was a very interesting Razz hand involving Josie and skidoo, which you can read about at Josie's blog here or at Grump's blog here. Hilarity always ensues when bloggers play mixed games. I also finally met my last longer teammate BrainMc in person.

Saturday was the day of the big blogger tourney at Aria. Pat and I decided to get over there early to look around the City Center complex a bit since neither of us had seen it before. Beautiful place, with very weird but attractive architecture. I got to the poker room early and hung out with several bloggers while we waited for the starting time to arrive. After a blogger group photo, which I have not seen yet and don't know whether it has been posted anywhere, the tourney began. The Hammers started flying fast and furiously, from players trying to pick up the $50 bounties offered up by PokerStars for the first ten players to win a hand post-flop while playing 7-2 offsuit. I got one early on, raised pre-flop, but took the blinds when no one called. Later, I called a PF raise from Vinnay with 66, whiffed the flop and folded to his C-bet. He showed the Hammer and took one of the last available Hammer bounties before they were all claimed.

I got AA and KK a few times in the early levels, but got no action for them and was unable to build a chip stack. I lasted to about 51st place, when my KT was bested by F-Train's A-rag and another blogger's KJ (sorry that I didn't catch her name). I didn't make my goal of lasting longer than last year's finish of 29th, but I feel like I made mostly good decisions, which is about all you can do anyway. By the end of the night, Miami Don had taken the trophy and first place, in a six-way chop with the other finishers. Congrats to Don! Unfortunately, TAG Team did not finish in the money in the Last Longer Challenge. BrainMc went pretty deep, about 16th I think, but Mike and I didn't hold up as long. Maybe next year.

After I busted out, I called my wife, who had met a friend who lives in the area for lunch and then gone shopping at the Fashion Show Mall. We chilled at the mall for a bit and then headed to the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood for dinner. We have been to this buffet a few times before and it is a definite favorite. The line to get in was monstrous, but at least we weren't starving when we got in it. The food did not disappoint when we eventually were seated. We bought a 24-hour buffet pass there, which is good at the buffets at all of the Caesars' (formerly Harrah's before the recent corporate name change) properties. After dinner, we went back to Bally's and I played $1/2 NLHE in their poker room for about an hour. I finished up $50, which capped off the night nicely.

We used the buffet pass again the next morning for breakfast at the Flamingo and then dinner at the Rio Sunday evening. In between, we drove down to Hoover Dam to check out the new bridge. The view of the dam from the new bridge is very cool. We then drove back to the Strip, gawked at a few of the casino hotels, and waited in the long line at the Rio for their buffet. One side note about that buffet's queuing system: they had one line for people using coupons, comps, discounts, or other promo-type things, and three or four lines for people paying with cash or credit card. About 95% of the people in line were using something that required them to stand in the promo line, including us with our buffet pass. They would move people along much better if they had more lines for promo customers.

We then drove downtown to check out Glitter Gulch and the Fremont Street Experience, which we had not seen for many years. It was packed with people, which made for a festive atmosphere. There were lots of costumed performers there, including some dressed as rock stars, cartoon and movie characters, and Vegas showgirls. I wish now that I had taken more photos there. I went into Binion's and the Golden Nugget to look at (but not play in this time) their poker rooms. On a future visit, I would like to go back down there and play a few hands, and look around some more.

We drove back to Ballys and hit the sack to get some rest before the flight home on Monday. It was another enjoyable gathering with the poker blogger group, and I look forward to the next one. Many thanks to April, CK, CJ, Al, PokerStars, and everyone else that had a hand in making this event another success.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Big Game - high and dry, plus WPBT updates

The bad news: my video for the PokerStars Big Game TV show was not chosen as a winner, so I won't be appearing on the show in the near future. I have played in a couple more qualifying tournaments but have not progressed to the final round again (yet). I have some ideas for a new video but will keep them under wraps until I get to the point where I need to make one.

The good news: in case you haven't been marking off the days on your calendar, the 2010 WPBT Winter Classic gathering is only 16 days away. This year, my wife will be along on the trip for the first time, and it will be interesting to see her reactions to the motley group that is the poker bloggers. We arrive Friday afternoon and depart Monday.

If you will be in Las Vegas for the fun that weekend but haven't yet signed up to play in the WPBT tournament, contact Texas April ASAP, via Facebook or her blog, to get on the list.

In other WPBT news, I am pleased to announce that I have joined a team for this year's Last Longer Challenge.

Presenting, TAG Team:

Mike G. (friend of BrainMc)
Yours truly

Opponents, get ready to be smacked down.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Poker Stars Big Game update - in the pool

As I mentioned in my last post, I qualified to play in the second round tournament towards the PokerStars Big Game TV show. So, I played in the second round tournament, finished in the top 1,000, and won an entry into one of the third and final round tournaments. I played in the final round tournament, and just squeaked into the top 200 to make it into the contestant pool. I almost let myself be blinded out of the final round, but woke up to the fact that my chips were disappearing faster than I thought just in time to survive.

Having made it to the contestant pool, I was waiting for the e-mail from PokerStars telling me what I needed to do next. I knew that it involved making a video telling them why I should be the next "Loose Cannon" on the show. However, several days went by and I didn't hear from them. I finally e-mailed PokerStars support asking when I should expect to get the e-mail. The reply said they were sorry I hadn't received it, and gave me the instructions, which are:

• Make a video of yourself explaining why you should be chosen to go on the show to play with $100,000 of PokerStars’ money!
• The video must be a digital movie not larger than 32MB in any of the following formats: .avi, .mp4, .mkv, .h264 • The video must be no more than two minutes in length.
• Audition videos must be submitted within ten days of the satellite in which you placed in the top 200. (They let me off the hook for this one.)

After tossing around some ideas in my head, I decided that I wanted to keep it simple, but do something to make it at least mildly interesting visually without jumping through a lot of technical hoops. You can see the results at the website where the contestant videos have been uploaded:

At the site, look for the Search box below the main viewing window, type in yestbay1 (my PStars ID) and press Enter, and it should bring up the thumbnail for my video. Click on the thumbnail to select it and then click the play button on the main screen.

It took me several tries to get the video the way I wanted it, and I still would have liked it to turn out better in some respects, but I think it came out OK, and definitely better than some of the others that have been submitted. I do wish that I didn't sound like I have a mouthful of mush. Nevertheless, it's hard to tell what the producers are looking for in these vids, so I will just have to cross my fingers and hope they see something they like in mine. If the long shot comes through and they pick me, you can bet that I will be blogging about it here.

EDIT: I didn't realize it before, but you can vote for the contestant videos by clicking on the "Vote" button in the upper right hand corner of the viewing screen. I don't know if the number of votes has any effect on who gets chosen, but I encourage you to vote for my video, just in case.

In other news, I won a bar league tourney recently for a whopping $50 first prize, and I finished ahead $20 playing $3/$6 LHE up at the Riverwind in Oklahoma on a recent visit with my son up there. I'm on a roll; maybe I should start up those plans to turn pro. Or not.

I'm also counting the days (38 as of today) until I fly to Las Vegas for the WPBT Winter Classic. I have one teammate for the Last Longer Challenge, BrainMc, and we may be looking for a third. Let me know if you are interested in joining us.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

PokerStars Big Game - tourney hand analysis

As many of you probably know, PokerStars presents a TV show called “The Big Game” in which amateurs who qualified in freeroll tournaments on PokerStars get staked $100,000 to play in a high-stakes cash game with professional poker players. I have watched the show and found it rather entertaining and educational. I will have more to say about the Big Game in another post that I am formulating. But this post is about a hand that I played in one of their qualifying tournaments. After it was over, the player who came out on the losing end had some comments about the way I played the hand. I am certainly willing to learn from my mistakes, so I thought it would be worth looking more closely at this hand to see what mistakes I may have made, and what I could have done better.

A little background: in the Round 1 freerolls like this one, the top 300 finishers move on to the next round. Each of the nine players at the table starts with $10,000 in chips. The blinds start at $200/$400 with a $100 ante. So, before any cards are dealt, each player has an M of about 7. This has two effects: (1) you have to start accumulating chips early, and (2) just about every pot is worth contesting. Another thing that happens is that there is a lot of limping, because everyone wants to hit a draw and take down a big pot.

So, here is the hand in question, with my comments added along the way.

*********** # 109 **************
PokerStars Game #50429242296: Tournament #308745183, Freeroll  Hold'em No Limit - Level VIII (1200/2400) - 2010/09/30 22:30:29 CT [2010/09/30 23:30:29 ET]
Table '308745183 11' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Rivit36 (19050 in chips)
Seat 2: iam99930301 (105650 in chips) is sitting out
Seat 3: ResinSystems (77700 in chips)
Seat 4: bunny'sTiger (48450 in chips)
Seat 5: Alley Cat 7 (210175 in chips)
Seat 6: BAPMAN55 (138500 in chips)
Seat 7: yestbay1 (203600 in chips)

I am second in chips at my table, and in the cutoff seat. My M is around 23, so I am in decent shape and have some room to maneuver.

Seat 8: kowalabear69 (106050 in chips)
Seat 9: Framkie B (87250 in chips)
Rivit36: posts the ante 600
iam99930301: posts the ante 600
ResinSystems: posts the ante 600
bunny'sTiger: posts the ante 600
Alley Cat 7: posts the ante 600
BAPMAN55: posts the ante 600
yestbay1: posts the ante 600
kowalabear69: posts the ante 600
Framkie B: posts the ante 600
Framkie B: posts small blind 1200
Rivit36: posts big blind 2400
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to yestbay1 [Qd Ad]

A nice hand to play, especially in late position.

iam99930301: folds
ResinSystems: calls 2400
bunny'sTiger: calls 2400
Alley Cat 7: calls 2400
BAPMAN55: folds
yestbay1: calls 2400

Three limpers, so a nice pot is building. If I can hit a big hand, I can add a nice chunk to my stack, so I decide to limp along. I can stand to call a raise, but I don’t expect to see one.

kowalabear69: calls 2400
Framkie B: calls 1200
Rivit36 is disconnected
Rivit36 is connected
Rivit36 has timed out
Rivit36: checks

Pot is now 25,800. I would love to take this one, even on the flop.

*** FLOP *** [6c 4d Kc]

That doesn’t help me at all, but did it hit anyone else? I am ready to fold to a decent-sized bet.

Framkie B: checks
Rivit36: checks
ResinSystems: checks
bunny'sTiger: checks
Alley Cat 7: bets 4800

A bet of less than 1/5 the pot? Hard to tell what kind of hand Alley Cat would bet that amount with. My best guess would be a flush draw, because one or two pair or a set should bet larger to discourage others from drawing. I can certainly afford a call, and might catch an Ace and/or Queen or running cards that could win this pot. Of course, I don’t want to see a club. If someone behind me raises, I am done, with minimal damage to my stack.

yestbay1: calls 4800
kowalabear69: calls 4800
Framkie B: calls 4800
Rivit36 is disconnected
Rivit36 has timed out while disconnected
Rivit36: folds
Rivit36 is sitting out
ResinSystems: folds
bunny'sTiger: folds

Two more callers, so the pot is definitely getting fat; now up to 45K.

*** TURN *** [6c 4d Kc] [Jd]

I love that card, giving me straight and flush draws. I would probably fold to a big bet, though, to guard my stack. I don’t have to finish first, just 300th or better.

Framkie B: checks
Rivit36 is connected
Rivit36 has returned
Alley Cat 7: bets 9600

OK, what is this cat up to? This time it’s just a little more than 1/5 the pot, giving me the odds to draw, especially since Alley Cat has a big stack for me to aim at. Even if someone has a set and would fill up on the river if the board pairs, I still have 7 diamonds as outs (discounting the 6d and Kd) plus 3 Tens for a straight (discounting the Tc which might give someone a crub frush). That’s ten outs, and the Rule of Two says that gives me about a 20% chance of catching a winning card. With the bet of slightly more than 1/5 the pot, I’m getting pretty much the right pot odds up front to call, especially if the players behind me call, plus some implied odds if I can get paid off. I can’t see much reason to fold here, and also no reason to raise since I haven’t made a hand yet.

yestbay1: calls 9600
kowalabear69: calls 9600
Framkie B: calls 9600

And yet more chasers, sweetening the pot even more: 83,400.

*** RIVER *** [6c 4d Kc Jd] [8d]

Gin! How do I get some chips out of these suckers, er, worthy opponents? I hope someone has a lower flush and bets into me…

Framkie B: checks
Alley Cat 7: checks

Well, looks like Alley Cat either missed his draw or got scared by the diamond. Might as well bet a decent amount which I hope can be called by at least one person. How about roughly half the pot?

yestbay1: bets 42400
kowalabear69: folds
Framkie B: folds
Alley Cat 7: calls 42400

Suckered in one, anyway.

*** SHOW DOWN ***
yestbay1: shows [Qd Ad] (a flush, Ace high)
Alley Cat 7: shows [Kh Kd] (three of a kind, Kings)
yestbay1 collected 164600 from pot

Whaddya know. Alley Cat flopped a set of Kings and played them so slow that they got away from him (or her; I will guess “him” for simplicity’s sake). Then comes the commentary….

Alley Cat 7 said, "great very bad playing"

Normally I don’t respond to derogatory chat comments, but I thought I would toss one back.

yestbay1 said, "if you say so"
Alley Cat 7 said, "    u had nothing      and got really lucky for runner runner"
Alley Cat 7 said, "i say so      i guess"

In the interests of poker education, I decided to let out a little secret of my playing strategy.

yestbay1 said, "you gave me the pot odds"

Which got me the snappy rejoinder:

Alley Cat 7 said, "yeah    sure greg"

I have no clue who Greg is. In any event, I have to wonder if Alley Cat realized that he could have prevented getting drawn out on, just by betting more to deny me (or others who were drawing) the right odds to keep trying to get there. Maybe he will learn a lesson from this hand. I did, and it is: don’t slowplay your flopped sets in multi-way pots when there are draws on the board. Then again, I think I learned that lesson a while ago. Nevertheless, an occasional reminder is always a good thing.

Epilogue: I did finish in the top 300 and went on to the next round. More about that in a future post….

Friday, September 10, 2010

WPBT Luckbox Last Longer Challenge III (plus bonuses!)

As you may recall, the Luckbox organized a last longer challenge for last year's WPBT Winter Classic tournament. For 2010, the challenge has expanded to new heights of awesomeness. All the details are here, but below are some highlights.

The Luckbox Last Longer Challenge III, or L-Cubed-Cubed, just starts where last year's contest left off. PokerStars is once again adding to the contest prize pool, this year to the tune of $3,000. They are also sponsoring two new add-ons to the fun: $100 bounties on ten players from the original WPBT tournament in 2004, and a $500 prize pool for the first ten (post-flop) winning Hammers dropped in the tourney.

Be sure to read the whole post at to get the nitty-gritty. Once you have done that, come on back, and leave me a comment if you would like to join me on a team for the L-Cubed-Cubed, or e-mail me at david [dot] westbay [at] verizon [dot] net. I look forward to going deep in the tournament with two of my fellow bloggers and taking down the big prize.

And if you haven't made plans to attend the Classic this year, what are you waiting for? If you are on Facebook, sign up to attend the tourney at this page; if you aren't on FB, read more about it and leave a comment at This Is Not a Poker Blog.

Many thanks to the fine folks at PokerStars for the very generous bonus prizes for this event, and to the Luckbox for putting it together! And to April, of course, for organizing the tourney.

Who will be on the winning team with me?? Get your name in fast - first come, first served. Once our team is formed, we will discuss our team name. It should be intimidating and awesome. Put your thinking caps on.

See you there!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Success story

As I predicted in my last post, I dropped in at the Riverwind Casino in Norman, OK, this past weekend to play some poker. In fact, my son Ben and I played in their Saturday morning bounty tournament, where the buy-in was $50 + $10, + $25 towards the bounty. I had never played in this tourney before so I didn't know what to expect in terms of number of players, structure, skill levels of my opponents, or much of anything else. Actually, I hadn't played in more than a handful of live, cash buy-in tournaments up to that one; the great majority of my playing is online. But this one went fairly well for me.

There were 71 entrants; 8 places paid. Everyone started with $2000 in chips, and blinds started at $25/$25, with levels lasting 20 minutes. I played my usual tight game at the beginning, and most of the other players did the same. In fact, there was plenty of limping and a lot of multi-way pots. I didn't get much going early on, but I took a few pots to keep from being blinded off too fast. My stack started shrinking, though, and it took a couple of decent-sized pots to stay afloat. I won a bounty when I called a shortie's all-in with A-J and caught a Jack to beat his 99. After that, I stole a few times and won a few others, holding my head above water but never threatening to take the chip lead.

I wish I remembered more details about specific hands, but there weren't many that stuck in my mind. I do feel like I didn't make any bone-headed mistakes or decisions that stand out in my memory. Suffice it to say, I made the final table and finished 7th, for my first live cash tournament payout. I won a second bounty along the way, so my total cash-out was $210.00. Less my $85 buy-in, I gained $125.00 net, which will cover my buy-in to the blogger tournament at the Winter Classic in December. I know that this is no big deal to almost anyone who might read this, but I feel good about the fact that I finally made the money in a "real" tournament, as I always thought I could. Hopefully this will be the first of many live cashes as time goes on. Finishing well in the aforementioned blogger tourney in December is definitely a goal this year.

Oh - my son busted early on. It was his first live tournament and he was a bit intimidated. I told him not to worry about it and that more experience will make him feel more comfortable.

I think I will leave it at that for now. I may have to try the same tournament when I am in Norman again to visit Ben later in the school year. With a little luck, I will do as well as this time, if not better.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WPBT Winter Classic, "Lost Vegas," and other random updates

Can it only be five months away, give or take a few days? Yes, the 2010 WPBT Winter Classic is closer than you think, and many have already made their plans to join in the insanity, including yours truly. Texas April has arranged the blogger tournament at the shiny new Aria Hotel and Casino on Saturday December 11. Of course, the other usual shenanigans are bound to ensue such as the Friday night mixed games at MGM Grand, the annual Thursday night introductory gathering at the Geisha Bar (which I will miss this year, but you should try to attend anyway), and other unpredictable hijinks and debauchery.

If you aren't already on the "I wouldn't miss it" list, you can RSVP via the Facebook event page or at the post on April's blog. See you there!

Next item: I recently ordered my copy of Dr. Pauly's long-awaited new book, "Lost Vegas," and you should get it too. If you are a fan of his poker blog, and who isn't, this book is bound to be a must-read.

As for my poker activities of late, well, it hasn't been pretty. Since May 18, I have cashed in exactly two tournaments out of 25 played. I am also slightly in the red in cash games over that period. I am looking forward to this run-bad streak ending, and soon. I also expect to get a little bit of live poker in next month when we move our son back up to Norman, OK for his sophomore year at OU. I plan to drop in at the Riverwind Casino up there and take another shot at their poker room.

Meanwhile, I'll be watching the ESPN coverage of this year's WSOP, and also watching the Texas Rangers as they do their best to hold onto first place in the AL West and win that division title. I want to go to another playoff game, and this time see the Rangers win it and go deep.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Yet another post about the WSOP Ladies Event

There have been many articles and blog posts about the World Series of Poker Ladies Event and whether or not it should be continued. Let me direct you here for a well-written post about this particular blogger's thoughts on the subject, which also includes links to other sites and posts on the subject. I don't fully agree with the position stated in this blogger's post, but it has a lot of merit.

I would like to hear what the people who actually *played* in the WSOP Ladies Event, this year and in past years, have to say. Those people are the ones most likely to be affected by any change in the status of the event, so I am very curious to hear what they think. I would like to see a poll or survey taken of these players, with questions including, but not limited to, the following:

*Did you play in only the Ladies Event at the WSOP, or did you play in any other events?
*If you played only in the Ladies Event, why did you make that choice?
- Scheduling
- Buy-in amount
- Preferred playing with ladies instead of men
- Thought the field would be softer
- Wanted to socialize with friends also entered in the event
- Someone recommended this event
- Other
*If you played in other events, which ones?
*If the WSOP eliminated the Ladies Event, would you play in other WSOP events instead? If so, which ones would you be most likely to play?
*If the Ladies Event were changed to a non-bracelet event, would you still play in it?
*Do you think that the WSOP Ladies Event has a positive, negative, or neutral effect on the participation of females in poker?
*If you could recommend one or two changes, however small or large, to the WSOP Ladies Event, what would they be?

Since the Ladies Event has a reasonable turn-out each year, it makes financial sense for Harrah's to continue offering it. If it is going to continue, then I think it makes sense for the participants to have input into how (or whether) it is offered.

I am not convinced that deleting the Ladies Event from the WSOP will have a positive effect on women's standing or participation in poker or in the WSOP in particular. Many seem to think that the women players should only be playing in open events, because there is no reason for them to feel that they can't compete on a level playing field with men. I think that a survey like the one I propose would give us at least some information about whether the Ladies Event is full of women who only play that event, or who play other events, or who would not play at all if that event weren't offered, along with a glimpse of why they feel the way they do.

If such a survey has been conducted, please leave a comment with a link where one might find the results.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

WPBT Gives Back tourney reminder

Just a reminder that this Wednesday is the charity tourney on FullTilt to raise some money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities. They are a great group and deserve your support. I am registered for the tournament, and you should be too.

The details again:
Date: Wednesday June 16
Time: 9PM CDT (Same time as Mookie)
It will actually be running in place of the Mookie. BDR will be broadcasting it.
Charity: Ronald McDonald House
$5 + $5 (Tournament, charity)
Password= vegas1
Tournament#= 164273435

Ronald McDonald and his friends, including your intrepid tournament organizer OhCaptain, thank you. See you at the tables.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

My warning was heeded, but... and charity tourney pimpage

Update: I was right about my streak of bad cards finally coming to an end. In the Blogger Battle Royale this afternoon, I got AA, KK, and even QQ, a few times. However, I was unable to get any action when I had those hands, and therefore got no traction in the tourney. My best moment was when I flopped two pair and doubled through SmBoatDrinks when he tried to push me off the hand. After that, I slowly blinded off until my AQ < Smokkee's 44. Congrats to actyper for taking it down.

I'm feeling a bit pokered out at the moment, so I may take a break from playing this week. But I am signed up for the Ronald McDonald House charity tourney set up by OhCaptain:

Date: June 16
Time: 9PM CDT (Same time as Mookie)
It will actually be running in place of the Mookie. BDR will be broadcasting it.
Charity: Ronald McDonald House
$5 + $5 (Tournament, charity)
Password= vegas1
Tournament#= 164273435

Be there.

Fair warning

I have had at least a week's worth of card death leading up to today. So, I must be due to get some strong hands. If you are playing in the Blogger Battle Royale this afternoon, be advised that I feel good about my chances of getting some cards that will take me deep into this tourney.

Play back at me at your peril.

That is all.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Blogger Battle Royale, and other updates

I have been away for about ten days so I am doing some catching up. Let me first say congratulations to the WSOP Main Event seat winners of the BBT5 Tournament of Champions: jjok, NYRambler, and Adam27X. Good luck in the big show!

On June 6, the final BBT event of the year will be held, the Blogger Battle Royale freeroll. To get an entry, the Official BBT Badge is to be displayed on one's blog, so here you go:

Battle of the Bloggers
Play Online Poker with poker's top bloggers

Brought to you by online poker room Full Tilt Poker

Although I only ended up playing in one BBT event this year, I have been trying to follow along to see how my fellow bloggers have been doing. I look forward to playing in the freeroll on Sunday and winning myself a birthday gift of the $2,000 WSOP package.

My absence has been due to a cruise that my wife, son, mother, and I took to Alaska. We had a great time and enjoyed unusually nice weather for mid-May, at least according to the residents of the cities we visited. No rain, and warm temperatures the whole time.

The cruise ship had a poker table, where they spread $1-2 NLHE when the casino was open, and also had a few tournaments. I never got into any of the tournaments; they weren't well publicized and I either didn't hear about them until after they had finished, or I signed up too late and the tourney was full. However, I did get a fair amount of cash play in. Most of the players fell into one of two categories: tight-passive or inexperienced. There was one older gent who was rather aggressive and tended to overbet to protect his hand. When I picked up on his pattern (which took about three hands), I looked for a chance to take advantage of it. That chance came late in the cruise.

I joined the game with a nearly full table and sat in the seat directly to Older Gent's left. A few hands in, he shoved in early position for about $45. I looked down at two red Kings and called. I had him covered. Everyone else folded. He turned up AQ of hearts. A King came on the flop, which was a big help to me since the turn and river were A-Q. There was no flush or straight, and I took a nice pot, my biggest of the trip. At the end of the vacation, I came home ahead, which was a nice feeling.

Now, it's back to the daily grind of the day job and the occasional online and bar league poker play. See you at the virtual tables.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

BBT5 update, and is it time to cash out?

I played in the first Mookie tournament of the BBT5 a couple of weeks ago. I cashed, but only high enough to get my buy-in back plus $1.10. Nevertheless, it felt good to go deep in a tourney with some stiff competition.

Speaking of which, it also felt good to play in the same game as people who know what they are doing. I have played in so many donkfests lately that it was a welcome surprise to see players actually fold to a raise instead of calling to the river with junk hands that anyone who has a clue would have mucked preflop. I also enjoyed seeing some familiar names at my table. It reminded me of the good old days when we all played together because it was fun, and not because there were high-dollar prizes at stake. (Not that I have anything against high-dollar prizes, mind you.)

All that said, I'm not sure how many more BBT5 tourneys I will end up playing, if any. The start times for the non-invitational games are on the late side for me because of my early work start time. I also don't have a large enough bankroll to play in them regularly. I got into a couple of FPP token-prize tourneys to try to win a token towards the Monday night BBT game, but those didn't work out. I will keep plugging away in various tournaments and ring games and perhaps I will win enough to feel comfortable buying into another BBT event or two in the next couple of weeks.

But this leads to my next topic of discussion: with the UIGEA supposedly taking effect as of June 1, how hard will it be to withdraw any money that I have on the poker sites? Suppose I score a big win and want to get some or all of the cash instead of leaving it in my online poker site account? I will admit that I haven't thoroughly searched the Net for a lot of detail on what is expected to happen. Maybe withdrawals will be no more difficult than they are today, although I hear that they can be a hassle at some sites. I have the feeling that making deposits will be much harder, maybe nearly impossible, once the UIGEA starts being enforced. But do I want to leave my money on line, knowing that I may have a hell of a time getting it back some day? Do I want to bother putting in the time and effort to win a big tournament, not knowing if I will ever get to benefit from it? I would love to hear others' thoughts on this subject. Have you changed the way you play, or where you play, or cashed out some or all of your online stakes?

I don't have any life-changing or bill-paying money tied up in poker sites. Maybe I will just keep playing with it as a form of entertainment, knowing that I may never see a profit from it. But I might want to get some of it out, if only so I can set it aside for use at a live, legal cardroom somewhere.

Your comments are welcome.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Battle of the Blogger Tournaments 5

Yes, it is true. The wild and crazy folks at FullTilt are presenting the fifth edition of the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments. As usual, they are putting up a gold mine of prizes including WSOP Main Event and preliminary event packages. Lots more details here.

I actually plan to play in this year's series. I have had a couple of tournament cashes recently which have boosted my FT bankroll to the point where I feel like I can afford to spend a couple of buy-ins in the BBT. I won't be able to play very often, unless I score a few more cashes, but I am looking forward to playing with some of my fellow bloggers in a few games.

Unfortunately, I can't play in the BBT championship tourney on May 27, because I will be on a cruise ship somewhere in the Inside Passage between Ketchikan, Alaska and Victoria, BC. So, if I get to the final table of a BBT tourney and I am in a position to possibly win a seat in that game, I will be looking to make a deal with my opponents to trade my shot at the seat for a little extra from the prize pool. I will, however, be available for the Blogger Battle Royale freeroll on June 6, which also happens to be my birthday. I plan to give myself a birthday gift by taking that one down and winning the $2K WSOP Bracelet Race package.

Special ackowledgement must, of course, go to the illustrious AlCan'tHang, who has been the major force behind the BBT over these past years.

I look forward to playing with everyone somewhere along the way during the BBT5.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rush Poker revisited

To kill some time a few weeks ago, I decided to give Rush Poker at FullTilt another try. I figured it would be a quick way to get in a bunch of hands, and maybe I could get lucky and hit and run for a few cents.

I logged into the $0.02-0.05 NLHE game late on a Friday night. An hour later, I quit up by $11.20. A profit of 224 big blinds! I folded a lot but still probably played more hands than I should have. What happened? I caught AA and KK a few times, and got paid off big on a couple of them by second-best hands. I was amazed that my opponents were willing to go broke with the hands they played. Yeah, it's only $0.02-0.05, but surely you have to give the other players some credit when they don't back down.

The very next night I thought I would try again to see if variance would catch up with me. Same stakes; played for about an hour again. Result: profit of $15.26 or over 300 BBs. Again, premium hands got paid off. Wow, I'm thinking, this is the easiest money anywhere. So, I squeezed in short Rush sessions wherever I could: lunch breaks, after work, before bedtime, etc. I have not yet had winning sessions as large as the two above, but I have made a profit more times than not. I also earned enough FTPs to clear a small bonus (which paid for my entry into Bloody P's charity tourney).

Mainly, I am just folding almost everything and only playing premium hands or stealing the occasional pot with position. Having that Quick Fold button makes it a lot easier to throw away marginal starting cards that I might talk myself into playing if I had time to think about it before my turn to act. I think the next thing I need to do is make some basic notes about the other players. I see the same names flash by all the time, so I should be at least noting whether they fold most of the time or play more hands than the average Rusher. If someone is a habitual folder, then seeing them get into a pot should be a sign that they pr0bably have something and I'd better watch out.

So, I suppose that I will play some more Rush Poker. I don't expect to get rich from it, especially since I plan to stay at the micro limits, but if I can keep quitting ahead more often than behind, it could help build my bankroll a bit.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Rush Poker, WBCOOP, "Cowboys Full," etc.

I have been meaning to write a post or five about various things on my mind, but keep putting it off. Now, I don't feel like writing an Iggy-style uber-post, so this will be a condensed version of what I might have put up otherwise.

Rush Poker - I don't like it much. It doesn't suit my more thoughtful (read: snail's pace) style.

WBCOOP - no tickets for me. Couldn't gain any traction in the tourneys that I played.

"Cowboys Full - The Story of Poker," by James McManus - A good read, some interesting insight into how poker developed, mostly in the US but a tidbit here and there about other countries. But for my taste there was a little too much straight US history flavored with an occasional remark about how the historical figures were poker players or how their actions might have been influenced by poker. I would have preferred more info about how the game itself evolved and grew over the years, with perhaps some asides about the variations on poker that have become popular.

My poker year has not got off to a great start. A couple of bad cash game sessions, only a few minor tourney cashes. I've made some good decisions along the way, and some whoppingly poor ones. Although I need to work on my game more, that will have to wait for a few weeks. I will be acting in a community theater play in March, and rehearsals have already started. The rehearsals will eat up most of my free time until opening night, so poker will take a back seat for now. I may squeeze in a few hands now and then, but it won't be much. Meanwhile, if you will have any reason to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth area over the weekends of March 12 through 28, come see our production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" at the Runway Theatre in Grapevine. It promises to be a very good show.