Monday, August 28, 2006

A New Year's Resolution on Labor Day

I had a talk with the guy I consider my Poker Mentor. As an aside, my mentor is 18 years old, and is a much better poker player than money manager.

"theres a difference between playing right, and playing great"
"and you arent playing great yet"
"you need stones"
"youve got the bankroll and the money management"
"you need to put yourself in a situation where you are scared"
"otherwise you wont be playing your best game"

I've also heard that writing down your goals is a much better way to achieve.

So here we are.

And rather than have me spout reasons about why I'm at where I'm at, it's time to take my shot.

Overall, I'm a slightly profitable poker player, over the course of my career, online and live. Currently, I feel comfortable in the $5/10/26 MTT's. I feel comfortable at $.25/.50 NL. And $1/2 limit holdem. And $5 sng's, HORSE and NL holdem being my favorites. I will play higher, but these are my default settings, if you will.

I do not, and have never had, a grand on any one poker site. I have never won a non-freeroll 100+ person MTT. I've final-tabled HORSE, PLO8, limit and NL holdem though.


My to-do list:

$5/10 limit, on Titan
$1/2 NL, where ever my bankroll is biggest
$30 sng's, on a regular basis
Final table a $26 MTT
Win a $5 or $10 MTT
Play in Event #27 in the '07 WSOP.

I feel I'm on the cusp of doing something great, or ...

(maybe this blog will get a little more interesting in the months to come)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Back from the Lone Star State

One week off to visit my dad, stepmom, and brothers in Plano, TX. Plano's a nice suburb of Dallas, and I got an earful while I was there about TO, Parcells, and the Cowboys. My dad apparently hates actual music, and so forces us to listen to AM sports-talk radio while we're in the car. I enjoy actively rooting against Jerry Jones.. and the Cowboys.. and TO. It's a shame Parcells had to get himself mixed up in that circus.


My trip was nice. We play cards every night when it's a family get-together, but not holdem. Our family's game is Oh Hell. Rivalry, competition, card smarts... oh yeah, we got that.

For the second consecutive year, my neophyte relatives beat me in the only NL holdem tourney we played. Last year, I believe my youngest brother Rob won it. Again, this year was his time. I got him HU with a chiplead, but he turned a gutshot that surprised me to gain command. I bluffed off a few chips as the blinds increased, and he finished me. I'm proud of him. He hasn't played or read as much as I have, but he still hanging tough on UB, playing in their nickel/dime NL cashgames. I railbirded him during our trip. He was up for the session, but he's got some improving to do. I'm rooting for him.

Another Drifter Family tradition is baseball. Every year, we visit Dad in Texas. Every year, we see a baseball game, live. Usually the Rangers, though one time we visited the Astros.

This time, it was base-brawl. I thought it was amusing that I was following the Angels to Texas. I see them plenty, though my east coast brothers don't. The previous night, Padilla had gotten frustrated and beaned an Angel or two. That night, the Angels fell behind big, early, and never made a run. They did, however, even the beanball score late in the game. The Rangers pitchers waited until there were two outs in the top of the 9th to throw back, Adam Kennedy got plunked with a fastball in the back before charging the mound. Cue the shenanigans.


Looking to avoid a scorching trip to Six Flags Over Texas, I attempted an $8 HORSE satellite MTT. I played well enough, busting within view of the bubble in 19th place out of 102 entrants. Six paid, with three seats awarded to the next days FTOPS HORSE tourney. This guy monied in it. Much respect. I wasn't really thinking ahead. With an eight dollar satellite to a $200 tourney, I didn't realize how top-heavy the prize pool would be. I also didn't realize that I'd have to forgo my brother's trip to Six Flags if I actually won a seat. Upside (upside?) was that I went to Six Flags with my bros, rode a LOT of fast and/or wooden rollercoasters, and cooled myself in the log flume ride. And since school had just started, the park with relatively empty. Which makes up for the fact it was about 102F at a little past noon.

Fun part was teaching my youngest brother the ins and outs of the non-holdem parts of HORSE. He also watched me win a $5 HORSE sng.

I also snuck into the money in a $5 FT mtt. No big deal there, except I was loving the hand I had my brother sweat me.

QQ UTG more than an hour into the tourney. I throw out a standard 3x BB raise, and the guy right next to me calls. Folds around.

I tell my brother, "I don't think he's got aces, kings, or ace-king suited. He'd reraise to isolate me with so many people behind us. I think he's got a medium-big pocket pair."

The flop was 8-8-6 with two diamonds. "That's a good flop for queens. But it's an even better flop for the hand I put him on. If he had nines, and I check to him, he HAS to bet. And I think that him betting will pot-commit him. I'm taking a risk by checking if he has AK of diamonds, but I don't think he does."

I check. He bets 60% of what he has left. I tell my brother, "Damn, I'm pretty sure he has tens or nines right here. If I'm wrong and he has sixes, it'll be pretty funny."

I jam. He calls. He shows tens. You can't put a price on the look my brother gave me as he high-fived me after the turn and river bricked. Bobby Bracelet loves check-raising douchebags, and I've gotta admit, it feels pretty fucking sweet.

I'm rooting for my bro to keep up the good work at UB, and learn as he goes. I'm not great at poker, but I love talking poker with him.


Sunday night was a blast. Week 4 of our tournament season. On the second flop I saw, I called a small raise with KxQd and flopped top two pair, K-Q-2 with two diamonds. Albert checked, I bet 2/3 the pot, and Quagmire raised me 3x. Albert started bitching about how he was going to checkraise me. At this point, I loved the respect I'm getting.... I'm the tight guy, remember? After his spiel, Albert folded. I thought about how Quagmire's played big draws in the rebuy phase before. In a word.. strong. So, I figure, let's see a safe card, then proceed. The turn was another Q. Yeah, safe card. With a boat, there's no need to scare him off.. "Check."

He bets 800, I have 2700 left, so I jam, figuring the pot is plenty large and a check-call would look really suspicious. He calls quickly, stating, "I have a boat."

Wow. It isn't unless this instant that I figure out.. he flopped a set of twos. I have the queen of diamonds, so how can he call my all-in checkraise with the JT-diamonds?

Yup, deuces for Quagmire. Boat over boat, and I've doubled up in the rebuy phase.

I didn't actually intend to sit on my chips, and I did bleed some away seeing flops later on, but that was the only medium/large pot I won in the rebuy phase. It was plenty.


Albert had his ass handed to him this Sunday. After my double-up, I settled back looking for good pots to play. I didn't find much. What I did have, was Albert on my right and Quagmire on my left going to WAR on three consecutive hands.

Perhaps it was just my imagination, but I'm pretty sure Quagmire checkraised Albert on three consecutive hands in the rebuy phase. It was brutal. It was poetry.

On the third checkraise, the flop was A-K-x. Quagmire checked, Albert bet, Quagmire raised all-in. Albert thought, wavered, and called, showing KT. I shook my head.

Yeah. Quagmire had top two... ace-king.

Upside for Albert was that he owned Forty Ounce in the rebuy phase. Get chips from Forty, get checkraised by Quagmire. After all that asswhipping, Albert didn't have to rebuy.

So the rebuy phase ends, and Albert is not well. Sure, his chipstack is fine, but his mental state is not.


100/200/25 ante. Albert's had a rough go in the 75/150 blind level, losing every hand he's played. He raises to 600 UTG+1. I'm right behind him with black queens, and repop it to 1500. Everybody clears out, and he calls.

Which I find odd, as he started the hand with 4500. I've got more than twice that, and position, so I'm feeling pretty good. His lack of a preflop jam tells me queens is the best hand at the moment. The flop is interesting: K-T-3, all clubs. Ok, so I have the best hand, or the best draw, unless Albert has AcKx. But I don't think he does, because more often than not, he'd jam with that preflop. I'm a tight player, and while my preflop raises don't always get respect, my preflop reraises are all business.

He checks. I think. Albert could have AKo, with the ace of clubs, or no club. He could also have a medium-high pair. If he had tens, and flopped a set, it would be odd for him to check to me, just in case I had AQ-clubs, or the AK with the ace of clubs. If he had aces with the ace of clubs, it's a very interesting play. With the cards and the information I now have, I like where I am, and I figure I want to postpone a decision until I see one more card.

The turn is a red wheel card. Albert again checks. I figure one check is fine, another is just giving away free cards. I fire out what should look like a probe bet of 1200. Albert thinks, and checkraises all-in. This check-raise doesn't surprise me at all. I figure this is a very odd way to play any hands that beat me, with the exception of AxAc. I'm prepared to double him up if he's played aces into my queens like this.

He looks a little sad as I say "call." Before he flips his cards over, I tell him, "You've got jacks, don't you?"

Jd, Jc. I have the best hand and the best draw. The river is a club, and my flush beats his. The afternoon beers I drank were talkative... "Who's good at this game?!?"

It's probably wrong how good it makes me feel to narrow an opponent to a small range of hands, be right, and win a big hand.

Oh, and while I monied in the tournament, Poker Poison was still around for heads-up, though she was foiled in her attempt at a win.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Larry Flynt's Donkey Hunt

Joe Speaker has the write-up. I have just a little bit to add.

He's right. I probably am the tightest player in OC. I figured with the one blind, tight was right. After all, if I only have to pay $4 per rotation, instead of $6, I should play a little tighter than normal. And normal for me varies from moderately tight to squeaky-tight.

So folded, and called a few times preflop. My first raise was with the suited hammer, 72 diamonds. The flop was nice enough, 532 with two hearts. After a few checks, I bet out, then thanked Emily (Glyphic's SO) for raising. I figure I should pretend to have aces here, and I appreciated the protection. Glyphic was having none of it, and called two bets cold anyway. I was a bit scared.

I felt better when the offsuit 7 hit. Two pair, with the hammer? Pretty sweet. I bet into Emily, and again she raised me. Again Glyphic called two bets cold, so now I was officially scared. *call* The river was an offsuit six, and we checked around. Perhaps Glyphic was trapping the obvious newbie donk (me), with his backdoored straight. He had T4-hearts, and Emily had flopped a set of 5's. I was behind the whole way, but at least saved a bet on the river.

The next hand I raised was the AK-diamonds hand. It was capped either 3- or 4-way preflop. The flop was K-T-T. Emily bet out.

What do I know about Emily? She's Glyphic's pupil, and I've seen her be very aggressive, even more than her cards dictate. I've also seen her not fold when it was very likely she was beaten. She can definitely bet out with a hand I can beat here.

I raise.

Uber-Tilt three-bets. Oh boy, I'm beat.

Emily calls, and I'm getting roughly 18-1 odds to improve my hand. I call.

The turn is another K. Board reads T-T-K, K. Emily bets again. I mentally slap myself for chopping the pot with Emily. Surely, she's got a king too, and my kicker doesn't matter now.

I raise. Uber-tilt calls. Whaaaa? And Emily does too. Seriously, who has the other king here?

The river is the case king. OMG. Apparently, *I* have the other king here. I've probably cracked Emily's aces on the turn. More interestingly, do we have a jackpot here? If Uber-Tilt has quad tens, we do. Daaaaamn.

Emily bets, I raise (because I can't just call with quads, for cryin out loud), and they both call. Emily has JJ (not playing the board!), and I see a ten in Uber-tilt's hand!

And a facecard.

Crap. No jackpot. JTo for Uber-tilt, and I scoop a monstah.


My favorite hand (pictured second, because I can't get blogger to do what I want it to.) This is the Tilt Hand.

If you'll notice the board, it's got two diamonds, and it would make a black, offsuit QT the current nuts. At this point, there's some raising going on. Uber-Tilt has the QT, and Speaker has the nut flush draw. Diamond, diamond on the turn and river, and UT still asks Speaker if he has a flush. I'm an idiot, but I'd know my straight was no good by that point. UT calls, UT fumes. GG, sanity.


And here's Indian Poker. (or, if blogger still isn't cooperating, it's the 1st pic in the post).

Alan has folded and looks amused. Geek had the same hand I did, 98 offsuit. F-Train is a true pimp poker bully. Yes, that is a deuce he's showing.