Friday, August 27, 2004

Poker? I hardly knew her!

I'm pretty annoyed at the moment. Partialy because I haven't played nearly enough poker in the last week, partially because when I do I keep getting beaten by small pocket pairs, and partially because I just typed up a huge post and it all got deleted before it got published and now I don't really want to re-type it all. Suffice to say this will again be a short post. I won't be able to post again until late next week due to a business trip I have to be going to in Brisbane from Sunday. Should be very dull and long. What fun. At least I don't have to pay for it I guess.

Quick plug for
Tao of Poker, the poker stylings of Dr. Pauly. This blog is a must on the poker landscape, and reads very easy. I like his sense of humor, and can highly recommend you to have a quick read over there and see what you can find. Try his Hilton sister's challenge - if you dare! No, it's not really that scary but worth a shot.

Thanks to everyone who helped contribute to the "Princess Bride" quote-a-thon below. My faith in humanity is now restored by knowing this movie is stil a favourite of so many. When I have kids, they will be watching this movie every weekend.

Good luck to all for the MMPBT, my booby prize still stands for the last placed player, whom ever that may be. And again well done to Pacific Poker for coming to the table so to speak. They have done a great job in making up for their mistakes.

There have been some great posts recently from the blogs I have listed on the side you should have a look around, I try to on a daily basis.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Four white horses

Something that's good can still have a little bit of bad in it, and something that's bad still has a little bit of good.

Michael/The Man, "Two Hands"

Very small post here today, as my working life is taking over slowly. Gone are the care-free University days of old, no more slacking off at the video store, I have been in the office world for 18 months now and it is starting to take a strangle hold around the nape of my reason for being. Did that come over a little over dramatic? The short of it is - I have got shit loads to do at work and I am too tired at night to play poker at the moment. In fact, I have not played online since the last win - and man have I got "the itch". If you are reading this, you must know what I mean. You start thinking "How long has it been since I played?", new theories on play start circulating and before you know it, you are fanticising about all the poker groupies that will follow you and your gold braclets around Veags. All because I haven't played a hand since Friday night. Well all have our vices, don't we?

The live game last Saturday night went pretty well. I am no expert in live game etique (I say fuck spelling), but I tried to educate the masses anyway. I know what a string bet is and I tell everyone not to splash the pot - but really only because I hope somebody will do a Teddy KGB impression (sadly I was denied). We were playing 5 handed with one person sitting out to become the dealer because that is what they prefered. I am dealt 88 in late position, so I raise and get one caller - the "Distraction". The flop comes (8 T x) and I raise, she calls. The dealer asks to peek at my hand (this happens a lot in our home games because every one is learning and there is no real money on the line). Since the dealer is a former work friend of Serena, and the only other female at the table, she is really wanting Serena to win. I decline to show her my hand, even though she already has seen Serena's. The turn is another T and I have a full house. I make a large bet and Serena goes all-in with about 2/3 of my stack. I look at her, stare into her sole, and she has been known to bet two pair like it is the nuts. I tell her "You know it is going to be a long night?" and she confirms she knows, and the dealer is giggling like never before. I tell her she must have pocket tens but call anyway. Of course, she does and I am drawing dead on the river. I ask her if she cheated and she says she didn't - suprisingly enough I could tell she was tellign the truth. But the dealer, however, was still giggling like a 8 year old after being told to do a class project on "Uranus". Later I find out the pocket tens was no fix, but the flop and turn were. No matter, about an hour later we decide to call it quits and start cooking the BBQ for a late 10:30pm tea. After that, we starting playing Halo with one team upstairs and the other down stairs. These games are awesome and are very competitive. It was 3 on 3 but one person on our team had never played before, so they just stood in a corner. It was a great night but still wasn't poker and the "itch" remains.

Today I recieved all the casino decks I ordered online from two different guys, and I am happy to say that they all ended up different colours which is great. I'm sure they will get a quick work out tonight. So now I have a deck from New York New York, Mirage, MGM Grand, Sahara and 2 from the Bellagio. I'm happy with that, and one day the KEM cards will come my way!

Big props out to Iggy and his tournament, which take-2 will be happening this Sunday. Look slike Pacific Poker have done the right thing by them, so well done. It is good to see the customer service online is still an important part of the poker rooms. These things happen, "unforseen" circumstances. All you can do is try to limit their frequency and make sure you do the right thing by the customers when shit happens. Good luck to everybody, and my booby prize for first out still stands at my old plastic poker chips and a beaten up deck - hell, I'm paying $15 postage or whatever it is so I can feel a part of it. Good luck to all.

Hopefully I can come with a better update later on in the week, but as I said spare time is very little at the moment. I do want to plug the blog of
PokerProf. He has a much great insight into the game than I, and is a must-read for anybody interested in poker. But really, check out the cartoons and top nine lists. You know, there is some really bad poker realted comedy out there. I'm glad I found some that was decent enough to give me a chuckle. Thanks Professor!

And finally, in repsonse to
JW, my favourite quote out of The Princess Bride would have to be from Andre the Giant as Fezzik. I can't remember it word for word, so I will just do my best.

There they were, four white horses. And I thought, there are four of us, if we ever find the lady. Hello lady!

Monday, August 23, 2004

A great present.

Kathy: You guys are brothers?
Mitch: Well, it's a long story...
Sam: My dad boned his mom.
Mitch: Okay, so it's a short story.
"Dirty Work"

What a fantastic birthday I had - and it involved poker! How awesome is that? Well I have a lot to talk about so lets get straight into it.

Friday nights are cool. Because both Serena and I (I've decided to stop calling her "girlfriend" exclusively on this blog as I ma sick of typing it) are both knackered after a week of work, and we usually relax in front of the TV with a few drinks come Friday night. I decided to get a little poker in while I could, even though the distractions were there. Luckily, the "distraction" was falling asleep on the couch.

Playing the single table tourny for 1 BBP entry at Poker Pages, I was going well and got down to heads up against one other player, with me having about 1/4 of the chips. It went back and forth, I was as high as $12K (out of $15K on the table) and as low as $1K. It was really quite fun and though I can't remember who the opponent was, they were very nice and seemed to be enjoying it too. Funny, because of so many idiots in online poker (more about that later) I will remember this game because the other player was really nice and made it more fun. Eventually it comes down to a $7K all in from me, and I get beaten by pocket 10's. Can't even remember what I had, probably A8 or something. Damn those pocket pairs, this is no longer a joke. I am seriously annoyed at that aspect of the game - but at least I won 3 cents and have finally added something to my bankroll instead of taking it away.

This table wasted enough time to be finished by the time the big tournament was about to start. I was armed with my new found strategy (see "Limpin' aint easy") and set out to concur. I was on the loosing end early and was down to $5K - but man did I fight. I managed to claw my way back to $12K - and there was a lot of pot stealing early. A small pre-flop raise of $500 with AT in late position was enough to scare off the 5 callers. I don't mind that - I mean, it isn't a killer hand and there is a chance I could pocket more, but I'd rather win a small pot than nearly win a large one. My raise's were getting way too much respect, but I was happy with that for now. After a few table re-shuffles, I end up sitting across from one of the Internet's many idiots. He wasn't swearing or anything, just being stupid. As soon as the first card was dealt, he started with genius like "I'm going to beat you all down" and the like. I don't like posting in the chat box, not because it distracts me but because I am too worried that it will distract me, and that is what distracts me. Does any of that make sense? But I posted back anyway "Maybe we should just leave quietly now before he gets really scary", and I had a bit of a laugh with another player who was also getting sick of this guy. Immediately, the idiot says back "Pipe down son.". That was his only response to anything anybody else ever said. "Pipe down son". So anyway, he is constantly telling us how good he is, and he even puts his $11K all-in a few times. He brags in the chat that he had nothing and bluffed us all because he is so great and we should pipe down. This happens about 3 times, then in early position he does it again. Even though his stack is just bigger than mine, I call him. He had something like 89 suited, and I had the cowboys. A King on the flop and it is all over. As I look at his stack of $120, I immediately type back "PIPE DOWN SON, PIPE DOWN!" He never replies. The next hand he is all in with the blinds and I take him out. The rest of the table now worships me, and I have a grin on my face from ear to ear. I even saved the chat log and will now read it from time to time when I feel I need a pick up.

The tournament marches on and I win some pots, loose some and the night goes long. The $100 free roll on Aloha starts and I now have to divide my attention between the two. It's ok though, as I blind steal and double up early on at Aloha. A must for this tournament.

Back to Poker Pages, the numbers are slowly getting smaller. We were down to the top 80 out of the 600 starters, and I remember that the one time I have been here before everybody starts folding everything. We all know this is common for all tournaments - everybody tightens right up when it gets close to the paying positions. I can't hardly remember a hand, but the number seemed to be going down a hell of a lot quicker than normal. But before I knew it, Serena woke up and came over the the computer. Oh no, this can't be good. We are getting close to the money and now the distraction awakes. This can't be good.

But it was! I had not noticed, but the clock had ticked to 00:03, and it was now the 21st of August. It was Heafy's 24th birthday, and I was starting it by playing poker! That lifted my spirits again and before I knew it I had limped into the top 27, the paying places. Woo hoo! I posted in the chat box that it was my birthday and everyone should go easy on me! When I had a blind steal, everyone considered that my first present. That was good enough for me. The average stack was $70K, and I was down to $25K, blinds up over $4K. I managed a few steals and even took a chunk off the chip leader, and I got back to over $180K by winning a coin-flip. When I got AK suited, I made a $50K raise and was re-raised by chip leader. I thought he must have a strong hand but was still trying to scare me off. I go all-in, he calls and shows a pocket pair of 5's. I think his advantage at this stage is something like 56% - but I seem to loose to pocket pair 100% of the time. Of course I loose again when he gets a full house and I have rags. I bow out in 13th and collect 16.5 cents worth of points. But I was very happy with the way I played, and my new strategy is sure to stay with me now. Also this meant I could concentrate on Aloha.

Things at Aloha were going well, but I was really aware of the evil pocket pairs waiting to snuff me out. I am playing very solidly, and my nearly-aggressive play seems to be working. The blinds get very high very quickly here, and I am able to win 1-2 pots per orbit. The numbers get lower and lower, and I start busting a few people out but mostly just sit back and watch the big stack bust all the little ones. Again, it comes down to the final two tables, and I am about 2/3 of the average stack. My best finish ever is 8th, in which I won $5 by limping into the final table. Tonight I hope I can better than and when I see a flop of (A 9 2) and I am holding A9 I feel confident to raise the minimum (which is 1/4 my stack). Then it happened. The connection dropped. I am angry. I am very angry. I check some other sites out and they all work fine - so it is the card room this time. I log out and try to get back in 3 times until I can do something. Reading the chat box though, everybody else (naturally) is also having trouble getting back in. Online help from Aloha says that nothing is wrong at their end, it must be our connections. Yeah right, it must be all our connections. This happened a farther 4 times for the tournament. I guess it was good that everyone was kept out not just me, but every time I came back in my stack was smaller. I have to continue with this other distraction, and the fact that it is 1 am on my birthday, and try to win some money. When the flop on one hand gives me bottom set, I hold my breath and go all-in (about double the big blind plus change), and get one caller. My set beats their two pair and we are onto the final table with me in 5th position!

The final table is great, but we have a tournament break straight away. I know I am assured at least $3, but my goal is to beat the $5 I scored for 8th. As each player is knocked out, I keep Serena posted on what my minimum win is. Every time someone goes all-in I let her now. About this time, there is nothing on TV so she is watching the Olympics, the women's 500m time trial cycling. With each new rider they get faster and faster, and the second last rider, a Chinese woman, was on world record pace at the half way mark, but finished just outside it in Olympic record time. The last to ride was Australian Anna Meares. She raced around in beat the world record by 0.1 of a second to claim gold - suffice to say it was very exciting from our end, and it was great to be watching it live.

Back to the poker, without me doing anything it is down to 8 (yes, I am guaranteed at least $5). Again, I can't remember the hands here but one player is dominating, named "rg301", he is chip leader by far and playing very aggressively. I am dealt pocket kings in middle position, and with $26K I think all-in is the way to go. I get one caller and I win with a full house. Hey, pocket kings against A7o or something like that, I think i was justified. I manage a few more small wins and go from 5th to 3rd, then 2nd behind rg301. It comes down to the last four and it looks like this:

Rg301 - $82K
Dreamscape (me) - $72K
Leland - $7K
TheTrashman - $1.2K

The blinds are $4000 - $8000, so it is only a matter of time (hopefully?) before the other two drop out and we go heads up. I manage a few steals and get the lead on $77K. There is one hand here I do remember very clearly. In the big blind now, I am dealt Th7c and limp in with only Rg301 calling from the small blind. The flop is (Ts 7d Qd), I have small two pair, and make a minimum raise which he calls. I am noticing that rg301 is calling everything it seems. The turn is a beautiful (7h) and I have made my full house. Not wanting to scare him off, I make the minimum raise again and he calls. I think he is on a flush draw and I want to give him every chance to make it. The river hits the digital felt and it shows (2d), I could not have asked for more. Again, I make the minimum raise (which, mind you is still $8K or so) and rg301 re-raises over the top of me about $35K. I could not have asked for a better result. I knew my hand was not the nuts, but it was damn close. There is no way this uber aggressive player would not go all in if he had made his hand before the river. I know he has made his flush, and I go back at him with all-in. He pauses, then calls and shows (Ad 6d), an ace high straight and I leap off my seat in triumph. I am very happy with the way I played that and knocked him out with my boat. The table now has me at $158K, and the other two are below $4K. One of them wins one showdown, but then looses the rest and in a matter of minutes I have knocked out all three of the last players and sit triumphantly alone at the table.

I stand with my arms raised high, waiting to be applauded. Some people have imaginary friends, I have an imaginary audience. Serena is surprised more than pleased I think, and I already begin to enjoy my birthday! I pocketed 16.5 cents from Poker Pages to bring that total to 25 cents, and then this tournament win takes me to $28 US (about $38.69 Australian), clearly my best result yet. I avoided loosing out to pocket pairs, which was a bonus too. Because of this, and my first ever tournament win, I have up-graded myself from Algae to Plankton. I'm still small time, but baby I am on my way! My birthday rocked! I think I really have learned a lot though (thanks a lot to my loyal readers too), and I was not panicking when it came to the final table. I was very solid and still enjoyed the natural high from the win (and who doesn't)! There is plenty more to speak about the happening of my birthday and the live game we tried out, but I will save all of that for another time and for now bask in the glory of my win.

Just enough time here to point you through to another great blog in
Sloe Times. His style of blogging seems similar to mine - that being a stream of consciousness instead of trying to write an essay each time. That's what I prefer, as it sounds more like a conversation than a written account of thoughts and occurrences. It is worth your time to go over it for a read and see what you think.

Couldn't see "Hell Boy" on the weekend, so we saw "Euro Trip" instead. There are a few laughs in there, but mostly it is so-so. Sure, nudity abounds but you can only get so much out of that. Matt Damon has a cool and very un-expected cameo. I love cameos, and one day I will put my top ten in here for my own enjoyment. For now, good luck to everyone in the MMPBT (currently running or recently finished I think) and next post I will update you all more on the happenings of my 24th!

Yep, I'm a player now.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Limpin' aint easy!

Hansel: I wasn't like every other kid, you know, who dreams about being an astronaut, I was always more interested in what bark was made out of on a tree. Richard Gere's a real hero of mine. Sting. Sting would be another person who's a hero. The music he's created over the years, I don't really listen to it, but the fact that he's making it, I respect that. I care desperately about what I do. Do I know what product I'm selling? No. Do I know what I'm doing today? No. But I'm here, and I'm gonna give it my best shot.

It has taken me a while, but I think I have finally figured out how to play the free roll BBP at Poker Pages. You see, after a little messing around with the calculator, I figured that in the early rounds, the BB is less than 1% of the starting stack. That's just too easy. So I put my new found theory into motion last night.

In these tournaments, either someone goes all in on the first hand or they make bullshit raises of $100. I decided to extend my starting hands from, lets say 25% of possible hands to about 95% of possible hands. If I had a decent hand and position, it meant a raise of $500 pre-flop. If my hand wasn't premium, I would limp in if there were no pre-flop raises. In the first few rounds I saw 80% of the flops. But there was method to the madness I think. If the flop didn't help me, I was out of there having lost at most $100 out of $10K, which I could handle. But when I won, I was more than making up for it.

The rest of the table was playing pretty tight, and I was trying my best to get a loose reputation. When I again limped in from early position with 63o (WTF?), there were a few callers and the flop came (6 3 9). I checked it (I think I should have raised the pot, but oh well) and there was one bet in late position of $600 or so. NOW they start betting properly. I promptly re-raised all over him with $3K - hoping it looked like I was buying the pot. I got two callers, and the turn was a beautiful 6 giving me one of the smallest little boats you could imagine. I bet another $2K, which is obviously not the right amount to bet in this situation but I feel was within my strategy. I was hoping and praying one of the others had an over pair or even AK-QJ something similar and was drawing dead. I get one caller and we go to the river with an even better Ace. I loved that river card, and here I am with the nuts thinking about my next bet. I have just under $3.5K and my opponent has just over $2K. I know I have the nuts so winning is not the question, only how much can I win. I have shown strength post-flop so he must know I have at least a pair or a set, but here's hoping he has...and then I realized, I don't have the nuts. A pocket pair of nines or the bullets can put me out. Even 93 or 96 was good enough. Surely even these guys would make a raise pre-flop with a pocket pair of Aces? I decided that I have to be sure of my read and bet $2K, forcing him to go all in if he wants to see. I was hoping he had one Ace, and I was gone if he had two. He folded, and I took down a pretty hefty pot and doubled up without knocking anyone out. I was pleased with the result, but the realization that I did not have the best hand when I thought I did could have been tragic. Never the less, onward I marched. I think that is one thing you can take away from my blog - I know I am not the world's greatest player and I am more than happy to let everyone know how shitty I played my last hand. Algae - I can't see that moving on too much.

It was a great little experiment. I was getting shit cards (like 63o) and still limping, and then getting straights, sets, full house and a regular basis. Sure, if the blinds were a little bigger I would have been out on my ass in one orbit, but I was making 5 or so very small losses of $100-$200 for every win of over $5K. I think that is pretty good, especially when none of them were bluff or overly creative. I can get into a bad habit of trying to slow play mediocre hands, something I am working on, but I think after the 63o debacle I was playing solid poker for the table while still seeing 80% of flops. Mind you, all it would have taken was one aggressive player at the table and my little experiment would have had quite different results. I think I will keep these tactics in my back pocket for when the situations call for it. Ah yes, only in free rolls can you get away with playing intentionally that bad.

My nemesis did catch up with me though - the dreaded pocket pair. I was once again kicked in the groin by a shitty pocket pair. I was holding AJh and another loose player went all-in with a stack about half the size of mine. This was clearly a bullshit call and I decide to play policeman and was the only caller. I show my Ajax, and the villain shows a pair of pocket 5's. The first card on the flop is a 5 and I can say goodbye to that chunk. What bullshit. Sure, going half my stack with AJ is probably not the wisest decision, but I am just getting sick of seeing these stupid small pocket pairs bust me up. What am I doing wrong?
Later on my connection dropped out yet again. That too is becoming tiresome. I'll have to do something about it someday. I have prices and such on wireless broadband (but that does seem a little silly when I only have a desk top and not a laptop), and it is just a matter of convincing the rest of the house hold that it is a worthy investment. Time will tell.

Tomorrow is the first night of using the new poker gear with a full table of punters. I'm looking forward to that as well as the multiple write-ups coming from the MMPBT. If just one other person uses that abbreviation, my job is complete. Remember kiddies, last place will receive my beautiful booby prize of 300 plastic poker chips and a deck of cards from the cupboard somewhere. I think I found the perfect pack too - a promotional pack of Shrek 2 cards from Red Rooster. These are great because instead of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades they have a black slug and bug, and a similar red slug and bug - only the slugs and bugs don't look very different at all. These cards are very useless, and come in a lovely tin presentation box. The picture cards have a little quote from your favorite Shrek 2 characters, sure to provide seconds and seconds of laughs. Good luck, and remember crappy play can be rewarded!

Last night Australian Olympic swimmer Jodie Henry won the women's 100m freestyle, and she broke the world record in the lead up races in Athens. This is both good news and bad news. Good news because hey, that's another world record and gold medal, that rocks! Bad news because...Guess who was the last Australian woman to win that event? Yep, Dawn Fraser. Dawn was on the radio today saying what a great swim it was, which is both incredibly obvious and even a bit of an understatement. I mean, Jodie Henry broke a world record then won a gold medal - what fucking better swim has there ever been? Ok, so Kieren Perkins once broke two world records in the one swim, but that is beside the point. I will have to check the TV guides to see where Dawn will be appearing tonight. She may have even been on more radio, TV and papers this morning but I could only see so many. I wonder what she will come out and make a statement on next? Keep tuning in here at DFW central!

It really is a bit of a joke how as soon as I started to make note of her public opinions, she then goes on an absolute bender with them. Hey, Bender, what a funky robot? Full marks for anybody who now knows what I am talking about.

Seen some excellent reviews for "Hellboy". When I saw the first preview for it some months ago, I thought it looked like an absolute stinker. Then the next preview, about a few weeks ago, I thought it looked awesome and it was back on my "must see" list. All the critics seem to say the same thing, it is better than they expected it to be and really has a heart to it. We'll see, perhaps this weekend. Also on the list is "The Lady Killers", the re-make with Tom Hanks by the Coen brothers. Looks like it should be worth seeing, but it doesn't bring up a pet-peeve of mine. When it comes to re-makes and adaptations, I can not stand those people that immediately pipe up with "Well I saw the original 1912 silent pantomime version written entirely in crayon, and artistically it is so much superior to this new age schlop!". Seriously, piss off. Just watch the movie and judge it for what it is worth. When I was working in the video store we actually had one customer come in and said they walked out 1 hour into the first "Lord of the Rings" because they thought it was not doing the book justice. Hello lady, look what you missed out on. Do you think if instead they showed 23 hours of just the text of the original books across the screen she would have liked it? No, because it is a FUCKING MOVIE! It is a different medium, just watch it and applaud like the several trillion other people who saw it. Besides the fact that I very much doubt this woman could read let alone read something of the nature of "Lord of the Rings", she had heaps of late fees on her membership at our store. Yep, she was not getting any of them erased no matter what. Ah yes, that was one of the simple pleasures of working at the video store - deleting late fees for the nice people. It was good, because they genuinely appreciated you knocking $5 off their late fees, and also the owner was a dickhead so any money out of his pocket was a good move. Hey, we may not have had much power working behind the counter at Video Ezy, but man did we know how to wield it!
That will do for this update. The blog-roll to the side is getting pretty damn impressive even if I do say so myself. I hate that name - "blog-roll". I'm going to have to make up a new one and use it here first - "WORLD EXCLUSIVE" - and see how many days it takes for it to become the standard for all of the internet, and how many seconds it takes for Dawn Fraser to come out and make a statement about it's effect on the Australian Olympic History.

One blog that nearly everybody knows about (and for good reason) that I have yet to plug (except for now) is
Cards Speak. I find his comments on betting strategy pretty damn useful, and one look at the archives shows just how much effort goes into this blog. If you are reading Poker on Film and not reading Cards Speak, I would be very surprised. He is on my daily reading list, and should be on yours too.

There are another 3 or 4 blogs out there I have been reading, but I will try to only pimp one at a time and add slowly to the list on the side. A new name for the blog-roll...that will have to wait until next time. Until then, best of luck in the MMPBT!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Real Aussie Legends

Buttercup: We'll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.
"The Princess Bride"

I love that movie, easily the best children's movie that isn't a cartoon of all time.
I finally got some poker in last night, not that it was worth it. I was going well early on Aloha, nearly tripling my stack when I slow played a set of Jacks. I was pretty proud of myself when in early position I checked, then had a single bet, 2 callers and I jumped all over it with a J63 flop. It was good enough to get 2 callers on the all-in (you have to double early on Aloha, the blinds start so high compared to your stack.). Later on, I had AT suited, and the flop came (A T 2) rainbow. My flush is gone, but I think this two pair looks really good without any action pre-flop. I even have position on this one, and after the 4 people who saw the flop checked, I raise all in, hoping to convince the bigger stacks to stay away and maybe even one of the smaller ones to try their luck. Unfortunate, right in the middle and with a stack just $20 bigger than mine, I get a caller. Pocket 2's. I am really growing tired of pocket pairs. I am sick of seeing my Kings and Aces getting busted by 75o, and then seeing a pair of 2's hold up a few minutes later. That isn't fair, and I don't know what I have done to the guys that rig online poker to piss them off so much. I mean I'm a nice guy, aren't I?

Got another chance last night to try out the new chips and table with my girlfriend and flatmate. We were playing for about 20 minutes when he decided to call this chick he is trying to get with...3 hours later, my girlfriend and I decided we had waited enough and packed up. Can't blame him though, he needs to get some action. He broke up with his fiance earlier this year, which was fantastic because she was a super bitch and leech. It was disappointing though, because I was going well in this game. I even got the roommate to fold a set to my rags, and showing him was the majority of the fun. About two hands later I make the exact same moves and he says "I know you probably have it this time, but I have to see" - which is a silly thing to say because when we play, never for cash, ever time I take down a pot my girlfriend asks "What did you have", and I always say "To tell you the truth Johnny, I can't remember". Then she gets the shits and creates more "distractions", so I have to show ever hand no matter what. So on this hand he calls my big raise and I show a flopped straight. I should have taken him for all he is worth, but then who would pay his half of the rent? I was taking some photos of the gear to put up on this hear website, but the batteries in the camera died after 2 shots. I will have some more soon, probably after the weekend.

Didn't watch much Olympics last night because Joe Schmoe Show has just started here in Oz. I love this show - especially the first episode, "Ok contestants - touch that hooker!". That combined with "Law and Order" which GF insists on watching, and the poor Olympics missed out. Oh, and since the roommate was on the phone for three hours, online poker was out of the question. I'm not complaining - who knows how many nights I have tied up the phone lines with my poker habit, I'm just stating the facts.

As promised, I am now going to provide all the faithful readers with a few real Aussie sporting legends. Sure, the rest of the world might sing the praises of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan or Pele - but Australia has the greatest sportsmen of all time. And here is my proof.


John Landy was one of the men in pursuit of the four minute mile, and he should have been the first to break it. He did win a gold medal at the Melbourne Olympics, and he did break the four minute mile and the world record, but that is not the main reason for his legendary status.
In the 1956 Australian championships, everybody was hoping for John to break the world record. He was going faster than anybody had ever seen in recent time, and hopes were high. About half way through the race he was moving up near the lead when Ron Clarke fell in front of him. John leaped over him but caught him with his spikes on his shoulder. Then John decided that even though he was still on world record pace and landed running on his feet, to turn around, run back 10 meters and apologize to Ron Clarke. Ron told him that all was well, now keep running you bloody idiot! Nobody else in the race stopped, they just kept on going but John had to go back and say sorry. So what does he do next? He joins back into the race in last place...and wins the bloody thing! Rumor has it that 200 yards from the finish line he also stopped and help an old lady cross the road, and he sold $5.25 worth of raffle tickets for charity. He finished the race in first and with a time of 4 minutes 4 seconds. That is awesome, and why he is an Aussie Legend.

Heather McKay was the first world squash champion for women. She was undefeated in squash for 15 years, and didn't drop a set for 10 of those years. She lost twice in her entire career. She was so good, she had to switch to racket ball for a challenge. Oh yeah, she also represented Australia in hockey. She was British champion 16 years in a row. Not a bad effort at all.

Walter Lindrum was so good at billiards, they had to change the rules of the game in an attepmt to make him beatable. It didn't work. He still kicked everybody's ass. He would occupy the table for over an hour racking up his points while the opponent did his laundry for him. He would give the number two ranked player in the world 500 points head start, and he would still more than double their score. He died in 1960 and still holds many world records to this day. But seriously, when they have to change the rules so you can be beaten, I think you have the right to be a little proud of yourself.


Shane Warne is the greatest bowler cricket has ever seen, and a real Aussie bloke. He has bowled batsman out with his leg spinners, and the batsman don't believe it has happened until they see the replay on the TV. He also made 99 runs in Perth one year, and got caught on the fence going for the century against New Zealand, which would have been his first and a magnificent feat considering he wasn't a batsman. Think about it like this - a major league pitcher hitting three home runs in a game. It was that close. But it is his bowling that he is most famous for, and nobody ever has dazzled batsman as much as him. There is this Sri Lanken guy who current has 1 or 2 more scalps than him, but he cheats and it has been proven. Warney rocks.

David foster is a beast of a man. About 6'4", a good 160 kgs or more, he is a living breathing mountain. He also chops wood. He is the greatest axeman ever to live. He has won 182 world titles. That's just stupid. 182? He was world champion in the 600 mm Double Handed Sawing Championship with his dad for 11 years in a row, until his dad died. Then what does he do? Promotes his brother to the job and wins it another 9 years in a row. He wrote a book, "The power of two", and it is one of the funniest auto-biographies ever. What do you do when a guy is world champion for over 20 years? He went to America to compete in their outdoor games, and broke a few world records and then found out the prize money was less than half what the local tournaments were. The fact that we won by using a spoon to chop the wood instead of an axe goes mostly un-reported.

I saved this man for last for a reason. He is the greatest sportsman ever. Any sport. Sir Donald Bradman was a cricketer starting in the 1920's. When he retired, his batting average was 99.94 runs per innings. The best since is about 60. To put this into perspective, imagine Jordan averaging 50 points a game...for his entire career. Imagine Barry Bonds averaging 160 home runs a season for his entire career. In Sir Don's very last game, he needed just 4 runs to have a career average over 100, and he got out for 0. Nobody will ever get close to this record. In 1932-33 England tried to kill him by bowling at his head every ball. Unlike baseball, in cricket if you get hit in the head with the ball it is your fault. You don't get any free walk, you get a kick in the back and told to get up and face it again. How good was he? They tried homicide to stop him. Oh, and they didn't have helmets in those days either. This tactic was called "Body Line" and is now illegal. He died a few years ago aged 90-odd, so he fell just short of the century again despite people trying to raise fund to keep him on life support for 8 years so he could make it over the line.

Time to add another blog to the growing list on the side. As I always say, I will only add blogs that I actually read, and not just for the sake of exchanging links - so don't bother to ask. I am getting a few emails asking to exchange links and it's just not going to happen. I don't mind if you invite me to read your blog (there is a fair chance it is better than mine anyway), and then I will probably pimp it up, but not just for the sake of a link. Having said that, I love feedback and finding new blogs that are worth a read, so keep emailing me that stuff.

I am adding
Poker Perspectives to my little list on the side. This means that for the first time I have inducted a women into the little Peabody's club on the side. Shock! Horror! What will Dawn Fraser have to say about that? Maudie's blog is well written and well organized - not surprising on that last one. I can recommend it with confidence, and congrats on putting a bounty on yourself for the MMPBT. I still think I am the only one using that abbreviation, but who cares I am going to pump it still.

That will do for this getting-even-less-about-poker blog. By next post I will hopefully have better stories and more victories to go on with.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Bob the builder (can he fix it?)

If was gonna say just one thing to y'all tonight, I'd say set the artist free. I'm talking about this artist in here, set it free. I'm saying quit yo' day job. Now I know a lot of you here are saying, 'I can't quit my day job, I got kids to feed Jack'. Quit ya day job, focus on your craft one time. Before it's all over, you've died, you've squandered it, YOU FUCKIN' ROBOTS!
Jack Black, "Tenacious D", HBO television series.

Yes people, the new chips and poker table are at my house. My excitement at seeing them was quite surprising even to me. I had great pleasure ripping all the cardboard, foam, plastic and more cardboard off the packages...And I was pleased. The chips are fantastic, the table top is actually made of plywood not MDF (I work in the plywood industry, so that was kinda important to me.) and seems a lot more stable than I originally thought. It is a little bigger than our current table, so it looks like I might be making another table for this to fit into. It will be a slap together job, that's for sure, if I do it at all. But I can say it looks great, and the WPT is only a matter of time now! Of course, setting it all up and analyzing every last chip, trying my hand at my first "chip trick" (failing, then trying again), throwing mock-deals across the felt, stacking the chips in piles, then in the holders, then half in the piles half in the holders, meant that I didn't actually get online to play any poekr at all. Then there is the dealer button. What a great invention. Sure, we could know who the dealer was by just looking at who was the guy with the deck of cards in their hand - but now if anybody has any doubts, there is a big white disk in front of the dealer. I know, they are meant to be used when you have a house dealer doing the duties, but I don't know how common that is in home games.

I'm going to break from tradition slightly, and give some plugs out here instead of at the end. Firstly,
Jamie Berger's website has this fantastic poker story that I have just finished reading. I found it via a link from some other poker blog, but I can't remember which one. This is exactly the kind of story I love to read. Just brilliant - I would love to emulate his efforts.

Secondly, and I can't believe I haven't done this yet, I have to recom
mend Outkicked, the poker blog of JW. I have been reading it for a few weeks now, and since we both share a common problem (I call it "distractions"), and the fact that he tried to get other people from his blog to help me getting the casino cards is just top notch. Hopefully I will have some by the end of this week, next week at the latest.


As I said in my last post, it is a little funny how when anything Olympic related happens, Dawn Fraser comes out and makes a statement about it. Well just yesterday the swimmer Ian Thorpe made himself Australia's greatest Olympian ever by winning the most gold medals. Top job by the way. But no more than a few hours after I finished by post about Dawn here at Poker on Film, I am driving home and I hear an ad for A Current Affair tonight - and their interview with Dawn Fraser. She wasn't just asked for her opinion over the phone, or even a quick photo op at her house, she was coming in to the fucking studio to do a full blown interview with Murray Rose (another former Olympian) about Ian Thorpe's achievement and to "pass on the torch". I could not believe it. I laughed so hard I nearly crashed. If anybody else hears anything about Dawn getting herself in the media, let me know and I will keep all our faithful DFW (Dawn Fraser Watchers) posted right here.

Speaking of the Olympics, I was watching a bit of the men's 3m synchronized springboard diving last night. The Chinese rule in these events, and when it came to the last dive they were so far out in front they could have won first and second on their own. Their last dive was a bit tricky, and one of the divers got lost halfway through his twisty flippy thing and slammed into the water back first while doing his best impersonation of a used staple. Now, I have been watching some of the diving because there are a few Aussie winning medals and all that. The judges at these games are shit. I don't know whether this is consistent with all diving competitions, but in one case the same dive got 8.5 from one judge and 3.0 from another. Are they watching the same thing? Anyway, with this Chinese dive they all gave the same score - 0.0, a big fat zero. In their eyes, it wasn't worth even a lousy half point. I think if I stumbling along a spring board holding a beer in one hand and a hoola hoop in the other, drank the beer and then through the hoop into the water and then tried to land ass first through the hoop I could get at least a 1.5 from the New Zealand judge. That would have been enough to beat out the Gold Medal favorite Chinese divers on their last attempt. But then a Russian guy hits his feet on the diving board on the way down and he too enters the water showing all the kiddies what a right-angle looks like. This was unbelievable, the best diving competition in the world, and three teams screwed it up in quick succession. It was fantastic! I loved it, and diving may become my new favorite non-mainstream sport from now until the end of the Olympics. Oh what I would have given to do commentary on that event. I know that it is sad that they gave away four years of hard training and so on, but if it gives me a little chuckle them I'm sure they think it was all worth it.

So yeah, poker...I haven't played a hand since last post because of setting up the new stuff and playing around with that (pictures coming well as a comment from Dawn Fraser on what my new poker chips will mean for poker getting accepted into the Olympics.). Good news is it look s like our Saturday night game will have at least 7 players, maybe more. That's great news for me, even if we are not going to bet real money it should be fun. I might be able to convince them to go into a $1 buy in tournament, but who knows. We did try the new stuff out last night with me against my distra...My girlfriend heads-up. This is too easy sometimes, and no matter what pairs she has she will bet 2 pair like it is the nuts. She doesn't understand the philosophy of slow-playing a set either, and she knows I like to bluff lots against her. Out of the first 20 hands, she won 13 of them. Problem was, I was chip leader by about 4-1. When she won, it was because I folded pre or post flop. When I won it was because my set of jacks beat her pair of 6's at the showdown. It's not really good habits that I learn from these games, but if she won I would never hear the end of it (so she never will win).

I am still rotten that I can not go in the MMPBT that Iggy has organized, but I can be included in another way. A lot of people are offering up bounties on some people in the tournament to add a little spice to things. Well, since I am so proud of my new poker toys, I am willing to offer my old plastic poker chips and a beat up deck of paper playing cards (may or may-not have come free with a happy meal) to the person that comes in dead last as a booby prize. Said person would then have to post me a picture of the chips and cards being put to use. The chips are 300 genuine plastic (none of that fake plastic crap) chips in four colours with a big spade in the middle. They have ridges around the outside so that they are un-even enough to make stacking them any more than 8 high impossible. They also have a dollar amount written on them in big black pen. The cards will be some crappy deck I find in the bottom of a box that will have all 52 cards, and are guaranteed to last out the first hand. After that, you're on your own. I hope Iggy accepts this offer, as it lets me be a part of the action even though I can not compete. And besides, my offer has the word "booby" in it.

Thank you again for reading, I have noticed a lot of new readers lately and many returning punters too (even a few from military address'). My plight is a long one, but it will be all worth it in the end. On the film side of things, this weekend being my birthday, I will be receiving a little bit of funding from family and friends to go towards getting the first movie out of the pages and onto some film. I will still be way off getting something that is presentable, but every step forward is a good one! I hope you will be along for the ride! In my next post, in addition to my continued DFW updates, I will be posting a short history of Australian sporting legends that the majority of my US friends would never have heard of. And sadly, the few Aussie readers here might not know them either. Until next time, have fun!

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

It's all in the timing.

I can read women. You've got to know their wants and their needs. And that can be anything from making sure she's got enough money to buy groceries each week to making sure she's gratified sexually after intercourse.
Gareth Keenan, "The Office"

Bloody top quote isn't it?

Hello to many new readers out there! I noticed my visitors have nearly doubled in the last few days, thanks mostly I'd say to a pimp from Iggy. To all the new guys and gals reading here I'd like to invite you to read the archives so you understand where I am coming from. Yes, I know obsessing over a bankroll that is 11.5 cents worth seems stupid and pointless, but that is what makes it fun for me. Never the less, lets crack on with this post.

I have had the worst luck in timing this week. Firstly, due to being Australian and having a job, I can not join in on the
Monty Memorial Poker Blogger Tournament this coming weekend. I know these blogger tournaments happen every now and then, but hopefully Iggy can make this one an annual event for our little internet sub-culture. For the record, I hate cats but I have always wanted to own a bulldog. Dogs are and will always be way cooler than cats (Triumph anyone?). Bulldogs are really expensive here, and living in an apartment complex makes it kinda impossible even if they were cheap. But I have a name picked out and a picture in my head as to what my pet will be. I know how much a pet can mean to a person, and the loss that comes with said pet passing, I think it is fantastic that Iggy can pay tribute to his lost friend with a few hands of poker. I look forward to reading about the "1st Annual" MMPBT next week (I'd get that trademarked if I were Iggy.).

Second case of bad luck; I logged on to many different poker sites trying to find some live games here in Australia, I managed to find a couple listed on some site I now forget. I fired off an email and was very pleased to get a response saying the games are held sporadically, and I would be informed of when the next one is. Then just yesterday, another email saying that there will be a low buy in game on this Saturday. Damn, this Saturday is my 24th birthday and we already have plans. How crap is that timing?

And last bit of crap timing...Well, not really but it is just a theme so go with me. Yesterday UPS came a rapping at my chamber door to deliver the poker table and chips that I ordered from eBay. The problem was they came to my place at 10am. I have a job, so of course I wasn't there. But by this time tomorrow I will have the bounty in my sweaty little hands. I'm sure to have pictures up before long. I know, you've seen all this stuff before and more than likely you have better poker stuff yourself, but it should be evident by now that this site is more for me than anybody else. I have also managed to get the three casino decks I was after, along with the Sahara for some reason, so all is well. I don't think we will have them in time for the Saturday night games we have planned (just for fun, no money with my friends as they have no idea how to play). We have a deck from "New York New York" a friend got from Vegas when they were over there. I don't know why, I just really like using casino decks. I think it is the lack of borders on the back or something.

On to my current games, I have had a bit of a roller coaster lately. I have found that I can use my Bugsy Bonus Points in single table tournaments for 1 point entry, the payouts are 5 for first, 3 for second and 2 for third. I was doing quite well, up to 18.5, then back down to 10.5, now settling back where I started. It's weird how many people are actually taking these 1 cent games seriously, myself included naturally. My last two losses came against poker pairs again. Maybe it is just because I am noticing it, but I seem to be loosing to them a lot and with what I consider a decent starting hand. The first game, I was sent packing when I had pocket tens up against the tarts. The felt helped neither of us, and it was good night from me. The very next game, before long I have ATc and I think it is worth a raise. The loosest player at the table re-raises and I call his bluff and go all in. He follows, and shows me the bullets. Ok, so I really didn't think that one through very well. What can you do? Soldier on...

I haven't had much of a chance to get back into the free roll tournaments due to one thing mainly - The Olympics. It is really good this year because here in Australia, we only have 5 television channels (besides cable of course), and only one channel usually covers the games. That's Channel 7 (side note, Australians are super creative. We built this big banana as a tourist attraction. What do they call it? "The Big Banana". The bottom of the country looks like someone took a big bite out of it. We call it the "Big Bite". Got a giant shark in the water with a white nose? "White Pointer". Our main television stations are called channel 7, channel 9 and channel 10. Just brilliant.). Channel 7 sucks when it comes to covering Olympics. They spend 90% of the time showing swimming, and 9.9% of the rest of the time getting a response from Dawn Fraser on what ever happened in the swimming. For those not familiar with the name, Dawn Fraser was a swimmer for Australia back in the 1950's who won a gold medal in the same event in three consecutive Olympics, which is a pretty awesome feat. But she hasn't done anything since, and every time something vaguely related to the Olympics happens, she seems to make a public statement about it. She isn't employed by the Olympic committee or the network covering the games, she just always has some response to what is happened. Anyway, I hate the swimming, no matter how good we are at it. Seriously, they go up one end, turn around and come back then touch a wall. I don't care how much they talk about "tactics" in that race, it's bullshit. You can't block another swimmer, you can't get in their slip-stream. You can't even splash across 4 lanes to get the guy coming home on the outside. All you can do is swim that distance in the fastest possible time and then hopefully that is the fastest. Swimming is crap. I love the Olympics because you can watch all the different event that you can't usually see. I want to watch European Handball, table tennis, water polo, judo - as well as the main stays like basketball naturally. Swimming and track are as boring as bat shit. Let me know when we win, and move on.

Man, there was some major tangents in there. This thing is still about poker right? Since a few of the other blogs I read have stories about going to the track and gambling, and I haven't played all that much poker since my last post, I will give you one of my favorite gambling stories. It is kinda long but I love telling it, so I hope you enjoy.

When I was in my first year in University, it was pretty cool. I had to move 13 hours away from home to go, but that's what you do when you live in Broken Hill. Seriously, look that up on a map and you'll see what I mean. After first semester, my parents were driving me back to Sydney and decided to go a week early to stay with my recently divorced uncle. He's a cool uncle, and was over the divorce by this stage and quite happy going to singles parties, living it up and even got himself tattoo. He picked a picture out of the artwork on a Meatloaf CD. I'll leave you to make your own judgments. He was living it up after 16 years of marriage. He is now married again and finally has a child. Anyway, we are a close family so all was good up there, we had plenty of drinks for the week and enjoyed ourselves.

It comes down to the morning that my parents are leaving to go back home, and we decided to have a barbecue breakfast to send them off on a good note. We had a barbecue breakfast every day for the last week, but that did not deter us. All the bacon and eggs and hashbrowns and toast was cooked to perfection. I poured myself a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice, and then sat down at the table ready to go. Unfortunately, as I sat down I bumped the table leg and my juice spilled all over my plate and food. Not a drop landed anywhere else, except on me and my food. I was a little annoyed, but there isn't much you can do about that so I moved on.

After breakfast, mum and dad said their good byes and gave me $50 to get me through the first week at uni. I was on a scholarship and that wouldn't kick in straight away, and my parents like to look after their three boys anyway (I'm the middle of three brothers.). So off they left, and my Uncle and I got ready for a lazy but busy Sunday. Tomorrow was a public holiday so I didn't have to go back to Uni until Tuesday. We planned to head down to the beach and grab some lunch there later on in the day. For now though, he wanted to tidy up the back porch and do a bit of gardening as is his hobby. I don't mind, as he really goes out of the way for me when I spend my weekend up here, 1 hour out of Sydney. I'm hosing down and sweeping the back porch, digging around a bit in the garden and am quite happy with the sunny weather. We are done in abut an hour, and start getting ready to go out. I put on a pair of sandals and we are just about to leave the house when I hear a squelching sound coming from my feet. No, I didn't step in any of his corgies' little messages, but when I looked down I noticed my sandal was filling up with...Blood? What the hell? I didn't step on a nail or anything? I take off the sandal and feel around my toes when I feel something slimy hanging on. A leech. I had a fucking leech having a bit of a feed on my feet. They must have some kind of pain killer saliva before they bite you because I did not feel a thing. You'd be surprised how much blood comes out of your toes. I through the leech across the room in mid-shock, and then had to wash out the sandal and bandage up my toes. We're still going out, I'm going to enjoy this day somehow.

We head down the beach and it is packed as expected, but a mighty fine day. After a few house of ding whatever, we decide to grab a kebab for lunch. Naturally, the first bite I took, the filling of the whole thing drops out all over me. I am not having great luck - and isn't it funny when you start taking notice of these things they keep happening or seem more frequent because you are more conscious of them? I was just resigned to the fact that today was not my day.

As we are nearly sick of the beach, my uncle decides to slip into the TAB (Tote's and Betting. These are like a legal bookies shop mainly for horse racing. They are regulated by the government here in Australia, and are very common and busy on the weekends. Horse racing is a big sport over here.). My Uncle is a big fan of betting on the horses, and he does quite well with it too. Much like my poker, I tend to bet very small and rarely win. He is on some horse in some race, and I decided to take a "Mystery Trifecta" - which is you let the computer pick which horse will come first, second and third in that exact order for you. It costs only $1, and it really is just playing the lottery. But hey, I don't have much coin so $1 here and $4 on number 7 will have to do. No idea why I picked number 7, I just did.

So the race is running and I am taking half notice of what is going on. As they get near the finish, I see my uncle's expression dwindle and his horse is obviously out of the running. As they cross the line, I notice number 7 got up - and at 8-1 I am pretty happy. And then the second and third place number come up. My uncle looks at me and says "Damn it, ran 6th, oh well.". He really doesn't get pissed off when he loses, it's just fun for him. I say casually:
"Gary, I think I've got that."
"Number 7, good odds on that too."
"No, I think I've got the triffecta."

He takes a look at my ticket, and starts shaking my arm.
"You bloody little ripper!"

As anybody who watching horse racing knows here in Australia, an 8-1 winner is good odds. You throw that into a Trifecta, and it is very good odds. But wait...There is a protest. Second against third. This had no bearing on my $4 on number 7 to win, but it could fuck up my trifecta because they have to come in the exact order for it to be a winner. I run through the days events in my head, and I just know that bad luck is the order. These protests are common, but they usually get thrown out in 2 to 3 minutes. We were waiting for more than 10. The longer the wait, the worse it was as obviously the officials had to make sure of what the replays showed. I couldn't bare it. I looked over at the guy sitting next to me, and he had $100 on the horse who ran second. He looked like a seasoned punter, and was disappointed that despite looking and agonizing over the form guide the night before his $100 was gone. Me on the other hand, with kebab stains on my shirt and bandages on my toes had a hope of turning $1 into a nice little earner. The televisions crackled slightly.

"The protest on race six has been dismissed."

I checked with Gary to make sure that meant what I thought it meant - the protest had been thrown out. The placings stood and my ticket was good...Almost. There was one last hurdle, as the jockeys and their saddles had to go for the weigh-in to make sure they were carrying the correct weight. A problem here is rare, maybe once every few years at this level, but I was still nervous as hell. You can not collect on your winning tickets until "correct weight" is called at the race track (which happened to be in Melbourne for this race). They don't even announce it on the racing channel, it just shows up in a little box in the corner. When I saw that white flag in the bottom right corner, I was shocked. That meant correct weight. The ticket could now be collected. All up, I had won $903 plus change from that $1 bet. I was pleased. I was very pleased. I took the $50 mum and dad gave me and bought a case of Crown Lager - Australia's finest beer as it proclaims on the box. When I got back to Uni, I took all my roommates out for dinner on my shout (I still used coupons though), and life was good. Somewhere at my Uncle's new house he still has the empty card board box that the Crownies came in. In green ink on the side, I scribbled the names of all the horses, the price they paid and the date. That was my biggest win ever, and it is so sweet spending somebody else's money. Now whenever I am having luck equal to that day, I always sneak out and buy a mystery trifecta. It never has come home like that again, but hey I'm still beating the house on that one!

EDIT: The poker chips and table just arrived here at work. Man, do I feel like the shit right now. The case the chips come in look like something Jack Bauer would be trying to recover. It even has a key, which is second to a combination lock on the awesomeness list. The chips look and feel great. I am going to melt the plastic ones at home tonight in a ritual. Home games, here I come!

Friday, August 13, 2004

Here we go again.

Albrecht: Police! Don't move! I said, "Don't move!"
Eric Draven: I though the police always said, "Freeze!"
Albrecht: Well, I am the police, and I say, "Don't move!" Snow White. You move, you're dead.
Eric Draven: And I say, "I'm dead," and I move.

"The Crow"

First things first, read a great little political/poker article here. I don't care much for any political affiliation, but it gave me a chuckle so that will do.

Got back into the tournaments last night and had one of the most puzzling results I can recall.Early on I was able to double up with Big Slick when another player went all in with pocket 5's. He really thought he was on a monster with that. I hit an ace on the river, and man was he pissed. I mean come on, I know it is a free roll and all, but you can't go getting all pissed off when your 5's get busted. Anyway, he was out and I was still going. I read over at
Uwannabet about how he would like to hear stories about how people just got out played. No bad beats, lucky outs, just out played. I have a great story I think.

I'm holding As2d in the big blind, and I get to check into the flop with 3 callers. The flop is (5h 4h Ah) and I don't like the hearts. But it gets checked around to me and I think I will test it with a modest $500 bet. I get only two callers, and that will do. The turn comes (3c) and now I have a straight. I'm still worried about the hearts, but nobody is betting them on this usually loose table. I figure nobody has two hearts, and now my straight looks ok. I bet another $500, and get only one caller. The turn comes and it is a heart breaking (2h). This not only ruined my straight but put four hearts on the board when I had none. The other player calls, and I decided I better make it look like I have a higher heart than him (if he has one). I bet $2K, and he thinks about it then re-raised me another $2K. I know I am probably beat by his heart, but I need to see if he was bluffing. I call the other $2K and he shows (Ts 3h). I could cry. Yeah, I was representing a higher heart than his, but this guy was checking a straight flush. It was comforting to know that I was ahead on the turn, but I was really lucky he didn't take me for more I think. Well, if the re-raise was any more I don't think I would have called, but if he opened up the betting who knows? I don't think I could have played those cards the way he did, but damn did I fall for his trap. I had no choice, I had to post in the chat box how well I thought he played - even if I was screaming at the lucky bastard on my screen. Oh well, at least he left me with most of my chips.

Later on, I'm up to about $30K, about double the average but 3rd at the table. I have AsQs and I raise in early position pre-flop. I get three callers, and the river is (7s Ts 6d). I bet $1K, and get a fold, a call and a re-raise of $1K. I call and so does the other one. The turn is a beautiful 2s. At this stage I am pretty confident, and bet $2.5K. I get a call (yes!)...and a re-raise all in. What the fuck? Now I know I am far from poker elite status (I'm still Algae status, remember?), But I was pretty sure I was holding the best possible hand at this stage. No pairs on the board? Check! What about a flush? No, hang on I have the flush. Straight? Yeah, he could have a straight but I doubt it and besides, my flush is still good. A straight flush perhaps? Well, he doesn't have that yet. Surely I can't get rivered on a straight flush twice in one night. I call all in and so does the last player. He shows T6o for two pair, and the last player shows 77 for a set. This means that I was right, I do have the best hand in spades, but now I bet I get rivered into a full house. The river is rags, and we are now in the big time. I am now chip leader, and dominating this table. I feel good.

One of the faults of novice players I read about is not knowing how to play either position of stack size. If I was to rate myself on both of those out of ten, I would say I play position 5/10 and stack size 1/10. I am good at getting to be the largest or second stack at the table, but I have no idea how to play from there. I always see other players in that position try to push everybody else off out of the pot, but I seem to be really crap at it and usually end up giving my big stack away in chunks. Tonight, I decided that since I am crap at playing the size of my stack, I would ignore it. I remained around the top 5 stacks (out of 200 left) for some time.
Something happened though as the blinds started to get around the $1K mark. I was up to $150K, and was dealt KQo in middle position. I raised the minimum and it was folded all around. Two hands later, I have a pair of 10's, and the same thing happens. Then I got them, for the first time in the night I look down (figuratively speaking) and see those two little A's staring back at me. I bet the minimum again and it is folded all the way around for a blind steal. I decided to show my hand to the table and post in the chat box "Am I playing too tight?". I get a copy of responses in the affirmative and I knew I was set from now. Two or three hands later, I raise the minimum and again it gets folded around. I had the hammer, and boy was I hoping nobody leaves this table! I was pocketing $3K to $4K every 3 hands or so. Not much when the blinds are $800-$1600, but in each orbit I am getting more than $10K up. I am chip leader again, and with a little buffer as we go into the final 60.

For the first time ever in these tournaments, I press on over $200K (and even my flat mate is proud.). But it doesn't stop there as I catch some very nice river cards and march on to $290K with under 50 players left, and the top 27 get paid. There was one dead hand at our table - a player who had left long ago and was now posting and folding every hand. He was down to under the small blind, and he lasted about 4 orbits. Damn, I just could not get rid of him. It was becoming a bit of a table goal to get rid of "808Maverick". Sad to say, somebody else got him before me.

One of the short stacks goes all in with $30K, and I am holding AJo. I am in last position and call to go to a showdown with just the two of us. He has pocket 2's, and I am forgiven for being confident. The felt doesn't even show a picture card, and the pocket 2's are good enough. I'm annoyed, but still over $250K so all is well. Two hands later, another short stack goes all in. I am sick of stealing blinds (as nearly every hand is just that), and it look slike everybody is trying to limp into the money. I have AsQs, and I think I am good enough to call his $50K. He shows pocket 5's, and again they are good enough as the board helps neither of us. Hang on, I'm starting to get around the average now. I loose another pot when my jack kicker isn't good enough, and I have gone from top five stacks to bottom 3 in the one orbit. It is down to 28, and only the top 27 get the money. I have enough to last just 2 orbits. Luckily, I see the 28th position go out in the lobby, and I am guaranteed money. I have a $30K stack, go all in and get beaten by a pair of pocket 10's. Want to beat me? Come with pocket pairs, they kill me every time it seems.

So I go out in 27th place, and win a grand total of 13.5 cents. Oh well, what can you do? What was funny was that I never really had a monster hand. I had a few straights, one flush and the rest was two pairs or top pair/top kicker. I never saw a set all night, let alone a boat. Does that mean I played a mediocre hand well or just got lucky with the cards? Let me know what you think.

So I am bank to having a bank roll, but it may be useless. The Bugsy games have changed I think, and now you need a minimum of 100 to do anything with them as far as entering tournament go. I have 13.5 of them, not much to do with at all. What can you do? "Stop playing the stupid free rolls and put some real money on the line you dumb ass" I hear you say? Yeah, but what would be the fun in that?

On to the live game front, and I am again asking for some help. I have been trying to buy a few decks of used casino cards to go with our new poker stuff we bought. I want to buy a deck from the Bellagio, the MGM Grand and the Mirage - which just happen to be the three casinos that George Clooney and his friends try to rob in "Ocean's Eleven". I found a few sites that will sell these internationally, but postage is through UPS express and for 3 decks of cards it cost over $50US. That's just fucking ridiculous. I know the casinos hawk these off for $2 each or something, so I don't want to pay $40+ in postage for some worthless items to be here in two days when normal parcel postage that takes 2 weeks for $10 will be just fine. If anybody is on their way to Vegas any time soon and wouldn't mind picking up some of these decks for me, drop me a line and I will be happy to pay through PayPal or something for your trouble.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to critique my play as you see fit.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Live from Sydney, it's...

Mr. Madison, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
The Principal, "Billy Madison".

I'm an idiot. After battling for the past 12 months to get our credit card debt under control, we were at the final hurdle. With our tax filed, we were due to get enough back to pay what is left on both credit cards and be in the black again. But no...Poker got in the way.

I don't know how it happened or why. Well, I do really. It started about 12 months ago, I was tagging along to yet another shopping centre in Brisbane (does this sound familiar?) when we were in some crappy $2 shop and I saw some uber-cheap plastic poker chips for $1 per 100. Why the hell not says I? I grab three boxes and pay for it in change floating in my pocket. That's a bargain says I, and on we go. This would make playing our irregular poker games at home fun, and better than betting with 5c and 10c pieces or monopoly money. I knew the chips were shit, but for 3 bucks what can you expect?

The chips are shit. For some reason, you can't stack them more than 10 high because they are not flat. I mean, they do their job and it's not like we are playing for real money or anything, but it was just "ok".

Fast forward to Monday and I was searching around this world wide web looking for more poker related stuff, and I came across a few sites that sell felt for laying down on your dining room tables to play poker. We tried this at home with some felt that my girlfriend got for Christmas to do jigsaws on (I don't understand the logic of it, you shouldn't try either. Needless to say, she tried it once then relegated it to somewhere in the cupboard.). The felt was too small, so not only was it shit for it's intended purpose of jigsaws, it was also shit as a make-shift poker table. I liked the looks of these felts, and did a little bit of enquiry into costs. But then I saw table tops, and tables themselves - I became more interested. Tables cost way too much, but the table tops I liked. But you can't use poxy plastic chips on one of these tables can you? You need proper poker chips...The downward spiral had begun.

I started looking at chips. These ones are called "Suited", here are some called "Dice", and a myriad of others. You can buy these in rolls of 50? Not bad...Hang on, look at that case! How awesome is that?

Before I knew it, and lucky with the blessing (and egging on) of girlfriend, we had spent over $400 on the stuff. We are now waiting for our 52" reversible table top and 1000 "Royal Suited" chip set to come via UPS. I guess we will have to start having some home games soon then. Any Sydney-siders out there? Drop me a line, I have to make back that money some how.

I was finally able to get the home PC back up and running, and back into poker, all be it only one tournament. I was doing well, again sticking to my strategy that if I was going to raise, it wouldn't be for the minimum of $50 when that is less than 1% of the starting stack. So my raises of $300-$500 were getting far too much respect and I am winning blinds and limpers with relative ease. Good in one way, bad in another. I get a caller pre-raise with AJh and the flop comes (6, 5, 9) rainbow. He checks, and I'm thinking he might have AK or another combination of high cards or even a smaller pair. I raise $500, he calls. Turn is (A) and same again, check, raise $500, call. The river (J) helps, and he again checks. I raise $1K this time, and he re-raises me another $1K. Ha, not too worry, this is the weakest attempt to bluff me out of this pot I have ever seen. I call and he shows 78o for a flopped straight. I was way off, and I was really lucky it only cost me as much as it did. As my stack slowly dwindled, I was all in with AKs and get a caller with pocket T's. The felt helps nobody and it is good night from me in about, oh lets say 200ish. Just outside the top 10 money paying places. I am convinced I could not have played that hand any worse, and it really knocked the wind out of my sails in both stack size and confidence. That is probably not too bad of a thing really, because I was getting into the stage at that table where I thought every raise I made was going to be folded too. That crappy play put me off poker for the rest of the night.

Iggy over at
Guinness and Poker has organized a blogger/reader tournament for August 22nd at 9pm EST, so some time Monday morning here. I won't be playing because of the time difference I will be either sleeping or at work, but if you have the chance you should go over to his site and join up, it sounds like it should be fun.

Another poker blog I had a look at recently was
Uwannabet. I share many opinions with this blog (see post titled "Would you kill the golden goose?") and he also has a top ten list of gripes about online poker that would fit right in here. Another poker blog I am happy to recommend for it's good humor and relaxed nature.

That is all for now, and maybe by the time my next post comes around I could be playing live games at home with genuine 11.5 gram composite Royal Suited chips. Did I say genuine?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Killing is wrong. And bad. There should be a new, stronger word for killing. Like badwrong, or badong. Yes, killing is badong. From this moment,I will stand for the opposite of killing: gnodab.
The Chosen One, "Kung Pow"

I have not played one hand of poker since my last post, mainly due to finding a little program on the home computer that shouldn't be there. All has been fixed for now, and new virus protection has been sought. If there are any great recommendations out there, then I'm all ears.

I am however in the process of getting some live games going. I have been looking on eBay and other internet sites to find a decent poker table and chips. How hard is it for somebody to sell this stuff in Australia? The very few people I have found that sell something vaguely similar to what I want have a ridiculous price like $399 for a 500 chip set. So it looks like I will have to order from overseas. There are so many places that sell them in the US, and with the current poker boom I should be able to find a decent set of 1000 chips for a pretty good price. Again, if anyone out there has any recommendations, I'm all ears.

I have been reading too many poker sites lately to mention, and have been trying to decipher it all. I know one of my weakness' is I can play too tight, and only playing in free rolls certainly doesn't build up too many good habits. But these are the challenges we set ourselves. If I wanted to make a career out of poker, I would invest some real money in it. But I know that it is probably so far off - not to mention risky - choice that I can not see a justifiable reason to try. I really would love to say one day I started my poker career with $0 down, and hence this blog.

I think this will be my shortest post since starting, due to not playing any poker since Saturday. As I said in my last post, I am looking at upgrading the connection on the home PC, and hopefully I can then get more out of my game by having fewer time-outs and lost connections. I guess the live game has it's draw backs too - like a boxed card in the deck, dealer drops a card, accidentally mucking a winning hand in an alcoholic induced haze. Oh well, what can you do?

Saw "Wonderland" last night, the movie about porn legend John Holmes staring Val Kilmer. Damn it's weird - it is less about the star's fall from grace and more about "Wonderland" - an apartment frequented by drug users at the time and some murders than went down there. I guess that should have been more obvious considering the title of the movie, but all the promotion and even the back cover was about Holmes. It is interesting, but nothing too special.

That will do for this post, hopefully next time I will have a little more to talk about: more winnings and less bad beats!

Monday, August 09, 2004

Hello darkness my old friend

Goldie Wilson: Your wait and see, Mr. Carruthers. I will be mayor. I'll be the most powerful man in Hill Valley. I'm gonna clean up this town.

Lou: [hands him a broom] Good. You can start by sweeping the floor.

From "Back to the Future"

I'm in a surprisingly up-beat mood. Surprisingly because this past week I lost the entire bankroll I had. Upbeat because I can honestly say it wasn't my fault.

Now one of my biggest faults is not taking responsibility for my play or my mistakes, this I know. But my massive $5US ($7.12 AU) bankroll was lost without me making any huge errors. Well, I did make one small one perhaps. I decided that in order to try and make the bankroll grow, I will split it in two so that if I loose out I will still have half to fall back on. Should I have put all my eggs in one basket? Perhaps. As we all know (I can say "we" now, because I have confirmed readers in double digits!) the size of your stack is just as important as how you use it. I was cutting my stack in half - not always a wise idea. It also meant any tournament entries I could win would be paying off less. Anyway, we make these choices and stick by them.

Firstly I was playing on Aloha early Saturday morning. My poker playing habits are very weird (besides starting from a bankroll of $0). Since we are still on dial up, I can't play all the time as it takes the phone away from my girlfriend and flatmate (I know, I'm nearly 24 and shouldn't be still living in share accommodation. But you should see the place, it's awesome and this is the only way we could afford the rent. Besides, at least I don't live with my parents.). It also annoys them a hell of a lot for some reason. So generally the only times I play are late night or early morning. Getting up early on Saturday, I was in fine shape and ready to go for some 9am action.

But this is the weekend. And we live in Parramatta.

Quick geography lesson for anybody living outside of Sydney. Parramatta has a busy little CBD, and is constantly growing. Parramatta is also home of a rather large shopping mall known as Parramatta Westfield's Shopping Town. The place is huge, five stories high spread over 3 blocks and they are building more. At one time it was the biggest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere. Come to think of it, nearly everything in Australia is the "biggest in the southern hemisphere" since that excludes North America and Europe. So anyway, the place is busy. Always. Parking is hell, people are stupid - usual busy shopping centre. For some reason, we have to go there every weekend. Every weekend at least once without fail. Even if all we need is bread and milk, we go to Westfields. Haircut? Westfields. Last weekend we spent a couple of hundred dollars there and hopefully we got everything we needed. Um, no. We had to go back today. This meant leaving my poker session hanging, and I would fold away everything I had.

What did we get? I can't remember. I know the other two got haircuts, but I refused out of protest. Suffice to say, I was in a less-than-happy mood, but still positive because I knew I could play tonight with no distractions.

I should point out that one of my little code words here is "distractions". You can bet London to a brick that when I say "distractions" it means my girlfriend is nagging about something, 99% of the time complaining about me playing poker again. So when I say "distractions", lets just share a knowing smile and move on.

Tonight was going to be a big Saturday night for me. Flatmate was going out with some friends from work to the other side of the city, and my girlfriend was going to a girls night. This leave me home alone for about four hours. This is what kind of poker tragic I am - home alone and no plans for Saturday night? You better bet I'm going to poker it up like a wildman! I was ready willing and able to make the most of my free time. All was well, until my second demon came for another visit.

Again, I was playing the tournaments at Aloha and at Poker Pages, and doing ok in both. There was about 60 or so left in the NL holdem tourny on PP, and I had been doing ok but was now falling behind as the blinds got bigger. I was down to $35,000 (average was among $45K) but confident in my play and read on opponents. Over on Aloha, it was still early days but I had tripled my stack to $1200+ early on and was looking forward to a good session.

Then it happened. I heard this faint little "click", and I knew what it meant. The connection had dropped again. I was already annoyed because I just folded KT pre-flop to a big raise, and saw AQJ come afterwards (eventual winner was a pair of aces), but this tipped me over. I was pissed. I tried to get back in several times, but to no avail. I could connect, but it would go no further. I know only the basics of computers, but when I check my connection spread and it reads "12kps" on a 56K modem, I get annoyed. I don't know if that is how it is supposed to be, but I was willing to accept any reason as to why my connection sucked. After 30 minutes of trying to get back into those rooms, I called it quits. I lay down on the couch, wrapped myself up in a quilt and sulked at my bad fortune. I am now looking at broadband options as we speak.


I have been reading a lot of poker strategies posted online as of late, and I firmly believe that in each and every one you can find something to use, no matter how novice the mind behind the advice. I am reminded of when I was playing basketball back home in Broken Hill. While I was no star by any stretch of the imagination, I was good enough to be playing against and beating most grown men in the town by the age of 15. Big fish - small pond, you know the story. Anyways, there was one guy on our team who was really hopeless. How bad a player was he? He was a really good referee, that's how bad a player he was. I can't remember how he got into our team in the "A" grade, when his whole life he was a mediocre player in "D" grade, I am not making this up. But he was a nice enough guy and when it was our teams turn to umpire one of the lower grades, he was more than willing to do it (which was great for me, because I was one of the worst umpires ever. This is how a sport survives in a little town like Broken Hill.). Anyways, at training one day we were playing a little one-on-one, and when I took a shot over him, I noticed he was watching me and not the ball when it came time to rebound. This gave him really great position to block me out. The fact that I could out reach him from behind anyway because I was 4 inchs taller was irrelevant - he could get in a better position and I knew if I could do that it would be a great advantage. In truth, this is a very basic skill or technique that is learned from an early age, but I did not know it and it took this "D" grade player to teach me. So a long and un-eventful story, but you can see what I mean.

I got some emails and comments on the site congratulating me on my win the other day. I was really nice to receive a little support from other poker enthusiasts, but I feel the need to explain that I know it is pathetic to be making a big fuss over $5 or 23 Bugsy Bonus Points. That's what makes it fun for me, making such a big deal about nothing. Any hey, if it does grow into something big, it sure will be interesting to look back on these humble beginnings. I did read how it is important to set yourself goals and know your limitations. With my recent posts with lists and stuff in my mind, I am now going to define the different levels of poker expertise and keep a track of my current level on the bottom of the site along with my bank roll. I have composed a list of the 10 levels of poker players. Feel free to re-use these as long as you credit me and/or my site. That would just be polite, don't you think?

  1. GREAT WHITE POINTER - The most fearsome of all sharks. In the ocean these sharks are ruthless killers, and can grow to 20 feet in length and beyond. In the world of poker, they are professional, take em down and knock em out player. Pretty much the same. He knows what pot odds, implied odds and card odds mean, and has even wrote a few books on the subject. Owns gold bracelets that they didn't pay for.
  2. WHALE - Made big money in some other discipline, is an average to good player but with enough coin behind them to keep playing the high stakes despite losses. Best friend of the white pointer.
  3. MAKO SHARK - Smaller than the great white, but still a killer. Knows what all the odds are, but hasn't written the book yet.
  4. DOLPHIN - Not really a fish, but likes to play and has modest results. Does not rely on poker for their paycheck, but does profit nicely from it. Playing mostly for fun, but does have some skill
  5. BARRACUDA - Thinks they are a shark, but has a long way to go. Could be very dangerous if they get enough coin behind them, but could just as easily go broke.
  6. PENGUIN - It's a bird, but it's in the water. By all definitions it should not belong here, but it does somehow. The Penguin is usually a good player trying their hand at a game they are unfarmiliar with. For example, the blackjack player trying poker, or a solid Hold'em player giving Omaha a go. Usually just gets swallowed by sharks, but can take out a few fish on the way.
  7. SWORDFISH - Smaller than the barracuda, bigger than the rest of the fish. The swordfish is a student of the game, and very careful about how they play. They learn from their mistakes and put many hours of practice into their game into hopes of winning one big tournament and calling themselves a player some day. For now, they are dangerous to smaller fish, and can even take on a Mako and win - but that is rare.
  8. FISH - If you do not know what a fish is in poker, then there is every chance you are one. The fish is what keeps the other levels above in business. It is what they feed on. They know that a pair is good, but two is better and that's about it. They have seen it on ESPN, watched "Rounders" and they now want in on the big time, God bless 'em. Sound familiar?
  9. PLANKTON - The small non-descriptive floating food that fish feed off. Barely noticeable, only serves the one function of keeping the fish alive.
  10. ALGAE - It's what plankton eat.

I think you know where I sit currently. There is nothing to be wrong about when you are algae. I'm sure somewhere along the line algae can evolve into something a little more meaningful. Oh, and my apologies to any marine biologists out there who may be cringing at the common errors I may have made concerning ocean life. If I did make a few common mistakes that non-marine biologists hate of the general public, rest assured I did it tongue in check so just you and I can share in the joke.

I'm quite happy that this post is done. I have added another poker blog to the links on the side. The new blog (it's funny that I call it a new blog when mine is under 10 posts old. I mean it is new to me that's all, no disrespect) is called Joe's Poker Corner. I think every online player should read his post dated 7.27.2004 called "Perspective". I know I certainly can relate to it. Besides that one, it does provide some great stories about his poker struggle than I enjoyed and so you should too.