Mordred :Die, dear Auntie Mab? Why, that's the last thing I shall do."Merlin"
Well here I am after another weekend that was severely poker-deficient. At least I did get a few SNG's in, including a win and some places, and the book "Tao of Poker" from Uwannabet arrived today. That's not a bad effort since it was supposed to take 4 to 6 weeks. Speaking of Uwannabet, he has a good tournament write up over there at the moment, I say it's worth a read.
I managed to win the first SNG I played in on Saturday night, but I'll be damned if I could remember how I did it. I remember having about 2/3 of the chips going into heads up, other player pushed and I called with AJo, he had Kx or something and it was all over for a win. It's funny though, I remember the other games better where I finished 4th or worse. In one game, the very first hand I am UTG and I have AJc, I make the minimum raise of $50 and everyone folds. Wow, *that* was enough to scare them all off? This should be a laugh. What followed was some of the worst cards I have ever seen. I could not make a play if I wanted to. Every hand was raised pre-flop and I had nothing over a ten, and all of them 3 gappers at best. It was disgraceful. Meanwhile, the player two seats to my right has three consecutive hands of QQ, QQ and KK to knock a few guys out and take a major chip lead (although he eventually blew it and I think finished 4th or 5th, with top 3 paying). He is pulling pocket pairs out of his ass and I am stuck with the Rock Lobster (52 - I just made that one up too, because of the B 52's song? Ah, forget about it!). Anyway, after about 3 orbits of folding, I get AKo in the big blind. I have about 2.5BB left, so I push all in after 2 callers. They both fold. I know I was playing very tight, but come on I had no chances to get in except for this hand without going for a very risky bluff with rags in my pocket. Maybe I should have tried it? Never the less, I march on with my second pot win and second blind steal. Pretty soon after that I call a bigger stack's all-in when I have AJ. They flip over K9, and the first card on the flop is a K. The river is a 9 just to rub it in, and I am out before the money. This really hurt because I was so keen to play, but being very late at night and tired and starved of action, I was more than pissed at the level of cards I was getting. Oh well, what can you do?
So here is how the weekend panned out. I have Serena's parents staying with us for 3 days, so that means a lot of time spent doing touristy things. I get along fine with her parents, but besides the fact we have both seen their daughter naked at some stage we don't have a lot in common. I like sports, movies and poker, they like looking at mountains and shopping for hand bags. It's that kind of deal. Don't get me wrong, they are really nice people but I'm just saying the common ground is very thin. And I am a little resentful that their presence limits my poker playing hours quite dramatically, so that may be a part of it.
On Friday night I rush home from work with my new wireless broadband modem. No more drop outs, no more dial ups, no more getting blocked from poker by long phone calls - this should be the golden age of my online poker existence. I spent all of 5 minutes setting the modem up and it works like a champ. The signal is only half strength from our apartment, but that hasn't caused a problem yet. But then I have to explain why there is no hours limit on the broad band, and why ever single web page make you download something. No matter, life goes on. I manage to get in exactly 0 minutes and 0 seconds of poker right away. After dinner, we sit down to view photos from their recent trip to New Zealand. They were quite impressive, and you can practically see the Fellowship walking through those mountains. Lots of snow, ice and scenery. Then after that we settle in to watch Marry Poppins on TV. I am very displeased when I learn this has been decided upon, and even less impressed when nobody laughs at my Sherry Bobbins jokes. I guess you have to be a fan to get that one. I'm bloody tired after a week at work, and go to bed without any poker to stave off my withdrawal symptoms.
Saturday brings about a horrible beast - shopping. We went to 2 different markets on the Saturday and the dreaded Westfields Parramatta on the Sunday. I have seen enough shops to last me a life time now. Saturday night however, I had a plan. We were going out for tea, and I was planning on sneaking out after that for some live game action as I mentioned in my last post. My plan was foiled two-fold thusly: First, we were so busy looking at the markets and generally wandering around Sydney on foot that we had a very late lunch. Late lunch means late even later dinner. I was hoping to get out for tea as early as possible, but this was now shot down. Second of all, we decided to go to Hog's Breath Cafe for tea. Every body knows the Hog's Breath, the food is pretty decent and all but the wait is hell. We get seated 30 minutes after we arrive, have our orders taken 15 minutes later and actually get the meals an hour after that. This was not looking good. When we got home, I knew I couldn't leave for a poker game, so I would have to wait until everyone was ready for bed and then go out and hope they were not too pissed when I came home at 3am. Somehow, everybody was wide awake and looking forward to watching a movie. Ok ok, this isn't all that bad I guess. We have a great movie collection, they can't go wrong there. I mean, we tried to show them "The Office" the other night and it did not go well, but there is still hope right? Right? No, I should not have been so optimistic. Out of the three network channels available, there was AFL football on one, which I love. On another was the made for TV movie "Merlin" starring Sam Neil which I quoted above, and again I think is brilliant. I love this movie, even if it does go for 3 hours. What did the third network choose to show? Bedknobs and fucking broomsticks! After seeing Angela Lansbury in a mock cheerleaders outfit towards the end, I was finished. I had been beating into submission as footy and knights of the round for passed up for bedknobs and broomsticks. A pinball machine in the leaning tower of Pisa would be showing less tilt than me at the moment. There was no chance for me to leave now. My dreams shattered, I retired for the evening.
Sunday comes, I get a few quick games in before breakfast but cut them short when every one else gets up. Back to the shops and then I even went for an afternoon nap so that I could be awake all night to play some tonight after the parents have flown home. Well, to save some coin the opted for a really late flight out, and because the weather had turned foul Serena was not confident enough to drive them out there and back on her own. Coupled with the fact that the last time she drove to the airport in the rain she got a ticket for running a red light, and I am on driving duties. After a quick call to Dad for father's day (I got him "the Office" on DVD as well) we are off and by the time we get back, "The Last Castle" is on TV. I haven't seen this in a while and out of some sanity I know that if I play poker now, I will be throwing money away. Despite my afternoon nap I am still dead tired and thus the weekend ends with very little poker action from me. I don't know how long this will last, but hopefully with the new connection at home I will be getting in some quality time this week.
I have been noticing a lot of bloggers lately have really been hitting the SNG's big time. When I was first into the blogging scene, it was all $2/$4 and $3/$6 tables, with the odd tournament for laughs. Now the SNG's seem to be the main flavor. I like that, how the main games change, it keeps the interest up I feel. I always prefer tournament play because there is obviously a greater return if you win, be it more of a gamble. When you are starting from a bank roll of $0 though I guess "gamble" is a bit of a given. I like the tournaments though because I now have a sounds strategy (I think anyway) and everybody starts with the same amount of chips. There is also something in the competitive nature about being named number 1 after a few hours of play. Sure, the profit may not be the same as playing $2/$4 tables for the same amount of time, but being number 1 at the end of it certainly does give a nice little ego boost methinks. Same goes for SNG games, even if it is only a field of 10. I always find myself near the bubble being the one who has to do the final knockout or two to get into the money, regardless of what chip position I am in. It seems always the big stacks are too concerned on keeping their stacks to try to bust out the smaller ones. I guess I don't know what they are holding, but damn they seem to go against me with some crap and then fold away against the other players. Collusion maybe? Who knows. So I win a few, loose a few but end up with a profit from it so even though I got to play very few at least I am not in the red for the session.
Thanks to everyone who posted their ideas for new starting hand names, I love the "Gay Waiters" (not that there's anything wrong with that). I will keep posting more as I become aware of them (and the crappy ones I make up) from now on. I also want to send a link out to Pope Rek, and his "Project $10,000 No limit style" blog. I really like his style, and after a top three finish in the MMPBT he seems to be going very well. He too is a big fan of the SNG, and seems to be doing quite well out of it. Go over there for a read...go on, you know you want to.
I will end this post with a quote for "Tao of Poker" - actually it is a quote from right inside the cover, very early on and is all I have read in the last few hours that I have owned the book. It is actually just the author's (Larry W. Phillips) dedication of the book. It reads as follows.
"This book is dedicated to my grandson, Mandius, and the poker players of the future. As a friend once observed: They'll be a lot like we were - and they'll go through all the same things. They'll gather around the same green felt tables, suffer the same bad beats, and experience the same agonies of seeing an opponent hit a two-outer. They'll know the feeling of being down to their last dollar as the light come up in the dawn, as well as the exhilaration of dragging in a mountain of chips on days when the angels hover around them. They'll experience high drama and low drama, hear great stories, experience laughter, and free food.
They'll meet people they otherwise would not have met - great people form every walk of life - some of the best people, it will turn out, they will probably ever know in life. If, as James Earl Jones once said, 'Children are the message we send to a time and place we will never see,' then these are our ambassadors to a poker future yet unseen. Accept this note of well-wishes from those who went before you - a message from the past."
While I have not yet read a word of the actual book, I really like that pre-introduction and it all looks good from here.