Thursday, March 31, 2005

You called with THAT?!?!

James Clayton: Would I have to kill anyone?
Walter Burke: Would you like to?
”The Recruit”

Most of you will now be laughing it up in the latest WPBT event at Poker Stars, while it is early in the work day here in old Sydney town. For some reason, this makes the little clock on my computer trickle over even a little slower.

I have been enjoying the little forays into Scurvy’s tournaments on Noble Poker, but there is a downside to them. The majority of the players in these tournaments remain silent when I ask if the read “Suckout”? And the few bloggers I do recognise in these tournaments never seem to be seated at my table. But it has been fun none the less. I have even been seen wandering the lobby at Noble Poker, trying out their ring games and SNG’s. Here is my very quick review of Noble Poker:

Scurvy’s tournaments.

Every thing else.

Suffice to say I am not overly impressed with the site. Ah, that is a small bit of over-reacting, but you see what I mean. The only tables with any action are the $0.01/$0.02 tables, and the play is, well, fitting for the level. I was lucky enough to double up on one of these tables last night, but only because some idiot was going all in on every hand. I had AKs and saw a flop with 3 spades, no chance for a straight flush. He went all-in UTG, and of course I called. He had the Jack of spades, and I guess I was just the lucky one to double up. He said he was leaving now, because these levels are a joke to him. I typed “rebuy” into the chat window 3 times before he left the table.

So a $5 win isn’t that much, and I felt less than satisfied – even telling my readers about doubling up at a $5NL table seems hardly worth the time. So I decided to let it ride, and put that $5 into a 6 person SNG.

I normally prefer the 10 person SNG, because the payouts are bigger obviously and you have more time to make a profile of each player. It seems though that while Noble Poker does offer these options, few take them.

On the first hand I take it down on the turn, when I had top pair and some nasty looking draws on the board. Not bad, a good start. Second hand, two players end up all in on a board of AQJxx. Here’s me thinking somebody is on a straight draw, back door flush perhaps. But no – they both flipped over A3o and A9o – which was good enough.

But the funny thing was, my semi-bluff on the first hand was respected? I don’t understand. See, the behaviour displayed above shows me they are maniacs trying to push others off the pot or they just don’t care and are trying to leave the game. There is an old saying that you can’t bluff bad players (took me a while to learn that), but here was evidence that they will fold. Which can mean only one thing – both thought that top pair no kicker was a good hand. I was shocked. I mean, a $5 SNG is far from the WSOP, but surely it is still above this play? I knew I was up against idiots. Normally knowing that you are the only person at the table with an IQ in double digits is an advantage, but today I knew I would need the cards to win – because no matter what, I could get outdrawn just once and that would be the end of it. Yes sir, we are looking at a crap shoot.

A few hands later, I am dealt Aces and I am first to act. By now we are down to 3 with two getting paid, and I have not played one hand. What would be wise to do here? A raise normally would show strength, a call may be seen as disguised strength by any decent player. So I decided than when in Rome…I went all in. What a stupid move, who in the world would call that?

Why, the big blind of course. After all, his Q9o does have a chance at a straight! Fortunately, nothing hit and I had doubled up.

Eventually when heads up, I see a flop with T5. Flop comes rainbow 345, and I decided to go all-in straight away – it was no use guessing what he had, top pair will have to do heads up. It looked like he reluctantly called, and flipped over 62o for the flopped straight. Well I can’t complain I guess, I intentionally played badly and got paid for it, so I guess I succeeded. But it was one of the most bizarre SNG’s I have ever played. Any profit was welcomed.

More and more I have been thinking about the comments Hdouble left me a post or two ago – about low limit poker being all about implied odds. I think I have the standard beginners understanding of odds – even if I don’t think of it as odds, I still look at the size of the pot relative to my stack and my chances of winning. But implied odds does take another step in thinking – which I know I do commit to from time to time, but not consistently.

The more I thought about this simple little comment, the more it made sense. When playing low limit poker, as I always do, you need to consider what your opponent will bet after the next card, as well as after you act. With so many hands going to showdown too, I guess it really is a necessity that I should have learned a long time ago.

One day I will have to document everything I have learned from my fellow bloggers. Many people ask “why do you keep your blog”? Is it for self promotion, gratification, hope of getting discovered for a book deal? Is it for the millions and millions of people you entertain with each post? I can honestly say I keep my blog because of my readers. They’re heaps more smarterer than me, my bank roll thanks them.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Overload Pt.2

Part two of my massive post, no real need to read in order but hey, do as you feel.

The majority of Monday morning was spent in recovery mode. I cleaned up a bit from the night before, nuked some left over pizza and after a little while I fired up the PC to get into the free-roll I thought I had on this morning. After missing that, I remembered that I still had about 3 dollars worth of points at Poker Pages, and their big tournaments are on Monday morning’s Sydney time. I log in (and after playing with the cables and speakers for about 30 minutes to get everything working, thanks goes to the distraction) and find out I have missed the big tournament by about an hour. I do sign up for two others though as I have always liked their tournament structures (or more correctly, their $10,000 starting stacks).

Poker Pages and Bugsy Club (the real money side of Poker Pages) are very special for me. My first hands of online poker were there, as well as my first win, but I have never pulled out any cash because with their free-rolls, you get paid in Bugsy Bonus Points – like frequent players points on any other site. Get 1000 points, you can cash it in for $10. The highest I have ever been in 700, and now I was down to 300 or so. I entered a 1o point tournament with 200 others, and a 100 point one with 65 others.

The 10 point tournament was interesting. I doubled up and then hovered for the next 2 hours. I never got above 25K, but kept winning enough to keep me above 20K. I was more interested in the other tournament though and I didn’t notice that the blinds were getting very big for my small stack. The top 27 get paid, and I had 2BB left when I went all-in with a suited King UTG. I got called and lost to whatever, and finished in 31st.

In the other tournament, I was doing about the same. We had one maniac at our table who was annoying every one. “She” (the username had “gurl” in it, but who knows really?) would even talk about her hand while play was still going, and just generally being idiotic, which was even worse seeing as she had 50K in chips to everyone else’s 10-20K. She pushed all-in three hands in a row, and when she did the third time I had AA. Of course I had to call, and she flipped over Ax suited. AA didn’t hit, but neither did her suit so I doubled up.

In the nest 40 minutes, I got AA 3 more times, and they held up each time without hitting. Even tripled up on them once with two more all-in calls in front of me. I made my way into the final table with a very healthy tight image, and a less than healthy stack. I was folding everything that wasn’t the nuts now.

I managed to fold my way into the final five, and was stealing blinds/ante’s at least once in an orbit. Any bet I made got respect, which was good to see. I was the short stack for a little while, but got some good cards to keep me afloat. We get down to 3, and I am 70K vs 300K and 250K. I win some all-ins, we go back and forth for ages, and I even enjoy a little period as the chip leader. I have to admit when I knocked out third I got a little lucky. I called the all-in with AT and he showed AK. A ten hit the board, and he was not happy.

The third tournament break was scheduled in five minutes, which would have been annoying since we were already heads up. We went back and forth and then with less than 1 minute until the break, I see a flop with Ahxo. Flop comes three hearts and I figure what the hell, all-in. He has me just covered. He calls and shows Khx. Alright, looks like he is sick of this too. He has just three outs here.

Turn = King. Ok, not too bad. I have 3 aces to hit, or 8 hearts that will give me the win.

River = King.

What can you do?

So I pulled in 1300 points for my nearly-three-hour stint here, and I felt very satisfied. I can finally play in the real money tournaments here and see how I go.

The weekend was long, and filled with many hands that I can not remember. I do know though that I continue to play bad poker, and it makes me feel good.

Overload pt.1

Saul Bloom: I want the last check I write to bounce.
”Ocean’s 12”

I love that quote in the context of the movie, words to live by.

I had a massive poker time over our four-day weekend here in Sydney, so lets jump into it. This is a very long post, so read at your own risk.

I had less than $10 left at Absolute Poker, and decided to stick to SNG to get it up over $11 and then into a $10 SNG to get enough to cash out. I was going well, and then suffered a horrific bad beat – can’t really blame the victim though.

I was third out of four, and got dealt the lovely pocket rockets. I raised from UTG+1 and get two callers, then a re-raise for half my stack. That’s a big enough sign to me, and I push. The re-raiser (second in chips) is the only caller and flips 88.

On the flop there is an eight, and I curse at the monitor and slam my fist on the desk.

Ah ha! Justice is alive and well, with the Ace on the turn. I am relieved and apologise to my desk.

The river is the case eight, and I beat my desk again.

So that was that, and I am done once again with Absolute.

Friday I had put aside to attempt to build my poker table. I made a massive mistake with the foam, which made work very difficult but besides that, it was a lot easier than I thought.
My tips: For the corners, buy the foam in one piece then cut it to fit your rail. I tried to bend straight lengths of it around the curves, and it was far too hard to get them to stick and then to try to cut a piece to fit the gaps – just a nightmare. Also adding to this mess was the rail I had planned for was far too high at 100mm. The vinyl couldn’t stretch that far and we had to cut it down in half while it was stuck on the rail with a kitchen knife. So if the rail looks a little “uneven” in the photos it is because it is very uneven in real life. The table top however if beautiful. That could not have come out better and the 3mm foam underlay was a top idea. All up it is an imperfect table, but the imperfections can be described as “character” I guess, and we are more than happy with it.

It took us about 6 hours of actual work time to finish the table, but it could be done in a lot less now that we know what to do.

The second round of Scurvy’s Omaha 8 tournaments at Noble Poker. My last finish was in the 50’s, so I was hopeful to do better this time.

It didn’t look good from early on, as I kept hitting trips and then not completing to get to a boat – lost a lot to back door straights and flushes, but it was ok. At least when it came to showdown, the winners had decent draws and not just seeing every flop. Maybe I got lucky with table selection (although late in the tournament I was moved to a table with 6 absentees).

I was down to the felt when I was dealt a suited ace and a pair of fours. I raised for 95% of my chips, and on the re-raise I happily called all-in to see if I could get the cards to come to me. I was happy to see a four on the flop, and even more so to see one more on the turn. Woo hoo, that got me past 50th. In the end I finished 15th I think, just half a table out of the money but it was a much better playing experience this time around for me. I then tried a few ring games and made a profit, but no more than a few dollars. A good bit of time wasting. I was more excited looking over at the poker table behind me, waiting for the big game on Sunday night.

I missed a free-roll I was entered into at Noble Poker, very disappointed because I thought it was on Monday but not to be. I can’t remember much more of the play for the day, I think I tried a few more ring games, with small wins and losses here and there. But it would be the home game that was the feature attraction on this Easter Sunday.

We had five players, with a sixth supposed to come an hour or so into it, but he cancelled an hour after that. So at about 8pm, we got the poker madness going. The other four players are pretty good compared to myself, and one in particular plays a very good tight game, and has knocked me out every time we played together. My goal tonight is to not loose to him.

The big talker, funny guy at the table is knocked out by the solid player within an hour, and he promptly takes the dealing away from the rest of us. I have got lucky with a few strong bluffs getting respect, and decide that maybe my bluffs will be far less from now on.

Solid player to my right is the big stack by a long way. I spent some time as the small stack and am forced to do a lot of folding. With KK though, I have to raise and SP calls.

Flop comes AQx, and he bets out. I think about it and muck my hands face up, saying something about how big lay-downs make a great player (I was at about 6 beers at this stage). I also wanted to let them know that I wasn’t bluffing with my raise. Did he have an Ace? I don’t know. Maybe he made a great bluff, maybe he was disappointed I didn’t call. But I think this lay down, whether correct or not, made me more money as the night went on.

The blinds rose and rose, and nobody was getting knocked out. In the big blind, SP in the SB raised me about 5 times in a row, and I instantly pushed with any two picture cards, pocket pair or suited ace. He folded time and time again – sure, he may have just been raising to be the bully, but my earlier fold I feel helped contribute to my table image. That and I kept telling them that I only like betting with the nuts.

Eventually, SP bleeds his chips and spreads them across the table, and he is knocked out in fourth – mostly because of one all-in play that put him on mini-tilt. On the button, the player across from me goes all-in pre-flop. SP in the SB calls and I couldn’t fold my 73o fast enough. SP flips over AJo. The button looks disappointed, and flips over 23o for the stone cold bluff that got called. Flop comes KQT rainbow, and the button is ready to give all his chips up. The turn is a Ace completing the rainbow and the river is a jack. He mucks his cards and starts to push his chips across when the dealer stops him, and re-checks the board…A – K – Q – J – T. It’s a split pot! The both split my BB, and we talked about this hand for the rest of the night.

For about the fifth time I was dealt 66, and I go all in. The 23o perpetrator calls and shows Ax which hits and I am knocked out on the bubble (top two paid $50 and $25). It wasn’t all bad though, and then eventually the 23o perpetrator wins it with something I can’t remember. All up this game took nearly 6 hours. It was 2am, and the loud funny guy had been dealing for five of those. Now there is some respect I tell you. I felt sorry for the poor bastard, not that I would tell him that. I said if they are interested, we can start the customary second game and just have quicker blind levels and slightly less chips. It didn’t take them long to agree, and away we go.

I can’t remember much of the second game at all. I remember though that SP went out first followed by the loud funny guy, and then they left the three of us to fight over the money. It was nearing 5am when the 23o beat out the other player to put us heads up. After a few hands, he puts me all in and I have T9s, and really I don’t mind loosing because I am so far past tired that it would be a blessing. I called the all-in and lost against other suited cards, diamonds I think.

My mission though had been accomplished, and I played pretty well and avoided my nemesis. Being down $5 after a good 10 hour session was a good enough result. The 23o however was the only one in the black, up $70.

I was asleep mere milli-seconds after my head hit the pillow.

Part two to follow shortly...

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A New Me

Steven: Can I get a knife or fork?
Wench: There were no utensils in medieval times, hence there are no utensils AT Medieval Times. Would you like a refill on that Pepsi?
Steven: There were no utensils but there was Pepsi?
Wench: Dude, I got a lot of tables.
”The Cable Guy”

In high school, I lived right across the street from my school. Our house became like a drop in centre for a lot of our friends, whether we invited them or not – which was cool. One guy however just kept on rocking up whenever. Once he called ahead, and I had been up late all night the night before (most likely playing video games or watching TV) and my little brother answered the phone. I told him to say I was asleep and not to bother coming around. My little brother ran back to the phone, relayed the message and then returned a few seconds later. He informed me that my “friend” said he was coming over anyway. When he arrived, I pretended to be asleep for 45 minutes, and he was still there playing Nintendo in the lounge room with my little brother. When he eventually decided to leave, my little brother said “See you later Chip” – and my friend had no idea why he called him chip. I just said he calls everyone that. Before long, everyone knew why he was called Chip, and to this day he still doesn’t know.

Sorry for the little trip down memory lane there, I’ve got some more poker content to get through so I will do so now.

I have come to a pretty big conclusion just last night. An epiphany, if you will. While watching some of the old 2003 World Series, and recounting my play over the good streak I had last month and the current loosing streak I am going through, I have come to realise that it is time to make a stand and admit what I never wanted to admit. When AlCantHang came out and admitted he was a loosing player, it was only natural for all of us to look at ourselves and consider where we stand. As I have said on many occasions, I will never be a loosing player in the long run because I have never risked a cent of my own money in poker. Every bet and raise I make are with winnings, and I will forever be in the long term black. However I have come to the realisation that is far worse.

I am a poor player.

It is hard to say, not only because of a healthy ego but because it is true. When I look at my play over the streak and the times after it, there is no real difference. My play hasn’t changed, but the cards have. Now don’t get mistaken here – I’m not blaming the cards for my current cold streak, I’m blaming them for my past success! Yes, the reason I had such a good run was luck. The “L” word. It’s a bit like that floosy you knew in high school, the one you didn’t want to hook up with at the party because you thought you could do better, but inevitably you end up with her when the night is through.

Why am I a poor player? A number of reasons really. I play micro and low limits, so the play is going to be ludicrous anyway. I try to compensate for this by playing extremely tight – or at least what I think is extremely tight. I will fold 77 in middle position, because I know it only takes one of 28 cards to make my hand inferior. I will try to limp with KJ and then dump it as soon as I am raised. As soon as a flop comes, I don’t think “What does he have, what does he think I have…” and so on, I think “What hands beat me” and that is about it. This means that if I have the nut-1, I will always pay off the nuts, no matter how obvious it is for them to have it. I get married to hands too often, and tilt comes around even more so. When I lose, it’s because I have folded my way down to a short stack and then push with Ax or any two picture cards, and then get dominated or loose a coin flip. If I win, it’s because it was folded pre-flop or I won the coin flip. That is just too narrow of a window to be long term successful. When I get outdrawn, get sucked out on, it costs me my entire stack. When I have a chance to draw, I fold.

My realisation came form watching that tournament, and seeing so many people play what I consider junk hands, and then seeing the percentages they have to win. Now I know a lot of people see the play on TV and try to emulate it, making themselves far too aggressive for their own good. I bet a lot of online pros love this stereotype. But it did show that perhaps I am being a little too tight. If my seen flop percentage is over 20% in any game in recent times, I would only be because the table is 10 hands old. Most of my amazing stories of bad beats and unbelievable draws come from me being in the big blind or the small blind. Why? Because in these two positions I am less reluctant to fold. I will imp from the small blind regardless of what I am holding.

If and when I do get a decent hand, I am scared that I will be dominated. If I get kings, I’m worried about aces. If I get big slick, I’m worried about any pocket pair. Actually that is a very funny hand for me. When I have big slick, any pocket pair scares me, but when I have any pocket pair that isn’t aces, I am worried about big slick (yes, even with Kings). And as soon as my pocket pair has an over card on the board, I drop it quicker than my Internet connect allows me too. I am also thinking that I am too concerned at winning at the showdown. While it is always nice to be putting money into the pot when you have the best hand, we know it can’t be so every time.

Perfect example last night in a $10 MTT. I have QQ and raise 3-4BB, get two callers. Flop comes King high and I am already looking for an exit. It gets checked around on the turn and river, and there is no way I am betting into this now and getting check-raised by someone who was waiting with AK (there was also a river ace out there). So UTG I checked, and so did the other two in the pot. I took down the small pot with a pair of Queens.

Ok, so I won this hand, but if either of the other two players placed even a minimum raise on any street, I knew I would have folded. If they put out a big bet, I would have seen it as strength and folded my second (or third) best pair. If it were a small bet, I would have seen it as a fake-bluff looking to be re-raised when they had the nuts. I even viewed their “check” as if it was only the precursor to “-raise”. I don’t know if this is a healthy outlook at the game but I guess my learning curve must continue.

What is weird though is in our irregular live games, I am the one that is most likely to re-raise with 52o. I am the one that the other players have trouble reading, and I get somebody to fold the nut flush to me when there was a pair on the board (I had trips only). Maybe it is because of the atmosphere, and because when I play online it is with different people each time so I have no reads at all.

Maybe I’m just not drunk enough.

My realisation though has come with other side effects. I am no longer expecting so much of myself at the table. You see, I have always expected to be good at poker. I consider myself above average in intelligence; I even had my math teacher in high school request that I get my IQ tested. Poker is a game of the mind, and therefore I always think I have an advantage over any ordinary Joe. Like I said earlier, I do have a healthy ego. In my mind, this translates to “I should be able to win consistently”, which does not happen. I have long runs in the red and little runs in the black. This leaves me very disappointed and frustrated, and usually looking for an outlet (yah blogs!). But that was because I was under the impression that I was a good player. Now I know I am a bad player, the standard drops. For some reason, it is much easier to accept being a poor player over achieving than being a good player under achieving.

Like Leslie Nielson once said in his golfing videos – “I don’t play golf to feel bad. I play bad golf, but I feel good.”

Welcome the new Heafy to the tables. He plays bad poker, but it makes him feel good.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

I Try

Chon Wang: Why don't I pretend I'm sick, and then you can attack them when they come in?
Roy O'Bannon: Oh, does the sick prisoner routine still work in China? 'Cause here, it's been done to death.
”Shanghai Noon”

My bankroll has been in steady decline since I made my last withdrawal. Nothing drastic, but I session in the black would be great.

I had the pleasure to play in the first Omaha tournament at Noble Poker organised by Scurvy Dog, and congrats to him for taking the prize in it too. I was unlucky and finished just outside the paying top 15 in 50th. Here is the major piece of advice I have to give about the tournament:

1 - The act of initiating hostilities or invasion
2 - The practice or habit of launching attacks.
3 - Hostile or destructive behaviour or actions.

In poker, aggression translates to betting hard when you have a hand and making others pay for their draws.

1 – The act of being a fuck wad, displaying general fuck wad behaviour.
2 – Seeing 100% of flops, capping pre-flop, post flop, turn and river betting with or without hitting.

See the difference kiddies? Yep, we had one or two people at the table I was at who belonged to the second group. I was getting marginal hands and if I wanted to see a flop I knew it would take four bets to do it, which meant I had to wait for a very good hand. When that came along, I would miss the flop totally and be forced to drop it. We had one guy at our table whom displayed premier type 2 behaviours as stated above. He went from first at the table to busted in 3 hands of Limit Omaha. Having a suited King and a triple gut buster straight draw is NOT a good hand. At least I outlasted him. Problem was though, by the time he and the other type 2 personalities exited, the blinds had risen to an uncomfortable level. At one stage Scurvy Dog visited my table and noted “good comeback”, as I had climbed from 60th to 8th. Thing was, I did so by winning one hand. It was the only hand I won for the entire tournament – hi or lo. I won without a showdown on the river when a Queen hit – putting out a flush and a straight, of which I had neither. I did however have a pair of queens in my pocket and was well pot committed by now so I bet, and it was folded around to me. Very interesting. Before long, with two Kings on the flop I had one in my hand plus a flush draw. I had about 3 BB left and was all in before long. I lost to the other King out there when I got out-kicked by his Ace. 50th – which was disappointing but I can put it down to cold cards and tilt after the earlier episode.

I was annoyed that the tournament ended the way it did and also that I let the tournament end the way it did. I was in no mood for more poker on the day and didn’t even hang around for the post-tourny ring games that I was so looking forward to. I did chat with a few bloggers at the tables, but for a supposed “Blogger Tourny” it was very quiet. I think the free roll aspect of it attracted a lot of outsiders, which wasn’t all bad I guess. These leagues are a top idea, and no doubt they will improve as more and more are run.

Besides this, I have had a terrible time at SNG’s lately, busting out on the very first hand in one. Shocking play, with QQ I raised it pre-flop 5BB, and got two callers. Flop comes all under cards, 789. The small blind makes a min raise, so I make a bigger one and he re-raises me. Of course warning bells should have sounded, but in my mind I wanted him to have TPTK. I pushed, he called and showed T6 for the flopped straight. Yeah, that was shit. Out on the first hand and with my head hanging low, I shut down for the night.

The distraction was in full force too, so I guess I can blame that. Yeah, I’ll blame that.

Good news is I am having a crack at building a poker table this weekend. I have read heaps of the plans online and have adapted them to what I want. Since I work in the plywood industry, that part of the table will be super cheap. Also, by coincidence a local fabric shop was having a massive sale on Monday and I got the vinyl and “Zara Suede” at discounted prices. I’m using a black suede for the table top as I couldn’t find decent felt and some other online plans had excellent results with suede. The rail will be bright red – I would have preferred other colours but the selection was rather limited. So far the most expensive part has been the foam for the rail – as I selected some high density foam at 100mm thick (about 4 inches). A bit of over kill perhaps, but it should be worth it in the end. I will make a post about the table next week provided the construction this weekend goes ahead as planned.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Just Ask WGPBE

Ron Burgundy: Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast!
Champ Kind: It jumped up a notch!
Ron Burgundy: It did, didn't it?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, I stabbed a man in the heart!
Ron Burgundy: I saw that! Brick killed a guy! Did you throw a trident?
Brick Tamland: Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident!
Ron Burgundy: Brick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you're probably wanted for murder.
"Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy”

Before we get to anything else, a big shoot out goes to Sound of a Suckout who has organised the first Omaha 8 tournament through Noble Poker. Should be great, so head over to there and sign up through his links.

As this will be a real introduction to Omaha for most people, I suspect many will be reading up on the topic in the next few days. I’m sure there are some very good books out there with regards to starting hands and betting strategies, but for most people I think Omaha will be a secondary game. So I will give my “Totally Unqualified and hardly tested beginners guide to Omaha”. Take what you think is good, criticize me for what you think is bad. BTW, I have never played Omaha 8, only Omaha Hi so that is what this post concerns.

1. PRE FLOP - Most poor players fall very quickly into the trap of “I have four cards, anything could hit me!” and go from seeing 15% of flops in Holdem to literally 100% in Omaha. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that 100% flops seen= -EV. To make things easier, I think of it as I have twice as many Holdem hands, so I need twice as many options. Think of the hands you would see the flop with in Holdem, and now you must have two of them in your 6 holdem hands you have. 6 hands you say? Four cards in your hand (a,b,c and d) means you have 6 possible 2-card hands. AB, AC, AD, BC, BD and CD. This isn’t an ultimate strategy, but should be enough to give you a good start.
2. As an addition to the above, suited aces can be very beneficial in Omaha. For my “two hands” theory above, I count Ax suited as one.
3. POST FLOP – If there is a flush possible, some one has it. If there is a straight possible, some one has it. With so many cards, at this level there will be chasers, and when you have 3-4 chasers per hand, somebody is likely to hit.
4. Nine times out of ten, trips are no good. Two pair is obviously unlikely to win, and I have NEVER seen TPTK take a pot in Omaha. Bluffs are very rare.
5. Boats, Quads and even Straight-Flushes are more common, which is only natural being that more cards are in play. I have also seen a lot of, for example, sevens over tens get beaten by tens over sevens. Just because you have a full house doesn’t mean the pot is yours. Same goes for Ace-high flushes. Just be aware of this – as not only can it save you some cash when you just call your sevens full, it also helps a lot when you have the stone cold nuts and the guy across the table can’t move his chips into the middle fast enough.

That is probably the most strategy I have ever given out about poker. Like I said, I am by no means an expert, what I know about Omaha could fill a thimble. But my understanding is, that is a thimble more than some people so it all helps.

I have withdrawn my money from Poker Now, and now I am going to try to do as PSO recommends: Cancel my Party account and then re-join in 72 hours with their rake rebate. It’s funny though, when I emailed Party Poker about this, they said that no Party Poker skins have rake rebates, it is against their affiliate agreement. Hmm…I could think of one that did. Maybe this is why it is being withdrawn. Full marks to PSO though, they have handled this extremely well and no doubt the actions have caused them some grief and loss. I’m a big fan of PSO, they do great work and something for nothing is always welcome in my house.

Monday, March 14, 2005


Brian: Should we let it breathe?
Doug: It hasn't breathed for fifty years, it's dead. Let's just drink it.

Had a great weekend. Despite promising myself I wouldn’t play any poker, I did sit down for a very short time, but it wasn’t holdem and it wasn’t Omaha. It was Chinese Poker at

For those unfamiliar with the game, it is for 2-4 players, and each player gets dealt 13 cards in order to make two five-card hands and a three card hand. It is basically a crap shoot with only a very small amount of strategy involved, but I am loving it as a “tilt remedy” which I used it as. Sure, I only made $5 out of it, and then I played it for an hour on the play money tables. It’s great fun – not very profitable methinks, but it will be my shoulder to cry on when ever the bad beat fairy pays me a visit from now on. For those familiar with the game, I even had quad 7’s beaten by not one but two Royal’s in one hand. Ouch. I even managed to teach the rest of the house this game, so more good times lay ahead.

So Poker Now has revoked their rake rebate through Poker Source Online. This is good and bad news in a way. I was only playing there because of the rake rebate, and that made me cautious to leave and go bonus whoring elsewhere. Now that the rake rebate is gone, I’m back on the whore trail. I hope my withdrawal from Poker Now will go through, because if it doesn’t then this little poker odyssey is all over folks!

I also tried the new players free roll at Poker Room, and finished 37th with the top 30 paying. Lost more than half my stack on a blind steal attempt the hand before, which was really stupid play and I should have either dropped it on the flop. The next hand I have KQ and forced to push. The UTG limper is the only caller, and he has AA. I felt shitty, because the person in the seat next to me had $600, 1.5BB. He looked like he may be able to limp into the money – even though he was not there for the entire tournament. That’s right – I was beaten by somebody who never played a hand. He posted and folded from the very first dealing, and finished higher than me (and 140 others). I even doubled him up when he was all in on the big blind. I had to call even though I had 23o, and he shows AQs. That let him survive another orbit which was enough to out last me.

Besides the final few moments, I felt I played very well in the tournament. There were a few times when I flopped top pair with ok kicker, somebody would open the betting for 3-4BB and I would instantly push, getting them to fold. I don’t mind that in a free roll tournament, because Poker Room seems to be very tight when compared to the Party skins (but then again, doesn’t all the sites?). It was a risk, but then again this was a free roll tournament so who knows? I would have really liked to finish in the money though, even if it was only a $5 win. I haven’t had a ITM finish in a MTT in quite a while, as I have ceased playing them mostly. Would have been nice, but what can you do?

I have gone through my monthly bout with tilt, and come out ok on the other side. The next few weeks poker should be very interesting. Stay tuned…

Friday, March 11, 2005

Enough Already

Narrator: Well, what do you want me to do? You just want me to hit you?
Tyler Durden: C'mon, do me this one favor.
Narrator: Why?
Tyler Durden: Why? I don't know why; I don't know. Never been in a fight. You?
Narrator: No, but that's a good thing.
Tyler Durden: No, it is not. How much can you know about yourself, you've never been in a fight? I don't wanna die without any scars. So come on; hit me before I lose my nerve.
Narrator: This is crazy.
Tyler Durden: So go crazy. Let 'er rip.
Narrator: I don't know about this.
Tyler Durden: I don't either. Who gives a shit? No one's watching. What do you care?
Narrator: Whoa, wait, this is crazy. You want me to hit you?
Tyler Durden: That's right.
Narrator: What, like in the face?
Tyler Durden: Surprise me.
Narrator: This is so fucking stupid...
[Narrator swings, connects against Tyler's head]
Tyler Durden: Motherfucker! You hit me in the ear!
Narrator: Well, Jesus, I'm sorry.
Tyler Durden: Ow, Christ... why the ear, man?
Narrator: Guess I fucked it up...
Tyler Durden: No, that was perfect!
"Fight Club"

My, what a big quote. Well chosen too, for the subject matter is of horid timing. I feel like I was savagly beaten last night, and then they started to go to work on me. I am still annoyed with last night’s poker. Brutal – just brutal. I defy anybody to match bad beat stories with this little run last night that cost me ½ of my bankroll in under 1 hour.

$20 SNG – With 5 left, I am just below the starting stack so I need to make a move. I am heads up with the one guy with a smaller stack than mine. I have QJ, and on a Queen high flop he opens the betting for 2BB. I know he must have a Queen, but probably nothing to go with it otherwise this late in the SNG and with that stack, he probably would have pushed before the flop. I re-raise all-in, and he goes into his time bank to think about it. Eventually he calls, and shows Q9. Turn is a blank, river is a 9.

Next hand, with about 3 BB total, I go all in with ATh. Big stack calls with 79o. Hits a 7 on the river.

On another $20 SNG immediately following, I limp and see a KJx flop, me holding KJ. I raise, get re-raised all-in by the big blind who also limped. I call, and he flips over AA. The turn is the four of hearts, the river is the four of diamonds.

$1/$2 Omaha – Holding 55xx, the flop is a lovely 522. I bet and get called all the way to the river by QQxx, who hits one of the two outs on the river. Later on again with 55 I flop Quads – make $3.50 off that hand.

$25PL Omaha – I have AQJ9, double suited. Flop comes KTx, giving me multiple outs to the nut flush. A pot sized bet is made, and I along with one other call. Turn is 9, giving me the nut straight and best hand at this point. Two people all-in before me, and I just know one has KKxx, leaving him with 8 outs I thought (because I have one of the nines). Unfortuantly, I realised he has 9 outs as he spikes the forth King on the river for a $70+ pot.

With the remains of my stack, I am all-in on an Ace high flop with pocket aces. Someone calls and hits runner-runner flush for the win.

In full tilt mode, I enter a Holdem $30 MTT with about 500 others. I fold, fold, fold into level three. On the big blind I have the King of hearts and some rag. Flop comes 9TJ, all hearts. Checked all round. Turn is the Ace, giving me the nut flush and a gut shot to a Royal Flush. Checked all round. River is a rag, and UTG I checked it again. Next player bets out, gets called by the third. I go all in as I am about 2/3 of the average stack, and get called by Qh8h who hit a triple gut buster on the flop and I was drawing dead from there.

All of these games happened in an hour. If even just one of these hands went the other way, I may have been even for the night.

I think I will give poker a rest for this weekend.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

I Hate the Bubble

Glenn's Buddy: Robbie Hart? I heard what happened to you at your wedding, that was so cold! You must've felt like shit!
Robbie: No it felt real good, thanks for bringing that up, man. Hey, my parents died when I was ten, would you like to talk about that?
Glenn's Buddy: Why would I wanna talk about that?
Robbie: I don't know
”The Wedding Singer”
I may have a little win on the wedding front - it looks like "Grow Old With You" by Adam Sandler may just be our bridal waltz song. Very me indeed. So, where was I? Oh yes, that's right...

Ah, variance – how I loath thee.

I was going back through some of my old posts, and I remember the days where nothing goes right, how down I would get and how close I was to giving it all away. The results I’ve been getting at the tables over the last few days have been very similar, but I now have the maturity to solider on. I do not know if this is a good or bad thing yet.

In one Omaha pot-limit game, I limp with 99xx and see a flop of 934 rainbow. Ok, it’s a ragged looking flop, I should win from here but not get paid much. Small stack UTG raises to be all in, and then the second small stack does the same. I have $15, the bet is currently $11 – This should be good. I do the same, go all in and one other guy at the tables calls this. Wow, four people all-in on a 934 rainbow flop. The turn is a Q and the river is a 5. The big stack has A2. At another table I was short stacked and with Aqxx I was all in on a AQx flop. There are two callers, and the larger of the two rivers a Royal Flush. I could have cried.

I was lucky enough though to double up later on after a rebuy when my AA hit an A on the board, then it paired on the turn, doubling through somebody on a flush draw.

I have also decided to head back into Poker Source Online to try to win some more free stuff. The only site I don’t have an account with was Poker Room, so I thought I would give it a go. To clear the bonus I only have to play 400 raked hands – or so I thought. I wish I could blame someone else, but this one is my fault for not reading the fine print properly. You need to get the pot raked by $1 to get the full point for that hand – this means a $10 pot minimum. These don’t happen much at Poker Room at the micro limits I play. Especially because the $25NL table I was on was uber-tight. In one orbit I stole the blinds 6 times as an experiment. Yep, netted myself $4.5 on that one. I don’t think I saw a pot get over $4 very often at all.

I tried two more SNG yesterday, out in 4th on both of them. Was it just coincidence that both times it was the very next hand after the distraction made her moniker more apt that I busted? Finishing on the bubble is so annoying. A lot of work (and folding) goes into getting a decent stack ready to make the money. In both cases, I was chip leader at one stage. The small stacks just kept winning their coin flips time and time again – and then the one time I go all in with AJs it can’t get over 55. What can you do?

I think that has become the new mantra of WGPBE, “What can you do?”. I think this is very well sutied for poker. As we all know, you can do everything right and loose, and do everything wrong and win. What can you do when the Nemo is in MP raises with 56d and hits the straight flush on the flop? What can you do when flopped trips kept getting smacked by back door flush and straight draws? What can you do when you enter into a $20 tournament and then realize 8 hands in that it is limit? Ok, on that last one maybe I am just a dumb ass, but you get my point. Hopefully.

Added a heap of blogs to the list on the side, that should keep me busy at work during the slow times.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Flavour of the Month = Omaha

Jesus Shuttlesworth: I hate my name. What kind of name is Jesus anyway?
Jake Shuttlesworth: It's biblical.
Jesus Shuttlesworth: Yeah, no shit.
”He Got Game”

I’m a bit concerned that this blog is becoming just a recount of hand histories. Don’t get me wrong, I like reading hand histories and the such, but not exclusively. It’s just that my poker over the last few weeks has been really juicy for me, I couldn’t help it. That has ended now, as evidenced again last night with a -$50 night. I bubbled in a $20 SNG when the short stack doubled up, creating a new short stack who then doubled up through me (QTs vs A7s), leaving me as the third short stack in as many hands. I didn’t get as lucky as the other two.

I also have to say that Omaha is getting more popular…almost too popular. Usually when I went on Party to play the $1/$2 tables, there would be three tables open, and nobody multi-tabling (I make sure to check for that). Now I see 8-10 tables, and heaps of people multi-tabling from higher limits down to this one. Omaha may have just becoming less profitable than it was, as many sharks are now in the waters. Sometimes playing against people who are on 3-4 tables at once can be a good idea, as obviously their attention is divided (and perhaps they pay less attention to the lower limits?), but in limit play it seems easier to keep up with it.

An amazing event did happen though – I won a bluff in a limit game of Omaha! That has always been my problem with limit games, people catching runner-runner when you couldn’t push them off it. Bluffs at limit have never worked for me – not that I have tried very often (and perhaps my methods are faulty too). But when I called the bet on the flop (looking for runner-runner to be honest) and the turn, the 3rd heart came on the river. I put out a bet and the sole competitor folded. I had bottom pair. It was a nice $10 pot or so, hardly enough to put me in the black for the night.

A funny thing happened at work just the other day. I was explaining about online poker to a few work colleagues, clueless about the whole thing. I explained about the poker rooms, the online casinos, Neteller, and then got into online play, reading a players betting patterns, 4 levels of thinking and so on and so forth. I even tried to explain pot odds. I explained how pros make a living out of this game, and how popular it has become in North America and Europe. I went into the ideas of poker being a game of “imperfect information”, and how even online, people still have tells.

“But you can’t see them, how do you know?”

“Well, it could be about how fast they bet, their patterns of betting, how much in relation to the pot, the size of their stack, the time of the game, the time of the day, their perceptions of my playing – any or all of it can tell you what they might have.”

This little speech showed me two things. Firstly, I think I have learned something in the last 6 months or so since I have been playing. Sure, I can’t put all those things into play every time I sit down, but I do use some of them. I have notes of a myriad of players – everything from “Solid player, does not bluff” to “Fucker rivered me 8 times”. While it may be slow, I think progress has occurred.

The other thing I learned is that to an outsider, poker is still gambling. They even asked me if it was legal. They started to compare it to “video poker” and poker machines (slots for my North American friends). Sure, there is an element of luck involved. There are 52 cards available to be dealt, and this is done at random (in most cases, wink wink).

After this whole discussion, where they also learned that had peaked at US$1079 (I went back and checked it) without ever depositing my own money, they asked what would happen if they each gave me $10 to play online for them? Visions of AlCantHang and my ill-fated investment portfolio played in my mind.

“I’d have a good story to tell you.”

To tell you the truth, I’d probably just pocket the money and say my Aces got cracked 72o.

Damn bloggers!

Monday, March 07, 2005


Fred: Well why don't we harpoon Charles straight through the head, drag him back to the apartment, and hit him with a hammer until he agrees to come back?
Elizabeth: Harpoon him through the head. That won't work Fred.
Fred: Why not? How many times have you tried it?
”Drop Dead Fred”

I have had one of the biggest poker weekends ever, beginning on Friday night. Here is a quick summary of some play:

Omaha $1/$2 – First table, only played 4 hands before the table broke. I was up $35BB. Even on one hand where I had the nut straight, I was re-raised on the river. Ok, I know whats happening here, get ready for a split pot. I thought about just calling to save on the rake (a whole $0.20 at best) but thought I better test him anyway. Well, he didn’t just call my 3-bet, he capped it. Ok, definitely a split pot. I call, show my nut straight and he mucks. WTF?

Friday Night/ Saturday – 8 x $10 SNG:
1st = 2
2nd = 3
3rd = 2
7th = 1
Profit = $122

1 x $5 3-Table SNG – Simply amazing. I made it down to the last 16 with about an average stack. Dealt QQ, stole the blinds. Next hand, AA – took out another average stack and also took a chunk out of first place. Next hand TT, took out the former first place and another short stack. Next hand, QQ, stole the blinds and somebody who re-raised in front of me, as well as the shortest stack who was all-in on the big blind. It’s one thing to have a great rush of cards, it’s another to have them all get paid off. At the final table it was me with a stack of $12,000, second place was $2,000. It took a while, and I did loose my lead (even was 4th out of 4 at one stage), but I came back to take first place and the $45.

$20 MTT - hey, if I'm on a run, I may as well make the most of it, right? Out of the 490 entries, I beat about 70 or so of them. Nice try.

$25NL – Cleared a few hundred hands off the bonus, and made a modest $20 profit or so.

I was also able to finish the deposit bonus I had. It’s funny, in the great run I have had over the past 2 weeks, I noticed that I didn’t have the Rockets once, and The cowboys maybe twice. Hiltons however, they were everywhere. On Friday and Saturday night I had pocket Aces 8 times, and they were only beaten once (by Kings). Even in one SNG I took out 3 players with AA all-in pre-flop (vs KK, AK and 55 – four diamonds came on the board giving me the nut-flush). I managed to nearly double my bank roll, and passed firstly $1000 Australian, and before long US$1000, peaking at US$1060. Damn I felt proud.

And my day of reckoning finally came. Sunday, which I have noticed is usually my best poker day – but not this Sunday. It was horrible. At $1/$2 Omaha I was runner-runnered 8 times. Brutal, just brutal – and seven of those times were from one player. I would flop a full house, he would draw from one pair to two pair to a bigger full house by the river. I even had the nut-flush go bad when a fourth spade came on the turn putting out a possible straight-flush. I was proud of myself though that I recognised the possibility of a SF, and never tried to re-raise (I did call it through though, I just had to). I also finished out of the money in 3 out of 4 SNG, and only one of those was a 4th. In that game, I had TT 3 times, and lost by putting a smaller stack all in each time (lost to AA, J9 and AQ). Eventually I went out when 99 got beaten by KQ. I thought even just one coin flip would go my way, but not to be.

So I made one of my milestones that I thought I never would. It was a great run, and I will have to see what I can do with it. I am still unsure if it was just a 2 week run of cards or if I am actually learning something. Who knows? What I do know is I have a check coming for me in the amount of $550 US dollars which will go a long way towards a honeymoon in October.

Friday, March 04, 2005

A Good Loss?

Sean: That's why I'm not talkin' right now about some girl I saw at a bar twenty years ago and how I always regretted not going over and talking to her. I don't regret the 18 years I was married to Nancy. I don't regret the six years I had to give up counseling when she got sick. And I don't regret the last years when she got really sick. And I sure as hell don't regret missin' the damn game. That's regret.
Will: Wow... Woulda been nice to catch that game, though.
Sean: I didn't know Pudge was gonna hit a homer.
”Good Will Hunting”

It was weird at the digital tables last night. Very strange day, all things considered.

For the first time in a long time, I had an excellent day at work. Our Guinness World Record attempt is coming along great, and they even made new rules specifically for our category. I also thought of the most brilliant marketing strategy ever, even if I do say so myself. Man, I was feeling good and that accompanied with a thought that we could get an $8K holiday voucher off eBay for $2K left me in a daze (I have since come to my senses about the later and realised it wasn’t legit, very –EV but I was able fold without loss).

So as I trotted home for my near-daily ritual of playing poker before the distraction come home, my mind was elsewhere. I was not fully concentrating on the games and I knew it, yet I couldn’t change it. I finished 2nd again in another SNG, but the profits were eaten up by a $25NL table. MP raises pre flop, LP and I both call on a King high flop with two diamonds giving me four to the flush. Little raise, I call. Turn is the 7d, board hasn’t paired. I raise, MP calls the other guy folds. River is another 7, and MP makes a minimum raise into a $15 pot. There were warning bells going off, but I convinced myself he had AK and my flush was good. Of course I re-raised him all-in and he called and showed KK. Bye bye buy in.

But the funny thing was, I was kinda happy about it. See, I’ve had bad runs at the tables before, and they are crushing and make we want to give up the game totally. I have had good runs that usually last just a day and mean a decent cash in a MTT at best. I have never had a good run like I am having now – a modest win on a daily basis. And it has been going for nearly 3 weeks. I knew I was due for a down session sooner or later. I am just not that good to be winning all the time. And here I was, a loosing session. I was down $6 and happy that the streak had been broken and I had come out of it ok. My spirit wasn’t broken, and the bank roll sure could handle the small loss. I felt very calm. I felt relieved. What the hell is up with that? I’ve never felt like this after loosing, especially online. Sure, it a live game you can loose and still have fun, which usually happens, but not online (blogger tables excluded). Why do I expect such a swing in fortunes and then feel relieved when it came? Or was this just the start of a big downward swing? With some macabre sense of fate abound, I decided to tempt the Gods. I re-bought.

I justified it in my mind because I was only doing this to clear the bonus. I made the fatal mistake yet again of looking at the cashier screen. I was 72 cents short of the magical $600 mark. I plugged away and hit bugger all, and loosing $5 or so on a hammer bluff than got called all the way down by TPTK. The distraction came home, so did the room mate. I decided to play out the hands until the big blind came around and then call it quits. I was able to limp from late position with 44 and told myself I need to hit the flop or fold. I did just that, on a K94 rainbow flop. My opponent had a King and called my all in on the fourth suited turn card, and I doubled up with everybody home watching me. I went back to the cashier screen, and it read $611.

I should have shut the computer down right then, but I didn’t. I walked away, but I didn’t turn the computer off. It was left there – with the red optical mouse glowing, the small orange button on the monitor joining in, despite being in power saving mode. It blinked every now and then – mocking me, in a slurred Morse Code.

I ate dinner. I watched TV. I felt a little tired. I got bored with TV. I didn’t want to go to bed yet. The lights were tempting.

I went back in. I knew what I was doing though. I would try another $10 SNG just to keep me above the $600 mark.

I was getting my ass kicked. Nothing was coming off, I made some suspect pre-flop calls (K8c, but their sooted!) and looked at a very small stack. And this table was very different. 2 players out on the very first hand (which if I limped I would have won), another player out before the orbit was finished. Again, with a massive short stack, I was forced to play some shit cards and hope for the best. While on the big blind, I was isolated by one player. I already had $400 in blinds on the table, and I only had another $200 to kick in. I had T8o. Really, there is only one thing to do here, and it helped that perhaps they were on a blind steel, or just bullying the short stack as they should. I had to go all in, and they flipped over 66. Paired the 8 and doubled up. Somebody loves me.

From here I was able to double again and on the bubble, we had four pretty even stacks. I was lucky enough to have the blinds folded to me twice, which was a relief because my cards were 8 high at best. The player to my right knocked the other two out and eventually he beat my KQs with J9s when he paired the nine.

So I went from relieved at loosing to having one of my better sessions on the night, up a little over $40. I hope I have more down days like this coming.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Never Say Die

Willie Mays Hayes: What the hell league you been playing in?
Rick Vaughn: California Penal...
Willie Mays Hayes: Never heard of it. How'd you end up playing there?
Rick Vaughn: Stole a car.
”Major League”

I don’t care how many people thought that was a bad movie, when I saw it back in the early 90’s I thought it was great and that child like enthusiasm has yet to wane.

Had another good session last night, placed 2nd twice in the two $10 SNG I played. In the second one, with 5 people left I was down to 600 with 200/400 blinds left. The player in 4th had doubled up twice thanks to a lucky call and a folded BB to him that I wasn’t too happy about. I just said to myself “I will win this. There is no way I’m going out in 4th or 5th.” I have to admit I did get lucky with A2o hitting two pair on an all in to beat A5o – it’s those coin flips that you need. I did manage to knock out 4th to get in the money and then lost when my ATd was out drawn by A7o. I was happy with the result regardless.

I sat down at a $1/$2 Omaha table as I like to do, and within 4 hands the table broke with me up a whole $3. I wasn’t happy with that and there didn’t look like any other 6 max tables available at the time so it was off to the $25NL tables again.

Many other bloggers have already commented on the reduced blinds at Party. I thought it was weird, and since I really only play these tables to double up once and clear the bonus I have going, I was disappointed. Often 4 limpers to a pot will fold to one bet post flop. Not only does this mean the winner is now taking 75c instead of $1.40 they would have taken, it also means the hand doesn’t count for a raked pot. I know, you shouldn’t be playing these tables to clear a bonus, but I have only just started to beat them, I feel I have to. Besides, it’s working for now anyway.

I managed to double up with KQ on a flop of KQx. After some pre-flop raises, UTG bets $5, LP calls and I went all in for $15. Got UTG to call with AK which was what I hoped he had. Of course, KK would have knocked me on my ass, but he would have raised that one more pre-flop methinks.

I made the fatal mistake of looking at the cashier screen after this. My balance was $599.60. Damn it, all I needed was another 40 cents to break that magical $600 mark. I pressed on and tried to get there, but dropped another $10 in the process. It was getting late so I let it slide this time, leave that milestone for another day.

I have added the excellent blog of Chris Halverson to the blogroll on the side there. It really is a well written blog and very popular already amongst our little community. I’d be surprised if anyone is reading “Poker On Film” and not his blog, but it is added to the side there more so it becomes part of my blog reading too.

I feel the need for some live game action. I was reading on a local poker forum about the free poker room here in Sydney, and how they had some problems last week with one player accusing another two players of team betting. The officials didn’t back up the complainer and he cried foul, complaining in a public forum over how badly the club was being run. The club responded, and shed some more light on the subject and to cut a long story short, it seems all parties are happy now. My point here is I was very impressed in how the Sydney poker community is travelling. These guys run this club without profit (no rake or seat charges, as a gambling license would be impossible) and put in a heap of time. I only wish I had the bank roll to play at their limits – what with $500 buy in tournaments and what not. That and the place is all the way into the city with no parking no doubt. Have to try to organise another home game very soon I say.

I wish I had some more interesting stuff to blog about, but I am just grinding away at the moment. Still climbing slowly, I haven’t had a down session in a while (touch wood), really enjoying it at the moment.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Still Moving Up

Dante Hicks: But you hate people.
Randal Graves: Yes, but I love gatherings. Isn't it ironic?

It’s funny, poker is always described as a grind, and right now I am enjoying that grind. Sure, I only play for an hour or so a day, and yes winning sessions are a lot more fun than loosing ones, but the grind is good at the moment. With the current exchange rate I have surpassed the AU$720 mark for the first time. If however the exchange rate were back to where it was 18 months ago, it would have been over $1K Australian by now. Come on Americans, where is your mighty Greenback now when I need it?

I had only 30 minutes or so to play yesterday, as the distraction and I were headed into the thriving metropolis of Sydney, as she had scored some corporate tickets to the basketball semi-finals. It’s amazing how similar every SNG has been lately. Fold, blind down to be second smallest or smallest, double up, double up, steel, knock a few out, take home some money. Happy to say I had no bad beats and caused none. I did manage to double up with JJ vs TT, which was very handy at the time. In the end, first hand of heads up (me with a $5K, him with $3K) I bluffed with 23h and he raised all-in. I had bluffed far too much, and with the distraction waiting for me I called to see him show Q8o. It was good enough. Next hand I was all-in with QJh, and his King paired to take 1st place. I was out the door before the table had even closed down.

The basketball game was excellent, and corporate box seats are just the best. The Sydney Kings (two time defending NBL champs) blasted the Brisbane Bullets in a high action game, and the crowd was really into it. Afterwards we went into one of the corporate lounges at the Entertainment Centre and had a few drinks. Before long, half the players and a few legends joined everyone. It made me think – this would never happen in the NBA. All the players and their partners (and their kids too) mixing it with the punters and having a few drinks. No player was above having their photo taken or chatting to the fans there, it was a real family atmosphere. I know these teams run on their corporate sponsors, but it was really good to see. But I still had to rush home in time to see the highlights of the game on the news - I don’t know why but I just have to do this for any game I see live.

So the grind continues. I had some bad news yesterday, as one of the scripts I entered into a competition was knocked back – disappointing, but not a real surprise. The majority of contestants and judges are the 35+ arty type. Our script features 18-24 year olds, lesbians, lots of swearing and one guy who masturbates using popcorn. Apparently the focus groups were too narrow-minded.