Friday, April 29, 2005

Getting No Love

Evil: Oh, Benson... Dear Benson, you are so mercifully free of the ravages of intelligence.
Benson: Oh, you say such nice things, Master.
Evil: Yes I know, I'm sorry!
”Time Bandits”

Funny thing I forgot to mention about the other night’s games. In a very passive game, I was up against one of the lesser experienced players and I got caught. I held some crap like 83o, and got a flop of 83x. I bet out and got called. Turn is another rag, I bet out and got called. River is a Queen, I bet out for a third time and get called. They showed Q3o, and were calling all that way with a pair of threes. Oh well, what can you do? I figured I would wait for a bigger hand and capitalise on this.

On one hand where I am the dealer we have 7 (!!!) seeing the flop. With my pocket pair of 8’s, I just called. Flop comes Q88, and I have great position. It gets checked all the way around to me and I make a minimum raise. Everybody folded. Ok, so maybe I should have checked it through to the river, but man you couldn’t believe my luck. We had several raised pots get 4 to the showdown, and here I was not getting any action at all! I learned my lesson, and when you flop the stone cold nuts, let someone else make a hand before you make a move.

Also one more interesting thing, on the way home after the Distraction and I took second and third respectively, she said she felt guilty about taking their money.

I just laughed and laughed. Then I slapped her.

I’m kidding, except for the laughing part.

Had some spare time last night, and couldn’t find an Omaha game on Noble Poker, so I entered into a free roll satellite for the WSOP at Poker pages. The top ten got a $1 entry into another satellite, which was going into a third satellite, then into another and then finally a MTT to win a WSOP seat. 144 or so entered, and since it was a free roll why not? About 10 minutes in I looked at when the next tournament was and realised I couldn’t play in it anyway because we have a friends 21st on that night. Oh well, time to run a little experiment then.

After the usual crazy all-in first hand people were busted, I decided to turn my aggression meter way up. If I got any ace, it meant a 6BB raise. Same with any two cards above a ten, and even some suited connectors.

It was amazing, I had 4x the starting stack and hadn’t seen a showdown. I hadn’t hit a flop either. But unfortuantly dinner was on the table so I wanted to leave. With two all-ins in front of me, I called with Q3c. I hit the third club on the river and was now chip leader. Yeah, well it’s a free roll anyway.

Onwards I went, rarely loosing a pot I played in. At one stage, I had the second place player betting into me on the big blind. I called and we saw a king high flop. He made a decent raise, I called. Turn brought out a diamond draw – he bets again, I called. The river put a pair of kings on the board. He bets, and I pushed. It was a T150,000+ pot and he had less than T20,000 left. He folded, and I just had to show my 83o. I think he was on tilt after that. Stupid free rolls!

So we eventually get down to the final table, which means everyone has won a $1 seat. There is no difference between first and tenth. I have the chip lead and push all-in with K7 or something, who cares? Well, only 3 people called. I won it, and then pushed again next hand with whatever crap I had, and it’s folded to me. Looks like some people really care where they finish in these free rolls. I think I went out in 5th or something, but I won’t be playing in the next one regardless.

It was a good little experiment. It’s bloody annoying when somebody raises every single hand at a table, but it is very tricky when they only raise every 2nd hand when they have something. This happened the other night with Vinny, you couldn’t tell if he was bluffing or not, but you suspected he had a naked ace or two pieces of paint at least. The variance seems to be a little higher but it was all good in the end (except for the one suck out of course). I enjoyed not being the usual rock that I am.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A 99% Favourite Gets Beaten 1% Of The Time

Gracchus: The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate, it's the sand of the Colosseum. He'll bring them death and they will love him for it.

There have been some rumblings going around lately. We’ve seen it a million times – suckouts, bad beats, the 2-outer river card. Not much you can do about it. We love telling these stories just as much as we hate them happening to us. He called for all his stack on an inside straight draw and hit it – what can you do?

My worst ever was having Aces full beaten by Quad 8’s on the river, a genuine one-outer. It was only a SNG so my loses were limited. But what happens next? Do I berate the other player? Complain that online poker is rigged? Wish for his family to die in a horrible manner?

My usually corse of action is to put in the chat window “Nice catch” or “Ouch” and leave it at that. Sure, I swear at the monitor and bang the desk – then later I piss and moan right here about how unlucky I was and how much I deserved that pot. The vast majority of players I see online will do even less than this and say nothing online. Maybe they just make players notes and wait for their day to come. I’m fine with that, that’s cool.

But just recently, the ugly end of the bad beat has been showing. Firstly this weekend at the Omaha 08 at Noble, and then in the WPBT WSOP satellite. Happy to say the second one has all been cleared up now by cooler heads.

I mean, this is no new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. People getting angry when they are ahead and end up on the loosing end has been around about 5 minute less than poker has.

It sucks when someone is “luckier” than you. Luck is getting something for nothing, at a totally random time. The dictionary definition curtesy of says:

“To gain success or something desirable by chance”

Everybody plays their hands differently. That’s why we don’t play with the cards face up so that the best hand always wins. I have yet to see anyone make a stupid play, win, then get blasted from the victim and finally the villain gives the pot back out of guilt.

The only way to win a pot at showdown is with the best cards. If you don’t have them, then berating the other player with not make your hand any better.

In closing, there is a little saying that we have all heard of, one that we all know and love.

Don’t tap the glass. Words to live by.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The Distraction Joins The Game

Dirk: You're not the boss of me, Jack. You're not the king of Dirk. I'm the boss of me. I'm the king of me. I'm Dirk Diggler. I'm the star. It's my big dick and I say when we roll.
”Boogie Nights”

This quote brought to you by the good Dr.Pauly.

Well it has been a while since I have graced this blog. I haven’t had time to breathe of late, and not a hand of poker was played for weeks. Thankfully, this last weekend was a long weekend here in Australia and I had plenty of opportunity to play some live games and get some online action going.

Monday was a public holiday because 90 years ago some British bloke couldn’t read a map and heaps of Aussie and Kiwi soldiers got killed because of it. ANZAC Day as it is known is now the best non-present giving holiday of the year. We pay our respects to the fallen soldiers, two-up is legal for the day (I think technically it isn’t, but no cop would dare bust up a game of two-up on ANZAC day) get the day of work and there is always an awesome Essendon vs Collingwood footy game on. But back to poker…

Saturday morning I decided to get back into the Omaha 8 tourneys at Noble Poker that Scurvy organised. I have missed the last couple and was very keen to get back into it. 10 people showed up for the $5 entry, but due to the structure the top 10 get paid – go figure. So 10th gets $1.25 and 1st gets $15. But hey, these are more for fun than money so what does it matter?

It would be amiss for me not to mention that the deck hit me fair in the face. I took a nice pot early when my top set improved to a full house, and it only got better from there. I would flop the nut low, get a flush draw on the turn and then the nut-flush on the river. I could do no wrong, which clearly pissed off one person at the table. Hey, when you are on a run, you keep playing. So after dragging 3-4 pots with the nuts, I decided to see another flop with 44xx. Without much raising, I saw until the river and hit my four to scoop the pot. One player sitting across from me decided to let everyone know what he felt. There is no need to name names, everyone there knows who I am talking about. It’s a shame really, but at least the other 8 players were cool and hung around for a little while afterwards.

When we had three left, I had 11,000 of the 15,000 chips on the table. And I was still hitting flops. It’s very easy to make it look like you’re playing good poker when you have the cards.

I joined a ring game later on to try and clear some of the bonus dollars, and took in a few more pots that left me up a little more for the day.

Saturday night and we have a live game going, 9 runners. Very friendly $10 game with many first timers – which made it very hard. What was also difficult was my Distraction was playing (for my newer readers, the “Distraction” is my fiancĂ©. Long story, read the archives if you want). Now this doesn’t annoy me, she’s welcome to play and I think it’s great that we share a passion for the same pastime. What worried me was if she lost, she would be very pissed and I would have to live with that for the next few days. If she won, she wouldn’t let me hear the end of it for months. My simple instructions to her were before you bet, the first thing you are to think is “What is the nuts?”. Thank you
Matthew Hilger. It’s best to start with small steps.

The tourney was good fun, although the “Poker Police” had to come out a few times – splashing the pot, string bets and so on. The Distraction took a big pot early, and even though she had the nuts (78 with 3456 on the board) she was shaking. Someone with a 2 called her bets and she continued to shake with nerves for an hour later. She makes great bluff tells!

We had one player who accumulated a massive chip lead early and never surrendered. He doubled me up twice and one other player, and it hardly made a dent. In one hand, he put the short stack all-in and then showed his cards (78o) before the SS had a chance to call. Now I think this should have made the hand dead or forced him to fold perhaps, but since the SS had a better hand (A5s) we were keen for someone to take something off the massive chip leader. The SS felt guilty about calling, but changed his mind when a 7 on the turn was joined by an 8 on the river. That hurt.

Top three paid, and it was the chip leader, the Distraction and I battling for the big dollars. I was happy because at least two of the money places were coming back to my place tonight, it just depended on which ones.

The distraction put me all-in with a re-raise. I checked the time and it was getting late, we’re in the money so why not call with T7s? Because my princess was holding two Queens. She knocked me out and soon lost a race to the big stack. One funny hand heads up, she had QJs . The flop comes AKK, the turn A. I think she has the best kicker and told her to go for it. She does and he calls, showing Jack high. The river brings another Queen though, and we have to split this one up. The very next hand, the board shows the exact same cards. The deck had been shuffled and the players got different hands, just the board was identical. Weird.

So a third place finish for me and second for her.

Sunday night we had a more serious game at our place, with hopefully 5 players. One cancelled at the last moment and the Distraction stood in to make up the numbers again. Again she was scared because she stood to loose what she made last night.

We played a $15 +$5 Terminator, which basically means $15 goes into the pot plus everybody has a $5 bounty on their head. It made it somewhat interesting.

One of the players, whom I shall call Vinny, seemed very determined tonight. He has played twice in these games and got his money back the first time, and lost to an idiot who went all in every hand the second time. I noticed that he always likes to sit on my left – maybe he has me targeted? You can tell he thinks about the game a lot, and is really disappointed that he hasn’t cashed here more before. This night he turned his aggression right up, and man was it hard to read.

During normal table talk, he asked who Doyle Brunson was, and claimed to have never heard of him or Super System. I said nothing, but I am 99% sure this was a bluff. I was sure he was going to say “I’ve only played on Yahoo” next. Thank you Iggy, I am wise to these shim-shams now.

It was one of the best aggression games I have seen played. He didn’t go overboard with it, but you had to be sure of your hand if you wanted to get in the pot. I managed to push him off maybe twice, but wimped out most of the time. Nobody could put him on a hand, but he just couldn’t put anyone away. When we did have a hand and pushed, he was forced to call and would be behind, doubling us up.

My Distraction made a decent sized pre-flop raise, and then the small stack went all-in after her, the rest folded around. She looked deep in thought, and said “I don’t know if I want to call, but I guess I have to.” I was picturing small pocket pairs or maybe medium suited connectors. She reluctantly called with the Aces! I never saw them once for the entire weekend, and she nearly folds them pre-flop! The wedding would have been off if she did that. The Aces held up too, which was good to see.

We only pay the top two in this game, and it was down to Vinny, the distraction and I again. I gave a large amount of my stack to the distraction on a poorly timed bluff with the hammer. The distraction calls my pre-flop raise and then goes all-in on a K high flop. I look at my 72o, and after making it look like a big lay down, I muck. She shows the Cowboys. She may have been just a little too strong there, but she had become the chip leader by this stage, and I was nearly down to the felt.

Vinny picked the wrong time to go up against the chip leader and bounced out on the bubble. Man, was I happy to see that. After he played so well all night, he made one mistake. I had maybe 4-5 BB in front of me, and of the remaining 99% of chips on the table, he had maybe 40% of them. Why take on the big stack? It was a shame though because he deserved to be ITM, but made one mistake that cost him. I was out not much longer and the Distraction had posted her first win! She tried her best not to rub it in, but she couldn’t stop smiling, giggling and shaking still.

We fired up a winner takes all $10 Turbo, with the blinds rising every orbit and doubling on a knockout. One player was knocked out on the very first hand, which made for a quick game. The Distraction knocked out Vinny again, and he left pretty disappointed again. I had crippled him when he went all-in with A5o and I called with A9s, and then paired them both, but unfortunately the Distraction got to collect his bounty again.

I did get revenge though, and took all of her chips later. That was a risky move – not because of the cards, but because of the consequences. I can now say that I check-raised my fiancĂ© for all of her chips and lived to tell the story. If she hadn’t of finished 2nd and 1st in her last to outings, I could have been in real trouble.

Holding A7d, the flop is a beautiful three diamonds. My 7 ruined any chance of a straight flush, so I just check. The turn brings another diamond, and I check again. She takes a stab at the pot, which tells me she might have something. I smooth call, which should have sent warning bells off.

The river brings a fifth diamond, and I check. She throws out a fair sized bet, and I re-raise all-in. She knows I love to bluff her out of pots and calls. I ask if she has a diamond, and she replies in the affirmative. I say “I bet it’s not as good as this one” and show the ace. She took it rather well though, and being 3am probably helped.

Before long I won an all-in with JJ vs AK, with no help coming for Big Slick on the flop or turn, a Jack on the river sealed it. It sure was great fun playing with decent players again.

My results for the three live games were 3, 2, 1 while my Distraction was 2,1,3. With over $100 of the winnings left sitting in the middle of the table, one of the players remarked “Damn, look at the rake this casino charges.”

It was a good weekend.

Friday, April 15, 2005

My Life as an Amputee

Al Giordino: Man, the Admiral's gonna freak when he hears you blew up his satellite phone.
Dirk Pitt: Not as much as when Rudy tells him that it was attached to the boat.

Hello one and hello all. I have been absent from blogger land for over a week due to traveliing for work and then being struck down in my prime (flu). I also had the luck to undergo a small amputation during this hiatus. The good news is, the amputation was just a "skin tag" about the size of a pea that I have had since birth. The bad news is, it was located on my eye lid.

It was a very quick procedure, to rid me off this little friend that had lived with me for nearly 25 years. Just had to burn the little sucker off aparantly. Firstly though, I needed a little anesthetic. In my eye lid.

Now see, I am grown man. I have played many contact sports in my time. I have had ribs broken, torn ligaments and had my fair share of cuts and bruises. I pride myself on my high threshold of pain. Needles however are another thing. A needle being pressed gently into the thin layer of skin over your FUCKING EYE is terrifying - even more so because if I flinch or close my eyes hard, there is a little chance that the doc might slip.

The doctor wasn't bothering me with a running commentary, and of course I had my eyes closed for this so I had no idea what was happening and when. I still don't know if that is good or bad.

The procedure took about 10 minutes, though it felt like hours. When I finally opened my eyes, I looked on the little table and saw many gauzes and tissues stained red. It's amazing to think all that blood came from such a think layer of skin.

Sadly, Mr Doctor lost my little friend before I could have a look at him with my left eye for the first time ever. See, he was attached to the outside of my left eye, so for my right eye to see him I had to close my left. But I'm sure you understood that.

I now consider myself an amputee, and I have "phantom skin-tag" pains at random times.

Pity. He may have made a good card protector.

Or was that just a lame and disgusting way to somehow get this post related to poker?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

My Own Worst Enemy

Blackadder: Baldrick, get the door.
[there is a crash and Baldrick enters with the door]
Blackadder: Now, Baldrick, I advise you to make whatever explanation you are about to give exceptionally good.
Baldrick: You said get the door.
Blackadder: Not good enough, you're fired.
Baldrick: But I've been in your family since 1557.
Blackadder: So has syphilis. Now get out.
”Blackadder II”

Sorry for the lack of posts of late, I have been dealing with a lot of non-poker relating things here in the real world, including but not limited to my job and organising the wedding for later this year, as well as my world record attempt which is mere weeks away.

Had a bad weekend at the tables, even if the net result was only down $20 or so. On Thursday night I played brilliantly in two small tournaments. The first was a 10 BBP tournament satellite into a $4 satellite, which would go into a $20 tournament. While it may seem a lot of work for one tournament, consider this: Top four in each of the satellites gets an entry into the next, and only 30 or so people enter them. Also it would be a good little time waster and give me something to look forward to.

The first tournament was not a problem, and I made it down to the bubble where we waited for ages for the short stack to bust. He would fold everything and then be forced all in, and then he would have AK or something hold up. Since 1st to third all got paid the same prize, I was strangely looking forward to the 3-way blind all-in once the bubble had burst. I made it past the bubble, but lost the eventual all-in in both satellites to the chip leader.

The first satellite started at 7pm Sydney time, and the second was due to start at 11pm, which means a late night for me (and on a school night too!). I was dead tired at work the next day, but knowing I had the entry for the $20 tournament, with guaranteed prize money and a small field, coming this Saturday, I was a little pumped!

The final tournament was scheduled for “1am Saturday”, and here is where I made my mistake. I put aside time to play the tournament on Saturday night, even planned to make sure we had a quiet Saturday night so I could play in the tournament. It shouldn’t be a problem, because we had nothing to do Friday night and I was so tired from the night before that I was planning on hitting the sack (NOTE: “Hitting the sack” is slang in Australia for going to bed, not some sadomasochistic pastime as some of you may have guessed) early.

And I did. I was in bed asleep by 8.30pm Friday night.

I woke up the next day, and thought I would put myself in the poker frame of mind and logged into Poker Pages to play some micro limit stuff, and I thought I would see how many other early qualifiers there were for the tournament tonight.

Now, the more astute of you would have picked up the big mistake I have already made – but I didn’t realise it for about another hour or so.

1am Saturday is NOT Saturday night. It is Saturday morning, or more closer to Friday night than Saturday night After battling through two satellites and turning 10 cents into a $20 entry, I had slept through the final tournament that was paying the top five places (fifth was $89, 1st $300+). There were only 30 or so people in the tournament too. To mock me, my absentee hand came in 11th.

I was so pissed at myself, I only played one more game of poker for the entire weekend (and indeed since). It was a $10 SNG at the same site. After seeing no cards and working my way to the bubble, I raised pre-flop with ATo, and got two callers. Being the small stack, I was surprised they didn’t try to force me all in. Flop comes T99, and I instantly push as I will not get a better chance than this. The big stack thinks about it and calls, while the other folds.

He shows QJ for the open ended straight draw, and I’ll be damned if he didn’t hit a King on the river.

That sent me packing, and I haven’t played a hand since. Work has got me so bummed that I can’t see myself hitting the digital tables for a few more days at least, and hopefully I can get something going then.

I am also travelling again for work this week, meaning I will be unable to participate in the third instalment of Scurvy’s tournaments over at Noble Poker. I may enrol just to be dead money, but it usually pisses me off when people do that so I might just have to miss it.