Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Solid Play, Pleasing Results

Marv: This is blood for blood and by the gallon. These are the old days, the bad days, the all-or-nothing days. They're back! There's no choice left. And I'm ready for war.
”Sin City”

We’ll skip all the Christmas talk for now. I hope everyone enjoyed theirs, mine was great thanks for asking. Much drinking and merriment was had by all.

Friday night however was my triumphant return to the Turkish game. This game is filled with loose players willing to gamble it up – and it is extremely rare for any one of them to fold pre-flop to a raise or even re-raise unless it is an all in. Last time I was down about $40 and out of my depth, so this time I was prepared and ready to come out punching.

We get underway, playing NL Holdem, 10c/20c blinds with $20 max buy in. I am getting cold decked from the get go, and drop my first buy in about an hour into it. On the flop I had the nut flush draw and a small stack – I push and get called once by a middle pair, and my flush doesn’t come. That’s one down…

I continue to be amazed by hat people will see a flop with after my Big Slick pre-flop raise to $2.50 (or 12.5 BB) fails to scare off 35o. Anyways, you go into these games knowing that so when it happens you have nobody to blame but yourself.

I keep making my pre-flop raises regardless, and try to limp a few hands out of position with suspect cards also. They miss and I drop, and the play continues. We are into the second hour, I am half way through my second buy-in and still yet to pull a pot. I loose my second buy in when my jack high flush is trumped by a king high flush. Re-buy!

Before long, the numbers grow and grow and we end up playing 12-handed for a few hands before it is decided to split the table in two. This can only be good, because 12 handed was far too slow. I was already down 2 buy ins and eating into my third, but I kept thinking with this action just one pot could get me back to even. Every hand had 7-8 runners, and a bet of $2 on the flop would get nearly the same number of callers. Rarely would a hand be won without showdown, I just needed one hand to pay off. It never came though. The best starting hand I had was pocket 7’s, which I dropped post flop (the hand was won by pocket nines regardless).

After 3 and a half hours, I pulled my first pot, a whopping $1.50. I stood up and applauded myself. 5 minutes later, I won my second and had my third buy in back.

My major problem was AK. A few times I felt that laying it down on the flop was the right move, when it turned out to be wrong. If I called the three times this happened instead of folding, I would have been even already. But oh well, that’s poker right?

I start getting some cards that match the board, and slowly move up in chips – even taking out a few players. After the 6th hour, we have had enough people leave the game to reform back into one table of reasonable size. I nearly have my second buy in back.

The remaining players have changed the game slightly, and my pre-flop raises of $2 are met with groans. Good – I want people to feel uncomfortable playing against me. I did so with good hands only though, usually ace plus paint. I get my best starting hand for the entire night, 99, and fold it post flop when it comes out with paint all over it. I guess some nights you have to do without Aces.

It was frustrating having all these bad cards, when someone sitting across the table had their pocket pairs hit sets 3 times in the one orbit! And one of those times the pocket fours turned into quads. Alas, the grass is always greener, isn’t it?

One of the hardest hands for me came at about this time, 8 hours into the session. With AsKd, I raise it my usual $2 pre-flop to get a few callers. Flop comes rainbow Kxx, no flush and no OESD are apparent. I bet out in early position for $4. The one player at the table who is notorious for being tight starts counting out his chips, and pushes all in for a farther $17 plus change. For the size of the game, it’s a pretty big bet from the tightest player at the table.

I go into the think tank as everybody else folds. My initial thought is to fold, but I decided I have to milk it for a moment just so they know they can’t go over the top of me all the time. I do have a decent hand, but I have to respect the rock.

And then I get thinking, what if he is making a move here? Sure, he is the tightest player ever, but he is aware of this and has been trying to correct it. He has even been taking pointers from other players about it during this game and others before. Could this be his first bluff?

I go through all the actions in this hand and the previous 8 hours. He hasn’t been seeing every flop like most of the players, and he has been raising/calling only with strong hands. I have folded AK three times tonight and been wrong about it, do I want to finally make the call and be wrong?

I count out the $17 just to see his reaction to it, but he isn’t watching. Could that be strength masked as weakness? Or is his attention genuinely distracted?

I hate big slick. I loose more money on that hand than on any other. But in the end, it is a TPTK hand really. It’s that kind of flop that suits AK really.

I’m taking much longer to think about this than I thought I would. I was just going to pose for a few seconds before folding, putting him on Aces or a flopped set. But for some reason, after never convincing myself that a call was the right move, I fling my chips into the middle – “You got aces?”

“No” he replies, “But it’s still pretty good”.

He has AdKs, and there is no cards in the deck that stop this from being a chopped pot. I made only a few dollars on that hand, but it really helped me focus again in the early hours of the morning.

I start stacking my chips up to see how much I have, and find out that I am about $1 over even. I keep my chips stacked in $20 piles, so I know where my profits are. I know how some players like to exploit this – for example, an opponent has $103 late in their session, and you bet out $4 just so they have to break their neat stacks and go under that $100 mark. Even though the bet is still only $4, the fact that it makes them dip below that $100 mark makes the call that little bit harder for some people. Even though I had stacked up my initial investment, I convinced myself that if I needed to re-invest it I would.

The game is getting into the wee hours, and I am still getting groans for my pre-flop raises. I make sure to comment every time someone groans, which makes it seem like I’m doing it far more often than I am.

One player, the rock, has counted out $30 even in chips and wants to cash out. The other players say he should hang around, we’ll only be playing for another 15 minutes or so. He’s thinking it over, and I chime in “You’re on the button, play the hands for free and see what you get.” He decides to do this, and groans as he is made to call my pre-flop raise the very next hand. I make a semi bluff on the turn, and he mucks it. Now he has broken his $30 stack. The host calls for one more orbit before we call it a night, since we are past the 9 hour mark now.

I made a bit of a blunder about this time. Early position with the board showing AKQx, I have A9. There hasn’t been too much action and I still think even a naked ace might have most of the field covered, and only another piece of Broadway would have me worried.. The river comes 9, and I think a small value bet might get one or two callers. I bet out for $4, about pot sized, and get one caller. “Two pair, kings and queens”. I call back “Top and bottom pair” and show my cards. He sighs, and then says “What two pair?” I say I hit it on the river, then re-check my cards. I’m gladly showing everyone my A7 and wondering what all the fuss is about.

Shit. I had A9 about 3 hands ago. I apologise, and tell him I really thought I did have A9, otherwise I wouldn’t have bet out on the river. He doesn’t care, and I think takes more satisfaction in ribbing my mistake than he does in raking in the pot.

On the final hand of the night, the majority of the players have already started racking up. I think I can take this one for a cheap win and do so on the turn when my hand is still unimproved. I show my hand and say “Yep, I definitely had it this time” and fling my A9 face up into the muck.

In the wash up, I cashed out at $85.90 for a grand profit of $25 – I left a 90 cent tip to the house because there was no change left. From not winning a pot in the first 3 hours and down nearly three buy ins to up a buy in and winning the very last hand on a bluff. My bets hand for the night was 99, and it never got past the flop.

It was a good solid night of poker and reminded me why I love playing live poker so much.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas And All That

Weensie: Listen, this is a serious situation. I mean, I'm kicked out of school. I don't know what I'm gonna do, man. My mom's gonna kill me.
Mitch: C'mon, she's not gonna kill you.
Weensie: Yes she is. See, I'm the first one to go to college in my family and when I left she said, "Weensie, if you screw this up, I'll kill you." She showed me the knife.
”Old School”

Coneheads – seriously Duggle, why?

I’m really looking forward to another live game tomorrow night, my triumphant return to the “Turkish Game”, and it looks like a packed house already.

My last visit to this infrequent game was a real eye opener. About 7 players, and they were all there to gamble. I was blown away and by night’s end I was down 2 buy-ins. To be honest, I was lucky it was only two.

Maybe I was cold decked slightly, maybe I was just too weak, or maybe I was just too light on the bankroll side of things to begin with in the first place that lead me to play with scared money. Whatever it was, tomorrow night it will be game on and back into the fray.

I too host home games, all to infrequently. I was considering making a home game a regular monthly thing, and this may still happen pending approval from the Distraction. I just think now that the home game circle has grown to over 40 people (un-be-lieveable!) that a regular thing say the first Friday of the month would be an easy groove to move to. I mean, obviously everyone isn’t going to make it every week, but that would provide a nice little mix of players for me to muck around with. Actually, the more I think about it the more I like about it.

I would love to be able to charge a rake or something at these home games, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. Even though all the guys are strangers to me outside of poker, I still consider them friends and charging them to play at my place is just wrong.

I think now that I have cashed out all my online winnings, I will have to develop a B&M poker bank roll. Usually what happens is I take money to the games to last me the night. If I loose, I write it off as entertainment expenses. If I win, I usually buy the distraction lunch/movie/dinner/drinks the next day (one or all of them, depending on the size of the win) and then it’s gone. I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with that, if that’s your thing, because live poker is relatively rare for me and I always had the online bankroll that I was building up. Now that is gone, I think I will take the bankroll side of online poker a little more seriously.

I have also come into a bit of a conundrum. Semi-poker related.

You know how sometimes, a friend or somebody you respect/have mutual respect for etc… does something you don’t agree with, what do you do? Do you point out the error of their ways, the wrongs in their preachings and proclamations? I think you should, but how do you do this without offending them, or coming off as a bit of a dick. Not to mention you might just alienate yourself from others who are always mutual friends and/or admirers.

And I’m not talking about Duggle Boggey’s taste in movies, although that is a very important topic for another time.

I feel almost like I am the one guy in the crowd that can see through the emperor’s new clothes – although that might be a bit of a lop sided statement from my point of view.

So, the downsides of taking saying something are possible loss of their friendship/respect, possible retaliation, same from mutual friends leading to a life lived in exile and shame.

And the up side? Well…um…I really can’t see any good coming from it. Do you think Shakespeare would have held the peasant that said “This Hamlet, it’s pretty much the same shit over again isn’t it?” in higher regard and standing? Ok, so there are better ways to give constructive criticism I guess.

Maybe I’m just too much of a pussy to challenge someone of higher stature than me? Bah, I’m not looking for advice here, just feeling the need to say something about it.

Moving on to better subjects, am I the only one that has noticed Christmas is just a few sleeps away? How awesome is that? I love this time of year – the public holidays, everyone is in a good mood, getting drunk with family, the boxing day cricket match – and oh yeah, the fucking presents baby! I think Santa has a shit load of DVD’s for me this year, which is still ok by me. The distraction and I are heading up to my Uncles place just north of Sydney, which will be great because they are cool people and unfortunately they could not make it to the wedding. We are sure to have some fun and laughs and a few drinks to celebrate the season, something to look forward to.

Since this will be my last post for a few days due to the holidays, I hope the Xmas season treats you well, and thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Heafy's House of Awesomeness

Sean Connery: I pose a conundrum to you, a riddle if you will.
Alex Trebek: I don't want to hear it.
Sean Connery: What's the difference between you and a mallard with a cold? One's a sick duck... I can't remember how it ends, but your mother's a whore.
”Saturday Night Live – Celebrity Jeopardy”

As promised, I am going to introduce a regular feature exclusive special article here on Poker On Film, right now and today even.

Just to break up the monotony of bitching about bad beats all the time, I’m going to introduce here “Heafy’s House of Awesomeness”. Each week, or whenever I could be bothered, I will induct something new into the House of Awesomeness. It might be a person, a place, an activity, a movie, a theme, a game, a food, or a TV show, or anything else that I consider worthy.

For no other reason than I had to stifle a laughing fit when I read that above quote yesterday, the first induction into HHA is Saturday Night Live.

If I watched every episode of SNL every week from start to finish, I would probably have a lower opinion of it. I get sick of some of the repeat characters that just have a lame catchphrase that they try to insert whenever they can. But when it’s good, SNL can be comedy heaven.

I read the SNL 25 year book, which was a great insight into what went on behind the scenes and had some fascinating stories about the show and the cast members.

SNL was never shown in Australia until recent years, but for some reason the video store I worked at got the compilation tapes. Man, when you take 2 years worth of sketches and whittle them down into 90 minutes, you can get some great stuff.

Anyways, I think I have made my point – SNL: Lots of filler, but some gold stuff comes of it. AND I don’t mean that damn cowbell, which I still don’t understand why people think it is funny.

Celebrity Jeopardy should have it’s own DVD, if it doesn’t already. We had “Game Show Parodies” at our video store, and despite going in with very low expectations, this became a regular for us to put on the store systems.

I’m sure video stores work the same elsewhere, but here in Australia we had TV all around the store, and they were hooked up to the one VCR at the front of the store. We were supposed to run a preview tape that had a bunch of ads on it, but that can get kinda boring for an eight hour shift. We were permitted to put PG or G rated videos on if we wanted, which we of course always did. But it was hard to find anything good in those categories that isn’t in the kids section (don’t get me wrong, the kids section did get some play), so the SNL tapes got a fair run. At one stage I had put on the 25 year anniversary tape 9 times in a row when some customer would ask what we were playing on the TV’s, and inevitably they would ask to borrow that tape. Pretty soon I stopped explaining everything to them and just handed the tape over. Since I worked at a number of video stores all owned by the same guy, I grabbed one of the tapes from one store and “transferred” it to the store I worked more regularly at, so I always had a back up copy.

Even when the show comes on and it looks crap – which usually starts with a crappy host – I’ll still hang around for Weekend Update. I think Chevy Chase is the only anchor for weekend update that I never liked. I have no idea why people find him funny, I think he fooled the world on that one. But Dennis Miller, Norm MacDonald, Jimmy Falon & Tina Fey, even Colin Quinn, all did an excellent job and was worth watching. Kevin Nealon…well, he didn’t do a bad job, it’s just that I don’t remember anything great about it either.

I think my favourite period was ironically enough the worst period ratings wise for the show, around the early 90’s when they had Sandler, Spade, Farley, Rock, and Schneider.

A bad host usually means a bad show, but sometimes the regular cast can pull it out of the dumps. But when the host is into it, everything turns to gold. You can tell with the ones that come back so often that it is going to be a good show – the likes of Christopher Walken, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Tom Hanks et al.

I can only think of two movie spin offs that actually worked from SNL, those being The Blues Brothers and Waynes World. All the spin offs since then have been mostly absolute bombs (even though I liked A night at the Roxbury). You almost feel sorry for them when they come out. Even Al Franken has been known for making jokes about how bad “Stewart Saves His Family” went.

Finally, one of my all time favourite parts of Saturday Night Live, and one of the best emails circulating every year or so, Jack Handy quotes. Here be my favourite:

“Kids love jokes. So one day I told my 7 year old nephew that I would take him to Disney world. Instead, I drove him to a burned out warehouse and said, "Uh oh, Disney world burned down." He cried and cried, but deep down I bet he thought it was pretty funny. I was going to take him to the real Disney World, but it was getting late.”

So there we have it, the first induction to Heafy’s House of Awesomeness. Tune in next week when shit will more than likely be the same.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Has It Gone Too Far?

Carl Denham: Fay! Fay! What about Fay? She would be perfect!
Preston: She's already filming something for RKO.
”King Kong”

So we went and saw Kong last night. I had two of my friends give me polar opposite reviews of the movie, and just like I suspected I fell somewhere in between. It was good, but did it have to be three hours?

I am left with spare change only in my Titan poker account. I got bored with playing 1c/2c no limit, and decided to put everything into a $10 SNG. I have done the same thing about 5 times now, put a diminished all on the line in one SNG and it always ends the same – a bad beat bubble story. But this time was different. I finished fifth instead of forth.

Long story short, I went all-in on a flop of 7s5c5s with 99. One player called with KsQc for 2/3 of his stack. Running spades was good enough for me to say goodnight. I thought it was the right move at the time, but what can you do?

We were at a Christmas party last Saturday night, the Distraction and I, and before long we found out how many people were interested in poker. I think our home game circle just grew slightly…

I’m going to add a few new things to the site over the new year period. At one stage I was updating every Wednesday with “Know Your Australian”, but quickly I got bored of this and run out of things to mention that would take more than 2 lines. However, I liked having a regular feature on the site, so I will be trying something I have had my mind for a while come this Wednesday. Please, hold your breath for it.

I see that there is planned a $80M poker tournament next year, that will grow to $100M first place pay out by 2008. You can find out more about it right
here. At first, I thought this was just a prank but it does look legit now.

Is this too much? I mean, where does it end? The players I assume will be entering with sponsorship dollars mostly, and quite likely a deal will be done between them for such a staggering amount of money. How could you say no to a $13M chop?

To me, it sounds like a bit of a farce. Just because there is that much money on the line, it isn’t going to make the play any better or more exciting. Look at the $2M champions game last year won by Annie Duke. Sure, it was good seeing all those pros at the one table, but it didn’t really have much intensity until it was heads up. Anyways, I just think it won’t be the greatest thing to poker.

I don’t know if there are farther updates on this available around the net, but apparently one of the “confirmed” players (apart from Joe Haschem, who is mentioned in the article) is Phil Ivey.

Something stops me from getting too excited about this event. I just can’t see it being a success for some reason.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Home Game Refund

Butch: So we cool?
Marsellus: Yeah, we cool. Two things. Don't tell nobody about this. This shit is between me, you, and Mr. Soon-To-Be-Living-The-Rest-of-His-Short-Ass-Life-In-Agonizing-Pain Rapist here. It ain't nobody else's business. Two: you leave town tonight, right now. And when you're gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You lost all your L.A. privileges. Deal?
Butch: Deal.
”Pulp Fiction”

Had another go at the home game scene last Saturday night – with a difference. The Distraction wanted to play once again. This looked like a loose-loose situation to me.

The reason being, last time she played she did quite well, and was rather proud of herself. So she wanted to play again, and I had to organise a “wives and girlfriends” game for her. So if she wins again, I won’t hear the end of it – Loose. If she does really bad, she will feel bad and whinge about it forever and a day – Loose.

But like a good little boy, I went ahead and organised the “Wives and Girlfriends” game, clearly aware of the fact that only one “Wife or Girlfriend” would be there.

Instead we had a few new faces, guys that I know outside of poker. They are like everyone else, having recently caught the poker bug. I decided to include them for this little game, and lower the buy ins right down so they feel comfortable. Not that we play massive levels anyway, but it was just a fun game anyway.

We had seven runners, third get’s their money back, second was $20 first was $40.

The new guys were pinned right away as calling stations, and they didn’t disappoint. Sadly, they were the first three eliminated. I wish at least one of them could have made the top three, give them a little bit of confidence to continue to get better.

The final one of them eliminated was quite funny. The flop was 93J, and as he is the short stack he goes all-in with J6, which is ok I guess considering his stack size. Unfortunately, the good player sitting across from him (not me) had 99 for the flopped set. The turn brings a 6, and the good player says “Now you need a Jack, or another six…” I wen’t to chime in, but the dealer had already thrown the river out there – and it was indeed another six. They cheered, until I stopped them and pointed out 9’s over 6’s beats 6’2 over Jacks.

But you should have seen the look on their faces when the second six fell. And then the look when I told them there is no Easter Bunny.

Please, no Easter Bunny comments.

Personally, I was travelling ok. I wasn’t playing many hands and the ones I did I manage to pull a few pots. The new guys all left, but I’m pretty sure they enjoyed it anyways and would return. In fact, I found out the next day they actually wanted to return an hour later, but their designated driver was too drunk.

On the bubble, the Distraction found herself the short stack as she had been cold decked all night. I had the pleasure of knocking her out when she lost a coin flip – and then find myself in a very unfamiliar position, being the chip leader.

This was rare for me, as I’m usually one of those guys that make a late run when it’s down to two or three. I’m not used to having a mountain of chips in front of me and being able to see a raise without putting my stack on the line.

You know what? That’s fun. Having chips rocks!

Through some no-doubt ingenious play (“ingenious” because it was by me and “no-doubt” because the alcohol slightly affects my memory) I manage to accumulate more chips and force out third in a coin-flip. To tell the truth, I just got some good hands that got paid off, which is always nice.

Heads up against the loud Turkish regular. He’s a top bloke, but I would never live this down if I lost from my massive lead here. I also know he loves heads up matches and does quite well with them. Last time we were heads up, we chopped to get the next tourney going and I kind of regretted it.

After a bit of back and forth action, and we see nearly every flop with a raise. In the SB, I make my usual raise and he comes back over the top all-in. I have him easily covered, and call since I’m holding the holiest of holy pocket aces for the first time in the night. He shows A7s, and is obviously a huge dog in this hand. The flop doesn’t help him, and by the turn he’s drawing dead.

Hooray for me.

With only four of us left, we decided to keep going since the night was still young. One player wanted to try a seven card stud game, so we went $5 winner take all. After a while, when me and Turkish already sitting on the side lines, we called it a chop because it looked like it was going to last forever and we had had our fill of 7-card.

For the end of the night, we went into a $10 max buy in NL cash game. I’m becoming more and more fond of them lately.

By this stage, I was “happy drunk”, and also the only person at the table drinking. I was getting good cards, and they were hitting. I was bluffing, and scaring everyone away. I had cleaned out the other two players at the table once each forcing them to reload.

Then my distraction decided to try her best against the big stack.

I had been on fire though. I would throw out some random amount of chips and say “I raise, and then you fold.” She would get the shits, because she would be folding, and was disappointed that she must have some really obvious read. Truth be known, I just had the nuts and was hoping she would call or re-raise to spite me. Anyways, she gets down to a low stack, and this nifty little hand pops up.

I limp with pocket tens, and get to see a TsQd4s flop, with two spades. My lovely distraction does the push, and I of course call to see that she has a spade draw.

The turn is a rag, leaving her with the final outs. The dealer says “All she needs is a spade on the river” and WHAM, there it comes, the Queen of spades. She rejoices!

“WRONG SPADE!” I shout, and point to the other one on the board. She gets a bit tilted, and threatens to go to bed, seeing that it was 4am. But since the other two guys are still willing to play we convinced her to hang around. Instead of buying back in, she just stole a stack from me. While this is very poor poker etiquette, under the circumstances it was just fine by everyone so who is to care?

I didn’t let her forget the fact though that they were my chips, and they will just come back to me anyway.

Very next hand, I raise her big blind – something I had not failed to do all night long. She reminds me of that fact, and I told her “Well, go on then, push it in”. She did so, and I called. I had her dominated as my Queens against her 8’s. She just took the chips back again and kept playing. But at least I can say I cleaned her out 3 times on the night.

We go on for about another hour, when on the final hand Turkish goes all in on a KJJxx board. I have KT, and there was not much action on the flop or turn so the all-in bet was quite a large raise.

I thought and thought about it, and I didn’t want to call but I had a feeling I had the better hand. I looked at the clock and it was just after 5am, so I made them an offer they couldn’t refuse…

“I tell you what, you’ve both bought in for $20 total, right? I don’t want to call, but I think I might have the best hand. Tell you what, it’s been a good night why don’t you both take your buy-ins back regardless of what happens here – I’ll call just to see if I have you beat”.

I didn’t, as he had flopped the Jacks over Kings. So why did I give them both their buy-ins back?

Well, firstly I did think it was a little unfair that the Distraction and I were playing from the same purse. Even though I was the only one pulling in any money for us, and I certainly wasn’t going easy on her, you still don’t want to leave any doubt or bad taste.

Secondly, it had been a good night and we were playing in what I had dubbed a “beginner’s game”. Both guys had stayed around well into the morning and I was enjoying myself, so it was kind of a “thanks for coming” thing too. I just felt like it was the right thing to do at the end of the night. It also meant everyone went home up just a little on the night (out of those that stayed until 5am – except the distraction of course).

And besides, it wasn’t like I had cleaned them out with any skill or anything; I just hit some good cards and got paid.

Even after a good night’s sleep, and the alcohol had worn off, I still don’t regret giving their (small) buy ins back, it was the right thing to do.

Not that I'm going to make a habbit of it, mind you.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Look, I'm A Winner

Archie Graham: Hey ump, how 'bout a warning?
Umpire: Sure, kid. Watch out you don't get killed.
”Field of Dreams”

It seems everyone is Vegas bound. Even a large number of my poker playing Australian friends are heading over either just before or just after Christmas. One day I will make it…one day…

I’ve added to the side a few references to past posts. These are not really great moments in writing, but more just the posts that followed a good win or a monumental moment in my poker career. Can you call a $5 win a monumental moment in a poker career? Well I did.

It’s just easier for me to find them this way, and maybe some people might like to read them as an executive summary to the entire blog. It also serves as a reminder that online poker isn’t always a grind. While there are downs, that also implies that there are ups. Those posts to the side are of the glass half full variety. I think I am missing a MTT result somewhere in there, I’ll look for it one day.

The new PC works like a charm, no problems to speak of so far. I’m already spending far too much time on it and I haven’t even played one hand on the beast yet.

We are hosting our first live game tomorrow night as a married couple. We have a few new faces coming also, which should be good. A few beginners, so the stakes will be lowered to make sure everyone has some fun.

The only problem is, the Distraction is playing. This can go one of two ways, and neither is good for me. Either she wins and never shuts up about it again, or she looses and then sulks for the next month.

The things we do for poker, hey?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Biggest Fish in the Smallest Pond

Vinny Gambini: What about these pants I got on? You think they're okay?
Mona Lisa Vito: Imagine you're a deer. You're prancing around. You get thirsty. You spot a little brook. You put your little deer lips down to the cool, clear water - BAM. A fucking bullet rips off part of your head. Your brains are lying on the ground in little bloody pieces. Now I ask you, do you give a fuck what kind of pants the son-of-a-bitch who shot you was wearing?
”My Cousin Vinny”

I spent about 4 hours last night setting up the new machine, and a further hour changing the settings and installing all the drivers/programs that I use. No poker programs are on the machine as yet though.

I was thinking about the big jump I made, and thought back to the times when I was putting my entire bankroll on the line for a $5 buy in. How hard it was to go from $0 to $1 – I tell you, that was the hardest dollar ever earned. And I was thinking about if I could do it again when a little email popped into my inbox.

I have received $10 from Titan poker because I have been away for so long. Hang on, didn’t Noble poker give me some as well?

I checked into Noble, and I had $5.46 in my account. Well, why not one last hurrah on the old machine?

Why not go back to my roots and post about playing at the penny tables?

I headed to the $5NL tables, and thought I would see what I could do.

I managed to push everyone off the first hand when I have top pair on a ragged flop, and with 4 checks in front of me I put out a pot sized bet. Wow, that was some tight post flop play for a penny table. Pretty soon I am up to $6 (or up 50BB if you prefer) and I’m pushing people around constantly. It was funny how good it felt – I then thought about the level I was playing at and compared it to going to a kindergarten and muscling the other kids out of their snack packs. I might have to do that today, I could really go a snack pack right now.

So anyways, I get dealt the rockets in the small blind. There are about 4 limpers then late position raises it to 20 cents. Actually, that’s kind of depressing in the light of day now. Why don’t we say they raised it up to 10BB. The button then re-raised to 30BB total. And here I am, sitting with aces. I decided to make a bold statement here – I’m going to scream out at the top of my lungs “I have Aces, you don’t want to mess with me!”.

I re-raised it to 131BB, about 40% of my stack. That usually sends a pretty clear message, doesn’t it?

2 callers. Well, ok I guess.

The flop is Jack high rainbow, and I decided that these guys already had more than 75% invested in the pot, they are either all-in or all-out now so lets make the decisions easy for them. I pushed and had both of them easily covered.

2 callers. Well, ok I guess.

The turn and river come and bring not much. I show aces, late position has Queens and UTG has sevens.

And I am sitting at a 1c/2c table with nearly four times the buy in, or 924BB.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Day I Broke Up With My Mistress

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

I relayed my last post to several friends and also on another poker forum, and the response was pretty much the same as Mr Subliminal gave me. So last night, I broke it off with my mistress – poker. The absurdity of it all hasn’t hit me yet.

It happened like this…

Sit n Go’s used to fund my follies at the cash tables. At one time, over about 60 SNG my in the money percentage was around the 60% mark, and that included 2 and 3 table games. I had a streak of 6 wins in a row at one stage.

Out of my last 25, I have one win and a third. The last, a heads up match was brutal. I am trying not to turn this into a bad beat whinge, but...Heads up, I have 44 and I raise pre-flop to get a call. The flop is 43Q rainbow. I make a bet for about half the pot, and he calls. The turn is another Q, and he pushes. I call, praying he has a naked queen. He of course has Q3 and it is all over for me.

I got knocked out of 3 in a row with similar hands – small/medium pairs that hit their set on the flop, get it all-in and loose to turn/river flush or straight. It was starting to hurt.

At the cash tables, I had a massive night, nearly 4x the buy in. Since then, I have been bullied and bluffed into submission. It was just an extended string of making what I thought was the correct decision and loosing, which can happen. Interesting to note that during this time, my Aces have not been cracked once – not that I had them all that often, and when I did I rarely got more than the blinds.

I did have Kings beaten when I thought I was favourite but turns out I wasn’t. $50NL game, and I have about $60 in front of me. KK UTG, and I raise to $2. Folded around to small blind ($35) who calls only. The flop is QcJc4d, and he pushes it in straight away. I don’t know why, but I put him on AQ, and perhaps the A was a club. I called, and he showed AKc. Turns out I am a slight dog but it is a coin flip – which I lost on the turn small club. On four separate occasions (55, 55, 66 and 77) I’ve been all-in against a weak ace, and the board would double pair above my pockets to kick me out.

And that’s how it has been for me. No coin-flip wins.

I calculated how much of my bank roll would be used for the PC, and I had about $100 left over. I still have 300 hands to clear on the poker stars deposit bonus, but I have mentally committed myself to the computer.

I decided that I have 2 buy ins at the $50NL tables. If they go, so do I.

On Table one, I see my first ace on the button, A9o. There are 4 callers in front of me, so I come along for the ride. 6 players see a flop of AA4, checked all round. Turn is a 8, checked all round. The river is a 9, and I make a quick calculation that I have the absolute nuts. UTG bets out $2 into a $3 pot. It’s folded to me with 2 to act afterwards – should I call and hope for a raise or raise it here? The only people that are going to call will have an ace (maybe) or pocket 4,8 or 9’s, or A4, A8. I have all of those beat, and without the nuts they are probably 50/50 to re-raise. So I pushed in for all I had. I get the original raiser to call only, and he has A9 also. I made 15 cents off that hand.

I loose about $20 overall before the distraction is in full swing and I decide to leave it for now. I think about it some more and more and made another final decision – it all comes down to one game. I will buy in to a $30 SNG – if I bust then it’s all over.

There were no $30 games going, but $20 will be just as good.

This is it, the game that will decide my poker future.

The first hand I played was from the big blind, JTd. I get a raise from the button of T200, and I call to see what I can find.

Flop is 23J, 1 diamond. I check and he bets out another T200. I call. Turn is a 7, making badugi on the board. I bet out 400 because I think I am ahead, and he calls. The river is an 8, and I check. He bets $450, half of what I have left. If I hadn’t been bluffed so many times in the last week, I might have folded but I was sure I was ahead and called after a moments thinking time. He showed pocket 8’s.

I crawled and struggled back to $850, even knocking out the same player above when he was all in after being crippled on a previous hand for T150 and my Ace held up. We are down to the final 5, and I am the short stack. On the big blind again I get dealt AQo. I have pushed and stole the blinds twice now with semi-decent hands. As the small stack, I wasn’t surprised when somebody raised it up to double the blinds. I am well behind everyone and need to double up, so I push again. My opponent instantly calls and shows two little ducks.

The flop brings KhTh5s. I now win with any Ace, Queen, Jack or running cards for a double board pair.

The turn is a 6, meaning I am down to just the Ace, Queen or Jack. A total of 10 outs now. About 21% I think, so I am definitely not the favourite and it’s no longer a coin flip.

The river was a 4. I finish 5th.

I have to give credit to Poker Stars, their cash out was under 12 hours back into my neteller account. To further drive home the point that luck just isn’t interested in me, my neteller ATM card is fucking up. I have transferred some of my money onto the debit card to see what fees there are and also what exchange rate they apply. I tried to make a withdrawal throw the card, but the PIN doesn’t work. I know it’s the right pin because I had the letter in front of me. So what are me remedies? I get online with neteller and see if I can transfer the money back from my debit card into my normal account – no can do. Apparently that is a one way gate. So I need to order a brand new card, which has fees applied to it and takes more time.

It’s amazing how this little inconvenience annoyed me more.

So I will have a rest for a while, I’m sure I’ll continue to find excuses to keep posting here more often that is needed. I am restarting the bankroll at zero and once again becoming the “King of the Freerolls”. I’ll probably get a leg up with some affiliates and what not when I do wish to make my triumphant return, but for now if you glance to the very bottom of the page my poker bankroll and ranking have been reset.

But it has been fun, hasn’t it?

Monday, December 05, 2005


Lord Voldemort: Harry! I'd almost forgotten you were here, standing on the bones of my father. I'd introduce you, but rumor has it you're almost as famous as me these days.
”Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”

HP4 is pretty decent – well, that is under-selling it slightly. It is the best so far out of the series, but it could have been better. What I mean is it was probably 8.5/10 when it could have been 10.

Enough of wizards and magic, lets talk about my new poker dilemma. This is going to sound a little silly for an idea, but this is what I am presented with at the moment and I would love some advice on it if anybody is willing.

For those new to Poker On Film, here is my 2 minute summary. I started playing online about 18 months ago, and have never deposited a cent of my own. It took me three months to get more than a dollar, and I have built that to over US$1K , and due to frequent cash outs it hasn’t really got above that mark. I have cashed out more than I currently have in my poker accounts, which is about US$780.

Oh, and I kept saying US$ because I’m Australian. There, that about keeps you up.

About six months ago, when doing what ever at a shopping mall with my then-fiancĂ© and room mate we grabbed a bite to eat. This was a fancy shopping mall, and the tables had little LCD screens in them to display ads and trailers and so on. One such ad was for a video game called “The Movies”, which was actually released about a month ago. Instantly both the room mate and I thought it looked awesome, so in fact that I went straight to Electronics Boutique to find out when it was being released. Obviously it wasn’t for some time, so I mostly forgot about it.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when it was advertised on TV that it was being released. My interest was instantly resurrected and I was down to the local store to grab myself a copy. I quickly checked the specs on the box and was glad my Pentium 4 2.2G was enough for this baby.

After the longest installation in my life, I tried to fire up the game. No good. I tried several variations – lowering the quality of graphics, screen settings, shutting down everything except the little mouse running on his wheel – all no good. Then I re-read the box and discovered my system was lacking two of the crucial requirements that it needed to run this game – ram and a video card.

I know nearly as much about computers as I do about poker – which is bugger all. I research a little to find the price of various upgrades, but then I wasn’t sure which would work with my motherboard or any of that. Then I was concerned that my computer, which has been known to have some nasties on it, would not be worth the effort and I should just fork out the money for a new box.

This might sound a little extreme – upgrading the entire computer just to play this one game that I will likely be done with in a month or so, but I have ulterior motives. The computer, like I said, has been known to have a few nasties on there so there is always that concern and we have been thinking about upgrading soon anyway. Secondly, there is an alternate feature of the game that I like – the ability to create your own movies.

While I don’t know how in depth the feature is, it would be a good way to start putting some of our completed scripts into a usable format. I could see myself spending 4 hours a night to get 20 seconds of a scene done, and loving it. This is more of an incentive to me than the game itself.

Now I said at the beginning it sounded a little weird – desperate perhaps even.

So I have the perfect machine lined up at about AU$900 total. Here are the system specs:

1. CASE: XBLADE Gamers Case - Massive 400 watt Power Supply
2. MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-K8VM800M Motherboard with AUDIO, GRAPHICS & LAN (Network Card)
3. PROCESSOR: AMD Sempron 64 3000+ Socket 754
4. VIDEO GRAPHICS CARD: ATI RADEON 9550 Graphics Accelerator 256Mb by ASUS
6. HARD DRIVE: Seagate 160 GB Hard Disk Drive
7. MEMORY: 512MB DDR RAM - 400Mhz
8. FLOPPY DRIVE: Black 3.5" Floppy Disk Drive
9. SOFTWARE: Nero - Norton Internet Security
All Driver Disks & Manuals Included.
Fully assembled & tested!

Comments or suggestions? All welcome.

Anyways, the real dilemma is this: We don’t have $900 spare at the minute. We are still paying for the honeymoon, as well as other assorted goodies that were a part of the wedding. We are running to budget, but only just.

The only way I am getting that machine is to drain my poker budget. At current exchange rates, I have about AU$1038 in the poker account. That doesn’t leave much for poker after it’s done, does it?

And how is poker going? Well, I have been up lately in the cash games until some disaster last night when I dropped a buy in that I shouldn’t have. In fact, if a few river’s went my way, I probably wouldn’t be thinking about this dilemma. I won’t go into details, but basically all my good hands took small pots, all my nuts-1 ran into the nuts. I was even bluffed off a massive pot when I had top pair decent kicker, and the opponent went all-in for 5x the pot size with nothing.

But it was how I lost that hurt too. Usually I get a pretty tight image at the table, and maybe that is deserved. I keep things simple – if I have a good hand, I raise pre-flop. Sometimes I raise pre-flop on position, a steal, a whim, whatever, just to mix it up. But last night, more than one player was reading me like a book. If I raised 4x the BB with nothing, they would raise it up 10x over the top. On more than one occasion I was bluffed off big pots and the opponent showed. I waited for the right cards to capitalise, but they never came.

Enough whining, I’ll save that for another post.

The short of it is I have been bankroll stagnant for about 6 months. I have been fluctuating between US$700 and US$900 in that time, and currently I am on the lower end of that fluctuation.

For the most part though, if I never played poker online again, would I miss it? Probably not, I’d find something else to keep me occupied – namely, the new computer and everything mentioned above.

I’d still play live in the home games, because they are fun even when you’re losing. Online poker is not fun when you’re losing.

The only downside is that I may be killing the goose that lays the golden egg. What if my big pay day is just around the corner? I hate the term “what if”. What if I start all over again, and try to rebuild the bank roll from scratch? Could I do it? There is a chance…

What if I don’t cash out, and the down swing continues?

The way I’m playing at the moment, this is every chance to happen. I keep hoping to flop straight flushes and get paid off. Of course, it doesn’t happen (the paid off part. I did flop a straight flush over the weekend. $4 pot on the river, minimum bet gets folded too).

If I do cash out and never play poker again, I have obtained heaps of stuff over the last year and a half for my time. Books, DVD’s, decks, cash and now perhaps a computer paid for by poker. That’s not too bad a return really, is it?

So there in lies the dilemma. If you have read this far, well done, but you really should reward yourself with a comment below. Even just a one line comment – "do it", "don’t", "you are a freaking idiot for even considering it" whatever you think is apt. I need help on this choice and I would greatly appreciate it from anyone who has found their way here by whatever means.