Monday, February 27, 2006


Gordie: Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a duck, Pluto is a dog. What's Goofy...?
Teddy: He's a dog, he's definitely a dog...
Chris: He can't be a dog, he wears a hat and drives a car...
Vern: Yeah, what is weird. What the hell is Goofy?
"Stand By Me"

Yeah, I can feel the wave of conformity coming over me.

I have a bit of a psychological problem. If everybody in the world wants to go left, I want to go right. If somebody tells me plan A is the best, I’ll argue for plan B. I don’t do it consciously, I don’t mean to automatically go the opposite way to everyone it’s just the first impulsive thought that comes into my mind. I just always see the merit in the opposite to what other people say.

Even my wife, the lovely Distraction, has noticed that I tend to adopt things – hobbies, fashion, themes, imaginary friends – long before they are popular and then loose interest once the rest of the population has caught on. I guess poker is also considered in this example, as the real reaches not fully encompassed Australia yet…almost, but not quite.

So even though I consider myself a bit of an outsider within the poker blogging community, I have started to do something that everybody else has been doing for years. I’m joining this bandwagon much later than your uncool cousin with the speech impediment.

So I’ve started reading Wil’s blog. I don’t even like Star Trek, and I haven’t seen “Stand By Me” since I was playing with transformers.

And what was the result? I went online an hour later and bought Munchkin 1&2. I’m still a little surprised in myself, but I just felt like it would be an awesome idea thanks to Wil’s tiny little endorsement on his site. Am I just another sheep? Surely not. It can’t be.

Even though it will take a month to get here, I am looking forward to getting my hands on the little game. I love games, even those you play without the chance of wining money. Board games, computer games, card games – keep them coming. I hope to have a massive collection one day where we can pick and choose what to play on any given day. Add some alcohol and any board game becomes a drinking party.

Here’s a prediction from me – board games are going to make a comeback. Hopefully not in the shape of lame “Same shit game, now with a DVD!” that has already tried to revive the tired old tradition.

Our most recent board game purchased was “Cranium”, a game that combines charades, pictionary, trivia, word puzzles and other similar talents into one. We’ve played it with a few people, and as always the more the merrier, but some of my friends have re-dubbed the game “Heath Wins”. Oh, for my new readers, in case you didn’t pick up on it, “Heafy” is not my real name. It is a clever disguise to my true identity…which happens to be Heath. Lets move on.

I’m undefeated in Cranium thus far, but that too becomes a problem. I can’t talk trash because the others will just get the shits and stop playing. But if I eventually do loose, my god there will be hell to pay. I will never hear the end of it.

We have a few other games in the cupboard, and I am looking to expand thanks to Munchkin and then more. I would love to get another copy of “Poleconomy”, a monopoly style game that uses corporations and politics. I know there was a Canadian version of it too, I presume there were others. We used to have a copy years ago and we thought it was great, just have no idea where it is now. I haven’t seen it in about 15 years – more than likely it disappeared in a garage sale when we left our home town those years ago.

Some of my favourite times at Uni were drinking in the cottages and playing stupid board games. Wild times, hey? I still remember a monopoly game against the Distraction and three others. She was winning quite well, and was not shy about telling everyone about it. She got one of the other players with a massive bill and he was forced to sell his assets, which he did to me for $10. Since the $10 was all he had left, he had to give that over to the Distraction only. After she busted the other guy, he did a similar deal and within an hour or two the Distraction was also on skid row and lamenting her position. She hardly ever wins in these things, and this time she had a chance but blew it because of her trash talking. I’m sure it wasn’t as funny as I remember it, but like I said before you throw in a few drinks and any of these games become a blast.

Speaking of cheating in these games, I remember playing poker with the same guys – we were not playing for money but we were using monopoly money to bet. Well we had been drinking pretty heavily when the same guy as spoken about before needed a Queen to complete his hand. He saw that I mucked one and quickly grabbed it from in front of me. I saw him do it, and he knew I saw him do it. He won the hand and then slipped me $200 for my troubles. Of course I let this happen, because he was heads up against the Distraction at this stage. Don’t get me wrong, I love my wife to death, but tormenting her in these games is one of my life’s simple pleasures, in case you hadn’t already figured that out.

From then on, we basically swapped cards at will. It was amazing, one hand I got pocket aces (and hit the flop), the next hand he would do the exact same thing. How did this happen? When I dealt, the aces were given to the other guy and when he dealt they went to me. Thing was, the other two players were so drunk they didn’t notice that they hadn’t had a deal in over an hour, and we were cleaning up.

I think cheating in free poker games at uni while exceedingly drunk should be allowed. But at no other time. Well, not unless it is really funny.

And how is the poker thing? I am still finding new ways to loose all my chips. I got real deep in a MTT but busted before the bubble when KK got done by AJs with two aces on the flop. Very next hand I push with K2 because I had 2BB in front of me, and the same player calls with KK. Yeah, I’m not winning that little match. In other MTT, I get AJo and raise it my usual raise to get 4 callers to the flop. Flop comes all spades, which matches my ace. I decided to gamble it up when the large stack bets out at about ¼ the pot. I push over the top (T1700 into a T1400 pot) hoping to get folds. The player immediately to my left calls, and he has me covered by about 100. The raiser folds and the caller flips over 84 spades. Wow, I didn’t put him on that after the pre-flop raise, but the miracle card did not come and I was heading to bed earlier than hoped.

I managed to get some of it back later at the 10c/20c tables. I bought in for $13 and got some good cards that hit, got a good image that allowed me to steal a few pots and cashed out 60 hands later with $25. No massive score or anything, but I was happy none the less.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dear Gambling Gods

Jack's Mother: Uh, what it is you do, Mr. Staggliano?
Vinny Staggliano: College professor.
Jack's Mother: Oh! What do you teach?
Vinny Staggliano: College stuff. What are you, a fucking cop?
"The Heartbreakers"

Dear Gambling Gods,

Look, we must have got off on the wrong foot, can we start again?

Hi, my name is Heafy. Now I know I must have done something to piss you off in the past, and for that I apologise. Whatever it was, I’m sure I didn’t mean to offend you.

I think your brand of “tough love” though is going a little too far.

Maybe I have cried “bad beat” one too many times over the past 201 posts. Is this what made you angry, because I can change I swear!

Much like the little child caught smoking his father’s cigarettes, who is then force fed them until he can stand them no more – you have force fed me bad beats of the 2 and 3 outer variety. And I understand now, I shall try to limit my cries to once a week. Ok, so I’ll cut back even more than that, just make the bad man stop!

Is it because I decided to use the poker money for goods other than poker? Did that offend you, taking more from the global pool of poker dollars for you to toy and play with? You must understand, it was something I had to do. It wasn’t you, it was me.

Yeah I know, that shit excuse didn’t work when I heard it either.

Just as a reminder, you know when my opponent has only 2 outs and I say in my head “Not the Queen of Hearts or Diamonds”, that doesn’t mean I am calling for the Queen of diamonds. I feel like you have become confused when I am calling cards and you are honouring my “requests” far too frequently and consistently. Please, just treat me as every other player out there and ignore those requests until you are prepared to pay full attention to them.

And I now understand that you were offended that I tried to buy your favour by donating to a worthy cause with only selfish ambitions in mind. From now on, any charitable activities I undertake will be of a selfless nature with no expectation in return for reward. But even if my selfish motivations have the end result of helping those in need, then doesn’t the end justify the means? I can assume the answer is no in light of recent occurrences.

I have not bonus whored in months, that has got to mean something right? Ok, so I’ve already done it at just about every poker room on the net there is, but I’ve still stopped for the moment. Does this not please you? Just tell me what I have to do, o Gambling Gods, for playing correctly just doesn’t seem to please you all that much anymore…


I got to just there writing my letter to the Gambling Gods when I realised something. There are no Gambling Gods, only Gambling Demons. The head demon in the poker department is known as Fishlar, The Unmerciful and Cruel. And he is not in place to serve our gambling addictions – we are there to play out his sickest of fantasies. Every time we yell and scream and belt our mouse, he gains in power. Every time we loose when we are a 94% favourite, his influence grows. He has many pawns throughout the lower levels of pokerdom doing his bidding, most of them unwilling and unaware.

Now that all this is obvious to me, I started to write a new letter.

Dear Fishlar, The Unmerciful and Cruel.

Fuck you.

Yeah, you heard me.

Fuck you.

Lots of love



I don’t think I need to tell you that I suffered some more bad beats last night of the 2 and 3 out variety, and even some runner-runner’s where I was 99% to win when the money went in. It just seems whenever the river is coming and we are all in, I say in my head – “He can only get this card to win” and then pow, there it is. It works with any card, if I think of it in my head, he hits it.

Hey, at least this post is better than going into hand histories!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Possible Solution

Carl Hanratty: Well, would you like to hear me tell a joke?
Earl Amdursky: Yeah. Yeah, we'd love to hear a joke from you.
Carl Hanratty: Knock knock.
Earl Amdursky: Who's there?
Carl Hanratty: Go fuck yourselves.
”Catch Me If You Can”

I’ve found a little solution to all my life’s problems – besides winning the lotteries.

My poker bankroll is in decline due to a major cash out and lost interest/poor results in online poker. I can not form a B&M poker bankroll due to the fact that we are still trying to pay off multiple bills for the weddings and honeymoon last year. I tried buying some karma by donating to BG’s ass (well, essentially that is what we all did) but all that got me was a wicked two-outer over the weekend.

We have toyed with the idea of trying to get a weekend job, but there is very little that we can manage for time while still allowing ourselves to live a somewhat normal life. There are not many part time jobs available for weekend work only to mid-20’s people, even considering the fast food places (which is something we swore we would never go back to).

So we tried applying at the local supermarket for night fill positions. I felt kind of weird putting in all my tertiary education certificates and awards into a job application that required putting tins of corn on a shelf. But we swallowed our pride and did what we had to do. Unfortuantly, it was to no avail. Maybe our university isn’t respected enough for us to stack the shelves.

Never the less, life goes on. I’ve had to cut back a whole heap on the live game/home game front due to lack of funds. I felt extremely guilty whenever I took money to go play, regardless of results. And when I did win, I usually spent the winnings on the Distraction to squash the guilt – not that the winnings were anything big, just enough for some movie tickets and maybe dinner.

And now opportunity has come – perhaps.

As poker reaches an all-time high here in Australia, many people are jumping on the bandwagon. There are many pubs and clubs around Sydney that are offering free poker tournaments during the week. The play is, well, about what you expect for free poker tournaments.

I found a post by one of the organisers of these events on a poker forum, asking for people willing to work at these. I figure that is right up my alley, why not?

Last night I went to meet with the organiser at a pub not far from where I work, for what I thought was a training session. When I rocked up, I saw him setting up tables – I guess the competition starts tonight then. With no more than a handshake as training and introduction, I donned on a bright red ill-fitting “Tournament Director” shirt and assumed my duties.

Since I have run a few home games and been involved in running a few 30+ player tournaments, I have a fair idea how things work. Well, anybody who has been playing poker for long enough should know how these things work anyway.

So I got asked to come back next week, some time same channel, to do it again. The pay is pretty good, all things considered, and it will just mean that I won’t be home Tuesday nights from now on. It’s not like there is anything on Tuesday nights anyway, and going to the movies on “Tight ass Tuesday” sucks anyways (Know Your Australian – “Tight Ass Tuesdays” is called so because all the cinemas offer discounts on Tuesday nights, so you get massive crowds those nights and heaps of screaming kids and what-not. Go on a Wednesday, it will cost you $1.50 extra and you’ll have 10 people in the cinema).

The only problem was I didn’t actually get paid last night – he said they had something they had to sort out first by getting invoice books etc…and that he’ll fix me up next week. Well ok, I don’t mind working one night for free, but two is where I draw the line. So if that doesn’t go through next week, then I’m sorry I know how much these clubs are paying for the organisers to run these things, I’m not working gratis so someone else cashes in.

But anyways, if it does all go through, then I will keep half the money I earn as a B&M Bankroll and the rest will go back into the mutual bill paying kitty. At first, the Distraction was going to claim 100% of earnings, but in a rare showing of putting the footeth downeth, I squashed that idea before it had a chance to blossom.

I’ve done a quick calculation, and after 1 month I will have enough to get a B&M bankroll going. It won’t be anything massive of course, but compared to even what I ran at my peak in online poker, it will be very sufficient AND it will have a constant flow in to replenish or consolidate the bank roll each week, without hampering playing time. Which fully employed people play live games on a Tuesday night anyway? Ok, your run of the mill degenerate gamblers like the rest of us, but I digress.

There were a few weird occurrences on the night, but nothing that I would go out of my way to change just yet. I think that would be a bit presumptuous to try to make them do it my way after watching the event for 30 minutes.

I hope it works out. Running a poker game is pretty much the perfect job for me.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Post Number 200!

Eddie Flemming: So, you want to talk to her alone?
Jordy Warsaw: Yeah.
Eddie Flemming: All right. But, you bring her in to the station right away and don't let her out of your sight. She's the only moving body we got left.
Jordy Warsaw: Of course. Don't worry about it, I'm a professional.
Eddie Flemming: Yeah, well girls like that got a knack for turning professionals into amateurs.
"15 Minutes"

Poker is a weird game sometimes. Hell, poker is a weird game at the best of times. I had a weekend where I am forced to sit back and think that this Goddess we refer to as “Variance” sure has a wicked sense of humour. I played brilliantly and lost, then played like a donkey and won. Here is how it went…

Firstly, we had our second Western Sydney Poker Championship on Saturday night, and thanks to several late cancellations, we had 32 runners which is pretty decent anyways. Starting stacks were T4000 with 30 minute levels so there would be plenty of time to play any way you wanted. We started with four tables too, so there was never more than 8 per table on the night which keeps things moving a bit.

Last time I finished 5th out of 27 for a grand profit of $2, since I did not collect one of the $5 bounties on everyone’s head. I could really use a win here as I have been an a loosing streak of late and some good results would be most welcome.

On the very first hand I fold my small blind to some raising, and in the end Aces get cracked by K6 which flopped two pair. Even though this looked like an ominous start, this would be the only time all night I saw Aces get cracked.

I won my first pot with A3o, on a board of T259 – so I had a gut shot draw that I bet out because there was no action yet. I have one player considering a call (with 2 to act behind him) and I say to the player next to act “Don’t worry, I’ll show”. A little gamesmanship perhaps? Anyways, it gets folded around to me and I flash just the ace and then muck the three. This would also be my only bluff for the entire night.

I get to see a flop for cheap with 44 and hit the set with a very low board. A player goes all-in in front of me and I have to call – he has AKo and no draw from here. I collect his black chip (that is what we use to define a bounty), and I’m feeling a little better.

There is much action at the other tables – it seems people like to bluff with half their stack. When that gets called, they go into push or fold mode with 20 big bets in front of them. Interesting tactics. I thought starting with 40 Big bets and long levels would be ok, but one or two people disagreed. Perhaps coincidently these people were the ones out within the first level or two.

I can’t remember the hand where I busted another player, but I do remember I had the nuts and he went all in on the turn which I called and obviously won. I had a healthy stack as we moved to three tables.

I was fortunate enough to draw the seat to the left of the massive chip leader, which is much better than sitting to his right. However, the whole time we were at this table I did not win a pot. We eventually got down to two tables and then the final 8 as we consolidated to a final table. I hadn’t suffered any beats as yet and I hadn’t given any out. On one or two occasions where I could have considered a call I folded to have my opponent show a monster, so I’m feeling pretty good but at the final table I was the short stack. I had plenty of chips and time to spare, but the short stack none the less.

8th goes pretty quickly, but seventh took a hell of a long time. Blinds were only at 400/800 and I count down my stack in front of me – I have just above T9000 and we’re nearly getting to that magical ten big blind stack that we all dread.

I have two all-ins that are not called and I win some blinds and raises, and I feel more comfortable.

In the BB I am dealt ATo and decide that with one caller and the small blind (chip leader, very loose aggressive) I’ll just see the flop and do with it what I want.

The flop comes ATT and I have to check, hoping that someone has an ace, a ten or a straight draw. There are no further bets and I insta-check the turn as well as everyone else. The river draws another rag and I’m just concerned about how much I can get out of the other two players – who are in 1st and 2nd chip position. I put out a T2000 bet and get only one caller, no raise. It was a smallish pot, but I guess I got about as much out of it as I could have. I’m no longer the smallest stack but I have a long way to go to be the chip leader or in the money which is top five.

In the small blind I get TT. There is a raise from middle position and the button (chip leader) calls as do I. The flop is QT5 rainbow, and I consider my hand good but I check it to let somebody else do the betting for me as the pre flop raiser and the chip leader rarely let a flop go without betting at it. Middle position has seen enough already and pushes all in. The chip leader is thinking about it for quite a while, and I have already made my decision to call expecting to see AA or KK, and hopefully not QQ. Chip leader folds and I instantly call. He has me covered by about T3000 or so. He shows AQo which was about as good as I could hope for.

The turn is a 5, filling my boat. The river is a Queen, filling his. Can’t really blame him for going all-in there with TPTK, and I don’t think I could have played it differently to survive. Just one of those things were the cards didn’t fall my way.

I curse my luck and after the bubble bursts a few hands later, I nominate myself as the official final table dealer. I decided to deal because firstly I still wanted to be involved in the final table and secondly I didn’t want to get into the wild side cash games.

First and second made a deal and played it out for the remainder of the cash. 1st place went to a guy I invited to the game, so I guess we can count on him coming back. Second place, a decent player as well, had not knocked out one player in the entire tournament (as apposed to first who had more than ten scalps).

It was a good tournament, I really enjoyed it and thought we made some improvements from the last time and have now got it down to just about right. 40BB seems enough to me with the 30 minute blinds, and the final hand was played out after 5 ½ hours which is pretty long for a 32 man tourny. I didn’t play one hand in the cash games because I was in the frame of mind that I could not afford to loose – so I just hung around for an hour or two as a rail bird and talking shit with the last six or so guys left.

Last night, I won a $5 SNG for the first time in what seems like ages. I lost half my stack early when I caught a bad beat, and then I was forced to suck out on the same guy three times in order to win it. Firstly was A8s vs AJs – my 8 hit the river. Second was Q7 vs 66 on a 89T board. He bet out less than 50% of the pot and I push all-in. He made the call and I hit a Queen I think for the win on the turn. I may have had a flush draw also. The last one was on the final hand where I had a handy chip lead – 10K vs 3K or thereabouts. I always look at this position as a chance to knock him out because I can double him up and still be in front. I am dealt 88 and raise it which he calls. The flop is AJx. Again he bets what I consider too little and I push thinking he did not have the ace and I might be able to convince him I do – I had a tight table image, or at least I thought so. He thought about it and called with J4h. The river again brought me an eight and I finally took it out.

Each time I was the aggressor though, so at least I wasn’t calling with the worst hand. Yeah, does that work to excuse it? I figure I’m still way ahead in the Poker Variance ledger, and I have plenty more of these due to come to me to make up for the horrid treatment of the last few months.

by the way, check on this cool story from ESPN's Page 2. I just enjoyed reading it, if not just for the MJ references.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Top Ten Beginner Mistakes

Vassili: All these men here know they're going to die. So, each night when they make it back, it's a bonus. So, every cup of tea, every cigarette is like a little celebration. You just have to accept that.
"Enemy At The Gates"

1 – Putting all their effort into pre-flop play

Hand selection is one thing, and it is probably good to be a little tight on your hand selection when starting out. Remember that old saying “any two cards can win”? Yeah, all those idiots who don’t know what they are doing are always saying that one, right? Well, it is kind of true. Everyone has seen Aces get cracked by the hammer, it does happen. But here is a tip – you can have 72o beat you AA without loosing your entire stack. It can be done! AA might be a monster, but when it misses the board it is just one pair.

Of course there are times when you want to push it all in pre-flop, that goes without saying (even though I just said it), but for the most part you need to think beyond the flop. All those pretty cards out on the felt are there for a reason – people can use them to make a hand. Post flop play is just as important as pre-flop play. Don’t let the latter overshadow the first.

2 – Playing at limits too high / Playing at limits too high

Scared money is not good. It’s that simple. The golden rule of gambling is never bet what you can’t afford to loose. And don’t believe the crap that poker is not gambling. Every poker game in the world has an element of gamble to it, the good players are just able to minimise the amount.

So great, you are not putting the rent money on the line, good for you. Here is a surprise, there is such a thing as not gambling enough. This only applies when you are actually trying to improve your game. If playing the $5 tables doesn’t make you serious enough about the game, you won’t improve. You either need to change your outlook – 1 bet instead of 10 cents, or move up to a limit where you do care if you loose.

While scared money is bad, you need to be concerned about your money at least.

3 – Expecting other players to play the same

There are four players in a pot, and you have the top set. The river brings somebodies gut shot 8 high straight. What the hell were they doing drawing to that when it isn’t even the nuts? That’s none of your business. Just because you wouldn’t draw to it, doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t.

Expect other people to play differently to you, expect other people to play similar to you. Just don’t judge them by how you would play. Neglecting to consider all the possibilities can be fatal.

This goes both ways too – just because you would never call a bet that size without the nuts, doesn’t mean your opponent will. Judge them on the way they play, not the way you would play in their shoes.

I must admit this is an error of mine frequently, especially in MTT. When a small stack is all in and more than one player has called, we have a “dry side pot”. I’m always of the belief that if you bet into that side pot of nothing, you must have something. Apparently this is not the case for everyone, but there you go.

4 – Expecting monsters to get paid off every time

It’s hard enough for us poor poker players to go through hours of folding and folding, seeing a pot taken down by a 9 high flush, and then when we finally get a hand we steal the blinds only, or we flop an absolute monster and we get no action. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

One of the hardest hands to play correctly in holdem is the stone cold nuts. It’s easy to win with them, that is axiomatic, but it is hard to play them correctly. Flopped quad aces are extremely hard to get action with – unless someone wants to bluff at them or if they have a good pocket pair. All those aces on the board are scary if you are not holding any. Maximising a flopped monster is also absolutely impossible at times – your opponents may just refuse outright to put another cent in the pot. But then, I guess the “maximum” in question is “not a cent more”.

But you are winning that hand regardless – so that is good right? For most people it is, but some people can actually be put on tilt by winning a hand. And that’s just not smart. And we want to be smart, don’t we?

Sorry, that turned a little condescending there. I’ll try not to do that again.

5 – Playing too tight

If you only play AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AK, AQ – not only will you find yourself playing about 1 hand every 4 orbits, you’re going to be far more bored than you ought to be and you will not gain enough experience.

I still maintain that it is better to be too tight than too loose starting out though, but there is a limit to this. Think about more than just the two cards in your hand – think about playing your position, calling with rags from the small blind in an un-raised pot, try a steal every now and then (here is where your tight image will work for you). Not only is it more profitable, it can be more fun too.

6 – Not playing tight enough.

Any two cards can win – oh, how often we have heard that quote. While it is true, it is also misleading. You will always have a better idea of where you stand in a hand after the flop, but it is usually better to be in front to begin with. It’s much easier that way. When you get better at the game and understanding implied odds and all that, then you can start playing like Gus Hansen. Until then, try to fold once or twice an orbit and see how you go.

7 – Playing several different variations of poker all at once

There is probably no more famous saying that “it takes a minute to learn and a life time to master”, and there is truth in them thar’ hills I tells you!

Go read some of the guys that make money playing Omaha – you know what nearly all of them say? They love holdem players. Love them! Why? Because they play their cards as if they were playing holdem.

I have been studying Omaha for some time, and I have come to this conclusion. In Omaha, you receive DOUBLE the amount of cards than you do in holdem, but so does everyone else! Therefore, you might need to play them slightly differently.

Ok, so the condescending thing didn’t last too long. Sue me.

Please don’t sue me.

So it should be obvious that Omaha is a different game to holdem, and likewise 7 card stud and so on. Don’t even get me started on Razz.

Poker is a hard game to master, and some knowledge in one form of the game can help you in other forms of the game, but it can hurt you more unless you know what you are doing.

For the beginner, I’d say you are best of sticking to one form of poker in the learning process otherwise you will get easily confused as to what works in which game in which situation.

8 – Having a lucky hand

Just don’t do it, not even the hammer. Even if the blogging community loves to drop the hammer and you want to be part of it, consider your timing.

If a blogger drops a hammer and nobody sees it and nobody hears it (and he doesn’t blog it), did he really drop it? You can’t answer that question, because it has never happened.

Unless your lucky hand is has won you a World Series of Poker bracelet twice, just don’t do it. If it has, then thanks for reading Doyle!

9 – Declaring they are a 100% “feel” player

You may have heard that poker players can be put into two broad categories – those that use the math and those that use their instincts, or “feel” players.

Santa Claus, The Tooth Fairy, a 100% “feel” player and a woman are in a car and it crashes. Who was driving? The answer is the woman because first of all they are crap drivers (boom-tish, try the veal) and secondly because the others don’t exist.

So you’ve got great poker instinct, you can “see into their soul”, wow, you must be amazing! Guess what, you still need to know some of the math. There is no such thing as a successful 100% instinct/feel player, so don’t try to be one.

And you don’t have ESP, get help.

10 – Expecting grinding to be exciting

Another often repeated quote is “poker is hours of boredom mixed in with moments of shear terror” or words to that effect.

They call it grinding because it can be boring. There is a massive difference between 3 tabling $2/$4 limit online and playing $2/$4 limit with your buddies with a couple of beers under your belt. One is for fun, the other is for profit.

There is nothing wrong with doing either, just be aware of what you are doing. You are not going to have the same amount of fun grinding as you are in your little home games, they are two completely different beasts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Now Try This

Jane: You really don't care about anybody or anything except yourself, do you?
Jonas: Oh, Jane... I never pretended I did.
"Leap Of Faith"

You know I have been away from the digital tables for over a week now, and it’s been ok. I’ve had plenty of other things to keep me occupied so I am not worried about it. I didn’t feel like I needed a break, but I’ve enjoyed it anyway.

For some weird reason, I feel like a big score is just around the corner. Is that not the catch cry of every degenerate gambler ever? Maybe so, but I honestly do feel like good things are coming.

We have a large home game tournament on this weekend, which I play no small part in organising and running. Last time we had 27 players (which is quite apt methinks), and we are looking at no less than 35 this time around – hopefully no more than 40. Last time I came in 5th out of 27 – but due to the payout structure and the inclusion of $5 bounties (of which I collected none) I walked away with a $2 profit. I’ve made sure the payouts are a little more generous this time around, as well as bigger starting stacks and longer levels. All should go well hopefully.

Last night was Valentines Day of course, and it’s something that I’m not too keen on. I just don’t give a crap about it really. Unfortunately, my Distraction thinks differently. Such is life I guess. I got out of it pretty cheaply this year since we are only a few months removed from the wedding/honeymoon and not removed at all from paying for both. I made desert which was a melted chocolate fondue with marshmallows and some biscuits which went down a treat. Melting chocolate without cooking it is a fine art, but a lot easier once you figure out adding cream makes everything a whole lot easier.

Saw an interesting poker related brain teaser on another site the other day – please forgive me if you’ve already heard it.

Here is the challenge – two players are allowed to draw any five cards from a complete deck (no jokers) to make a five card hand. Player A goes first and then player B draws his five cards. After this, you have one more round where you can muck as many cards as you like and then re-draw up to a five card hand. Mucked cards do not go back into the deck. All suits are equal, and if the hand is a tie then the player choosing second wins.

So, do you go first or second, and what cards do you pick? One possible answer next post.

I love these kind of problems, and I have seen some good ones recently. If anybody ahs any others then feel free to post them in the comments section and if I haven’t heard them before I will give them a crack. Hell, if you can put one out there that doesn’t have a million rules to it or involves obscure variations that stumps me, I may even offer up a bounty. But don’t hold your breath.

I’ve signed up for the two latest casino bonus whoring opportunities through Grubby. Hey, I feel like trying something different so why not take a free roll. The worst case scenario is I loose a little bit of my time so why not?

I’ve also finally got my act together and organised a bloglines account to keep track of all the blogs I regularly read – some of which are not yet linked on the side so I will get to that soon enough. It’s a top little way to keep up with it all, I’m fond of it already.

Later this week, I will come back with the answer to the riddle above as well as another induction into Heafy’s House of Awesomeness.

Friday, February 10, 2006

It Was Fun While It Lasted

Carolyn Burnham: Your father and I were just discussing his day at work. Why don't you tell our daughter about it, honey?
Lester Burnham: Janie, today I quit my job. And then I told my boss to go fuck himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost sixty thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus.
”American Beauty”

To say I have been playing poorly of late would be a gross understatement. What is unusual is that I am not that disappointed or worried about it. I’m having loosing session after session in games I used to dominate, but I don’t seem all that insecure about my game. I know there are holes, I know what they are, and I know how to fix them. I guess I just need a bit of a turn in luck to take advantage of it and I’ll be all the better.

The fact that my bank roll went from $1,000 to $50 thanks to a bit of a cash out really made a difference. I used to sit down with $50-80 at the table, and now it is more like $5-$10. About 18 months ago, SNG’s were a staple of my poker diet. For an extended period of time I had a ROI above 50% in these at the $5 and $10 levels, with the odd dabble into the $20 field. The profit from these was more than enough to erode my beginning forays into cash games – limit and no limit.

Then when I was convinced that the only way to make decent money in poker wasn’t in SNG’s, I abandoned them. I think also the fact that I was bonus whoring everywhere and not every site gives you credit for SNG’s, so the necessity to play them was drawing thin. Never mind the fact I was making good money in them, I needed to clear bonuses. Not that I’m complaining at that fact, I received over $500 worth of gear from PSO – stuff that I would never have bought otherwise and that I still use today, so I’m more than happy with that outcome.

It is just sad that I can’t seem to get consistent results anymore from low level and micro level SNG’s.

The whole limit thing never took off for me. I was never able to turn a consistent profit at it – perhaps too much NL games has ruined me for the limit version. I mean, to me people play limit to earn a living. I’m looking to poker for entertainment first and profit second. 4-tabling limit games just isn’t as fun as 2 tabling no limit games – be they ring games, SNG or MTT. Like I always say, I’m not trying to carve out a new career here in poker, I just want a little fun and some spare change while I’m doing it.

Limit poker is like pulling the band aid off your hairy skin slowly. NL can be like yanking that thing off straight away and then rubbing salt in. But then sometimes in NL you get laid afterwards. I have no idea how anybody else will understand that analogy, but it works for me.

No limit is always more fun – the tension that on any hand you could double up or be busted dry. It’s the fact that it is extremely more popular for the general punter, and thus the game is more readily available.

In live games, where Multi-tabling is impossible for most save the very ambitious, I can’t even compare the two forms. For me I just don’t get the sense of satisfaction from limit poker that I do from NL.

So online I was making some good moves in the NL ring games. I won more than I lost, but then had a real down swing that destroyed my confidence, and led to the big cash out.

Since then I have been severely under funded, and have been plagued by in-consistent results. But I’m not concerned because I know where I am at and I know what I can do once I get on a roll. Once the bank roll recovers to a respectable level (for me that would be above $300 at the moment), I can get back into the game and hopefully cash out another grand or so sometime this year. That is the new goal for 2006 – have a bank roll big enough to cash out $1K without destroying it. At the moment, the bank roll is 25 cents. That just made me chuckle.

Now many online pros or serious players might be tsk tsk-ing themselves half to death by the statements above. They may even scoff further at how I refer to Texas Holdem as “poker” solely, without giving consideration to the infinite other forms of the game. They may yet again cringe at the fact that many like minded individuals similar to myself are the reason why tournament poker is neglecting the other disciplines and the big events for Omaha, stud and draw poker are drying up.

The reason is I like NL holdem more than any other game. I think many people are the same. Supply and demand. Is it a shame that the World Series is starting to neglect the other games? Of course, but it is just another form of natural selection.

Five or six years ago, how many of those same tsk tsk-ing online pros would have even cared?

But I digress…

My MTT’s have always been a favourite. Mainly because I know I can buy 2 hours entertainment for $5 or $10, and then the returns can be very big if the cards fall my way. Winning $100 in a MTT feels better than winning $101 in a cash game. It’s the sense of beating all others – the last man standing when everyone else has fallen.

I’ve had a couple of good showings in MTT over the past 2 years. Without looking at my archives, I can remember 3 first place finishes, a 3rd very recently and two 4ths that I should have turned into more. They will always standout to me because of the timing of most of them, and also the elation felt when all was said and done.

However, of late I have been doing not so well in them. I did record my play for two of these which I will get to posting one day when I can be bothered, but for now let me share my woe.

This might make people think less of me, but hey I am going to write what I think.
With my last $5.75 at Full Tilt, I bought into a $5 + 50c tournament after having read about the trouble BG is in. More so, I read about how many other people were contributing to the cause. Now I don’t read BG’s work very often, and obviously I’ve never met him. Contributing to somebody else’s medical bills is not high on my priority, but the sense of community around him is very inspiring and contagious.

I can understand the money problems that come with a vital operation like that, but I am not in a position to contribute some of my own hard earned when there is scarce of that going around at the moment. I did consider sending the final $5.75 over. The gesture of draining ones bank roll for another seems on the outside a big thing, but the reality that it was only $5.75 didn’t escape me. Sure, the old “if 100 people did it, it would be worth it” thought crossed my mind, but that again is concerning others and I was only concerned with my own situation at the moment. And I knew that I was doing it more to join in with everyone else than to actually help a person. I considered this, and in the end decided that if I was willing to throw a small amount of money in to make myself seem more a part of this online community – in other words I would be putting the money in more for myself than the actual benefit of BG, then so be it. I entered the tournament with the firm commitment to give half of my winnings away to join in the cause, and buy some karma from the poker gods. I think deep down I knew this was a bit of a cop out.

So after a few orbits I am getting nothing. I decided to try playing a hand with my rags, and I get 53o. I raise and get two callers to see an all paint board. One caller bets out, the other goes all-in – I guess I can’t bluff either one now. I am down to T970 from the starting stack of T1500. I’m under the gun and get the rockets. I raise it pot level (after I got pushed off the previous hand when someone else went all-in again), and I immediately thought that was wrong and I should have just pushed and hoped to get called by a big stack. A raise here makes it look like I want a call, maybe a push could persuade some mediocre hands to call and hope to knock me out, maybe even thinking I was on tilt and call with Ax. Never the less, it gets folded around to the small blind who is the sole caller.

The flop comes Td7s6s. I have the ace of spades and ace of diamonds, so that helps knowing that if anybody is looking for a flush or back door flush then it won’t be for the nuts and that might scare them off (barring straight flushes of course). SB bets 1/3 the pot, and I decided if he has a flush draw to make sure he pays to get it. I go all in and he calls with 8d9d for the flopped straight. The turn did give me a spade out, but the river did not bring it.

Again I know I didn’t have to get all my chips into the middle there. Sure, I was always going to loose some of my stack on that hand, but it didn’t have to be all of it.

Technically this isn’t a bad beat story, as all the money went in when I was behind, so ti was just a beat. I think I have gone about 5-6 with aces in recent times, and by that I mean 5 wins out of six not five bad beats, so I guess I was due to loose with them eventually. Most of the wins are blinds only, but you get that.

So I am left with 25 cents until next week when my advertisement money goes in. I’m committing myself right here to sending the $20 across like suggested in order to buy karma from the poker gods and the poker community. I do hope it helps too.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Any Given Sunday

Phyllis Diller: That’s bestiality. It’s in the bible.
Penn Gillette: It’s in my diary.
”The Aristocrats”

The distraction and I had a fine weekend, even if the poker wasn’t agreeing with me. We had a fantastic Sunday, which I thought I would share here without any poker interruptions. It wasn’t such a big day or anything, just an enjoyable one where no problems occurred. It was just a good day.

We ventured into the city to see “The Aristocrats” because it is only on a limited release. As regular readers would be well aware, I am a big fan of Penn & Teller, and when I heard Penn was one of the men behind the project I thought it would be of interest.

The Distraction has a love for Thai food (there you go Skitch, I’ll try to get a Thai reference in once a week now), and the cinema we were headed to near our ex-flatmates new place is very close to some fine Thai restaurants. I am not as much a fan of the spicy food, but it is growing on me. I ordered my yellow curry (mild for the wussy Aussie tastebuds) while the ex-flatemate and the Distraction ordered their dishes from the hot section. A duck red curry and some spicy prawn dish. This restaurant bills itself as Sydney’s Best Thai 198-2002, which tells me they have let themselves go in the past few years (or which ever hokey organisation gives out those awards has since moved back into the mail order business).

Well, the food was just fantastic, so full of flavour and barely a taste bud burned. Even the ultra spicy aftertaste of the prawns wasn’t enough to stop me from trying them again. It was really tasty, and naturally the Distraction was impressed.

Since we had some time to kill before our movie session, the ex-flatmate took us to some of his favourite stores in the area just to show us some things. The first was a poster store – which seems weird to me. I wouldn’t have thought that a store could survive just selling posters, but there you go. I could have easily spent a grand in there without trying. The two highlights was a massive Pulp Fiction poster of Jules and Verne in their famous pose which measured about 1m by 2m, and another slightly smaller of my two favourite muppets Statler and Waldorf. I wished we owned our own place and had a spot to put them.

Second was a toy store that had a few old hand made toys. Yeah, I was a bit confused with this choice of shopping, and afterwards nothing had happened to change this.

The third store was a record store, which was unusual because I have very little interest in music. Don’t get me wrong, I have my favourite tunes and everything, I’m just not into the whole buying this album and that album and going to this concert and that concert.

Bu this place was different. Under each rack of vinyls and cd’s, there was a display case. In the cases was some of the best toys and figurines I have ever seen. Everything from the Beatles to Kiss, from Astro Boy to Futurama, and a Alfred E. Neuman thrown in for good measure. There was even a wall dedicated to hair metal, featuring the likes of Twisted Sister, WASP, Poison, Skid Row, Motley Crue and many more. A thousand dollars just wouldn’t cut it in this place. One of the Astro Boy toys, you would swear is was made by the South Park guys. After we had mentally spent close to our yearly salary, we left to make the 2pm show.

I had heard the Aristocrats joke once before, some time ago, but I wasn’t aware of the history of it or the institution it seems to have in the comedy industry. I wonder if this is also present in Australian comedians…More than likely not, we really don’t have many top calibre comics running around these days, mores the pity.

For those uninformed, The Aristocrats joke is one that comedians tell to other comedians, in which the opening lines and the punch line are the same but the middle part is used to put in as many disgusting and crude references as possible. This documentary is about that joke.

Firstly, the quality if about par for documentary filming – it that it looks like a home video on a tripod for 50% of the film. Nothing really spectacular there at all. I was also a little disappointed that the comedians appearing in the film didn’t have their names displayed until the end credits. Most of them are big names, but others I had no clue who they were. There is no real narrative and it does seem to jump around very frequently at the start.

But how good is it? I firmly believe that any film that is trying to be funny (lets call them comedies) should be solely judged by how funny they are – anything else is a bonus. Well this movie is hilarious. Not for the weak of stomach mind you.

The comics being interviewed, and it is a veritable who’s who of comedy there, talk about the joke – when they first heard it, who tells it good, their own version of it, why it is sacred to the comedy brethren and so on. They also go into alternate ways of telling the joke – like by a mime and a card trick, both of which were highlights – and telling other similar jokes and just generally try to out do each other in front of the camera.

I’ve seen a lot of comedians and comedy acts – and if I can get a little controversial here, women and funny as a rule rarely mix. I just haven’t seen that many funny female comics since…well, ever. I’ve heard one female comic rebut this by saying “Well maybe our jokes are just too smart and clever for you to understand”. Well how smart and clever do you need to be to get a joke about your ex boyfriend and your vibrator? Anyway, the reason I bring this up is a strongly believe there are only two female comics I have seen perform multiple times who was really funny each time – Wanda Sykes and Sarah Silverman. Sarah Silverman also has an alternate way of telling the Aristocrats joke – it displayed absolutely perfect timing and delivery, and was easily one of the top three bits of the documentary. I was pleased too, because I was talking her up to the ex flatmate before the movie started.

What was weird was even though there was no actual narrative, obviously all the interviews sort of provide their own, the pacing was fantastic. Without all the versions of the joke told in the beginning you wouldn’t find the mime, the card trick and Sarah Silverman as funny as they were. And when it finally gets up to Gilbert Godfried telling the joke just after September 11, it had you hooked. They were cutting in bits of Gilbert telling the joke along with other comedians saying why it was perfect timing for that joke and how well it went over and so on, and all the time I was thinking “I hope they show the punch line” – which was weird, because the punch line isn’t the funny part of the joke. But somehow, after the previous 90 minutes of this same joke, I felt like I needed the punch line to finish it off. Even if it isn’t that funny a punch line, it is the finish that the joke needs to signal it’s conclusion.

As you can tell, I loved it, as did the entire packed (albeit small) cinema.

After this we began walking back to the car, and the ex flatmate wanted to stop by a pub to go to the toilet. As we waited in the air conditioned goodness of this fine establishment, I spotted the Australian’s playing cricket on the flat screen. Turns out we were putting on quite a show too. We decided to stay and played some pool, drank some beers for the next few hours before finally heading home. My pool game was on song too, winning every match I had. It’s nice to be a winner.

Then we headed home, where I had hired “Red Dead Revolver” for the X-Box the previous day. I haven’t got into a game for a while, so this was fun and took me back to my childhood years spent playing games into the early hours of the morning.

And that was the best Sunday I’ve had for some time. No poker, but just a simple day that worked beautifully.

Monday, February 06, 2006

The Order Of The Phoenix

Elder Water God: The fate of the universe will be decided as it should be...
Elder Fire God: MORTAL KOMBAT!
"Mortal Kombat – Annihilation”

Every now and then a movie comes along that is so bad it makes you laugh. Late last night, that movie was MK2. I’d seen it years ago, but only last night did it really get me chuckling. The real reason I include the quote here is because reading through the trivia at IMDB just before, I found that Tony Jaa did some of the stunt work on this film. Tony Jaa is the new Jackie Chan/ Jet Li from Thailand. I’ve seen two of his movies in Ong Bak and Tom Yum Goong. Both were in Thai with very poor English subtitles so I have only a vague idea about the story line – not that it is overly important. Some guy steals something form him, and he goes off to get it back while kicking multiple ass. His stunts, all done without wires, are unbelievable. The chase scene in Ong Bak and the fight scene with the Capoeira guy are awesome. In Ton Yum Goong there is one single take that is about 10 minutes in length of him fighting up these stairs – fantastic! Anyways, keep an eye out for these movies if you are into the whole Martial Arts thing, there are brilliant!

I had an awesome weekend, but very poor when it came to poker.

In a MTT on Full Tilt (easily my favourite online poker room), out of the 260 entrants I was sitting comfortably in 3 out of the 68 left. I had been in the top three for the last 40 minutes or so. Two hands later I was out in 67th. Yeah, and it was my fault.

I had been the chip leader at my table since I moved there, and it was getting to the stage where I was just waiting for hands to pick people off. I folded for about 4 orbits getting nothing but 62o and the like, when I finally got The Hiltons – and someone else has the rockets. I should have been able to lay it down post-flop, but I didn’t and I paid the price. The next hand I had KQo on a Queen high flop, and I push only to get called twice by KK and AKc with two clubs on the board. So I go from 3rd to out by running into AA and KK on consecutive hands. Such is life I guess. I could have got away from the QQ hand but didn’t, and that sort of forced me into the next hand.

We also had a couple of live games over the weekend, and without a doubt it was one of the most brutal nights for river beats I have ever seen, and everyone at the game agreed. Even the distraction, who came along for the ride for this one, could not believe it all.

It all started with one player, later named “Phoenix” (after River Phoenix, get it? Gold I tell you, gold!), who hit in consecutive hands runner-runner straight (which he didn’t even realise), flush, straight and then hit his set on the river. Only the last one was against me, all the others were against the same player who was out not long afterwards.

And then everyone else starts to get into it. The first two guys that get knocked out start playing heads up at a different table, and when I was knocked out I went to watch a few hands – the first hand I saw went like this.

Flop is Jh6h4h, and player one goes all-in. Player two calls instantly and shows KhQh. Player one meekly rolls over JTo. Turn is a ten, river is a ten.

The first game got down to the final 4, with the top three paying. I was second in chips, and the CL leader had more than double what I had. We had two small stacks that just would not go away. Eventually the CL went out in forth. Then me in third. It was that kind of night.

So I finished third and 5th out of the 8 runners. How did my fair distraction go in these games? 2nd and 2nd.

Lucky she was there, it was the only chance at profit we had!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Just Hit A Flop

Dennis Hope: I didn't invent the rainy day, man. I just own the best umbrella.
”Almost Famous”

I had the most frustrating game last night, in which I was pretty sure I was playing against a 8 year old retarded kid that beat me. I’m still kicking myself and was so disappointed hours after the game.

We were playing a 6 person SNG on Full Tilt as I regularly do, and I was getting no cards. I played one hand in the first 25, and I doubled up out of it. We get down to the final 3 (top 2 pay), and something very weird happens.

I have 2200, second placed retarded 8 year old has 3000, and first place had 3800. On the first hand of this bubble, the first place times out. I get my big blind folded to me. Next hand, I have pocket tens and so I raise when the R8YO folds his hand. The first place instantly mucks – obviously they have been disconnected or have left for whatever reason. So I guess we are going to divvy up his stack to get past the bubble, and then go heads up for the win.

You’d think this would be a sort of given, and standard procedure, but it wasn’t. I decided to only raise my free hands if they were monsters. This was all going well, and if I had crap I would fold it and let R8YO take the chip leaders small blind. Sounds simple doesn’t it?

There was one spot where R8YO called from the button, and I had 53o so I decided to let him have it. The CL instantly checks of course…the flop comes King high or something, and the R8YO checks it. This wasn’t the first hand of the vacant CL mind you, it was about 15 hands into it. R8YO checked it down to the river – where he had top pair and took it down. Why? And he did this at least 3 times.

There was even once where he went all-in against me when the chip leader still had 1200 chips. Ok, he must have had the nuts but this was an unraised pot – why risk it?

At one stage we had played 167 hands, and I had won 45 of them pre-flop. The blinds were still pretty small so it was taking a while for the former CL to be blinded out.

I had two shots at knocking him out, but he survived both. On the third, I had A9 and the R8YO calls form the button. Of course I’m going to check this down to the river to make sure third is gone.

The flop comes AQ5 rainbow, and R8YO bets out. I guess he’s got an ace, so lets hope that is good enough to get rid of third. I don’t want to get into a mess here and I’d rather just take this heads up. He did have an ace, much weaker than mine but them’s the brakes. Either was good enough to finally burst the bubble and get this to heads up.

When we started three handed, I had 2200 vs his 3000, and with a vacant player holding 3800, how would you expect our stacks to be at this stage? Well, I had over 6000. Yeah, he was playing uber tight against a guy who wasn’t even there. Another reason why I thought he was a R8YO.

Heads up was were it got really stupid. By now I figured out he wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and his plays were pretty easy to read. If he missed the flop, he would fold to a minimum bet. He would never raise pre-flop. He would rarely fold the big blind, and would fold the small blind 40-50% of the time. If he hit the flop, he would call a bet. If he hit it good, he would check/call to the river and then go all-in.

So my strategy is simple – steal, steal, steal until he gets too small and take him out when I hit a flop.

And it was working. At one stage I won 11 pots in a row without seeing a turn, and rarely seeing a flop. On one I had an open ended straight draw with 56 on the flop of 47x. I made my minimum raise like I did every other hand, and he called. Ok, we’re seeing this through to the river unless I hit. The turn and river were picture cards, and we checked it down. He had 52o. Umm…ok. That was just weird.

I checked my stats, and I have won over 60 hands in this tournament – 3 at showdown.

I get up to over 7K, which has him at just under 2K, and he starts going all-in post flop when I miss. Ok, not much I can do there, all I need are some cards that hit and I’m set!

Would you believe, the I haven’t hit a flop in 50-60 hands. I’m talking about not even bottom pair. I’m still stealing most of them, just not hitting a thing.

His folding on the small blind is getting annoying actually. Whenever I have a decent hand, he folds. When I have junk, he calls (I usually take it post flop anyway, but you get the point).

Finally I hit a flop, with AJ connecting to the A. I bet out, and he goes all-in. I have to call and he has AQ. Damn, I just doubled him.

He doesn’t change his style of play though, and things continue as they were. I just want to hit a flop and I’m set.

AQo, and the flop shows AcQc5c. Shit, this could get me in trouble, but like always I bet out and he calls. Damn. Turn is 9c…I can’t put any more out there, so I check as does he. River is a blank, and we check it down. He has Th2c. And he has me outchipped.

I think he might have learned something because my steals are less frequent now. He comes back over the top every 5th one or so with an all-in. As I still haven’t hit the flop, I can’t call him. I eventually regain my chip lead, and hit second pair on a flop. I bet out, he check-raises me all-in and I decided I need to see if he is bluffing. He had to pair, no kicker. And it’s good. He now has 7K to my 2K.

I double up with 77 vs AJ, and eventually get my lead back but only just. I’ve noticed once or twice he has slowplayed a flopped 2 pair to the river (where he would go all-in and I’d fold my 7 high, and then he’d show.), so I have to be more careful now. He’s only allowing me to steal every 2nd pot now.

I get Aces, he folds his small blind. Same thing happens with Queens.

Then I make maybe my second mistake. I have TsX, and the flop is KsQsJh. I make my normal bet out, and he calls. Turn – 4s. I decided to change things up a little, and bet out again. He calls again – maybe I am getting slow played here again? I figure I still have a lot of outs though. The river is 7h, missing everything for me. However, I tried my first all-in for the night, and sadly he called with Q3o.

I double up with some random hand, and then decided to push again with 2500 with QJs, and he has A8o. Ace on the flop, and he takes the win.

I saw that he was playing another tournament at the same time, and he came second in that one so maybe there is method to his madness, but I still feel that if I managed to hit one flop it would have been all over. I made two major mistakes with the A9 when we were down to three – I should have pushed, because even if I lost I would have still had some chips and the third place would have been out more than likely. Against any normal player the fold there was fine I think, if not slightly weak. The other was obviously the TsX hand above. Blind were 250/500 at this stage so things were getting a little hairy anyways.

I have tagged this one though, we’ll see some other time if he really is a R8YO or pulling some serious game.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Heafy's Golden Rules Of Poker

William H. Bonney: You remember the stories John use to tell us about the the three chinamen playing Fantan? This guy runs up to them and says, "Hey, the world's coming to an end!" and the first one says, "Well, I best go to the mission and pray," and the second one says, "Well, hell, I'm gonna go and buy me a case of Mezcal and six whores," and the third one says "Well, I'm gonna finish the game."
”Young Guns II”

I was playing in a 6 person $10 SNG last night, made it heads up after 50 hands, then we played heads up for another 80 hands. It was great fun, even though I eventually came second.

I constantly had the chip lead. He would steal every second one of my big blinds, but I would min-raise every one of his and steal it or win it on the flop. I eventually lost a big hand when he flopped a straight with 25o against my Ax on a board of A34. Chip and a chair though, I fought back to take the lead once more, then lost nearly everything with AJ vs 77, so help on the flop. With 500 chips vs 8500, I was up against it. I doubled my way back to 2500 before finally loosing with Q7h vs A8o. Best $10 I ever made.

I have kept a log of my play during a tournament which I will write up this weekend or sometime just so I have a record here to see what my play is like. I have a feeling in this particular tournament I played weak/tight and it will show. Anyways, we’ll see what happens.

I said I would post my rules of poker, and for the sake of it I decided to make them Heafy’s Top Ten Golden Rules of Poker:

No rule should be applied 100% in every situation. Shit just don’t work like that.

Big pocket pairs must get raised pre flop. Feel free to slow play post flop, but they deserve a pre flop raise. Heads up is the exception. JJ is boderline.

Two pair is never a monster. It can be a good hand, but never treat it as a monster.

All-in pre-flop bluffs are only permitted if your stack is less than 4BB.

“Protecting your blinds” is another way of saying “calling a raise with a shitty hand out of position”.

In an unraised pot, limp from the small blind unless your stack is less than 10BB.

Making a position raise from the button can only be done if you can accept getting called. If a call would scare the hell out of you, don’t do it.

If you can’t afford to loose the money at stake, don’t play.

Don’t tap the glass. Actually, just don’t be an ass at the tables. There is rarely anything to gain from it.

If I’ve had enough playing, get up regardless of table position. I don’t want to play hands, even for free, after I’ve already decided I’ve had enough. That just ends in tears.