Monday, August 28, 2006

It's Just Chips

Frank Nugent : You can't be lucky all the time, Jack.
Eddie Bunker: You can be smart every day, though.
"16 Blocks"

Back to the Turkish game last Friday night, and it was very up and down for me. I had pocket aces cracked by the Hiltons and lost to another two outer later on but managed to hit quads twice on the night. Typically, on my two big hands I didn't really get paid off but on the two outers? You can bet the suck out came after I had pushed all the chips into the middle. Still, I ended the night in the positive so who is to complain?

I had an almost perfect read on one player during the night, but I never had the cards to take advantage of it. He would love to bluff big on the river, but he never did it against me which was a shame.

The two times I hit quads were both from the big blind. The first time was with 23o – which was funny, because the player I was up against has a real history losing to 23o. As I made my last value bet on the river – which was really small just so he would call and I would show, all I said was "What hand always beats you?". The look on his face was priceless as he knew straight away what I was holding. Coincidently, later on in the night he would hit a miracle river card to take me out on a much bigger pot.

The other quads was 88 with an 8 on the flop and river. The opponent in the hand mucked but claimed he had aces. He played them extremely slow if he did.

Online poker has been steady of late, with some little wins and no huge losses for a while so the bank slowly grows for the month of August.

In cash games lately I have been mainly grinding out small wins here and there. I don't seem to be winning any big pots, and when I do get mixed up in big pots I am folding to (what I consider) well made bluffs or making calls I know are no good. For the first time in a long time last night, I made the correct call on the river when faced with an overbet. The pot was $10 I think from memory, and the bet was $18 in front. I had flopped a set of 2's, but the board of AdKd2dxx wasn't all that pleasant. When I called it turned out the other player had QT with no diamonds, so I think the overbet was a little bit obvious. And to tell the truth, the fact that it was so obvious was what made me think it might have been a bad call for me. I do have a tendency to over think these things some times.

While grinding it out on 1 or two tables, I have come accustomed to looking through You Tube of late, mainly for Daily Show clips or Ali G/Borat and whatever else I can find. Of late my favourite has been the video clip from Ok Go – I think the song is called Here we go again or something, but the clip is the four guys of the band (I assume) doing a choreographed routine on 8 treadmills lined up in 2 rows. It really is very clever and all shot in one single take which is even more impressive. If you haven't seen it, you should look it up.

When I couldn't find anything to watch on You Tube, I decided to see what the biggest game going was on Full Tilt at this particular time. There was a 6 handed $50/$100 game with Farzad "Freddy" Bonyadi, $10K buy in. While I wasn't really watching every single hand, I did see Freddy take down a $20K pot with AK vs AQ, and then his opponent rebuy (and go on a run to nearly triple up). But as that $20K slid across the digital felt, I couldn't help but be amazed. Time and time again this happens, when you see what ridiculous sums of money are spent on the turn of a card. This might be the thriftiness in me showing, but even sometimes I am shocked how I can bet $50 on a single hand. The sensation doesn't usually come all that often anymore, not as much as it once would.

While watching some of the $50/$100 game though, I kept thinking what that last pot would have meant if I had won it? What bills I could pay off if that pot was slid my way?

I also noticed that 9 out of 10 pots don't see a flop at this level. I guess that is how poker is played when the money actually does matter.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

For The Beginner

Corky: Hey fellas. I was just wondering if you could sell me some heroin and then maybe we can go out and commit some hate crimes.
"Corky Romano: Special Agent"

Having run a few tournaments at the pubs earlier this year, you get to see a wide spectrum of the general poker playing community. There are the first timers, those that have seen it on TV, those that have played a bit online, and others that have played a bit more.

It is amazing that nearly everyone when starting out seems to think the cards don't mean anything until you've seen a flop. I know my brothers and I thought something similar when we first started playing – no doubt seconds after watching Rounders for the first time. We played with no pre-flop betting and would jump straight into it. Mind you, we were playing for matchsticks so it was pretty much No-Foldem.

And it is hard to explain to the new comers that while they are right – your hand is more or less defined after the flop – they are also wrong and sometimes they need to fold. It is even harder when you tell them to fold the 83o when the flop then comes 883. We've all done that and had a laugh over it, but for a new player this looks like they made a mistake.

Therein lies the biggest lesson in poker: You can do everything right and still loose. That is the first step in understanding playing poker. This isn't a crossword puzzle that has a definite solution. Sometimes all the right moves amount for zero, but that is the nature of the game. Sometimes you fold the best hand before the flop, sometimes your opponent doesn't when they probably should have.

I have been thinking about this point for a little while now, as at one of the home games I frequent I have seen a new player go through 2-3 buy ins without much luck. I was sitting next to him during one session, and when I had folded my cards I had a look (at his request) to see what he was playing. He was getting crappy cards pretty much all night. Some times he would fold his 83o, and the flop would come 883, as I said above.

The path of the new player like this could take two completely different paths. They could start winning some lucky hands and make some money – beginners luck being what it is – or they can take loss after loss and wonder why they play at all.

It is hard to say which path is better for which person. I think the well adjusted person will progress better if they sustain the losses first. It will teach them to be more selective in their starting hands as a beginner, and then when they start to understand the game a little better they can start thinking about re-raising with those suited connectors in late position. On the other path, there is a greater risk for the un-adjusted person (note, I said "person" and not "player". I am referring to the individual's personality and not their playing skill/style) to develop bad habits, or even addiction. Ok, so we all develop that addiction sooner or later – good chance if you are reading this you have (or you are the Distraction, in which case go back to Grey's Anatomy) developed a healthy addiction to poker. But when you are trying to feed that addiction with all-in bets chasing an open ended straight, at levels that are just to make up for yesterdays losses, you've got a problem. Eventually this type of person can progress along the line of poker experience like everyone else, you just hope that they stick with it to realise the end.

Conversely, the player that looses early on is also subject to giving up on the game, putting it in the "too hard" basket and letting their losses get the better of them. Here are some of my tips for the beginner who is at this stage – and none of these tips are revolutionary or haven't been said before, but they will be revolutionary to you if you have never heard them!

Firstly, you shouldn't be playing at a dollar level that can hurt you, so the losses in dollar terms shouldn't be a big deal. If they are, then stop now. Nobody wants to see you go broke off the table because of what happens on it.

Next, try to read up a bit if you are that way inclined. If you can stomach the dull readings of poker theory, it will increase your understanding of the game and accelerate your learning curve. At this stage, your are not trying to make a living playing the game, and you probably don't know enough to put the texts to proper use, but there is still something to be said for keeping the ideas moving in your head constantly. If that means thinking about the game more when you are not playing it, such as when reading books dedicated to the subject, then all the best!

But most poker texts are very dull, especially when you are just a learner. For my money, I think you can't beat free rolls for a learning curve. Play money tables will give you an idea of the structure of a game and how quickly it moves. If you are lucky, you might even get some decent hands out of them. At worse, it will show you that sometimes the idiots at a table win. But by getting a few thousand hands under your belt, you will start to see what works for you. Even though this is play money, don't be scared to fold. Open up two tables if one isn't giving you enough action.

Lastly, if you can't sit around a table with your mates and a few beers, toss card and chips around and walk out $50 down without still having a good time, then poker is not for you. Nobody said you have to play, and for some people maybe it is better they did not. If you can just not handle it then there is no shame in walking away. Believe me, the other players will find someone to fill your seat. You won't be offending them.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Birthday Celebration

Kassandra: Why didn't he just kill me? Nothing could be worse than this!
Giles Redferne: His very thought.

This is my formal apology to the 8 other players at the table with myself last night, and an apology to the poker devils that have toyed with me over the past few weeks.

I sincerely apologise for what happened at the table last night firstly to the other players, but I did not try to deceive anyone. After getting down to the final 5 players, two of our friends of whom the Distraction and I had been waiting for arrived.

We had planned to go out for dinner last night, as it was my 26th Birthday, but when we were due to be seated our friends called and said they were on their way. So we decided to head home and wait for them before dinner, and since they lived in the city it would be a while before they made it.

While the Distraction returned to DVD copies of "Grey's Anatomy", I had permission to get into a little poker. Earlier in the night I had tried, but ran into another player who was on a hot run and lost about $10 before I got sick of the bad connection and logged out early.

This time I decided to jump into a $5 SNG, just the nine players for some quick action before we were due out again.

I hadn't had much luck by the time we got down to 5 players, and that is when our guests arrived. Not wanted to be the idiot playing the computer while people waited to go out for dinner, I tried my best to loose in a hurry. Sure, I could have just logged off and be blinded away, but it would be more fun to become a lunatic instead.

So I raised every un-raised pot. If I was re-raised, I pushed all-in. On the button, I had one limper so I raised with Q5s. Both the blinds folded and the limper re-raised me to put me all-in. I had been honest with the table in the chat box and said I had dinner reservations and had to leave – and I think my call with Q5s showed this. My opponent had…pocket aces of course! What kind of story would it be if he didn't?

When you are holding Q5s, what kind of flop would you be looking for? Most people would say QQ5, but that is not what happened. The five came on the river, to be sure, but the flop was a little different. You see, I held the Queen of spades, and when the digital flop came out it was a little something like this…

Queen of diamonds…

Queen of hearts…

Queen of clubs.

I had alllllll of the Hilton sisters, and then a few more. I couldn't help but feel sorry for the poor sap with pocket Aces, who I knocked out moments later with Ace-high.

I then knocked out forth when he was short stacked and was desperate. I knocked out third when I called a pre-flop raise with 45o, and called his all-in when the flop came KK5. His A9 did not improve. I then knocked out 2 nd place with an almost identical hand and took home the 1st place money (all $22.50 of it) with glee – but I was still feeling a little guilty over the QQQ flop.

Who am I kidding, I loved that flop. I loved it even more that I had an eye witness to the madness in one of my waiting dinner guests. I managed to wrap this game up in a matter of minutes and it made up for the losses earlier in the night. We then went out and had a fantastic dinner and came back to some Family Guy, before the Distraction and I put on some Law and Order CI before crashing half way through the first episode.

As I go back through the archives, I notice that on my last two birthdays (yes, this blog has passed it's second birthday with little fanfare) I have had some moderate luck. Last year not as much, but yesterday marked the 2 year anniversary of my very first MTT win. It was a free roll at Aloha poker, for the grand sum of $28. My how times have changed since then. On that day in 2004, I came second in a SNG for a profit of 2 cents. Today the profit was $17 – that's an improvement of 850 times the original! So, if I can make the same improvement for a MTT win, that means my next score should be worth $23K. I would like that very much.

But I have gone off point. This post was to apologise to the others at the table. I'm sorry I had to leave and thus played like that. It was very out of character and I never lied about what I had to do – I was trying to leave early.

Also, I don't won't the Poker Demons to think this makes us even. Or worse still, make it seem like they need to get even…

I'm sure my doom is just around the corner.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Chip Leader Gone

Caitlin: You know, I bet this is why your second wife came after you with a nine iron, isn't it. You just refused to sit down and... talk things through.
Gibbs: Actually, that wasn't it at all.
Caitlin: Oh? So what was it, then?
Gibbs: A seven iron.

I'm a big fan of NCIS, and after getting season 1 on DVD it is a nightly ritual in our house now to watch an episode or two before going to sleep. Once we run out of these episodes, we'll move on to Law and Order Criminal Intent.

Australian Idol started last week, and I didn't even know about it – thanks to all the free DVD's from PSO! That is why free shit is awesome.

After talking about how much I was enjoying my afternoon poker playing, I had one of the most extraordinary tournament experiences ever. It started out well, when I hit top set (pocket 9's) on the third hand of the tournament and had a TPTK go all-in, thus doubling me up. On the very next hand, Pocket 10's did just about the same thing. Three hands after that, pocket 4's sucked out on QQ and I am sitting in first in front of the 180-odd players left.

I then got to play bully for the next hour, and any hand I was in meant an all-in for all the short stacks around me – and pretty much everyone was a short stack. If I hit something, they never had enough chips to push me off, and they kept calling me to see if I was bluffing (and I wasn't, I had no need to).

Then on one hand, it all changed. With one player all in, I hit my straight on the turn and checked it to see if I could get the other player to bet. He didn't, and the river counterfeited my straight, putting 6789T on the board. I checked, and he put out a big bet. I decided it was too easy for him to have the Jack, so I folded. He had two pair (obviously counterfeited also) and they split the pot. Not a big loss for me, but that was the last chance at winning a pot I had.

From then on, I lost every dominating hand I had. AJ flopped two pair against KQ, that turned the Ten. AA was beaten by T7, AK beaten by A3. On and on it went, it was getting stupid. Every time I put the other player all in, I would have a 75% advantage or better, usually better, but nothing came down for me. Before long I had lost 8 in a row (not consecutive hands), and I was below the average in chips. I was then forced to go all in with K9c, with a flush draw, straight draw and an over card. I got called by JT with second pair, and none of my outs came so I was out in 80 th or there abouts.

Thing is, with the awesome start, I knew I was never going to last until the end. I didn't change my range of hands or anything, I still played as tight as I would have if I was even in chips, I just kept on getting playable hands, hitting and then missing. It became very frustrating to say the least.

Couple that with I just lost a massive pot on the cash table when I was stupid (couldn't fold TPTK, deserve what you get) and my happy times were drowned with an empty stack. At the same time, a check for another recent cash out arrived, and that went straight onto bills here, and then on the weekend we had our Tax done so more of the B&M poker account took a hit to pay some more for that – and I am left with about ¼ of the bankroll I had a week ago. On the bright side though, a lot of bills have been paid and it has freed up The Distraction and I to start paying off more bills, meaning that our net worth my be leaving the negatives within the next 12 months. Wouldn't that be a shock to our system?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Right Move, Wrong Reason

Bob Barnes: Innocent until investigated? That's nice. It's got a nice ring to it. Bet you've worn some miles on old sayings like that. Gives the listener the sense of the law being written as it is spoken.

I had another of those moments where everything becomes clear over the weekend during a friendly home game. Of course it was just after making another mistake, but earlier in the same had I made what I believe was a wise move for my intentions, even though I was unaware of the intentions that I should have had until after the hand.

Without plunging into too much of a hand history, I had AKs in middle position and there was a flop of QsJd4s. UTG bet out small, one call and then me. I decided to raise, just double the bet and no more.

Now here is what I should have been thinking – or at least what I thought of after the hand that made me able to justify it. I have a flush draw, straight draw plus two over cards. 3-handed, the small bet to me means a pair, but because it is from UTG it could mean more. The re-raise gives the UTG player an opportunity to tell me what he has. If he comes back for a bigger re-raise, most likely of the all-in variety, then he might have hit trips or two pair. If he flat calls, he might have only a weaker spade/straight draw or the one pair I put him on.

And if he only has the one pair and calls my raise here, on the turn he is likely to check. If his hand improves to a very strong one or even the nuts, he is probably going to check and then try to check-raise me. If he hits nothing, he will probably be too scared to bluff as I have already bet pre-flop and post flop. So the raise post flop should ensure a free look at the river, which is what I need on my drawing hand. The fact that one other player was caught in the middle helped a little bit, but the fact that he was calling all the way and never leading the action could be either a sign of weakness or a very strong hand. Since he was not leading the action though, I could get a free look at the river from him as well with this course of action.

In hindsight, I think that seems like a pretty smart and calculated move. In reality, I have no idea why I decided to raise there. The action came to me, and before I knew it I was putting chips into the pot.

Turns out the hand played out as it should, and the flush came on the river. The other two players had top pair and second pair, and neither called my final river bet (which was too big for any hand worse than mine to call, another mistake). I showed my hand anyway, because this is a friendly game, and they were a little bit shocked that I was on the draw for that hand. I guess a tight image works in your favour sometimes.

On the night I had another couple of funny hands. Early on, maybe within the first ten hands of the night, I was dealt The Cowboys and gave considerable thought to folding them pre-flop. There was a lot of action between two players, with raises and re-raises putting the pot at a sizeable sum before the flop. On a harmless looking flop with all undercards, one player pushed all-in and the other called. I am left to a decision for all my chips to call on a all-under card flop. I was 100% certain I was up against aces in one position, and probably another decent hand in the other. I decided to fold it and live to fight another day. In the end , one player had JJ unimproved and the winner had my other two kings. That is the third time in the past 2 months that I have had a big pocket pair ruined by some one else holding the same pocket pair – only this time, I would have won a split pot. Oh well, I guess that is the way it goes sometimes.

It was the only time I saw Kings for the night, but I did get to see Aces once. One guy in the BB was very short stacked, and went all-in for $10 blind before the cards had even been dealt. I was calling my cards as they came to me…Give me an ace, thank you…one more, thank you! With only $17 more on top of his $10, I decided to not muck around and go all in myself. Everyone folded, after speculating that I might be trying to steel the $10 blind bet, and he turned over A9 so I had him dominated. The flop and turn however gave him an OESD for his nine, which the river filled. I guess this wouldn't be the night for big pocket pairs – for me at least.

All up though I had a great night results wise. I made a heap of mistakes but hit cards when I needed to. I did loosen right up for this game, and a couple of lucky rivers and heaps of flushes came to the rescue. Hey, I've got to give luck it's credit due when it is due. I had some nice cards without getting ridiculous. Because it was getting ridiculous for one guy, who hit every damn thing no matter what cards he played. It got to the point that we were excited every time he folded, because it gave the rest of us a chance. He was the player who made me fold KK earlier, by the way

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Maximise Me

Deputy Travis Junior: I actually wanted to be in the FBI for about 20 minutes after I saw that movie with Jodie Foster and that guy who eats people in his basement, but I was really stoned at the time. And to be honest with you, for about 20 minutes, I also thought about making a dress out of people's skin.
"Reno: 911"

The Gnomes were messing with me again last night. I decided to go to a higher buy in table because I wasn't concentrating enough on the lower ones, and I wanted the money to matter. It's all relatively the same though, because instead of playing 2 tables I played only one, so the same amount of money was at stake.

Anyways, after I went through the history on the first ten hands, my rag cards were good enough to win 9 of them. All except one was a big pot too. Unfortunately, I only won one pot that I played, and I want to put that up for analysis.

$100 buy in, 50c/$1 blinds. I raised from middle position with 89o to $3.50, and got two callers. The flop was 67T with two diamonds – ok, so this is pretty much a fantastic flop for me. Small blind ($24) bet out $10 (pot was $12) and I decided that if they are going to draw to a flush, it would be more expensive than that. With $22 in the pot already, I figured even if I am burning further action, it is probably ok still. I raised it up to $25 which was enough to put the small blind all-in and enough to make the other player in the pot (about the same stack as me, $90+) expensive if they want to chase a draw. The other player folds and the small blind calls with JT, no diamonds. The turn was a small diamond, but since he had none it meant my opponent was now drawing dead.

Is this a good play? Obviously I am happy enough with the end result, but was my post-flop raise with the nuts at the time going to cost me money?

This would obviously depend on how often the drawing hands are going to call me and how much they are going to pay me off when they miss. I don't have any indication that the player in late position that folded on the flop held any diamonds, or if they would have called the $10 bet behind me. Putting a percentage on the number of times he would call with the draw if he had it and the number of times he would fold would be pure speculation and have no real merit other than to try to create an objective answer to a subjective problem.

The $25 raise means that if the SB is calling, he is all-in and I have no choices left regarding him, so this is now a play on the late position player. My thinking is by calling a pre-flop raise, ha might have over cards or an under pair. At worst he has a set of tens, in which case he would probably re-raise me again and we go to see if his outs come. He might call me if he has an over pair and if he is decent then he will fold KT or AT here (though these are the hands I would love for him to call with). If he is a bad player, he might call with top pair here which would be happy days for me. Maybe with all these bad hands that I have dominated, he might have been tempted to call the $10 – even with two overcards he may have called, which would have been fantastic for me.

But what if he then chose to bluff at the third diamond, it would have been at least another $20 there, likely more. Could I call the bluff with my straight?

This thought process is continuing to go back into my theory that I might be playing too tight. As a general observation, I think the only thing close to a bluff I am doing is a continuation bet after raising pre-flop. I might be getting a little too predictable, even though this pre-flop raise from middle position with 89o might suggest otherwise. I think also the fact that I had just seen about $250 worth of pots go to hands that couldn't beat my folded cards is a tiny bit responsible for this out of character action.

At this table, there were too guys sitting on either side of me who would not shut up, which is fine it doesn't bother me at all. They were basically complementing each other on their great wins and laydowns, and I was worried that they might try a reach around while I was sitting in the middle but such is one of the benefits of online poker that this was made impossible. In the end though, the player to my left had nearly tripled his stack and the player to my right had doubled his. I had peaked at $147 after the flopped straight and then folded my way back down to $117 by sessions end. All I could think of was that I had let a lot of money go by not playing loose or aggressive enough.

One example was in the small blind with 84o. The flop was a beautiful 882, with two clubs. I decided to check in first position to see if I could get any action from the other 3 in the pot. It was checked all the way around. The turn was the 4c, which was my bingo card. Hey, if anyone has the straight flush I am paying them off, but if someone has just hit a flush then happy days for me – I hope they bet. I let check my boat to hopefully get some action from somewhere else and some callers. No luck, it gets checked around the table again. The river is a 3, which doesn't change my position. Not wanting this to check around again, I put out a massive pot sized bet of $4. I get called once in late position, who shows 89o.

On one hand, I guess this guy was trying to slow play his flopped trips and got lucky that it did not cost him further. On the other hand, maybe he was unlucky that I hit a 3 outer and took the pot away from him – but he let me draw to it for free, so this line of thinking doesn't hold. To be frank though, we both let any flush chaser draw to the flush for free – I was just lucky enough that the flush card was a boat card for me. I'm guessing there were no flush chasers in the end so it was all for naught in this instance, but I couldn't help feeling that the $11 pot wasn't really enough. I should have been happy enough that I got the pot at all, considering the case 8 was out there and my kicker was pretty useless (before the turn at least), but there is no doubt that the 89o would have called any bets on the flop and turn, yet I only made him call on the river. I failed to build the pot.

One of the regulars in the home games has a great habit of just building pots. A small bet here and there and multiple callers when he has a good hand. I guess you can't be scared of the flush every time, right?

I guess the issue I am dealing with is when you play as tight as I evidently have, wining hands don't come along very often. When they do, you have a hard time trying to make the most of them because you have a tight image. I feel that I am not making the most of the winning hands I have, so when I go into my long folding sessions I am coming out break even or slightly better when I should be clearing a lot more.

The profits gained from this small session were all eaten up by two SNG losses. Out in 8th and 7th, both pretty poor performances. In one I lost 95% of my stack with KK vs AA, but that will happen. And in the other I am struggling to remember what happened but I'm sure it wasn't my fault. How could it be, right? Ah yes, I made a pre-flop raise with A6h and got called once. Flop was 863 and I pushed, he called with 77. Yeah, I'm a bit 50/50 about that decision – I don't mean it is a coin flip but I mean I think the all-in with just a pair of sixes and an ace could be either a good move or a bad one. Maybe in light of the results it was a bad one no matter what.

Anyways, that is the way the old poker brain was turning last night. I'm enjoying these little sessions of late so looking forward to more of the same tonight.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Gnomes

Phil Gordon: Even Jesus wouldn't bet all of his chips on a Jack-three!
Dave Foley: Or, well, if he did, by the time the cards hit the table they'd be different.
"Celebrity Poker Showdown"

If anybody ever says that Poker Source Online is too good to be true, they don't know what they are talking about. Just a few hours ago I picked up another couple of parcels from Amazon, thanks to vouchers through PSO (referrals, got to love them) and in the past month I have added the following to the DVD collection:

Viva La Bam, seasons 2-5
Interview With a Vampire
16 Blocks (not even in cinemas in Australia yet)
Clerks: The Animated Series
Clerks Tenth Anniversary edition
NCIS Season 1
Law and Order: Criminal Intent seasons 1 and 3
Reno 911: Season 1
The Girl Next Door
The Aristocrats
Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
Chasing Amy
Sky High

Not to mention a couple of poker books and some clothing. Not bad for folding for a few hours, huh?

And speaking of the poker books, I plan on doing a review for "How to Cheat Your Friends at Poker : The Wisdom of Dickie Richard" once I complete it.

I had a post last week that unfortunately got deleted before I had a chance to throw it up here. The small of it was another home game with some positive results. Weirdest hand of the night was a semi-bluff on the flop with 52o, get two callers. I decide that since the flush hasn't come yet I can try to get rid of the flush chasers with a hefty bet on the turn, but I get both callers again. The river brings the flush and as I am first to act I am done with this hand. I fired two bullets, I didn't have enough to make the third one count now the flush had come. The other two guys checked and bottom pair was good enough. I put them both on a flush draw, and it turns out they were actually on the straight draw. Thing looked up from there and I cashed out a little earlier but well in the black for the night.

I've come to the point in my online playing where I am not chasing any more bonus' at the minute, so I just play when I feel like it. It's a pretty sweet little arrangement when you think about it. Since my good friends at Full Tilt poker keep this blog happy, I steer 100% of my action their way these days.

After having very little luck and playing otherwise poorly, I managed to loose what I had left when my flopped two pair was no good for a flopped straight. I lost another huge pot with pocket queens(JJ4AQ – and he has AA), and pocket kings was treating me no better (AAx flop, thanks for that). Later when playing, I was dealt QQ in the big blind and had 5 callers in front of me. How much would be enough to push everyone out? Bugger that, I'm just checking. The flop was AKx, and there was much post flop action. I was actually kind of happy that pocket queens only cost me $1 on that on.

Which is a weird state of mind. Usually when you receive big pairs, you expect to win something. For me, I only count AA, KK and QQ as big pairs. But now, when I get KK or QQ all I am thinking is to limit my losses. How's that for positive thinking?

Look at me whinge? Yeah, I guess my AA are still picking up blinds while I keep paying off everyone elses. Even the example above of Queens full beaten by Aces full, I could have gotten away from. There was a raise and a re-raise pre-flop, and I keep telling myself that a call-raise-re raise means aces but I keep calling just in case it means AK. It hasn't been AK yet, just keep on paying off those aces.

Had another clown at the table complaining about how rigged the site was, because they were dominated pre-flop against someone and couldn't overcome them. Now I've heard people complain for loosing to "Divine Intervention" (that's what we call a one outer these days) and complain, and even when you know it isn't true when something like that happens you can understand someone feeling pretty crappy about it. But when you make a horrible all-in with KJ and you get called by KK, can you really complain? Bah, maybe it was the Random Number Generator Gnomes.

Step 1: Rig online poker sites so good players always loose and bad players always win.

Step 2: …

Step 3: Profit!

Ok, so there actually is some profit being made, but I think this is just a ploy by the gnomes to get our underpants. It's just a theory, but to be honest how else to you explain the bad beats in online poker, huh? That's right you can't! It's the gnomes I tells you!

You know what I hate? When you are down to the bubble in a SNG, and every other player at the table gets down to 1BB, only to come back and double up twice to be back to comfortable. This guy has been down to under 1BB 3 times, only to rise once more like grandpa on Viagra, and everyone else has been there too, except yours truly who has plugged away and keep at about the average just waiting for one of these small stacks to loose a coin flip. Then, after all this when I have my turn as the small stack, I loose to a four flush on the river. That sucks my friend, and I blame the RNG Gnomes.

Lately, I've also had the pleasure of watching some more poker on TV, namely the Celebrity Poker Showdown with Dave Foley on commentary. The particular tournament I was watching was from 2004, but Dave Foley was pure gold all the way through. The other poker I was watching was some of the newer WPT events, but I'm not sure when the tournament was only that this was the first WPT show I had seen since Shana left. Who the hell thought the two cameras in the middle of the table would be a good idea? What have we gained from this camera view? A nice two-shot that has poor colour, focus, perspective and dimenions? Great, that is so much worth it when the side effect is two giant black speed bumps in the middle of the table.

Hole Cams = revolutionised televised poker.

Middle of the table cams = let someone justify their job. Innovation for the damn sake of it, with no benefit and only a down side.

Can anyone please explain to me why they thought this was a good idea?