Monday, April 30, 2007

Gambling With Kids

Tony Montana: I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.

Over the weekend the Distraction and I made a quick trip to our local DVD store, and picked up some real bargains but I also grabbed the SNL best of Jimmy Falon. I like the SNL Best Of's, sometimes I think this is the best way to watch SNL, and I've spoken before about how when I worked at the video store I would always put the 25 Year's video on, and some customer would hire it then and there. Anyways, I think it was a bit weak this compilation. I haven't had the chance to watch much SNL over the past 3-4 years, but what I have seen from Jimmy Falon, the majority was better than what was on his "Best Of". But it has it moments I guess.

On the pre-ANZAC day poker game, I had a good start but then one player went on a 7 hour streak, where no matter what he had it would hit big, and usually someone else would catch a decent piece of it. It was unbelievable as the luck would not change, and his outs would either come or he would flop the nuts and let someone else chase to a made hand that just wasn't good enough. I was $200 up at one stage, and then ended the night at $30 down. Also had a 2-3 hour cold streak in there that was bad enough for others to make comment before I had the chance to whine.

Which is something I am improving on, the whining. Started to get better in the live games. Online – forget about it. I had another weekend of second-best hands and paid for them.

I did decide to have Friday night off from poker though – a chance to recharge the batteries and get some brownie points in the bank for future use.

But back to ANZAC day, we had another fine day at the pub playing two-up. This pub was a little more family friendly than the one we went to last year (which was closed for renovations), and gambling it up in the pouring rain was a real treat. Made us feel like we had earned it, even though I was not betting at all. The distraction ended in front which is all you can ask for.

Being more family friendly, there was a large number of kids around, even though I think to the strict letter of the law they probably should not have been. But there was some underage gambling going on for sure – I don't mean "maybe you should check their I.D." kind of underage gambling, I mean "I think his age is not in double figures" type. With Dad right beside him, the 9 year old raised his money high to make the bet. I saw the moral compass of my poker buddy go haywire as he considered it, but in the end he just could not take the bet form the kid – more than likely, because even if he won he would not want to collect. When someone else eventually took his bet and one, we made sure we booed him enough to make him feel guilty.

Later, my buddies' bet to a two year old girl were knocked back. Pity.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Funniest Bad Beat Ever

BR: People, what is going on out there? I look down this table, all I see are white flags. Our numbers are down all across the board. Teen smoking, our bread and butter, is falling like a shit from heaven! We don't sell Tic Tacs for Christ's sake. We sell cigarettes. And they're cool and available and addictive. The job is almost done for us!
"Thank You For Smoking"

I see that the movie "Hot Fuzz" just opening in the US this past weekend, and people are saying about the bad timing it had – in the fact that it provides parody for some of the gun culture and love in action flicks. People, that is not a reason to miss this movie. This is one of the best comedies I have seen for a very long time. If anything, current events should make the themes of this movie more prevalent and hopefully meaningful.

Besides all that, it's just damn funny.

We all hate bad beat stories right? Well I've got a fantastic one, one where I not only lost the pot but had to laugh about it because it was so bad. It's a short story, so just listen and stop rolling your eyes.

I'm down a buy in or two and not having much luck. I have A6d, and see a two diamond flop, King high. First to act bets, short stack pushes all-in. I have to think and eventually call and everyone else folds. Before we flip the cards over, the short stack (usually tight player) says "Want to run it twice?". Now I am running terribly, and am on just a flush draw. I figure running it twice is a great idea. When he flips over 78d, I think it is even better. There is no straight draw, so I am in a pretty good decision. Even better when the player to my right says he folded a seven.

Quick analysis, I am ahead with just an Ace which was a surprise, but now he has 6 outs (well, 5 when you include the already dead 7). We are running it twice though, so I am happy enough with a split.

First time, the board shows no diamonds and comes 7, 5. Damn, lost that one but at least we get to go again. Second time around, no diamonds and it comes Queen, 8. What the hell? How could I loose this bastard twice?

All I could do was laugh.

I wasn't playing great early in the game on Friday night, and this was my third or fourth buy in at this stage. I went into my fourth buy in before I won a pot over $10. Wasn't a good night for my hands I guess. I did finally get lucky flopping a straight against a small stack and then flopping a full house against another in consecutive hands which gave me one of my buy-ins back. As people left the game and the numbers got smaller, I started to win a few hands and really earned some pots.

My commitment to mucking un-called hands has started to pay dividends, which should be no real surprise. Because it is a friendly home game, you tend to show your hands after you win the pot, regardless of which street. I was doing this pretty much 99% of the time. That, along with my well publicized "Super Laydowns™" give me the tight image I so richly deserve. Finally, I was able to use it to my advantage and I don't think anyone really suspected that I was bluffing as much as I was. It was a welcomed change and was really the reason why I ended the night in profit after being down a long way.

Online? Well, I only played one SNG over the weekend as we had a very busy social life for a change. I lost nearly all of my stack with AQ on a A55 flop with 2 people behind me. I bet out, 2nd raised and third called. Not wanting this to go any further, I re-raised all-in and got called twice by AQ and AK. Yeah, not the best move but I thought I was against a weaker ace and a flush draw, in the end I have 2 outs for a split that didn't come. Next hand I went all in with A2 and got called by KK. Such is life I guess.

This week though is ANZAC day, which means mid-week home game. I'm really looking forward to it and the itch has already started.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Current Affairs

Rip Reed: Thanks God, A dog pile of piss poor physique on top of a small cock and hereditary alcoholism, I appreciate it!... I'm babbling. I do that drunk.
”Smoking Aces”

The poker on the weekend started off well, and then went pear shaped for a nett result of $25 in the red. Can’t really complain as I played really well early on when it was short handed, and then went it became a full table with multiple calling stations I was only able to capitalise once for the night while everyone else made a killing off them. Nevermind.

I had a little more luck with the online ring games, finally getting some decent hands in and results. I was down half a buy in and then came back to post a modest profit, covering a dismal showing in a SNG where I was wiped out within the first orbit.

But what I really wanted to talk about today is another of my pet hates – current affairs programs. We have two main ones on a weeknight in Australia called “A Current Affair” and the other is “Today Tonight”. Both are crap and scrap the bottom of the barrel for quasi-current affairs. Every year they do a story about what is really in meat pies – one usually a month or so after the other, like this is a news worthy story. There is a plethora of examples of their tactics and cheque-book journalism in the papers seemingly everyday. And then they follow that up with a hard hitting story on which laundry powder is best for you.

What really got me though was last week they advertised that a story was coming up about Joe Hachem, and how he has been struggling with the new found fame he has. I thought great, here is something I can watch and perhaps even have something to talk about to my poker buddies and even right here.

Instead, what was presented was a 5 minutes story that included perhaps 3 and a half minutes of “Casino Royale”, then 1 minute and 40 seconds recapping of how “one lucky hand” won Joe $10m (in Aussie dollars, it was about that before tax). I thought that was a bit offensive to Joe, seeing as he had to go through five days and a 14 hour session on the final to get that one lucky hand, but there you go. The final 20 second was Joe saying he is now a lot more famous than he thought he would be and he is thinking of moving. That’s about it.

There is no story there. Not that I blame Hachem, probably made a couple of grand on it so why the hell not – and it’s not like he was the one that wrote the story. What annoyed me even more is that obviously this story was only put in to have a poker story, and to sucker in the punters that would watch for that reason. I was one of those punters. I was sucked in. I never watch this current affairs shows and made an exception on this one case because of the story, and was immediately reminded of why I never watch these shows. Although I guess in a way it did give me something to write about.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Spartan King Leonidas: Dilios, I trust that "scratch" hasn't made you useless.
Dilios: Hardly, my lord, it's just an eye. The gods saw fit to grace me with a spare.

A few weeks ago, a well known English sports journalist passed away by the name of Ian Wooldridge and in his wake there was a story told that I read and thought that the lesson was quite apt. I post this exert from "The Fitz Files", a weekly sport column from the Sydney Morning Herald and posted at

Ian Wooldridge was playing golf one day with his good friend Richie Benaud. For my North American friends, Richie Benaud is a former Australian Cricket Captain and has been the head cricket commentator in Australia since most of us were born. He still does this to this day, now in his 70's.

The story continues as "On one hole, Wooldridge's drive went awry, meaning he had a difficult approach shot to the green over a pond. So difficult was it that Wooldridge replaced his ball with an old and scungy one from his bag, explaining to Benaud that he didn't want to waste the good ball. With a smile, Benaud gave him a brand new ball from his own bag, saying that by replacing his original ball with an older one, Woolers has allowed the approach shot to beat him even before he had swung his club. Wooldridge then unleashed a superb shot over the lake, and it finished within inches of the pin. According to Wooldridge, this explained why lakes on golf courses are full of very old golf balls, and also why Benaud was probably the greatest Australian cricket captain of them all!"

I read this a few weeks ago and thought some more about it, and then started to see how I could relate this to my poker game.

A few weeks ago, I had some very strong hands run into some other even stronger ones, and made some good lay downs and made some bad ones. More than anything, it made me feel like I was running into the nuts on every hand which made my play not optimal. My mindset was "avoid loosing" which has the side effect of "avoid winning" sometimes, much like the golfing situation above.

I set about the game on Friday night with a new attitude – and lost my first buy in within the first orbit. Eventually though, things changed and after a real cold streak I started to hit some cards and wasn't scared about throwing chips into the pot even when I didn't have the nuts. Slowly the cards changed for me and I feel I played a lot better.

Biggest pot for the night was with J2s. Four players saw the flop come Ks9s2c. Aggressive player bets out, call in front and I call as well as one behind. Decent sized pot already and the turn card is Jc. Now I have two pair and a flush draw, nice position to be in I think. Aggressive player bets out $20 into maybe a $30 pot, but $20 is still a big bet at this table. 2 nd position calls – and I decided to push without hesitation. Now I have a good enough tight image at this table that it won't look like I am too venerable. The two players who have already committed $20 on this card are able to do that without monster hands, and even if they do call I should have some good outs. Last player folds, as does the original raiser. 2 nd position says he is pot committed and calls my all-in which was another $35 I think. He has 7s8s and has 3 outs to a ten. Original raiser had K9o for the flopped two pair, but had to give me respect and thought I had already hit the straight. The river was the queen of spades meaning he dodged a bullet there. I won the pot and that hand put me up at that stage of the night, and for the first time in some weeks.

After this, some more hands started to hit and I finished the night $135 in the black, which is enough to put my year to date back in the black also. It was just a much better night of cards and attitude from myself which reminded me of why I love playing poker in the first place.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Janine Melnitz: Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?
Winston Zeddemore: Ah, if there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

Welcome back to Poker On Film, now fully rested after visiting the home land. Well, the home town anyways.

We had a great day at the races, lost every bet except the final one which put us back near even for the day. Exciting race too, with our 7-1 horse getting up with only metres to spare – and then we found out we could have got the horse at 12-1 odds if we went through the TAB instead of the bookie (Aussie's will understand that). Pity, because that cost us a bit but at the end of the day we were just below even, which included over priced drinks and food so you can't complain too much.

We made the effort to head out bush on the Sunday for lunch in the creek, and managed to catch a few yabbies for a decent feed on the day as well and again, you can't ask for more than that.

Poker wise, I was on a fantastic tournament/SNG streak at Pokerstars recently, finishing in the money in 19 out of 21 at one stage, but in the 6 since I think I have finished 3 rd twice only for not much return. Otherwise, not much else is happening online at the minute. The download limit at home has once again gone over, which means it is too risky to play because of constant timing out until the limit gets renewed this weekend.

I have been really off my game lately, and as always you can only blame yourself. I have lost the ability to pull the trigger when I should. It happened by running into the nuts once or twice, which happens to everyone, but for whatever reason I was letting it get to me. I think I was so proud of myself and impressed by the laydowns that it became my primary reaction – I'm beat. And when that is your first thought, you don't win many pots.

I ventured into the city this past weekend for some live SNG action, and got beaten severely four times. The first two times it was Kings and two's beaten by trip 2's, and the next two times I lost when a slight/favourite against Jc9c (with 99 and JT). Just funny how both of them worked out like that. The fourth was a horrible game where I just could not beat this one player, not matter what cards we held. With 4 players to a flop and one all in we had a dry side pot. I had a made hand on the flop so I bet out to just claim my pot, and he called. The turn and river came and we both checked it down and he showed that he filled his gut-shot straight on the turn. Later, when I had flopped 2 pair with a back door flush, I bet out big (on the bubble here), and he agonised over the call, but eventually called my T1500 bet out of his T1950 stack. The turn was an ace, but the Ace of diamonds giving me the first half of my flush draw. He went all in and I had to call, and he showed AJ. He called me with no pair-no draw on the flop for 75% of his stack, and I wouldn't be telling this story if he didn't hit his outs on the river. Running two pair. Really, the only beat I can complain about on the night.

Then the final bust out of the night was with 99 vs JJ and JT. It just goes that way some times I guess. It was unfortunate because I worked my self from 1 chip back to a respectable position of about 5-6 bets, and then got my first pocket pair for the game. Just came at the wrong time, and I was nowhere to be seen.

With the impending long weekend, I am hoping for a bit of return to form in the home game this Thursday night or Friday, or whenever we get to play. I made myself apologise to the host for last time when I was whinging more because I was down, which I think I have a bad tendency to do at times and the archives will attest to. But now I am aware and will be making a better effort to improve my mindset and then hopefully my decisions.

But on a different note, I am really starting to notice there are three kinds of players at the live game SNG's. There are the beginners, the ok guys and the wanna-be pros. And naturally it is the wanna-bes that are the most annoying. I think they are the type of player that is used to online play or has friends that play big money games and therefore think they are elite (or maybe they play in games way out of their league, and think that makes them an expert). It seems everything they do is prefect play, and everyone else is an idiot – I'm sure we've all seen this before. One guy in particular was hilarious when I was watching.

It's a rebuy tournament, so you expect some suspect plays early on. The player in questions, lets call him Mr Pro, would raise the T50 to T250 without looking at his cards, and then bet another T1000 on the flop regardless of callers or cards – all this out of a starting stack of T1500. And he was down a few buy ins before it worked for him and doubled up. But he would not adjust his play and then lost that after he was called down by a player holding middle pair and a straight draw. At the showdown he berated the player, then mucked his cards as middle pair was obviously good enough. The winner waited until he left, and then said how predictable it was.

But what fascinated me was he also questioned a raise from one player to T250 pre-flop (after they looked at their cards). "5 times the big blind hey?" condescendingly. Well, 5x the big bling isn't that unusual after you've looked at your cards, but we move on.

The hand where I got felted went like this – King high flop, small bet gets 3 callers. Turn is a 2 so I bet out 700 of my 1300, and one player raises to have me all in, and it gets folded around to me. I have 600 left, there is over 3000 in there – I figure I'm probably beaten by 2 pair but call anyways and maybe get lucky. He shows 22 for the turned set and has me drawing dead, but no matter and I rebuy. End of hand right? Nope. Mr Pro says "I can't understand why people do that, call when they are obviously beaten" and then tried to say "it was obvious he had pocket twos". Wow, um, it's really easy to say it is obvious when the cards are turned over, but I did not put him on a 2-outer on that flop and thought it was safe to assume the 2 on the turn was a safe card. But I did have a fair idea that I was beaten and still called, but I asked if he thought that criticising that play was any better than going all-in pre-flop without looking at your cards and then turning over 8-5o. "Yeah, but at least I had outs". It was at this time that I realised who I was dealing with and just left it at that. It all ends well though as he was knocked out a few places before me and even though that pays the same, it cost him a few extra buy ins to do it. On the last hand before the first break though he managed to double me up by calling a pre-flop all-in with 4 high. What was funny was it left him with T200, and unable to rebuy and he could only add-on.

So I didn't win any money, I will have to settle for a little moral victory instead.