Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Well, that was fun. I’m down to the felt at UB after two embarrassing bust-outs last night (assuming $.60 is “down to the felt”). What makes both of them embarrassing was that they were both due to KNOWN holes in my online game, just repetitions of the same glaring fuck-ups that seem to punctuate all my SnG losses.

The first one was due to going to the wall with KK too early. In reality, I wasn’t gonna get away from it on a Jxx flop, no matter how low the blinds. But it seems that I get pushed when I have KK and I simply can’t lay it down. Turns out I was right, but at the wrong time [obscure Star Trek reference]. With blinds at 15/30, I kick it to 100 in MP and get three callers. Flop was the aforementioned J83 with two diamonds and I throw out 300 trying to price out the flush draws. Two folds and I get kicked all-in. I figure him on a flush draw or AJ. So I call and am pleased to see QsJd, but not pleased to see two more diamonds peel off for the runner-runner flush and IGHN.

Two schools of thought here: One, I got my money in at the right time with a big advantage and just got unlucky… or Two, I was all-in pre-turn too early in a tournament. After all, a big mathematical advantage is just that… an advantage. Certainly not as good as having the nuts after the river, and betting then. Unfortunately, I usually subscribe to the first choice, meaning I’m prone to receiving some major suckouts and dropping my entry fee way too early.

The second quick bust was due to overbetting TPTK and losing to a pocket overpair. I was down to half a stack because of raising pre-flop with QQ and JJ and having to lay them down to AKx flops. So when I got A9s, I was already low stack at the table and, after limping pre-flop, bet out on a 972 flop with one of my suit. I was raised just enough to put me all-in by the SB, who had also limped, but with TT. Sigh. Now I have a dozen nickels to play with at UB. Whee.

I’m intrigued by the PokerProf’s hint of a live WPBT event in California. I won’t be able to make the Las Vegas event (not that I would venture into that lion’s den of blogging and poker greatness), but would like to meet some of the blogging community (besides Jeff, who is basically just blogging in my wake). Since the only other poker bloggers are in SoCal, I assume that any WPBT event would be at Commerce, but I’d be willing to pop a cheapie ticket just to go. I may check out some of the local card clubs for freeze-out tournaments, just to brush up on my live tournament play… Oh, and to plug my early KK and TPTK holes.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Back in the SnG saddle after a trytophan overdose. My Empire bankroll has ballooned from $14 to over $98 and back down to $76. Small potatoes for many of you, but enough to sustain me for a good while in the $10 NLHE and O8 SnGs at Empire. And it’s all profit anyway… I’ve had a nice little run at the $10 O8 SnGs. Like I’ve said many many times, these seem to more profitable because of the public’s fascination with Hold ‘Em and the dearth of good O8 instruction.

I’m totally bankrupt at PokerStars, though I cashed out $400 ahead. No biggie. I won’t miss their cluttered tournament board and cheesy graphics. I only deposited money there to participate in the WPBT anyway, and by any measure, the venture was successful.

For some reason, I still have $11.60 at UB. Certainly that money will be spent or multiplied this week as I will fire away at a couple of SnGs there. Luckily, their SnGs have a flat 10% vig and I can play two $5+.5 and still have some change left over for the penny-ante NL tables for a desperation run should I completely bomb out.

Money ($150+) is still floating at Pacific, though I haven’t had the inclination to play there recently. If they’d add some Omaha SnGs, I might re-activate. As of now, I’m tempted to pull back $100 for whoring opportunities, and play with a short bankroll for a little while.

That reminds me. I wanted to mention shortstack play. I’ve gotten some backhanded compliments on my shortstack play, both from those on the rail during the WPBT and the SnGs at the sites mentioned above. Not enough has been written about shortstack play for SnGs or multi-table tournaments, and I won’t pretend to be an expert. After all, if I was an expert, I wouldn’t be shortstacked, would I? And I think it’s more that others are BAD at shortstack play, making my play look better, but here are some quick tips:

1. Know your opponents. When you fold, don’t watch TV or go get a beer… watch. You’ll figure out really quick who is trying to back into the prize money (weenie), and who is pushing their big stack to establish dominance (bully). We’ve all seen tournaments where the people around the bubble start folding every hand, hoping that the other guys will bust first. While you’ll be tempted to steal the weenie’s blinds, beware! He’ll only call when he’s probably got you beat. On the other hand, the bully with the big chip stack is ripe for the picking since he’s usually freer with his marginal calls.

2. Don’t get desperate. If you have more than 4xBB, you have two full orbits to get a decent hand. Don’t necessarily go all-in on your first Ace. Remember, as shortstack, your goal is to cash, not necessarily win the whole thing. Limping is permitted with good starting hands. In fact, I encourage it since it brings more callers. The converse is to push with mediocre hands where you really only want one caller or, better yet, no callers.

Let’s say blinds are 100/200 and you have 700-800 chips and get AK or AQ, your optimal play might be to limp and hope to pull a couple of callers. After all, you’re pretty sure you’re taking this hand to the limit, why not maximize your odds by limping? Think about it, if you push all-in, you’re folding out the weaker hands. If they fold, you’ll just take down the blinds… For what? So you can wait another round? You ain’t gonna get a better hand, you’d better maximize your profit NOW. This is the exact time where you want more people in. Ideally, someone else will limp and the bully will raise, enabling you to possibly triple up. Even if it’s just called around, if you catch any piece of the flop, you’re gonna push all-in after the flop with a big advantage over the Ax and Kx calling hands. If the flop misses you horribly (like T85 or something), you have the choice of bailing on the hand or making a bluff at it, depending on your opponents.

In the situation above, you should push all-in preflop with small-to-medium pockets, trying to isolate the overcards. If called, you’re probably down to a race with you holding a slight advantage (around 54-46 depending on the overcards). I’ve also seen bigger stacks call with A-rag just because they think the shortstack is desperate, improving your odds even more (ie. 99 vs. A7s is 67-33 in your favor). Funny, but people seem to forget that A2 is pretty much the same as J2 against pocket pairs.

3. Know the blind escalation structure and when the blinds are going up. This is HUGE, but is very rarely mentioned since it only affects tournament play and not ring play. Empire (Party) counts down the hands before the blinds change, Pacific has a clock, UB has a timer but doesn’t show the exact countdown. Your strategy needs to be tied to clock/blind management just as much as it needs to be tied to cards and position. Think of shortstack play as the two-minute offense in football. If the blinds are about to go up, you need to be more aggressive and loosen up your starting hands.

If you’re one of two shortstacks and you’re on the (timed) blinds, take your time. Your money is already in the pot, you have nothing to gain by playing quickly. If you take your time (cynics would say “stalling”), the blinds will soon go up and the other shortstack will have to commit a greater percentage of his stack to the blinds. Figure that each hand takes about a minute and plan accordingly. If you’re on Empire/Party, count the seats until the blinds go up. If you see that the blinds will go up for the other shortstack, raise your hand requirements, knowing that he’ll be forced to play with weaker cards.

Of course, all of this is moot if you’re not the shortstack at the table. But we’ve all been there… Even during the blogger tourneys, I’ve seen desperate shortstack play (ie. all-in on QTo), when with proper planning and table awareness, there really is no reason to be desperate. If you pay attention to the three things above, I think you’ll probably do better in the endgames, where the cash is separated from the bubbles.

Monday, November 22, 2004

OK, we’ve all seen the video lowlights of the Malice at the Palace by now: Ron Artest fouling Ben Wallace, Ben Wallace double stiff-arming Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson daring the entire Pistons bench to throw down, and both teams just acting tough but not really engaging in any real physical activity. Most “fights” in professional team sports generally end up like this, with both teams shoving and posing and generally hiding behind their biggest players. Ron Artest actually laid down on the scorer’s table, feigning exhaustion and/or boredom. All had pretty much settled down…

Until some schmuck threw a cup of beer from the third row onto Artest’s chest. Artest, already the poster boy for anger management, leaped to his feet, hurdled two rows of seats, and began pummeling… the wrong guy. Turns out the right guy was right behind Artest and began punching him from behind. Another schmuck splashed the three of them with a full beer. Right about then, Stephen Jackson came flying in and started firing right hands at the beer splasher (roughly like pistol whipping someone that squirted your friend with a Super Soaker). After a few minutes of some wild WWF action in the stands, security and Indiana coaches managed to drag Artest and Jackson from the stands back onto the court. Of course, while security was up in the stands trying to extricate the Klitschko brothers, other drunken Piston fans made their way to the court. One particularly stupid one ran right up to a seething Artest and screamed something stupid at the 6’7”, 250lb pro athlete. Artest responded by unleashing a huge right hand and dropped the fan in his tracks.

Security got Artest and Jackson back into the dressing room through a shower of beer, soda, popcorn, and peanuts. Meanwhile, still on the court, Jermaine O’Neal decided to take a run at some probably drunk fan that had (inadvisedly) come down near the Pacers bench. The video I saw looked like the guy had either fallen or was knocked down by someone, and was just trying to get back to his feet. The 7’0” O’Neal ran up and connected with a wild swing, dropping the guy again. O’Neal then threatened to run up into the stands as the torrent of concessions rained down. Frank Francisco was there and fired a chair into the melee just to keep his arm in shape.

Yesterday, the suspensions came down. Artest – the last 70+ games of the season. Jackson – 30 games. O’Neal – 25 games. Wallace – 6 games. I have some issues with the lengths of these. Wallace’s is fine, it’s comparable to other on-the-court, hit-someone-in-the-face kind of suspensions. I think O’Neal’s suspension is too long, given that it happened on the floor, and his more penal (hehe, you said ‘penal’) punishments will be criminal/civil. Jackson’s suspension should be closer to Artest’s in length, or Artest’s should be closer to Jackson’s. If you watch the PRE-fight, Jackson is clearly attempting to provoke the Pistons, pulling at this jersey, and generally looking like a punk looking for a fight. Also, Jackson entered the stands to FIGHT, not as a peacemaker. He wasn’t trying to save Artest or drag him away, he went into the stands to kick some ass.

Regardless of the actual punishments though, the players’ union response has been predictable and completely fucking wrong. Ron Artest is a known psychopath, and has been suspended multiple times. Why defend someone who is un-defendable? In an ESPN interview, Billy Hunter actually blamed the violence in the stands on the war in Iraq adding to the heightened tension at the game, ignoring Artest’s history of unbalanced behavior and Jackson’s blatant provocation. The union will appeal all Indiana suspensions. Great, I hope David Stern sits through the sessions calmly, and says “You’re right, I’m wrong. I’m reducing Jermaine O’Neal’s suspension to 15 games, but now Stephen Jackson will be suspended the whole year too.”

The fans need to be punished too. In this high-tech era, we have cameras focused on the stands. I’m sure we know exactly who threw the beer, who punched the players, who ran down to the court, and who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Every single offender should have their season tickets revoked (no refund or an onerous service charge), their rights to future tickets cancelled, and a day in court for either assault or trespassing charges. Oh, and the punishments need to be highly publicized, as least as highly publicized as the players’ punishments have been. This way, the precedent will be set for fans who get too full of liquid courage and feel like chucking stuff at the players.

Every single security guard on that side of the court needs to be fired, the referees should be suspended, and the beer sales need to be cut off at halftime for the remainder of the season (at least in Detroit). In order, this will punish the incompetent security guards who failed to keep the crowd under control, the referees who failed to keep the players under control, and the Pistons who failed to provide a safe, non-drunk-infested venue. The clips I saw showed the officials huddling at center court while the players were clustered by the scorer’s table, within easy earshot and throwing distance from the stands. Shouldn’t it have been the other way around?

Oh, and memo to all you former players who are defending the Pacers for their felonious assaults: Going into the stands to punch someone is NEVER a good idea. One, if you’re on the road, it’s about 15,000 to 12. Two, you’re supposed to be a professional athlete, heckling is part of the game, especially if your name is Ron Artest. Three, getting hit by a cup doesn’t necessitate a violent response.

One point I haven’t heard mentioned by anyone… Everyone says that Artest showed self-control when backing away from an on-court confrontation with Ben Wallace. Fine, but when provoked by a much smaller fan, Artest ran into the stands to beat the shit out of him. So, when actually punched by someone BIGGER, Artest backed down, but when hit by a plastic cup by a little guy, he’s suddenly homicidal. In fact, the guy Artest actually hit was the smallest guy out there, was wearing glasses and still had a drink in his hand! Artest ran past the guy who actually threw the beer (who was bigger than Milquetoast and therefore a less attractive target for the cowardly Artest) to beat up on some nearsighted wuss. Artest is not only a psycho, but a gutless one.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Well, that was predictable. I busted out in the 5th round of the charity tournament, but it was a lot of fun and I threw $50 to my nephew’s sports fund. The tourney started with 120+ players and there was some confusion by the Home Poker Tour organizers how to assign tables. They had 5 of the foldable Hold’Em tables and 10 regular banquet tables with plastic tablecloths. I was assigned to one of the cheapo tables, but found only two other people there. After a bit of a Chinese Fire Drill, we were moved to one of the fancy tables with our starting stack of $700. I saw absolute garbage for two rounds and didn’t play a hand outside the blinds. The play was predictably bad with 5-6 people seeing each flop and very little raising. I pegged the guy to my left as the only real player (turns out he plays on UB), and the rest were pretty much clueless.

Finally, just as the blinds escalate to 15-30 for round three and me in BB, I pick up K4 and see it called by three others. I check it through and the flop of 742 is checked around. The turn was a K, but two-suited the board. I bet 50 and everyone folds, giving me my first pot of the day. Next hand, I get Big Slick in SB. Three limpers and I make it 60 to play. Four callers to see an A86 flop with two diamonds. I bet 50 and everyone folds except for a pretty history teacher who calls. Turn is a 5 of diamonds, I bet 100 and she exclaims “You’re killing me!” as she calls. I’m tempted to flirt with her, but refrain… This is Poker, dammit. I bet 200 again, knowing pot odds mean nothing to her anyway. She calls and the river is a Q of diamonds, putting a four-flush on the board. I check my hole cards for the K of diamonds, but no luck. I bet 200 again and she sighs as she calls. I figure I’m beat with a baby flush by she shows 98 for middle pair. I rake a nice pot, but may seal my doom because she busts out soon after and is replaced by a guy that looks like King Kong Bundy’s little brother, wearing shades and dropping chips on his cards, a la Howard Lederer.

The Crap Fairy makes deliveries for the next couple of rounds, until I pick up KK in Small Blind. Blinds are now 20/40 and two limpers call. I raise it to 100 and get the big stack to my left and Bundy to see the flop. Flop is QT3 with two hearts. I bet 300 to price out the heart draws. One fold, and Bundy sighs and pushes all-in with about 300 more. I make a BIG BIG mistake here and quick call for most of my stack. I basically put him on AQ or Ax of hearts, but he flips up 33 for the flopped trips. Turn and river don’t help and I’m down to the felt. I stay alive for another full circuit but when I get the button back, I raise all-in with my last 100 chips with AQ. Two callers to see an AJ8 flop. I’m thrilled with this, liking my chances to triple up until one guy bets enough to put the other short stack all-in. We all flip our cards and the guy to my right has A4, but the raiser flips 88 for trips and IGHN.

Basically, I played one bad hand and it cost me. The structure and chip stacks were small enough that I had plenty of time and didn’t need to commit 90% of my stack on a vulnerable hand…. I’m just not a good enough player to lay down KK with no Ace on the board. It’s a big hole in my game. I fall in love with my hole cards and don’t consider the skill level or personality of a danger hand. If I assume the guy is a good player, I have to put him on AQ or Ax of hearts, possibly TT, but I never even considered 33 as the killer cards. I JUST DON’T THINK when Cowboys are fuzzying up my brain. I knew these guys were loose-weak players and should have considered that 33 or QT were actually hands that might call a raise preflop. I didn’t. And I lost. Shit.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Saturday, I’m going to be in a $50 buy-in charity (well, a fundraising) No Limit Hold ‘Em Tournament for my nephew’s high school. It’s a totally –EV proposition since there is NO prize money, though they have some sponsor prizes, very few of which are worth $50. And they have it scheduled for seven freakin’ hours! Apparently, they haven’t seen many multi-table tournaments on PartyPoker recently. I expect it to be a freak fest of all-in bidding by Moneymaker wannabes with most of the field busting out in hour number one.

Poker Fundraiser

Also note that there is a Hold ‘Em tutorial that runs for an hour before the tournament begins. I plan to be there for the tutorial so I can better gauge the competition and find out how they’re being told to play. I realize that I have virtually no chance to win the tournament because I’ll be in multiple pots with 80-20 odds in my favor and I’ll eventually get sucked out. Put it this way, if you have just three pots with AA vs. 77, your odds on winning all three are 50-50. If you lose your first showdown with AA, you’re probably done for the tournament. If you have a chance to build a bit of stack, you might survive one or two bad beats, but it’s going to look more like ESPN’s Blindman’s Bluff game than it’ll look like Celebrity Poker.

Of course, it might also be an extremely tight game. After all, most of these players ponied up $50 to play, and they might not want to bust out in the first orbit, so I’ll have to play it cagey in the beginning. Stealing blinds and bluffing might have to wait a couple of orbits until I get a feel for the table. I asked for and received the blind structure, which looks like it’s straight from the Home Poker Tour handbook with blinds starting at one and two chips, so there should be plenty of time for play.

As far as online poker goes, I’m still treading water. I got down to $.52 at UltimateBet earlier in the week. Yes, that’s a decimal point in between the dollar sign and the 52. But it gave me an excuse to go to some of my favorite tables in the world, the .01/..02 NL tables. I told myself I would try to build the “bankroll” up to $5.50 so I could play another SnG. When I actually cashed out an hour later, I had over $9! Just think, if I had been playing the $1/$2 tables, I would’ve made over $900! Anyway, I went back to the table later and gave back $2 of it, losing with pocket Aces against a flopped set. With a little over $7, I went into a $5+.5 SnG last night and got third, busting out with A9s on a flop of AJ9 against AJ. So now I’m up over $11 and contemplating whether to “go for broke” with one $10 or two $5 at UB. What a high roller!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

OK, show of hands… who here thinks that we should be negotiating with the Iraqi insurgents? Anyone…?

Here’s a news flash for you terrorist-embracing “negotiators”, “You’re welcome to try.”

They killed the head of CARE. Shot her. While she was blindfolded.

Sean Penn, you try. Michael Moore, get in line. Jeanine Garofalo, your ticket is waiting.

CARE. Not the Marines. Not the Army. CARE.

She’s probably never even held a gun, much less used one. CARE.

If you think talking to these animals helps, just remember…. CARE.

Monday, November 15, 2004

How many times have you made a tough fold and seen your gutshot card come on the river? Or you fold KK with two raisers and a board of Axxx only to see K come on the river? Or you fold the Hammer and the board flops 772.? And you scrrrrream about the cards on the board, because you ASSUME those exact cards would have come up anyway

Not so fast, my friend.

Maybe it wouldn’t have come up if you had stayed in the game… It depends on one big question: What algorithm do the online sites use for random deals?

Think about it, there are three major possibilities:

1. The online server generates an entire random deck (or at least the first 28 cards, a full Texas Hold’Em deal) based on a random number generator for each deal, which means that each card is pre-ordained to come out in a specific order.

2. The online server generates random cards based on a random number generator for every single card that is dealt. Depending on what they use for their random number generator (back in the old days, I used one that was seeded by the online clock which registered time in milliseconds or picoseconds), the next card MIGHT be partially dependent on when you fold.

3. A combination of the above, possibly where the online server generates enough random cards for the deal, then generates random cards for the flop, turn, and river either before or after any betting action, which MIGHT remove any clock dependence.

Seems like a silly question, but it has a profound impact on our ATTITUDES at the table. Yeah, I know, we’re not supposed to tilt at the tables, and we’re supposed to focus on the next hand, blah blah blah. But dammit, that fold affects the way we play future hands in similar situations, whether we admit it or not. An optimist might call next time, figuring that the cards are falling right. A pessimist would fold quicker, figuring that the hand hit big once, law of averages say it won’t hit again. A realist would make his decision based upon the current situation, but still have the knowledge that it would’ve hit before and that will color any new decisions.

Does anyone out there know how and when the cards/deals are generated? Is it site dependent? Enquiring minds want to know!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Life has a way of preventing us from doing the occasional stupid thing. Yesterday, I planned to play SnGs until I either went bankrupt (relatively speaking) or made $500. Well, I only played seven SnGs (rather than the 10-15 I planned), and basically broke even. I was held up by –in order- oversleeping, working with a contractor who is building a shed, feeding the kids lunch, eating lunch myself, spending time with the kids watching ROTJ and the Special Features disc from the new Star Wars DVD pack, eating dinner, and meeting with the pastor for my kids’ upcoming baptism.

I curtailed my planned evening play because my wife had scheduled the pastor visit at 700pm, which meant that I couldn’t really start a tournament past 530pm (pastors tend to frown on online gambling, especially during discussions of baptism and accepting God and all that crap), nor could I start a tournament until he left around 900pm. That sucked over three hours of play away, and likely three SnGs as well. So I have no way of knowing how well I might have fared had I got to 10 SnGs in one day.

I did get a chance to play in my first 7-card stud SnG later in the evening, finishing second. 7-stud is really really easy to play, almost robotic. It’s just a matter of comparing your first three cards to the exposed cards of your opponents. Your draw odds are dictated by the cards of your opponents, so you should have a pretty solid idea of your chances right off the bat. My first hand, I had three diamonds all below 9. The board showed NO diamonds, so I figured I’d see at least two more cards, as long as my opponents didn’t get any of my diamonds. Sure enough, I popped two more diamonds on the board for the flush and took down a meaty pot to break my 7-stud cherry. Once it got down to the final two, I really had NFI how to play the heads-up portion, not knowing when to push with the blinds and bring-ins, so I lost when I probably should have won. Either way, it was a nice change of pace, and it adds another table to my online resume.

Maybe I wasn’t meant to play at the $100 level. Maybe I wasn’t meant to piss away my entire online bankroll in an ill-advised attempt to play in a big tournament. Maybe I’m just a $10-20 SnG grinder. Maybe I ask too many rhetorical questions. Oh well, that’s why I changed the name from Todd’s Last Stand. It appears that I will have a lot more stands to make before I quit this damn game.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

315pm - Well, I've completed the UB portion of the day, playing 5 SnGs, placing in two, for a net of -$30. I still have $21.50 there, but will move on to ....


Worst. Beat. Ever. Or at least the worst for a final three. Or at least the worst for me today. I was one of the final three in a Turbo $15+1 at PokerStars when this hand popped up.

PokerStars Game #848554520: Tournament #3389044,
Hold'em No Limit - Level X (400/800) - 2004/11/11 - 19:07:27 (ET)Table '3389044 1'
Seat #3 is the button
Seat 2: bishopthecat (3310 in chips)
Seat 3: DocLee (4835 in chips)
Seat 5: ToddCommish (5355 in chips)
bishopthecat: posts the ante 50
DocLee: posts the ante 50
ToddCommish: posts the ante 50
ToddCommish: posts small blind 400
bishopthecat: posts big blind 800
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to ToddCommish [9s 9c]
DocLee: folds
ToddCommish: raises 800 to 1600
bishopthecat: raises 1660 to 3260 and is all-in
ToddCommish: calls 1660
bishopthecat said, "gg"***
FLOP *** [Qc Jc Td]
*** TURN *** [Qc Jc Td] [Kd]
*** RIVER *** [Qc Jc Td Kd] [Jd]
DocLee said, "gg"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
ToddCommish: shows [9s 9c] (a straight, Nine to King)
bishopthecat: shows [6d 4d] (a flush, King high)

I couldn't believe it. I called a bluff at the perfect time. He basically conceded by saying "GG", knowing he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. After the flop, I was 91.5% to take the hand and pretty much guarantee the win. He goes runner-runner for a baby flush and I'm shortstacked with usurious antes and blinds. I went out just a few hands later with blinds at 400/800. Sheesh.

SnG #2 - 1140am - Didn't play a hand for three orbits. Note to self: Always do that when the structure allows it. One guy busted really early, one guy got down to the felt. Just busted the small stack and crippled another guy with 76 (small blind special), flopped trip 6's, turned the 7 for the boat. Solid 2nd in chips (2900, 2000, 1000, 100) right now. Blinds 15/30 so there's plenty of play left.

1150am = LOTS of play now. Three guys, three-way tie. Nice.

1200pm - That hurt. I had a bit of chip lead and tried to bust out a player with my JJ, he had AT and spiked an Ace.

Oooh, that's better... Gotta show this one.

tjoles42 is at seat 0 with 2210.
ToddCommish is at seat 1 with 940.
eazystyle09 is at seat 3 with 2850.
The button is at seat 0.
ToddCommish posts the small blind of 20.
eazystyle09 posts the big blind of 40.
tjoles42: -- --
ToddCommish: 8s 8d
eazystyle09: -- --
tjoles42 folds.
ToddCommish raises to 145.
eazystyle09 goes all-in for 2850.
ToddCommish goes all-in for 940.
eazystyle09 is returned 1910 (uncalled).
Tournament all-in showdown -- players show:
ToddCommish shows 8s 8d.
eazystyle09 shows Qd Kc.
Flop (board: Kd 8h Kh): (no action in this round)
Turn (board: Kd 8h Kh 8c): (no action in this round)
River (board: Kd 8h Kh 8c 2c): (no action in this round)

ToddCommish has 8s 8d Kd 8h 8c: four eights.
eazystyle09 has Kc Kd 8h Kh 8c: full house, kings full of eights.

Yahoo! Back in business!

1210 - Head to head. I've cashed. Down 2-1 in chips.
1215 - Lost with Ace pair vs flopped trips. Crud, down -$4 for two games.

Just won a pot with 22 on a JT8 flop. I definitely have a read on the guy to my right. Just a matter of time now.
Problem: I don't have a read on the guy to my right, who is the player who is as good or better.
1110am - 4 left, i'm the short stack with 900 vs 1100, 1500, 2500
1120am - that one hurt, folded JTs after a preflop raise after a lot of thought. Flop was JT7. Shit.
1121am - figures, TPTK just lost to a flopped two pair with 65. Oh well, bad start to my day.

Dammit, it's past 10am now and I haven't had the chance to get started. I scheduled a contractor to come over around 930am and I didn't want to start any SnGs if I'd have to spend 20 minutes away from the table to meet with the contractor. It looks like UB has $20 tournaments after all. I'll start at a $10 and move up immediately if I cash.

YahooIM = ToddCommish

1045am - OK, the contractor is here and I've given him his marching orders.

Sheesh, some really dumb players right now. Playing a six-seat $10 UB Sng and someone went all-in with 2nd pair, no kicker with an ace on the board, doubling up someone else who had two pair. Shit, I hate it when someone else benefits from a stupid player. It skews the whole table dynamic when someone has 2x the chips early. I'm treading water at level two, no hands to speak of.

1052am - Got a read on the table now. I am definitely one of the two best players here. Just a matter of getting some cards.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I find I am so excited I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head.
I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the
start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain.

Red, Shawshank Redemption

That quote could apply to a lot of us: Iggy who left his job to pursue a living in the tawdry world of poker, Grubby who just left his job to pursue... well, something other than his job, various other bloggers who seek to bump up their bankrolls by dipping their toes in the realms of higher and higher limits.

My sorry little SnG venture looks all the more sad when compared to those of you who are talking about five figure bankrolls and playing no-limit tables for hundreds of dollars at a time. I'm sure you all chuckle at the low-limit bloggers who stress over the piddly $10 or $20 we might drop in a SnG or the .50/1 tables. Hey, I play for $10-30 at a time, less than my hourly wage at work. And it seems like a big deal to me. Just because I'm not worried about paying bills because someone with QJ rivered a straight against me, doesn't mean the bad beats don't bother me. Sometimes I envy you guys your chutzpah... your daring... your cojones. I could never play under the pressure you must feel.

In lighter news, I played a quick 6-seater at UB. Ended up head-to-head against Donkeypuncher (aka Jeff the Asshole) for the money. Sure, it was just a $5 tournament with $21 for 1st and $9 for 2nd, but dammit, this was HUGE! I started out with a huge chip lead (like 8-1), let him double up multiple times on some weak calls, and actually got down 10-1 on chips. I was having freakin' flashbacks to the WPBT when I made the first comeback on MtDew. I managed to survive some all-in bets by outkicking Jeff a couple of times and fought back to even. I ended up busting him on... hell, I don't even remember.... all I know is that I WON and HE LOST! It made my week.

He was lucky I busted out all of the other players to basically carry his sorry ass to the final showdown anyway. I took a big chip lead with 5 players by smacking the chip leader with QQ vs. AJ on a Jxx flop. The chip leader before me...? Jeff. Then I proceeded to bust out the other three players while he rode in my wake. Busted one guy with KK vs. AQ, another with AA vs. AQ while Jeff kept folding his blinds trying to limp into the money like an emasculated eunuch.

Come and watch the carnage tomorrow. Starts in about 9 1/2 hours. See ya there.

It’s almost time for Todd’s SnG Bonanza Day! I’ll be playing somewhere around 10-20 SnGs tomorrow at Empire, UB, PokerStars, and Pacific. The plan is very basic, start at the $10 SnG level and try to build the bankroll to at least $120 at a given site. Play in a $100+9 SnG (which would be my highest ever) in the evening (when there are more drunks playing). Hopefully, after winning and/or placing in a couple of these, I’ll build my bankroll back over $500, possibly as high as $2K. No multis here, I don’t want to waste three hours and not cash somewhere. All SnG, all the time, build the bankroll an hour at a time.

I’ll start at the tightest site, UB. Probably around 9am, trying to catch the East Coast lunch breakers who might try some stupid all-ins so they can get back to work. I may multi-table, I’m not sure yet, but I’ll play in at least three $10+1. Any winnings will be put towards either more $10 SnGs or some $30 SnGs (I don’t think they have $20), until I get to $120 (or $0).

Next stop will be PokerStars. I’ll probably go for a couple of the $15+1 Turbos here, possibly two-table tournaments, probably at the same time I play in the second level at UB. I’m moving down the fish scale (Get it? Fish? Scale? God, I crack myself up) from tight to fanatically loose. If I cash, I’ll move up to the $25 or $30 SnGs, and so on.

Third stop is Empire. I may just go straight to the $20 tables here, possibly two-table setups, before jumping to the $50 and $100 level. My ID here is ToddCommishE (note the final E for Empire). I added the E to differentiate this ID from my Party ID just in case they don’t like bonus whores who try to use the same name at both skins. I’ll probably hit here around 2pm or 3pm PDT.

Last stop will be an evening run to Pacific as TCommish. I already have over $110 here, but still think the $16 20-seaters are a gold mine, so I might just stay there. If they had $32 20-seaters, I’d play those. I’ve had the best luck at Pacific with my peculiar weak-tight style, so I’m most reluctant to cash out entirely from them. It may depend on how well I do at the first three stops on my traveling train wreck.

I’ll probably live blog some of the day, so check back tomorrow to see how a mediocre poker player can survive 10-14 consecutive hours of online poker, playing NOTHING but Sit-n-Gos. Worst case, I lose everything in my current bankrolls (around $200-250) and pocket my withdrawn profits of $1500 and take a hiatus. Best case, I bulldoze all four sites and take home $500+ per site for $2000 additional profit. Should be fun. Or horrifying.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Maybe the $1500 profit was the result of a great streak of cards… Maybe my second place in the WPBT IV was the result of the planet aligning perfectly for one night… Maybe I’m meant to sit around and play Madden and Splinter Cell on my PC every night instead of pissing money away playing online poker against a bunch of sharks.

Many bloggers have written about bad streaks and dropping hundreds of dollars in a week: I don’t want to do that. I really haven’t bled away that much money in the last month, it just seems that way since I haven’t WON anything. It’s almost like my expectations changed with the WPBT showing, and now treading water ain’t good enough. Placed third in a Pacific 20-seater (+$46), lost a couple of $5 SnGs, and feel like I didn’t win anything.

Oh, and in historical news, I CHECKED POCKET ACES! First time ever for that. And it was entirely the right play. During the Pacific SnG, I was BB (blinds 100/200) with pocket Aces and everyone folded to the shortstacked SB who completed his blind with a good portion of his stack, leaving him with 300 chips. Raising here would be pointless, because he would fold a marginal hand, and he would’ve gone all-in originally with a good one, so I smooth-checked. Flop was J-high rags and he came out firing all-in, either trying to steal the pot or with the jack pair. Of course I called and of course I never saw his hand (it is Pacific, you know), and of course I busted him out. In this case, checking the pocket rockets was the best play because it represented my best chance to take all of his chips. [Jack Palance voice] Believe it…. Or not.

DonkeyPuncher talked me into sliding a small chunk of money back into UB. I had $40+ just moldering in Neteller, so I figured WTF and moved it over. Funny, but the play seemed really really really slow compared to the all-in cowboys at Empire/Party/Pacific. I don’t think I have the attention span to compete at UB anymore, though the interface and tournament structure remains the best. Just one more option for me.

Todd’s Last Stand – Still formulating a plan for Thursday’s SnG Bonanza. Right now, I have $130 in Pacific, and around $40-50 at Empire, PokerStars, and UB. My current plan is to play $10-20 SnGs starting Thursday until I build a site bankroll of $120 (or bust). Take the money and play a $100+9 at every possible site. Cashing in any two of these would net me $500. Cashing at all four sites would kick my overall bankroll over $1000 (yeah, right). If I bust out at all four sites, that’ll be it for the time being. I’ll be done with online poker for a forced hiatus. Should be exciting. Or tragic.

Football news bulletin: The 49ers suck.
Basketball news bulletin: The Warriors suck.
Hockey news bulletin: The NHLPA sucks.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Hey look! The sun came up! It wasn’t the End of the World!


Some other quick points –

- I still suck at poker. Dropped two more SnGs last night. My focus and attentiveness at the table is pathetic, like Robin Williams after a triple espresso. Instead of playing my usual (and somewhat successful) rocklike and weak-tight game, I’m making grandiose pot-grabs (or pot-grab attempts) and pissing away large chunks of chips. I’m taking next Thursday off from work since the kids have it off for Veteran’s Day (or as the Canadians would say, Vetrans Day). I’m thinking about making TODD’S LAST STAND and putting all my online bankrolls on the line in one horrific trainwreck of a session. Either finish with $500 or $0. Get there early and share in the largesse.

- Exit polls are stupid. People who put faith in exit polls are stupider. Networks that air opinions of people who put faith in exit polls are even stupider. People who believe networks… well, you get the idea.

- Who the hell cares if gay people get married? Is it any business of the government (state OR federal) to legislate it? Hey, if two people (any people, except maybe Michael Jackson) want to get married, COOL. It’s better than the Susan Sarandons of the world shacking up forever and never formalizing the relationship. The religious right should concern themselves more with pedophile priests than gay marriage.

- Democrats, meet Gavin Newsom, the top recruiter for the Republicans this year.

- Social Security was going bankrupt long before Dubya took office, and it’ll keep going bankrupt after he’s gone. It was a BAD idea, a pyramid scheme that depended on level population growth. Blaming Dubya for SS problems is like blaming ESPN for kids playing poker.

- The NHLPA is a bunch of assholes. Salary caps work. Check out the NFL and the NBA. I will always side with the owners because they bear ALL of the financial risk. If they didn’t put up the money UP FRONT, there would be no league. No player has ever lost money on a contract. Any union that protects the interest of millionaire professional athletes is just a tool for extortion and discredits honest unions everywhere.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I’m really not sure the gloom-and-doom Democrats get the point here. They’re blaming the religious fundamentalists, the right-wing whackos, the FoxNews channel, everyone but who they should be blaming… themselves.

They approached this election thinking that any warm body would win an election against a sitting president. So they nominated one. Hell, it worked in 1992, didn’t it?

They approached this election thinking that saying “I’m not him” was an adequate campaign platform. So that’s all they said. Again, it worked in 1992.

Had they put up a dynamic, energetic candidate that could energize the moderate left with solid rhetoric (say, ummmm, Howard Dean, until he imploded), they could’ve unseated a very vulnerable president. Therein lies part of their problem. The Democratic party today is a mishmash of young up-and-comers (Edwards, Obama) and tired old farts (Kennedy, Kerry) and unelectable liberals (Hillary, Daschle). They had NOBODY of national prominence that hit the sweet spot of the moderate electorate (I guess Edwards is the closest), and ended up with an empty suit as their flagbearer. You know what? They’re gonna have the same problem in 2008 while the GOP has groomed McCain, Giuliani, etc. for a run at the presidency. Hillary? You’ll see a 60-35 deficit if she’s the candidate.

So what should they do? Instead of belittling and denigrating the American voters, Democrats should be asking themselves, “What should we have done?” The trap they’re falling into is assuming they did everything right, and the voters fucked it up because we’re too stupid to listen. WRONG! The liberal leadership is too stupid and pigheaded to listen to the voters, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

Here's an excerpt from a comment I left on wwdn. I think it applies to some of the more melodramatic blogging critics of President Bush...

This country has survived and thrived under the religious fundamentalism of Reagan, the Texas pigheadedness of LBJ and both Bushes, the moral ambiguity of Clinton and JFK, and the paranoia of Nixon. This is still the best fucking country in the world, whether any of the melodramatic whiners (or religious, homophobic whackjobs) think so. You may not agree with two or three or twenty of the man's policies or ideas, but he is the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. If you try to suggest otherwise, then YOU are the divisive ones, not him.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Almost midnight out here in California... The Presidential Election is still up in the air, although the wind is clearly blowing toward the right. Most networks have Bush with 269 electoral votes with Ohio providing the final 20 electoral votes, with the lone holdouts being CBS ("Why am I not surprised?") and CNN ("I'm gonna have a heart attack and die from that surprise!"). 269 is the magic number since it looks like the House is gonna remain Republican, and they would decide any ties.

The Democrats are threatening lawsuits in every state that they lose in, proving that they still can't lose with dignity. There have been very, very few reports of voting irregularities (unlike 2000), so it's not like there is any evidence of widespread problems they can blame. The legal posturing smacks of sour grapes, but isn't entirely unexpected from a group that had more funding than ideas. In reality, if George Soros had spent his billions on an original thought rather than simply bashing Bush, he might have had a better result.

Right now, the popular vote is 51-48 for Bush, meaning he would have a greater mandate than Bill Clinton ever did. I truly believe that this result is just as much a repudiation of the horribly slanted media as it is a confirmation of Bush's policies. Like I've said, Bush isn't a particularly inspiring president, but he is a decisive leader. And in a time of war, people want a decisive leader, not a professional politician who seeks affirmation from polls and other countries before acting. The media sought to focus on Bush's perceived inarticulateness, rather than his clear values and strong moral convictions.

From my perspective, this election signified the end of broadcast network news. Rather and Jennings proved to be complete stooges, Brokaw salvaged some dignity in his swan song. Rather is older than dirt and about as smart. He actually called a touchscreen map an "electronic gadget". Sheesh, he really needs to be put in the old anchor's home. Jennings has no business reporting on US politics on a national broadcast network unless he's shtupping some ABC executives. He's Canadian, for god's sake! That would be like putting an American on Hockey Night in Canada. Inexcusable that ABC can't find someone that can say "about" or "process" correctly....

POKER CONTENT: Played three SnGs on Empire, one first plus one third equals plus $37. Had a complete brain fart on Pokerstars, bubbling in 4th to fuck up a turbo $27. Went all-in with second pair and a flush draw, knowing that someone else had top pair. Stupid. No other word for it. I was better than the rest of the table and could've outlasted to make the money, but just spazzed out and just screwed up. I hate doing shit like that.

Cool, my cable modem is back up and at full speed.

Now, I can lose money at a much higher rate. Pulled a nifty trifecta by busting out of SnG tournaments at Pacific, PokerStars, and Empire, pissing away a quick $55. At Pacific, I busted out with KK and QQ on consecutive hands, losing to AJ (spiking an Ace on the turn) and AA. I would’ve had a tough time keeping afloat with those hands under any circumstances, but I played flat-out shitty at Pokerstars, calling with second best hands and pushing when I should’ve been folding. Even then, I bubbled out in 4th.

Balances are sliding downward; $75 at Pokerstars, $100 at Pacific, $35 at Empire. Of course, I still have over $500 at Neteller (pretty much my WPBT winnings), but I doubt I’ll be re-upping with any of the sites. If the money goes, I go.

Getting ready to vote, even though my presidential vote means absolutely nothing in the freakishly liberal state of California. Interestingly, the voters are liberal in their choices of president and congressmen, but are pretty moderate in the state laws. Barbara Boxer is a complete moron, but will probably get re-elected. Her entire campaign was based on a woman’s right to choose, upon which one senator has little or no effect. But she beat on that point, knowing that her core constituency is too ignorant of the political system to question it. We have multiple ballot propositions that relate to Indian gaming, none of which are likely to pass. We have plenty of available gambling choices here, and people are hesitant to give broad approval for more.

People have asked me for a prediction for the election. I predict that the winner will be …

The lawyers. Both sides have got so many lawyers mobilized already, even if the election is a landslide, there will be a lawsuit disputing the result, if only because they’ve already paid the retainer, and it’s cost-effective to file a complaint. It’s ridiculous that for national elections where we elect the LOTFW, we have multiple voting systems in each state, some of which have been used for 40+ years. Hell, at least American Idol and Last Comic Standing use digital technology… Why can’t we elect our leader in an technologically advanced manner?

Monday, November 01, 2004

For the last week or so, my cable modem was acting up, booting me from multiple SnGs and costing me upwards of $50 in buy-ins. I finally got Comcast to come out to check on the problem. When the technician saw my cable modem (3Com-US Robotics), he burst out laughing. “How long have you had that thing?”, he said.

“Umm, ever since I’ve had high-speed… maybe four or five years.”

“Well, this modem was probably a couple years old when you got it. I’d say you were lucky it lasted as long as it did. Most don’t make it past three years, four years tops.”

So, now I have a brand new cable modem at home. Undoubtedly, my poker play will now improve, since the faster, more reliable access will lead to better decisions on my part and fatter profits in the long run. Undoubtedly.