Thursday, September 30, 2004

Bush: Terrorists are bad. The Iraqi people really really want us there, they just don't know it

Kerry: I'm not him.


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Back to normal… bubbled out of a $30 Omaha8 SnG last night, crippled by a flopped boat losing to a turned boat. Such is the fickleness of O8, every hand is a drawing hand and you can almost always lose on the turn and/or river. All you can do is maximize your odds when you put your money in. I was 3rd with the leaders having over 3000 chips each and shortstack had 700 when I was dealt 6322 double suited. I called UTG and the other three limped. Flop was 552 and I’m thinking scoop with the flopped boat (albeit a really really small boat, maybe a dinghy), and the low draw possibility, so I push until me and the shortstack are both all-in. He shows TT4A, so my low is dead unless he gets counterfeited with an Ace or four, but I’m looking good for a split until the @#$%^&&%! Ten hits the turn (a tidy little four-outer). Now I needed an Ace or four to split the pot or the case deuce to scoop (which would've been a five-outer), but an eight gave him the scoop and left me with less than one BB, which was blinded away on the very next hand.

In checking back over the hand history, I found some shaky calls short-handed that reduced my stack prematurely. I arbitrarily lowered my requirements for playing a hand simply because the table was down to five people, when there really wasn’t a good reason for doing so. That’s an easily pluggable hole though, and it was really really basic play that got me to the shorthanded stage, so I have confidence that I should be able to play O8 profitably at this level.

On a separate note, I received my new set of poker chips yesterday. I promptly sat down with my son for some quick no-limit poker on the living room rug. And lost. And I quickly discovered the reason I don’t like playing low buy-in no-limit ring games at Party/Empire. It’s like play money there to some of the people. You can’t push them off a hand with a raise. My son was calling with all kinds of shit because it wasn’t real money, and sucking out. Sooooo, I had him BUY chips for the next round (just a dollar, so put the phone down and stop calling child protective services), and the game changed significantly. Now my raises caused him to pinch his lip, push up his hair, and generally, act like Phil Hellmuth contemplating a call. Oh, and I won and took his money. That’ll learn ‘im.

Now, I’m gonna start gathering some of the dads in the neighborhood for a regular poker game. I’ve heard there are a couple of guys who also have chips, so we should have no trouble getting enough players. Most of our wives play Bunco (if you don’t know, don’t ask, but it’ll reach your neighborhood of bored soccer moms soon enough) so we have a built-in excuse for a Guys Poker Night. I have a question for my three or four readers: what is the best structure for games, blinds, food/beverages, etc. for a home poker game? Is it dependent on the number of players? Should I restrict the invitations to keep it to a certain level? Some background for my area: some of the dads play poker online, most have significant discretionary income, almost all have kids between 8-14, all drink beer but not liquor (at least not that I know of). Any hints?

Monday, September 27, 2004

Some weird shit is going on at Empire. I won another Omaha $30+3 SnG, rocketing my bankroll there to over $400. I didn't even show a hand down until the 20th hand, basically blinding down while getting a solid read on everyone at the table.

Profit Review (as of 10pm pacific time, Sept 27) :

UltimateBet (1st deposit 12/9/03) : Deposit $80, Withdrawal $0, Bankroll $0, PROFIT = ($80)
Party (1st deposit 1/14/04) : Deposit $100, Withdrawal $100, Bankroll $1.81, PROFIT = $1.81
Empire (1st deposit 2/10/04) : Deposit $150, Withdrawal $225, Bankroll $401.84, PROFIT = $476.84
Pacific (1st deposit 8/8/04) : Deposit $150, Withdrawal $800, Bankroll $204.20, PROFIT = $854.20

Total Profit = $1252.85.

Holy shit!

Wow, what an incredibly FUBAR weekend! The kitchen is just about done, although the short-bussers who put up the Corian screwed up by cutting a BIG square hole for a small rectangular faceplate. So now we have an Andy Dufresne-sized hole for our single switch faceplate. Shitheads. They’re supposed to come in to “patch” the hole today, but I’m not holding my breath.

Best Buy continues to be incredible fucktards when it comes to the dishwasher. We specifically ordered a bisque dishwasher (bisque is the almond of the 21st century), so of course their chimpanzeean distribution center sent a black one. Now, let me be the first to say that I don’t give a flying fuck what color the dishwasher is, but my wife was adamant about bisque and dammit, I ordered bisque! What the hell is so hard about that? Well, apparently Best Buy learned customer service at the Phil Hellmuth School of Courtesy (“I can’t believe you would call with that! If it wasn’t for luck, you would’ve had the proper color. Please hold.”), and is incapable of properly scheduling an exchange of dishwashers, which has now extended this four-hour problem into its second week. So if you listen to nothing else from me… ever, remember NOT to buy anything at Best Buy that you can’t physically carry out of the store in person.

The 49ers broke their DiMaggio-like streak of scoring this weekend, getting shut out for the first time since the Carter administration, over 400+ games. Amazing. They looked absolutely horrible, like 1-15 horrible, like Keanu Reeves-at-QB horrible. Gonna be a long frickin' season for the 49er Faithful... Oh, and since my top two FFL QBs (Pennington and Delhomme) were on their bye weeks, I picked up Rich Gannon for the start against Tampa Bay, figuring him for a big adrenaline game against his former coach. Of course, he tries to drive headfirst through Derrick Brooks in the first quarter and leaves the game immediately with back and neck pain. Dillhole.

And the Giants lost the weekend series to the effing Doggers, severely crippling their division title hopes. Strangely enough, they still have their destiny squarely in their own hands, despite the weekend collapse. If they win the rest of their games, they’re guaranteed a tie with the Dogs for the division. Historically, we know we can expect absolutely NO help from the pathetic frickin’ Rockies (see 1993 for the most glaring example, 0-13 against the Braves in the pre-Wildcard era costing the greatest SF Giants team the playoffs). I just hope they get to Chavez Ravine with a chance…

Poker yesterday was another boondoggle, though not as catastrophic. I entered a $5 multi ($2500 guaranteed) on Pacific and busted during the first orbit. I was in MP with KK and one caller UTG. I raised to 100 and everyone folded to UTG who pushed all-in. Now, I’m pretty sure he would’ve raised initially with AA, so I know I’ve got a big lead (at least 4-1 if pockets, 2-1 for any ace) over anything he might have, so I call the all-in. Remember, Pacific’s all-in interface is the shits, and spits out cards like a porn star finishing a money shot, so I see five cards flip out with one pair and no cards higher than a nine, and figure I’m golden. Of course, UTG went all-in with 44 and boated to suckout my cowboys. I think I was 531st of 560, so I just missed the money.

By the way, I think I’ve reached that $1000 profit stage I mentioned. I’m gonna run the numbers tonight at home, but I’m up over $900 at Pacific and over $250 at Empire. I cashed out +$50 at Party and down $80 at UB. The exact figures are sketchy, but, for my brief poker “career”, I’m pretty sure I’m over $1000 in profit (counting boni) over my deposits. Gee, if I move up to $16,000 SnGs at Pacific, I would be up $900,000! Or if I play $10,000 Omaha SnGs at Empire, I’d be up $250,000! Ooooh, the possibilities!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I don't understand this game. I suppose I never will.

I was just sitting here and decided to TILT away some more Empire money, so I logged into a $30+3 Omaha-8 SnG.

And won.

Two days ago, I was down to $51 in my Empire bankroll. Now it's back up to $280+. Ridiculous.

Friday, September 24, 2004

A funny thing happened to me on my way out the door... I had about $50 left in Empire, my wife was going out for a "girls' night out", my son was at a birthday party, and my daughter wanted to just sit around and watch movies tonight... so I signed up for a $30 NLHE multi that just ended. 50 entrants, top eight paid... I got 4th and a robust $150 kick to my account.

So much for playing out the string...

My poker play has officially declined into the Horrendous stage. Played two 20-seaters, busted out in both before the final table by overplaying mediocre hands. It was almost an out-of-body experience watching me slide the raise-bar over into the all-in territory. On one, I knew I was beat, but just didn’t have the discipline to walk away from the pot. I had AQo from LP, and made a moderate raise. Got two callers to see a ten-high rainbow flop. After the brick flop, I bet slightly more than the pot, saw one fold, and then a raise all-in. Right there, I mentally knew that he had paired or made a set, but for some frickin’ reason, I called. Naturally, he flipped over T9o and when I didn’t improve, took the pot and my tournament life. He called a raise preflop with T9o to beat me! Sigh.

My poker malaise may be attributable to the multiple distractions around the house (new kitchen tile, new kitchen cabinets, new doors all through the house, new appliances, etc.). The whole house is a mess with boxes of kitchen crap strewn all over the house, TV trays in the living room, wads of newspaper for packing thrown around the family room. I’m too damn tired to muster any energy for poker. I’ve actually have more enthusiasm for other computer games than online poker lately (Splinter Cell, Madden, Ghost Recon). Reading through the other blogs, it seems like many others are fighting these poker doldrums, like we’re on a collective poker overload right now. More and more bloggers are writing about drinking, travel, drinking, fantasy football, drinking, and television shows than any actual table play, virtual or b&m.

Speaking of fantasy football, here’s a tip for you. Check back on who I drafted, and get rid of them. All of them. Deuce McAllister? Hurt. Kevan Barlow? Hurt, but still might play. Todd Heap? Hurt. I made two good picks in the whole freakin’ draft, Chad Pennington and Isaac Bruce. My platoon 3rd WRs, Muhsin Muhammad and Reggie Wayne? Played them in the exact WRONG order, missing out on their good weeks. Got off to a splendid 0-2 start, just like my 49ers. In other words, my FFL is in about as good a shape as my online poker play.

On a more competitive note, the Doggers are coming into SBC Park to play the Giants in a pivotal series this weekend. If the Giants win two out of three, they’ll be ½ game back with six to play. If they lose two of three, they’ll be virtually out of it. Here’s hoping that Shawn Green has a nice traditional Yom Kippur and stays home tonight and Saturday, though rumor has it that he’ll violate his religious views to play tonight. I hope they play some “Hava Nageela” on the stadium speakers when he bats, just to point out what a disappointment he probably is to his sweet Jewish mother. The guilt should overwhelm him into popping up four times.

And I’m just curious, Otis brings up some questions about the geography of the blogosphere, and I know I’m a West Coaster, but are there any others in the Bay Area? I haven’t seen anyone specifically talking about living in Northern Kah-lee-for-nee-yah. We can’t let the East Coasters have all the roadtrips….

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

I was reading Maudie’s Poker Perspectives today, and it caused me to reflect on my current level of poker play. Online poker has been profitable, far more so than I ever anticipated, but my enthusiasm and excitement seem to be at a plateau. I still enjoy it, but it’s not getting MORE fun…, like I’ve topped out on the Fun Meter.

I reached this stage years ago with bowling, when I quit after three or four straight years of averaging 190+/-2. I made some money bowling local tournaments, but I wasn’t getting better, and given that I was only bowling in a league one night a week, I wasn’t going to get any better. I couldn’t invest the time or the financial resources to improve (and I was unwilling to sacrifice anything else), so I quit altogether.

Oh sure, I still dust off the bowling balls periodically to take the wife and kids out for some bumper bowling or the rare “team building” exercise with my company, but I just don’t have the “fire” that I used to have for competitive bowling. I hope I’m not getting to that point with poker, although I’m not nearly at the same level that I was when I quit “bowling for dollars”.

I think the competition at Pacific/Empire is roughly comparable to a company bowling league that features the beer-and-nacho crowd, simply out for a good time and willing to pay $20 each night for that good time. I’m certainly not a shark in these waters, but since I’m playing sober and sound poker, I can eke out a consistent profit. Think of me as a seagull in the poker waters, not necessarily fighting the sharks, but scavenging off the bones of the dead and soon-to-be-dead. One alarming trend is that I’m trying fancy plays just to keep myself engaged, since I’ve proven to myself that I can play rote poker (“bot poker”?) at these levels and be successful. Hell, I’ve taught my son to survive in the shallow end of this pool and he’s in the sixth grade!

Maybe I need to go against my grain and shift to a different game, some game where I can develop a new style and find a renewed enthusiasm for poker. The stakes would almost definitely need to be higher, since I would need to pump up the endorphin level above the $16 SnG level. Maybe I should shift into $2/4 or $3/6 or stud. Maybe I should try Razz. Or improve my brick-and-mortar game.

Nah. Maybe I should quit bitchin’ and shut my pie hole and be glad I’m good at ONE THING, and milk it until the milk runs dry. Yeah, that’s it.

Sigh. I just wish it would be more FUN.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Harrah's, ESPN Create Poker Circuit

Did a little review of my September SnG action yesterday. I’m up well over $400 for the month. I was a little confused about how my bankroll got to $1000 based upon my little SnG spreadsheet before I remembered that I have received the following boni from Pacific:
$25 new deposit (25% of original deposit)
$25 special deposit bonus (50% of second deposit, basically a rebuy)
$25 Monty snafu
$50 from referring Jeff (I didn’t even know I would get this)
$10 from Trevor’s winnings
So while I haven’t WON $1000, I’ve have WON almost $800 from my total deposits of $150. Not bad, but I guess my new Pacific bankroll target should be $1285 ($150 deposit + $135 boni + $1000 in actual profit).

Philly phans, consider that “touchdown” from TO to be an omen. Great physical receiver, can get open, can make exciting plays, and drop crucial passes…. All in one play. Lucky the officials were CBS document verification reps and didn’t know that you actually have to have possession of the ball for it to count as a touchdown.

Haven’t seen any comments on Bradford’s unceremonious dismissal from The Apprentice, one of the greatest moments in reality TV history. The reaction from everyone in the room was priceless. Isn't it funny how the Donald doesn’t like arrogant grandstanders…? I guess he doesn’t look in mirrors very often.

The Emmys were a joke, as always. Every winner was totally predictable, with the exception of Best Comedy (Arrested Development). If a show had a political agenda (West Wing, Angels in America, The Daily Show) or was HBO/East Coast-centric (Sex and the City, Sopranos), it was a guaranteed win. I was in a 20-seater at the time, so I was only half-paying attention, but I was able to guess the winner for all but one of the awards. Effing waste of time.

Oh, and I love the way ESPN put Raymer on the Plays of the Week, like the WSOP happened last week rather than months ago. Ooooh, I hope they didn’t ruin the surprise for those that TIVO’d it and didn’t know he won… Shhhh, don't tell anyone, but Raymer won.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Home Run # 700 at SBC Park Posted by Hello

Barry Freakin' Bonds hit #700 tonight... and I was there with my whole family.

We were also there for #73. Amazing considering we attend maybe two or three games each year. Some other milestone is coming up. These things happen in threes: I hit $1000 in my bankroll, Barry Bonds hits his 700th home run, and next...?!?!?

Friday, September 17, 2004

$1000! Does that count as a milestone?

A couple of months ago, I deposited $100 into a Pacific Poker account, primarily because I was interested in playing in the Monty. Plus I was getting bored with the Party/Empire wild games and the UB tightwads. I fiddled around in their various formats and prices and payout structures before settling into 20-seat $16 SnGs as my game of choice.

That $100 is now over $1000! Of course, I’ve pulled $800 back into Neteller where the money will sit idle, waiting patiently for bonus whoring opportunities. As I’ve said before, I have no illusions about my poker playing ability, and I think my short term success is more due to finding a specialty that fit my chosen style of play rather than some epiphany that made me a Poker Player.

This begs the question, WHY is this style better for me than any other style? Honestly, I think it’s just as much a case of other players NOT adjusting their styles to the Pacific SnG format. I came in the top 20 in the Monty against far superior players with far more experience in tournament play. Why?

Because all poker sites or SnG tournaments are not created equally. UB gives 1000 chips, Party /Pacific give 800. Party escalates blinds every ten hands, UB/Pacific use time. Party has SnGs for every type of poker but only one table size, UB is primarily Hold’Em with two table sizes but has very few buy-in choices, Pacific is all Hold’Em but has many more game options for buy-in, table size, and muti-table opportunities. For whatever reason, my style of play is tailor-made for the rapidly escalating blinds of Pacific, the low chips stacks, and the two-table structure.

Ethical question here: If the clock for the escalating blinds is part of the game structure, is it OK to adjust your timing and response to manipulate the blinds? I say that if you expect to win money in Pacific Poker tournaments, you better start watching that clock in the upper left corner and learn how to use it to your advantage.

Case in point, last night, five players left in a 20-seater so we’ve all cashed. I’m SB in 4th place with about 1200 chips with blinds at 200/400. The player UTG had 740 chips and had shown a desire to fold every hand, trying to outlast the field to move up the food chain. The clock showed 22 seconds till blinds kicked up to 250/500 when it gets folded around to me. I have a pair of deuces. What should I do? I sat… and sat… and sat… until the clock got down to two seconds, then I folded. By the time the next deal started, the blinds had moved to the 250/500 level with the short stack suddenly having to pay 500 of his 740 chips in BB. Of course, one of the big stacks cooperated by raising this promptly. BB folded and was blinded out the very next hand with 240 chips to pay the 250 SB, which he promptly lost. I knew that once the blinds went up, he’d be blinded down in the next two hands, so I stalled my bet the previous round. And I ended up winning $112 in this tournament. IT’S PART OF THE GAME, FOLKS. Learn the game, use the rules to your advantage. Don’t hate the playa, hate the game.

And I love this game.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

This is a new one on me. Five guys left in a 20-seat Pacific Poker SnG. Play loosened up a bit when we lost the sixth guy, since we knew we had cashed, but I have never seen such lunacy in my life. Typically, I’m shooting for a minimum of 4th place because of the payout structure ($16 for 5th vs. $48 for 4th), so I was playing tight with my stack. One guy was dominating the table with around 10K chips with the rest of us all hovering around 1200-1800 chips. Blinds were exorbitantly high at 250/500 and I had already folded UTG. Guy to the left of me raises all-in with around 1400. Not entirely unexpected since we were pretty much at the All-in-or-fold stage. Next guy calls with his entire stack of 1200. Ok, cool, I could lock up 4th right here. Big stack is in SB and calls. BB calls and has a few hundred chips left. Ooooooh, more drama.

Flop was garbage: 854 with two of a suit. SB bets out, BB calls all-in.

Let me recap that. I’ve folded. UTG+1 pushed all-in, button called all-in, SB with big stack called, BB called. Crappy flop. SB pushes, BB calls all-in. Three guys. All-in. With only five guys left. I’m sitting on the sidelines with my thumb up my butt.

Here’s where Pacific Poker’s all-in dealing software really ruins the suspense because I have no idea what anyone had. The turn (another 5) and the river (an off-suit Ace) rolled off immediately, killing any additional drama. The cards of the SB were shown first… A9o. (WTF?) BB’s hand was mucked, meaning he couldn’t beat the Aces up, two pair. One down, now I’m guaranteed 4th. UTG+1’s timer ticked down… and mucked his cards. Cooool, now I’m guaranteed 3rd. Button’s cards are mucked immediately and all of the chips are slid in front of the big stack. Hey, I’m in 2nd now! And laughing. And down by a 10-1 ratio. I lost two hands later, but pocketed $80 for my time.

But it got me thinking… Just what in the hell could these guys have had to push all-in if they couldn’t beat A9 at the showdown? Nobody could have had Ace-face, so theoretically, I have to put them on pocket pairs, but I’ll never know. And why did the big stack call the dual all-in’s preflop and then push with just A9? Didn’t he think that any of them had AK, AQ, AJ, AT, or high pockets? With three other players, I would’ve put at least ONE of them on a hand that had him dominated. Even if they have small pockets, he’s a BIG underdog with three others in the pot. He just got lucky with the river Ace. Oh, and I’m lucky that he got lucky.

But it’s my $80 now. And that’s all that’s important.

Monday, September 13, 2004

I haven't done much bonus whoring, mainly because I didn't think anyone was reading this, but I gotta tell you about this deal. If someone refers you to Pacific Poker (like me, for example) and you deposit $100, you'll get $150 in your bank... and the money plays! None of that unlocking crap or raked hands shit. $25 of that is for all new users, and $25 is for being referred. Jeff (remember, the asshole who took my money at Lucky Chances) did just that at Pacific last week, won some money, and has already withdrawn his buy-in and has a little nest egg of profits to play with. He IM'ed me his thanks already. You can find him at the $2/4 tables on Pacific. If you want to know his handle, you'll have to email me for the referral. Be warned, he's pretty good though he tends to overvalue pocket pairs.

If you want a referral to Pacific Poker for an easy $50 or just want to find out Jeff's poker handle, email me at

We’re re-doing our kitchen this month, which is my way of explaining why I haven’t been writing as much. Getting the tile ripped out, getting new tile put in, re-facing the cabinets, getting Corian countertops, installing a new dishwasher, putting a new door on the pantry… Oh, I’m not doing any of it, but coordinating the multiple contractors, the deliveries of material, the entrances and exits, etc. is a horrific task. Plus the clutter makes it difficult to get to my computer.

Yesterday, I moved the refrigerator and the stove into the garage with little or no physical help from wifey or kids, so my back feels like the rubber band on the Sunday New York Times, stretched to its limit and ready to break. I finally called a buddy to help move the china cabinet after my wife refused to even consider attempting to lower the top section onto a piece of cardboard [so I could slide the hutch across the floor]. My son was willing to give it a try, but my wife said something about lifting heavy objects while he’s growing and stunting his growth and prohibited it.

So my house is basically in ruins now, just so we can get pretty tile and pretty cabinets and pretty countertops and we can have dinner guests over to tell us how pretty it all is. Sigh. Meanwhile, I have a hernia and can’t tie my shoes without taking four Advils…

Poker-wise, I’ve been booking along. Maybe coaching my son has helped me refocus on fundamentals. Six 20-seaters, four cashes including two wins means I’m up a couple hundred more on Pacific. If you remember, I was just going to play with a small chunk that was left over after the Monty and then leave Pacific. Well, that chunk has bloomed rather nicely. After withdrawing $300 more than my original deposit, I have built that small chunk up to an additional $450. I haven’t mentioned to my wife exactly how much I’ve profited online, and I don’t know if I will. *** Question: How many of your wives know exactly how much money you’ve invested/won in online gambling? ***

I’ve been screwing around a lot with Madden 2004 lately. No, not 2005. I like buying computer games like cars, getting them cheap when the new models come out. You can get Madden 2004 for less than $20 now, compared to the $40-50 they want for 2005. I just don’t see the marginal value. After all, that’s two 20-seat buy-ins, and like we’ve seen, those can be very profitable.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

There’s plenty of money out there. And there’s plenty of room for poker specialists. I mean, there are limit ring games from blinds $.01 to $60, no-limit ring games, Omaha-8, 7-card stud, Hold ‘Em, single-table Sit and Go’s with six or ten seats, 20-seat SnGs, and multi-table tournaments in every flavor. People are playing online, in casinos, in card clubs, and in home games. I firmly believe that there is a style of game out there that matches everyone’s possible playing style. It’s just a matter of finding out which poker game fits your style the best. Given all of the permutations of game, limit, blinds, and table format, I think changing your style of play is less important that finding out which game matches it best.

Granted, many people gravitate towards NLHE because that’s what they show on ESPN, FoxSports, Travel, and Bravo, but after reading many of the blogs out there, I realize that many have found their niche playing $1/$2 or $3/$6 online or $6/$12 in casinos or (like me) online SnG tournaments. Felicia wants to be the best stud player in the world, others have a set financial goal in mind. Me? I just want to win enough that my wife doesn’t yell at me.

My point is that it isn’t wise to seek to advance in limits or jump around in different games, since success at $1/$2 doesn’t necessarily mean comparable success at $3/$6 (“Gee, I’m up $300 at $1/$2, so I should win $900 at $3/$6”). Yes, it’s still Hold ‘Em, but it’s a fundamentally different game. Think about the US Olympic Basketball team. Playing in the NBA did nothing to prepare them for international play. It was still basketball, but it was played differently, meaning they needed to adjust their style to be as successful. These are the most skilled athletes in the world, and they couldn’t adjust. And they lost… and looked bad doing it.

Or tennis. For you other old farts, remember Martina and Chris? Chris would win on clay (limit) that favored steady high-percentage play while Martina would win on grass (no-limit) which favored power all-in moves and bullying. Someone might win on the other’s favorite surface but would be a distinct underdog.

We have the luxury of freedom of choice. We can stay at the same table with the same rules and same limits 24/7 if we want (think Spanish clay court tennis players). So, if you’re successful somewhere, why fuck with it? If you’re killing the $2/$4 game online, then you should KEEP killing it! Maybe try playing two games at once, but stick to the $2/$4. There are different people at the other limits, with different motivations, different styles, different rhythms, different patterns, different incomes. Why drop to the bottom of the learning curve?

Of course, this applies to the recreational, for-fun-preferably-for-profit player. If you’re trying to build your skills to go pro someday, or poker is already your chosen vocation, then knock yourself out playing whenever and wherever you can to learn as much as you can. Or don’t listen to me at all, I could be wrong… but I doubt it.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Now what do I do?

The Boy cashed again, this time in 3rd!

So he's cashed two-for-two in Pacific's 20-seaters.

I don't know whether to be proud.

Or worried.

Or both.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

I did a bad thing yesterday. I let my eleven year-old son play in an online poker tournament. My wife took my daughter shopping yesterday and left me home with my son. He’d been sweating me during some of my Pacific Poker tournaments and I jokingly offered to stake him for one of the 20-seat, $2+.2 tournaments. Surprisingly, he agreed, and sat down for his first taste of online poker.

And promptly cashed, beating 16 presumed adults for a payday of $6.

I don’t know if that says more about his ability, my coaching, or the level of play at Pacific Poker. I let him make his own decisions on checking, folding, or calling, only interjecting some advice when it came to raising. He learned something about the unfairness of poker in the first hand when he folded T6o and saw a flop of TT6. He was basically a folding machine for the first few orbits, and would chant “All-in, all-in, all-in” whenever someone took more than five seconds to bet. He was getting blinded down as he got closer to the final table, and I told him he was in the “all-in or fold” time of the game. Of course, he ignored me and limped with KQo in late position and had three callers. The board flopped Qxx, and I started chanting “All-in, all-in, all-in”. He relented and pushed in with one caller. When the board hit brick-brick, he was pretty much guaranteed making the final table.

Once at the final table, he continued his weak-tight play, only calling with two face cards or pocket pairs. I cringed at some of his folded hands (T9s on the button, QT in late position), but let him continue playing at his pace. He busted someone when he had KJ against KQ because he bet the minimum on a Jxx flop, and his opponent went all-in when a King showed up on the turn. Once it got down to six players, he was folding almost every hand and chanting “All-in” hoping to fold his way into the money, and whaddya know, it worked! He ended up busting out with middle pair when someone spiked their ace on the turn, but he said he had a great time.

Now, he wants to do it again… Sigh.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I’ve gotta give Pacific Poker some props today. Not only did they make good on the Monty with the kickback and the added prize money, they responded to an issue I had with a SnG quickly and correctly. Two nights ago, I joined a $16+1.6 SnG and immediately began having trouble with the table. The cards were dealt for the button and the screen completely froze. I managed to maneuver away from the table by clicking on the lobby where I watched my chips get blinded away. I even tried un-installing and re-installing the software… no use. After much swearing and sweating, I got back to the table about fifteen minutes in and saw a betting screen, but no cards. So I did what any self-respecting poker blogger would do… I moved the bar (and my chips) all-in. I must’ve lost because the screen popped up that said “You came in 15th in this tournament”.

Now I’m not sure what happened there, or how I beat five people without even playing a hand, but I was rather steamed. I immediately fired off an email to Pacific Poker’s customer service group complaining about the locked screen. I made it clear that I didn’t expect anything from them except for a refund of my entry. Lo and behold, this morning I received an emailed apology and my $17.60 back. It wasn’t instantaneous, but it was the proper response and was done with professionalism and customer service in mind. GOOD JOB, PACIFIC POKER!

Before I even knew their response, I went back to Pacific last night to my favorite cash cow tables. The first tournament I played, I literally didn’t play a hand for the first three rounds. My blinds were raised and/or re-raised and I was getting completely unplayable hands. Of course, that meant that I still had around 650 chips when we got down to the final table. Amazing how I could fold every single hand preflop and outlast ten other people, but that’s why I love these tables so much. My first hand at the final table was KK from MP. IIRC, the blinds were 50/100 and I made it a soft 250 and brought three callers along. The flop was three rags, nine high, and one of the blinds bet 100. I slid the bar over for all-in and got one caller. Rag-rag finished the board and more than doubled me up. Next hand was AJo. Still early position, so I limp with four others. Flop is Jxx, one of the blinds bets, I soft-call, hoping for another caller to come along, and get one. So three of us see the turn, an Ace! Blind bets 100 again (weak) and I pop all-in, figuring the blind is pot-committed, and the other guy will fold with any draw. Sure enough, the blind calls with KJ and now I’m chip-healthy after playing only two hands.

Long story short, I ended up in 2nd for a tidy little $80 payoff. I probably misplayed one or two of the heads-up hands going for fancy check-raises and allowed my opponent to outdraw me cheaply. Oh well… I sat around and watched the 49ers and Giants both spit the bit for an hour or so. God, the 49ers are going to suck bad this year. Anyway, I got bored with watching my teams collapse and went into another SnG and bubbled out in 6th. I wasn’t giving the game my full attention and probably shouldn’t have even signed up for it. Note to self: don’t sign up for a tournament just because it needs one more person.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Since I’ve popped off on other blogs, I suppose it’s only right to give others a chance to rip on my fantasy football drafting for this year. The draft was Saturday, exactly 24 hours before the Monty. 12-teamer, $100 per team making a $1200 prize pool. I won it last year and pocketed something like $700. I drew the 6th pick in the serpentine draft online at Yahoo.

1st – Deuce McAllister [6th overall] – I dreaded this pick, knowing the first five would be Priest, LT, Ahman Green, Portis, and Shaun Alexander (I had already been IMing with the 5th drafter). I just worry whether New Orleans will score enough touchdowns to justify taking him sixth. I briefly toyed with the idea of going with Randy Moss and/or Jamal Lewis, but caved to the “Best RB that isn’t going to prison” syndrome.

2nd – Kevan Barlow [19th] – Not many RBs to choose from. I’m a 49er fan, and I know that they have NOBODY to back him up, and he fit the “Get two #1 RBs asap” theory. He should be good for 1100 yds rushing and 500 yds receiving and about 8 tds. Of course, the Niners will probably go 5-11, but this is fantasy football, dammit.

3rd – [30th] Gee, who should I pick here? Lots of statistically comparable QBs and WRs here. Don’t really want or need a 3rd RB yet. Let’s see, where is the most marginal value over someone I can get in the 4th and 5th round? Gonzo had already been picked 26th, so for the most value here, I braced myself for the ridicule and chose…. Todd Heap. And a funny thing happened… nobody criticized taking a TE in the 3rd round.

4th – [43rd] A shitload of dime-a-dozen receivers here, so I went for a QB I thought would throw for 25-30 TDs… Chad Pennington. Favre was still there, but he’s almost as old as I am and drinks way more beer, so I don’t expect him to start more than 12 games this year.

5th – [54th] I had queued up Laverneus Coles and Koren Robinson, but they went one and three picks earlier, so I rolled the dice with Peerless Price. Here’s hoping that they make Michael Vick a pocket passer. My other possible choice was Isaac Bruce, but I thought he’d make it under the radar since Yahoo had him listed waaaayyyy too low in their default rankings.

6th – [67th] Isaac Bruce. See? I was right. I knew he’d be there. And he’ll have a good year since Torry Holt will draw all the attention. Of course, if I’m wrong, never mind.

7th – [78th] I wanted to fill out my WR corps with Amani Toomer or Jerry Porter, but they were snapped up between 77 and 87, so I took my requisite flyer pick, Tatum Bell. Someone in Denver will get 1000 yds this year, why not Bell? I probably should’ve waited another round or two and taken Tyrone Wheatley here, but the thought of missing out on the Olandis Gary of 2004 was intolerable.

8th – [91st] What a dilemma! There’s still a starting RB on the board, but he hasn’t shown much… He’s on a weak offense with a mediocre QB, but the coach likes to run run run. Oh, what the hell, with the 101st pick, I choose… Travis Minor.

9th – [102nd] While I’m waiting for this pick, I quickly pull up the 2003 stats from trying to find an 800-1000 yd WR to fill in my receiving corps and find… Reggie Wayne. I like this pick. Marvin is getting older and Peyton is going to have to develop other receivers.

10th – [115th] Hmmm, a 4th WR or a backup QB? Here I make my worst move of the draft and pick Jake Delhomme. Not because Delhomme will have a shitty year or because I should’ve waited for a backup QB, but because Delhomme and Pennington have the same freakin’ bye week. Now I’ll have to pick another QB or hope for a waiver wire plum to drop my way.

11th – [126th] OK, my roster is pretty well set. 2 QBs, 4 RBs, 3 WR, 1 TE. Everyone else has all their backups also, no decent RBs to speak of, plenty of mediocre WRs on the board. Time for a kicker on a good team. Ryan Longwell.

12th – [139th] Nothing but stopgaps and bye fillers from now on. Defense can wait until the last round. Hey, is Muhsin Muhammad still there?! OK, I’ll take him.

13th – [150st] Wow, backup TE, we’ve officially reached the stage of “don’t care”. Billy Miller please.

14th – [163rd] Shit, now I have to fill in that QB bye week #3 when Pennington and Delhomme will both be golfing. Who’s playing a lousy defense that week? Kyle Boller? Sure, why not?

15th – [174th] Time to pick a defense. Who’s playing a lousy offense in week one? Ummm, looks like Houston is playing San Diego, sure to conjure images of Dan Pastorini and Dan Fouts, George Blanda and John Hadl. Sure. I’ll take Houston.

For a 12-team league, I think I’m positioned pretty well if my WRs come through with decent years. All five of my WR can go for 800-1200 yds this year and it may come down to my lineup choices. I have consistent production from both RB slots (two of the top ten if you believe SI), tight end, and quarterback. I have a couple hope-and-pray picks (Bell and Minor) that could pan out to be good RB sleepers. All in all, I expect to be in playoff contention if (big IF) injuries are kept to a minimum.