Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Positive Money

The overall outcome of last night was positive, but it was up and down. After 5 straight SNG's without a cash, I took an 11+1 45 player SNG and came in 2nd! The bankroll needed the help. I was a monster. I got great cards, and even if I was behind (TT vs KK), my pair would hit a set or I'd make my straight, etc. At one point I took out 4 players in a row on all-in calls. I was en fuego. The last hand was the only less than stellar move of the evening. I'm in the BB with Qh4c. SB calls, I check. Flop is JT5h. We both checked the turn, which was a Q. I bet out half the pot and got called. River is a T, which doesn't complete my flush but gives me 2 pair. I figured heads up, it might be safe. Villain wasn't betting hard enough to convince me he had AK, and he didn't. I bet the pot and got raised all in. I flip my 2 pair only to be confronted by a K9o, making a straight. I wanted to win, but the 2nd place cash was still nice.

On the down slope of the roller coaster, I did play a 6+.50 45 player, but busted out in 44th! It was pathetic. I lasted a total of 7 hands, and none of my hands held up. I started off limping with JTc. I picked up two clubs on the flop, and cards that helped with (but not completed) either an up or down straight. The turn paired the board and it checked to the button who let loose with a $200 bet on a 10/20 blind level. Suffice to say I folded. After that was A5h. I like playing suited aces, and A5 gives outs on the Wheel. The flop is A72. No help on the flush, but I got the 2 and paired the A. Min bets by one other player. 7 on the turn pairs the board. More min bets called by me. River is a blank, and my A5 is outkicked by an AQ. If there'd been any serious betting, I would've dumped my weak kicker. The next hand is KQc. I call the blinds, and the flop is K78h. I pair my K with a decent kicker, but the suit is wrong. I put out a 2xBB bet and get called by one person. I figure Kx, not the ace, or a flush draw. Next card is a heart, and the villain bets out about half the pot. I fold. After that, there were 3 rag deals and then the last one. AdQh. I raised up 2xBB, and I get reraised by an aggressive mofo. I call. Flop comes K94d. Nut flush draw. I bet half the pot and get reraised all in. I call, and the villain flips over AKo. I never pick up my last diamond and my AQ is beaten by his pair of Kings. 44th place! Damn!

Had to try and forget that one, and went back to the 45 player 11+1. Top 7 places pay. I wasn't getting the cards that I got in the first one, but I made it to the final table as the 3rd shortest stack. I was getting enough cards to stay alive, but not enough to really chip up. My 55 raise would get called, and a flop would be AK9 or something. I wasn't getting any traction. Finally, somebody bubbled out and I was ITM. Next hand in the BB, and severely short stacked (maybe 4xBB after posting the BB), I get KTs. Somebody raises 3xBB and I decide to push all-in. I'm up against 77. The flop got me to a one outer straight, but it never materialized. Out in 7th. A small cash, but positive money is positive money.

So, for the evening, I was up around $100. Not bad for 2 hours of entertainment. More would've been nice, but I'll take it. As noted in earlier posts, I determined that I need to chip up more aggressively near the bubble and I need to adjust my short handed play. I worked hard (but smart!) to chip up...catching cards helped, but I bluffed a couple of times and got lucky on a couple of BB discounts. I'm still working on the short handed play, but building the stack not only gives me the depth to play short handed (i.e. wait for good cards), but also the confidence to wait for those cards and make things happen. We'll see what happens tonight, whether I can make this seem more consistent.

As a side note, I didn't get home until a solid hour after the WWdN started (Thanks Mossy Nissan, for being slow). Oh well. Maybe next time...

Great Late SNG Strategy

It figures. As soon as I post a long-winded missive asking for comments on my life as a poker dumbass, the author of Dumbasses Trump All, none other than Boobie Lover himself, posts a link to a great article on just this topic...bubble play in SNG's. Give it a read.

Working on the Short Game

I'm going to try something new tonight. I'm going to try some of the smaller tables, the 6 handed, and maybe even some heads up. Over the past several days, I've played a number of SNG's (probably 8 or 9), and only cashed in one. With one 8th place bad beat, all of the others have been 4th or 5th place. This tells me that my short game needs work. I've read Harrington and many of the other blogs, and everybody talks about loosening up a bit at this stage, widening the range of calling hands. I do this, but I'm not sure if I'm opening up too much (I don't think so) or am I not risking enough. I'm not typically calling things like unsuited connectors or one-gappers, but I am looking at things like Q9s, K7s, K9, T9s, etc. What seems to happen to me is I'll call the blinds (typ. 100/200 in a 9 player SNG or 300/600 in an 18 or 27 player) plus ante, and then somebody will raise 2x or 3x the BB, and I'm faced with either committing a large chunk of my stack on a hand that isn't that strong on its own, or losing a not insignificant part of my stack on a fold. I'll give you a "how would you play this" example.

We're five handed in a 9 player SNG. Blinds are at 100/200 with a 25 ante. Your hero is on the button with a stack that's below par (1 way below, 1 just above, and 2 that are double me), and is dealt Q6h. It folds around to me, who calls. SB folds, and BB (has me covered 2 to 1) pushes all-in. Your hero folds, not feeling the love with a Q and a weak kicker. The BB has been aggressive, but played solidly, so I felt the fold was a safe option, though it still cost me a chunk. What would you have done? Should I have folded preflop? Should I have raised on a pseudo-bluff? If so, how much? Would this have been as good a time as any to push all-in preflop? Should I have called? These are the situations I've been running into...I've got a decent hand that has good flop potential, but I'm not sure I want to go to war with it. Am I just playing pussy poker, or am I playing an appropriately tight game and just not catching cards? The other scenario that tends to happen would be I'd call with a hand like J9c, there would be at least two other callers, and the flop would be something like KK5, with only one card of my flush draw (and not the overcard). At that point I've typically called the blind plus maybe a min or 2xBB raise preflop, and committed 1/4 to 1/3 of my stack.

As I look at this, I see another problem. I'm not a big stack at this stage. I'm usually right around par, but there's usually a serious short stack or two that balance out the monster stacks, so par isn't as safe as it sounds. I know you're supposed to play relatively tight early on, but am I playing too tight, again with the pussy poker? As a side note, Klopzi, does this post mean I'm at Stage 5? lol. Seriously, I play a pretty tight game, but I do loosen up early on and play the occasional 45 sooted thru a blind discount. Still, I have a hard time playing cards that I see other players take thru multiple raises to a showdown, finding K5o against Q9s. At one point, Lady Falcon presented her rules for a NLHE 7.50/15 game at the Tropicana in AC, and they served her well. They are a little more loose than Helmuth's top 10 hands on his daily calendar (thanks Troll), but still very solid. More importantly, she included her thoughts on preflop and postflop play. I tend to try and follow those rules, because they met with success for her. I have had limited success, but she was playing a ring game, and tourneys get a little different when you get short handed.

So there's my two big issues. One, what am I doing wrong when short handed? Do I tighten up even more, loosen up my calling range, or get more aggressive when betting preflop? Two, should I be getting a little more loose and/or aggressive earlier, to do more work on the chipstack? Sometimes it's hard, where I'll go thru two full rounds of blinds and not see anything better than a J6o. I'm not even catching my blinds, because somebody inevitably raises when I'm sitting with a 93o. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Monday, January 30, 2006

TROH - Weekend Update

First of all, happy Monday (not)! Let’s get the administrative-type stuff out of the way.

You may notice that The Randomness of Hoff is no longer blind open access to anybody. I’ve had several comments left anonymously that were for obvious commercial purposes, and have no significance to me or you, my wonderfully demented readers. As such, you now need to be a blogger to comment and use the goofy word verification feature. Sorry, but I guess that means that I’m being read enough that some ad monkeys think it’s worthwhile to do random posts here. On that note, I noticed that the hit counter cracked 1500 over the weekend. Sweet! Also, Falstaff’s Poker Stage has been added to the sidebar. He started checking out TROH and was kind enough to say nice things on his blog. I don’t know if you’ll find that as a positive endorsement, but I do! Feel free to check him out. Now on to other things.

Hope everybody had a good weekend. Mine was fine, but poker was not good to me. Out of probably 6 SNG’s, I cashed in only one. Not a good ratio. I’ve determined that I should not play poker if the gf is at all awake and in the house. Inevitably something will happen, she will seek my attention for something (always legitimate, never distracting for the sake of distraction), and I will get distracted and wind up either calling a bad situation or folding a good one. It happened three times this weekend, all of which resulted in my busting out of each tourney about 3 hands later in 5th. I’m not going to log in and play (at least an SNG or MTT) unless she’s either out somewhere or asleep in the bedroom (napping on the couch doesn’t work, because she can hear the mouse clicks, keyboard, etc.). The one SNG I cashed in was played around midnight last night, after she was asleep, so there’s my theory. She’s just not a gambling fan, and that’s my cross to bear (bear to cross? Whatever). Anyway, that brings me to the rest of the weekend…

Saw the movie Annapolis. It was entertaining, and based on things I’ve read and several people I know who’ve gone thru either the USNA, West Point, or the AFA, the depiction of plebe life was reasonably accurate, for Hollyweird standards. Not all plebes are going to wind up sleeping with Jordana Brewster, though, which brings me to her. God Damn is she hot! I’ve got a major thing for brunettes (the gf is brunette), and past objects d’lust have included Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayek, and Natalie Portman. Jordana is just smokin’! But enough (sigh) about her. For some reason, this weekend wound up being more about…

Eating. My gf is a food connoisseur, and we wound up making the weekend quite the food world tour. Friday dinner, we went to this little Italian place called Bussalachi’s in the Banker’s Hill/Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. It is built in a converted, sorta craftsman style house. Very cool, and the food was extremely tasty. She had this Shrimp Penne dish that, in the words of Speaker, had a metric-ass ton of garlic on it, but not so much that it didn't work. It was painfully good. Your hero suffered his way through a goat cheese and pine nut tortellini dish, with onions and mushrooms. Very good. Saturday lunch was at a sorta-Mediterranean restaurant, Azul, in downtown La Jolla, overlooking the cove. They do a tapas lunch that includes such things as: kalamata olive tapenade, pesto tapenade, red pepper hummus, duck mini-quesadillas, Greek seafood salad, spring rolls, tiger prawns, and so on. Wicked good. Dinner on Saturday was something new, a Moroccan place in La Jolla called Marakkesh. Very Arabic looking, with the silk tapestries on the ceiling, and the low tables with barrel stools to sit on. Even a belly dancer came thru, and although she looked in her 40s, she was still hot, with a smokin’ bod. There was an older couple at the table next to us, probably in their 50s, with one set of their parents. After watching a bunch of us slide tips down the dancer’s costume, the son reached into his wallet, pulled out some money, and gave it to his father so he could tip the dancer. She of course thought this was very cute, and gave him quite the show. The food was very good, but completely new to me. We started with the server washing out hands at the table. That was followed by a hummus and tapenade plate with bread. That was followed by a “salad” that consisted of spiced eggplant, marinated cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. Interesting. Then we had the main meal. The gf had lamb, with assorted vegetables and chickpea hummus. I had this blackened chicken dish that was marinated in lemon juice, and served with assorted vegetables. Dinner was finished off with baklava and (I guess) a traditional mint tea. Sunday lunch was the ghetto meal. There’s a little Mexican dive called Pokeez in downtown SD. If you look at the place and the employees, it and they are all tagged and tattooed floor to ceiling and head to toe. It looks like the total gang banger place, but they have some of the best Mexican food you’ll find, on either side of the border. The most interesting part of them, is they not only do “normal” stuff, but they’ll do vegetarian and vegan meals, too. I never would have thought of ghetto, gangland vegans, but there they are. She gets these tofu, potato and mushroom tacos, and I get this taco salad thing in a tortilla bowl with beans, rice, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, onions, egg, and topped off with the best tasting marinated grilled chicken I’ve ever had. I don’t know what they do to it (and frankly I probably should NEVER find out!), but it rocks! Finally, Sunday dinner turned out to be sushi, at one of my favorite placed in Pacific Beach, Kabuki. This is a great place. The sushi is fresh and tasty, and the sushi bar is set up with a moat going around the chefs, and they put an assortment of rolls and nigiri sushi on boats that float around the moat. You see something you like, you take it. And the prices are very reasonable. At any normal nice sushi joint, the amount of food the gf and I ate could have easily totaled $70 or so. Our bill came to $42. And with that…

We went home, I walked the dog, she went to sleep, and I hopped on Stars to get in one last SNG. Finally I make it in the money. 3rd place, but after the bloodbath this weekend, any positive money is good. Sorry for the length of this post, but it happens. I promise, I’ll try to make the next one relatively short.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Poker Gods Giveth, and The Poker Gods Taketh Away

So after the gf and I got home last night, I went out to walk the dog, and she crashed out. By the time I got back, she was asleep. Perfect! Time for poker! I fired up Stars and decided to try a multi-table turbo SNG. I like playing the turbos, because the pace is quicker (except for the pinhead who ran a connection strength that varied from a high of 42% to disconnect, including during two big pots). Thursday wasn't very good to me, out of 5 I cashed in 1 (2nd place), so I was hoping the gods were ready to show love to me.

I got into an 11+1 45 person SNG. I think I played my most solid game yet, and more importantly, I got the cards when I needed them. Of the 45 players, I personally took at least 10 of them out. I was big stack early, and held the tourney big stack all the way to 4 handed. A sample of the cards and love the gods bestowed on me included:

*********** # 9 **************
PokerStars Game #3780737683: Tournament #18776391, Hold'em No Limit -
Level III (25/50) - 2006/01/28 - 03:26:15 (ET)
Table '18776391 3' Seat #9 is the button

*** SHOW DOWN ***
kriswoody: shows [Ts Td] (two pair, Jacks and Tens)
iamhoff: shows [As 2s] (two pair, Aces and Jacks)
iamhoff collected 3490 from pot

*********** # 16 **************
PokerStars Game #3780774951: Tournament #18776391, Hold'em No Limit -
Level IV (50/100) - 2006/01/28 - 03:33:09 (ET)
Table '18776391 3' Seat #2 is the button

*** SHOW DOWN ***
iamhoff: shows [5h 5d] (three of a kind, Fives)
brazor: shows [Kc Ah] (a pair of Kings)
iamhoff collected 6670 from pot

*********** # 18 **************
PokerStars Game #3780786971: Tournament #18776391, Hold'em No Limit -
Level IV (50/100) - 2006/01/28 - 03:35:25 (ET)
Table '18776391 3' Seat #5 is the button

*** SHOW DOWN ***
iamhoff: shows [Kd Ac] (a pair of Kings)
brazor: shows [Td Tc] (a pair of Tens)
iamhoff collected 2690 from pot

It was that kind of game. I got the cards. All was well, until we were 4 handed. I get all in against a bluff machine with my 55 against his AJo. He flops a jack and I'm crippled. I hung around for a couple more hands, and collected some blinds, and finally got JTo...my best hope. I made 2 pair, but somebody rivered a boat and I went home in 3rd, with a nice $80 payday for my $12 investment.

Saturday morning was another story, though. I played the same game again, 11+1 45 turbo SNG. Early in, I was playing strong. I'd already doubled up and won a few other showdowns. Then came this hand.

*********** # 13 **************
PokerStars Game #3783198845: Tournament #18790601, Hold'em No Limit -
Level III (25/50) - 2006/01/28 - 12:39:28 (ET)
Table '18790601 2' Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: troy1256 (1470 in chips)
Seat 2: starfire (1445 in chips)
Seat 4: cypress72 (1715 in chips)
Seat 5: gamchef (1640 in chips)
Seat 6: iamhoff (2445 in chips)
Seat 7: Fresh_Greens (1385 in chips)
Seat 8: Jafm (2015 in chips)
Seat 9: tsunamy (1385 in chips)
iamhoff: posts small blind 25
Fresh_Greens: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to iamhoff [Kd Kh]
Jafm: calls 50
tsunamy: calls 50
troy1256: calls 50
starfire: calls 50
cypress72: calls 50
gamchef: calls 50
iamhoff: raises 50 to 100
Fresh_Greens: calls 50
Jafm: calls 50
tsunamy: calls 50
troy1256: calls 50
starfire: calls 50
cypress72: calls 50
gamchef: calls 50
*** FLOP *** [Ah Js Kc]
iamhoff: bets 50
Fresh_Greens: calls 50
Jafm: raises 1865 to 1915 and is all-in
tsunamy: folds
troy1256: folds
starfire: folds
cypress72: folds
gamchef: folds
iamhoff: calls 1865
Fresh_Greens: folds
*** TURN *** [Ah Js Kc] [9h]
*** RIVER *** [Ah Js Kc 9h] [3d]
iamhoff said, "I wondered if you had the QT"
*** SHOW DOWN ***
iamhoff: shows [Kd Kh] (three of a kind, Kings)
Jafm: shows [Qd Th] (a straight, Ten to Ace)
Jafm collected 4680 from pot
iamhoff said, "nh"
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 4680 | Rake 0

So there's my donkey move of the day. And I honestly don't think it was a complete donkey move. The villain had been a bluff machine, so I felt that he didn't have the QT. He did, and I was crippled and went out with A9 two pair against a river flush. So it goes. Actually my real donkey move was getting greedy. With all those callers, I figured a small raise would keep most of them around. I felt pretty good that my kings were solid, and as it turned out they were. Just not against a straight. If I'd done a larger raise, I wouldn't have gotten as many callers, but I might still be in the game. Oh well. Maybe the gods are ready to show me some love again. We'll see...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My New Favorite

As regular readers here (are any of you really "regular"?) know, my poker time is limited in the evenings. As such, I decided to try a turbo SNG. These things rock! A 9 seat NLHE SNG finishes in about half the time of a regular SNG. I can double my playing time!! Woo hoo! They don't allow as much time as the regular SNGs, and more importantly, the blinds go up every 5 minutes. This really helps thin the table, as people get blinded out more quickly. As it was, I got two turbos in tonight. The first was a 15+1 and I won the damn thing! Later, I decided to get one more in before I crashed out. I decided to try a 25+2 (feeling lucky, I guess). I went out on a super suckout bad beat, but still made it to third. I'm convinced I would have won, except for Bungmunch's suckout. Blinds are 200/400, and I'm in the SB with AsQs. I call the BB, who raises me all-in. This guy has been a freak all night, playing absolute crap and getting away with it. I figured my AQ was pretty safe, especially when Bungmunch flipped over T9 offsuit. Guess the flop. Q. J. 8. This donkey extraordinaire takes a T9 unsuited and flops a freaking straight! Rag on the turn and I did pick up a 3rd Q on the river, but my set wasn't enough. Un-freaking-believable. Oh well. At least I made the money on both, and actually won one of them. A decent profit for an hour and a half worth of work.

On a different topic, those of you who read StB know that he's got a list of song snippets that reference various acts of drinking. I've heard most of them, as I'm sure many of you have. I found a couple of others that he may want to include, if he's become bored with his current list. One is by the Canadian Celtic Folk group (you Much Music fans out there probably know them), Great Big Sea. On their CD, "Up", they have a lovely drinking song titled, "The Old Black Rum". A sample of the lyrics includes:

Well I'd drink to the father or the holy ghost
kneeling at the alter of my nightly post
and I’ll raise a glass, not the first or last
come join me in this toast

’Cause the old black rum’s got a hold on me
like a dog wrapped ’round my leg
and the old black rum’s got a hold on me
will I live for another day

One other booze oriented song (funny how these bands are Irish in nature...) is by the great punk band, The Dropkick Murphys. Off of their outstanding CD, "Do or Die", we have the aptly named track "Barroom Hero". A sample of the lyrics is here:

Face down in the gutter won't admit defeat
though his clothes are soiled and black,
he's a big, strong man with a childs mind,
Don't you take his booze away!

Feel free to share them with StB and anybody else who appreciates alcohol-oriented lyrics (God Bless Jimmy Buffet!). I'm sure that the majority of us drink, or at least chemically enhance our lives in some fashion. Any favorite drinking songs out there? Either good solid songs like "Whiskey in the Jar" (pre-Metallica) or a good bar song like "Johnson's Motor Car". Maybe I can put together a drinking mix for iPods or something. Let me know your faves...I'm always open to new music.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Help Me, I'm Tilting!!!!

Considering it's only Monday, it's been a long week. As has been the case recently, I spent a good portion of Monday driving between my office, the Riverside County offices in Temecula, and the County offices in downtown Riverside. And to top it off, we've had some good winds today. Nothing like what whips down Interstate 80 between Rawlins and Laramie, Wyoming, but gusts in the 60s. I drove thru a dust devil that had a tumbleweed in it. Normally you see them rolling down the road. This one hovered about 3 feet off the ground, whipping around in a circle. When I drove thru the dust devil, the 'weed bounced off the corner of my truck, and survived in the twister until a big rig hit it square on and just destroyed it. Boom! Pieces go everywhere...it was pretty cool.

So I hopped on Stars tonight, to play some SNGs. I played a 3 table one (9th out of 27), and two 1 table ones (both 5th). I actually decided to play the 3-table and the first 1 table simultaneously, to see if I could do it. Overall, my play was pretty solid, despite the run of crap hands, a sample of which is shown here. During the evening on the 1st single table SNG, I did have one good hand, but I couldn't even get anybody to call a simple $20 bet. I had J8d in the BB. Flop comes Q9T, all diamonds! I flopped a straight flush, and couldn't even get anybody to call a stupid $20 bet!! The last one is the one that tilted me, though. After that, I went thru an amazing run of cards. I'm calling or raising everything, and most of my flops hit. I start to feel a little too confident, and start pushing with less than stellar hands.

The worst stretch took me out of the 3rd tourney. I pick up JTo in the BB. One person (who played very aggressively) did a min-raise. Everybody else folded, so I decided (stupidly) to defend my blinds and called. Flop comes down JTx rainbow. I'm jazzed at this point with top two pair, and I bet strongly. The person who raised preflop (who I had covered not quite 2 to 1 in chips) went all in. I was feeling pretty confident, so I called. He flips over KTc, and I'm ahead...until the river. K. That hurt, and dropped me down to the short stack, wtih about 800 chips left. The very next hand, in the SB, I pick up KK. A beeyotch who had been a bluffing, aggressive, pain in the ass, raised up to put me all in. I laugh, flipping over my KK, to show her 66. And what does the flop bring? That's right, kiddies, a 6!! And your hero tilts his way into 5th place. I guess that's something I need to work on. When I get a good run of cards, and people start respecting my raises, I sometimes get cute and push with something less premium like Q9s or A3. While that's not necessarily a completely crappy move (I AM playing aces or suited connectors), the crap comes when I stay with the hand post flop, looking for the draw that almost never materializes. There's no justice in the world. Oh well, I guess that's my poker homework for tomorrow...learn to consistently play the premium hands, and more importantly to fold them when they don't hit the flop.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

I'm Still Here, Dammit!

Hello Bloggerland!

It has officially been a helluva week. I spent more time in my truck than I did in my office, and since I technically don't need a laptop for my job (trying to convince the powers that be...), I was only able to check in on things this week. Time to catch up.

Work was crazy. I've got a couple of projects going on that have required much more babysitting than you'd think a group of grown adults that supposedly are productive members of society would need. I'm not a big fan of asking people who their supervisor is, but I've had to do it more times this week than I probably have had to in the past year. The only plus that came out of it was getting to stop by and check out Pechanga's poker room. I will definitely stop by again, time permitting. Which brings me to...

Poker. The other reason I haven't had time to check in on the Bloggerdome is that I played in my very first live tourney on Thursday. It was a "pre"-satellite to the WSOP Circuit that is played at Harrah's Rincon Casino, north of San Diego. Mon thru Thurs they ran the prelims with 220 people per night, the top 30 of which went on to the finals on Friday. 3 members of the Tres Sombreros home game played, Jay-bo, Troll, and yours truly. Troll went out first of the gang, in around 150th. I managed to survive to around 100th, and Jay-bo almost made the finals, busting out in 36th. This was amazing, because when I went out, right before a break, Jason was down to a chipstack that could handle one more big blind (at that point, the levels were jumping to 1000/2000). Somehow he managed to double up a couple of times, and survived to 36th. Not the money, but very good all things being equal. Then we jumped into a 3/6 Fixed Kill game. I was down a bit on that, Jay-bo lost his ass, Troll was down some, and Gato, who railbirded the tourney, did alright. Which brings me to...

Friday. In optomistic anticipation of a late night at the casino and a stellar finish in the prelims, Troll and I took Friday off, and planned a round of golf. I invited my father (who recently retired) so that he could celebrate his birthday, and my gf came along as well, so that she could check out the third cash drain in my life (the first two being her and poker). We played at Tecolote Canyon, a very nice executive course just north of downtown San Diego. I shot horribly (as is my usual game), but had a blast. Most of my golfing lately has been at a driving range, hitting off mats, so a live round of golf was a great treat, regardless of how crappy I did. All of which brings me back to...

Poker. Tonight (technically, last night, as it is currently 1:45 a.m. and my gf STILL isn't home), the gf was going out with some friends to do a birthday celebration. The upshot of that, I get the whole evening free!! Normally, the most free time I have in an evening is approximately 3 hours, from the time I get home in the evening to when she gets home from teaching. It is enough time to get in a couple of SNG's, but not enough for an MTT. Tonight was going to be the night I played in my first MTT. I signed up for a 10+1 rebuy and 1 addon tourney on Stars. The field totaled 1641 players, with the top prize being something over $14,000. Once the rebuy period was over, they calculated the prize pool and determined that the top 180 places would pay. I wasn't sure I could make the money, but I figured I'd try. I must admit, I played my best poker ever, and can only point to a few hands that I played like the donkey I really am, that ultimately cost me the tournament. I was usually in the top half of my table, and several times I was leading, at one point by almost a 2 to 1 chip lead (270k to 140k). Troll railbirded for a while, and at one point told me I had the 4th highest chipstack in the tourney! Early on, I got pocket pairs (JJ, 88, 44) 3 times in 5 hands. I worked hard to establish a conservative image, only to be moved to a new table. Of course what happens, I get AA, AKs, ATs, 55, 88 over my first 10 or so hands. I look like a freaking calling station. Of course I hardly get called, so nobody sees the freaking amazing cards I've gotten. Next thing you know, we made the money. After a long stretch of absolute junk deals, I get antsy and play something less than stellar,JTc. The flop isn't too bad, Qh Js Kc, which pairs my jack and gives me a straight draw. The other big stack at the table (who I had covered by about 50k), goes all in. I'm not feeling the love with bottom pair and a just a draw, so I fold, losing approximately 50k from my stack. Thus began the tilt. The very next hand I get A9h with a stack of around 162k. I call a min raise, and then a smaller stack goes all in for around 70k. I call it, and one other player calls as well. The flop pairs my ace, but also brings a jack and no help on my flush. The other player decides to go all in, and I like my ace, but I've got a weak kicker and no help on the flush. I fold, and at the showdown he flips over KK. I would have won about another 200k!! Now I'm really tilting. I try to maintain control, but my stack is severely crippled, just as the blinds and antes really rise (6000/12000). Then I get moved again and I've become the short stack. Everybody at that table would post the blinds, and have them folded to the BB. When I would be in the BB, somebody would go all in, EVERY FREAKING TIME!!! Some of my hands were junk, but some of them were decent (K4s, Q9s, etc.) but not hands I felt comfortable going to war with. Naturally, I got to the point in the BB that pushing all in had to happen. I had a J6o, and wound up all in against 99 and AJo.
The flop was the hammer boat flop (272). A jack on the turn brought a slim bit of hope, but I knew I was outkicked on the jack. Praying for a 6, and the river brought a a 4. Your hero goes out in 45th place, just at the beginning of the new prize level. For my $31 investment, I got to take home $199.65. Not a bad investment, I'd say. Of course, it would have been nice to win, or even place higher than I did, but with the exception of my last several hands, I'm damn proud of the way I played. Which brings me to...

Now. I'm tired. I'm going to bed. Thanks for hanging around, sorry it took so long to get this post up, and I'll see you out in that inter-webby thingie.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Running with the bulls or running with the donkeys

Took advantage of the gf being out last night to play some SNG’s on Stars. Results were mixed, but that’s alright…I’m learning. The one that pissed me off the most was the first time I went out in last place. Call, fold, fold, raise to me by this laughing boy that I’ll call laughing boy. I’ve got pocket jacks, so I reraised preflop. Laughing boy calls, and the flop comes up 99X. Check to me, I put in a 4x BB bet to properly represent my strength, and laughing boy calls. It’s still early in the game (Level III, I believe), so I don’t have a great read on him, but I put him on a smaller pair. I figure if he had AA, KK, or even QQ he might have reraised me preflop. Turn is 9. OK. I’ve got 9s full of Js, so I decide to get rid of him and push all in. This ass monkey calls and flips over 97o. WTF?!? River is a rag, and our hero busts out in 9th place, for the first (but I’m sure not last) time in my short career. I’ll give laughing boy credit for slow playing and sucking me in, but to call that many raises preflop with a 97o? I guess donkeys do win occasionally. I will also admit to violating one of the rules that one of the bloggers came up with (I forget who, sorry)…ask yourself, is it worth risking your tournament life on these cards at this time? I think if he would have reraised me after the flop, I would have folded. Oh well, that's why it's called gambling.

I also had an 8th place and then I placed in 3rd. In that one, I got short-stacked and then doubled up two hands in a row. I finally went out (as the short stack, natch) with A8d against a set of 10s. After that, I had one where I ended in 5th place. I was playing pretty well until my gf came home. I actually won a few hands that I pushed right after she came home, but finally went out when I got all in with AJd against JJ. No improvement and I signed off for a few hours. After our heroine goes to sleep, I needed to wash the taste of that last one out of my mouth, so I sat down to play one more, and it just flowed. I doubled up early, twice, and played probably my best game. The final hand had me with AQc against all in A5d. Flop is 5Qx. Rag. Rag. End result, First Place, baby! And with that, our hero finishes his Jack and Coke, brushes his teeth, and drifts into a blissful slumber.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I'm King of the Blogs! Cheetos and Hand Jobs For All My Men!

Well, it’s time for a little self-congratulation and a lot of shout-outs. I’ve been blogging for a little over a month, and my hit counter crossed 1100 over the weekend! People have actually visited my little blog over a thousand times! I…I…I’m sorry. I’m feeling a little verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves…topic for discussion: eggplant. Neither egg nor plant. Discuss.

Seriously, I have all of you degenerate freaks out there to thank for actually stopping by. Some of you even stop by more than once. A few of you even offer comments on things I have to say, and for all of that I say Thanks! Time to drop a few names and offer up some pimpage. Lady Falcon gets the award for making the first comment ever on my blog, beating my little sister by about 5 minutes. Matt has openly pimped me from the start, and it was commenting on his and Lady Falcon’s blogs that forced me to set up a Blogger account. Klopzi recently stumbled by and decided I was worthy of pimpage (thanx, bro). AlCantHang, StB, Waffles, and Dave Westbay have all come by and left comments and/or added me to their blogrolls. Wes, Jordan, The Rooster, and The Poker Doctor have also been kind and/or demented enough to stop by and comment on what they’ve read. Maybe Doc has been prescribing some funny meds to the blogger community.

There are also plenty of bloggers who simply inspire me to improve my blog and my game, and they are gracious enough to offer me a forum to view their thoughts and even offer my own comments. Sometimes they even respond! Seriously, for the inspiration, (why is this starting to sound like an awards show or something?) I’ve got to give props to Wil Wheaton, Up4Poker, Pauly, Gracie, Jaxia, and Whiskeytown for the great posts. There’s a lot to think about on these bloggers’ sites, both about poker and a lot about life in general. I’m sure that there’s a few people that I neglected to mention, but that is simply because I tend to be scattered and hurried (I’m actually at work today, but who really wants to work), not because I don’t care about you. Check out the blogroll at the right, and check out somebody you haven’t seen before. Also, I’ve recently added a bunch of blogs to my favorites, and I simply need to mine them out and add them to the roll…I’m probably going to have to start organizing these more. There’s also a bunch of bloggers that I intend to visit, I just haven’t gotten the time yet. Some of them include Iggy, BadBlood, HDouble, Human Head, Spaceman, JoeSpeaker, and others. I plan on checking everybody out, so if there’s a blog I missed, or I should check out, or if I missed you, let me know. I’m trying to catch everybody and put together a wicked blogroll, so help me out. Finally, shouts to Card Squad and Lord Admiral’s Card Club. I’m sure most of you read Card Squad…for those visitors who haven’t been there, it’s a great news, event, and instructional blog for card games, players, and sites. Lots of great contributors, including Joanne, Wil, and Pauly’s brother, Derek. Lord Admiral offers up a weekly podcast of poker news and happenings, and it’s some really good stuff.

OK. This has gone on long enough. I've probably set the record for the most hyperlinks in the body of a post, and I have to get back to work, but I’ll give one quick update. My perfect record on SNG’s has ended. My first one I actually won, but I’ve since placed 8th, bubbled out in 4th, and made the money in 3rd. Technically, I’m still positive money on the SNG’s, but my cash game losses put me in the red. Oh well. Once I get the Stars bankroll stabilized, I’ll fund the FT bankroll. Which reminds me. I know most of you play mostly Stars, FT, or both. What other sites do the majority of bloggers play on? I’ve heard UB discussed, but where else do the degenerates play? Let me know so I can come find you and take your money (rofl)! Ok. Now I have to get back to work. Actually, one more thing, I mentioned in a previous post that Al was the first I knew of to discover Frappr, and Sir Waffles has a good map going. I've got a link to my Frappr map near the top of my sidebar. Add yourself to it. So far everybody who added themselves is from the Continental US except for humanaut, from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Sign up and let's see where everybody is. Ok. Now I REALLY have to get back to work. Additional props for anybody who can name the source of my paraphrased title. Gotta go.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

First Ever SnG!!

How about that! My first ever SnG. A simple $10+1 on Stars. I ran 2nd or 3rd most of the way. At one point fairly early I was short stacked after my set ran into a higher kicker. Still I fought back and led several times. I dropped the hammer once, and picked up a pair of 2s on the flop, but with two other people going all in, I figured I'd bail out. There was one brutal suckout that fortunately didn't happen to me. KK went all in against JJ. On the river (natch) JJ turned a straight, and KK was gone, in 6th. Early on, I played pretty tight, and established a solid table rep. From that, I was able to pick up a lot of blinds and small pots later in the game. Near the end in heads up, I was up about T10200 to T3900, and got all in with J5 against Q7, with a flop of J57. Turn was Q. River was a rag, and I lost a good chunk of my stack. Then a couple more folded blinds from each of us. Finally, in the BB I pick up T6h. SB does a small raise and I call. Flop comes down T75, and Curtis18 goes all in with A3. I think about it and try to figure out what he's on. He's played pretty tight, but I'd caught him bluffing a couple of times. I guess he figured with a flop of rags, his ace was good, which isn't unreasonable. If I'd played exactly to my rules (thanks, Lady F), I probably would have folded with the weak kicker, but I picked up top pair and a flush draw on the flop, and I had him covered not quite 2 to 1 in chips. So I went. I cringed when I saw the ace, but figured this was as good a place as any for a stand. Q. K. And there you go. My first SnG and I actually won! Props to Curtis18. You played a good game. We'll see what happens with the next one.

Random Scribblings

Poker. Missed being an Omatard at the DADI Special Omalympics last night. Showed up in time to see my buddy Matt catch an all-in hand and then bust out a couple of hands later with a gut wrenching cry of “noooooo!” Congrats on placing 11th. Several bloggers have recaps, including Veneno, Waffle Man, and the winner, Jestocost. Wish I could have been there, but work once again intruded into my so-called life. Since I knew I’d never make it home in time, I decided to stop by and check out the Pechanga poker room in Temecula, CA. Pretty nice. It’s upstairs away from the main casino, and pretty good size. There’s a separate set of tables in the center, surrounded by a half-height clear wall, set aside for tournament play. The waitresses seemed to move reasonably quickly, and the bar was decently sized. I haven’t spent much time in live poker rooms, and one thing that struck me as odd was these little rolling carts. They had a couple of cupholders and two shelves for plates of food. They looked fine and seemed logical, but if the room got crowded I could see where they would get in the way and potentially get knocked over. All in all, it looked pretty nice. Plasmas all around showing college hoops and tourney info…very nice. All of this brings me back to…

Work. I work for a developer, and for developers it is all about selling and closing the homes. To do that means building the homes, and that’s where I come in. I’m a project manager, so I take the raw land, work with engineers and architects to develop maps, grading plans, and blueprints, and then I have to convince the local government agencies to let us build. If they decide to let us, my company might have to pay out a total of a half-million dollars or more in fees. I don’t know why, but most county governments seem to be much more difficult to deal with than most city governments. Maybe it’s because they tend to be larger and therefore more bureaucratic, or maybe the air conditioning supplied to these buildings is tainted with a virus that closes off people’s minds and makes them conveniently forgetful. I don’t know. Either way, a task that should have taken several hours at the most has been delayed from 12/29 to today, and the ironic thing is it is the calculation of my aforementioned fee amounts. You’d think they’d be really motivated to get the money. Not so. The only reason I MIGHT get these fees today is that I drove the 100 miles from my office to theirs to physically hand them the documents that were delivered on 12/29, along with a copy of an email I sent on that date, requesting the fees. The wizard I’m dealing with wanted to put me at the back of the list because this was supposedly a new request. I say, nay nay. To top it off, their DOS BASED (?!?!?) permit system crashed yesterday, ending any hope of getting it done then. So it’s after 5 by the time I leave the County Admin Offices, thus ending any hope of getting home for the DADI, because of…

Traffic. I drive a lot, especially since I’m not some sort of traveling salesman or something. I live about 26 miles from my office, and often I have to travel from my office either to my various project sites or to the applicable government offices. Naturally, we are building homes in areas where many developers are building homes (those of you with ties to So Cal know about Riverside County and the Inland Empire). As such, there’s been a huge influx of new traffic, and Caltrans is way behind the eight ball in improving the roads to handle the traffic. One of my sites involves driving for approximately 60 miles on an interstate, and then another 15 miles or so on a local highway that runs through two separate towns and all of their traffic lights. To get from that city office to the county office I was at last night, I spent another 25 miles on a local highway that ran thru enough hills that I was out of cellular coverage for at least 5 minutes. In metro So Cal, that’s huge. Then I got on the 60 freeway, which needs at least 2 additional lanes on each side, and is frankly in really shitty condition. Finally, I hit the 91 freeway. That beast is under construction thru downtown Riverside, exactly where I needed to go. Sigh. Traffic moving at 3 mph, with some speeds reaching 10 mph! Woo hoo! San Diego freeways aren’t much better. The two north-south roads I drive on are I-5, which is undergoing massive construction in Del Mar, and I-15 which is undergoing the same type of improvements near my parents’ house. Both freeways are adding lanes and carpool lanes. When all is done, maybe traffic will be better. Right now, the delays are pretty intense. To make matters worse, there really aren't any alternate routes (especially on I-15). I-5 does have the (Pacific) Coast Highway, but it runs through Leucadia, Encinitas, and Solana Beach. All slow moving beach towns. In the summer, it's a sweet drive. I regularly would stop at any number of locations on my way home to grab some waves. The picture was taken by Swami's in Encinitas. In the winter, it's just slow. If only I could telecommute…

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I'm So Jealous

AlCantHang is so lucky. The speed metal band, Anthrax, is playing in his neck of the woods, in Pennsylvania. I wanna go!!! It's been more than 10 years since I've seen Anthrax play, and they're one of the best bands to see live. So much energy it's scary, and that was before the invention of everybody's favorite cocaine in a can, Red Bull. Look up Al and let him know you're going. I guess I'll just sit here on the west coast, and listen to Anthrax and Stormtroopers of Death and GWAR and Nuclear Assault and Testament and all those other bands that defined what hardcore was. Throwin' the goat. \m/

The Latest Internetty Craze Thingie

Al gets credit for finding it first among the bloggers that read here. Then Sir Waffle Man set his up. May as well join the craze. I've got a Frappr map set up. Check it out and add yourself to my map. I may as well see where the most demented people in the world are, because you have to be demented if you're reading my jumbled words. C'mon. It's not like you're joining a cult or anything. Although we're thinking about having a meeting to discuss how we want to control the world, I mean help all human kind. Also, we need to decide what color flowing robes and pajamas we need to be wearing when the comet gets here to take us home...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I'm on the Highway to Hell!

Apparently I'm an evil bastard (all that gambling and farting porn!), and I'm going to the second level of hell, according to the Dante's Inferno theory of going to hell and stuff. I'm apparently checked in for the Greyhound ride to the eighth level of hell, too. Still, I think I'll stay at the 2nd level. According to the brochure (lol), Cleopatra and Helen of Troy are there! Woo hoo! Chicks! Now that's what I'm talking about! Anyway, check it out...the post title has the hyperlink to the test. Maybe I'll see you somewhere down there!

The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Second Level of Hell!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Purgatory (Repenting Believers)Low
Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very Low
Level 2 (Lustful)Extreme
Level 3 (Gluttonous)High
Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)High
Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)Moderate
Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)Very Low
Level 7 (Violent)High
Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)Very High
Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Moderate

Take the Dante Inferno Hell Test

Saturday, January 07, 2006

2006 Blogger Awards

Nominations for the 2006 blog awards are due on Thursday, January 12, 2006. Let's all nominate Pauly's blog "The Tao of Poker" for Best American Blog, Best Entertainment Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, and Best Weblog of the Year.

The site you need to pull up to get the nomination form is 2006.bloggies.com. The title of this post is hyperlinked to it, so there's no excuse for not voting! Spread the word. Go to the other blogs you read and leave comments about this! Do it now!!!

What's Your Pirate Name?

My pirate name is:

Bloody Sam Rackham

Every pirate lives for something different. For some, it's the open sea. For others (the masochists), it's the food. For you, it's definitely the fighting. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from fidius.org.

This is me. Who are you?

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The First Time In History

We're in bed last night, and all of a sudden I hear this "splash splash slurp" sound. The dog is drinking out of the toilet because my girlfriend left the toilet lid up!! Not me...her!! Probably the first time ever a woman gets in trouble for leaving the lid up.

PLO Terrorists (and I'm not talking about the middle east) and Music to Soothe the Savage Suckout

So. USC lost. Somehow the media reported that 11 of 12 miners trapped survived, only to have to issue a big whoopsie and say that 11 of 12 miners actually died. Israeli PM Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke that will do who knows what to the Israel-Palestinian peace process. And to top it off, I started playing Pot Limit Omaha.

Seriously, that is a fun game, but boy can you lose money quickly. The upside is you can make money quickly. If you’re used to playing Hold ‘Em, Omaha is familiar but has some key differences. I know most people out there already know this, but it’s my blog and my perspective! Ha! Anyway, remembering that you not only can use only two of your hole cards, but that you’re limited to only two hole cards really does add an interesting dynamic. On one hand, it gives you a ton of outs to make hands. Start off thinking, I’ve got a pair, and I’ve got two connecting cards, one of which is suited to one of the pair. The pair could evolve into 2 pair, trips, quads, or a boat. You could hit a straight, a flush, or you could just get sucked out. Last night I wound up with a set in the hole three separate times, one of them aces! That takes away one key out in making a boat, and prevents quads (unless you get stupidly lucky with your remaining hole card). I also had a 4 card straight flush at one point. That took away outs for a flush, and ate up a bunch of outs for a straight. Probably shouldn’t have been watching the Rose Bowl while playing…I called several hands that I shouldn’t have, to the cost of almost $1000 (in play money, c'mon, I don't have that kind of bankroll...yet!). Wound up doing the play money rebuy and almost made back what I donked off. Music next time. Which brings me to what may become a regular feature: What Do You Listen To While Playing Poker?

I listen to just about anything. I have my favorites, as those who know me in the real world can attest to, but I listen to just about anything. Some musical genres may not be appropriate, depending on the situation. I don’t think vintage Pantera or Slayer would be good if I was already on tilt, but I don’t know if ambient or smooth jazz would be energetic enough. Several other bloggers have asked some of the pros what’s on their iPods, and I forget who actually got Hellmuth to answer. It was a bunch of rap that his 15 year old son supposedly loaded up, which may explain why he goes on tilt so much! If you’ve seen my profile, you know that my preferences (musical, you sick monkeys!!) cover the spectrum. I may try (to the delight of my sister) Carbon Leaf or Great Big Sea…both are kind of Celtic, Folk Rock-y. Leaf is from Richmond, VA and GBS comes from Newfoundland. Mad, stupid, crazy props to my sister and her husband for getting me hooked on both bands. Good stuff. On the other hand, some ska might work to keep me pumped but not pissed. Fighting Gravity (also from Richmond, VA, coincidentally) and The AquaBats seem like good candidates. Failing that, I got the new INXS cd for Christmas, and the single that came out of the Rockstar: INXS show (Pretty Vegas) is pretty good. Finally, I’ve got a ton of good hair metal that I can drop. Anthrax (I’m The Man!), Cinderella, Dokken, Iron Maiden, the list goes on. So back to the question…what do you listen to? C’mon bloggerland, don’t let me down.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Sooted Hammer!!

Can the cards suck any more? I just donked off about $2000 in play money on 10/20 fixed tables in record time. Fixed limit!! That's how crappy my cards were. Of course, I could have folded all the 47o or T6 sooted, but when hardly anything would get raised preflop, why not limp? Of course I would pick up some sort of draw, only to lose it on the river. Finally I had pocket rockets. I made a set on the flop with AK3, bet it hard, all the way around, only to lose it to a runner runner flush. The other dude was chasing with a 59 sooted, and pulled the flush out of his ass. Another time was KT. Flop comes Kxx. Turn is another K. Betting hard, reraising. Turn is a rag. Cards are turned over and the other dude has KJ! I was the suckout king. I did have one hand of redemption, tho. I had a club hammer. Bet it hard preflop, and made a pair of deuces on the flop. Chased it around to flush on the river. I sucked out top two pair! Finally, one small bit of justice, and it comes at the hand of Judge Hammer.