Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Teh Randomness of Tilt

Well, February is coming to an end. Good riddance. This month has not been a very happy time, and the end has generally sucked.

I had to report to jury duty in downtown San Diego, at 7:45 a.m. Did I mention that it was raining?

I got selected for a trial. I'm seated as Juror #3, but there's a slim chance that some of the evildoings in my past may help get me dismissed. Pray with me together. "Juror Number Three, you are excused."

Work is pissed because of the jury duty. I've got to try and get all my shit organized so that my boss can handle anything that comes up over the next week or so, and I have to do it all over a cell phone during breaks in the jury room. Bleah.

I'm on mega-tilt with poker right now. I've mentioned not playing when the GF is around, because she will not let me focus on the game. So I'm about half way thru a SNG on FT when she comes home, earlier than expected, and she's on job interview tilt. Good boyfriend that I am, I click "sitting out" and try to calm her down. She hears the chips clinking over the speakers, goes on tilt again, and tells me to finish the game. Naturally, I'm all in on a blind and bubble out. So she goes to lay down and I go to walk the dog. I come back in and go in to provide calming backrub services. She's asleep, so I creep back to FT and fire up another SNG. She comes in on tilt again, "I thought you were going to come in and talk to me and rub my back!" "Sitting out" again, and we have a wonderful argument. She drifts off and I go to shut down the computer, noticing that the tournament ended and I bubbled out. Again.

But because this post is happening technically on March 1st, despite the time stamp, I'm attempting to untilt. Enjoy this bit of civil disobedience.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Happy Monday!

Almost live blogging for a Monday morning.

8:37 a.m. Finish a quick run thru of the brogger list to glance at. Make mental (probably not the best idea) notes of what to reread and/or comment on at lunch.

8:45 a.m. Start wading thru the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board website for permit data on one of my subdivisions in San Jacinto.

9:03 a.m. Have I ever mentioned how much of a pain it is trying to get any kind of useful info out of the State of California?

9:20 a.m. Attempt to get civil engineer and landscape architect on same page for some fence and wall plans. County of Riverside is almost as confusing as the State of California. Don’t give up hope, fellas. Keep up the good work and you’ll suck as much as the State in no time at all!

9:45 a.m. Pause for Diet Coke break. Mmmm. Diet Coke.

9:47 a.m. Last 5 songs to come up from my shuffled iTunes library:

Bug Powder Dust (Kruder & Dorfmeister Mix) – Bomb the Bass
Black Honey (Who Made Who Remix) – Mainline
Captain Kidd – Great Big Sea
Flying in a Blue Dream – Joe Satriani
Lovin’ an Animal – GWAR (must have been channeling Daddy)

10:02 a.m. Put in a call to my contact at the State Water Quality Board. Didn’t hear back from calls last week. Why should today be any different?

10:07 a.m. Putting the State on hold for the time being. Making a list of info to leave for my boss while I’m on jury duty tomorrow, in the sorry event I actually get seated for a trial. Any good thoughts on excuses to tell a judge/lawyer to get me out of being seated? Will it be enough to say that I’m a blogger, or do I have to admit that I know people called Boobie Lover, Sir Waffle Man, Whiskeytown, and Lady Falcon? Maybe it will be medical related, and I can say that I know the Poker Doc and Dr. Pauly! Then again, it might get me arrested!

10:50 a.m. Send up brog post and back to work.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Assorted Musings

So I'm in a Stars SNG, hand 9. I took a beating earlier on my AQd where I had 2 pair against a guy with 2 pair AK. So I'm short stacked. I get KQo at UTG+1. I call the BB (30). Assmunch in MP raises 2x BB (60) to bring it to 90. A couple others fold and I call. Flop is 5K9 rainbow. I bet out 90 into a 210 pot. Assmunch raises 270 to bring the bet to 360. With TP decent kicker, I called. J hits the turn. I check, and Assmunch puts me all in for my last 310. I figured TP with a gutshot straight draw, why not. River brings the needed T, giving me a 9 to K straight. Assmunch flips over AA and just unleashes a flood of bitchy and insulting chat. Yeah, I sucked out the hand and I was a massive underdog (13% per twodimes.net, but a 2x BB raise is way too low for AA. He had plenty of chips preflop (1570 to my 760), so I'm not sure why he didn't raise more preflop. Either way, he and one other player just sat there and flamed me to a crisp. I've never seen chat get that filled with hate. Even the Poker Chump vs. Jordan drama didn't get close to the nastiness that was flaming me. And I'm not whining just because I was the target. I've played enough and seen enough bad beats to have seen plenty of whiney, bitchy chat. This just tripped me out. Oh well.

On a happier note, I had this hand in another SNG.

*********** # 9 **************
PokerStars Game #4097174704: Tournament #20357971, Hold'em No Limit -
Level I (10/20) - 2006/02/25 - 18:38:54 (ET)
Table '20357971 1' Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: Floss (1530 in chips)
Seat 2: jruff21 (1610 in chips)
Seat 3: iamhoff (1230 in chips)
Seat 4: ryan car (1135 in chips)
Seat 5: NOLMTGMR (1370 in chips)
Seat 6: smokinjo76 (2125 in chips)
ryan car: posts small blind 10
NOLMTGMR: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to iamhoff [7s 2c]
iamhoff said, "vnh"
smokinjo76: calls 20
Floss: folds
jruff21: folds
iamhoff: raises 40 to 60
ryan car: folds
NOLMTGMR: calls 40
smokinjo76: calls 40
*** FLOP *** [2h 6h 6d]
NOLMTGMR: checks
smokinjo76: checks
iamhoff: bets 60
smokinjo76: folds
iamhoff said, "hammer"
iamhoff collected 190 from pot
iamhoff: shows [7s 2c] (two pair, Sixes and Deuces)

Every so often you gotta drop the hammer. And if you look closely at the chat in the overlapped table, I'm railing Sir Waffles in a 180 player SNG. He was up, he was down. Bloggers including Matt and Poker Poison also railed the action. The end result was a resounding victory for The Waffle Man.

One last observation. Stars seems to have gone dead for me. It's been quite some time since I cashed anything there. So this weekend I decided to hit Tilt a little harder. It seems to take longer for the SNGs to fill up, but the action's pretty good. Of the four I played, I cashed in 2 (2nd and 3rd), had one bubble finish, and one donkey move where I went all in on the first hand. SB called and BB (me) had Q2o and just checked. Flop is 2Q4 rainbow. SB throws out a pot-sized bet, and with 2 pair including TP, I call. Turn is a 9. Again a pot bet, again I call. River is a 7. All-in, and I call. Villain flips over Q4o! Horrible, having my 2s beaten by lowly 4s! Either way, as Wes has discovered, a change in scenery seems to help break you out of a rut. We'll see how Tilt does for me for an extended period of time.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Live Blogging in the Life of Hoff (selected excerpts)

So I figured I'd try my hand at this live blogging thing. I apologize for the subject matter, but it is the Randomness of Hoff, and I'd say this is pretty random.

11:18 p.m. Arrive back at casa de Hoff from dinner, movie and dessert.

11:20 p.m. Play with dog

11:29 p.m. Change out of nice clothes into ratty shorts and Huntington Surf and Sport sweatshirt (the official dog walking sweatshirt) to walk the dog.

11:32 p.m. We enter the 50 degree night air.

11:33 p.m. The first rabbit is sighted, and the chase is on. Have you ever tried to keep up with a sprinting Doberman? It ain't easy.

11:34 p.m. And the chase is paused for urination!

11:35 p.m. Back after the rabbits. Running around 3 separate buildings in the condo complex chasing Bugs Bunny.

11:40 p.m. Lost sight of Bugs near front door of Casa de Hoff. Lap 2 begins around the casa. Heading for the magic pooping zone this time.

11:42 p.m. Arrive in zone, only to find another rabbit. The chase is back on.

11:46 p.m. Lost sight of rabbit again. Doggy doesn't want to poop, just go home. Arrive back at casa. Wipe doggy feet, undo harness. Doggy snacks and water.

11:50 p.m. GF in bed with a cold we hope doesn't morph into bronchitis.

11:55 p.m. I arrive to provide backrub services

12:20 a.m. GF is fading. I depart to fire up PokerStars.

1:14 a.m. Not a good night. Fishies are out. Over the course of 45 minutes in 2 separate SNGs, I saw KK get cracked by lesser hands 5 times, twice to me and once by me (A7s rivered a flush). Out way too early in both.

1:25 a.m. Send up brog post. Sleepy. Time for bed.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What Do You Listen to When You're Supposed to Be Working?

As most of you know, while I listen to most types of music, I'm very much a headbanger. Growing up in the 80s, what do you really expect? But since heavy metal doesn't really go over well in the office, I like to listen to smooth jazz, acid jazz, mellow house, and other similar things. Recently, I got my iTunes set up on my work computer and have been busily bringing in flash drives and CDs to load up my library. Here's what I've been listening to at work lately. I had a double disc of Kruder & Dorfmeister mixes and a 4 disc set from Jaguar that was mixed by Jason Bently of KCRW radio in LA, so it's mostly house and acid jazz stuff, at the moment. Take note of track 23 (this is the recently played list, btw, my library is effin' huge!). This is a track that I found out about from EvaCanHang, after Helixx mashed up a mix for the Poker Princess. Righteous stuff. Helixx actually has a couple of mixes up on his page at MixDepot. If you're at all into remixes, mashes, funky house sets or whatever, you owe it to yourself to browse some of the stuff there. Good funky stuff. Anyway, I'm looking in horror at the disaster that my desk has become (such is the life of a road warrior), and I'm wanting to do anything but work on cleaning it up. So I'm blogging! What are all of you listening to at work? I know everybody's got their list for when playing poker, but how about sitting in a boring office, just waiting for the end of the day so that you can haul ass home and hop onto a SNG?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Random Thoughts

You know, I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask where they're going and hook up with them later. -Mitch Hedberg

Saw a little bit of truth in advertising yesterday. Came across an Escalade. Black. Chromed dubs. Big, extra chromey grill, gold pinstriping. Gold exhaust tip. Gold logos, including EXTRA Escalade badges high up on the doors and on the hood. Chromed roof rack. And the Nevada license plate...GAUDY. 'Nuff said.

Saw a nice river re-suckout on FT tonight. I say re-suckout because the lesser hand made his hand on the flop, sucking out the better hand, but the better preflop hand made his hand on the river, re-sucking out. ATc vs. AJs. Flop gives AT the broadway straight. Unfortunately, it included 2 spades. Turn is a diamond, but the river brings the final spade. Of course AT was all in and stayed at the table to railbird and bitch and moan. Thank God it wasn't me.

Finally broke the drought with a 2nd place SNG finish on FT tonight. We're 3 handed and I've got JTc. Big stack easily has me and the other schlep covered (I've got him by about 300 chips), 11000 to 1500 or so. This seemed like as good a place as any to make a stand against a bully. He had QJo. Short stack had 88. Flop comes Txx. Turn is another rag. River is the damn Q spade. The bitch. So I go out in 2nd and make my first cash in some time. And thus ends the random thoughts for the moment.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Not Sure What's Been Happening...

So. Holiday weekend. After the past few weeks with minimal time for poker, I'm thinking I've got time to get several games in. And I do. Unfortunately, I miss the money in EVERY FUCKING ONE! Like 8 or more. The bankroll is on life support, and this is my first real bout of poker depression. It's just frustrating.

I seem to be suffering from diametrically opposed problems. First, my early style of play (which at least tended to get me to the money or at least the bubble) was too tight to let me get far enough as my stack would dwindle in the increasing blinds. Now, Steal The Blinds, Boobie Lover and others have been sharing a variety of SNG strategies, recently, with the focus (foci?) being on opening up the calling range of hands later in the tourneys and betting the proper amount to either generate or eliminate action in a pot. I still have a lot of work to do in both of those areas. I'm calling hands that I normally wouldn't call, and either betting not enough to keep suckouts out of a pot or betting too much that I become Pot Committed (sorry, Change) and can't get away from a hand that hasn't come together without losing so much of my stack as to be crippled. It's very frustrating. I did have one hand in my last tourney that I was proud of, though. I was actually playing pretty solidly in an 18 player SNG, and we were about a 3rd of the way thru. I get JJ in the pocket, and am called by A6o. Flop comes 5AJ. A6, whom I've got covered not quite 2 to 1 pushes all in. He gave no action preflop, outside of calling a min-raise, so I didn't put him on AA and called his ass. His aces against my set, and the river brings the case jack. Can we say, "dems quads, beeches"? Unfortunately, that was the only really great hand I had.

I won most of the hands that I should have. Unfortunately, I wasn't winning the hands that I wasn't supposed to. I know what you're thinking...duh! The crime isn't that I wasn't getting the love (although I'm not above giving somebody a bad beat) on the flop, it was that I was stupidly calling things that I had no right to, or not getting away from hands that I should have. I wasn't as card dead as I'd been in a previous SNG, but I wasn't getting any kind of help from the deck. Ok. Advice has been open up the calling range later in the SNGs. Fine. An example. KJs. Certainly not a top ten hand, but a reasonably strong hand. Blinds are 100/200. Someone min-raises, and I call that. No big deal. Flop comes Axx in diamonds. So we have the big overcard and zero help on my flush. That's the kind of stuff I've been running into. J9h in the BB. Min raise and I call. Flop comes down zero hearts. So I tighten up my calling range again.
AQc. Very strong hand, and I bet it accordingly preflop. Of course I get a caller. Flop comes down 2 hearts and a spade, K77. Again, zero help, villain bets and I fold. Another good hand is TT. Flop comes AA9. Bets are flying and I fold.

I'm not sure what to do. I guess for the time being I just tighten up and play only the absolutely premium hands and try to rebuild the bankroll. Oh well. At least it was an extended weekend. Have a good week all.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Sound of a Suckout

OK. Hand 4. 4. Do you understand? The 4th deal of a 6 handed, 18 player SNG. Hero is in the BB, and gets dealt AcAs. Villain is in the SB. Blinds are obviously 10/20. UTG fires out a raise to 100. Fold, call, fold. SB calls the raise. I reraise another 80, and get 3 callers, including SB. Now, of the 3 hands we played to this point, villain sucked out the first two (J8o and 67o) and I won the 3rd with 2 pair A/T. So I figured asslick was probably just enjoying the big stack and feeling cocky from his two suckouts, and didn't have a real hand, much less one that could beat AA. Flop comes 2sQc9s. I don't think villain has QQ, maybe Qx, so I'm not afraid. Still, all I have is Aces and a backdoor nut flush draw, so I throw out a bet of 100. Asslick pushes, and he's got me covered by about 500, so I go all in. He flips over Q7s. Ok, it's suited, but not a hand I'd expect any rational player to be willing to call so much preflop action with. OK. I want no spades or 2 spades. Turn is Tc. River is...you guessed it...5s!!! S for suckout! Hopefully I'll last longer than 4 hands in the next one!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Who Are These People?

So tonight I wanted to play my usual 45 SnG. While waiting for it to load up, I jumped into an 18 player SnG as well. Had I realized I wasn't sitting down at a poker table but rather in a corral full of donkeys, I might not have played. I've had the bad beats before, but they were at least from something approaching a reasonable hand...Ax, suited connectors, low pairs, etc. It sucks when you're holding JJ and you get beat by a 77 when they flop a set or something, but at least they had a hand to start with. This is the hand that knocked me out of the 18 player game in 12th.

*********** # 17 **************
PokerStars Game #3989174987: Tournament #19821687, Hold'em No Limit -
Level IV (50/100) - 2006/02/16 - 03:01:38 (ET)
Table '19821687 2' Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: SHARK85 (2315 in chips)
Seat 3: Rommel29 (3325 in chips)
Seat 4: mykeofoz (2815 in chips)
Seat 5: dvldog11 (3900 in chips)
Seat 6: SlimNick (1530 in chips)
Seat 7: iamhoff (1315 in chips)
Rommel29: posts small blind 50
mykeofoz: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to iamhoff [Jc Js]
dvldog11: folds
SlimNick: folds
iamhoff: raises 200 to 300
SHARK85: folds
Rommel29: folds
mykeofoz: calls 200
*** FLOP *** [6c 8s 7h]
mykeofoz: checks
iamhoff: bets 300
mykeofoz: raises 1900 to 2200
iamhoff: calls 715 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [6c 8s 7h] [8h]
*** RIVER *** [6c 8s 7h 8h] [Qs]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
mykeofoz: shows [4d 8c] (three of a kind, Eights)
iamhoff: shows [Jc Js] (two pair, Jacks and Eights)
mykeofoz collected 2680 from pot

And I'm still not going to excuse this because he was in the BB. I still put out a 3xBB raise preflop and this ass-munch called with a 48o, and then raised my JJ all in on a pair of 8s with a gutshot draw to a straight! Seeing that 3rd 8 fall on the turn just killed me, and iamhoff goes bye bye.

In the 45 player, the donkeys were also running. Here's a hand that cost me 2/3 of my stack. I'll give this guy credit for slow playing enough to keep me going, but his preflop moves didn't make sense. Your hero is the #2 stack, and finds AKo UTG. I fire out with a 4xBB raise. It folds around to the SB, who calls. BB folds. Flop is Jxx. SB checks, so I launch a continuation bet of just under half the pot, and get called. Turn is a 10, leaving to partial straights and two partial flushes. Villain goes all-in for 460 (3xBB). In hindsight (ain't that grand) I should've folded. I just didn't put this guy on any kind of made hand. Besides, he'd been bluffing all night and about 3 hands earlier, he called a blind with a 23o, and beat my 2 pair with a set of 2s. So I figured he was full of shit, and called his all-in. Besides...wait for it...I had outs! A gutshot to Broadway was enough justification for me! Dude flips over KJo for a pair of Jacks. The board pairs on the river, and my pair loses to his 2 pair. Admittedly, KJo is a decent hand, but not one that I'd feel like calling a 4xBB raise with. So now I'm short stacked, but I've still got about 4BB to go, so I wait. Finally, I get A4c in the BB. The other short stack (asshole from earlier, told ya he tried to bluff a lot of crap) calls, and the big stack on the button pushes both of us all in. I show my A4c. Asshole shows A3d. And Villain shows 5d5h. Flop pairs the aces, but turns into a 4 outer flush for 55, and once again I'm gone.

I'm going to bed. I'll probably dream of donkeys. Maybe I'll read Daddy's post on how to fuck a donkey, and plan my revenge.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

And the lastest time wasters...

Courtesy of Sir Waffles and Klopzi, I present the following ways to waste time at work.

I am nerdier than 70% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

I am 24% loser. What about you? Click here to find out!

The Stupid Quiz said I am "Totally Smart!" How stupid are you? Click here to find out!

And time for something important, a message from Badblood and St. B. There's a new holiday, to reward men for putting up with Valentines Day. Steak and Blowjob Day. March 14. Put it on the calendar, because it is now an official holiday.

If You Ever Doubted AlCantHang

AlCantHang is famous (infamous?) for a variety of things, not the least of which is the sheer volume of SoCo he can consume. I've not personally witnessed this, but I've read many accounts of the countless empty bottles he's left in his wake. Apparently he's drank all of the SoCo on the east coast, and they're now importing a disaster relief shipment from here in San Diego to tide him over. This big rig was spotted heading northbound on I-5 at 7:30 a.m. I believe it was heading ultimately to I-10 to head east for Pennsylvania. Al, help is on the way!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Who's Up for the Darwin Awards?

So, courtesy of the gang at Autoblog (a sister blog to Card Squad, for my poker playing friends), I present the latest installment of the Darwin Awards.

As probably most if not all of you know, you can generate static electricity (there's the key word, folks) by rubbing a balloon on some sort of surface that generates friction, like your hair, your cat, or a car seat. Not only did our contestants forget this little tidbit, but for some reason (I'm sure it was a good one), the balloons were filled with a highly combustible mixture of oxygen and acetylene. As you can see by the picture, the forces of nature came together to provide us with today's installment of the Darwin Awards.

Click here for the rest of the story.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cancer Sucks

OK. No big shock there. One of my best friends, and a roommate from college in Santa Barbara, just lost his mother to pancreatic cancer. My girlfriend's aunt passed away in December 2004 from pancreatic cancer. Another former roommate of mine's father just had a lung removed last week due to lung cancer. Another buddy of mine's father has prostate cancer. Several bloggers have had their own run-ins with cancer and other serious medical issues. Some of these include Glyphic, Pauly, BG, Falstaff, and Annie and Stef Sertich. Not all are actual cancer issues, but they're all shitty situations.

Many of you know that my mother has cancer. When she was diagnosed in the spring of 2004, they thought it was colon cancer. She had a radical, experimental procedure called Hyperthermic Chemo Perfusion. Basically, they opened her up, surgically removed as much cancerous material as possible, and then poured heated liquid chemo into her abdominal cavity and swished it around to try and coat all the organs and kill off any remaining cancerous material. Without it, they gave her six months to live. With it, they gave her a 50 percent chance at another 3 to 5 years. Well, late 2005 the cancer was back, and had attached to the lungs. So she's starting chemo this week to try and limit the growth. I've got no idea how effective it will be, but it's not being presented as something that will "cure" it...just control it. The "interesting" thing that came out of this is I found out exactly what kind of cancer she had. Apparently you can get cancer of the appendix. Yes, the most useless organ in the body can also kill you. The cancer is related to colon cancer (logically enough), which is why they thought initially that was what my mother had. As it turned out, the appendix burst and the cancerous "goo" spewed out into the abdominal cavity and formed sheets of cancer (as opposed to more visible tumors) on the abdominal organs.

I don't know how the chemo is going to go. They're giving her the "napalm" cocktail of 2 IV drugs and one oral. She's going to get very sick, probably lose her hair (she didn't the first time, oddly enough), and be very miserable. I'm not looking forward to it. What did come out of all of this was the words from the doctor that, if you at all go in for any sort of surgical procedure, have your appendix removed. It's useless, it serves no purpose, and now it seems it can be another source of cancer. That's not to say that removing it would prevent you from getting cancer, but rather it takes away a target or potential source of cancer. I'm sure there's some of you in the medical field who might counsel against this (Dr. Chako, any thoughts?), but I'm just forwarding what my mother told me from her doctor. Take it for what it's worth, but if you're going in for any sort of medical procedure, you may as well see what else it would take to remove your appendix. Who knows. It may save your life.

Sorry for the downer post. I'll get back to the fun and frivolity soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Ahhh, Friday

This has been quite the week. I started off sick as a dog. I still had to work part of the day Monday, to get one of my consultants to finish up some plan revisions for one of my projects. I left straight from their office in Newport Beach and drove home to San Diego, where I passed out. Tuesday I stayed home and slept and played poker. Wednesday was staff meetings all morning and driving all afternoon to Hemet and Wildomar. After work, I managed to get into an SnG on Stars, where I was card dead for the entire game (see my previous post). There were two interesting hands that happened. The first was Quads. On the board. I've never seen a board with quads on it. Two guys with Ax were in it and wound up splitting the pot. The other was my hammer bluff in the small blind. It wasn't much, but it was the first action I'd seen in 30+ hands. Which brings me back to Thursday. Thursday was driving to Orange to yet another consultant's office, and back to my office to get caught up on the week's paperwork, and I didn't leave until after 6:30. One thing, while sitting in traffic, I pulled out my mileage log to see how much I'd driven in January. I guessed something around 3,000 miles for the month. As it turns out, it was 2,994. There's something sick about guessing that close to what it was. The end result is my Pathfinder which isn't quite 5 years old has over 148,000 miles on it! Fortunately, it still looks great and runs fine, so I'll drive it for a while, or until a whopping bonus lands in my lap. If I could, I'd get either a Porsche Cayenne or a Range Rover Sport. I doubt I could swing one of those, so a new Pathie will probably take up residence in my carport in the not too distant future. Not red, like the current one. I get pulled over far too many times to justify another red car. Oh well. Back to the week. Friday was my sneaky savior day. I started in the office, just missing a 4 car accident on the way in, and then a marathon blast to San Jacinto, Hemet, and back to Murrieta. The sneakiness was in how I scheduled things. I finished my last meeting at 3, and just took off for home. That got me home almost an hour and a half faster than a normal Friday. That allowed a leisurely dinner with the GF, and still allowed me to make it to the Tres Sombreros home game at Gato's.

One minor flaw in the the evening, but otherwise eveyrthing was a blast. Gato has a kegerator, and we'd ordered a pony keg of Red Seal Ale, a very yummy beer. Unfortunately, the delivery schmuck never brought the Seal, so we got a pony of Sam Adams as a last second fill-in. A perfectly acceptable beer, but not what we were expecting. Oh well. The game started off with a pair trumping. Gato announced to those who hadn't heard, that he and his wife are expecting their first child in May. "All In" Duggan topped that with the announcement that he and his wife were expecting their first AND second children. And so it went. Instead of playing a bunch of dealer's choice, we set up a formal tournament, with actual timed levels, chip racing, and so on. I managed to come in 3rd in the first tourney, after being the chip leader for a while. Seemed to mimic my online play, not being able to completely close the deal. I haven't figured out whether I'm playing too tight and not chasing good opportunities, or whether I'm playing too loose, and chasing opportunities I shouldn't. Probably more of the latter. Oh well. The second tourney started off fairly well, until my Hiltons ran into AJ that made a set of aces. Oh well. One interesting thing, as people went out, they became the de facto dealers. Dan-o was a trip. His deals seemed to always hit the river for whoever was behind in the hand. I lost track of how many sets were cracked by straights or flushes, on the river, and how many boats hit on the river during Dan-o's deals. Everyone was benefitting except me. I fully expected to river a set of my Hiltons to top the then pair of aces that Juice had. Unfortunately, the gods were not with me, and instead of a Q, the river came up A. Sigh.

I left to drive home in the fog, with Sirius Hair Nation setting the beat. In order, I heard:

Dokken - Back for the Attack
Van Halen - Dreams
Slaughter - Fly to the Angels
Ratt - Back For More

I get home, walk the dog, type up a rambling blog post, and proceed to pass out. A good Friday.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

RIP decent cards

I'll be the first to admit, I haven't been playing poker regularly all that long, and I've been playing online even less. Still, I've never been this card dead, ever. Since I missed the WWdN tourney (again, dammit), I figured I'd jump into my regular 45 player 11+1 turbo SnG on Stars. It was a trip. I won a total of one hand (including blinds) and that was a bluff with everybody's favorite hand, the hammer. This is a partial cut and paste of the hand history. Suffice to say, I played NONE of my blinds, and until the last two, the only hand I played to the flop, I missed the flop and folded to a pot-sized bet. Every hand was junk, and those that were marginally decent (i.e. Qx suited) wound up being folded to a preflop all-in push. Has anybody else out there had a run of 32 straight junk hands?

Hand 1 –
Dealt to iamhoff [8h 2d]

Hand 2 –
Dealt to iamhoff [9c Ts]

Hand 3 –
Dealt to iamhoff [6s 4d]

Hand 9 –
Dealt to iamhoff [9h 7s]
Small blind (15). Folded preflop

Hand 10 –
Dealt to iamhoff [4s 6d]

Hand 11 –
Dealt to iamhoff [5s Jd]

Hand 22 –
Dealt to iamhoff [Jh 6c]
Folded to a preflop all-in raise

Hand 23 –
Dealt to iamhoff [7d 4h]

Hand 24 –
Dealt to iamhoff [9s 7d]
Big blind (150). Folded to a preflop all-in raise

Hand 32 –
Small blind (100). Down to 790 in chips.
Dealt to iamhoff [2d 7h]
blakerblaker: folds
DelTron: folds
Sota: folds
l4t1n: folds
evanmax: folds
iamhoff: raises 590 to 790 and is all-in
503i: folds
iamhoff collected 400 from pot
iamhoff: shows [2d 7h] (high card Seven)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 400 | Rake 0

Hand 33 –
After posting the 25 ante, I'm down to 965 in chips.
Dealt to iamhoff [Jd As]
This seems to be my first good hand, so I push all-in. Villain shows TT. Flop comes Q5T rainbow. He’s got a set, but I’ve got a gutshot straight draw. Turn and river are rags, and I go out in 27th.

The cards came back for my next SnG, but I've never seen such a run of consistently useless cards. Looking back over the history, there were maybe two hands that if I'd pushed, I would've won. Otherwise, I was just card dead. Crazy stuff.

Friday, February 03, 2006

So, are Aces a Good Hand?

Greetings and Salivations. The nice thing I’m finding out about this online poker and blogging thing, is that so many people are where I am or a just ahead of me in the Poker and Blogger Stages. Everybody’s got their particular game, their particular focus, and their hard-won advice to offer. My personal fave game right now is the NLHE Turbo SNG, preferably the 45 player MTTs on Stars. 11+1 buy-in, top 7 pay, 1st pays around $160, and blinds go up every 5 minutes, so you can complete one in just under an hour. Great fun and a great way to work on overall tournament strategy, which brings me to the topic of today’s post. Sit ‘n Go Strategy. There’s been a number of bloggers that have offered their take on playing SNG’s, what works, what doesn’t, etc. My own personal strategy has been taken bit by bit from what other bloggers have said, along with my own somewhat questionable observations. What I’ve found that seems to work, at least for me, follows here. The majority of it should seem like common sense, but some of the details and execution are where I’m doing most of my learning.

During the first several levels, usually up to 50/100, I play tight and selectively aggressive. Part of my early problems in poker came from not playing aggressively enough. Not so much playing any 2 cards, but betting an appropriate amount. Part of that I attribute to being a newbie donk, but part of it comes from starting my online play in fixed limit ring games. In the fixed games, all you can do is click the “raise” button, so looking at the raise button on a NL game, you just think “click,” as opposed to actually thinking about how much to raise. Scaring fish out of a pot doesn’t help the pot size, but blinds are blinds and keeping somebody from calling your rockets with J8 and flopping 2 pair or a set is a good thing. The other thing I’m working on is post-flop aggression (sounds like I need a therapist). I don’t do it all the time, but more and more if I get a premium hand but the flop misses, I’ll still represent a made hand. Obviously position and other action bear on what I might do, but I’ve raised preflop with Ax suited, paired my x on a rainbow rag flop, and bet aggressively. People think I’ve made a set and get out of the way, giving me a 6-12 BB pot. If somebody calls, I go into check mode and see what happens on the turn and (if possible) the river. If somebody reraises and I don’t have a note on them stating that they’re aggressive or bluff machines, I hang my head and muck my cards.

Usually, though, those post-flop moves happen later, when the overall aggression ratchets up a few notches. Once you get to the 100/200 levels, you are about half-way thru the tourney, and have shed a little less than half the field. This is where the shorter stacks start running into danger of being blinded out, and this is where I open up my calling range a bit. I’ll call more lower paint (i.e. KT, J9s, QTs) and lower pairs. The antes also typically kick in around this level, so people tend to tighten up. They’re getting close to the two final tables, which is close enough to the money that people become chip conscious. Two things start to happen, which other bloggers have mentioned, as well. The bigger stacks tighten up and only play the really premium hands, AA, KK, AKs, QQ, in the hopes of coasting to the final table and the money. The shorter stacks, on the other hand get a lot more loose and aggressive. Anything they can do to pick up chips, they’ll do. You’ll get people going all in on a 22, Kx suited, or any ace, in the expectation that they’ll scare people out and pick up 3 or 4 BB plus the antes. I’m learning that the best course of action is to attack both when they’re in the blinds. If I get a decent hand, I’ve got position, and my stack is healthy proportional to both the leaders and the shorties, I’ll toss out a “premium” raise. The big stacks will fold, or reraise if they’ve got a hand. If they fold, I pick up 400-500 more chips. If they reraise, then I evaluate my hand vs. their history. If I get into one of these hands, the key (and this is something I still have a problem doing) is getting away from a hand that didn’t hit the flop. KK with a flop with aces or paint. Somebody reraising me likely has either AK or high pair (TT up), and I’m in danger of someone hitting a set. The shorties become a different story. They’ll fold their blinds to preserve their dwindling stacks, unless they’ve got something. A small pair, Ax, or anything suited or connecting will almost guarantee an all-in from a short stack. Again, depending on my size relative to theirs, I’ll call with my good to great hand and pick up another couple thousand chips.

Once the bubble passes, I find myself falling victim to the same thing that seems to hit most other players in that situation. I’m in the money, so I can relax. Twice in the past couple of days I’ve made it to heads up as the big stack, and come in 2nd. A nice finish, but in looking at my hand histories, I found myself playing decent, but not great hands. Q7h, JT, etc. Blinds are huge at this point (2000/4000 + 100 ante), and you don’t want to make it to heads up only to get blinded out. Also, heads up, the likelihood of getting a Top Ten Hand compared to the typical Qx is slim. As such, most paint is probably safe. My last 2nd place finish came when I went all in (hero T26000, villain T41000) with QTh against Q2c. We both picked up a Q, but he paired his 2 and won. It is difficult to be in the BB, and put 4100 chips out, only to fold. Two full blind orbits can cost you over T12000, or one third of your stack. As such, waiting for a premium hand isn’t always practical, and if you get a decent hand (Qx, Jxs, etc.) you tend to push it.

In a nutshell, it’s pretty much what others have talked about. Tight/selectively aggressive early, mid-way thru things, loosen it up a bit, so you can chip up before the bubble, and then tightening up but taking opportunities to pick at the blinds. I know this seems like common sense, but there are two things to apply here that make the difference. First, find an appropriate calling range. I’m not a numbers whiz, and I’ve not ever sat down to figure out the various hand percentages, but find the range of hands you’re comfortable with and go for it. Second, stick with your strategy. Every single time I’ve busted out of a tournament, I can go back over my hand history and find the hand that I played where I ignored my strategy. I got cute, thinking I could make something with J9 suited (outs for a straight and a flush, right?) or something like that. I called a larger bet, caught a piece of the flop, but never enough to go anywhere. End result, stack crippled. See ya on the felt.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why I Love Satellite Radio

My favorite channel on Sirius is Channel 23, Hair Nation. Here's a partial listing of songs heard on my drive this afternoon between San Diego and San Jacinto (Riverside County), Calif. It's about 75 miles each way.

Scorpions - Big City Nights (studio, not the live version which I have)
Def Leppard - Mirror Mirror
Skid Row - 18 and Life
Rush - Red Barchetta
Ratt - Loving You is a Dirty Job
Night Ranger - Don't Tell Me You Love Me
Metallica - Battery
Van Halen - Dreams
Kiss - Rise to It
Ozzy - Shot in the Dark
Twisted Sister - We're Not Gonna Take It
Motley Crue - Girls, Girls, Girls
Winger - Seventeen
Damn Yankees - Don't Tread
Queensryche - Spreading the Disease
Judas Priest - Running Wild
Poison - Unskinny Bop
Warrant - Cherry Pie
Whitesnake - Slide It In
Britney Fox - Long Way to Love
TNT - Everyone's a Star
Def Leppard - Foolin'
Winger - Easy Come, Easy Go
King's X - Black Flag
Van Halen - Cabo Wabo
David Lee Roth - Yankee Rose
Tesla - Modern Day Cowboy
Guns & Roses - Sweet Child o' Mine

Most of these I know and like, many of them I own, either on disc or on mp3, but some of them I've not heard before (or don't remember...the 80s were many years and beers ago). What a way to pass the time. I prefer Sirius, but I'm sure XM offers similar programming options. I highly recommend satellite radio if you take music seriously and spend a lot of time in the car.

I know it's not poker related, but that's why it's called "The Randomness of Hoff."

iamhoff makes his smashing debut at Full Tilt Poker!

Dems quads, beeches!! That's all you need to know. Actually, the whole thing was pretty good. Thanks to two 2nd place SNG cashes on Stars, I was able to fund the Full Tilt account. Played a 9 player SNG, and came in 5th. I know I would've placed ITM at least, except for two donkey moves. One, I answered a phone call and called what I thought was a limp, but turned out to be a raise for half my stack. Oops. That's what I get for not paying attention. I can't tell you the other, because Full Tilt never downloaded the hand history for me. I clicked the litte box and stuff, so I don't know what the deal is. Suffice to say it was something I chased that I probably shouldn't have. Oh well. Except for those, my play was solid, and that's what I'm liking. My revised SNG strategy seems to be working well. In a follow up post, I'll go over it in more detail. For now, it's almost 1 a.m., and I need sleep. Just remember, iamhoff says "dems quads, beeches!!"