Saturday, August 26, 2006

When is a bluff not a bluff, and other random thoughts

Finished up my latest round of searching the job boards and posting resumes, and went to the beach Friday afternoon. It's been warmer here lately, but not as bad as it was back in mid-July. Still, the beach seemed like the thing to do. Waves were firing, crappy form, but enough power to get some decent bodysurfing in. And the water temp, woo! Normally, summer in San Diego brings ocean temps of mid to upper mid 60s. Yes I know you people along the gulf and southern Atlantic regularly bask in 70s and 80s, but our current comes north to south, so it is warming up as it goes past So Cal. Friday was different. My abilities as a water thermometer are pretty accurate, and despite what you may think with air temps, a 1 or 2 degree difference in the water is noticeable. My thermokinetic abilities placed the temp right around 71 or so...it felt like I was in a swimming pool. A quick check with the lifeguards
confirmed that the official temp was 70. And yes, that is a pic of one of the lifeguards. I had to be somewhat subtle in getting the shot (don't want to get arrested for sexual harrassment or something), hence the distance. Still, we get the hotties out here.

Been playing on a couple of different sites, due to bankroll issues (meaning not having much of one). Royal Vegas is not a bad place to play (check it out, but if you want to sign up, contact me for the referral code). Obviously, they don't have the volume of players that PokerStars or Full Tilt do, but they have a decent number and spread a variety of games. 5 and 7 Stud/Stud 8, Omaha/O-8, and Hold 'Em, from .05/.10 to 100/200. They also run some great freerolls and have a progressive bad beat jackpot. They seem to be a skin of the Prima/Ladbroke network so they are PokerTracker compatible, and I presume the BBJ is spread over all of the network. As with most freerolls, they are definitely looser than a normal (non-rebuy) MTT, but unlike most other sites, Royal Vegas offers a fat payout that makes it worth the time and effort. Most sites have a $40/$50 guarantee, and Party typically offers $300 guarantees. Royal Vegas' main freerolls (3x/day, typically) have $1000 guaranteed, so it will pay out to the top 260 or so spots. Yeah, you still have to fight thru 11000 other morons to get there, but because of the rebuy madness effect, you shed 3/4 of the field in the first half hour. They also run satellites to EPT tournaments and the Aussie Millions, so maybe this is a smoother path to a major tournament as opposed to fighting through thousands at a time on Stars or Tilt. The interface is pretty decent, not too cluttered, and the tables are easy to use. Here are shots of the main lobby and a tournament lobby:


No avatars, for those of you who are interested. The entire sidebar of the table is the chat history, so you can look up past hands pretty easily. The downside of this is that the tables take up a lot of room on the monitor, and you unfortunately cannot resize them. Oh well. Here's what they look like (at least some of the time):
Nothing like quad rockets to make your day. Thinking about it, I've gotten a fair number of DQB moments on this site. Just a thought. Anyway, email me at iamhoff@gmail.com for a referral code (why can't they just set up a nice affiliate link?) and give it a try.

Pitbull Poker is another site I've been playing on. What makes this site unique is that it's a flash site...you don't download any software. This does present some problems in occasional jerky movements or hesitating screens, but by and large it works pretty well. The window gets a little cluttered looking, but for those of you that multi-table the tables are set to do tabbed browsing like on Firefox. See the following shots of the main lobby, tournament lobby, and table.



They spread a decent number of games (see Royal Vegas list), but they don't have a lot of players so it may take a while for SNGs to spin up. On the plus side, the NLHE freerolls only get 200-400 people depending on time and day, so even tho the guarantee is only $50 (still better than Full Tilt), you actually have a chance to money in them. Hand history only seems to be accessible thru the chat window, and I'm not aware if it's Poker Office compatible (prolly not). Still, it's not a bad time. Check it out, and please note the referral code as "iamhoff". My bankroll thanks you.

Finally, the first part of the title is the last part of the post (how's that for randomness?). Thinking about this, it seems so logical, but I'd never gotten to experience it until I was in this freeroll Thursday night. We're at 600/1200/50, and I've got about an average stack (10k maybe). I've crafted an image of solid but aggressive, but I showed a successful hammer bluff and I've bluffed into pots and folded to reraises, so the table respects my bets but knows I'm not above stealing a pot. So I wake up to rockets on the button. UTG calls, fold, fold, MP pops it to 3000 to go, it folds around to me and I pop it up to 6000 to go. BB figures I'm trying to steal the pot and shoves (has me covered). Being the short stack, I guess UTG figured this was as good an area to make a stand and calls (I've got him covered by 6k or so), and MP calls (has me covered by a big margin). Cards are flipped and UTG had a s00000ted Tourist (A7), MP had Hiltons, and BB had AKo. My rockets held up and I dragged a huge pot. I ultimately made the money, but didn't go as deep as I hoped. Oh well. The interesting thing I learned, though was getting a monster on the button is a bitchin' thing. When you can bluff at bluffing and make people think you're bluffing, then you're playing good poker. See ya out there.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Is It the Troll or Is It Mr.Tang??


Well, I'm sure many of you avid readers of Hoff's blog have been wondering who is this Troll guy and when is he ever going to make a reasonable contribution to society? (Ok, if you haven't been wondering, make me feel good and Lie to me!) Anyway, I'm the Troll, a beer swilling, half-assed poker player who loves to talk trash while either taking your chips or giving you mine.


Ok good enough...now to the story ( the one i'm sure Y'all have been eagerly waiting for).

My beloved bride, my buddy Jaybo, and myself made the Kessel Run (Las Vegas) in 12 parsects this passed week. After losing the first bet of the trip ( I bet Jaybo $1 that we would arrive at the Mirage at 9:45pm, he said 9:30pm .... And yes, I was driving...shows you how smart I am!) we proceeded to get comfortable for a couple of cold rounds of Heineken Light prior to playing any cards. Following a short quest to find wifee some $5 blackjack, which we did at one of my favorite casinos - The Barbary Coast, Jaybo and I proceeded to the Flamingo for a game of suck-outs and bad beats. ( That would be Jaybo's name for the cashgame 2-4 Limit Holdem') After playing for maybe an hour..or two or possibly three.. A little Asian gentleman sat down in the dealer's seat and proceeded to deal the fastest first round of Holdem' I have ever seen. The whole table was up in arms, and Mr.Tang as his name tag read seemed to take offense to something I had uttered cause every round after that he would rudely interupt what ever conversation I was trying to have with my opponents, by saying "....the actions on you boss..."

But, the best was yet to come, there was this young dude, we will call him donkey-boy sitting in seat 10 and he is playing an aggressive style of donkey poker that finally hits. There is an open ended straight draw on the board 8 - J, and this lucky bastard is playing a Q-X offsuit and hits the high end of the draw. Two other people are in the pot ( Yours truely not being one of them) and they both flip over their 7-X hole cards. Well donkey-boy is so excited he flips over his Queen. And proceeded to inquire about the pot, Mr. Tang, with a straight face, looks at him and says..." That card no good..." Donkey-boy becomes incensed, i'm confused...I am wondering why in the hell is his card no good??? then Donkey-boy angerily flips his second X card at which time Mr. Tang says " now...your cards are good..." and shoves the pot over. So the morals of the story are A) Never go to the Las Vegas, Flamingo and anger Mr. Tang if you intend to have drunken- social poker and B) Always flip over both of your cards when you win a pot.

Well, thats it for now...if you actually read this to the end, Thanks for weathering through, if not maybe next time.

The one in which we actually apply lessons learned...

It's just before the break in a limit stud tournament (not that there's a limit to my personal studliness, of course). Blinds are 150/300/25, and 2 hands previously, an aggressive guy who was recently moved to the table busted your hero's 2 pair with a rivered flush. Hero is dealt snowmen in the pocket and a duck for a door card. I call the bring-in, MP calls, villain completes with Jc on the door, UTG folds, I call and so does MP. Now, I'm not tilted over the beat I took earlier, but I am watching for a spot to bust villain. The deal brings me a beautiful 3rd snowman, MP a rag, and villain the 4c. So. Even if he just made a set, mine's bigger (heh heh heh). I figure he's on a flush draw, and I'm not going to make it cheap for him to make it. At this point I'm sitting on around 4000 chips, and he's got around 6000. I bet, he raises, I reraise, committing myself to go all in if it goes that far. Sure as hell, villain keeps reraising to get me all in. Cards are flipped, and he's got 4 clubs. Fortunately the poker gods are with me, and I drag a nice 8000 chip pot. 2 lessons here. First, get all your money in with the best hand. It may sound logical, but I'm sure many of us don't do that all the time (guilty). Second, if you're up against somebody with a drawing hand (anything from a flush to the proverbial 2 high cards), make it expensive for them to fill their hand. I knew I had the best hand when the money got all in, and I was ready to go to war with that. Every now and then, things work out.

And here's the picture I was trying to post yesterday.

Just had to represent my piece of history.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Snakes on a Book Review

So. A couple of nice, random topics for discussion. Seems appropriate for Teh Randomness, no? Snakes, and a book review. Let's hit the book first.

Like many of you, during the WPBT in July I signed up to receive an advanced copy of Phil Gordon's sequel to The Little Green Book, The Little Blue Book. Appropriately, the cover WAS blue, and the book's size (excluding thickness) was, well, little. Phil Gordon is a great poker player, and TLBB is a great poker book. Probably the best part of this book is just the way Phil decided to present the game of poker. He could've made theory the focus, and spent much of the time explaining the mechanics of starting hands, fold equity, pot odds, and so on. As a matter of fact, he does discuss a lot of poker theory, but he does so by using a metric-ass ton of hand histories, including winning and losing plays. More importantly, he goes into great detail to explain his thought processes on how he reads his cards, the other players, stack sizes, and pot size, and how all of those relate to the action he takes. And he's not afraid to show the warts in detail, explaining (as an example) how he can figure out how to violate his rule (one I am adopting immediately) of not going broke with a single pair. As he relates and reviews his thought processes, he explains the theoretical concepts behind his rationale. Pot odds, the rule of 2 and 4, implied tilt odds, when to limp, when to bluff, table image, etc. Just seeing a hand being played without the narrative behind it can certainly show you what might happen, but to figure out why some jackass called your raise with Q8 s0000000ted and cracked your AA with a flush (your bet was small enough to give him correct pot odds) is really something worthwhile. And since they are actual hand histories, you get to have further insight into some of the other pros that Phil has played with, including Devilfish, Scotty Nguyen, Hellmuth, and Matusow, not to mention several Tiltboy stories. Conveniently, he also has the hand histories arranged as to type of game and stage of the game. If you want to see examples of applied theory to the early stages of a tournament, or how you might want to play as you approach the bubble, just find the chapter and start drinking in the hand analyses. Simple version, if you didn't get a copy at the WPBT, go get yourself a copy. With 360+ pages of hand analyses, you're sure to find an example to help you through whatever odd or questionable situation you might come across.

"X-box or Play Station?" - Samuel L. Jackson to the rap star bodyguard who gets tapped to fly the plane, because he has "thousands of hours" in a variety of planes. All on flight simulators. Schweeeeet.

Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane! Was it cheesy? Yup. Were there (in Al's words) holes in the plot large enough to fly a jumbo jet through? Uh huh. Did some of the snakes and CGI work look fake? Sho 'nuff. Did it give us the greatest line in the history of movie going (SLJ - I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane)? Abso-freaking-lutely. And all things being equal, the basic story line was decent. As Mr. Jackson was quoted (either Comic-Con or one of his many print interviews), this is just a mindless, kick-ass action flick. It's not going to be deep, and make you look at social inequality. It's going to be shallow and let you see the exposed boobie of a mile-high club particpant get bit by a big 'ol snake. You get the dark green illumination always shown for Night Vision Goggles, reinvented as snake-o-vision. You get a plane crash joke where the pilot talks about the plane "...going down like a Thai hooker." I had no idea Pauly had any input into the movie! Personally, I don't think you need to get good and trashed before seeing the movie, but it certainly wouldn't hurt. If you can't take a joke and don't enjoy movies like Shaft, Tango & Cash, Detroit Rock City, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, you are better off not seeing Snakes. You likely will not enjoy yourself. As a side note, I've tried to upload pictures into this here post, but Blogger is having its own issues, and isn't letting me attach pics at this time. Oh well. Simple version, go ahead and see it. If you're not happy, so what. Get a refund and move on with life. I'm sure there's an artsy movie theatre nearby where you can watch some spelling bee movie and feel much more fulfilled.

I'm tired now. I'm going to bed. See ya out there.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

So...

Kudos to Pauly, Change, Otis, Wil, and everybody who fought the man to bring all of us WSOP coverage. Pauly, hope ya find some well-deserved relaxation. Hell, I hope all of you get a good chance to unwind, but Pauly was starting to sound particularly frazzled. Thanx one and all for the time, effort and sacrifice you all put into this. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing the TV coverage of the disgruntled dealers. Maybe next year we can talk ESPN into doing remotes from the Tilted Kilt or the Hooker Bar.

Not much happening for me on the poker front. I hit a couple of freerolls here and there, but a freeroll is just rebuy madness without the rebuys. I've made it deep into several of them, and cashed a couple of times. It is hard though, because so many of these people will come over the top of my KK 6x preflop raise with 6-8s because they're s00000ted and sure as hell my 3rd K will spike their flush. So it goes.

Saw the movie "World Trade Center" last night. Damn. I highly recommend it. It was extremely well-done, and intense as all hell. And to Oliver Stone's credit, he really did keep the politics out of it. All he did was tell the story of the two NY Port Authority cops who were pulled out of the rubble. It was one of the most intense, impressive movies I've seen thus far (SOAP breaks this coming weekend - WOO HOO!!), and I strongly recommend it. And back to what will be the Cinema Experience of The Year, Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane! Those of you who are watching ESPN's WSOP coverage doubtless saw the SOAP trailer during the 8/8 episodes. That was the first time I'd seen any ad for SOAP that wasn't online. Thanks to Dear and Patient GF, I see two movies every week (with occasional exceptions), and I still haven't seen anything more than posters at the theatres. Oh well, who the hell cares. Friday night, DAPGF has graciously agreed to subject herself to Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane. I cannot fucking wait!!!

And finally the job hunt. Slow, slow, slow. The Riverside gig I mentioned previously went to somebody already up there. No big deal, because I really wasn't wanting to contemplate the "commute or move" option. The consulting gigs I mentioned are still up in the air. I supposedly was going to hear something this past week, but you know how that goes. There's a couple of other things going on that show some promise, and I might hear something in the next week or so. Keep thinking good thoughts.

There's the update. Hopefully I'll have some actual news to report. If not, I'll see you at the theater on Friday...Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't Ban Internet Gambling

Check out this op-ed piece written by Greg Raymer and Chris Savage. Props to StudioGlyphic for posting it first (at least the first one I found). Since the legislation has already passed the House, similar legislation has to be passed in the Senate. Assuming the Senate passes legislation, then they've got to tweak both versions so that they match. Contact your Senators and convince them that online gambling legislation should not be passed, or if it is, there should be an exemption for games of skill, such as Poker. We need to work hard on this. Thank you for your time.

Now back to the frivolity. Or is this a sign of the apocalypse? You decide... Natural Cheetos?!? No Preservatives? No Artificial Flavors? No Artificial Colors? Aren't Cheetos about nothing but Artificial Flavors and Colors? Be afraid, be very afraid...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Yes I Am Lame

Wish I had something really insightful, interesting, or impressive to say. Sadly, not the case. The job hunt continues, as I enter my third month of searching. I've had a few interviews recently, and I'm waiting to hear on 2nd interviews on all three. The most promising one is a sort of deputy director position in the planning department of a urban planning and environmental consulting firm here in San Diego. The money should be good (not what I was earning but workable) and the location is less than 10 miles from Casa de Hoff. Even better, they've got a fleet of vehicles (including several 4x4s to go out to remote locations) so I wouldn't have to put miles on the Jeep.

I am being contacted regularly by recruiters who are pushing positions in Joe Speaker's neck of the woods (Riverside County - Inland Empire), that offer even more stupid big money than I was making previously, but that becomes a logistical nightmare. Were I to accept one of those positions, here's the possible scenarios: 1. I have a daily one-way commute over several different Southern California freeways of approximately 90 miles one-way (see example). So I could get up at 4 a.m. to make the commute to Riverside, spend the day there, and make another 2 to 2 and a half hour commute home. F. U. N. Not! or 2. Do #1 while trying to find Dear And Patient GF a job in the I.E. and sell a condo in the extreeeeeemely soft San Diego real estate market. This of course presumes that I could convince DAPGF that living in Riverside is just as good as living in La Jolla (it's not). Or 3. Use a portion of my salary to rent a place in Riverside, furnish it etc., and live there during the week. All while still paying half of the mortgage on Casa de Hoff. Technically, with the salaries being discussed, it's possible. But let's look at this. GF works two jobs, so there would be several days that she would not be able to take care of the dog until extremely late. And that would be extremely depressing to the dog. And then there's our relationship itself. For the first year we dated, I was living in the OC, actually very close to Smokkee's neck of the woods, and I commuted down to San Diego on the weekends. It sucked, but I did it because that was how things were. Neither of us want to go back to that, so that's extremely unlikely. So anybody out there wanting to help a brother out, send good juju for one of my San Diego opportunities.

Poker has been close to non-existent. The bankroll has been severely depleted, relegating me to using FPPs and playing freerolls. That being said, I have played a few recently. Full Tilt has been running their .com and .net freeroll satellites to their Red Rock challenge. These are 90 player freeroll SNGs, and they play just like the $3 rebuy madness tourneys on Stars. Here's the first hand of the last one I played in.
Unfortunately, I busted out just short of the bubble. If I remember correctly, my M was pretty low (4 I think) and I woke up to TT UTG. I shove and get called by Ace-Rag. Yup, he pairs his ace on the flop and IGH. Still, it was pretty fun. You have to be pretty quick to get into these tourneys, as they fill up in nothing flat. You have to wait for the server you're logged into to get one sent there, and then you've got to be ready. I first open up a random tourney lobby window, and postion the "register now" button over the "tourney lobby" button in the main lobby. Close that window, and highlight the first FTP SNG listed. Place the cursor over the "tourney lobby" button and place a finger over the up cursor button. As soon as it pops up in the list, up cursor, tourney lobby, register now, click the buy-in button and click "register now". Whole process, 2 seconds. 90 players filled up, 4 seconds. No bullshit. Last one I played in

Stars has the Moneymaker Millions challenge going. I've played in a few Round 1s so far, and have done no better than 2200 out of 8500. Not a bad showing necessarily, but nowhere near the payouts. The first one I played, I saw a miracle. AK held up! I was short stack and shoved preflop, and got called by a pair of ducks. Never have I seen a more beautiful flop.
The turn brought me a beautiful bullet, eliminating any chance of ass-tard sucking out on me with a 3rd 2, making him a boat over my set of cowboys. A different round 1 saw me in LP with an unopened pot with AJo. With the blinds at 400/800/50 and my stack around $3000, I shove and get called by Mr. Big Stack Bully and his crabs.
Once again the flop hits me square in the face, and the turn again gives me a beautiful boat. Finally, yet a 3rd Moneymaker Round 1. This was that most horrible of scenarios. TT in the cutoff. I pop a 3x raise and everyone folds but one. I flop top set. Unfortunately I'm in the wrong position to generate action, and the flop checks around. Turn is a rag. Again, it checks around. River brings the case ten, for a little DQB. It checks to me. I bet out 40 into a pot of 250, hoping to get even a crying call. Nope.
Don't you hate it when you have an absolute monster and nobody is willing to play? Arrgh.

Finally, I love when people get to complaining about online poker being rigged. I take every chance I get to jump into the girlie chat box and stoke the fires. This was a tourney on Tilt, and poor rich7557 just got sucked out on at the river. He of course jumps into the chat box and starts (digitally) frothing at the mouth. I of course had to offer up this tidbit.
I figured I was either going to send him to Hoyazo, Iakaris, or Waffles if he asked me what blog I read it in, but he didn't bite. Oh well.

For those few of you still stopping by here, thanks for your continued, if somewhat confusing interest in all things Hoff. May your aces hold up, may your money get all-in on the best hand, and may you never have to worry about Snakes on a Motherfucking Plane!