Thursday, December 02, 2004

Vacation Time

I've been a bad little blogger and I haven't updated when I should. I've been getting ready for my Cardplayer Cruise which embarks on Saturday the fourth. It's seven days on high seas and my excitement is getting out of control.

On the actual poker playing front I've finally made the move to 2/4. It isn't playing any differently than 1/2 and I'm able to 3-table it just as I did 1/2. I've come across a program to replace PlayerView. It's called GameTimePlus and it integrates with Poker Tracker and all of it's supported sites to offer stats overlayed to the screen just as PlayerView did. The huge advantage being that GameTimePlus can be used with all sites where PlayerView was only available for Party skins.

I will make sure to take notes on my poker playing times during the cruise. A full trip report will follow upon my return in a little over a week.

Wish me luck.

Oh, I just realized this was post #100. Century milestone reached. More to come

Monday, November 22, 2004

Corporate America Sucks Ass!

In a brilliant move the company I work for has decided to change all System Managers to an "exempt" status meaning we are no longer eligible for overtime pay. We were already considered partially "exempt" as we were paid straight time for any hours worked over 48 as opposed to the normal time and a half over 40. They have made this retroactive through the last pay period so I am getting fucked out of 43 hours of pay since I worked so many hours two weeks ago. I'm too pissed to write or even think about poker right now.

The family and I are heading to Branson, MO for the Thanksgiving holidays. As this is the case there will be no updates until my return on the 28th.

See how easy it was for me to give you, the reader, an update as to the fact the I will not be updating this site for a week. Yet the company I work for was to chicken shit to afford me the same courtesy about my pay until after I saw my paycheck.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

2 Down 2 To Go

The Poker Stars and one of my two Party bonuses are now cleared. That leaves one Party Poker and one Paradise to go.

I downloaded and tried out the PlayerView program last night. I opened up two Party tables and began configuring the PlayerView interface to suit my needs. I have to admit I wasn't paying very much attention to the tables and dropped 25BB's between the two of them within an hour. After settling down with the program in place I found that playing two tables was much easier than it used to be when I would be running the Poker Tracker game time windows. In the past between hands I would spend time updating the windows or looking over stats but with the relevant data superimposed directly onto the tables I had enough free time to open up a third table.

This, as it turned out, was a very profitable event. The third table was bringing me the cards and they were holding up. While I continued to tread water or dip down at the other tables I played during the night this one kept handing me the goods. I was able to amass 47.5BB's in 2 hours at this table and that saved me from what would have been a 35BB loss. Three tables seemed as manageable as two while using PlayerView so I'll continue playing them for the time being.

With the bonuses cleared having the 300BB's for a move up in levels will be here even earlier than I anticipated.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Back To Business

The massive work marathon is complete, well has been for a few days, and things are finally getting back to normal. Several items are floating around in my cavernous noggin so I'll just spew forth a few quick thoughts for today.

I believe its time for Absolute Poker and I to part ways for a while. They have done yet another software update and the memory leak problem I've detailed in the past has reared its ugly head again. Muti-tabling has become impossible as my laptop bogs down in the quagmire of FPU overload. They have also in their infinite wisdom decided to start charging a $1 juice for the $5 multi-table tournaments. I enjoyed playing these but I can find others at Poker Stars and UltimateBet that are only charging .50. I know half a dollar isn't much in the grand scheme of things but it's the principal of the matter. I didn't like it when they did it to the single table tourneys and I like it even less when it's the multi-table variety. The poker league ends on December 3rd so I'll play till then and withdraw my funds.

Being the good little bonus whore I've taken advantage of the Poker Stars, and Party Poker reload bonuses. I will also be accepting the new player sign on bonus at Paradise Poker tonight in preparation for the Grublog Classic II on Sunday night. This means my play will be moving from site to site for a few weeks until everything is cleared. With the OIC Challenge at The Gaming Club I put my $50 down and played for one night. I made a few bucks but with all the bonus opportunities I have to clear it's just -EV to continue with it.

Poker Stars has been my site of choice for the last few nights and its been a very, very pleasant experience. The $10 SNG's are very good and with the ability to import the data into Poker Tracker this has become my new SNG site replacing Absolute. The ring games have also been good. I'm playing the 1/2 level and I'm witnessing the same number of people seeing the flop as at Party, but they are much more likely to abandon their hand at or before the river. This makes for more thought out play in my opinion and table image can work to your advantage in much greater ways. In the two days I've been playing I've posted a 41.5 and 21.25BB profit respectively. I almost hate to leave and clear the Party Poker bonus but I can't let that free money go to waste.

Speaking of profits my bankroll will be healthy enough in the next few weeks for a move to 2/4. I'm really looking forward to this. I've really seen the bankroll grow recently and separating my rolls out to separate entities has really helped me focus on a bigger picture of overall play improvement.

On a final note I had a fellow blogger join in on one of my tables last night. The Poker Boss sat down and it was nice to feel like I had a comrade at arms joining me in the battle. We didn't end up in too many hands together and before I left he was doing well at holding his own. If you get a chance go check him out. I'm sure he has more readers than I do as the traffic here is rather anemic but I'll give him the mention anyway.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Day 6 Hour 80

The work marathon continues....
all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy all work and no play makes grind a dull boy .....

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Little Pokah'

Played a little last night after getting home from work. I finished 1st and 2nd in the two sit-n-go's I played and then I saw a WSOP freeroll satellite was starting up so I hoped on. The first 5 finishers in this tournament get an entry into the end of the month tournament. This tournament then pays out WSOP prize packages.

1200 people were signed up and I had an opportunity to triple up very early which then led to folding hand after hand for 40 minutes. I went into the first break with 4600 chips, up from the original 1500. There were only 371 players left so the action was coming fast and furious.

During the second round with blinds at 200/400 I had built up a nice chip stack of 22,500. I found the Hilton sisters in late position and when several people called before me I bet the pot of 2100. An early limper was my only caller and the flop came 66J. EP led out with 3,000 and I instantly put him on a J. I raised enough to just about put him all in and he pushed all in. I called and he showed me his 6cJc, my Q never came. I can't fathom why he even limped in with that hand, let alone called a big raise, but the flop was as perfect as he could get and I was down to 8,600.

When the second break came I had blinded down to 7,395 and 116 players were left.

I played what I believe to be my best tournament ever. Everything seemed to click and I managed to play a nice tight/aggressive strategy. Having said that I did not make the top five. I busted out in 82nd position. After building back up to 17,000 chips I ran into a player who slowplayed his pocket A's. The player in question would bet with the smallest pair on the flop so when I had top pair I pushed him and we became pot committed. I had him covered by about 3,000 but after losing that hand the blinds were to big for me to sustain anything. I pushed in the next hand and just missed my flush.

I left the tourney feeling very good and happy with my play. Take away the two mistakes and I played better than any other time, even the win and money finishes.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I've never posted twice in one day but I finally got around to checking out Daniel Negreanu's newly redesigned Full Contact Poker and he's added a poker blog to the other items at his site. Not a lot of actual poker content yet but he does talk about two days of play. In one sitting he dropped $140,000. It's nice to know even top pros lose sometimes. But Daniel the next time you feel like dropping that kind of cash just send me a check. I could just about pay off my house with that.

128 hours in 10 days

That is my work schedule for the next ten days starting today. That includes having Tuesday off so other than maybe Sunday and Monday night I won't be playing much poker for the next week. I was happy to see that Iggy has posted a large list of new blogs, at least I'll be able to read about poker at work to kill some of the time. I'm also going to work on a post about tracking ones bankroll and I should have time to finish up that Hellmuth DVD series I started on way back when.

Last night was the first Poker League tournament. I managed a 12th place finish. Only 41 people signed up so it's not that impressive. The play was excruciatingly tight and no one wanted to give up anything. I don't think the first person was even eliminated until we were 45 minutes in. I got caught with my hand in the cookie jar a few times while blind stealing and I wasn't able to build up anything. Good experience though and I'll know what to expect next week. I'm going to try to play from work so we'll see how that goes.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Well There You Are

I didn't fall off the face of the earth, just took a few days off. I've kept playing poker and the limit game is coming along nicely. With the bankroll building and my recent devotion to Multi and Single table tournaments growing I've decided to split my bankroll up.

I believe that my tournament play has gotten to a point where it should be self sustainable. With that in mind, I decided to break my bankroll into three separate entities. I have the main ring game bankroll, a sit-n-go bankroll, and a multi table tournament bankroll. I have no fear of my ring game bankroll running dry but if either of my tournament rolls do, then I will stop playing those games until I have had a chance to fully analyze why it happened and have padded the ring bankroll enough to bleed some funds off.

Just as I instituted this change in bankrolls I decided to move my sit-n-go play from Absolute to Ultimatebet. That decision was a mistake. In the first 10 I played I only managed a third place finish three times. This really cut into my sit-n-go roll and with that I'm going back to Absolute where I know I can beat the games. I'm not saying that the Ultimate games aren't beatable. In all reality if I wanted to spend a few weeks getting the experience in I'm quite sure I could have success, I just don't feel the need to put the effort in yet since I already have games I can beat. Not exactly "growing the skill set" but when I can pad the roll a bit I'll try branching out again.

On the Multi table front I'm breaking close to even but down a little. I've made the money in a few but only enough to barely cover the buyins for those particular events. I'm stuck at a point where I can't seem to break through the first payout level. Last night was a huge disaster as I didn't even make it past the first break in either of the tournaments I played in. I really need a big score before the end of the month so I can actually do things during the cruise excursions. Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself and that's leading to performance anxiety. It all comes back to attitude and "Mr. Anonymous" is right again. Mr. Anonymous isn't really anonymous anymore as the author of the comment has revealed himself. It's just more fun to keep referring to him that way.

The ring games are coming along nicely. I think some players are starting to avoid me though. I've been running pretty wild lately and one player who I like to play against because he's a rock, and thus, predictable, has gotten the habit of leaving when I sit down. It might be coincidence but my over inflated ego wants to believe that I scare him, or at the least I'm taking away his action. I had the opportunity to play during the daytime hours on Wednesday for the first time. I'm still playing at UltimateBet to clear the bonus which should be accomplished this week. I have to say daytime play there sucks. The players were so incredibly tight that I couldn't get any action except on the kill games. On these games every time their was a kill the action was so overly aggressive it wasn't worth the money to be in without a monster. This type of play really negates my normal style so I had to leave with a loss and my tail between my legs. Fortunately after busting out of the tournaments last night the games were back to normal and I was able to recoup.

I was happy to hear that a live blogger tournament has been planned. I was unhappy to read the date it was being played on. That is the same day we are due to arrive back in San Diego so I won't be able to attend. I probably wouldn't be able to attend anyway but at least now I have a good excuse.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Overvaluing the Flush

I screwed up the registration process for the Poker Forum Challenge. I registered on the website but didn't register on the Royal Vegas software so I couldn't play in the tourney. I thought that if you registered on the website you would be registered for the tournament but apparently the website just allowed the privilege of registering for the tournament at Royal Vegas.

I was in a tournament frame of mind and I found a $5+.50 rebuy with a guaranteed $15,000 pool at UltimateBet. I used some saved up player points to join the tourney and purchase the initial rebuy so I could start with 2,000 instead of 1,000 chips. Things seemed to go well but I found myself second best a few times and automatically rebought if I fell below 1,000. Before the first break I had rebought twice and with the addon I was invested $15. The prize pool had grown to over $25,000 and first place was getting over $7,000.

With 1912 players initially joining the tournament 1042 were still in it at the break. That means 870 players were nothing more than dead money as they opted not to rebuy. Extending that thought, with the buy in at $5 the players contributed $4,350 in essence giving the tournament an overlay. That's assuming none of the 870 did any rebuys. I might have to play this one again in the future.

Anyway, back to actual play. On the first hand after the break I was dealt K9d in late position. I was able to limp into a multiway pot and the flop came JJ6 with two diamonds. It checked to the player on my immediate right and he put a pot sized bet out. I called with the flush draw expecting others to call but everyone folded around. The turn brought a K and my opponent checked. I figured my K may or may not be good since JJ was on the board and my opponent represented the J. With it checked to me I took the free card. The river brought another diamond and with my made flush thoughts of doubling up bounced in my head. My opponent placed a pot sized bet and knowing I could now beat his three Jacks I pushed all in. By going all in I was only making a slightly larger than pot sized bet so my opponent called. He showed me a KJ for the full house and I was out on the first hand after the break in 1042nd place. We could now increase the dead money count by an additional $15.

This was the second time my flush had gone down to a full house in this tournament and each time it was slowed played by my opponent. During the ring games I played after busting out I again lost with a flush against a full house. It was certainly not my night to have flushes. This makes me look harder at overvaluing the flush without taking the board into consideration. None of my opponents represented the full house when they hit it and that's what they are supposed to do. I believe I was too over anxious and never took the time to review everything before placing my bets. I think it's OK to ride the flush through the river in a ring game as your losses will be limited but I'm going to have to be much more careful in the future in the tournaments. I always here you shouldn't risk an all in unless your 99% sure you have the nuts in and in both cases the board showed that I could be dominated. In the hand I was busted out on if I would have just called the bet I would have been shortstacked but at least I'd have still been in the fight.

Learn from my mistake. Don't overvalue your hand.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Part-y-ing is Such Sweet Sorrow

I finished clearing my free $50 bonus last night. In the three sessions I spent working it I just about tripled up. I am truly amazed at some of the play at Party on occasion but then Iggy's been saying it for, well, forever. With the Party bonus behind me I need to turn my attention back to UltimateBet and the clearing of that one. After that I'm thinking the Full Tilt 100% bonus is sounding good. I've heard good and bad about the clearing process but hey, 100% is 100%. If enough players are on it I'll give it a shot.

Tonight I visit Royal Vegas for the $5,000 freeroll by way of the Poker Forum Challenge. I'll be playing for and if I can win It'll turn my entire Poker Cruise in December into a free trip.

Wish Me Luck

PS - using bisons criteria per his post on 2+2 I rated all the players in my Poker Tracker database. I rated out as a "Slight Loose Preflop", "Aggressive Preflop", and "Aggressive Postflop" or sLA-A. If I change the "Slightly Loose Preflop" to a "Tight Preflop" I'll be rated the way he says I should. It's all subjective and my style works for me but I have noticed a natural tightening up of my game lately. Who knows, I might end up "Tight Preflop" by progression instead of effort.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Know What, You're Right

In my last post I talked about the frustration of playing a tournament in which I really felt like I was butting my head against a wall. I received one comment to the post and it went like this:

You got 3 hours worth of poker experience with cold cards, and managed to cash.
You beat 550 other players, all who lost money.
You managed a short stack well enough to surprise some other players.
And you sound like somebody SHOT YOUR DOG.
You don't have the temperament for poker. I suggest online quake.

That comment is absolutely correct when taken in the context of that tournament. I certainly did not have the temperament for poker that night. My frustration/aggression would have been better served blowing monsters to bits in Quake. At least I was able to convey my feelings to words as Mr. Anonymous was able to come to roughly the same conclusion I was about the night.

Fortunately I've gotten over myself. Tuesdays day off had a nice rejuvenating effect on me and I came back last night feeling ready to go. To my delight the Party patrons were ready as well. Ready to part with their money that is. A nice 25BB win for 7BB/100 and I was able to go to sleep feeling good about my play and my attitude.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

It's for the experience, right?

Going in search of a cheap multi table tourney last night proved to be more difficult than I thought. After checking several sites UltimateBet was offering a $5 +.50 and a $10 +$1 w/ rebuys and $20,000 guaranteed prize pool. The smart money would have been to play the $10 but considering the rebuys and add-on I was looking at a minimum investment of $31. ($10 + $1 entry, immediate add-on $10 and the final add-on $10) That was if I didn't drop significant chips before the final add-on.

The $5 tourney started an hour earlier than the $10 and since I was looking to go cheap I bought in figuring if I busted within the first hour I could go with the rebuy event. After it was all over I almost wish I had busted early. This had to be the single most depressing tourney I've ever played in. Depressing might be the wrong word, I wasn't actually "depressed", perhaps "ho, hum" would be better. At any rate there was nothing to lift my spirits going on here. I was very card dead for the entire tournament and had to survive at least 5 or 6 all-ins in the later stages just to make the money. I was to the point where any Ace was an all-in hand and I had to count on the big stacks calling me with garbage to survive. Since I was no threat they happily obliged and one player commented about how funny it was that the "little" guy was still hanging on. If we had been at a real table I'm quite sure I would have reached out and bitch slapped him. Frustrating... that's the word I was searching for, not depressing, frustrating. Complete and utter frustration. I managed to finish 51st out of 631 for a small $2.16 profit. Almost 3 hours of my life that I'll never get back for a mere pittance.

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Being upset about making the money, well the little end of the money. Am I to hard on myself, Do I have a delusional outlook on my own abilities? I'll have to ponder this and since tonights family night I'll be able to get away from the game for a night and think about it.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Two in a Row

Finally broke out two back to back wins. It's been weeks since I've strung some together it came at a nice time.

Party Poker graced me with an email on Saturday proclaiming that I had $50 waiting in my account and all I had to do to keep it was play 500 raked hands by October 28th at Midnight. That will be a tight bonus to clear since I don't play ring games on Sunday-Tuesday, but I blew out 200 on Saturday night so I should 'get er done.

I played for three hours to clear the 200 "raked" hands and managed a 7.43BB/100 earn. I haven't played Party in weeks since it was kicking my ass but this was a good welcome back gift.

Last night was Sit-N-Go night at Absolute and I played in three of them. I've stopped muti-tableing these since the end game requires too much concentration on my part. In the three I posted a 2nd, 3rd, and 8th. The 8th was a hard one to swallow as a suited hammer took out my AQs. He made a straight on the river with the 2. I knew I was going to lose the hand when the straight hit the river but I was already pot committed. I expected to see him show an A2 since he was calling down my big bets but instead he had absolutely nothing till the river. A profitable night none the less but I knew I was too ticked to keep playing.

At least I'm learning to leave when I know I'm not going to play optimally. That makes me feel like progress is being made in my game and that's always a good thing.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

The Precipice of Greatness

OK, actually I just wanted to use the word Precipice in the title.

A sure sign that you've arrived on the blogging scene is having Dr. Pauly mention you as one of the "Notable players KO'd" from the blogger tourney. Did I mention he used the word notable. Being designated as notable is surely a sign of greatness, or a notable sign that armeggedon will soon be upon us. But hey, I'm in a "glass is half full" kinda mood so we'll go with greatness.

Speaking of glass being half full. I had a good night of bonus clearing at UltimateBet. I covered my gambling losses from a few nights ago and that was a big confidence boost. For those of you following along I'm sure it's become more than obvious that I'm in a win one day, lose the next day, playing cycle. I really need to put together a couple of wins in a row to get myself going. My current wins are slightly bigger than my losses so progress is still being made, albeit very slowly.

I worked on switching up my play a little and raised with hands I normally don't while limping with hands I'd normally raise. I tried to be as inconsistent as I felt I could and still be profitable. This was working wonders at one table in particular and I had a lot more calls at the river than I normally would. I was giving the impression of overvaluing some weaker cards and caught several players chasing second best because of it. I'm not convinced it's a complete formula to success as the suckouts are a bit bigger but certainly more research will be in order this evening.

My work towards limiting my losses through better play started to pay off last night as well. I did have one losing table, because it broke up, only dropping 4 BB's. All other tables were profitable.

Well I better get back to work, this is your notable poker blogger signing off.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Blogger Tourney, Such As It Was

I saw 14 flops, suffered 1 bad beat, and I didn't go out on the bad beat. Player foles1_98 seemed to have my number all night and took most of my chips as well as booting me from the tourney. I should have taken it as a bad sign as phonetically "foles" is the same as my ex-wifes current last name. I couldn't get anything going as even when I had good starting cards the board would give me no help. I went out on the hand before the first break in 93rd position.

I then fired up some ring games at UltimateBet and still could get no help. I was blessed with pocket K's 5 times yet lost money with them. I loosened up a bit more than I should have but overall the cards just wouldn't hold up for me.

I suffered my biggest loss, when holding KK. A straight minus the K was on the board and since we were capping the turn and river I expected a split. The river card paired the Jacks on board though and his J10 gave him the full house. I went from a 90% favorite at the turn to losing 8.5 big bets. That hand pretty much summed up my whole night. It can only get better, right?

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What were you thinking?

That's what I said to myself yesterday as I reviewed Sunday nights play in Poker Tracker. Sunday night is normally a sit-n-go night for me but with UltimateBet offering the big bonus, and since I had such a good Saturday night, I decided to stick with the limit tables to knock out some more of the bonus. To make a short story shorter I gave back the big win Saturday night and then a little more.

Even while I was still sitting there playing Sunday night I knew I was not playing correctly. I would say to myself, "I should fold here", but I clicked the call button again and again like an unthinking automaton. I played four tables and was only profitable on one. That table brought me a whopping 5 cents. The others, well lets just say I lost more than 5 cents on each. :)

It became very evident, very early in my review of the data that I wasn't playing poker. I was at the poker tables, but I was gambling. Not since first starting to play have I gambled it up that much. I actually found more than one hand were I was calling off bets with zero outs. Now that I'm two days removed from the debacle I find it kinda funny and I look at it as a blowing off steam session. Maybe subconsciously I needed to throw money around. When I get back to the grind on Friday I'll be focused once again.

I normally get back to the grind on Thursdays but with the Poker Blogger Tourney on Thursday night I will be doing that instead. There is still time to sign up. The tournament will be at Poker Stars and you can get all the details at Iggy's place.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Dissin' the Duke

I'm hard at work clearing my 50% deposit bonus at UltimateBet and winning while I'm at it. Today though I don't want to write about my play, instead I want to briefly discuss Annie Duke.

I believed, as I think many online players did, that Annie Duke was a big cry baby. Her comments as quoted by ESPN after she busted out of the WSOP championship were that of someone trying to make excuses for her lack of ability and over inflated ego. It also appeared, to me at least, that she thought she was better than all other female players and that playing in an all female tournament would be too demeaning for her. The "chip on her shoulder" indeed seemed large and only growing larger.

Then came the Tournament Of Champions event. Did Annie Duke deserve to be in the tournament? no. She herself said she probably didn't have a shot of winning it. ESPN was putting her in the event as the token female player and there were no expectations. Of course she went on to win it and during this event I noticed something that began to change my attitude toward her. She was extremely lucky in a few of the hands we saw on television and it was these hands which helped propel her toward her eventual win. Without this luck she was definitely not the best player at the table. She honestly admitted to this in the post tourney interview so that helped here cause. Also when she was heads up, she became the best player at the table. No doubt, Phil's an excellent player. She played tremendously against him and knew exactly what buttons to push to win the psychological war between them. His massive tilt session afterwards will, I'm sure, go down in history as one of the best.

This event in itself didn't change my thinking to much but when combined with her interviews afterwards, I started to see her in a different light. I was able to read several interviews where the lack of her appearances in all female events were explained. She referred directly to the WSOP Ladies event and listed her reason for not playing in it to be because the event didn't pay as much as the other event running at the time. I can't fault anyone for looking at the big financial picture. She also said she supported the womens events but that she is looking to make her presence known in the major events and that's were she needs to focus. Again, I can't fault her logic.

This leads me to the WPT Poker Corner broadcast this last week. I had recorded it and just watched it last night. While it was a fluff piece designed to give the WPT more air time I have to say that Annie impressed me. I'm not a professional player, for do I profess to be, but her "analysis" of play, as opposed to Daniel or Phil's, seemed to be more to the way I would have looked at the events. She was passionate about her "reads" and more than willing to defend her point of view. Daniel came off as a color commentator you'd see on ESPN and Phil was trying to distance himself from everything Annie said while trying to align himself with Negreanu's thinking. Annie was clearly not getting any respect from either of these players and Mike Sexton appeared to pick this up and offered Annie words of encouragement in form of agreement on several occasions.

After taking all to this into consideration I have to say I see where the "chip on her shoulder" comes from. It's clear that women, or at least Annie Duke, are not getting the full respect of the current players and I hope that changes soon. I for one am willing to say I was wrong, and Annie, you've got my respect.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Welcome to Poker Stars

I signed up for Poker Stars last night using the link from Iggy's site. I hope he's getting something out of it because they sure didn't offer me anything. What's with the no first time depositer bonus. That's a bogus no bonus.

Since we all know that all poker sites are rigged, in leau of the sign on bonus the computers made sure I took plenty of money from the tables. I've always heard how tough the play is at that site but I extracted 20BB/100 last night. This will more than cover my buy in for the blogger tourney so I'm happy about it. My greed wants me to go back tonight for more but Ultimate Bet is offering a 50% reload bonus for today only so I'm heading back over there. I'm not one to turn down free money.

The tables seemed pretty ripe for the picking last night but what's with the interface. All of the muted brown and yellow colors are just to, well, muted. There needs to be some more contrast in the color scheme. It's easy to overlook someone still in the pot if you don't take the time to look it over carefully. A few times I would miss an early player limping in when I had hands going on multiple tables. This cost me a few times. Maybe I'm spoiled by some of the other sites but I'm not sure I'll play at Stars very often.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Futures So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

After a restful night away from the tables I was ready to go. I watched the documentary on the team that built SpaceShip One as they went for the X-prize. This is showing on the Discovery Science Channel and I recommend it. Good TV.

As has become my normal Wednesday night routine I signed up for the Absolute Rewards Points $500 guaranteed tournament. I had about 45 minutes to kill before it got started so a quick sit-n-go was in order.

These things normally run around an 1:15 to an 1:30 but it was over in 58 minutes. I emerged victorious and ready for the tournament. The few hands that overlapped while I finished up the single table tournament were uneventful but then things fired up. It was nice for a change not to have to worry about playing the small stack. I stayed around average to a few thousand over the average size chip stack for the majority of the tournament. I played well but was boosted by some nice flops. I didn't receive that many pocket pairs but did have more than my fair share of A's. I remember getting pocket pair six times during the event. 2's, 3's, 4's and 5's each once and the A's three times. I believe the A's helped me to eliminate an opponent each time as they held up. Now that I've put them on paper as it were, my pocket pairs eerily give me the straight.

At any rate I coasted to the final table and and pushed in a large bet with AJo from early position. The small stack at the table responded with an all in and everyone folded to me. I saw it as my duty and called. The SS outkicked me with his AQo and I was left with barely enough to cover the BB of 6,000. When it came around to me I pushed all in with the hammer and declared in the chat box that I was "going out in a blaze of glory". No one seemed to find this humorous but when a 2 hit the flop and a 7 on the turn I thought I was going to triple up and live to fight on. As it happened though one of my callers held pocket 5's and made a straight on the river. I was out in 6th place but happy with my play, my finish, and my goal achieved of making the final table.

I only have enough reward points left to buy into another 3 of these so from here on out it's all about the win.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sweet, Sweet, Variance

After having the horrible loss on Thursday night I managed to take the lesson to heart and had an extraordinary night on Saturday. I posted a 58BB win which more than covered the loss and gave me a 20BB gain for the week. I managed to play enough hands by Saturday night that I have secured my spot in the $100,000 freeroll that takes place on December 18th at Royal Vegas Poker. According to their info they are expecting 50,000 entrants. (maybe I'm reading that wrong) I don't know how this can be handled but it will certainly be interesting to see how it's done. That enormous of a field will be nearly impossible to get through but I look forward to the challenge.

On the tourney front I managed an 11th place finish last night in a field of 91 at Absolute Poker. I could have easily skated into the final table but I got greedy and was caught 100% off guard by my heads up opponent. I've replayed it hundreds of times, as I was very pissed for a very long time last night. Problem is I'm not sure if I made a mistake or not. I certainly could have played it differently but I was so sure of my read I sacrificed everything. I have never posted a hand history to a forum before but I think I will post this one at PSO. I'm interested in the feedback I'll get. Next week when I've gotten some responses I'll disect it and post it here for your guys' opinions.

Speaking of tournaments it appears that I have become very adept at playing a short stack (as it seems I'm short stacked 90% of the time) but I don't have a clue how to play a large stack. Every time I managed to build up to a decent stack I end up giving it away. This will be the next item in my game I'll need to address. I'm open to any guidance my readers have on this topic. (hint..hint..use comments...hint..hint)

My sit-n-go game has seemed to go to pot recently as well. I feel I'm getting to weak/tight and always seem to pick the wrong times to go aggressive. Oh Well, practice...practice...practice

PS. I will be playing in the next blogger tournament being hosted at Poker Stars. I don't have an account their yet but I'll get one this week and start preparing to improve on my 10th place finish in the last one.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Lesson Given

Poker Tracker has shown me a lesson.

I had a horrible night of cards last night. In an effort to win a spot in the $100,000 freeroll happening in December at Royal Vegas Poker I needed to play 100 raked hands by this Sunday. I deposited some money two or three days ago and managed a modest win on the first night. Then came last night.

I managed to lose 45BB between two tables of .50/1. With my current bankroll woes that is significant damage. I wanted to delve into the issue of the loss before posting so I fired up Poker Tracker and looked at the table I lost the most at first. I expected to see glaring holes in my play but I honestly did not find anything of significance. I truly had a bad run of cards. The only pair I received during my play was 4's, they didn't flop trips and with overcards I folded. My biggest pocket cards that were not a pair was ATo. Even when I had my bad run last month I don't think I ever received such a large amount of bad cards in a single session. I did not win a single hand at the table during my 74 played there. Aside from two hands I never lost more than 1.5BB's in a single pot. My VP$IP% was 14.86% so I was playing way fewer hands than I normally do, I just wasn't getting any to play.

On the second table I was getting a bit better cards. I not only received pocket 4's once but pocket 10's as well one time. Instead of having ATo being my best hand other than pairs I got AJs once. My VP$IP% was 22.22% which is still tight but I was seeing more action. I had a few hands hold up at this table and even managed to win a few pots. Although I didn't lose as much money at this table I played this table much more poorly. Looking through my post flop play I was giving away far too many Big Bets. It looks as though I was trying to overcompensate for the loses from the first table by winning bigger pots on the second. This worked a few times but as I lost more than I won I was overvaluing my hands and giving money away.

There is no way, given the cards, I was going to win last night. I compounded the problem by giving away more than I needed to at one of the tables. I broke the rule of minimizing your loses.

Lesson given, but was it learned. I for one, hope so.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

One Step Closer

A few days ago, or maybe a week, I proclaimed that instead of just trying to make the money in multi table tournaments, I was going to shoot for the final table. Last night I busted out one spot from that final table. In an Absolute rewards tournament (you use rewards points for the buy in but cash is paid out) in which over 340 people registered, I began my quest. Five hands into the thing I had 165 chips left from the original 1500. I had pretty much resigned myself to busting out among the first players as my AKd ran into 10 7o. The 10 7 made two pair on the turn and my flopped K cost me almost my entire stack. Short stacked play was the overriding theme for the night so that's what we'll address here today.

Conventional wisdom states that when short stacked you need to be aggressive and try to steal blinds when the opportunities arise. This is sound strategy if you have enough of a stack left that you might intimidate someone. What do you do if you don't have enough of a stack to even match an average size pot? I know Celebrity Poker is a bad reference but I keep hearing Phil Gordon's voice in my head. "I can't believe he folded that hand. That was a horrible play, when your short stacked you need to pick any two cards and move in. You need to get lucky and try to double up." I don't specifically remember the episode this came from, or even if that is an exact quote, but it covers the main point he was making. Well I say pushaw Mr. Gordon.

I have an approach that completely bucks the trend. Be patient and wait for a top starting hand. Will you be blinded off, maybe. Will you double up when called, yes, most of the time. I had to put the disclaimer of "most of the time" since we all know even aces can be cracked. What you want to do is give yourself the greatest possibility to be the victor. Put as much of the odds as you can on your side. In essence, cut down on the luck factor. When you are left with a small enough stack that you are almost guaranteed a call from a bigger stack, you have to be patient and wait it out. Fold hands you may even normally play. I folded small pocket pair on more than one occasion last night waiting for the proper cards and position.

Position is key in deciding what hands to play. This holds true in everyday play and is even more critical when short stacked. Those pocket 4's are good to move in with if your on the button and it's folded to you, but if your under the gun just muck them. It won't take long before the observant players start respecting you again even if they have you covered four times over. I had taken my 165 chips and turned them into an above average stack before the first break. I didn't get more than my fair share of good cards, I was just patient and looked for opportunities to maximize my gain when these hands came.

I stayed above board until we were down to 54 players. I don't remember the specifics of the hand but I found myself with less than 10x the big blind when the chips were pushed away from me. At the late stages of a tournament you will have a big stack call an all in from a short stack holding just about anything. I've seen 72o call an all in so you need to take advantage of these opportunities by maximizing your preflop odds. With so many players left I knew I wasn't going to make the final table if I got careless. I sweated it out and finally ended up all in on my big blind. I was dealt 84o and knew I was busted. One caller came with me and I received my first of two lucky breaks in the tournament. I made two pair and more than doubled up. My next lucky break came when I raised the big blind from my small blind. I went all in and the BB only had to call 230 more chips to cover me. He wasn't paying attention to the chip stacks though and folded. I had the goods holding AK but still he committed a critical error. The table let him know this and he was the next to bust out.

They say you need luck as well as skill to win a tournament and my luck came at these two opportune times. I stayed among the shortest stacks until the end but I played my chips hard when I had my best preflop chances and continued to double up when I needed to. I knew I wasn't going to be able to mount a serious run for the win without a much bigger stack but I couldn't mount that large of a comeback. I took my chances with a small pocket pair with 10 players left and was handed my walking papers. My ride from 50 down to 10 may not have been flashy or pretty but I did what was necessary to propel myself through the ranks. A succession of all in bets may have been what some will recommend, but in my experience, the tortoise can beat the hare.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Review: Phil Hellmuths Million Dollar Tournament Strategies DVD

After experiencing disappointment with the Million Dollar Poker System I really didn't have high hopes for this one.

While the production value remained roughly the same as in the Poker System DVD it was obviously filmed at a different time. We see Phil wearing the open collar and unbuttoned cuff (what's up with that) look that he sported in the late add on segment placed into the Poker System DVD. As before I believe a continuity in wardrobe would have added to the overall production value. A few more "effects" have been added where camera angles are changed with maddening frequency and the onscreen transition graphics become quite annoying. A welcomed addition was Phil's greater comfort level with the cameras. He appeared to be much more relaxed and almost reminded me of the personality type you see on the late night infomercials. Not the Ronco guy because he's way over the top but Phil had a rather subdued yet energetic delivery. The trademark ego was in full affect but to be honest I took it as more of a qualification of his abilities and supported his "proof of knowledge" as opposed to the normal blatant self indulgent rhetoric. He bordered on personable, but that may just be that fact that I'm in a good mood while watching this.

Now onto content. Knowing that this instructional DVD is for beginners only, and I stress the word beginners, it has some very good content. It also severely lacks in its explanations of that content. At 57 minutes the run time is just to short to do anything but tell you what a tournament is. In fact the 57 minutes includes the opening sequence, credits, and commercials at the end. All in all only about 48 minutes is actual instruction. This DVD is more of a primer to help people watch a tournament on TV, and have some idea what the commentators are talking about, rather than a primer to actually playing in a tournament.

Phil steps through the following strategies or stages as they call them in the DVD
1) How to Enter
   What to Expect
   The First Hours
2) Raising to Steal the Blinds
   The "All in" Strategy
   The Bluffing Weapon
3) Work Your Chips
   The Will to Win
   The Final Table

Phil starts with the buy in procedure for most major tournaments. As this would be step one in the casino tournament process I suppose it had it's place. The DVD would have been better served if they had taken that 5 minutes and used it to give more detailed explanations of actual playing strategies. For instance the blind stealing section although important in tournament play really left much to be desired in it's explanations. Phil has a tendency to introduce a basic concept, then explain that concept by introducing advanced plays and anecdotes from his past tournaments. I can't blame him for the lack of real world usable content. The DVD medium is just not the proper format for truly learning the game of poker. A good collection of books will give you so much more useable information. He introduces concepts and tells you what they are, just not the real knowledge to use them.

Next up Online Secrets...I can't wait :)

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Uncle! Uncle!

I should have cried Uncle last night and gave up. I wanted to watch the Presidential Debate but instead found myself at a 5 year olds birthday party. As I'm sure you are aware these are often just more fun than a barrel of monkeys but I was able to peel the family away in time to make the $8,000 guaranteed tournament at Absolute. I arrived back at home with 5 minutes to spare and was busted before the first break.

I called an early raiser with QJo in late position and 3 of us saw the flop. The flop came Q high and I had a sense that the only hands that could beat me were AQ or KQ. I just couldn't put anyone on a big pair, not even the early raiser. The early raiser came out with a bet about one third the pot and the MP called as well as myself. The turn and river were blanks and the EP raiser led out each round. We let him and at showdown the EP had only pocket 10's. The MP player showed KQ and I was left with 10 x the Big Bet within 5 minutes of the tournament starting. I played this hand all wrong, knew I could be beat, and still chucked my chips into the pot. I tried to hang on but with no cards to fight back with it was only a matter of time and that time was short.

Not being too horribly disappointed I moved to Ultimate Bet and fired up two cash tables. I received good starting hands on both tables but always seemed to come up second best. What made things worse was I knew what my opponents had, I knew I was beat, yet kept putting money in the pots hoping my reads were wrong. A cardinal sin broken and I paid 40BB for my sacrilege.

To give you an idea of what I was up against I held AA UTG. I raised and got two callers. The flop came QQx and I just knew someone had the Q. I led out only to get raised by the CO. I folded the hand...NOT! I knew I was beat so I called...NOT! I raised it. Was reraised then called and check/called all the way through the river just throwing my money away. My KK ran into AA and my flopped trips, which filled into a full house on the river was taken down by a bigger full house. Many more second bests and thus was my night.

On the bright side after busting out of the hold em games I decided to give Omaha/8 a try. I went to the .25/.50 tables to get my feet wet and managed to double my buy in. I've always read starting hands are key to omaha so I tried to be disciplined in this manner. It seemed to work and I had fun. I won't be jumping into omaha anytime soon but I'll probably dabble from time to time.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Final Table Blues

I wanted that final table so bad I could taste it.

The wife decided to sweat me for an entire tournament last night. She's watched me play before but never for over 3 hours straight. We were having a good time as I would explain to her why I was doing a certain thing or not doing it as the case may be. 340 some people signed up for the $500 guaranteed tournament. 1,000 award points was the buy in. These points are awarded by Absolute as a way of having a pseudo players club. I had over 6,000 points in my account so I figured what the heck and signed up.

I did pretty well through most of the tourney and made it fairly easily into the money. When we were down to 10 I found myself to be the shortstack and the final table consisted of 9 seats. I knew the only way to make the top 9 was going to be to double up. I'm sure everyone was just going to fold around until I busted. In early middle position I looked down at an AJc and decided to make my move. I pushed all in and all folded to the SB who called me. He showed an A6o and I had him dominated. As is usually the case in these situations he caught a six on the flop and when an A came on the turn it was only to mock me. I busted out pretty upset for not having made the final table.

I'm making the money consistently enough now that I'm going to shift my focus from making the money to making the final table from now on. Time will tell how this goes but I'm thinking of hitting the $8,000 guaranteed tournament tonight so hopefully that time will be soon.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Live By The Sword,....Yeah You Know The Rest

Imagine my surprise and delight when everyone's favorite Degenerate mentioned my blog at the very top of his latest post. Gee, someone does read this. :D Along with giving me a shoutout he's posted a follow up to his Sit-N-Go strategy post. I've touted it before and I'll do so again. Go read that post if you want a solid foundation for starting out with single table tournaments.

Speaking of single table tournaments, last night I played in two of them and managed first and third place finishes. I then moved to a multi table tourney and started out very well. I handled the second session better than I usually do and maintained a big stack. I was even as high as second in chip count for a while but most of the time I hung around the top ten. I dropped a very large portion of my chips when I was dealt JJ in late position. I raised it up and the BB was my my only caller. The flop came with two A's and the BB let me have the lead. I bet into him twice and and he called me both times. When the river came I knew he wasn't going to lay down and he showed me his pocket A with a very crappy 6 kicker which was offsuit. I must be telegraphing something in my play because the player to my immediate left said "jj's" in the chat window right after the hand. I didn't respond but he had me cold. I must have shown weakness in my betting on the flop. I don't remember exactly how much I bet but I remember being worried about an A. I'm going to need to be concious of this in the future.

The tournament had 95 entrants and the top nine positions were paying. I managed to just about build myself back to average after the earlier JJ debacle when I was dealt AQo in the cutoff. Two limpers to me and I raise 3x the BB to 1200. The BB and early limper fold, the last limper takes quite a while to decide and then calls. With his hesitation I put him on a weak A or perhaps paint. The flop came 2s,3h,5c. The limper checks and I bet out 1000. I've got the gutshot straight now so if I've put my opponent on the right hand at worst I will split this. I probably should have actually bet more as the pot was 3400 but I was looking for a call. As expected I get my call. The turn brings my A and I've made my top pair. Limper checks and I don't want to prolong this any further. I figure it's time to put the nail in the coffin and I bet 2500. I'm expecting a call if he's hit his weak A, if he has the paint he will fold. To my surprise he raises all in for 1520 more. It is at this point when the sense of dread finally hits me. All that flashes in my mind is he had the weak A and hit his small pair on the flop. I only have 550 left and with no choice other than to toss it in I call. When the cards are flipped over I find that I completely missread his hand. He actually held pocket 4's and the A gave him the straight. I think his preflop call was bad being out of position and staring into a big raise behind him. On the flop though he was perfect as even if I made my hand I was going to lose.

I went out 45th and managed to piss away a big stack in two hands. They weren't consecutive hands thank goodness but it still sucked.

A few thoughts about the final hand:
I think the preflop call with 44 was bad because the call was for about 1/4 of his chip stack. Just about everything other than a 4 on the flop hurts you and if your willing to risk that much just go all in. The blinds were getting big and unless I'm holding a big pair or big slick against him I'm going to fold and he'll have the pot.

My bet on the turn was a bad one. Not because I lost the hand but because I only left myself 550 in chips afterwards. I was pot committed with the bet so I should have just moved all in.

I need to work on sensing small pocket pairs. I have a tendency to put players on overcards when in this type of situation and as the hand properly illustrates that inability is getting me killed.

Enough of the armchair quarterbacking. No poker for me tonight so I'll see you all on Thursday.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Monkeys and Typewriters

Have heard the theory about six monkeys left alone with six typewriters for an infinite amount of time generating the works of Shakespeare? Well Saturday night it would have only taken one monkey and one mouse to play the cards I was getting. I would like to think it was my genetically superior intellect that ran over the table but that would be an immensely egoistical comment that would also be incorrect. I perhaps managed to extract more bets from my opponents than a monkey would have but that's about as far as I can truthfully stretch it.

I sat down, fired up two tables, and went very aggressive right away. I had the cards to do so preflop but nothing held up and within 40 minutes I lost my first buy in. The second table was holding it's own and against my better judgement I started up a table to replace the busted one on my screen. The rest as they say is history. It began when I was dealt the same hand of AQo at both tables at the same time. After winning both pots I was dealt the exact same hands again at both tables. This was spooky. I've been dealt the same hand twice before, but to get it twice at two different tables at the same exact time was a bit much. I won 3 of the 4 and after that I hit about 85% of all hands I went to the flop with. I even hit a hand I accidentally hit the call button on when I was intending to fold it. Like I said, a monkey could have won with my cards.

Sunday was not as kind to me. Sunday and Monday are my designated tournament nights and I try to play several single and multi table tournaments on these nights. I went 1 for 3 in the money at the single table tournaments but it was the multi I played last night that really stung. As seems to be my pattern I had a better than average stack at the first break, went card dead through most of the second session but managed to triple up and again had a better than average stack at the next break. 10 minutes into the 3rd session there were 19 players left. Top 18 get paid and all I have to do is fold a few hands and I'm in. Did I do this....obviously not or I wouldn't be disappointed in last night. I received pocket 10's in middle position and raise the minimum. I don't go all in because I don't want to go out on the bubble. I have enough chips to last a while so I'm not in any danger. It folds around to the small blind who's the chip leader and he goes all in. It's back to me...the smart play is to fold....but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. He hadn't been pushing anyone around so I had no past performance to look back on, in fact he folded the big blind to the short stacks all in just the hand before so he's not looking to bust anyone. When he folded to the short stack several players at the table began chiding him because he didn't step up to the plate and try to bust him. I was very tired and fixated on this chatroom conversation as my reason for making the call. In my sleep deprived state I convinced myself that he was pushing me because that's what the other players wanted. Nevermind the complete illogic of this... I wasn't all in yet so he wasn't necessarily going to bust me. I just hit the call button and watched the computer display his two kings. I didn't get my miracle and busted out 1 from the money...purely a mental mistake and I have to remember to stay focused in these things. I'm sure tonight will be better, after all it has to be, right?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good:
Ultimate Bet is offering a 50% redeposit bonus this week. Take advantage of it.
The limit game finally came around last night and multitabling .50/1 was profitable, very profitable.

The Bad:
Foolishly sat down at two NL cash tables last night. Lost my buy in on one and took a modest profit on the other.

The Ugly:
Even though I lost at the NL my limit profits covered me and I still made a profit for the night. A very ugly way to make a profit since I would have made a BIG profit if I would have just taken my own advice and left the NL tables alone. So again I resolve to no longer play NL cash games.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

$8,000 Guaranteed

I left my notes at home and since I'm writing this at work the specifics may be a little off. I played in my biggest cash tournament last night, a guaranteed $8,000 payout at Absolute. I hadn't intended to play but when I saw it listed and that only around 340 players were signed up I decided to pony up my $22 for a piece of the overlay action. I'm glad I played as I was really able to gage my progress in the no limit tournament arena. The payout structure seemed a bit odd to me. They paid out to 46th place, but from 34-46 the payout was only $12.40. This made no sense to me, perhaps this is the way these things generally work but if your going to make the money, at least make it slightly more than the buy-in, even if fewer players get paid. I was shooting to at least make 34th so I could double my money and then work to the top 2.

I tried to start out the tournament like I do all the lower buy in ones but I quickly found that more players were willing to push back at me than I was used to. This put me a little on guard and my game got very weak/tight. My stack wasn't decimated early but I was certainly losing more than I was winning. I admit to feeling a little bullied and I was giving into that feeling. I really was giving into the other players and didn't believe I had the cards to push back. I was then slapped in the face, and boy did I need that to wake me up. I was dealt within the last 1/2 of the first session, KK, AA twice, and was either all in or had someone all in preflop each time. All three hands held up and I found myself the chip leader of my table at the first break.

Nothing like a good run of cards to boost ones confidence. I need to address the hole in my game where I pull back into a shell early. Fortunately I now had enough chips to bring me around. It is how I played to the second break that really allowed me to be impressed with my progress as a player. I had some good cards but it was how I played my draws and busted draws that allowed me to maintain a good chip stack. I found myself able to play a board postflop in a manner that I haven't ever found myself doing before. I was reading the betting patterns in a way that, not 100% of the time, but most of the time I could tell if a player had made their hand or not. This seems elementary and at a limit table it is a little more obvious but at the no limit level things are quite a bit trickier. I was able to use this knowledge to push opponents even when I had missed my draw by representing the best hands. Now this does not mean going all in or even betting overly large amounts. The patterns that develop during the hand will lead you to the correct amount. I was able to bet just the minimum at times on the river knowing that the player would fold his hand, even though the player had called 5x that bet amount earlier. I don't advocate doing this often. In fact I didn't have to do it very often at all but this second sight allowed me to maintain and even slightly build my stack. You should never, unless virtually 100% sure of the outcome, risk your tournament chances on this type of play. I still believe it is better to maintain a prudent chip stack size at all times, but as a player you constantly here that postflop play is even more important that preflop hand selection. I always thought this must be true since so many people were saying it but I can't say I "understood" it until last night. The key to future success will be if I can maintain the clarity that came to me last night.

After the second break I was still the chip leader at my table but then things began to head a little south. The great run of cards I had during the first session were now all gone and my stack was starting to slowly dwindle. With the blinds getting to near unmanageable amounts for a small stack I went on the aggressive and built back up to just over an average size amount. That is when it happened. We were into the money but I was still shy of my doubling up goal. I held a little over 11,000 chips which wasn't the biggest stack at the table but close enough that if anyone challenged me all in and lost they would be crippled. I was in MP and dealt AKo. The short stack at the table who was under the gun raised the minimum amount. It was folded to me and this is what my thought process was.

I didn't put the small stack on a big pair. If he had that he would just go all in. He was short enough that a big stack would more than likely call so that's his best play. A minimum raise usually only thins the heard slightly and you end up with two or three callers. You don't want anyone drawing out on your big pair so unless your playing incorrectly this is a bad move. I held the AK so I'm putting him on a small pocket pair or maybe two face cards at best. My only thought here is to go all in over the top of the short stack. He is going to call me. He has to with his short stack and even if I lose, which I don't believe I will, I will still be in good shape. I don't want to just call or only bet enough to put the short stack all in as I don't want any callers. If I move all in I don't really expect to be called since we are so close to the money jump. If I do I'm still in decent shape with outs so I proceed with my master plan. All goes well until we hit the small blind. He calls the all in. I have him covered but if I lose I'll be down to only about 2,500 chips and with the blinds getting ready to move to 500/1,000 that won't be a good thing. The original raiser calls.

When the cards are flipped up I was correct with my read on the raiser as he shows 77, the small blind though dominates me with the AA. I get a K on the flop but couldn't find another one and the chips slide across the table. No matter how much I replay this I still believe it was the right move for me to make. Holding AK the odds of an AA out there are pretty small. Obviously it happens but you can't play scared like that if you want to win a big one. I ended out at 41st when forced to go all in in the big blind and found my K9o against AQo. Neither of us paired up but he didn't have to so I left a little disappointed. It sucked to feel I played my best ever and yet still lost. If I can play this way in the days to come I'll hit a big one, it's only a matter of time.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Template Update

I've updated my template to include all the blogs I read on a daily basis. Yes I check them all just about every day. I sync them in the morning and then usually read them at work on my laptop when I get spare time. I'll add or remove them as I start or stop reading them...If you have a blog you want me to check out let me know. If I start reading it regularly I'll add it to the list. Also note the strategically placed referral code for :)

Just When It Starts To Get Good

I'm sorely disappointed in Absolute Poker right now. I had been singing their praises when it came to tournaments there and they go and mess things up. Upon starting up Absolute's software last night an update began to download. This is usually a good thing but their software people, not unlike those of the company I work for, usually mess up something that was working when trying to fix something that isn't. The largest glaring problem arising from the new update though was not software managements problem but operational managements problem. The $5 + .50 Single Table Tournaments are now gone, replaced by the player raping $6 + $1 tables. The juice has gone from an acceptable 10% to 16.66%. Oddly the $2 tables remained at a 10% juice and the $10 tables did as well. Normally I would just move to the $10 tables but my bankroll can't support that right now. The $2 tables although very beatable simply don't pay enough to make it worthwhile. The $5 tables were clearly the most popular on the site and Absolute has deemed it necessary to take it's patrons to the cleaners. If profits were the problem I would much rather give up the very frequent reload bonuses as opposed to paying more juice. Now I have to find a new site to play my SnG's. I'll probably move to one of the prima sites as their tables used to be pretty soft. I haven't played at any of them for a while but I'll check it out tonight.

With all the bitching about the single table tourneys the multi's are still juicy. I played in a freeroll (well player points buy-in) last night and discovered a problem I have. The first hour of the tournament I managed to build my stack nicely and stayed well above the average stack. At the first break a $10 tournament was starting up that I had bought into and I quickly discovered that although I can multi table SnG's I shouldn't multi table multi table tournaments. So much of my betting rely's on my read of the other players in these tournaments that I couldn't keep enough focus going on both. I'm sure I could learn this skill but for now I'm not going to try. I made it to the next break on both tournaments but was starting to be pretty short stacked at both. I decided to just tighten up and play only premium hands on the $10 tourney and put my focus on the other since we were further along. I only lasted 20 minutes after the break and just couldn't get the card to make a comeback. I went out in 30th and the top 15 paid. I was very disappointed getting that close and not making it.

Shifting my focus to the remaining tournament I was just too short stacked there to make a difference as well. Only 89 entered this tournament so making the money should have been a walk in the park for me but I busted out 41st and learned a valuable lesson. I fired up two $2 SnG's to try to recoup my $10 loss. I finished 2nd, and 5th so made back a little but not all of my earlier buy-in. I'm still feeling good and as long as I learn from the losses I'll only get better.

As I'm going on the hunt for a new single table tourney site tonight so I welcome any suggestions.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

See..I told you this would happen

I must be the second coming of Nostradamus. It's simply scary the way I called that. The jinx was in overtime last night. And yet I don't feel bad about it.

I sat down and played 5 SnG's last night only finishing in the money in one of them. I have myself to blame for two of the losses as I was just playing too weak and let myself get shortstacked in the later rounds. The others though I can honestly attribute to bad beats. I think I was fortunate last week when all my hands held up and I was given the stellar finishes. Last night variance reared it's ugly head and it seemed no matter how much I was the favorite going into the "All-Ins" I would be the loser. I'm not mad about it although I did find myself wanting to question a few players. They just weren't catching last week when they did this, where as last night they were. I won't dwell on this and since tonight is my weekly Tuesday night off from poker I'll get back to this on Wednesday and shoot for a big win.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Behold the Power of Cheese Blogging

It's been 4 days since I spouted off about my recent shortcomings...and to be honest with you I haven't wanted to write an update. Not for any obvious reason, in fact I've had some solid play since and have not posted a losing session in those four days. It's just that my bad run was so horrible that I'm (and I'm not in anyway a superstitous person) afraid that I'll jinx myself and head back into the abyss. It's a silly concept the jinx. There's no scientific data that I'm aware of that could prove the existence of the jinx, yet it's intangibleness is eerily tangible.

Now as for my play I spent several days soul searching before I wrote my self sacrificing post. I truly believe that the searching, that hunt for the words to express my play, was a major catalyst in my reaquired winning ways. I've gotten back my enthusiasm for the game and this meager blog is key to my play. If I wasn't writing to the web there is no doubt in my mind that I'd still have to write in private. The introspection that I spend before each post gives me a clarity that I don't believe I could achieve otherwise. Now I know I'm not a popular writer in the sense that I actually have readers, or that what I write here is of any real benefit to anyone else, but the fact that this outlet is available is a thing of wonder.

To recap the last four days my SnG play has been even better as I've managed three wins, one second, and two thirds out of the last seven plays. A portion of my Pacific cashout finally made it's way to my neteller account. In honor of this occassion Absolute Poker decided to offer a 15% reload bonus and I've sent the money in. I've begun working on clearing the required hands and this has gone well as I've posted a 2BB/100 win in the endeavour so far.

That sums it up. Happy days are here again, now if I can just avoid that jinx.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Time Apart

Baby Geniuses

I haven't written in a while.....I could say work has been very demanding of my time lately, which it has but that's not why....I could also say that I've got lots of other things going on in my life and I haven't had time, which is again true but that's not why either. You see I've done something very foolish. I've started down a road that can only end in poker ruin and until recently I didn't know why. I haven't wanted to admit this to myself and thus, I haven't been writing.

I believe that the root of my problem stems from my ignoring what it took for me to be successful (in my own small way) at poker. Those of you that have followed along from the beginning of this blog know that I used to analyze my play on a daily basis. I don't think I've done that in over a month to a month and a half now. I'd write about my play not for you (although it's nice to know someone was reading every now and then) but because it forced me to look at my weaknesses and face them.

The other problem that I've created for myself is severe bankroll shortage. As the bankroll grew it became easier to withdrawl funds and even though I have a positive BB/100 at the 1/2 limit level and the .50/1 level I now have less than $200 in my online accounts. I wasn't worried about this until I suddenly found myself unable to win at the limit tables over the last few weeks. To further compound my shortcomings I decided to take on the NL tables. When someone is under funded and absolutley having to win this is the worst possible move. I lost buy-in after buy-in and was close to implosion.

These problems which are of my own doing are about to end my poker life. I am not in a financial situation that will allow me to put back the hundreds that I've withdrawn so after much consideration I have come to the obvious conclusion. It's back to basics time. I know that my play at the limit tables has become far to loose to have a +EV. I know that I'm no longer properly funded to play at the 1/2 level. To address these issues it's back to the .50/1.00 level and back to analysing my play every day.

On the bright side during this whole limit turmoil my tournament game has continued to improve. If not for my wins at the SnG tables I would be busted completely at this point. It is also these wins that I believe have loosened up my limit play. How can I have a happy medium and learn to control both at the same time? The answer lies in the quote from one of my kids favorite movies. The same quote featured at the top of this post. I must seperate my playing styles and have the discipline as well as patience to reign myself back in.

My last remaining obstacle is Pacific Poker. The majority of my bankroll is in limbo between a Pacific Poker cashout and Neteller. Pacific said there was a screw up when processing my withdrawl and are correcting it but that's not helping me any. Until they can resolve this and get my money to me I will be staying at Absolute Poker and their SnG tables. Every time I sit at one of these tables I feel as though I'm the favorite and as long as my results show that as well I will use them to bolster my bankroll. Once the money issue with Pacific is settled I will then split time between the Absolute SnG's and UltimateBet's ring games. Until I can build a buffer to handle some variance I'm going to stay clear of Party. I've made most of my money there but at the micro limits the play can devour you. Ulitimate is generally calmer and although the profits aren't as great, neither are the losses.

I've never promoted another site before but since I have been able to establish a relationship with them I would like to direct all of you to If you haven't been there before I encourage you to check them out. They offer some of the best signup bonuses out there and a program called "Frequent Flopper" that pays you back a percentage of your own rake at the sites they associate with. They have deals with all of the sites you read about here and if you sign up through them I ask that you use the referal code "lifesagrind". This pays me back as well and we all win.

And I'll finish those Hellmuth DVD reveiw's, I promise :)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Review: Phil Hellmuth's Million Dollar Poker System

By chance I was able to view the DVD set of Phil Hellmuth's Million Dollar Poker System. A friend had borrowed them from a friend and I then borrowed them from him. I was expecting revelations bestowed upon me from a World Class Poker Player but instead was sorely disappointed.

The Phil Hellmuth's Million Dollar Poker System brought to us by Masters of Poker is a set four DVD's. The discs are broken down as the Million Dollar Poker System, Tournament Strategies, Secrets to Bluffing and Tells, and Online Secrets. The set sells for $74.95 at Phil Hellmuth's site. In this review I will only talk about the Poker System DVD. The others will follow with a post devoted to each.

Before we start discussing content lets take a look at production value and overall impressions. Granted Phil is not an actor and other than mugging for the ESPN cameras I am unaware of any real television experience. Phil does an adequate job with his presentations but his discomfort shines through from time to time. He looks just slightly off camera at odd times as if he's checking a monitor. This is slightly distracting for some reason but not enough to make you lose interest. Phil's choice of wardrobe however was very lacking. Sporting a light blue polo type shirt that seemed buttoned up a little to far just gave him a poindexter look. During one segment Phil is actually wearing a black button down shirt with the cuffs unbuttoned. Phil explains that this segment was filmed at a later time and he insisted it be inserted into the video. In his new shirt Phil appears to be trying to look "hip" but the production would have been better served if they just had held continuity with one shirt. This may be picky but seeing Phil as a poindexter then trying to pull off the hipster look was just too much.

The onscreen graphics are generally accompanied by what I'd describe as a whooshing sound to emphasize their arrival. The words are big enough on their own that it is unnecessary to announce their arrival and it seems as though they were added because someone thought it was cool. Similarly whenever a list of items was placed down the side of the screen a blue shimmering background was used. It looked good but was just too distracting. The camera operators also seemed to have some issues with focus at times so the overall production value is what I would relate to a program done in someones basement with very little funding.

Now for actual Poker content. If you've played poker for more than a month or two this DVD is not for you. I was expecting a look into the mind of Phil Hellmuth and instead was given a rudimentary introduction to the game of Texas Hold'em. A hurried explanation of the rules of the game were given in a wholly inadequate way. This video is targeted to the newbie yet I believe someone who has never played the game would still be a little confused after hearing his explanation. When the hand rankings were presented, instead of using a traditional format and listing them from High Card to Royal Flush, Phil listed them in the opposite order. I believe that the general public would be able to understand it better working bottom to top instead of top to bottom. Phil also makes the comment that millions of dollars have been won with just one pair. Thanks for encouraging the fish Phil. Granted this is a true statement, but the way it was presented was misleading without a knowledge of the subtleties of the game.

At a 69 minute run time including credits and advertising the DVD is far to short to adequately explain what it needs to. Everything that Phil talks about can be found on the internet with very little effort. The only original item that Phil imparts on his audience is the Phil Hellmuth Top Ten Hands. Since I'm sure these are copyrighted in some way you should only get this info from the DVD or his book. If you wanted to put it to the man though I'm sure these could also be found somewhere on the internet. Phil touches on several subjects including the starting hand requirements, player types, pot odds, and when to raise and fold. A small comparison between limit and no limt play is also discussed but again all of this information is presented in greater detail and in easier to understand terms on the internet.

There are times when Phil even seems to contradict himself as you can tell he's thinking in advanced terms yet trying to speak in the most basic. A lot of this could and should have been cleaned up in editing but as mentioned the production value is minimal. Overall this product just wouldn't get my money. If I was given a copy for free I might have someone who's never played before watch it, but I'd have to be there to answer their questions if I did. I am hopeful that the remaining three DVD's will offer greater value but I can't say I'm optimistic.

Up next Tournament Strategies...

Friday, September 03, 2004

Two Days, Two Tournaments, Two Cashes Part II

Be Warned this is long.

Day two of tournament splendor came on Monday evening, well early Tuesday Morning. Since I can no longer contain my joy lets just say that come December I will be enjoying a 7-Day Card Player Cruise to Mexico. Oh Yeah Baby! Oh, and my wife will be there too. :)

Going into the freeroll I was anticipating making a good showing but the Cruise would just have been icing on the cake. I made the mistake of telling my wife that the first prize was a cruise so she pretty much made it clear that all the hours I spend playing needed to start paying off. Starting with winning this tournament. Really she has been beyond supportive of the hours I spend playing and has been very patient in dealing with me. I am glad that I can finally make the hours payoff in a way that we both can get enjoyment out of it.

Enough of that, lets talk tournament. This was the first tournament I've ever played at Party Poker. I spend a lot of time on the ring games there but I've never even played a single table tourney at that site. I had no idea what the starting chip stack would be or the blind structure so there was no plan of attack going in. I was a little disappointed when I was only given 1000 chips and the blinds started at 10/20. I would have liked to have seen 5/10 blinds to start with but my cards were good in the first few rounds and I managed to start building a stack early. At the end of the first level I managed to be up over my original starting stack and I never dipped below that amount again.

I eliminated my first player when the blinds stood at 25/50. I had built my stack up to 2,605 at the time and my opponent only had 190 in the small blind. Really it was a matter of having to push in for him and it was an easy call for me holding K10o. The board brought me two pair and the win on the river. The first break came and the 2,745 chips I had gave me the lead at the table. I felt very comfortable in this position and had learned enough from the other players that I could start pushing pots a bit more than I had been.

Shortly after the break I was able to eliminate my second player. Preflop my opponent held a 73% to 33% advantage over me. The mistake he made though was limping in preflop with his AJh when his stack only stood at 690. The blinds were 50/100 at this point and he was on life support already. I limped in as well from the CO with A8c and the big blind checked for 3 of us to see the flop. The board brought Q88 and I was now a 93% favorite to win the pot. We all checked the flop and when a J hit the turn he still did not make a move so I bet enough to just about put him all in. The BB folded and my opponent finally pushed all in. It was to late though as he only had 3 outs and the 2s on the river wasn't one of them.

My first All-In came during the 100/200 round. I held AKd in MP and it was folded to me. I made a standard raise of 600 hoping for a few callers and it was folded to the button. The button pushed all-in in for 4,490 which had my 3,800 covered. With the blinds folded I figured my opponent didn't have K's or A's since I held one of each. I also knew since I was suited that at worst it was a coin flip. With the need to double up for the the long haul necessary I made the call and hoped for the best. What I didn't expect to see was the J10c flipped over by the button. He must have thought he could force me to fold and just picked the wrong time to move all in. Preflop I had him 61% to 39%. I don't know if I'd say he was dominated but he sure didn't want to see my cards. The board didn't improve either of us and I doubled up nicely to take the table chip lead again.

I managed to build my stack to over 11,000 but gave some away when I held KK. I called an all-in raise preflop and my opponent showed me his AQs. Having him over a barrel the A came on the turn and I lost the pot. The second break came right after this hand but I still had the chip lead at the table. Immediately after the break the chip leader was moved over. She held 16,209 chips and my 8,970 seemed very small. I had become accustomed to having the lead at my table and seeing this big stack unnerved me a little. I knew that if I wanted to play with the big dogs in the end I would need to amass a lot more chips.

This knowledge did little to help me though and I quickly became card dead. I finally had a hand I felt I could play when I found A7d in the small blind. The pot had been raised the minimum before it got to me so it was an easy call. The flop came JQJ but with two of my suit. I checked and j3koo who had raised initially bet out 1,000. I called this which looking back was a mistake. My initial thinking was that I had the flush draw and an overcard so I should have pushed the flop a little to see if j3koo would be willing to let it go. He may have been on AK or A10 and a sign of strength from me may have been enough. As it was though we saw a 5s hit the turn which couldn't have possibly helped him. Again I made the mistake of checking and calling a 1,500 bet. The 7s hit the river giving me a baby pair but I was resigned to missing the flush and giving it up. We both checked and j3koo showed me his Q4h. I suppose I could have lost a lot more on this hand but I still feel I played it wrong.

With the blinds now at 400/800 I was crippled with only 3,370 chips left. In less than three rounds I would be blinded out and I hoped a decent hand would find its way to me in time. Fortune was on my side and AJo was dealt to me the very next hand. I managed to steal the blinds and bought myself another round. I had to fold for two rounds and with the blinds now 500/1,000 I sat UTG with only 1,770 chips. I knew it was now or never and if a face card came I was going all in. This was probably going to be my last hand. We were down to 30 players and I was in the money so I had that going for me.

When the cards were dealt I looked to find K4c. This was it and I raised all-in. The pots were all usually more than my raise so I expected callers. As luck would have it I got two. j3koo who I gave money away to earlier and MSUcougar. Usually when dealing with all-ins the computer turns the cards up and deals the board at light speed. The chips are then sent to the winner and the next hand begins. If your lucky you get a glimpse of what you won or lost with but since I was covered by both players my wait was extended. The flop came 728 with two clubs and my hopes rose ever so slightly. A check by MSUcougar, a bet by j3koo, and the subsequent fold brought J3koo and myself heads up. A beautiful K on the turn and club on the river gave me two wins over j3koo's A7o. I tripled up but still was lost deep in the woods.

I stole the BB and a bet when I raised from the SB with K3o two hands later. I knew I had to accumulate chips fast if I wanted to make a run for the final table and now was the time to do it. The payout scale stayed the same for the first 10 positions paid so tight play to survive to the next level was expected. Two rounds later I held 55 in the SB. All folded to the button who made a minimum raise. With the BB already all-in due to his small chip stack I went over the top and raised all-in. I expected to take it down right there figuring the button for a steal raise. He decided to call even though he was also a small stack and we saw all three hands. wchlhockey in the BB held 53o. This all but killed my chances of making a set and with MSUcougar showing A9o for his hand we were in a coinflip situation. No one improved and now having slightly more than doubled up I was about average stacked at 15,950. I added another 7,650 chips to my stack at the expense of j3koo again when I later flopped a full house.

When the final table was assembled johnnypuma had the chip lead with 62,357. I held fourth largest with 44,700. I sucked out on MiniBen and he was the first to exit the final table. On the flop he was a 92% favorite to win the hand but instead of pushing in he tried to slow play it and I took the lead in the betting. He called me down to the turn when I put him all in with a flush draw. He held two pair and was still and 81% favorite but my club came on the river and I moved into second in chip stacks. Two hands later I sent number 9 to the rails. LadySiren went all-in preflop from the BB with 20,958. This represented a little more than 1/3 of my stack but even if I lost the hand I would have more chips than half the table. If I won I would have a solid chip lead and so with my pocket 9's I called. LadySiren held A3s and I was a 66% favorite going into the flop. Her A or spades never came and I took the lead with 88,738 in chips. Second was JohnnyPuma with 63,857 so I had a nice cushion.

When we were down to six I was the first player to go over a 100,000 and somehow just knew I'd be there at the end. When we got down to four things started to get a little weird. From what I can gather of the remaining four players I was the only one who actually wanted the cruise. Why these other players would even bother to play if they didn't want first prize was beyond me but that's the info I was getting. Shaky_Sonia was eliminated next when her AK fell to johnnypuma's J9. It seemed as though she just gave up at this point because if she was playing for the win she should have pushed with that hand as we were only 4 handed. Instead she called to the river and then pushed in resigning her chips. This is an inexcusable act as far as I'm concerned. If you don't want to win don't play. Someone who wanted the win would have been better served in that position. They also would have provided better competition making us all better players in the end.

With three of us left paeron was the short stack and he decided to make a stand with Q4c in the BB. He went down to johnnypuma and then we were two. The chat got really hectic at this point. There was a lot of noise from the railbirds and I turned my attention to the official chat room PSO was holding during the tournament. Mike J, our tournament host, seemed adverse to deal talk earlier and was quite upset that some players would get this far and not want the trip. I don't know johnnypuma but as I understand it both he and paeron are from Sweden. Even the same town which seems rather odd since they were both in the final three. I'll chalk it up to coincidence but I could understand how it would be cost prohibitive for them to fly to the US to take a cruise. Again they really shouldn't have been playing but I've covered that earlier. At any rate Mike was now willing to talk deals and johnnypuma did not want to dump the tournament, but he also didn't want the first place prize. I didn't care about first or second but wanted the prize.

After certain conditions were agreed upon we decided that no matter what happened I would take the cruise and johnnypuma would get the $250 second place money. Since there was no point for me to continue and I wanted to celebrate I called an all-in bet and johnnypuma took my chips with two pair.

Needless to say I have never won anything this big before. PSO has the cash value listed as $.01 but in reality with plane tickets it's over $2,000, probably more. The wife and I have never been on a cruise so we are going to use this opportunity to celebrate the honeymoon we never had. It will be odd being away from the kids for 8 days but I'm sure well manage. I owe a big thanks to for hosting this great tournament and providing a great experience.

hmmm....Two Days, Two Tournaments, Two Cashes, maybe it's time to turn pro. :)

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Two Days, Two Tournaments, Two Cashes Part I

As the title eludes I had some great success earlier this week in tournament play. I wish I could say the same about my limit play but we'll discuss that in a later post/posts. To the topic at hand the Monty Memorial Blogger Tournament was played on Sunday night and the Poker Cruise Freeroll on Monday Night. I managed a 10th in the Monty and a win in the Cruise. Needless say I have been on cloud nine for days now but lets get down to business shall we.

Sunday night 77 players put down $22 of Pacific Pokers hard earned money. (for explanation see this post) I was excited and hoping that my three weeks of tournament play prep was going to pay off. Starting out at table #2 I found myself seated with the man himself and a few other bloggers of note. One thing that has been eluded to in other writeups of this event was that the play was extremely tight. I don't have a count but you probably wouldn't have to take your socks off to count the hands that went to showdown in the first few levels. I was fortunate to be in one of those hands that went to showdown when my pocket 10's made quads. This just about doubled me up and I was feeling very confident in my control of the situation. At one point Iggy made an attempt at trash talk when he made mention of the slow play of the table. I believed I responded with something about kicking his ass (chipcount wise). Boy would this come back to haunt me.

At the first break I held t1768 up from the original 1500. With the first hand back I managed to steal the blinds holding AJ. A few more blind steals came my way over the next few rounds to put me back up to just over an average size stack. I was getting ready to settle in when my virtual likeness was promptly moved to Table #8.

After the move was complete the pocket 7's that shown before me found their long lost brother on the flop. This provided a nice double up opportunity. My cards seemed to dry up after this and playable hands were becoming few and far between. At one point I found the hammer in the big blind. I was able to check the flop and every betting round after that. I took the pot down when a 7 hit the river giving me best pair. I never bet it, but I can say I took down a hand with "the hammer".

I had found myself in 10th place and what should have been the final table. That is if Pacific Poker's software actually used all 10 seats available at the tables. For some bizarre reason known only to the Great And Powerful Oz the entire tournament was played 8 handed. As play progressed my favorite hand of the night was dealt to the screen. 77 in the small blind and as stated earlier I doubled with this hand. I had also won a pot with a pair of sevens while holding the hammer. If memory serves I was the shortest stack remaining and I decided this was a good time to double up. When we went to the flop I was heads up against f2aler. My sevens were a big underdog to f2aler's nines and the board of J9888 sealed my fate and finish position.

I finished in the 10 spot and Pacific deposited the $30.80 into my account. The iggster went on to dominate the final players and took it all down. There was much discussion about Pacific Poker guaranteeing an additional $500 into the pot. This money did not show up when the tournament started but the next day I did receive an email telling me that they had to do the addition manually and that another $10 had been deposited as my share of the added monies.

I want to thank Iggy for the fine tournament and barring a nuclear holocaust I plan to be playing in the next one. Pacific Poker was up and down in their handling of things with this tournament. Overall the experience was mediocre but only because of the 8 handed play. They recovered from their original tournament scheduling snafu and the added money was apparently always supposed to be done manually. This wasn't enough though and I don't see myself playing there anymore. Tomorrow will be a bit more detailed writeup of the PSO tournament. Since we played that one at Party Poker I actually have hand histories. (Another drawback of Pacific) At any rate, until tomorrow.....