Friday, December 29, 2006

Blame It On The Chocolate Factory

Fellow blogger and December SNG player WillWonka stopped by and left a comment two days ago. Immediately after rec. said comment my SNG game went in the toilet.

Coincidence... I think not.

Wonka managed to send his Bad SNG mojo my way and I now have experienced an abnormal amount of 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finishes. I also expect him to post about how spectacularly well he has been performing over the past few days since transferring his hex to me.

I present the following graph of my last 30 finishes as proof positive.

(The preceding post has of course been in jest, I don't really blame Wonka for my downswing... or do I?)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Snap Back To Reality

I'm going to chock it up to a combination of variance and bad calls but I crashed on the SNG front yesterday. Not the worst day I've ever had but I struggled constantly. Only one win on the day and a few thirds couldn't make up for all the losses. My ROI has now dropped down to 9%. I should be shooting for between 10-15% so I was running hot anyway.

I'll fire out some more today so I can stay on pace for the Gold Level Ironman. I might even throw in a MTT or two and mix things up.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

SNG Good

It's been a little while since I last posted. I hope everyone had a joyous holidays. It was nice to kick back and relax with the family as we were relative free this holiday season. The whole family is now down with a cold but hey, at least were in it together.

I've continued to play the SNG's but I decided to try out the $20's because I wanted to clear my 100 Full Tilt Points each day in fewer tournaments. I've found the $20's to be a bit softer than the $10's which is a little surprising. I even managed to make it onto the Low Limit SNG Leaderboard before Christmas. I didn't play for two days and that was enough to bump me off but I should be back on the Board by the end of the month.

I also was gifted with $10 yesterday during the 12 Days of Christmas promo. Free money is always nice.

Anyway... Onto the new numbers

Ran: 78
ROI: 19.6%
ITM: 37.2%
Profit: $336

My ITM has stayed pretty steady throughout.

I'm still managing to win a majority of the tournaments I make the money in. That makes for a nice looking graph.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

True Dat

I stuck to my word for once and played no cash games. Played a few MTT's but nothing dramatic. The only one I managed to cash in was the Gold Freeroll. It wasn't for much money but it was nice to cash.

Based on my current bankroll I settled into the $10 SNG's. I haven't played any for a while and it took some time to adjust to the play. The players (in general) are better in the early stages than I remember. Fortunately there is still weakness in the end game.

I want to continue to qualify for the Gold Freeroll this month so I have to pay at least $15 in tournament fees a day. That means 15 SNG's per day and I'm playing 4 at a time. That usually means I have to play for at least 3 hours a day. This hasn't been to difficult to attain but the final set does feel like a grind.

I played 113 SNG's this last week and at one point I went 14 consecutive without cashing. That was harsh but I always felt I'd fight back.

Ran: 113
ROI: 5%
ITM: 36.3%
Profit: $62

Here's a graph of my ROI. You'll see that I struggled to stay even in the beginning, hit my bad run, and since have steadily built up.

And here is the finish distribution. I'm very pleased with my ability to seal the deal when I get heads up. I really feel that I have improved in this area. When I ran SNG's before I had a higher ITM% but I wasn't winning as often.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Wits...Meet End

The frustration level has reached a peak never before seen during my 3 years of play. The rate at which my bankroll is being decreased is beyond anything I could comprehend.

Look up "lost" in a dictionary, and there I am.

Mike Matasow has his blow ups in tournaments, I'm having them in cash games. I'll grind and grind and grind then make a stupid move for my entire stack. It's like I can't help myself.

Looking at the numbers for the year so far they show that I'm a cash game loser. It's not a huge number, It's at right about $1,100 for the year and that is at different levels. In fact I'm only profitable at the 100NL tables. Everything else, including limit games, I'm down.

My tournament cashes are what save me. I'm still up over last years profit, but only by a meager $100. I really thought I would at least double last years figure. I haven't played a tournament in a month and maybe that's what my problem is. I'm not getting any diversity, and I'm not playing my best game (MTT's).

Maybe I shouldn't be playing cash games at all. The numbers say that MTT's are my best game. They were last year, and they are this year. I've always wanted to build up to being a high(ish) stakes cash game specialist.

Perhaps I just don't have the skill set for it.

Damn it's difficult to admit that.

Could be for the best though.

At any rate the cash games are going out of play for a while. I'm going to start getting into the SNG's again and the MTT's. If I continue to lose, then I'll probably take the rest of the month off.

I just don't know, it's kinda depressing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Of Little Consolation

Remember a few weeks back I mentioned that my wife was going to miss a few paychecks? Well it caught up to us this week and I had to withdrawal a $1,000 from the bankroll this morning. That combined with the huge downswing I've had (the upswing last week didn't cover it) and the 2.5 buyins I've lost this week, means I will be dropping down to $50NL for a week or so.

I can take heart in the fact that my losses this week have not been due to bad play on my part. Just the usual array of bad beats. I've also qualified for the Gold Freeroll on Full Tilt but all of that still doesn't make up for the fact that I'm bankroll poor right now. It sucks!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What's Changed?

This week of play has seen a vast improvement for me compared to the past few. I wanted to take a look at the numbers and see if I could pinpoint what areas had changed and determine what areas still needed change.

I chose to do a comparison between the week of Nov. 5-11 (week A) and the past week of Nov. 19-25 (week B). I chose the week of the 5th because that was my biggest losing week during my downswing.

Week A = 2,493
Week B = 1,256
That's twice as many hands but I think the numbers should translate well between the two. I've begun to base my sessions on the number of Full Tilt points I earn. My goal each day right now is to accumulate a minimum of 100 points a day. This allows me to earn entry into the iron man freerolls as well as give me a gauge. If I'm playing well and I want to continue, I do. If I feel I'm struggling I can use the 100 point mark as a way to call it quits for the day.

Week A = -$581.00
Week B = $624.95

Vol. Put $ In Pot %:
Week A = 22.34
Week B = 26.83
My play was a little looser preflop and I tried to take advantage of position a bit more. Opening up more from the cutoff is working nicely.

Vol. Put $ In From SB:
Week A = 31.76
Week B = 28.63
This is the single most obvious leak in my game right now. I'm seeing way to many flops from the Small Blind. Since this is the worst position on the table it needs to be at about the tightest position. Blind defense is not as important in NL as it is in Limit and I believe a majority of players have this problem. I need to work on cutting the number above in half.

With that said (because in poker it always depends) I have found that post flop stealing from the SB can be very effective against players I have a good read on.

Att. To Steal Blinds:
Week A = 31.05
Week B = 43.16
This has been a product of my increased cutoff play. I've also began to open up my preflop raise requirements which has helped.

Won$ When Seeing Flop %:
Week A = 41.91
Week B = 53.18
The increase has been a result of a few factors. My willingness to raise more Preflop has aided my continuation betting postflop. My post flop aggression has also increased which translates to more pressure on my opponents.

Won $ At ShowDown:
Week A = 40.41
Week B = 59.74
One of the big adjustments I made to my game over the last week was to not pay off river bets. I actually wrote down at the beginning of the week "QUIT PAYING OFF RIVER BETS". I took heed to the warning and it translated into money in the pocket.

Preflop Raise %:
Week A = 14.56
Week B = 21.18
I touched on this earlier but being the aggressor pays off in NL.

Total Aggression Factor:
Week A = 2.79
Week B = 4.4
An obvious bump there. I made a concerted effort this week to try and isolate the weaker players at my table. When I was successful in that I made sure they had to pay whenever I felt they were on drawing hands. This worked out nicely but could also cause large losses when variance kicks in.

There you have it. I'm going to continue to work on the above while backing off from the SB and see if I can have another stellar week.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Silver Man

This week has been going considerably better than the previous few. I have managed to actually be up a bit so far and when I have a losing session I'm keeping it to a minimum. I've have found I'm not stacking other players as much this week. I'll take it though considering the alternative has been losing my ass. I've made silver in the Iron Man this month and I'll have Gold in a few days. I won't be making Iron status but I don't expect to until I move up in levels.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Slow play Aces

Reason #1 to not slow play Aces:

Click here to view a larger version.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Giveth, Taketh Away, Giveth Again

Big swings today

Good Beat

Click here to view a larger version.

Bad Read

Click here to view a larger version.

Nice Hand

Click here to view a larger version.

Rakeback > Bonus

I received my Full Tilt rakeback for October and I was a little shocked. With most (and I thought all) sites the rate of clearing bonus is greater than the rakeback rate offered. When I actually had earned rakeback on top of the bonus cleared I realized just how anemic Full Tilt's bonus policy is.

I am getting 27% back at Full Tilt right now and that seems to be the best rate going. If your serious about using poker for some amount of income generation you owe it to yourself to look into rakeback offers. With the number of sites available dwindling for U.S. players the days of bonus whoring are quickly fading. Rakeback offers you the ability to maintain income generation for the life of your account, just like a recurring monthly bonus.

I've done business with several sites and I recommend you check out RakeBrain, PokerSourceOnline, or RakeFreeze.

(If you sign up at Rakefreeze please use lifesagrind as your referal.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I am Iron Man

Well... not really.

I have managed to qualify for the bronze man tourney on Full Tilt though. I'll make the gold level before the month is out so that's at least something. I also managed to have a profitable session of poker. It was only half a buy in and I only played 109 hands today but I managed to stay out of trouble and avoid some familiar pitfalls.

Baby steps everyone... baby steps

And The Beat Goes On

Things have not been looking up this week. In fact my spiral continues as I am now down 12.5 buy ins since October 27th. This has caused my overall numbers after 27,965 hands to be a total 0.35BB/100. It's not put me in the red but I need to continue to figure out what's happening.

On a brighter note I did manage to figure out that I'm calling too many river bets from calling stations. I had a guy at my table last night who played 61% of his 109 hand and never raised once preflop. His post flop aggression factor was also 0.00. He managed to river me an uncountable number of times last night. It really became frustrating. I do believe that it didn't affect my overall play but I'm losing the big pots. This is what's killing me.

I feel confident in my preflop play but I'm paying off too many players. It hasn't been uncommon for me to have a swing of several buyins both ways during a single session.

I'm going to enlist the help of for some insight. I've been a member for several months but haven't been utilizing the resource. Maybe if I can work through some hands here as well it will help.

Stay Tuned for further updates to the devestation.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Abondon Ship!

If my poker game was a ship... right now it would be plummeting to the bottom of the ocean floor. Just when I thought things were going alright this week I've managed to have an eight buy in swing to the negative over the last two days. Half of it was not my fault, but the other half was. It's not the obvious version of tilt, you know, the one where you get pissed and throw things, but it's tilt none the less.

This ship has got to be resurfaced soon or all hope may be lost. In an effort to do that my play is being reduced to only one table at a time. The plan is to find the post flop errors I'm making before I make them. That sounds rudimentary, and it should be, but it's an iceberg size hole in the side of my game right now.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More Picks

Filed Under: Sports

Coming off a losing week and now I'm 14-14 on the NFL season. At this point I would recommend that you do not use my picks as any sort of guage for your own picks.

Let the mediocraty continue:

Giants -13

Saints -1

Falcons -5.5

Bears -13.5

Seahawks -7

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

I'm an action junkie.

It started about 3 weeks ago and it first infected my tourney play. I recognized it and cut tournies out. Now it's my cash games. The session starts ok, then I lose complete control like a priest in a boy's shower room. I'm averaging a buyin and a half loss a day for the last six days.

My hope is that by writing it down here I can find the will to take back my game.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Journey Week 6

Filed Under: Poker

I stayed true to my word and didn't play any tournaments after last Monday. I can't say I missed it. It gave me time at night to hang out with the family and catch up on some TV. I probably won't play any this week either as I have a new goal within the Journey.

My wife is changing jobs and the new one doesn't start until the second week of November. She will not be getting at least one paycheck between now and then so I need to make up that income. That means I need to make $500 a week for the next few weeks. I haven't been putting any pressure on myself so far because time has been on my side. Now it looks like I'm going to have to do some withdrawing from the bankroll again so I need to step it up.

This past week I would have made more than the requisite $500 but I managed to lose 4 1/2 buy ins between Friday and Saturday. 1 1/2 of those were purely do to my donktastic tilting after loosing two buy ins in a row. My set lost to an overpairs rivered set and I lost with another set when my opponents two pair made a bigger full house on the turn. The money got in before these cards came out on both occasions.

On a things are looking up note, I now have a rakeback deal at Full Tilt. The amazing individuals as were able to switch my existing account over to a rakeback account. I've really taken a liking to Full Tilt and it just may become my permanent home. If you decide to sign up at RakeFreeze please use lifesagrind as your referral.

Journey Goal: $4,000
Needed: $3968.61
NL100: $132.70
Tournaments: -$149.00
Satellites: -$17.40
Bonus/Rakeback: $80.00
Week Total: $46.30
Needed: $3922.31

NFL Picks

Filed Under: Sports

Still not getting any traction and I sit at 12-11 on the year.

For This Week:
Atlanta +3.5

San Francisco +15.5

New Orleans -1.5

Pittsburgh -9.5

New England -1

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Light Shone Brighter

Filed Under: Poker

Last nights fiascos in the 20K and the MATH has brought me to the sad conclusion that I have fallen into an all too familiar rut. Every few months I begin to lose my ability to be patient at the tables. This causes plays that just give my chips away and send me packing.

To correct this I'm going to stop the tournament play for the rest of the week. I will continue in the cash games but I need a break from the tournament circuit. Just a little breather to get my head right.

I also have removed all the poker sites from my system that I either no longer play at, or won't let me play because I'm in the good old US of A.

Here's the list of removed sites:
Aztec Poker
Bet On USA
Bet On Sports
Casino On Net
Check N Raise
Crazy Poker
Doyles Room
Golden Palace
Hollywood Poker
Noble Poker
Pacific Poker
Paradise Poker
Party Poker
Poker Rewards
Poker Host
Royal Vegas
The Gaming Club
Superior Poker
Tiger Gaming
Sun Poker
Titan Poker
VIP Poker

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Big Game

Filed Under: Poker

Last night's Big Game brought one of the holes in my game out into the glaring spotlight. To begin the event I felt like I had missed the pregame meeting where they stated, "Everyone must play back at lifesagrind. Doesn't matter what you have, make sure you push him off his hand."

I got to a slow and very short start to the game but then managed to double up when Joe Speaker slow played (and misplayed I believe) pocket Queens when I had pocket Jacks. I then went on a bit of a tear and managed to plant myself firmly in the top ten in chips till the bitter end.

The final hand is a lesson in what not to do:

Seat 1: iam23skidoo (1,040)
Seat 2: Iakaris (2,800)
Seat 4: csquard (7,835)
Seat 5: TripJax (6,165)
Seat 6: Mike_Maloney (7,265)
Seat 7: GCox25 (2,815)
Seat 8: lifesagrind (6,340)
Seat 9: peacecorn (3,020)
iam23skidoo posts the small blind of 100
Iakaris posts the big blind of 200
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lifesagrind [8c 6c]
csquard folds
TripJax folds
Mike_Maloney raises to 600
GCox25 folds
lifesagrind calls 600 - This call was made only because I felt I was going to be heads up against a deep stack. I will often make this play if we both have deep stacks and I feel I can push the player off his hand on later streets. I also have the added benefit of getting a disguised hand if I hit the flop hard.
peacecorn folds
iam23skidoo folds
Iakaris folds
*** FLOP *** [4s 9s 5h]
Mike_Maloney bets 1,500
lifesagrind calls 1,500 - This is my first mistake. This is not a bad flop for my hand. I have the gutshot, and going to the flop I was under the impression that my opponent was playing a big A. His pot size bet threw me off. I was expecting a bet, but pot sized seemed rather large without an overpair in this situation. I will generally raise here to throw my opponent off and setup the take away on the turn. Instead I decided to take a wait and see approach to the turn.
*** TURN *** [4s 9s 5h] [8d]
Mike_Maloney has 15 seconds left to act
Mike_Maloney bets 2,500
lifesagrind raises to 4,240, and is all in - And the fatal mistake. This was not a pot size bet by my opponent but the bet was big enough, and the pot was large enough, that their is really no way to take this pot now with just the power of my chips. I should have folded and waited for another opportunity but I convinced myself that my initial read about a big A was correct and now that I had paired my card, I felt I had the best hand.
Mike_Maloney calls 1,740
lifesagrind shows [8c 6c]
Mike_Maloney shows [Ac 9h]
*** RIVER *** [4s 9s 5h 8d] [4h]
lifesagrind shows two pair, Eights and Fours
Mike_Maloney shows two pair, Nines and Fours
Mike_Maloney wins the pot (12,980) with two pair, Nines and Fours
lifesagrind stands up - No help for me on the river and I'm gone.

Obviously my read on what Mike had was incorrect. I didn't think his early position raising standards included A9 offsuit (it was still a little early to just be stealing blinds). My mistake was not in playing the hand but by varying the way I played the hand without taking remaining stack sizes into account. Mike delayed his call of my all in so I was correct in that he could lay it down, the cost just wasn't high enough. Also I didn't play this hand to take it down by making a pair. I played this hand for the straight and flush possibilities and the deception of two pair. Changing my entire motivation for thinking my hand was good was an additional mistake, and ultimately a costly one.

There you have it, just a few things to think about and remember the next time you plan on setting up a player.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And The Journey Continues

Filed Under: Poker

Took two full days away from the tables this week. That is pretty unusual for me as I generally play at least a little bit every day. During the first day off I didn't miss it, during the second I did but I had too many other commitments to take time to play.

My NL game shaped up this week but I couldn't muster any sort of significant cash in a MTT so I continued to tread water. I'm changing the format of my updates. I'm going to just show weekly stats instead of a total to date, I think it may be a bit less convoluted this way.

Journey Goal: $4,000
Needed: -$4,047.22
NL100: $349.10
Tournaments: -$351.50
Satellites: -$6.70
Bonus/Rakeback: $87.71
Week Total: $78.61
Needed: -$3968.61

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Picks

Filed Under: Sports

3-3 last week makes me 9-8 on the year and I can't seem to stay ahead of the juice. Hoping against hope that this will be a big week:

Patriots -5.5

Steelers -2.5

Jets -2.5

Panthers +3

Broncos -4.5

Seahawks -6.5

Friday, October 20, 2006

Names Have Been Changed To Protect The Guilty

Filed Under: Poker

(The stats are: VP$IP,Preflop Raise,Agg. Factor,Continuation Bet,Hands Played)

Go ahead and click on the picture for a larger view. You will notice that this type of table setup is the equivalent of a fantasy come true for a player like me. Everyone has a decent stack, The table VP$IP is over 30%, and the player on my right is as loose/passive as they come. You will also notice I'm only 25 hands into the game yet I'm already up over a buy in.

To bad every table can't be like that. I've decided to start taking a more proactive stance in my table selection this week and it has been paying off in spades... and hearts, clubs, diamonds.

If you haven't been putting much thought into it, try to determine your best table makeup and actively search for it when logging on. There is a reason you always hear table selection is key.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Filed Under: Poker

A bit of a turn around this week. I managed to win a seat to the Sunday Million and then unregistered to take the T$. Also managed to get back some of the loss I'm holding in NL. Had a very disturbing trend throughout most of the week where I would be down a buy in within the first 20 hands and then spent the last 100 or so getting it back. Yesterday I finally had a session that didn't start in the hole. Full Tilt will be my new cash game home for a while as I took advantage of the $500 rebuy bonus.

Here we go:

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $276.68
2/4: -$4
3/6: -$363.35
NL50: -$128.98
NL100: -$112.80
MTT: $352.43
SNG: $12.00
Satellites: $189.60
Withdrawl: -$268.80
Total: -$47.22

Pick 'Em

Filed Under: Sports

2-1 for last week isnt' so bad. That puts me at 6-5 on the year which translates to about break even in the money department. I'm making more picks this week including what is sure to be an upset pick.

Bengals -2

Titans +11

Bills -1.5

Eagles -2.5

Jets -2.5

Upset Pick
Cardinals +11.5

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Broken Dream And Self fulfilling Prophecy

Filed Under: Poker

As you can see I managed to hold the chip lead in both The Mookie and the 2nd Chance last night. At the time I was going to shoot for a win in both events but it wasn't to be. In fact a win would elude me all around last night. I would bust right before the final table in the 2nd Chance but take my mad skillz to the final table of The Mookie.

The eventual winner, worldpoker05, would suckout on me twice before reaching the final table as I doubled him/her up on both occasions. At least they put the chips to good use.

Once we were down to the final six it appeared that phlyersphan had my number. I don't know if she outplayed me or picked up cards at the right time but she always seemed to know when to smooth call my raises and reapply pressure. She had been playing solid up till that point so I was giving her credit for hands. In retrospect I should have pushed back more.

After busting out of the 2nd Chance tourney I looked at the payouts of The Mookie and calculated that I needed to finish fourth to cover my buy ins for the night. Guess where I went out?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Tourney Stats

Filed Under: Poker

Edit: Thought I might add average buyin to give it more perspective.

Since I'm still in a statistical mood I figured I would expand my horizons and cover the stats for all of my multi table tournament play this year. Please take these numbers with care, I am not a tournament specialist. I play a lot more cash games than tournaments... I'm just better at tournaments than cash games. :)

Here we go:
# played: 260
buy-ins: range from $0 to $535
Average buy-in: $24.70
Average finish %: 41%
ROI: 109.05%
$/hour: $17.22/hr (this is based on table hours, not real hours)

So there you have it. I'm not a pro and I'm not a specialist but I think those numbers are fair for a low level Hobbyist.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some 20K Stats

Filed Under: Poker

I was perusing the old PokerTracker stats and decided to take a peek at my performance in the 20K Guaranteed events on Full Tilt. On Sundays they become a 30K and these were included as well.

I've played in 34 of these so far this year and have a "Finish in the Money Percentage" of 14.71. I really felt that I should have a higher percentage than that so I broke it down into the first 17 and the last 17. The first 17 I had a percentage of 5.88 and for the last 17 it's been 23.53. Certainly a dramatic improvement in performance. Of course everyone likes to look at your ROI (Return On Investment) and mine sits at 234.31%. This of course was bolstered by my 3rd place finish a few weeks ago.

As with all multi table tournaments you have to have your share of luck (suckouts) to win. Last night I felt was my time but I couldn't get the luck (suckouts) I needed. I did suffer my share of players getting lucky though but I always had enough chips to weather the storm, that is until the last one.

Coming back from the second break I sat in the top 20 and commanded a chip stack well over twice the average. My big hands were holding up for the most part and I was playing very smart, and probably a bit too conservative, poker. The player to my immediate left for almost the entire tourney was like the tail to my head of the same coin. I usually had him outchipped but he was always in contention. Where I played with prudence and made laydowns when I felt it necessary, he was slinging chips and making big calls. Fortunately for him he always seemed to get what he needed to win the hand. I truly thought that if I ran into trouble, it would be with him.

Alas it wasn't. I struggled during the third hour of play and had less than half the chips I had after the second hour. Mere minutes before the third break this hand unfolded.

Oh Yeah, It's your birthday!

For I Am The Champion.... Of The World!

Then in shock and horror I forgot to push the print screen button again. The running Jacks would end my chances for a win. It was a cash, but I won't be satisfied till it's a win.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Journey Week 3

Filed Under: Poker

Cash games are not my thing lately. I even turned an early upswing at the NL tables into a big loss by the end of the week. It seems the only poker I can be profitable in right now is tournaments.

I feel the key to long term success is the cash games. To that end I'm going to put some study time in over the next week in an attempt to right the ship. I still load everything into PokerTracker but I haven't taken the time to look at my hands in a long time.

Nobody responded to my post the other day but incase anyone is interested here is the result of the hand in question. Hand

Here are the numbers:

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $236.68
2/4: -$4
3/6: -$363.35
NL50: -$128.98
NL100: -$329.95
MTT: $628.74
SNG: $12.00
Satellites: -$0.10
Withdrawl: -$268.80
Total: -$217.76

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pick Time

Filed Under: Sports

A bad week and now I'm 4-4 on the season. I'm not sure if that's better than throwings darts at the picks or not. I'll look to rebound this week so lets get to it.

Kansas City -2.5

Philadelphia -2

Baltimore +4

Friday, October 06, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

Walking in the door at 8:57 pm last night I tried to get logged on in time for the 20K at Full Tilt but didn't quite make it. As an alternative I joined the alternate list for the 12.5K at UltimateBet. My seat was ready 6 hands into the event.

The beauty of online tournaments (at least at the levels I play) are that you don't have to get out of line in the first hour. A vast majority of the time if you play your big cards, well, big, then you will get action and you will make progress. I was fortunate last night as I managed to double up twice and took over 6,000 in chips to the first break. This allowed me quite a bit of breathing room and I was able to play a conservatively aggressive game for the most part.

I played what I would consider two key hands which decided my outcome in this particular tournament. The first one occurred with about 45 players left in the field. Forty places paid and I was sitting right around an average chip stack at the time. Having been moved to the table 16 hands ago, this comes up:

tdjenkins is at seat 0 with 22030.
weim is at seat 2 with 30080.
SIRCALLSALOT is at seat 3 with 1945.
Eddycash is at seat 4 with 9020.
makavelyces is at seat 9 with 6270.

ante is (75)
Q22 posts the small blind of 300.
weim posts the big blind of 600.

tdjenkins: Qs Qh


SIRCALLSALOT folds. Eddycash calls. equalizer5
folds. JB2107 folds. mattmancg folds. makavelyces
calls. tdjenkins raises to 3975. Q22 folds. weim
re-raises to 14100. Eddycash folds. makavelyces

With only 15 previous hands to pull from I have no real read on weim. He's taken down two hands preflop and hasn't played anything else outside his blinds. I initial read would be that he's playing pretty solid and we are definitely at bubble time.

Do you fold, call, raise, and why?

I'll post the results on that one later.

The second key hand was at the final table. Yes I made the final table. In fact I had my best finish to date in this tournament going out in 4th. This is the hand that crippled me.

I simply wasn't able to recover from that. In hindsight I'd make the same move over again. I've ran well in multi's over the last month but just haven't been able to seal the deal. The cash helped erase a horrible two weeks of ring game play so it all works out.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sweet Sweet No Limit

Filed Under: Poker

I've been struggling at the limit tables for the last week. I think I've played so much short handed NL that I've lost the ability to play a proper limit game. With time I could get back into the groove but I was sick of losing money so I play NL limit yesterday and managed my first winning session in over a week.

It felt good and I needed it.

As far as the gambling legislation goes everyone else is talking about it so go read them. I'll only say that I'm hunting for a new bumper sticker:

"When playing online poker is outlawed, Only outlaws will play online poker"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not A Bad Beat Story...

Filed Under: Poker

More of an illustration of what I've been up against this past week. It's not a bad beat because he put me all in preflop and I only had enough chips to last one round. I could have folded and made the bottom money, but I don't roll like that. In the big blind I was pushing with any two.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Journey Update Week 2

Filed Under: Poker

It hasn't quite been two weeks but since I need something to post about on Sundays, I'll make it the official Journey update day.

This week was not good to me. I managed to give back all the money made at the 3/6 tables. I decided to sign up for another rakeback site. Arctic Poker is giving back 40% with no wagering restriction and puts it into your account on a daily basis. I just signed up yesterday so I don't know really know much about the site yet. It is a prima site though so if you've played at one, you've played at them all.

Tournament play was pretty much break even for me this week. I plan on playing a few today so maybe I can come up with a decent cash.

Anyway, onto the numbers:

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $152.17
2/4: $25
3/6: -$70.25
MTT: -$167.01
SNG: $56.00
Satellites: -$0.10
Withdrawl: -$268.80
Total: -$272.99

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Picks Week 4

Filed Under: Sports, Poker

Had a glorious week last week going 3-0. This week the games look tight and I've only gone with two picks.

Chargers -2

Seahawks +2.5

I made the Seahawks bet early in the week before it was announced that Alexander would not play. I thought the game would move the Seattle having to give points before the week was out but the news of the League MVP being out has now pushed the line to Seahawks +3. I would place more money on it if they were +7 but without Alexander it may be an uphill climb since they will move to a more one dimensional team. Also I'd ask for a moment of silence as they had to cut Kacyvenski to make room for another runner.

In actual poker news I took another run at the 20K last night. I was uncerimoniously removed from the tournament when I made a right move at the wrong time. I cashed but this hand would have set me up for a final table run.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

2...2...2..Final Table In 1 (night)

Filed Under: Poker

Don't get too excited by the title of this post. One of them I didn't finish high enough to cash in and the other (although a win) didn't pay enough to cover my buy-ins for the night. That combined with a downfall at the limit tables, and my decision to purchase an iPod Video, have put the Journey in a slight hole. I'm cofident I'll bounce back though and be back on track by the end of the week.

Why an iPod Video you ask. Well my PSP didn't have enough storage for practical use as an MP3 player and my Nano couldn't play video. I've been getting into some vidcasts and I wanted to take my TV shows with me on the go. I thought about waiting for the Zune to be released in November but I'm an instant gratification kinda guy. With the price drop on the 30GB model to the same price I paid for my Nano I couldn't pass it up. That and I can get NFL highlights through iTunes now and to a fan that doesn't have cable it's my best way to keep up with what's happening.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

One Out Of Three

Filed Under: Poker

I've started to play the 20K on Full Tilt a few nights a week and last night was one of them. PartyPoker also gave me a free $40 so I signed up for the 40K as well as the Mondays At The Hoy.

I debated (internally) naming the post "An Excercise In Being Card Dead", but since I had no real examples, or any insight to share in actually playing card dead, I chose not to. Rest assured though I was in fact horribly card dead through both the 20K and the MATH. The 40K was a different story but we'll get to that later. Oh, and I sucked in the MATH going out early.

I think I was nursing a short stack in the 20K from hand number 10 and it lasted for around 90 minutes. I then went on a nice run which put me over the average and I sat there for a while when the following situation arose:

(I thought I was saving screen shots of this but I was hitting the Pause/Break button instead of the PrntScrn button, oops)

We're down to about 128 left and 99 pay. I have 7,900 in chips which is a bit under average. The blinds are 250/500 with a 50 ante. I still have play left in my stack and I'm the small blind. It's important to note that the standard raise for this table has been 3X BB. The table is full but I'll cut out the irrelevant parts here.

Seat 6: Diggzy Brown (6,965)
Seat 8: lifesagrind (7,900)

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lifesagrind [9d 9h]
Folds around
Diggzy Brown raises to 2,500 This screams "give me the blinds". This represents a little over a third of his stack. It's a big chunk but I don't think he's committed, and I don't think he wants a call.

lifesagrind raises to 7,850, and is all in I have an opportunity here to pick up a nice amount of chips and set myself up for a deep run.

Diggzy Brown calls 4,415, and is all in
lifesagrind shows [9d 9h]
Diggzy Brown shows [Ad Th] I would have to say this is a bad call. If he had me well outchipped it would be one thing but he's calling off all of his chips here with an easily dominated hand. He has to believe that his best case is a coin flip and if he folds he has enough chips to steal the blinds again if needed.

*** FLOP *** [Ah 5d 4h] You already knew this was coming
*** TURN *** [Ah 5d 4h] [3d]
*** RIVER *** [Ah 5d 4h 3d] [5h]
lifesagrind shows two pair, Nines and Fives
Diggzy Brown shows two pair, Aces and Fives
Diggzy Brown wins the pot (14,480) with two pair, Aces and Fives

Was my analysis incorrect? Did he have to call there? Would you?

Give me some feedback and let me know what you think.

Now the 40K. Boy these party players are bad. That really sums up the whole thing. Nothing spectacular happened. I had a better than average stack and ran it deep. I finished in 55th out of 2,388 players. Finished in the top 2% and the payout sucked. It did cover my buyins for the night plus a little more but I really wish they would pay fewer places so the payouts were greater. All in all though the tourney was soft so I may start playing this one on a regular basis.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Journey Update

Filed Under: Poker

It's been five days since I declared my intentions of the 4K roadtrip. Actyper was the only one willing to throw down a date of completion, he went with Feb. 13. Personally I can't see it taking that long. Anyway... onto the update

Needed: $4,000
Bonus/Rakeback: $133.25
3/6: $380.5
MTT: -$112.50
SNG: $56.00
Satellites: -$0.10
Total: $457.15

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Filed Under: Sports

Went 1 for 3 last week thanks to the donktastic job that the Eagles did. Talk about screwing the pooch.

I really didn't care for most of the lines this week. There should be some close and difficult games as teams start to find their true identity. With that said I did find 3 to go with:

Seahawks -3.5

Eagles -6 (I know I'm a glutton for punishment, I don't even like this team)

Titans +10.5 (Doesn't this seem a little out of whack)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

4K Or Bust

Filed Under: Poker

A family trip is in order for Spring Break this year. Destination of choice. LegoLand! My middle son has decided he wants to be a Lego Master Builder when he grows up. We've never been to Legoland and we could wait until 2009 when our own Legoland is scheduled to open up, but by then he'll have moved on and decided to be a Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, or something along those lines. Instead come March we will go on a pilgrimage to San Diego.

Driving on this trip would take too much time so I'm going to have to pay for 4 round trip tickets, car rental, hotel, food, admission, yada yada yada. In short I'm going to need a bunch of money that I don't presently have. The upside is that I have until March to come up with the funds.

With that in mind, I plan on making this an entirely poker funded trip. After removing my tournament winnings from last week and paying the mortgage I'm left with $1,800 in the bankroll. Using a very generous estimate I'm going to need $4,000 for the trip. I would also like to grow the bankroll in the process but to keep it simple I'm going to embark on the "4K Or Bust Journey". Notice I'm not calling this a "challenge" because I have 5 full months to generate the funds. With my past performance as a gauge, this should be very doable.

The plan of action is to get back into my limit game from days gone by. With my present bankroll that means playing 3/6. This will also generate a nice sum for my rakeback. (NL doesn't take near as much in rake as limit) I won't be abandoning tournament play though. One or two nice tournament cashes pays for the whole thing so I'm not above taking the easy way out.

So...Limit by day, tournaments by night.

Anybody want to put an over/under on when I hit the 4K?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Sunday Picks and ALMOST another Final Table

Filed Under: Poker, Sports

First off I almost made another final table when I played on Thursday night. In the UltimateBet $12.5K Guarantee I was playing a pretty good game and had a very nice chip stack after the first break. I nursed it rather well but couldn't sustain and ended up out in 15th.

Now onto more important matters. The NFL. Every year I take the paltry sum of $100 and use it towards for wagers on the NFL season. If I have anything left over, it all goes on the SuperBowl. I've learned to never play week 1 as it's just too difficult to tell where teams are. Now that week 1 is over I can try my hand at some picks. I don't use any formula and really base my picks on my gut feeling and past performance. I may pick one game a week, or ten, it just depends on what I see and how the lines look.

To start things off I've gone with three games this week.

Eagles -3 vs. Giants
Saints -2.5 vs. Packers
Rams -3 vs. 49ers

All wagers are $10 unless I get the roll up to $200 then they become $20, $300 gets you $30, and so on.

I also took advantage of the $100 free wager involving the monday night game so I have:

Steelers -1.5 vs. Jaguars

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tale Of Two $20K's

Filed Under: Poker

Tuesday night I decided to try my luck at the nightly Full Tilt $20K Guarantee tournament. At the same time I fired up a $20 SNG so that I could have something to concentrate on while doing my normal folding during the first hour of the multi. Things went very well in the SNG and I managed a win. Things were also going very well in the $20K as I managed to have a decent stack throughout most of the event. I really felt I was in the zone. My A+ game was in effect and I really thought it would be night for a big win. In my previous 13 attempts at this tournament the best I had ever managed was a 99th place. I was going to blow that away and I was smelling blood as we got closer to the end. My key hand for the night ended up being this:

The Ace that came on the river ended my night in 32nd position. I was severely disappointed to say the least. I knew I was playing my best and my reads had been dead on almost every time.

Then came last night. I decided to play the $20K again as well as The Mookie and the PokerSavvy Blogger freeroll. I donked off early in both the Mookie and the freeroll. I really couldn't get a groove going at any time and I felt rather off. The benefit of being to active in those two events was that I didn't have time to screw up the $20K early. That would come later... or would it?

Knowing that I wasn't playing my best I needed a distraction to keep from being stupid at the tables. I spent time catching up on my bloglines feeds while folding away and waiting for cards. For some reason this worked up through the second break. When I was still going strong I decided to give the game my full attention.

I soon got in the zone and had my first major double up in the form of this hand:

That solidified my chip stack until we made the final table. There was one player of note who was at the same table with me throughout the entire tournament, including the final table. I would have to say that this player had so much gamble in him, that if it wasn't for luck, he'd lose everyone of these things. Having him at the table was both good and bad. He managed to eliminate a lot of players but I had to be careful when entering pots with him. He could push all in at any time and that kind of player is dangerous. Yet also could for the occasional double up so it wasn't all bad.

Heading into the final table I was middle of the pack:

Play at the final table went pretty fast. Things were going well and then I had this huge double up when we were down to three:

The chip leader had been very active and was pushing his stack all in at any given opportunity. I bet the flop and checked the turn intending to call his bet. I was happy to see him push all in and never for a moment thought he had the flush. It's good to be right sometimes. The defining hand of the tournament came a short time later:

Didn't want the call, but...damn that looks good.

Or not.

In hindsight I really could have played that differently and pushed him off the flop. Oh well, live and learn. The damage:

Not bad for a nights work. You'll also notice that Iakaris finished in 10th just missing the final table.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Viking Fan (not the ones you think)

Filed Under: Personal

Yes that is my son (#2). The 4th grade, fully padded, search and destroy killing machine.

Killing machine might be a little over the top but his team did trounce their opponents to the tune of 43-0. This past weekend was not only the NFL season opener but also the FCCJC season opener as well. Turns out that 43-0 is the points spread allowed by the league so the game was called half way through the third quarter. The coaches on each side agreed to allow the kids to get some practice in so regulation time was finished.

I've coached my son's baseball team since he decided to start playing the game 4 years ago. Now with football I'm able to enjoy one of his sport activities as a spectator. It's a very different experience. I thoroughly enjoyed playing the role of proud papa and I had almost lost my voice by the end of it. Feeling the excitement and pride over a childs accomplishments is one of the many benefits of parenthood. I can only imagine it getting better year after year.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Goals Review and the Future

Filed Under: Poker

First a review of my August Half As Goals:

Half As Goal #1:
August: For the first half of the month I want to satellite into the NLHE, NLHE 6-max, and the main event of the Full Tilt Online Series of Poker.

I did...and I sucked.

Half As Goal #2:
August: Continue playing satellites at PokerStars but now for the WCOOP. I want to qualify for the Razz, $530 No Limit, $215 HORSE, and the Main Event.

I did manage to satellite into the $530 event. Then I unregistered and sold my W$ for cash. My game isn't ready for the WCOOP yet.

Half As Goal #3:
August: I'm going to stay moderate and shoot for 50 table hours this month at the NL games.

Didn't quite make it. I spent 43.9 table hours on NL.

No set goals this month, probably not next month either. I want to get back to what was successfull for me a few months ago and that means SNG's and Multi's. I'm going to be concentrating on $20 SNG's and Multi's up to $30. I may play some satellites with a higher entry fee at Stars. I've found these to be a good source of fundage when needed.

So far my results in the SNG's are mixed. I started out hot and then couldn't seem to find my groove yesterday.

$20+2 Stats:
22 played
2 wins
3 seconds
4 thirds

ITM 40.9%
ROI 11.6%
$56 profit

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Answer

Filed Under: Poker

I know it's been almost a week since I posed the question. If you don't remember, go check it out and come back.



Here is the final result:

RIVER [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H,9S ]
lifesagrind bets $3,000, Fifth Sin calls $2,385 and is all-in.

lifesagrind shows [ 4C,5C ]
Fifth Sin shows [ 6H,7C ]
lifesagrind wins $615, Fifth Sin wins $11,070.

I lose. The reason I chose this hand is it illustrates what has been a flaw in my game lately. My post flop play has been off and I need to fix it.

The turn card which made my hand also was obviously my demise. Could I have seen this coming? I've made it part of my game to not "look for monsters under the bed." In other words just because it's possible for my opponent to have me beat, don't automatically assume that they do. Osinsh pointed out that based on my read my opponent may have held A6. This would have been a devestating hand for me as well and it did cross my mind. I also decided that if he was lucky enough to have that hand in this situation then I was going to pay him off.

The truth of the matter is that when I made my two pair, I was playing this hand for all of my chips. That was close minded and cost me my tournament life. Let's look at the turn shall we?

TURN [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H ]
lifesagrind checks, Fifth Sin bets $900, lifesagrind bets $2,000, Fifth Sin calls $1,100.

My mouse trap captured the wrong prey. Since I made the summary decision that I had the best hand I ignored what my opponent was telling me. His bet was so weak, that he was telegraphing that he wanted my call. I was willing to call his weak bet on the flop (granted he was just taking a stab at it and my read was still valid on the flop), so why not try to get me to come along. I surmised that my raise at this juncture was designed to allow him to call and since he did I wasn't alerted to his holdings. The fact that he bet should have been enough to shut me down. I would not give up the hand but I needed to take into account the stack sizes here. Against a small stack I can certainly play for all of their chips with this hand. With us so close though and him betting the turn such a small amount I should have gone into call mode. I can't see me getting away from this hand entirely. But I certainly shouldn't have gone about broke with it either. I was playing this "trapping" hand to hit my straight or flush. The fact that I hit two pair on a very draw heavy board was only going to get me in trouble.

Hindsight being what it is I know the proper play. What I need to work on though is seeing these situations on the fly and acting accordingly.

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Better Mouse Trap

Filed Under: Poker

Last night was a 10K Freeroll sponsored by PokerSourceOnline at PokerRoom. As long as you had setup your PokerRoom account through PokerSourceOnline you were eligible to play. Fortunately for me, I had done so.

I had the opportunity during this event to play what I considered to be an excellent trapping opportunity. I wanted to share it with you, and hopefully get some feedback.

Before we get to the hand I want to give some information about the table. During the first hour of this event I would have thought I was in a rebuy. The play was beyond bad and players were pushing with crap and hoping to hit. Granted this was a freeroll, but it was a big one. First place gave you more than 2,000 reasons to bring your "A" game and it seemed no one did.

I went into the first break with just slightly over 2,000 chips from my starting 1,500. As soon as the second hour began the table dynamic took an abrupt 180. Now everyone was tight and very tentative. Preflop raises were now taking down pots uncontested. I quickly adjusted to this and began to open up a little more. When I was called I played aggressively postflop and never had to show down a hand. I was looser, but not so much that I would have considered myself a loose player. If I was an opponent looking at my play I would have just thought that I was getting hit by cards a little more than during the first hour. I had taken my stack up to 6,650 when we hit the 90 minute mark. That is when this opportunity presented itself.

Seat 1: Fifth Sin ($5,485 in chips)
Seat 2: bmnelson1 ($1,630 in chips)
Seat 3: KyCrack ($3,810 in chips)
Seat 4: CesiumQ ($3,405 in chips)
Seat 5: cultofray ($270 in chips)
Seat 6: lifesagrind [4C,5C] ($6,650 in chips)
Seat 7: zianna ($3,470 in chips)
Seat 8: DieC23 ($3,045 in chips)
Seat 9: frednorris1 ($2,820 in chips)
Seat 10: syphos ($6,385 in chips)
cultofray posts blind ($100), lifesagrind posts blind ($200).

zianna folds, DieC23 folds, frednorris1 folds, syphos folds, Fifth Sin bets $500, bmnelson1 folds, KyCrack folds, CesiumQ folds, cultofray folds, lifesagrind calls $300.

When it's folded to me I took the following into consideration. The table has been very tight and no one has gotten out of line. I'm going to put every preflop raise on a big A or medium to large pair at this point. The raiser has been folding plenty of hands, even in his blinds so I'm not going to adjust my read. He also has a deep stack in comparison to the blinds. If I can hit my hand I can look to take a very large pot if things work out.

FLOP [board cards 7D,3C,5S ]
lifesagrind checks, Fifth Sin bets $600, lifesagrind calls $600.

This is a very good flop for me. I've got my gutshot straight draw, middle pair, and the backdoor flush draw. The problem is if I bet here and my opponent only has a big A he may be chased away. I opt instead to check and see what happens. The pot is $1,100 at this point and his bet of $600 is weak. I took this as a "go away" bet. I wasn't going anywhere but I didn't want him to either.

TURN [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H ]
lifesagrind checks, Fifth Sin bets $900, lifesagrind bets $2,000, Fifth Sin calls $1,100.

Now I've made my two pair. I believed I had the best hand here but I decided to see what happens. His bet of $900 into what is now a $2,300 pot is extremely weak. I wanted to build the pot but make a bet that he could call if he wanted to chase the gutshot with his A. I'm only betting $200 over a min raise which I believed he would call, which he did.

RIVER [board cards 7D,3C,5S,4H,9S ]
lifesagrind bets $3,000

Now I wanted to make it look like I was taking the pot away from him by putting him all in. That is why I lead out. I truly believed that he would check behind me if check in this spot. I'm looking to give the appearance of bluffing as to induce the call.

I'm not going to post whether my opponent called or not just yet. I want to know what you think about how the hand progressed and whether your read is any different than mine. Is my bet on the river to large or should I have not bet at all?

Monday, August 28, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

The challenge is over. I didn't burn through the entire $1,000 but I had another horrendous day yesterday and I need to assess what's going on. I know it wasn't all bad play that's led to the losses the last few days but the challenge has not done what it was intended for.

The hard facts are that July was a slight loss overall for me and August has been the worst month I've ever had. I was having a bad month before the challenge and it was supposed to give me a kick in the ass, not kick my ass entirely. Something is amiss and I need to do a reset on my poker play.

I'm not sure where to begin. Multi table tournaments are my biggest money maker this year as they were last year. I spent a few months doing nothing but tournament play and those were profitable. I'm leaning towards going back to nothing but SNG's and multi's.

My NL game has not been a disaster entirely. I'm actually still profitable at 50NL and 100NL. I'm down 4 buyins at 25NL but two of those were from yesterday (I couldn't even win there). I started the year clearing bonuses through limit play and am down in both 1/2 and 2/4. Not by a whole lot but the red color on the spreadsheet is a bit annoying.

I'm thinking I might just take the time to get those limits out of the red before moving on. Even if I was only up $1 at least it wouldn't be red.

Now that I'm writing it I think I will go for a change of pace and kick that limit play out of the red. The limits are below my bankroll and I can just kick back and relax while I play. The folding required in limit will be good for me. My aggression has been getting a little out of control lately so I'll hit that reset button and reboot.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Step Down

Filed Under: Poker

A bad day at the tables. I went through two theories as to why this happened while I was playing. At first I just thought I wasn't getting any action and simply getting bad cards, ie. running bad.

Then I thought I was getting outplayed. This is the theory I was operating under during most of the session, and it's the theory that cost me. Early in the session I was making some large laydowns. As I kept thinking about these I decided to start looking my opponents up more. Every time I decided to do this they had the goods. A majority of my losses on the day can be traced back to three hands where I paid my opponents off.

Challenge Stats:
Bankroll start: $1,025.15
Level: NL1/2
Hands: 501
Hours: 5.88
Win/Loss: ($373.90)
Bankroll end: $651.25

As you can see I now have to drop down to the .5/1 level till I can get back to $800. I'm very disappointed in myself so far this challenge. I have found that the players at the 1/2 level tend to call continuation bets more frequently than in the lower levels. I'm going to need to fire that second bullet more often than I have in the past when I get back there.

The only hand that didn't show I was sucking during the session is below. It clearly illustrates the dangers of getting married to Aces after slow playing them preflop.

PokerRoom No-Limit Hold'em, $4 BB (5 handed)
SB ($299.70)
BB ($147.00)
UTG ($166.50)
MP ($100.15)
lifesagrind ($201.80)

Preflop: lifesagrind is Button with 8s, 7s.
1 fold, MP calls $2, lifesagrind raises to $10, 2 folds, MP calls $8.

Flop: ($23) 4s, 6s, Js (2 players)
MP checks, lifesagrind bets $15, MP raises to $90.15, lifesagrind raises to $165.3.

Turn: ($278.45) Kc (2 players)

River: ($278.45) 3c (2 players)

Final Pot: $278.45

Results below:
MP doesn't show.
lifesagrind has 8s 7s (flush, jack high).
Outcome: lifesagrind wins $278.45.

The hand history for some reason doesn't show his cards in poker tracker. When I checked the history when the hand was played though, my opponent had AA without the A of spades. Pushing all in with no outs really isn't the way to go boys and girls.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

As much as I was in the zone on Thursday, I was out of it on Friday. I literaly spent over half my session not having a clue where I was in most hands. My concentration was shot. I'm actually not even sure if I could have played well I was able to concentrate. There are sometimes days when you just shouldn't play, and yesterday was one of them.

Challenge Stats:
Bankroll start: $1,242.60
Level: NL1/2
Hands: 253
Hours: 2.48
Win/Loss: ($217.45)
Bankroll end: $1,025.15

Friday, August 25, 2006

And In The Beginning...

Filed Under: Poker

LifesAGrind saw the challenge, and it was good.

The first day of my new adventure was a little exciting. I'd almost say I became a little giddy but I don't want to sound like a girlie man. I took the endeavors seriously and really tried to make the best decisions I could during my short time of playing.

I ran two sessions. The first for 102 minutes and the second for 63 minutes. I also wanted to have some fun and donk off some chips so I played in the WWdN:not last night. I had fun playing crap and showing it most of the time. Didn't amount to a long tournament for me, but fun none the less.

Challenge Stats:
Bankroll start: $1,000.00
Level: NL1/2
Hands: 272
Hours: 2.75
Win/Loss: $242.60
Bankroll end: $1242.60

I felt I missplayed a few hands which I plan on posting to the CardRunners forum for some analysis. If I get anything interesting from that I may post them.

For a hand that gives a nice example of betting telling a story I present the following:

PokerRoom No-Limit Hold'em, $4 BB (5 handed)
MP ($142.60)
Button ($195.80)
SB ($202.50)
lifesagrind ($339.30)
UTG ($238.60)

Preflop: lifesagrind is BB with 7s, 7c.
1 fold, MP raises to $4, 1 fold, SB calls $3, lifesagrind calls $2. - Yeah it was a min raise but I'm out of position with a middle pair so I'll wait and see what the flop brings.

Flop: ($12) 9h, 4s, Qs (3 players)
SB checks, lifesagrind checks, MP bets $11, SB folds, lifesagrind calls $11. - It's a pot sized bet. I figure I'm looking at two possibilities here. He's either protecting a Q against the flush draw, or he's merely continuation betting. Under normal circumstances I fold here with so many draws on board but this player had been making some bizarre plays. My decision was to float him and see what developed on the turn.

Turn: ($34) 3s (2 players)
lifesagrind checks, MP checks.

River: ($34) 3c (2 players)
lifesagrind checks, MP bets $32, lifesagrind calls $32. - The problem I had with his bet at this point was, why would he make it? I was willing to call a pot sized bet on the flop. The flush completes on the river and I check. I would consider my play to tell him, I'm either slow playing a monster, or I have nothing. Based on that, his pot sized bet makes absolutely no sense. If he actually had a huge hand he'd want to bet an amount I may actually call. A pot sized bet is not that. I read it as a defensive bet intended to make me scared and abandon my hand.

Final Pot: $98
Results below:
MP has 6d 6c (two pair, sixes and threes).
lifesagrind has 7s 7c (two pair, sevens and threes).
Outcome: lifesagrind wins $98.

Boy am I happy to see this river card! (no analysis needed)

PokerRoom No-Limit Hold'em, $4 BB (5 handed)
UTG ($200.40)
MP ($568.70)
Button ($318.00)
lifesagrind ($187.40)
BB ($212.20)

Preflop: lifesagrind is SB with Ad, As.
UTG calls $2, 1 fold, Button raises to $5, lifesagrind calls $4, 1 fold, UTG calls $3.

Flop: ($17) Ac, 7c, 7h (3 players)
lifesagrind checks, UTG checks, Button checks.

Turn: ($17) Ks (3 players)
lifesagrind checks, UTG checks, Button bets $7, lifesagrind raises to $14, UTG calls $14, Button calls $7.

River: ($59) 4c (3 players)
lifesagrind bets $35, UTG raises to $70, Button folds, lifesagrind raises to $133.4, UTG calls $98.40.

Final Pot: $360.80

Results below:
UTG has 4s 7s (full house, sevens full of fours).
lifesagrind has Ad As (full house, aces full of sevens).
Outcome: lifesagrind wins $360.80.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Challenge Me Coach!

Filed Under: Poker

For the past 4 years I've been coaching my sons baseball team. As the boys got older and the drills became more involved the players would try to outdo one another. The repetition of the drills would wear on them and then we would here it..."Challenge me coach!"

They wanted to ball...higher, faster, farther...anything to make them struggle that much more, to prove themselves. As adults we sometimes lose that drive. The monotony of the day is just tedium that must be endured. This leads to laziness and eventually apathy.

My poker game has gotten to that point. My need to withdraw from the bankroll has left me grinding the same limits, year after year. I need to break this cycle. I need to instill excitement back in the game.

While going through the blogroll I came across the stakes challenge that Blinders in planning on doing. It's a variation of the one DoubleAs has in his book. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. I need a spark to light a fire under my ass and get me moving up in levels.

Since I lack any originality I'm going to steal his formula and start with a $1,000 bankroll and move through levels using the following criteria:

.50/1 nl - Bankroll >$800
1/2 nl - Bankroll $800-1600
2/4 nl - Bankroll $1600-2400
3/6 nl - Bankroll $2400-4000
5/10 nl - Bankroll $4000+

In an effort to learn as much as possible I'm going to limit my play to one table at a time during challenge play. I also will not count rakeback when considering my bankroll. I will move up and down based solely on my play. I also will take note of any interesting hands I come across and mention them the next day.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lost Wages

Filed Under: Poker

After getting the kids to bed on Tuesday night I found myself in a tournament kind of mood. I decided to make it Guarantee night so I signed up for the 20K on Full Tilt, 12.5K at UltimateBet, $11 Rebuy at PokerStars, and the 40K at Party Poker. Right of the bat things were going my way. I was in a zone and collecting chips early in each event.

When things went bad, they seemed to go bad all at once. I took my 4,200 chips at Full Tilt and went into the first break with only my starting stack. My 4,500 at UltimateBet turned into slightly less than a starting stack. The 5,900 chips at Party turned into busting out before the first break. The 6,200 chips at PokerStars became, well, 6,200. PokerStars was going ok.

The blinds left me without many options at Full Tilt and UltimateBet so it was time to try and make some moves. At Full Tilt that led to busting out, but at UltimateBet I managed to start collecting chips. By the second break I was firmly within the top ten. Within the second hour of PokerStars I kept pace and maintained about twice the average chip stack.

The road to the third break brought some changes in both tourneys. I went very card dead at PokerStars but my stack allowed me to ride it out. At UltimateBet I had become the table captain so I focused my efforts into accumulating chips. This was working nicely and I was trading places with the chip leader for a while before entering the break in second place.

I had a rather unique table in the PokerStars tourney. I wasn't moved once and neither were most of the other players. The aggression was up a little bit during the rebuy period but it was never in the normal maniac mode you usually see. Instead I saw players who were paying attention and were really able to play the game. With about 15 minutes left until break I still wasn't seeing any decent cards. All the folding I was doing had brought my stack down to an average size. Knowing the players I was facing were paying attention I decided to start trying to make some steals. Every time I raised, I'd get popped back. Never by the same person and I always felt that the opponents actually had a hand. I never felt anyone was making a move on me so my chips continued to dwindle until I had to play for all of them. With everyone at the table having rather large stacks I got several callers and I was out before the third break.

With only one tournament left and with complete focus I continued to increase my stack. The chip leader kept doing the same and at exactly 12:30 a.m. two event occurred. We dropped to the final twenty, and my cable went out. At first I thought it was a delay because we had dropped to two tables, but a glance at the cable modem told me differently. I did the usual hard reset and nothing happened. Grabbing my cell phone I called the cable company and was informed that they were doing maintenance and had to move some cabling for the city. I asked when I'd be back online and all he could tell me was at some point before 6 a.m.. I was fuming. I was about to pack it in when I remembered that this is the exact reason that I pay $10 a month for my Juno account. I quickly ran a long phone cord to the outlet dial tone. Damn, the phone was out too. Twenty players were left, I was second in chips with 64,000, and I was going to be blinded out. This really started to irritate me when again I remembered an additional communication backup. My cell phone. I had used it as a modem once about two years ago but had long since uninstalled the drivers.

I had never really had a use for googles desktop searching tool but I have had it installed for a long time. Now I was glad that I had. I did a search for "LG" and within seconds I found the install information in a long forgotten folder. At 1:02 a.m. I was back on and at the final table. My stack was now decimated at a mere 19,700. The blinds were 2,000/4,000 with a 400 ante and I didn't have much time left. I explained the situation to my table mates and they were all sympathetic but not enough to dump chips to me.

In the big blind I found AKs and doubled up against K8. Then in the small blind I push when the button raises. He calls and my A8 is up against A7. A seven on the river sends me out and instead of fighting for the $3,000 first prize I'm left with $504 and seventh place.

Man I hate my cable company right now.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

My Poker Rig

Here is my Poker Rig. You'll notice two laptops on the desk but only one of them is actually being used. The laptop on the left is my old Toshiba Satellite featuring a Pentium 166MMX and Windows 98. This baby struggles just to surf the web and the battery no longer holds a charge. To bring some of the hardware back to life I came across a program called MaxiVista. This program allows you to use a computer on your network as an additional monitor. Using this program I run three monitors on my system.

The laptop on the right is my main system. It's a Dell Inspiron 5100 with a P4 2.4Ghz and 640MB of Ram. The monitor is an old Gateway 19" running at 1600x1200 so I can get four tables up without overlap. The Dell screen is used for the web browser and the Toshiba screen handles iTunes and chat.

The desktop system you see in the lower left is an old PIII 350MHz with 256MB of Ram. It's attached to the monitor on the far right and this system is used only as a bit torrent server.

A Hoy Matey!

Filed Under: Poker

I finally got around to playing one of the Hoy tournaments last night. I feel I played pretty well up until the last hand. I went heads up with High On Poker and managed to bluff into his flopped nuts. I'm ok with the second place finish considering how badly my tournament play has been lately.

With the kids back in school I should start to have a little more time to spend playing some tourneys at night. With the added time I expect to be back in form before too long.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

The FTOPS Main Event came and went for me without even making the first break. With a first place prize in excess of 100K a win would have been a life changing event. The only debt I would have had left would be a mortgage payment and that would have made me a very happy boy.

I wanted it so bad that I changed the way I played. A few hands in I'm in the cutoff with J9o. It's folded to me and I take a stab at stealing the blinds. It folds to the BB who bumps it up about 3x my raise and with deep stacks I make the call. The flop comes K 8 10 and the BB bets out for half the pot. In my normal frame of mind I put in a raise here. I'm looking at an OESD and considering I called the preflop reraise I couldn't have asked for much of a better flop. If I reraise I can define my opponents hand based on his action.

That would have been the old me. The new intimidated by the prize pool me decides to just call and hope to catch on the turn. I don't catch and we check to the river. My opponent shows AQh for a runner runner flush and if I had raised on the flop I'm pretty sure I win the hand. Instead I'm down to just over half my starting stack.

Fortunately for me I realize that I'm not playing my normal game and switch modes. I manage to grind back up to just about my starting stack when I get QQ in the cutoff. I make my raise and it's the BB who again plays with me. The flop comes J high with two diamonds. My opponent bets, I push, he calls. He shows AJd for top pair and the flush draw. I'm chanting, "No Diamond, No Diamond, No Diamond". The poker gods grant my wish of no diamond and instead produce an Ace on the river to end my hopes of being debt free.

I then fire up a NL cash game and over aggressively give away a buy-in. The I give another buy-in away when I hit TPTK vs. my opponents set. My third buy-in goes away when I actually have the best of it. QQ vs. 10 10 but a 10 hits the turn.

I finally decide it's not my day and call it quits.

(of course I'll probably play again in a few hours)

Monday, August 14, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

In what was to be my final attempt to qualify for the FTOPS Main Event I managed to finally pull it off. 50 players signed up and the top 6 got seats while 7th received $240. I managed to stay in the top 4 or 5 spots throughout the tournament and I eliminated the 7th place person with a horrible beat.

It was folded to me in the cutoff and I had A 10 of hearts. I raised 3x to 1,500 and it folds to the big blind who pushes all in. I have him outchipped by a little over 3,000 and the last time I raised he made the same move. I figured he was trying to push me off my hand so I made the call. He shows pocket Aces but the board brings my flush and I have my seat.

He wasn't a player willing to go quietly into that good night and he spewed forth the following:
ImYourRake: NH #@ !#@&
ImYourRake (Observer): hey nig, hu anytime
ImYourRake (Observer): you hear life?
ImYourRake (Observer): hu you dumb fck
ImYourRake (Observer): figured, no balls
ImYourRake (Observer): sucka co ck moron
ImYourRake (Observer): that ni g g e . r can suck a di ck
johnnyc55 (Observer): oh stop crying you little @&##$
ImYourRake (Observer): hu?
ImYourRake (Observer): pick a table fckface
ImYourRake (Observer): youd be doing the same thing you ignorant piece of sh it

Ah the famous heads up challenge. The last bastion of hope for the donkified. I probably should have taken him up on it as his massive tilt would have made it easier to bust him. I was having trouble staying awake while playing though so after throwing this up it's off to dreamland.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's Official...I Suck

Filed Under: Poker

In one of the saddest displays of poker playing since , well, since the last time I played, I managed to finish 1,667 out of the 2,000 that played in the FTOPS Event #1. I started out by overplaying KQ, getting myself in trouble, and then not being able to let it go when a Q hit the river. The Q was a heart which gave my opponent a runner runner flush.

I went out when I flopped the nut flush draw heads up against the original raiser. The flop came 9 high and I check raised all in. He had trip nines. I didn't catch my flush and there are now 42 minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Satellite Hell Or...

Filed Under: Poker

How I Learned To Hate Sets

After a successful few days early this week in the cash games I decided to spend the last few days concentrating on getting my seats for the FTOPS. I wanted to play in three events and managed to qualify for event #1 after 3 attempts. At a total cost of $60.80 for a $216 seat I consider that a success.

Next on the agenda was event #6. Seven attempts and $147.60 later I'm still not qualified. I've come close twice but I need to decide at which point do I stop trying. Technically if I could qualify before reaching the actual cost of the event buy in, it would be a success. I have no plans to buy into any event directly unless I manage a decent cash in the first event. Since I have no plans to outlay the money I'm going to adopt a semi-flexible rule of spending up to half of an events actual buy in on satellites. If I can't qualify within that amount I won't play the event. With a buy in of $216 I've already surpassed the half way point. With that I'm giving up on this event.

My sights are now set on the Main Event. So far I've played in three satellites and spent $176 without success. The buy in for the main event is $535 so I've still got a few shots left.

Taking into consideration the value of the one I'm qualified for... I'm still in the hole $168.30. If I can't manage to get into the Main Event these attempts will be a bitter disappointment.

The sets I mentioned earlier... I ran into 7 of them yesterday when I had an overpair and we got all the chips in preflop. In one satellite my opponents outdrew me 3 times within five hands to send me packing. It was truly a statistical nightmare.