Sunday, April 30, 2006

Now We've Come 3/4 Circle

Filed Under: Poker

Since starting this poker odyssey in mid 2003 the game has brought both triumph and sorrow. More often than I care to remember I experienced them together within the same session. The emotional gambit can be difficult to deal with at times but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Right?

Limit hold em was my game of choice in those early days. Starting at .01/.02 with my $30 ultimatebet deposit I continued to grind my way to 5/10. I'd dabble in the occasional tournament but I always knew where my bread was buttered.

My focus shifted in the early part of 2005 as I began my first, and completely unsuccessful, foray into the no limit arena. The no limit ring games were the perfect place for me to bleed off my bankroll. Lacking the fortitude necessary to learn a new variation of the game, I tucked my tail between my legs and went back to limit play.

At the same time I also began focusing more of my time on no limit tournaments. As it turns out I felt much more comfortable playing in these events than I did the ring games. I met with moderate success and managed to win a few throughout the year. These provided a big boost to my bankroll and by the end of the year I had begun focusing on SNG's.

By mid February I had abandoned ring games entirely. My diet consisted solely of single and multi table tournaments. My tournament game has improved dramatically since taking that step, but then fate would intervene. Ok... it's not that dramatic.

PokerSourceOnline announced a $10,000 freeroll that they would be hosting at Poker Rewards. Not one to miss a chance at free money I decided to make myself eligible to play in this event. The catch is that you have to play 750 raked hands to qualify. Not having played a ring game of any kind in about two months, I really didn't want to start now. Biting the bullet I bought into low limit, no limit games and I discovered I was no longer the same player that had tried and failed once before.

I was now enjoying the ring games and not sucking. It was reinvigorating to know that I had managed to actually learn something during my tournament sabbatical. Granted a ring game is a different beast than a tournament, but my play during the middle stages of a tournament is translating well to ring game play.

This long story short... I'm hooked on ring games again. Not the limit variety but the no limit. Not quite full circle, but close enough.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

2nd Best Video Ever

Filed Under: Music

Is this a music video... or commercial... either way... I'm buyin


First... thanks to Dugglebogey for the new banner which adorns my blog.

Second... thanks to everyone else who was supportive of my decision in the WPBT event as well as all of you that have reached out through messenger. I look forward to chatting with everyone and will work on updating my links to include you over the next few days.

Third... well there is no third. It just didn't seem complete without one more.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Is 2 My Lucky Number?

After my second place finish last night in the PSO freeroll I have followed it up with another 2nd.

I sat down for the DADI 5: DADI does Vegas tournament which sends one lucky blogger to a $1500 WSOP event of their choice. I missed the first 6 hands due to arriving home late for work but I was rarin' to go. At the half way mark I took the chip lead and didn't look back till we were down to 5 players. TonySopran0, who had been going on a bit of a rush, was seated to my immediate right and he got all in from the small blind with 77 vs. my Ad9d. I wouldn't improve and he took the lead. He then ran that into a massive lead as he eliminated the remaining players leaving us heads up. His chip stack stood at 195,347 to my paltry 38,653.

I did manage to build up to 45,000 but this was going to be an extremely hard hill to climb. TonySopan0 offered me $400 to give up and let him have the seat. Since I didn't figure my odds were good against that stack, and I'm not 100% sure I'd be able to afford to get myself to Vegas even if I did win, I took the deal. Combined with the $100 that paid for 2nd I netted $500 dollars out of the deal.

I'm happy with the outcome and I hope that no one else from the tourney is upset that I gave in. I do have to say though that it was a little disconcerting when everyone at the final table seemed to have someone cheering for them but me. I am a hermit in the blogging community but maybe it's time for me to venture out into actual communication with others. In an effort to help me come out of my shell I'm going to announce my yahoo messenger ID. I hope some of you decide to send me a message every now and then. ID is lifesagrind and my email is lifesagrind at yahoo dot com.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Is PokerSourceOnline the Best Referral Site?

In a word...


In addition to the tremendous offers they give for the sign up of a new site, they also provide the best freerolls in the industry. The customer service is top notch and last night proved it.

PokerSourceOnline has given away multiple trips on poker cruise freerolls as well as numerous cash freerolls for their existing customers. I was fortunate enough to win one of these cruise trips in 2004. It was a tremendous time and my wife enjoyed it even more than I did. I had the opportunity to meet the owners of PSO along with several members and everyone was a real pleasure to be around. The PSO staff made sure we had a great time and that all of our needs were met.

Last night PSO continued to impress me as they hosted a $10,000 freeroll on Absolute Poker for anyone who had ever done a promotion with them. When I went to register for the freeroll Absolute reported that I was not able to participate. A quick trip to the PSO chatroom and within 10 minutes the problem was resolved and I was registered for the event.

With only 281 entrants this tournament provided even more value. I have to boast a little and say that I played about as close to an "A" game throughout as I could. I wasn't able to pull out the win as I lost the heads up battle but it was still a very nice $1,600 win on $0 invested.

They have another $10,000 freeroll coming up in May with Poker Rewards. This freeroll will require that you signed up for Poker Rewards through PSO though. If you don't have an account there yet, and you can play 750 raked hands before May 7th, get there now.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Sound of a Suckout

Filed Under: Poker

(Sung to the tune of Simon & Garfunkels The Sound of Silence)

Hello ring games, my old friend,
I've come to sit with you again,
Because a vision of slowly winning,
Left it's seeds while I was whoring,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
it was a lie
Within the sound of a suckout.

In restless dreams I clicked away
Narrow margins in array
’neath the halo of an LCD,
I turned my attention to the enemy
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A runner board
That split the hoard
And touched the sound of a suckout.

And in the lobby light I saw
Ten thousand players, maybe more.
Players betting without thinking,
Players clicking with endless energy,
Players making hands without a care
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of a suckout.

Fools said i,you do not know
Suckouts like a cancer grows.
Hear my words so that I may teach you,
Online pokers rigged and it might reach you.
But my words like silent mucking fell,
And echoed
In the wells of a suckout

And the players bowed and prayed
To the Poker Gods they made.
And the screen flashed out with warning,
In the hands that it was forming.
And the players said, the words of the bloggers
Are written on the chatroom walls
And mansion halls.
And whisper’d in the sounds of a suckout.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Draw is a Draw is a Draw

I'm playing the PSO League tournament last night and I managed to take an early chip lead at my table. Then in late position I'm dealt pocket 10's. Two limpers to me and I raise it up to a standard 5x the BB. Fold around and a middle position player (second in chips) calls me. The flop gives me "Thirty Miles of Bad Road" and I'm eccstatic. Checked to me, I bet, player raises, I push. Now the player barely thinks about it and calls. I'm ahead but my opponent has a Q high flush draw that completes on the river.

In a previous post I reviewed the power of an all in with a flush draw and when it might be the right move. This was not it in my opinion. Now every player plays a different game and my opponent may have been looking to gamble. You have to weigh the pro's and con's of every decision at the table. It was early, and he was risking his tournament on a draw when he had a ton of play left in his chips. It is also one thing to be the aggressor and push all in with a draw, but it is almost never correct to call off all your chips with a draw.


So I'm playing in the Stars Deep Stack tourney and I double up within the first 10 hands. I build up to a top ten chip stack within the first 30 minutes, then give it all away and spend the next 4 1/2 hours stuck at my starting stack size. That's right... 4 1/2 hours. I float between 4,500 and 7,000 but never amass any kind of run.

No fears though as this is a deep stack tournament and the blinds are not forcing me into any decisions. Were finally down to about 40 players from the money when I get a nice mini run and build up to 17,000. This whole time I've been planted at the same table, with the same players. We have two open spots that others rotate in and out of until they are busted, and then a new player is rotated in. Through it all most of us have played together for a very long time and I'm feeling very comfortable. I have some tough and successful players sitting next to me but I've garnered enough respect to take a blind every now and then even though I'm getting crap cards. The way things were going I thought for sure I'd make the final table with only my original 5,000. But the run came and I started building.

The inevitable happens and I'm unceremoniously moved to a new table. I'm the short stack but I only need to take a moderate pot to assure myself a coast to the money. Fisrt hand at the new table and I'm dealt AQo. Two limpers so I make a raise and it folds around to my immediate right who has me well covered. He calls. The flop comes 10 high, but all hearts. My opponent checks and I bet the pot wanting to take it down right then.

My opponent has other plans and pushes all in. I really have nothing, but my Q is a heart. I make the call and leave my fate up to a draw.


Two draws...two all in calls...why is one right and the other not?

Although these plays have the same result of calling off all your chips on a draw, the situations were completely different. The original call was made while the player was left with a ton of options. With so much play left with his chips there was no need to make the play. A flold still leaves him with about his starting stack size. With it being so early in the tournament there would be plenty of opportunities to double up when you have better possibilities. Remember the player wasn't even drawing to the nut flush, just a flush.

The second situation differs greatly in that the pot size was already bloated. If I make the fold I will be forced to go all in within the next several hands. I wouldn't be left with enough to survive the blinds and antes for more than a round. We were still 20 players from the money so my best opportunity to survive was now. By making the pot size bet at the flop I had, for all intents and purposes, commited myself. I still had what I believe to be the best draw as well. My opponent could have very well called me preflop with a J 10 and now hit his top pair. He saw me as a short stack and wanted to run the chance to eliminate me. I also felt I had the draw to either a heart, or Ace for the win.

The turn would bring my heart but my opponent was already there with a flopped K high flush. I made my hand and still lost. That's poker and I had no read on the players. I'm convinced it was the right move, just the wrong time.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Filed Under: Poker

While playing the WPBT WSOP Sat. the other night I was also playing in the WCOP state qualifier. Having made it down to the final eight in the WCOP I was managing to keep my opponent at bay and had a nice chip lead. Then out of nowhere he says, "Your so scared of being bluffed that you bet completely erratic. It's funny"

Now I didn't think my betting was "erratic" but I certainly try to keep heads up opponents guessing. I find it disguises my hand strength and since I like to be the aggressor it seems to work out for me. Even having my own rationale for playing the way I do, I couldn't let go of what he typed in the chatbox.

Am I scared of being bluffed?

Recently I've discovered a small, yet very important leak in my SNG play. There is a particular bluff that I have found to be effective in the later stages, say when down to 4 or 5 players. Thist involves being headsup to the flop, out of position, and the board pairs. This also only works if your against a post flop aggressor who is capable of making a laydown. Granted this situation doesn't happen all that often but when it does I can make (more often than not) a play that will win me the pot.

The problem has been that when this situation occurs and I'm on the other side of the equation, in position and the post flop aggressor, I automaticlly assume my opponent is running a bluff on me. When in fact, 90% of the time he/she actually has the goods. I see my opponent play in the exact same manner I would, if I was bluffing, and subconciously I have to pay this player off. I take the stance that, "I would run this bluff, so they must be also."

When the hand is over I've usually managed to cripple myself and now I have to struggle just to make the money.

In a way, I guess I am scared of being bluffed.

My heads up opponent may not have actually thought I was "scared" of the bluff, but what he did accomplish was getting inside my head. The next thing I knew I was horribly short stacked and end up going out in 5th place. Just two matches short of the win. I believe I could have won if my opponent hadn't put the voodoo mind trick on me.