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.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Around The Horn

Filed Under: Poker

Remember to visit Pauly today for Live Final Table Updates!

Then go to the For Peyton charity site to bid on your favorite poker collectibles. I did last time and quickly received my DVD package.

Lastly I've managed to satellite into the first event of the FTOPS. One down...two to go.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Half As Goals: August Edition

Filed Under: Poker

The last month was a bizarre one for me. I've had two negative months this year and July was one of them. Overall I feel I recovered from the early losses and was playing well toward the end of the month, so I don't feel bad about it. Let's see how the goals were last month and look onward to this month.

Half As Goal #1:
July: Win a multi-table tournament - "Survey says!"...X A combination of bad play and bad luck resulted in my worst month in tournament play to date. These losses attributed to my overall down month in bankroll as well.

August: I don't think I'm going to keep shooting for a win month after month. I don't think listing it as a goal has hurt my mindset any, but I'm shifting focus to satellite play right now. 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.

Half As Goal #2:
July: Satellite my way into one of the big Sunday tournaments going on at one of the major sites - This I accomplished on my first try. I won my way into a PokerStars Sunday Million tournament through a $3 rebuy satellite. Didn't do squat in the actual tournament though.

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.

Half As Goal #3:
July: 65 table hours at NL games - Only managed to play 46.88 table hours last month. The first 18 hours were spent losing 5 buy-ins at the $100 NL and the rest were spent recovering that loss at the $50 tables. I ended the month virtually even and I'll move back up to the $100 NL Probably next week.

August: I'm going to stay moderate and shoot for 50 table hours this month at the NL games. The kids start back to school in the middle of the month and my oldest goes back to Germany at the same time. After that my play should be able to increase but I don't want to put any pressure on myself to play more for now.