Friday, August 22, 2008

Poker Life Drawing Dead

Hate to say it, but the "real job" is taking over. Not that it's a bad thing, as I do really enjoy teaching, but this was the first week back for staff members and it's been absolutely crazy. There's always just a ton of crap that needs to get done and not enough time to do it with all the additional staff meetings going on, and now it even looks like I'll be going in for a few hours on Sunday, unfortunately missing the Sloppy Deuce.

Sucks, but I gotta do what I gotta do, and hopefully things will settle down after the first week or two, leaving me the occasional hour of free time to squeeze a weekly tournament in. I'm also attempting two night classes during the week though, so that could be tough.

I have a load of post ideas jotted down right now, and will definitely get to them when time allows. But for now, it's 9:00 PM and I'm honestly tired as all hell, so I'm peacing out. Sleeping in is the nuts!

Best of luck out there. - B

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

WSOP Event 20 on ESPN

Last night I planned on only watching the first half of Tuesday night poker on ESPN in hopes of getting a little work done before going to bed, but after the first hour of $50k HORSE dramatics I was drawn in like a... like a... like a something, I don't freaking know... I just kept watching.

For the most part it just looked plain awkward, particularly with the three remaining players. The newcomer to the table, though certainly a player that has proved to be a tournament threat, Michael DeMichele (pronounced Deemikelly... I think), got things started with a little showboating for his friends... an honest newcomer mistake when at a table ripe with seasoned pros, and certainly nothing we've never seen on televised poker before. Erick Lindgren was a true class act as always, and handled the situation in a polite manner by taking a light jab at DeMichele and implying that he should cool it a bit, but all in good fun.

By the time Scotty Nguyen flew off the handle at DeMichele after losing a good-sized pot, it was pretty clear that the kid had gotten the message and was by no means acting inappropriate... though you can never tell with all the ESPN editing that goes on. DeMichele defended himself and even alled Scotty out on being hypocritical and a poor ambassador of the game. A "socially lubricated" Scotty continued to drink, showboat, drops F-bombs, play sloppy, and ridicule DeMichele up until he knocked him out, after which they awkwardly shook hands and pretended to be good sports.

I gotta hand it to Lindgren for staying classy throughout the game, and to Norman Chad as well for pretty much being spot on with the play-by-play poker drama. DeMichele had been a little out of line earlier on, but Scotty, the veteran player that should know better, really stepped over the line in attacking DeMichele, who had every right to fight back.

I think my favorite part of the whole mess though was the equally un-classy Layne Flack and his drunken shenanigans from the rail, followed by Chad's golden comment:

Flack: "Nut-nut, baaaaaaaaby!" (stumbling around and slurring his words)
Norman Chad: "That's a bit unfortunate."

Of course the sad truth of this whole mess was that the whole night was laid out to pay homage to legendary player Chip Reese, who recently passed away. The $50k HORSE tournament could arguably be the toughest of WSOP tournaments, with a field full of pros, and the winner often clearly being a player of far-reaching skills and discipline. Scotty Nguyen may be a solid poker player, but he by no means exhibited the table traits that make men such as Chip Reese and Doyle Brunson true icons of the game.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Reign Continues

I finally got back to even for the month this weekend, playing 2 $10 SNG's last night, busting in 5th on the first with a AKs resteal attempt resulting in a coinflip with the big stack's 99. Dude had seriously called like 3 AK pushes (including mine) preflop with middle pairs and had everyone outchipped by like 5-1. The second one I was able to take down though, which put me up to $912 after starting the month at $909 and going on that craptastic downswing that sunk me to $833 within the first week of August. I've managed to have a small upswing over the past 6 games in particular, with 1 1st, 1 2nd, 2 3rds, and 2 5th's on AK flips. I've been thinking about some AK hands that I busted out on and whether or not I've got an AK leak in my game (i.e. is AK in the blinds always a good resteal? should you always make a continuation bet with one caller when you've missed the flop and are out of position?). Perhaps I'm thinking so just because I went out on them, but I'll post more about that later.

More importantly now, this weekend was good because I continued my streak of being the only Sloppy Deuce champion in the history of the Sloppy Deuce tournament (an epic 3 weeks now). Earlier today I took Deuce #3 down in a sloptastic game of four, featuring one newcomer, two veterans, and yours truly of course. Final results were:

1st - MrBo1011 ($8)
2nd - pokerpro320
3rd - trainofbutter
4th - craigulator19

There were a few fun hands but nothing I really feel like digging up right now to post. The best hand for me was the final J9 vs. 98 showdown that allowed me to close things out and get to the movies right on time for the 4:05 showing of Pineapple Express. A quality movie with solid laughs... two thumbs up from this amateur movie critic.

Anyways, I have to get some sleep for now. Yeah I know the sun barely just set, but I'll be rising around 5:00 AM tomorrow for the first day back to work. This week is staff week, then the kids return next week, so I really gotta get things set up in the room and make sure I have something to say on Day 1 besides "uhhh... so... you kids like to play cards?" That would probably not go over so well.

I'll do my best to keep the posts coming through all this madness. Hope to see you in the next Sloppy Deuce - next Sunday at 2:00 PM EST... also your next chance to qualify for that
$50 freeroll.

Best of luck for now. Peace. - B

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beauty and the Beat Contest - Free Money!

First of all, I feel I should apologize for de-rousing readers by posting the flowery mug of Alan Jaffray the other night (I know some of you are still recovering), and would like to redeem myself by bringing you this interesting bit of poker content:

Now then, that brings us to the latest TPTM news... our Beauty and the Beat Contest (yes, the free money). As you know I do my best to bring you all some occasional hands at either end of the Hold'em spectrum, ranging from the absolutely disgusting bad beats to the beautifully-played boards of true low-limit poker genius. Unfortunately I can only do so much in my part-time pokering to come across such hands, particularly in the beautifully-played department (not sure why that is... online must be rigged). So I'd like to open the WTF/Beautiful Hands of the Week up to submissions from you, the readers. If you have a hand you feel is worthy,
email it to me, and if I also feel it is worthy, I will send you a complimentary $5 to your Full Tilt player account (an extra buck for including an attractive lass poker-related picture with your Beautiful Hand submission... but please, no images that correspond with bad beats). Sign up at Full Tilt Poker if you don't already have an account.

Don't forget that you could then also use that $5 to play in some weekly Sloppy Deuce tournaments to win even more dollar signs, and also to qualify for our $50 Freeroll on Full Tilt Poker for the first 9 Sloppy Deuce champions.
Having said all that, here's my latest submission for a truly appalling hand, as well as two additional fun ones. Fortunately I wasn't involved in this first one in a $5 90-seater, but it was still pretty sick... though you could argue that really no one played it particularly well...

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 50/100 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

UTG: 4,710
Hero (UTG+1): 4,285
MP1: 4,195
MP2: 1,230
CO: 2,465
BTN: 3,755
SB: 4,360
BB: 975

Pre-Flop: (150) As 9c dealt to Hero (UTG+1)
UTG calls 100, 3 folds, CO raises to 450, 2 folds, BB raises to 975 and is All-In, UTG calls 875, CO raises to 2,465 and is All-In, UTG calls 1,490
Flop: (5,955) 8h 4h 8c (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (5,955) 6d (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (5,955) Qd (3 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 5,955 Pot
UTG showed 4c 5c (two pair, Eights and Fours) and WON 5,955 (+3,490 NET)
CO showed Ah Jh (a pair of Eights) and LOST (-2,465 NET)
BB showed Ad 9d (a pair of Eights) and LOST (-975 NET)

This next one went down earlier on in the same 90-seater. How the hell do you play this mess? With two callers on the flop I had a feeling that 7 was out there waiting to check-raise me. Got even with the river and felt secure that a 10 wasn't out there... could have bet like I had it, and probably should have... but just wasn't thinking right. Raising preflop was another option, but more than likely at a table like this would have resulted in multiple callers and an awkward post-flop situation unless I hit the set.

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 30/60 Blinds, 8 - Hand History Converter

CO: 4,135
Hero (BTN): 3,965
SB: 2,440
BB: 3,245
UTG: 1,865
UTG+1: 645
MP1: 3,985
MP2: 4,400

Pre-Flop: (90) 9h 9c dealt to Hero (BTN)
2 folds, MP1 calls 60, MP2 calls 60, CO folds, Hero calls 60, SB folds, BB checks
Flop: (270) 8s 9s 6d (4 Players)
BB checks, MP1 checks, MP2 checks, Hero bets 240, BB calls 240, MP1 calls 240, MP2 folds
Turn: (990) 5d (3 Players)
BB checks, MP1 checks, Hero checks
River: (990) 7c (3 Players)
BB checks, MP1 checks, Hero checks

Results: 990 Pot
Hero showed 9h 9c (a straight, Nine high) and WON 330 (+30 NET)
BB showed 7h Kd (a straight, Nine high) and WON 330 (+30 NET)
MP1 showed 8d Qd (a straight, Nine high) and WON 330 (+30 NET)

Last, but certainly not least, I thought this one was pretty cute. Two EP slowplayers at a table that had been pretty aggressive, and you know those short-stacks like to attack the limpers so it was a perfect setup. Little did I know that I was the one being trapped, but I managed to get a little lucky for once and suck out on someone (that's what she said). Would have been cute if the river was a Jack.

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 25/50 Blinds, 9 Players - Hand History Converter

MP2: 1,880
CO: 1,860
BTN: 1,500
SB: 2,475
BB: 2,065
Hero (UTG): 1,470
UTG+1: 1,065
UTG+2: 550
MP1: 635

Pre-Flop: (75) Ks Kc dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero calls 50, UTG+1 calls 50, UTG+2 raises to 550 and is All-In, 6 folds, Hero raises to 1,470 and is All-In, UTG+1 calls 1,015 and is All-In
Flop: (2,755) 2c Kh Tc (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (2,755) 8h (3 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,755) 4c (3 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,755 Pot
Hero showed Ks Kc (three of a kind, Kings) and WON 2,755 (+1,690 NET)
UTG+1 showed Ad As (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-1,065 NET)
UTG+2 showed Qd Ah (Ace King high) and LOST (-550 NET)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good Reads

About to turn in for the night, as for the past three days I've been waking up about 3-4 hours earlier than I've become accustomed to over the long-but-still-too-short summer months. Gotta start getting used to it though, as the school year is fast approaching, and all three of my alarms are going to be set around 5:30 or earlier. This week we had a bunch of orientation sessions (all the reminders about multicultural education, differentiated instruction, and how touching children inappropriately is a bad thing, all of which we seem to get lectured about at least 30 times per year). Next week all staff members return, and the week after that the entire public high school circus will be in full swing. I'm honestly very excited for the coming school year, and don't think being forced to take a bit of a break from poker will be a terrible thing at all.

Anyways, I did manage to sneak two standard $10 SNG's in tonight, coming in 5th in the first one with a typical middle-stage all-in preflop AKo vs. TT flip (I open pushed my AK, MP player called with the Tens), and then came in 2nd in the latter, with no really special hands, except for one fun one that I'll post later.

Before I hit the hay though, I thought I'd share some high quality poker content that I recently stumbled upon, all of which I think are good reads if you have the time...

First off you have to check out
Hard Boiled Poker. Pretty much everything Shamus puts up is bound to be engaging, informative, and often enlightening as well, full of tidbits of deep poker wisdom. Some of my recent favorites are still on the front page - "Sometimes the Cards Play Us" and "Perspectives on Poker."

Jumping across the pond now, I've been throwing Burnley Mik's blog,
Donkey Thrasher, into my weekly reading. Also a lot of good stuff, especially for more low limit players.

Finally, I came across an archive of poker philosophy goodness on
The Cards Speak, which no longer appears to be active now (old articles mention the now-unmentionable Party Poker), but is nonetheless chock full of great posts. Here are some of my favorites:

Zen and the Art of The Dude (for Big Lebowski fans)
Rushmore Poker Wisdom (for Wes Anderson fans)
Poker: Hobby, Sport, or Profit?
Development of a poker player

Happy reading, and stay tuned for another free money offering coming your way...

WSOP Event 5 on ESPN

Add this to the list of things not to while at a televised WSOP final table...

#8 - Be this guy:

Alan Jaffray

If you caught the 2008 WSOP Event #5 ($1,000 NL Hold'Em Rebuys) on ESPN last night, you may recognize this darling as Alan Jaffray, the 5th place finisher taking home over $160k, which we can only imagine will be spent mostly on more totally fabulous head coverings... good news for Norman Chad, who seemed to enjoy Jaffray's rosy spin on the typical macho game of poker. Nothing personal against the guy... after all he has a bankroll that most of us probably only dream about... just not something you find at every final table.

And then there's also this:
Alan Jaffray enters Ladies Event, asked to leave.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Electronic Poker Tables Taking Over?

Just read on Tao of Poker that the Excalibur in Vegas will be replacing their dealers with these things, being the first casino in the area to do so. It's called the PokerTek PokerPro automated poker room, and it essentially combines live poker with the online components of automated shuffling, dealing, and handling of chip-less pots. The pros are obviously that casinos can (and hopefully will) cut back a little on rake since they'll be employing fewer poker room staff members, and players obviously won't have to tip the computers. Also, the number of hands you see per hour would likely increase as well. The cons, on the other hand... well it's just not the same! Sure it's pretty sweat how when you cup your hands around the touch-screen panel your virtual cards roll back so you can check them, but I really don't think I would find it to be as enjoyable an experience as just good old fashioned live poker with a human dealer. There's also something to be said here for the economic impact that this could have... good for casinos, bad for dealers... ______ for players?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More Thoughts on "Cute" and Other Sunday Musings

Another lazy Sunday here around the house. Thought I'd jot down a few orders of business now since women's beach volleyball just ended and I'm not quite as entertained by men's water polo. Let's start with Deuce #2 results...

Sloppy Speed Deuce

I know this weekend was busy for a lot of people, and even I cut it a little close in getting to the computer for this week's Sloppy Deuce. The tournament ended up being a quick 15-hand heads-up slopfest between Criggles and I... we got into it pretty early with an A8s vs. 33 hand where he flopped the flush draw and I hit bottom set. That put me at about 10-1 in chips and I caught KK soon thereafter to fend off his 44 push. So another Sloppy Deuce down and thus far it's still just me in the $50 Sloppy Deuce Champions Challenge freeroll. Seriously people, if you want an easy shot at free money, now's the time to strike, as the field is thin.

Some Conclusions on "Getting Cute"

If you've had time to read through my previous post (Some Thoughts on "Getting Cute" with Starting Hand Selection) you may have noticed that I leave it kind of open ended... it's more so an analysis of a few specific hands and I don't really tie it into any broader sort of strategy. So I thought I'd just give my quick opinion on "getting cute" in general...

When it comes to standard SNG's, I generally try to stick to ABC poker as far as starting hand requirements are concerned. I will play marginal hands like suited connectors and small pairs when the conditions are right - in late position, at a loose-passive (greater implied odds) or tight-passive (positional "buy the pot" advantage) table, in a multi-way pot, and when it will cost me a very small percentage of my stack to see the flop (early stages, or as a big stack). For instance if blinds were at 60/120 and I had a stack of 1,500 on the cutoff, I would be unlikely to limp in behind 1-3 other players with a hand like 76s, and I would pretty much never call a small raise in the same situation. In either case I'm spending a significant portion of my chips that I would prefer saving for a better hand. With hands like suited connectors you're also going to find yourself in a lot more uncertain post-flop situations... for instance in a 4-way pot with 76s where the flop is 9-7-3 of mixed suits and it's checked around to you. Say you bet about 2/3rd the pot and get 2 callers. The turn card is a Jack and it's checked around to you again. See what I mean? Tough spots.

In some of the deep stack MTT's I will definitely try to play more pots where I have odds and position working in my favor, as long as the same conditions as above apply. Given that you can usually see cheaper flops in MTT's than you can in faster-paced and shorter-stacked SNG's, there are generally more opportunities to play your marginal hands in hopes of hitting a monster and racking in a giant pot. Just be able to realize what board texture you're really looking for and when you need to get away. Don't get carried away with weak top pairs, two-paired trash, idiot-end straights, and weak flushes when you're facing a lot of action.

Do note though, that the suggestions above refer primarily to playing at full tables in the early to middle stages of both SNG's and MTT's. The "cute" hands we're focusing primarily on here - suited connectors, small pairs, suited Aces, hands like J9s, T8s, etc., do fall into a category of hands that I am perfectly fine with open pushing with in low-M "red zone" situations, particularly when in later position. They generally encompass the lower end of the range of hands that I'm willing to take a chance with in hopes of picking up some blinds, while also knowing that a fair amount of the time I'll get called and will be in a coinflip situation or a 60/40 type of matchup. When you factor in the number of times that you'll simply take the blinds, it can make pushing with these holdings a +EV move in those big-blind small-stack situations. Obviously some reads on your opponents helps, but don't second guess this sort of move just because of the times that you push with a mediocre hand and get called by weak-tight player that has you dominated.

One more thing: one of the hands I included in the "getting cute" post was a slowplayed pocket Aces that worked out fine for me. Although this is technically a different sort of "cute" play that's fit for it's own separate conversation, I just thought that I'd mention real quick that for the most part, especially in SNG's, I play hands like AA and KK totally standard... probably at least 80% of the time. This was an exception given my early position and feel for the table's level of aggression. For the most part I'm really disgusted with the whole limp-reraise with AA play, or the super limp-call-call-call-call slowplay... it seems like it just became the "cool" thing to do, and now it's totally played out and it makes you want to groan when you see someone do it, successfully or not. I will admit though, it still makes me feel like a rock star when I pull it off :-)

FTP Points

Last order of business for the day. Being a 99% tournament player, I rack up FTP points a lot slower than cash game players, though I do have a fair amount of them now. Not enough for the motorcycle or my own custom avatar yet (maybe be the year 2068), but a decent amount that's just sitting there right now. I feel like the best thing to do with them would be to just play in some of the satellite or token tournaments, but for now they're just sitting there.

What do you all do with your Full Tilt Points? Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Some Thoughts on "Getting Cute" with Starting Hand Selection

We've all seen 'em. The Gus Hansen and Daniel Negreanu wannabes with a super-aggressive style who appear to be playing like complete donks, particularly as they crack your monster pairs with hands like 97s, 65o (see Hand #4 below), and other garbage that you would barely play for free in the BB. A few hands later they'll make you think your top pair is good while they rope you in with pocket Aces. They're the ones that drive you absolutely nuts as they defy all conventional starting hand requirement logic. Some of them, I'd have to think the majority, are indeed true fish, and although they'll bust your nuts every now and then, they will pay you off in the long run. There are some though, that are simply using odds and position to their advantage, and are just taking a little bit of a gamble in hopes of taking your chips and putting you on tilt.

I'd like to take a look at a few hands in which players "got cute" with their cards - some I feel that were played decently, and some that were closer to pure donking around.

HAND #1 - 1st level of the $32k Guarantee

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 15/30 Blinds, 9 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 2,985
Hero (BTN): 2,955
SB: 2,970
BB: 3,000
UTG: 3,000
UTG+1: 3,315
UTG+2: 3,135
MP1: 2,640
MP2: 3,000

Pre-Flop: (45) Kh As dealt to Hero (BTN)
UTG folds, UTG+1 calls 30, 2 folds, MP2 calls 30, CO folds, Hero raises to 120, 2 folds, UTG+1 calls 90, MP2 calls 90
Flop: (405) 3s Qc Ac (3 Players)
UTG+1 checks, MP2 checks, Hero bets 390, UTG+1 calls 390, MP2 calls 390
Turn: (1,575) Tc (3 Players)
UTG+1 checks, MP2 bets 420, Hero folds, UTG+1 calls 420
River: (2,415) 7s (2 Players)
UTG+1 checks, MP2 bets 1,050, UTG+1 raises to 2,385 and is All-In, MP2 calls 1,020 and is All-In

Results: 6,555 Pot
UTG+1 showed Ah Ks (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-3,000 NET)
MP2 showed 6c 7c (a flush, Ace high) and WON 6,555 (+3,555 NET)

MP2's limp here isn't bad in my opinion. There's already one limper in the pot, and early on at a passive table a lot of limpers are likely to encourage more limps and create a multi-way pot... exactly what you want with hands like 76s. However, then I pick up AK on the button and want some isolation, so I raise it up enough to maybe scare out a limper or two, but in these doublestack tournaments you'll more than likely just get called. I could raise more, but it's still early and I don't want to get into an awkward post-flop situation with unknown opponents. Note here that the UTG+1 player is being very passive in just limping and calling my raise. This gives the MP2 player solid odds for calling my raise now. If UTG+1 were to reraise, or originally come in for a raise, MP2 would most likely (assuming he's not a total donk) get out of the hand, while a reraise might also make me inclined to think that he's limp-raising with a hand like AA or KK.

On the flop I hit my TPTK, but it's far from a safe flop with potential flush and straight draws. Nonetheless it's checked to me, so there's only one thing to do and that's bet it hard. Once again, our passive UTG+1 player elects just to call rather than bet out or check-raise and act really strong, the latter option of which would have likely chased out MP2's weak flush draw rather than once again give him decent odds to call here and end the action.

The turn card is pretty much a disaster for me, and now MP2's bet just wreaks of trouble. I elect to assume I'm pretty much dead here and save my chips for a later hand - a disciplined yet fairly obvious laydown for me. Only way I'm continuing here is with the King of clubs in my hand. The UTG+1 player is suckered in though, and then plays the river as if he was slowplaying his TPTK all along, a really poor play given the board texture and the fact that his fold equity is very slim in this situation. The MP2 player was taking a chance that his opponent wasn't slowplaying a better flush, but all-in-all played the hand fine on all streets in my opinion. It was an early gamble, but he was being offered fairly good pot odds before and on the flop, and it really paid off for him in this situation. Things could have gone differently if he missed on the turn, and the UTG+1 player and I would've likely split the minor amount of chips that MP2 had invested up to that point. Do take note of how weak UTG+1 played this hand, and remember that in match-ups like this (i.e. where players have the same hand, or both have nothing), the edge goes to the aggressor.

HAND #2 - 3rd level in the $32k Guarantee

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 25/50 Blinds, 9 Players - Hand History Converter

BTN: 2,670
Hero (SB): 2,065
BB: 5,665
UTG: 3,100
UTG+1: 4,739
UTG+2: 3,015
MP1: 3,750
MP2: 1,561
CO: 3,615

Pre-Flop: (75) Ks 8h dealt to Hero (SB)
4 folds, MP2 raises to 150, CO folds, BTN calls 150, 2 folds
Flop: (375) 2s 4h 6h (2 Players)
MP2 bets 300, BTN raises to 1,275, MP2 raises to 1,411 and is All-In, BTN calls 136
Turn: (3,197) Tc (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (3,197) 3c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 3,197 Pot
BTN showed 7c 2c (a pair of Twos) and WON 3,197 (+1,636 NET)
MP2 showed Ah 9s (Ace Ten high) and LOST (-1,561 NET)

This is the type of hand where it really looks like someone was trying to get cute. The old "7-2 is the worst starting hand, so I'm going to be silly and play it and try to bust someone, lol!!!!" kind of micro-stakes play. Although the BTN player had a positional advantage here, his call goes against everything we know about the Gap Concept (only calling a raise with a hand that is as good as or better than what your opponent would raise with), as it's very unlikely that MP2 is raising 3xBB here with 62, 52, 42, or 32. Other factors that make this preflop call seemingly -EV to me are that it's still early in the tournament so it's unlikely that the BTN has a great read on MP2, he's giving better odds to me and the BB to come along, while we could also wake up with a hand and reraise, and also the MP2 player is getting short-stacked and probably looking to make a major move. Basically the BTN is just taking a major gamble in hitting a miracle flop and getting the rest of MP2's chips... but a very unnecessary gamble in my opinion.

On the flop the situation just continues to gross me out, as MP2 makes a standard continuation bet, and the BTN essentially puts him all-in with bottom pair. Although the BTN may have put MP2 on a hand like AT+ or two unpaired paint cards, and his mind be making a great play, he's essentially risking over half his stack assuming that MP2 is making this bet with 33 or any higher pair, or two overs and a heart draw. That's a wide range of hands that the BTN would be in serious trouble against. Of course the MP2 player makes an equally bad "I'm giving up on life" call with Ace-high, fails to hit his outs, and the BTN's sloppy play gets rewarded and probably leaves him feeling like a genius as he makes a nice addition to his stack.

I would definitely file this hand under "D" for "Don't try this at home, kids... or anyone."

HAND #3 - 4th level of a 90-seater

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 30/60 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

MP2: 7,165
CO: 3,180
BTN: 4,035
SB: 4,225
BB: 6,610
UTG: 2,680
UTG+1: 3,480
Hero (MP1): 2,800

Pre-Flop: (90) Kc 6h dealt to Hero (MP1)
3 folds, MP2 raises to 180, CO calls 180, BTN calls 180, 2 folds
Flop: (630) 3c 9s 9h (3 Players)
MP2 checks, CO checks, BTN checks
Turn: (630) 8h (3 Players)
MP2 checks, CO bets 360, BTN calls 360, MP2 folds
River: (1,350) Ac (2 Players)
CO bets 660, BTN raises to 3,330, CO calls 1,980 and is All-In

Results: 6,630 Pot
CO mucked Qs Qc (two pair, Queens and Nines) and LOST (-3,180 NET)
BTN showed 9c 8c (a full house, Nines full of Eights) and WON 6,630 (+3,450 NET)

This hand is very similar to Hand #1 in my opinion, as we have someone getting cute with suited connectors again, but really just using odds and position to their advantage in taking their chances at a monster flop, while we also have someone really misplaying a monster starting hand. Pocket Queens are the 3rd strongest starting hand, and barring any near-psychic reads on the MP2 player, the CO should put in a solid raise here (I'd pop it to 450-600 or so) to isolate MP2, buy the button, and push out other hands, mainly weak Aces and Kings. Simply calling here gives the BTN very favorable conditions for calling with 98s and allowing him to flop a monster and turn the nuts, which he slowplayed beautifully. At the same time the CO player never had a clue, playing preflop and the flop and turn incredibly passively and then making a call on the river when he should have been able to get away. Even if the flop would have been different, say 3-9-J, checking through could have allowed the BTN to hit another 9 or an 8. This hand is a perfect example of how getting cute with hands like suited connectors can be very +EV when your opponents will give you all the time in the world to hit the jackpot.

HAND #4 - 3rd level of a 90-seater

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 25/50 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

SB: 9,360
BB: 2,670
UTG: 3,840
UTG+1: 2,460
MP1: 8,390
MP2: 2,740
Hero (CO): 2,903
BTN: 3,187

Pre-Flop: (75) Ac Ah dealt to Hero (CO)
UTG calls 50, UTG+1 folds, MP1 calls 50, MP2 calls 50, Hero raises to 300, 4 folds, MP1 calls 250, MP2 folds
Flop: (775) 5c 4s 7d (2 Players)
MP1 bets 775, Hero raises to 2,603 and is All-In, MP1 calls 1,828
Turn: (5,981) 9c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (5,981) 6h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 5,981 Pot
MP1 showed 5h 6s (two pair, Sixes and Fives) and WON 5,981 (+3,078 NET)
Hero showed Ac Ah (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-2,903 NET)

Obviously I'm going to be a little biased on this one, seeing as how I got my Aces cracked and busted out. It's a great example though of those tournament situations where you see big stack players taking big preflop rolls of the dice in hopes of hitting the perfect flops. I felt I raised enough here to thin the field, but you really want action with hands like this... just not a multi-way pot... and with some big stacks in the mix I had a feeling I'd at least get one caller... the ideal situation. When MP1 bet the pot on the flop I knew he had to have connected in a big way with a small hand, and indeed he had a scary number of outs that made calling my raise perfectly acceptable... and unfortunately for me he hit one on the river. The preflop call still irked me, as I'm not the kind of big stack player that will open up my range like this, but the action post-flop was nothing outlandish. Just be aware that if you do decide to play a super-aggressive big stack and take these sorts of risks, you can expect your stack size to fluctuate much more rapidly as you leak chips on all the flops that don't actually hit like this one did for my opponent.

HAND #5 - 1st level of a 9-seater

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 15/30 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

UTG+1: 2,970
Hero (MP1): 1,560
MP2: 1,440
CO: 1,425
BTN: 1,545
SB: 1,515
BB: 1,545
UTG: 1,500

Pre-Flop: (45) 8s 7s dealt to Hero (MP1)
5 folds, BTN raises to 60, SB raises to 120, BB folds, BTN calls 60
Flop: (270) Qs Jh Kd (2 Players)
SB bets 270, BTN calls 270
Turn: (810) Ac (2 Players)
SB checks, BTN bets 570, SB raises to 1,125 and is All-In, BTN calls 555
River: (3,060) 9h (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 3,060 Pot
BTN showed Th 5h (a straight, Ace high) and WON 3,060 (+1,545 NET)
SB showed Ks Qd (two pair, Kings and Queens) and LOST (-1,515 NET)
First of all, notice the type of player I am. I've got a pretty suited connector hand, but with no limpers in front of me, in iffy position, and against unknown opponents, I just go ahead and toss it. Now our BTN player on the other hand, goes ahead and does something just plain strange to me. An open min-raise on the button with T5s? Personally I just fold this and save my chips. Instead he creates a situation in which he's likely to end up playing a pot against one or two opponents (BB is especially getting good odds to call here), being much less likely to just steal the blinds. At the same time he's potentially putting himself in a bad position later on where he may need to steal blinds, and showing down the T5s min-raise here is going to inhibit his ability to do so by making it known that he's a professional caliber idiot.

At the same time, our SB here isn't doing much better. If he's reading the BTN as weak and thinks his hand is ahead here, he should raise somewhere in the range of 180 to 240 in primary hopes of getting a fold from the BTN and not having to play the hand out of position. Instead what he's doing is only sweetening the pot and giving the BTN more incentive to call. The only benefit of his raise is that he pushed the BB out of the pot. Overall though, we have a very ambiguous situation in which neither player has really defined his hand, nor has either one of them really taken a firm control of the hand.

The flop is very nice for the SB, and he bets accordingly. Unfortunately the BTN has position in this situation, thus having a certain edge against what may very well be a marginal holding betting in to him. Even if he doesn't hit his open-ended straight draw, he might have an opportunity to push the SB off his hand if the pot bet on the flop was indeed just a continuation bet facade. The turn card of course virtually seals the deal, also making it tough for the SB to get away against an opponent that still hasn't defined his hand (some players may call here with hands like K9, Q9, AJ, etc.). The only two options seem to be to bet and cross his fingers, or to check-fold his way out of the hand. And although he still could have gotten away from his hand after betting the turn, he chose to take his chances rather than be substantially crippled and in need of a double-up or two.

This is another example of a situation in which neither player played particularly well, and where the one that ended up winning should have arguably never been in the pot to begin with.

HAND #6 - 2nd level of a 9-seater

Full Tilt Poker, $10 + $1 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 20/40 Blinds, 8 - Hand History Converter

CO: 1,355
BTN: 1,800
SB: 660
BB: 1,485
Hero (UTG): 1,455
UTG+1: 3,105
MP1: 1,785
MP2: 1,855

Pre-Flop: (60) Ad Ac dealt to Hero (UTG)
Hero calls 40, UTG+1 raises to 160, 6 folds, Hero calls 120
Flop: (380) Qh 9h 6c (2 Players)
Hero checks, UTG+1 bets 425, Hero raises to 1,295 and is All-In, UTG+1 calls 870
Turn: (2,970) 9c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (2,970) 4d (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 2,970 Pot
Hero showed Ad Ac (two pair, Aces and Nines) and WON 2,970 (+1,515 NET)
UTG+1 showed Ah Kh (a pair of Nines) and LOST (-1,455 NET)

Mixing it up now a little bit, as I'd also consider slowplaying monster pairs to fit under the "getting cute" section of starting hands requirements. Just to set the background real quick... we're at what has been a fairly aggressive table so far, with a good amount of preflop action, making the conditions perfect for an unassuming early position limp with Aces. UTG+1 doubled up early with KK and hasn't played a hand since... I'm assuming he's a tight-aggressive type and is raising here in early position with a premium starting hand. There are no callers when it comes back to me, so rather than raising now to isolate, I simply call in hopes to continue disguising my hand and set up a sneaky check-raise trap. Nothing too scary on the flop, unless UTG+1 has QQ, but when he bets over the size of the pot I'm fairly sure that he couldn't have top set... he wouldn't want to scare me away quite yet. At the same time his bet could very well be a hand like KK or AQs, and makes me feel as if he's committed to calling a raise... so I go ahead and drop the hammer here. Turns out he had what he thought was a solid hand - the nut flush draw with 2 overs, though he can really only make the flush to win after I show him my Aces. Luckily I avoid another heart and take over as table captain. Note that this hand really could have gone to the felt in a variety of ways. He might have called an all-in preflop, or pushed me in if I reraised small when it got back around to me. I could have raised UTG and he might have reraised, then called my push when it got back to me. In a way I was lucky that he hit the flush draw on the flop, otherwise I might not have gotten the full double-up I wanted on a flop that completely missed him. As with playing crap hands like 65o for a hefty raise before the flop, you are taking a lot of risks in slowplaying Aces, and sometimes are just better off getting it in preflop (sometimes it's seems that's the last thing players are doing with AA these days). Luckily for me it worked out here, though in this particular SNG I ended up bubbling when I lost two consecutive 60/40 type hands with AJ.

On that note though, I did manage to cash in another 2 out of the 3 I played the other day... one 3rd and one win against two super-nits that I was able to peck away at over 30 minutes or so. Feels good to know that I still have it.

That's all for now. Don't forget to join in on the Sloppy Deuce action tomorrow (info still above next to the Angry Baby). Best of luck for now. - B.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Grant Hinkle and Theo Tran Discuss 2008 WSOP Event 2 Final Table

I posted a little note last week after watching the 2008 WSOP Event 2 airing on ESPN, as it was a noteworthy final table. Some of you may particularly remember the feud between Theo Tran and Mike Ngo that went down, as well as "Jesus" Ferguson being his typical classy self at a table that was seemingly hurting for class, and also Grant Hinkle and his mother hitting quads with T4s to seal the deal.

Well today I happened upon a post over at 2+2 (where else?) in which both Grant Hinkle (drossxyu) and Theo Tran (obvious username) have added there input into what went down at the table. Here's the link:

There's a lot of Theo-bashing to sort through, and to my surprise he does a decent job of dispelling some of the speculation about what a punk he is... after reading his posts he doesn't seem as much of a jackass as ESPN made him out to be, just a very competitive and emotional player... and I agree that Ngo was really asking for it with his behavior.

The thing that was of more interest to me though is Grant talking about how heads-up action lasted 2 hours but was boiled down to only 2 hands on the ESPN airing. This is particularly important in explaining Grant's move with T4s into James Akenhead's AK reraise. Plus it goes to show that you really don't even get a fraction of the big tournament picture in ESPN's coverage. I was also glad to see that I wasn't the only one experiencing the sudden changes in picture where the cards were going off my screen for minutes at a time.

On a related note, I missed Event 3 last night, but will try to catch it on YouTube I guess. I was spending time with the lady friend instead, and I didn't think she would enjoy 2 hours of poker... and I can definitely understand that after watching ESPN's coverage of Event 2. We had dinner with her family instead and watched some It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes... good times.

I'm about to play in the $32k on Full Tilt tonight, and if I bust out of that early I might give
The Mookie a shot. (Edit: busted out of the $32k in 708th - got AK early, flopped TPTK, but gave it up on the turn to some donk with a little flush, then folded my way up to the first break, finally picked up KK but just got the blinds, 99 got the blinds as well and added a little to my stack, but still about half average, then QQ in the SB went up against K7o in the BB that tried to get cute and resteal... and of course hit the King, and here I am. Decided not to play The Mookie and just call it a night.)

See you out there. - B

$50 Freeroll on Full Tilt Poker

That's right boys and girls, yours truly is putting up 50 beans of his own for all Sloppy Deuce tournament winners. All you have to do is be one of the first 9 players to win a Deuce (I was the first, so there are 8 more spots) and you'll automatically be entered into the $50 freeroll on Full Tilt Poker, at a time to be determined once we have 9 individual champions.

Remember, your next chance to win your way in is this Sunday at 2:00 PM EST, and just a $2.00+.50 buy-in (see giant Angry Baby banner above). I'd suggest giving it a shot sooner rather than later while the field is still pathetically small. Seriously... it's sad. I wept for hours last week. Then I watched Gilmore Girls on DVD and ate an entire tub of ice cream. And I'm still being completely serious.

Anyways, hope to see you there... giving me your chips.

More info:
Sloppy Deuce details:
The Deuce Cometh!
Full Tilt Poker:
Full Tilt Poker (enter IMOPOKER as the bonus code, email me your player name, and I'll ship you $10 for free).

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sloppy Poker Goodness for the Whole Family

Alright good people, I'm passing up the $32k guarantee tonight to post this random mess of poker things. I've been running colder than a polar bear's sphincter lately, so I'm really in no rush to jump back in and lose the $26 token I managed to smuggle out last night, plus there's a fair amount of stuff to put up since the last post. Let's get started with the news I'm sure everyone is waiting for...


The first Sloppy Deuce tournament in TPTM history managed to scrape together a small field of players... basically a few of my buds who also had nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. Yours truly managed to take it down, which was probably the highlight of my weekend, as sad as that may seem. The final finishes were as follows:

1st - MrBo1011 ($8)
2nd - trainofbutter
3rd - jayman2117
4th - craigulator19

My man Criggles has been running pretty hot since he got back into playing online, and he came out aggressive, picking up a lot of pots before the flop and taking an early lead. I managed to even things out with a little KK trap where I limped in and hit a set, with a QJ that hit top two for the BB special, and then took him out with pocket 10's when he lead out into me with K7 that hit top pair on a 7-high flop after calling my button raise.

Jay managed a 3rd place finish even after apparently not showing up... although you never know with Jay since he's a terrible poker player... which ironically makes him extremely dangerous... plus he did actually manage to win one hand. He couldn't stay in the game though when he was all-in in the SB and I took him out with 34 against his dominating A4.

Then there was the trainofbutter, who just hadn't gotten anything going the whole time and was pretty much out of it. He did manage to scrap back just a little though, with a magnificent river suckout - ATs against his A6o that spiked the river 6. But then things headed downhill again until he made a perfectly reasonable push into my flopped flush. Here's the final hand:

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 40/80 Blinds, 2 Players - Hand History Converter

BB: 560
Hero (SB): 5,440

Pre-Flop: (120) 9d 8d dealt to Hero (SB)
Hero calls 40, BB checks
Flop: (160) 7d Qd 5d (2 Players)
BB bets 480 and is All-In, Hero calls 480
Turn: (1,120) 4c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (1,120) Ks (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 1,120 Pot
BB showed Qh 6d (a pair of Queens) and LOST (-560 NET)
Hero showed 9d 8d (a flush, Queen high) and WON 1,120 (+560 NET)

GG gents. Hope to see you all back next Sunday, as well as some newcomers hopefully.


Moving on to the rest of this weekend... ugh... where to begin. Basically it all sucked. It started with my Aces getting cracked by 65o after I raised about 234876234xBB before the flop in a $5 90-seater, then something crappy happened in a $10 SNG, can't remember what at this point. Then I made the money in a $5 90-seater, but busted in 13th after making an unfortunate resteal attempt with a mediocre suited Ace (should have realized my fold equity was not as good as I thought... and that my opponent had AA). And then things got really fun when I went another 9 $10 SNG's over Friday and Saturday and only managed to cash in 2... and both 3rd places at that. It was just a terrible run... probably my worst to date. In 2 spots I got down a bit early, losing about 1/3rd of my stack with AQ hands... once to a very passive AK, and once to K9 (shudder). Then I just couldn't catch a break. I was 0/4 in bubble coinflips, and also managed to lose AK to AJ that called all-in on a gutshot aaaaaaaaaaaaaand hit, of course... then QQ against AQ that put his chips in on a J-high flop and of course managed to turn the Ace.

Understandably, it was a sick weekend... a fairly cataclysmal downswing if I do say so myself. Of course I did start out at the $10 SNG's with a ridiculous hot streak (7 cashes out of 8, 5 of them wins), so now my stats actually seem a bit more normal, with a 33% ROI. Still not a significant sample size of only 35, but it's a start.

So from here I think I'm going to take a break from the $10 SNG's and try to play a few $5 90-seaters. I've had really good results from those thus far, and I even donked around in the $3 KO tourney the other night and scraped out an 8th place finish in that... not a big cash though, particularly considering that I only had 1 KO. For now though, I just need a little breather. It's nice to know that I'm not that distraught over the whole cold streak, while at the same time I'm not completely pessimistic about my luck and chances of winning and don't do the "ohhh, looks like another coinflip situation, I'll probably lose this one too" kind of thing. I'm in a good place where it is what it is, I can't do anything about it but focus on the next game or next hand, and ultimately... it's just money. In the big picture of things, I'm still overall very much in the black from when I started tracking my bankroll, but I'm also just in one giant freeroll. I've still yet to deposit a dime of my own money, and am grinding away with the original freeroll winnings and "free $50" offers on Party Poker (what Poker?) from years ago. So yeah this weekend sucked, but all-in-all, life is very good!


Teddy KGB

With all the craptastic hands going down for me this weekend, there were probably a good 3-dozen or so hands that I felt could have been posted as "WTF" hands of the (insert measurement of time here). This hand however, from one of the biggest donks I have seen around EVER, clearly takes the cake. Fortunately I was not involved in the hand, for had it been my Aces that were being cracked, I probably would have ground my keyboard into a fine powder (though I also would have kicked myself for 3-betting... yes 3-betting... with Aces???)

Full Tilt Poker, NL Hold'em Tournament, 20/40 Blinds, 8 Players - Hand History Converter

CO: 1,240
BTN: 2,420
SB: 1,375
BB: 1,680
UTG: 2,150
UTG+1: 1,910
MP1: 670
Hero (MP2): 2,055

Pre-Flop: (60) 8c 5d dealt to Hero (MP2)
UTG raises to 80, UTG+1 raises to 120, MP1 calls 120, 2 folds, BTN calls 120, 2 folds, UTG calls 40
Flop: (540) 9h 3s Js (4 Players)
UTG checks, UTG+1 bets 540, MP1 folds, BTN calls 540, UTG folds
Turn: (1,620) Tc (2 Players)
UTG+1 bets 1,250 and is All-In, BTN calls 1,250
River: (4,120) Kc (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 4,120 Pot
BTN showed 8d 7d (a straight, Jack high) and WON 4,120 (+2,210 NET)
UTG+1 showed As Ah (a pair of Aces) and LOST (-1,910 NET)


Some of you may remember back in March I had a little experiment with the Tier SNG's on Full Tilt... which unfortunately didn't end the way I had hoped and made me realize the displeasure that can come with the nature of the tier system, particularly how as you go up in increasingly important levels, you sample size obviously decreases drastically and allows for greater variance when it really matters... essentially you can have a great run at Tier One and even Tier Two, and say you're down to 3 $75 tokens that after originally buying in to 20 Tier One SNG's. Cash in all 3 and your ROI will be off the charts, but cash in zero... and you're in the red big time my friend. And yes, I speak from experience. All those overpairs getting cracked by underpairs, runner-runner straights and flushes knocking you out, etc. All of that... happening when you really need it not to. That's what can really suck about the tiers.

Anywho, it looks like Scott at Ace Filled Dreams is going to give it a shot, so I thought I'd just revisit some of my thoughts on the matter, though I pretty much just summed them up above. I'll be honest though, seeing his post does kind of make me want to give it another shot sometime. Not now though... I'd much prefer going for a final table cash in a $24+2 MTT. But here's what I used to be all about:

Trying out the Tiers on FTP (HA)
Tearing Up Tier One
Tier One SNG Strategy Walkthrough (HH)
Time for a Tier Rant
Predicting ROI in Step SNG's
Crazy Tier Two Bubble Hand (HA)
$24+2 Tier Two SNG Strategy (HH) (forgot to add first time)
Tier Three Bubble Bust'n (HA)


1) It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - if you haven't already heard of or seen this show, I would highly recommend looking into it. My friend brought the DVD's from the first 2 seasons over on Sunday and I have the first 5 episodes to thank for getting me out of my mild downswing depression... just hilarious stuff if you like inappropriate humor.

2) Duplicate Poker - I forgot to mention that about a week or two ago I finally downloaded this thing and tried playing it. Not sure how many of you are familiar with it, but I really wish I wasn't. It was terrible. Now granted I didn't take much time to fully understand the concept and get acquainted with the software, but I really can't see myself ever having the patience to do so. It was just not an enjoyable... gaming experience? If you want to call it that. I don't give a crap if it's the only form of online poker legal in the U.S... cause really... it's just not poker.

3) Sloppy Deuce #2 - sign up now to slop it up this Sunday again. And stay tuned for a potentially fun announcement concerning a new TPTM promotion.

That's all I got for now. I'm spent. Best of luck to ya. - B

Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Deuce Cometh!

I'm in the middle of getting my ass handed to me in FTP's SNG Madness, but thought I'd take a minute to remind everyone about the first ever TPTM private tournament tomorrow. Here's the information again in case you're incapable of reading it on the giant banner above...

The Sloppy Deuce
Sunday @ 14:00 EST on Full Tilt Poker
$2+.50 NL Hold'em
go to Tournaments, click the Private tab, and scroll down to the respective buy-in and time.

And remember, if you don't already have a FTP account, you can download it and sign up for one
here, then email me your player name and I'll drop $10 into your account to start playing with.

Alright, time to go grab lunch and then get back to the neverending suckouts. It all started when I got my Aces cracked by 65o in an MTT, and since then it's been an ugly weekend. Plus, I don't know what it was but all the $10 SNG's on Full Tilt were packed with nits last night. In the one game we seriously went 6 levels without one knockout. What do you do when it's still 8-9 handed, the blinds are at 60/120 and you're sitting cold-decked with around 1,200 chips or so? So far the answer has been you find a hand like AK or JJ, push it in, find yourself in a coinflip situation and, of course, lose 100% of them. Ah well, so it goes.

Hope you're all having better luck than I am.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Beautiful Hand of the Week / Other Things

This week's beautiful hand brought to you by Kimberly Lansing and her stunning phalanges:

How's this for a bubble sweat:

Full Tilt Poker, $5 + $0.50 NL Hold'em Sit n' Go, 80/160 Blinds, 4 Players - Hand History Converter

Hero (BB): 4,555
UTG: 4,550
BTN: 3,635
SB: 760

Pre-Flop: (240) Kh Kc dealt to Hero (BB)
UTG raises to 480, BTN folds, Hero raises to 4,555 and is All-In, UTG calls 4,070 and is All-In
Flop: (9,180) 9d Jc 8d (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
Turn: (9,180) 4c (2 Players - 1 is All-In)
River: (9,180) Kd (2 Players - 1 is All-In)

Results: 9,180 Pot
Hero showed Kh Kc (three of a kind, Kings) and WON 9,180 (+4,630 NET)
UTG showed As Td (Ace King high) and LOST (-4,550 NET)

How many times are your Kings going to be in a near-coinflip after dodging an Ace on the flop? I wasn't exactly looking for a call here with the SB being close to going out, and I'm not quite sure what the UTG player was thinking calling with ATo. It's always a sweat when you see that Ace though, and then to add in the open-ended straight draw. Hey zeus that makes my nuts sweat (kind of like Kimberly Lansing does... if I were a prepubescent boy, I would totally be discovering myself right now).

In other news, July has come to an end, and though I didn't play much poker during the 2nd half of the month, I managed to have another solid return. I'm going to go ahead and post my monthly stats for the past 11 months, so you can all see just how pathetic of a grinder I am and just how little I actually play (spending time ranting on here doesn't help). I've been keeping track since last September, though I started a bit before then with $200 and the original intention of multi-tabling limit games... the real grind. Found that to be a maddening experience, so I got in to NL SNG's and MTT's and never really looked back, and so far I've only had one small month in the red. Anyways, here's my crappy homemade Poker Tracker knockoff spreadsheet:

The goal for August is to get over $1,000, preferably earlier in the month before work starts up - I'm going to be teaching high school math for the first year and we go back in a few weeks. Gotta get used to waking up at 5:00 in the morning again (sigh). But yeah, I figure I'll be playing a lot less during the school year (seeing as how I'll be making a lot more through teaching I should probably focus on that, and plus kids are the future and blah blah blah all that crap etc... just kidding, I really am serious about teaching and love my real job... seriously) but the good thing about teaching is the 2 months of summer vacation, which could be prime poker playing time... possibly even with an eventual trip to Vegas for the WSOP. For now though I'm just going to keep scraping away at the microstakes. Next step is to hit around $1,200 and move up to the $20 SNG's, and maybe a mix of $10-$24 MTT's. Right now the one thing I really need to work on is just to play more. I plan on starting that initiative later today with Full Tilt's Sit-N-Go Madness thing going on, but we'll see how much more time I leak out working on this post.


This crap just keeps pissing me off more and more. Seems that the already-lame UIGEA isn't doing enough for some self-righteous representatives of themselves, who are disregarding all of the other ills in our nation right now to go after good ol' online poker. Get disgusted for yourself here:

All of this conjures up memories of an old article I wrote around the time that UIGEA was being put into place. It was supposed to be a two-part piece - the first dealing with the nature of poker (i.e. skill vs. luck, is it gambling?, etc.), and the second concerning morality and social perceptions of the game and it's place in society. But yeah... never really got to the second part. I'll leave you with the link for the first part though... and a little excerpt:

"Poker, we can say, is not pure gambling. Poker does involve acts of gambling, and as such the ability to correctly decipher and analyze the risks of certain situations is an essential tool of players who seek to minimize the amount of gambling involved. The degree to which chance and skill come into play is not easily quantifiable, nonetheless it is quite evident that both are active components of the game and that the latter of the two is a primary determinant of how the player fares in the long run."

... from
Of Math and Mathematicians: A Poker Paradox (Part I)