Friday, April 28, 2006

The Holy Grail, Rake Free Poker

Last night I signed up with the World Poker Exchange which currently offers rake free poker. If you have not heard of the site before, believe me it's true. They use a typical rake schedule (5% up to $3/hand), but each week they refund the rake taken back to your account. In the cashier window, you can see the rake you have accumulated for the week and when the next payout date is. The reason they do it this way is so you can see for yourself how much money you are saving by playing on their site. It's kind of a marketing trick, but for no rake I am totally cool with it. The site is affiliated with a major online sports book. Their explanation for offering rake free poker, is to drive up account growth and in turn drive the new accounts into sports betting and casino type wagering where they make good money. If you think about it, the costs of running an online poker site are pretty small. This site which already has the infrastructure to manage online cash accounts and support, simply needed to add some new software, and some servers to deal with the additional poker traffic. So for a small expense, they can get some more accounts, and drive the growth of their core business. Plus, like all other sites, they make interest (Juice) on the account balances that never is passed to the players. Meaning they potentially could be profitable in the operation by itself without charging a rake.

If you think about it the rake charged by other online sites is obscene, and looks a lot like price fixing. The 5%, $3 max/hand rake is very similar to the better Vegas brick and mortar casinos rake structure. Card rooms and Indian casinos sometimes charge a flat $3-4 per hand which is quite a bit higher. Comparing the operating expenses of an online poker room vs. a brick and mortar, is not even close. Brick and mortars, have to pay for the dealers, floor personnel, poker tables, shuffle machines, cards, chips, chairs, floor space, AC, lights, and more. All expenses that online rooms do not have. Online poker rooms have to pay for servers and the electricity to run them, and a software and support staff. Their biggest expense is probably marketing. The fact that they charge a similar rake is a joke. The fact that there is really no rake competition online is a bigger joke. Also, the number of hands played is at least 2x online vs. live, so the rake generated is 2x per table. These guys could survive with a much lower rake structure, but are not willing to budge it seems. Hopefully, rake free poker will force their hand so to speak.

I played some rake-free this afternoon, and I have to say it's no different then the other sites out there. The traffic is pretty light at about 1200 players, but I was able to get on full 10 player .50/1 and .25/50 nl holdem tables. Its too early to get a real good feel for the play, but it appears to be pretty weak. Lots of short stacks at the table, and lots of limp-in community pots. The software is pretty decent to. I heard rumors that the site is full of bots, and good players, but I can see no evidence of that. My session was pretty much break even through about 100 hands. If you get a chance, please give it a try. I am not affiliated in any way, but would love to see the traffic go up to the point where the rake sites have to take notice. You really have nothing to lose, and have rake to gain. It effectively reduces poker to the zero sum game it is supposed to be. Why not be a winning player if you can beat 50% of the players, vs. having to beat 80-90% of the players at a raked site. Try it, I think you will like it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Two-Pair Squared

Last night, I was having one of those rough nights you have from time to time, where nothing seems to be going right. You know what I am talking about. People are slowplaying monsters, and you catch up enough by the river that you end up paying them off. Your continuation bets with nothing are getting reraised everytime. When you flop a set, your opponents keep hanging on, and then the board gets super scary by the river, but you just can't release your set. Your big hands are just barely second best, and when you do get the other guy all-in, the gutshot straights are filling on the river everytime. This was my night last night. I have been running really well lately, so I was just shaking the beats off and laughing to myself. If I was running bad going into a night like last night I usually like to quit, before I do something stupid. Many a time I have had a night like last night and then finally pick up AA, or KK, and end up racking off to a flopped set, because I over played it post flop. I was watching out for this. Anyway, It gets late, and I am orbiting off my tables ready to quit when an interesting hand happened. It's a bad beat, but I am not going to cry about it. Continue reading at your own risk.

I pick up KTs UTG and limp. Both blinds limp. Flop comes J96 with one of mysuit. I have an over, a gutshot, and runner runner flush potential (about 9 outs). Check, Check, and I lead out for about 3/4ths of the pot trying to take it down right there, or at least chase a better K away. Both blinds call. A beautiful Q drops on the Turn giving me the nuts. Now the limpers come to life. First limper bets $10, second limper calls. First limper has $11 behind, second limper has $38 behind. I am thinking, I might be able to recoup most of my losses for the night on this hand. I min reraise to $20. I want them both to call, and figure they will. First limper goes all-in, second limper tanks. Then second limper goes all-in. Nice, I get to call two all-ins with the nuts and one card to come. One of these guys prolly has a set, so I will need to dodge some bullets. I hope its the first limper. Cards go up, and it turns out they both have J6 for identical two-pairs. This is great for me, because they are eating up 2 of there 4 outs, and only have a 21-1 shot of beating me. River is a 6. It was not my night, lol!

DADI Does Vegas

I played in the DADI Blogger tournament Monday night. I made a pretty good run, but fell a little short as usual. My first table was 7 handed initially, with a guy two to my left sitting out. I was getting decent cards, but not great early on. I was playing hyper-aggressive with my decent cards and managed to win 12 of the first 40 hands at the table, while only going to showdown once. I was stealing the blinds, stealing from the guy sitting out. Restealing from guys trying to steal from the sitting out guy, and bluffing post flop quite a bit. Not really my normal early tournament routine, but I had established a great table image while running my stack up to about 3700 early. If I could catch a big hand, I was going to get paid big time, as I am sure the rest of the table figured they were on to me. Unfortunately, I got pulled of the table before I could make a big score.

I get moved to a new table, and started catching some great cards after about 1o minutes. I make a standard preflop raise with TT, and a shortsack pushes in over the top. I call, and my TT holds up against A9o. I get AK, and raise with 2 callers, flop Broadway, and win a nice pot. I pick up KK early, make a standard raise and a shorty goes all-in with the hammer. I call and luckily win when Aces pair on the board to fight off a 2 that flopped and 7 that rivered. My stack is now north of 10k, and I am in 3rd place. There were 78 entries.

I get moved to a new table. This ones got Bobby Bracelet. I chat it up with him a little bit, asking him why he is not 5 or 6 times confirmed after the infamous mansion party. He responds that "Thrice Confirmed Huge Junk" rolls off the tounge better. I don't want his junk rolling off my tongue that's for sure. I pick up AK, and make a standard raise. Bobby calls. Flop comes K high rainbow and I make a standard continuation bet. Bobby pushes and I call. He has KJ, and does not get help. Ooops, I just knocked out Bobby Bracelet. We get to the second break, and I am sitting nicely in 4th place, and playing very well.

The third hour would not be so kind to me. When the blinds get big things really have to go your way, as there is little room for error. I get blinded down to about 9500 in chips. Blinds are 200/400, 6-handed and I pick up 88 one off UTG. I make it 1500. One caller from late position. Flop comes down KTx and I am hating the flop. Caller has about 3800 left, and I have him easily covered. There is enough in the pot that I feel I have to make a stab at it. I bet 2000 which is half the other guys stack. I figure if I am ahead he has to fold, but if he pushes he really has to be ahead, because he has to figure I am going to call 1800 more with a pot that big. Other guy pushes, and I fold as planned. Other guy shows a set of tens. I am amazed I didn't give him a full double-up. My stack is down to about 6200, and I am in trouble for the first time in the tournament. I get moved to a pretty tough table when we get down to 12 players. Preflop raises on nearly every hand, and I am pretty card dead. I get blinded down to 4500 in chips, and push-in early with A4o. I get called by QTs and my lead holds up. Whew, I am back to 9500 and have bought some time. I am still card dead. Blinds now 400/800 with 11 players left. My stack is back down to 4900. My M is about 3, and my effective M is about 1.5 on this 5 handed table. I am going to have to make a move here, If I want any shot of making the final table. It folds to me in the SB, and I have 95s. Not really the hand I am looking for, but I have pot odds if the BB is not paired. Also, I still have enough of a stack for folding equity. I push, and Drizz tanks. I really think he is going to fold, but he calls with KTo. Bummer, he had a decent hand. Anything less and I think he folds there. I don't catch help and am eliminated in 11th place. I still like the move I made there. If I can continue to make those types of moves, I will break through one of these times.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"If You Win The Seat, You Better Watch Your Back At The WSOP"

Well it looks like I have gone and done it. I have pissed off the blogging community. A couple of lines of chat taken out of context, and now Dugglebogey is threatening to kick my ass. I had no idea, that bloggers when offended by chat like to threaten physical violence to the offender, but I guess that's how they roll. Anyway, I would like to take the opportunity to explain what happened from my point of view. I have to say that I am extremely sorry about what happened, and will take the required steps to eliminate the problem going forward.

First of all, the chat in question was directed at smokkee. We have a history. There is no way I break out the R word to a fellow blogger. Smokkee works with me. He started playing poker to be part of the The Newport Poker Open which is a monthly private tournament on PokerStars. Of all the people at Newport I have gotten into poker, Smokkee is by far the most dedicated. He is single and is able to play way more poker online and live than I can. He plays by feel and with more aggression then I do. I am more of a numbers/grinder type player. We discuss poker a lot, and have a lot of good things to teach each other due to our different playing styles. Smokkee also started blogging shortly after I showed him mine. Smokkee and myself are at the top of the season standings in the Newport Poker Open, and have developed quite a rivalry of sorts. In the Newport Poker Open, because we all work together, quite a bit of trash talking goes down. Its all in good fun, but would definitely seem strange to an outside observer.

We also end up playing a lot together on FullTilt in the cash games, token S&Gs, and MTTs. Smokkee has this very annoying habit of observing my table, and doing play be play from the rail. He also goes as far as commenting on what he thinks my strategy is or what type of player he thinks I am from the rail. I talked with him about this in person, and told him that it was inappropriate, and I wanted him to stop. If he continued trying to reveal my playing style/strategy at the tables, I would have to contact support and try to get his chat privledges revoked. He slowed down at first, but essentially continued to the point where I had to turn off observer chat on FullTilt. This seemed to resolve the problem, except now he would find me and sit at my table to chat. I did not consider turning off chat when he is at my table, but it looks like thats what I need to do next.

Now for the incident during the DADI Tournament on Monday night. About an hour or so into the tournament, I was moved to smokkee's table. There were a couple of comments made before the hand in question. First he called me a "tranny" which he loves to do. I guess because I always play with a female avatar. He also said something like "Blinders, you can't win this thing if your only willing to play AA and KK". I don't really mind the tranny comment, but the AA or KK goes to my playing style (Not true!), and these types of comments are inappropriate to be making during a tournament. If you think you have someone figured out, keep it to yourself. Giving information to other players about an opponent, that they may not have picked up themselves in inappropriate.

I pick up KK in early position, and make a standard 3x preflop raise. A shortstack who has been overplaying the hammer all night long reraises all-in. I call. He has the hammer. The flop comes down with A2x, pairing the hammer. Then smokkee does the chat hijack trick that we have all seen before where you type a card you want to come and hit return over and over to fill the chat box.

Now, this is pretty annoying to me. If it was the guy with the hammer doing it, so be it. His tournament life is at stake, and he is begging for a card. Cool. But for someone not in the hand to be obnoxiously begging for a suckout to happen to another player is very rude and not cool.

Turn is an A.

Smokkee continues with the chat Hijack

Now the 7 here does not help the hammer. I have two pair Aces, and Kings. I only lose to the 2. The 2 does not fall on the river.

I chat something like this "learn the hand rankings retard", directed at the chat Hijacker, Smokkee. Ok, I dropped the R word, and that is inappropriate. Smokkee replys "that's gay", and I respond "your gay".

At his point DuggleBogey and Spaceman take serious objection to the conversation. Rightfully so in my opinion. They don't know the history between us, so it looks strange. They say things like "I hate playing in these tourneys" and "I wish only real bloggers play in these things". I immediately apologized for the chat. The two continue to go on and on, and I apologized again. Then Dugglebogey breaks out the "If you win the seat, you better watch your back at the WSOP". Now to me saying something like that goes way beyond dropping the R word. Chat is one thing, but threatening to beat up a fellow blogger is insane. Anyway, I am truly sorry for what happened. I hope you guys will give me a second chance. As for Smokkee, I will be turning off chat when I am at his table. The guy really knows how to get under my skin. It is no good for my poker to chat with him while playing and it annoys me. He can always talk to me at work, if he has something to say.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Big Letdown

Last Saturday was the 20 seat WSOP freeroll on FullTilt. I worked hard for a month putting in tons of hours on FullTilt to accumulate 10,000 pts to qualify. It would not be my day.

With about 680 entries it would be a 34-1 shot at getting a seat. I decided that I would need to loosen up a bit early and try to get some chips rather then waiting till the blinds got large to start making moves. Not my typical tournament strategy, but at 34-1 some adjustments were required. I played some extra hands and watched my chip stack slowly go down. There was a maniac about 3 to my right that was constantly raising preflop and then trying to push people off hands. I call one of his preflop raises with AJ. Flop comes QJx, and I call him down to win a nice pot and get up to about 2300 in chips (2000 to start). I bleed off some more chips, and call him again with AJs in a blind. One other caller as well. Flop comes J high two clubs (I have hearts), and I check planning to check raise. Other guy checks and maniac bets 300 as planned. I check raise to 600, other guy pushes all-in, and the maniac calls. I have over 1/3 of my chips in play, but I have to let this one go. Other guy has a set of 5s, maniac has a J and the flush draw. Flush draw hits on the river. I can dodge bullets, but my stack is starting to get crippled. With about 1200 in chips and blinds at 30/60 I pick up JJ and open for $225 and get one caller. I am planning on pushing if the flop is low. Flop comes Qxx, and from out of position I make a $320 continuation bet. Other guy reraises enough to put me all-in. If I fold I am down to 700 in chips and will need to triple up just to get back where I started. If I call and win, I will have about 2600 in chips which is about average. An A or K on the flop would have scared me more then a Q. I figure there's a decent shot I am still ahead, and that if I fold, I would be about 100-1 on getting a seat. I call and other guy has AQ. I am out in the first 1/2 hour. I hate tournaments! In a cash game, I can let that go easy, but Tournaments require you to play stupid at times.

I played in an OCPT special event tourney on Friday night. We had 16 entries and a $760 prize pool. I was hanging in there early against a very aggressive table. I raise 4x preflop and get a couple of callers. Flop comes KQ5, and I reraise an early position better. We end up going all-in, and the other guy has Q5, and I have to rebuy. These fish are playing like this and its working! Chris, is playing like a maniac. He is calling all-ins with any two cards and sucking out like mad. He is also raising a lot and pushing people around. I am begging to get in a hand with him. I get all-in preflop vs. Ken with AQ vs. AJ, and he sucks out a four flush. Another rebuy, and I never seem to do well in these things when I rebuy a lot before the break. The Final table forms shortly after the break. I am sitting on about 410 chips after the add-on.

Maniac Chris opens for 300 (blinds 20/40), and I pick up AK. I would much rather make a big reraise with AK and get called by Chris, then call his big preflop raise. I put him on a small pocket pair or possibly a decent Ace. I figure I have a coinflip at worse, and a double-up would put me in great position to go deep. My stack is actually a little light due to all of the other rebuys. I make the call. For some reason we end up tabling our cards even though, I am not all-in yet. Chris has 88. I miss the flop, Chris puts me all-in and I fold. I go all-in a few hands later with K8o as the blinds approach. Ryan calls with KQ, and Chris calls with Q5. LOL. Well at least my 8 is live for the triple up. I end up catching the 8 on the river, but it fills Chris's gutshot, and me and Ryan are eliminated. That guy must have a horseshoe up his ass, and has a massive chip lead when I go home. The only saving grace was, he donked it off and ended up getting 5th, for a small payout. Larry who hosted, ended up rallying back for the win and a $300.

Friday, April 21, 2006

FullTilt Seems To Be Getting Fishier By The Minute

I got into a few interesting hands last night on FullTilt with some bigtime fish. The play seems to be going way south, which is a good thing. On this first hand, I had only gone a couple of orbits and had no history on the two main competitors, other than I had seen katykake call all the way down until the opponent was all-in with 33 no help to lose to QQ. Retarded.

FullTiltPoker Game #581636160: Table Painted Peak - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 21:30:52 ET - 2006/04/20
Seat 1: Stockings ($112.60)
Seat 2: Apollo2000 ($92.40)
Seat 3: katykake ($124.80)
Seat 4: Phaedraa ($74.75)
Seat 5: OsuBuckeye32 ($99)
Seat 6: cturl ($45.10)
Seat 7: bambi359 ($97.85)
Seat 8: dugan2323 ($23)
Seat 9: Blinders ($98)
Blinders posts the small blind of $0.50
Stockings posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #8
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [Td Tc]
Apollo2000 folds
katykake calls $1
Phaedraa calls $1
OsuBuckeye32 folds
cturl folds
bambi359 folds
dugan2323 folds
Blinders raises to $5

With a couple limpers and a weakish hand like TT, I need to narrow the field and clear out some of the crap hands. A good rule of thumb is 4x+1x for each limper. I go 5x in this case.

Stockings folds
katykake calls $4
Phaedraa calls $4

Ok both limpers call. What do they have? I put them both on middle to small pocket pairs or a weakish A like AJ, AT. Personally, I would only limp/call a 5x preflop raise with a pocket pair, unless I had some kind of read on the raiser. I would raise not limp with a strong A, and fold the weakish Aces to a 5x.

*** FLOP *** [4d 4c 9h]

This is a great flop for me! The pair on the board makes it less likely I am up agianst a set, and a 4 does not seem like a likely holding unless I am against quads (44). I lead out with a standard continution bet of about 3/4 pot.

Blinders bets $11
katykake calls $11
Phaedraa calls $11

Wow they both called, what fish! I have to put them on a small to medium pocket pair or two overs. Either way I am in the lead, but am in danger. Holding a 4 seems unlikely, and if they had a 9 they would have to reraraise that bet to protect it, right? No reraise, no 9, plus a 9 is not a likely holding.

*** TURN *** [4d 4c 9h] [9c]

The board is getting scary, but I have to beleive I am in the lead here. I decide to make a big bet to protect my hand. This will be pot committing me, but I think I am only getting beat by Quads here. If I lose to quads oh well.

Blinders bets $36
katykake raises to $72
Phaedraa calls $58.75, and is all in

Holy shit, they came out firing all of a sudden, WTF. Does one of these guys really got quads? They could also do this with 55, 66, 77, 88, or 99. Its not much more to look up Phaedraa. And Like I said, I was willing to lose to quads here. Lets hope if either one has quads its Phaedra. I'll just push and get a nice side pot with katykake.

Blinders raises to $82, and is all in
katykake calls $10

Blinders shows [Td Tc]
katykake shows [Th 9d]
Phaedraa shows [9s Kd]

No fucking way. They both limp called a 5x preflop with that crap, then both refused to protect it with a reraise after a very favorable flop. Then they hit their 1 outer on the turn to fuck me.

*** RIVER *** [4d 4c 9h 9c] [8c]
Blinders shows two pair, Tens and Nines
katykake shows a full house, Nines full of Fours
katykake wins the side pot ($46.50) with a full house, Nines full of Fours
Phaedraa shows a full house, Nines full of Fours
katykake ties for the main pot ($111.15) with a full house, Nines full of Fours
Phaedraa ties for the main pot ($111.10) with a full house, Nines full of Fours
Blinders is sitting out

I throw out a comment "You both called a 5x preflop with that crap"
KatyKate replys "Booo hooo"

Fucking Fish.

For the next hand here, I was also at the table for just a couple of orbits. I saw the player in question go all-in for like $200 on the river into a $12 pot with bottom pair crap kicker. The other guy only had $28 in front of him, so it looked like it was more for show than anything. After the other guy folded, he shows his crap, and I say "nice, you are my hero!"

FullTiltPoker Game #582255211: Table Grand Hills - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 1:41:23 ET - 2006/04/21
Seat 1: ecito79 ($242.40)
Seat 2: bert lee ($109.05)
Seat 3: RvRdAgN ($18.50)
Seat 4: thelvyn123 ($108.90)
Seat 5: StoneHam ($61)
Seat 6: hishighness007 ($170.45)
Seat 7: Blinders ($108)
Seat 8: hsiaoFATson ($27)
Seat 9: ArtieRufio31 ($210.55)
hsiaoFATson posts the small blind of $0.50
ArtieRufio31 posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [Qd Qs]
ecito79 has 15 seconds left to act
ecito79 calls $1
bert lee calls $1
RvRdAgN folds
thelvyn123 folds
StoneHam folds
hishighness007 calls $1
Blinders has 15 seconds left to act

Too many limpers for a 4x raise so I pop it to 6x.

Blinders raises to $6
hsiaoFATson folds
ArtieRufio31 folds
ecito79 calls $5
bert lee folds
hishighness007 folds
*** FLOP *** [5s 3c 4h]
ecito79 has 15 seconds left to act
ecito79 bets $236.40, and is all in

Holy Shit an all-in overbet. He could have a set, but do you really push-in here. Only a real good player makes the all-in move with a set, and from what I have seen this guy is not that good. Even though I hate putting all my chips in with this small of a pot, I have to look this guy up.

Blinders calls $102, and is all in
ecito79 shows [9c 7h]
Blinders shows [Qd Qs]

Nice hand fish! Guess he is banking on the gutshot draw.

Uncalled bet of $134.40 returned to ecito79
*** TURN *** [5s 3c 4h] [Jd]
*** RIVER *** [5s 3c 4h Jd] [8d]
ecito79 shows Jack Nine high
Blinders shows a pair of Queens
Blinders wins the pot ($216.50) with a pair of Queens

Nice pot, nice fish. All I can say is "lol". As play went on at the table, this guy kept making the all-in overbet. His chips were all gone shortly, and then he rebought. I was licking my chops, but was not able to get involved in another pot with him. Bummer. At least this hand made up for the first one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Online Bankroll - $8420

My reported bankroll increases have been pathetic lately. I wanted this blog to give me some incentive to show off and grow my bankroll nicely. I have been running well lately, although it has been mostly at the $.50/1 nl holdem tables. I am still getting smacked around a little at the $1/2, although I did win some money of Perry Friedman on FullTilt over the weekend. I own that guy! Anyway as of today this is where my bankroll stands:

FullTilt: 3,002.75
PokerStars: 1,715.55
DoylesRoom: 1,197.13
Party Poker: 799.57
Titan Poker: 479.46
Pacific Poker: 426.32
Bodog: 20.00
Neteller: 779.73

Total: $8420

Overall, I am up about $800 in a little less than 2 weeks, while qualifying for two big freerolls on FullTilt. I will take it! As you can see I am expanding the sites that I play at. Party Poker has been really good to me in the few hours I have played there, although I did give some back today on a couple of bad beats. I decided to go for the PokerSavvy WSOP freeroll. So I am getting points for Titan/Party/and Pacific through that site. The savvy points are worth like .10 each in swag, so after I get the 3000 pts, I will be able to get a $300 gift card for Amazon or Target plus the 150 entry WSOP free roll (worlds smallest!). I don't have rakeback going on any sites, and that kind of sucks. If you are working a bonus you get more than rakeback pays, and I got so many bonuses working it is not an issue. I will prolly sign up with a few more lesser know sites to complete the 3000pt requirement at PokerSavvy, then get rakeback somewhere juicy if possible.

I played in the 8k on FullTilt last night as a warm-up for the WSOP freeroll this weekend. Didn't see a flop or win a hand in the first 35. Then I got on a decent run, and worked my stack north of 10k without many great starting hands. I was feeling good, and thought I could make a run at the final table. Then I pick up my first real hand of the night (KK), and get all-in preflop against AQ and lose to a flopped A and drop back to 5k. Then rather then limping into the money, I stay aggressive (which will be required in the WSOP freeroll). After a couple more big hands that don't go well, I am out in about 58/419 with top 45 paying. I could have limped to the money after the KK hand, but I am trying to play to win from now on. I was actually happy with the moves I made late, even though they did not work out. I think I am ready for Saturday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Jersey

I received my custom FullTilt football jersey a few weeks ago. Its like the one that "the mouth" was wearing during his 2005 WSOP main event run. Mine has "Blinders" across the back and the number 13. Why 13? Well Dan Marino is my favorite Football player and he wore 13. Also, I am the unluckiest blogging tournament player, so 13 fits well. It took 25,000 FTP points to buy the thing which represents $25,000 in rake of off tables you played at. It is real nice, probably worth $120+ for the quality and all of the customization. I thought it would be cool to play live tournaments with my friends with the jersey. Not sure if I want to wear it casinos as it prolly draws to much attention to you, and identifies you as a cyber specialist. Last night at the OCPT event would be my first opportunity to wear the jersey. It would be a night worth remembering.

The first hour of the tourney is pretty uneventful. I win most of the pots I get involved in, and work my stack up to $270 at the break (started with $200). I take the add-on for $150 more in chips. After an orbit, I pick up QQ on the button with 7/15 blinds. Preston limps, StopSign raises to $30, and I reraise to $130 wanting to get heads-up, or just take it down. Blinds fold, Preston pushes all-in, and StopSign folds. I know Preston does not have AA or KK as I don't think the limp raise is in his bag of tricks, so I have to call. Preston has KQ, and no K shows up. I now have about $1000 in chips. I start to pick up the aggression, and steal some blinds. I take two shots at Ryan #2 and get him all-in with a worst hand, but he sucks out on me twice. The final table forms and the blinds are 100/200. It gets folded around to me few times on the button, and I steal the blinds some more, and work my stack back-up. People start dropping and we get down to 3-way with about equal chip stacks. I push from the SB with T9s after the button folded, and get called by K7o. I flop a 9, but Ryan catches runner/runner for a flush, and I am down to 400 in chips. I am screwed, but I have to make that play with the blinds at 300/600 and being up against a random hand. On the next hand Ryan has AJ and Steve has AK and they are all-in preflop. Flop comes KQx, and Ryan is in big trouble, but he rivers a T for the straight, and Steve is eliminated.

We start heads up and I have $400 in chips to Ryan's $6800. Since I am in the $300 SB, I just say "I am all-in blind", and we deal the cards face up. I get J2o and Ryan gets AA. I catch two pair and double up. I have to go all-in on the next hand with $800 in chips and a $600 BB posted, and double-up again. I really don't have anything to lose, so I push-in all but one time from the SB, and Ryan is folding his BB and SB a little too much. I get TT and Ryan decides to take a stand, and I double-up again and take the chip lead. I push-in with A4 on the next hand and get called by AT. I flop a 4 and the tournament is over. I win $275 (30 entry), and take over the career earnings lead on the Orange County Poker Tour (OCPT). I think I like my new FullTilt jersey.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The Orange County Poker Tour (OCPT) and Some Other Random Thoughts

This Orange County Poker Tour that I created is really starting to snowball. We play once a month on the second Wednesday at various locations in Orange County. The format is $10+rebuys NL holdem. The prize pool gets pretty big with lots of rebuys and add-ons. Last month we had 20 entries and a $790 prize pool. Tonight we are looking at 25+ and a $1,000+ prize pool. It would be cool if we could add some bloggers to the mix. Currently it is just me and smokkee. If your local to the OC, or ever in the area on the second Wed. drop me a comment and I will get you in. Should be an awesome event tonight. Lots of booze, friendly banter, and an Ipod mix of classic OC Poker tunes in the background. Good times!

I have to be the unluckiest blogger in the blogger tourneys. In the last DADI event, I bubble out in 7th, after surviving 20+ minutes of hand for hand on the bubble. In the last WSOP qualifier on PokerStars, I get all-in on the turn with a boat, only to lose to a rivered higher boat. And last night in the PokerSavvy 1k blogger freeroll on Titan Poker, I push in with AQs preflop and get called by AQo and fucking lose the hand. That gets me 19th with top 15 paying. I got some nice apologies from the blogger who sucked out, but I am getting sick of it. Hopefully, I am getting the bad beats out of my system, so I will be ready for the FullTilt 20 WSOP seat freeroll on April 22. I qualified for it last night. Wish me luck, I need it!!!

Dems Quads Bitches

I love flopping quads! I usually am thinking I want this hand to go to showdown, and this has been working lately. This flys in the face of my post on slowplaying monsters. In this case, I called the guys $5 flop bet, then called his $10 turn bet, then bet $15 into him on the river after he checked to me to win a nice sized pot.

I might have misplayed this one again, and should be listening to my own advice. When he leads out with the $5 on the flop, I need to put him on a hand. I called his 4x preflop raise. He could have middle to high pocket pairs, AK to AJ, KQ or even KJ. He is missing this flop with a lot of those hands, but he has to love the flop with any J, or QQ, KK, AA. If he missed and is trying to buy, he will lay down to a flop reraise, but might (50/50) fire another bullet on the turn if I just call. Once the turn hits, he is gone if I show any strength if he has not improved. If he's got a J, seeing a Q, K, or A will be scary and tend to slow him down. If I go ahead and play back at him on this flop, he may be willing to go to war for all of his chips right there with a good portion of his range. The rest of his range probably will not pay me off very much. It would have been better (obviously) to get the money in on the flop based on his holding. This guy was pretty retarded to call the river bet with that board, so I am pretty sure I get him in on the flop if I play it differently.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Drive For Show, Putt For Dough

There is a saying in golf world called "Drive for show, putt for dough". For those non-golfers out there what it means is that everyone is very impressed by a long straight drive out of the tee box. It is the first shot of every round. But where the real money is made (in tournaments or skins) is putting on the green. Way more shots are taken near the green then off the tee box, and no matter how good you are at driving, if your putting skills suck, you will never be a good golf player. How does this relate to Poker? It relates in a huge way.

Tournaments For Show, Cash Games For Dough

Everyone loves to put up a big result in a tournament. It is extreemly impressive when you outlast a 500+ player field and do some damage at the final table. These are the memorable moments in a poker players life. Something worth blogging about. The real big paydays that you can write home about. This is where champions are crowned at the WSOP and on the WPT. This is where fame is earned. Sadly though, this is not where the "dough" is made.

Cash games are where the real money is made. My cash game supports my tournament habit. Other good players are in the same boat. You just can't win as much money per hour played in a tournament as in a cash game. Sure if you win a tournament, you just got a great return on your investment, but what about all the other tournaments that you did not cash in, or just barely made the money. What about all of the time you spent in all those tournaments to get your one big cash?

Tournaments are a lot of fun, and are more exciting then cash games, but they just don't pay the same. Ok, if you are a world class poker player, and can play well in 5-10k buy-in tournaments, you may have an argument here. You may not be able to find enough high stakes cash games to play in to equal what you can make on the big tourney circuit. I am not one of those players yet. If you are a middle limits online player, work on your cash game. Dial it in. You will make more money per hour in the long run. Plus you will get points towards bonuses. I am not talking about Sit & Go's. If you have your game dialed in to do well in S&Gs there is some serious money to be made there, and possibly more than your cash game will make. S&Gs are short, and pay a higher percentage of players, and have a more flat payout schedule which makes this possible.

I played in a some MTTs over the weekend for fun. My results have been crap lately, but I need to keep my tourney skills going so I will be ready for the Fulltilt WSOP freeroll later this month. Titan poker gave me a $50+5 token for a 15k guarantee tournament. Not sure why they did, but I got to give them some props for it. I played in it on Sunday, and there were 609 entries with the top 80 paid. Titan pays more than 10% for some reason. I got off to a great start, tripling up my chips in the first hour, then went pretty card dead through the middle of the tourney. With about 120 players left, I knew I could limp/stall into the money. I would play big if I got a hand, but I never did. When I let the 1k/2k blinds pass through me without a fight when I had 3250 chips, I was playing for 80th. Crappy way to play a tourney by the way. I limp/stalled the last orbit, and got in the money the hand before my BB. In the BB, I caught KQo which was the best I had seen in like 2 hours. The SB pushed to get heads up with me and eliminate 2 others, and I had KQ vs 77 for a quadruple up, and another life. I flopped a Q, but he rivered a 7 and I was out. I cashed $48 in a $55 buy-in after 2 1/2 hours. If it was not a free entry I would have been pissed. Tourneys are profitable?

I played in the 8k tourney on FullTilt Sunday night. I was like 0/5 in previous recent attempts. Again I trippled up in the first hour and was feeling good. Then I catch JJ, and raise 6x to clear out a couple of limpers and get a non-limper call. The flop comes QQQ, and I practically crapped myself. This guy ain't got AA or KK cause he smooth called my sizable preflop raise. He could have AK (dangerous) or a lower pocket pair that he can't fold. I decided to play it safe and just push-in right there. He insta-called with KQ for fucking quad bitches! I flop a boat and am drawing dead, damn! My stack gets whacked down to $800. I don't give up, and rally back to 4k then go card dead. Later, I open push with 55, and get called by 99 and river a 5. I catch cards and run my stack to 16k+ in about 5 hands for 2nd place with 65 left. I push-in with QQ on the bubble, and get called by AK. He catches a K on the flop, but I turn a straight, and I'm back in business. I go completely card dead, until I push in with AJ with 19 players left, and get called by AK. I'm out in 19th place for a $48 payday after 3 1/2 hours. This is a $22 profit for beating 95% of the field in one of my better runs in a while. Tourneys are profitable?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bankroll - WSOP Update

I am very close to qualifying for the April WSOP freeroll on FullTilt. This one is for 20 seats to the main event (12k value each) and I currently have 8,800/10,000 of the required points. I would already have the seat, but FTP started running a new Iron-Man promotion. To get into the 30k Platinum Iron Man free roll, you need 200pts in a day for 25 days. So rather then finish off the 10,000 pts quick, I have been limiting myself to 200 pts/day and will stretch out my qualifting for the WSOP freeroll to near the April 14th deadline. Lately I have been playing on FullTilt at night just until I get the 200 points, then switching over to DoylesRoom where I am STILL working on the $550 bonus. I am sitting on 79k of the required 110k to get the bonus as of today. I am also playing some on Titan where I have a $300 bonus working. I have a $120 bonus on PokerStars working, but I rarely get around to playing there anymore.

Anyway, the FullTilt freeroll, and other bonuses have forced me to put more hours in, and my NL cash game is running real good right now. I ran-up my 1/2 play to about +$920, then went on a big downswing and gave most of the 1/2 profits back. I have been playing .50/1 almost exclusively since my losing streak at 1/2 and it has done wonders for my confidence and bankroll. I will jump back into the 1/2 on the 15th as there is no way to qualify for the next FullTilt WSOP freeroll without playing a significant number 1/2 hands (unless I am willing to play 5 hours a day). On PokerStars I am up to a paltry 90 $W. The turbo qualifiers just don't appeal to me, although I am 3/4 in the $2 turbos. Below is my Online Bankroll as of Today:

FullTilt: $2,995.35
PokerStars: $1748.55
DoylesRoom: $1457.13
TitanPoker: $399.00
BoDog: $23.53
Neteller: $1031.14
Donations: $10

Total: $7664.70

Alright, so I am up a little more than $400 in three weeks. Not as much as I thought, but I dropped $600-700 at 1/2 in the same period which really killed my nice profits at .50/1. I have also been playing some of the $24+2 buy-in MTTs on FullTilt with no success. I need my cash game to support my unhealthy tournament habit. I actually can't remember the last MTT I cashed in that was not a freeroll. I am 3 for 3 in FullTilt's VIP freerolls, but they are full of zombies so they are much easier. I will really need to focus on MTTs in a few months as the WSOP approaches, or I will be wasting my time going.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Kelly Pickler is a Dirty Little Whore!

Ok, I have to admit I am selling out a little here, but traffic has been light and I am starting to get desperate. When people go to Google and search for "that dirty whore Kelly Pickler", I want a top 10 result. Can you believe her prom dress above. Must have made her father proud. My blogs new moto is "cum for the pickler, stay for the poker!"

Titan Poker is Hammer Friendly

I signed up with Titan Poker last week to take advantage of the $1,000 blogger freeroll next week. I am not asking you to sign-up, as I hope this thing goes off with me and Doubleas heads-up. Anyway, I have played a few times with not much success until today. The site does not have much traffic, so it is difficult to get on a 10-handed table, and multitabling is not very feasible. The play seems pretty tight for a smaller site. I deposited $300 and got a $300 bonus match, that is released pretty slowly in $5 increments. Unless I can multitable there, there is now way I will clear it in the 90 days allowed. Anyway, I got a good run of cards today including the hand above, and quad nines a few hands later. I ended up getting $20 more in the pot before taking down this hammer special. If you are playing with bloggers a 772 board is about as scary as it can get!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Florida Wins!

I always wanted to give something back to the 2 or 3 loyal readers of this blog. That's why I went ahead and gave the results of the final 4 and title game before it was played, and told you guys to bet on it (See previous post). I hope you guys took my advice, because I made a killing.

Super Tight beginning, Very Brutal Ending

I played in the Blogger WSOP satellite on PokerStars last night. When I sat down and saw that we had 5000 in chips with 1/2 hour blinds I assumed this thing would go 8 hours. With 5000 in chips and 10/20 blinds to start the implied odds are through the roof. I like to start tournaments tight, and loosen up as things go along, but the implied odds were begging for you to hit a big hand with a small pocket pair or suited connector. I wanted to take some chances, but as you can see below, I played about as tight of a first hour as humanly possible (3 flops, 1 from outside of a blind!)

Even with this ridiculous level of tightness, I finished the first hour with just about 5k in chips, and not far below the average. After the break, I would finally get a big implied odds hand, and get all of my money in as a huge favorite on the turn. It would not be my night. See below, but be warned, it is a bad beat.

PokerStars Game #4513344499: Tournament #21868191, Hold'em No Limit - Level III (25/50) - 2006/04/03 - 22:17:05 (ET)
Table '21868191 5' 9-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 1: frogalog (6215 in chips)
Seat 2: lifesagrind (7075 in chips)
Seat 3: Blinders (4765 in chips)
Seat 4: bjtylerx (5565 in chips)
Seat 5: Maudie (5620 in chips)
Seat 6: grupper (3425 in chips)
Seat 7: albHammer (4745 in chips)
Seat 8: ArthurPDent (9030 in chips)
Seat 9: StatikKling (7920 in chips)
albHammer: posts small blind 25
ArthurPDent: posts big blind 50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [4d 4h]
StatikKling: raises 100 to 150
frogalog: folds
lifesagrind: folds
Blinders: calls 150
bjtylerx: folds
Maudie: calls 150
grupper: folds
ArthurPDent said, "well the first thing to do, is get those distracting blondes off my screen"
albHammer: folds
ArthurPDent: folds
*** FLOP *** [4c Th Jh]
StatikKling: bets 350
Blinders: calls 350
Maudie: folds
*** TURN *** [4c Th Jh] [Jd]
ArthurPDent said, "AND that sexy Papa Smurf!"
StatikKling: checks
StatikKling said, "I love that icon"
Blinders: bets 700
StatikKling: raises 700 to 1400
Blinders: raises 1150 to 2550
StatikKling: raises 1150 to 3700
Blinders: raises 565 to 4265 and is all-in
StatikKling: calls 565
*** RIVER *** [4c Th Jh Jd] [Tc]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
StatikKling: shows [Kc Js] (a full house, Jacks full of Tens)
Blinders: shows [4d 4h] (a full house, Fours full of Jacks)
StatikKling said, "nh"
StatikKling collected 9755 from pot
ArthurPDent said, "whoa"
Maudie said, "nasty"

Well that sucked, guess it was not going to be my night. The one good thing was, at least I got the bad beat out of the way early rather then after investing 6 or more hours. I also got to watch the second half of the NCAA title game without distractions which was cool. The tourney ended up going 7 1/4 hours (4:10am East Coast). I hope they have more with this structure. Its like playing a 2-day live event in one evening, and is great preporation for the main event.