Friday, September 29, 2006

Week 4 NFL Picks

I went with quantity over quality this week so be fore warned.

N.O. +7 @ Carolina
Seattle +3.5 @ Chicago
Dallas -9 @ Tennessee
Jacksonville -3 @ Washington
Atlanta -7.5 vs. Arizona
St. Louis -6 vs. Detroit

Thursday, September 28, 2006

S&G Results, and Random Ramblings

I have been on a S&G kick for the last week. I used to play mainly the 18 player type, but have been running just the $10 9-player ones lately. My results through 66 trials is shown above. I think I am doing pretty good. I rarely finish in 9, 8, or 7 so my cash% is right around 50%. ROI and hourly win rate are pretty good as well. If I can run the $20 and $30 versions statistically as well, and in the past there has never been a big difference between these levels, I could be making $60-90 per hour just running low limit S&Gs. The only real negative from the data is that I am bubbling out too much, but this is probably a result of my early uber-tightness.

So where do I go from here? I need to get the ladder challenge going soon, so I need to keep playing some cash games. PartyPoker has a reload bonus, and I think PokerStars does as well. I will probably reload both Party and Stars, and play cash games at Party and S&Gs at Stars. If my cash game feels right, I will go ahead and start the ladder challenge.

I watched the WSOP coverage last night of the final table, and I have to say I am very impressed with Jaime Golds performance. It was also one of the more entertaining final tables from the last few years. I love how he would talk about his hand everytime and seriously mind-fuck his more experienced competition. He got two of the best players at the table to go all-in preflop with JJ to lose to his QQ. He took a balzy coinflip to knock out A.C. when he realized that getting rid of AC would not be easy. Then when he got heads-up, against a player who stated that he would beat Jamie heads up if he had at least 1/10th of the total chips, he mind fucked the crap out of him into calling an all-in push when behind. It was absolutely classic. Jaime, actually questioned the Ballz of his opponent on the final hand when talking him into the call (ESPN bleeped "Balls", lol). You have to admit that he got a sick run of cards, but he was playing well, and none of his more sophisticated opponents could figure him out. AC was just sick when he relalized he would be coinflipping for his tournament life. It was also funny as hell to see AC looking out of the corner of his eyes at Jaime once again reraising his river bet with a better hand. It was driving AC nuts, but he made a bunch of huge laydowns where a lesser player would have tilted and pushed.

Lasty, I have to remind everyone of the free $100 Monday night bet on If you missed out on the Mansion offer, here is another chance at some free money. I took the bet last week and lost, but they refunded my money. I was going to bet Atlanta anyway, so I think it was +EV even with the loss, as I saved some of my own money. You have to take Green Bay this week, so hedging might be considered.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hand of the Week - Do You Know What Expected Value Is?

I am well into a single table S&G. Seven left. Blinds are 100/200, and I have about 2500 in chips. Chip leader is on my right and has 2700 in chips. The chip leader opens UTG for T600, and I look down at TT.

This is a pretty tough situation. I don't think calling is an option. You would be calling 1/4 of your chips, and are not getting any type of odds to draw to your set. If you raise, any raise would be for 1/2 of your chips minimum, pot committing you. It is a classic push or fold situation. So what do you do?

I thought it through like this. The chip leader is making this raise. An UTG open is pretty strong, but this guy has been accumulating chips somehow. I put him on a range of say 66-AA, AK, AQ, KQ, AJ. There are a lot of people behind me, but nobody has me covered. If I go ahead and push some one might wake up with a huge pair behind me, but I will still be alive. The key is that the initial raiser has me covered. AA-JJ has me dominated. I dominate 99-66. We are coin flipping with the rest. I would have the better side of the coinflip, and my push should get him to fold some of the coinflips (KQ, AJ). Also, the shorties behind me might call with any pair (99-22), or some coinflips. If I get called by the chip leader, and win the coinflip or have him dominated, I would be north of 5k in chips, and should get at least 2nd.

Given all this thought, I think it is still a very borderline decision. One of the famous authors said that when faced with a 50/50 type decision go with the call or push because it is more fun. Also, I am playing these S&Gs to open my game up, so I go ahead and push in over the top.

It folds to the initial raiser, who after a couple seconds thought calls with AA.

I spike a Ten on the flop and win the pot.

Then the following conversation breaks out.

UTG: Lucky
Blinders: That's what you get for the slow roll
UTG: What?, that was a horrible play
Blinders: Good play
UTG: All-in with TT vs. AA is a good play?
UTG: You donk
UTG: Don't you know what expected value is?
UTG: How much you expect to make.
Blinders: Do you know what fold equity is?
Blinders: It was +EV

I usually don't like to argue with the fish on the finer points of the game, but this was pretty funny. The decision was about as borderline as they get, but I thought it through and went with it. To me it was +EV or I would not have done it. I could have folded easily as well. When I made the decision, I did not put the raiser on AA or I would not have made the move. Expectation value for TT is negative specifically against AA, but not against a $10 S&G players range. If I check pokertracker TT is one of my higher +EV hands. Thank god it does not run up against AA all of the time. And thankfully, I can get out of those type situations safely most of the time.

Monday, September 25, 2006

New NFL Free Bet and Online Sportsbook Bonus Whoring

Well, I hit 3/5 of my posted picks for a slight loss for the weekend. I had too much on Chicago, and they missed covering by 1/2 point, or it would have been a great weekend. After reading Scurvy's writeup on sportsbook bonus whoring I thought I would give it a try. I did find something pretty cool.

$100 Free Monday Night bet on

You sign up new on their site, place $100 on Atlanta -3.5 for tonight, and if you lose they refund the bet. Just like Mansion, and no play through requirements as well. I think they are running this promo all season, so you can wait for next week if you want. It is limited to 1000 per week, so chat with support, and make sure the offer is still open before placing your bet. I already placed mine.

If you decide to go for it, you might want to try bonus whoring the online sportsbooks. Read scurvy's post for details, but I will give you the basics. You open at least 2 accounts on different sites with sign-up bonuses. You want to find bonuses that have easy clearing requirements. For example, a 10% bonus could have a 2x wagering requirement, and a 20% bonus could have a 4x to 5x wagering requirement. Lets assume you deposit $1000 at a 10% bonus on two different sites with a 2x clearing requirement. You will need to bet 2x the deposit plus bonus on both sites to earn the $200 bonus or about $2200. At regular bet 11 to win 10 odds, you will break even if you bet both sides of the same game at different sites bonus wise (i.e. you will have lost about $200 after making enough both side bets). However, if you shop for the best lines, you can easily get better. I found lots of games where you could get bet 10.50 to win 10 on both sites, or variations like that (even on 1 side, 11 to win 10 on another). You just find some bets like this, and place them. You will end up getting 1/2 of the bonus for free $100 in the example minimum, if you make these type of bets. If you open more accounts, or try harder you will find better deals than than that and make even more. Some sites offer reload bonuses, that will allow you to do this forever. Also, you can try to bet enough on one site to bust out, before the requirements are met. If this happens you just made even more money because you will not have to clear the wagering requirements on that site. Make some huge bets, and it is easy to bust out, but you can't really go back to that site again.

It is a little bit of work, but worth it. Some good places to find imbalances in the lines are first 1/2, and halftime football lines. Also, go with sites like pinnacle that have better then the typical bet 11 to win 10 and your golden. Some bets that I made over the weekend towards clearing are shown below.

$200 (+115) on Tampa +3
$200 (-110) on Carolina -3.5

This was a bit balzy and a bad example for a couple of reasons. First, if Carolina won by 3, I would push one and lose one. Also, I did not bet it to win the same on both. Tampa covered, and I was paid $430. So I made $30 while clearing $400 in betting requirements.

For tonight I have:

$200 (+105) on Saints (1st half) +2.5
$210 (-115) on Falcons (1st half) -2.5

This one was placed about right where I should lose 2.5% on the combined bets. Anything less than losing 5% combined is actual profit once the bonus clears.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Week 3 NFL Picks

I usually shy away from betting too much on the NFL until about week 4. Too many crazy things happen, and you have no idea where teams stand early. I ended up placing one bet on Indy in week 1 which won. Week 2, I through caution to the wind and hit 7 out of 9 picks picking up a decent amount of scratch. I have not announced any picks ahead of time, so you will have to take my word for it. Below are my week 3 picks.

Chicago -3.5 @ Minn.
Baltimore -6.5 @ Clev.
Seattle -3.5 vs. NYG
Phily -6 @ S.F.
St Louis +4.5 @ Arizona

I also kinda like Jacksonville +7 @ Indi, but I am afraid they may have a let down. I think there is a good chance that Chicago, Baltimore, or Jacksonville will win the Superbowl this year, and they are not really on the radar yet. I may make some future bets after this weekend before the bandwagoners start attacking.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

"The Short Stack is Punking the Table"

I'm still playing tons of the $10, 9 player regular S&Gs on FullTilt, and I am running pretty good. I know I need to move up, but it's fun when your easially the best player at the table. My S&G strategy is pretty simple. I play my ultra-tight cash game strategy for as long as possible. I am also quite a bit more aggressive with the bet sizes than I would be in a cash game. If I am accumulating chips, I may play this way down to three handed and not really make any adjustments for short handed play. Once I get down to about 750 chips or 3-4 handed like above, I flip a switch and start playing a hyper loose aggressive game. This tends to throw off anyone who was paying attention to my tightness early, and usually allows me to pick up some much needed pots late.

I was in one of those south of 750 chip positions late in one last night. There were 5 players left, and I had 1/3 of the 4th players chips. Basically, I was in a lot of trouble and since it was just a $10 S&G, I decided to try playing like a maniac. The table was way tight which helped. I just got into a push or fold mode where I was pushing in with any pair, any ace, any decent K, suited conectors, two paint... These guys would not call me. So I kept it up. Shoving my stack in to pick up the blinds. Eventually, one of them remarked "The short stack is punking the table". I replied "You guys are way toooooo tight". Not only were they folding to my raises, my BB was getting a walk everytime, because they were afraid I would push.

The cool thing that happened, and I am sure this is how people win big MTTs, is I started to catch some big hands after all this aggression with crap. I picked up AA, and made my usual overbet preflop, and this time someone took a stand and I doubled through. I said "I always have AA, its a good thing you guys have not been calling". Then I picked up a good draw on the flop, and started moving chips in. I hit my draw on the turn, and kept pushing. Someone commented that it looked like a "bluffing contest", and was wondering who would back down. I didn't and knocked the guy out, who was playing a marginal hand against the maniac (me!). Then I got AA again, and knocked another guy out. The table was scared, and I ran them over for the victory after that. It felt great. I wish I could play like that all the time, and I am sure running a bunch of these S&Gs will help expand my game.

In another S&G I was in at the same time, we were on the bubble for about 15 minutes when the chip leader says "this is a good game of poker". The chip leader had me slightly covered, but the 3rd and 4th place guys were way short and on life support. One hand after he said that, I called a min raise from him with 33 and flopped a set. He had AK, and there was an A on the board. All the money went in by the river, and I won a 9k+ pot, making the chip leader the new shortest stack. I said "Still good?"

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Now I Remember Why I Don't Run a Bunch of MTTs

Now that the challenge is over, I have been mixing it up, playing single table S&Gs, and last night a bunch of MTTs. I ran the 8k on FullTilt, the 4k on bodog, a 180p S&G on Stars, a $20 MTT on Stars, and a small MTT on WorldPx. I ended up getting through more than 1/2 the field in all 5, but no cashes. That puts me down $91 for the night. It is pretty rare that I will drop that much in one night in cash games, but I think you need to expect that if your running all MTTs. So you have to survive a bunch of nights like that, until you get the big score that makes up for it. Thats pretty tough mentally. I will probably stick with S&Gs for a while, and maybe run 1 or 2 MTTs a night.

There are a lot of bloggers out there, who post huge MTT results, and claim that they are winning MTT players, but they are pretty silent about all of the buy-ins that were required before the big score. It would be really cool if someone would do a MTT challenge that detailed the daily wins/losses when playing only MTTs, so I can get a feel for how they deal with the day after day of losing before the big score. It would also be very interesting to see someone calculate thier hourly win rate when playing only MTTs. I would imagine that it is much smaller than most people realize.

The play was absolutely awful in all of them in the early stages (first 1 1/2 hrs). I need to adjust my game a little bit for this. I had a guy call a pot sized turn bet with 23o when a 2 showed up on the turn. That's 4th pair worst kicker for those scoring at home. It beat my A high bluff that wanted an orphan pot, but come on. How often is that the right call? On another hand a guy open limped from UTG, then called a my 5x raise (I had QQ). When an Ace flopped, I c-bet and got called, then checked it down the rest of the way. He had A6o, and should have folded preflop twice, and then should have made some kind of a raise or bet after flopping 2-pair. The hands I was not in had all kinds of horrible plays. I guess you just wait for a hand and overbet cause these guys can't fold.

I was doing pretty well in the 180p on Stars, until a very interesting hand below happened.

PokerStars Game #6351743014: Tournament #32220785, $20+$2 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2006/09/20 - 02:36:20 (ET)
Table '32220785 10' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: peterlawler (3290 in chips)
Seat 2: DAYTIMER (2650 in chips)
Seat 3: AugustXII (7905 in chips)
Seat 4: Blinders (4075 in chips)
Seat 5: zagagolfer15 (1360 in chips)
Seat 6: TCPLUMBER (4400 in chips)
Seat 7: mgpferreira (2945 in chips)
Seat 9: thechron1 (6090 in chips)
TCPLUMBER: posts small blind 100
mgpferreira: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [As Kh]
thechron1: calls 200
peterlawler: folds
AugustXII: calls 200

I need to raise here to get down to 1 or 2 opponents, or just take it down.

Blinders: raises 600 to 800
zagagolfer15: folds
mgpferreira: folds
thechron1: folds
AugustXII: calls 600

*** FLOP *** [3s Ts 8s]

Now thats quite a flop. I have the nut flush draw and 2 overs. Thats 15 outs, If I am behind, but there is a good chance I am still ahead as well. AA and KK are not likely holdings of my opponent, so all my outs should be good. I am thinking, how can I get all of my money in with this hand.

AugustXII: checks
Blinders: bets 1000
AugustXII: raises 6105 to 7105 and is all-in

Well looks like AugustXII is going to help me get the chips in. The push makes it very unlikely he has much more than a pair. My 15 outs are probably good, and I should have a 60% chance minimum of winning the hand, and am getting 3-1 pot odds to call. The win would put me at about 9k in chips, which would be well above par. I think this is an obvious call. Let me know if anyone thinks otherwise.

Blinders: calls 2275 and is all-in

*** TURN *** [3s Ts 8s] [4d]
*** RIVER *** [3s Ts 8s 4d] [6h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***

AugustXII: shows [Td Qc] (a pair of Tens)
Blinders: shows [As Kh] (high card Ace)
AugustXII collected 8650 from pot

Well, I missed my outs and IGHN. I still like my play. What about the other guy who won the pot. Anyone like the way he played it? He is the table chip leader, and I have enough chips to cause him some major problems.

*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 8650 Rake 0
Board [3s Ts 8s 4d 6h]

From the villans perspective he did the following.

Limped from EP with QT0 (not a great play in my book)

Called a 4x raise from me preflop (I am way to tight preflop for him to make that call, what is he hoping to flop? Plus I am getting close to pot committed already)

Flopped top pair (Queens) with a T kicker, and then check raised me all-in. (why not lead out to see where you stand. I could have AA, KK, QQ, AQ, KQ, As Xs ( all of which has him dominated. When I bet the 1,000, I am pretty much pot committed, so I am not folding if I have any piece of that flop, so why push?)

Anyway, he won. Nice hand sir, but this is the play of the table chip leader when we are down to 60 players.

Monday, September 18, 2006

30 Day Challenge Post Mortem

I did not really want to delve into my thinking about the challenge during the challenge. I thought it would be better to let the thing run its course first. So now that it is over, here are my thoughts and suggestions.

Are you playing poker for fun or to make money?

Running a challenge like this will bring this type of question to the surface faster than you can imagine. When you run a profit oriented challenge and you are serious about it, you need to play to make money first and for fun second. This means you must do everything possible to maximize profit and minimize losses. If your bread and butter is cash games like me, it means no MTTs for the duration of the challenge. This was pretty tough for me, because MTTs are fun and can be profitable, but have too much variance to fit nicely into a 30 day profit challenge. It also starts to make poker feel like work which can be a real bad thing. Towards the end of the challenge, I really did not feel like grinding cash games, but that’s what it would have taken to complete it.

How well do you deal with running good / running bad, when your results are published daily for all to see?

When I started the challenge, I had not played any poker for over two weeks. Also, I was focused on tournaments for a couple months before I took the time off to get ready for the WSOP. Whenever I have taken a decent break from Poker (at least 1 week), I usually run good coming out of it and that is what happened when I started the challenge. The time off makes poker fresh again, and I think you focus much more on playing correctly, and are relieved of some bad habits. If your ever running bad for a long time, take some time off, it will help. Anyway, I was running real good at the start, and got into a habit (bad??), of quitting for the day once I got a nice profit on the board. This would allow me to book a nice win, and keep my confidence up for the next day. It also tended to keep the number of hours I played artificially low. As a result, I played less when I was running well then I could have. I am not sure if this was a bad thing or not. Booking win after win may have helped me to keep running good.

As things went south towards the ends of the challenge, I felt like I needed to play to overcome losses, and forced myself to play when I was not in the correct mindset. I am sure this hurt my results. One thing that jumped out at me, is that even though I am a lifetime winning player, I can’t seem to grasp that playing more hours can only help my bankroll. Sure, I could have a losing session, but that is the exception, not the rule. The rule is that the more I play the more I win, but I don’t think that way all of the time.

How well do you deal with a setback?

This is a huge weakness for me, and probably many others who play poker. Can you deal with adversity or not? Does your confidence rely on the monetary results of your last session, or just how well you have been playing? I was running real good early, and my confidence was booming. You get into a zone where you are aggressively folding (TAG), and you know it is correct. You sit out, folding all of your –EV hands, and then go to war with the +EV hands. It is crazy simple, and it works. You can see that it works, and it is hard to imagine your system not working. You seem to be jumping out to an early profit nearly every session. Then it happens. You take a couple of bad beats, and post a pretty healthy loss. Somehow one session like this can really destroy my confidence. It was one unlucky session that did it to me, and I could not turn things around quickly. I was a session or two from getting the goal, and then got slapped around for a few sessions dropping money. After that, I really could not get things going again. It’s hard to believe that one bad session after a couple of weeks of running good can do that to you, but it can for me. Poker can be a dirty little bitch. For weeks she can give you the good loving, and then all of a sudden she does not even know your name.

Normally, I will play S&Gs or MTTs for a while when I get into this type of rut, but with a profit goal in place, this really was not possible. So I forced myself to play cash games when my confidence was not very high.

What causes your game to go south quick?

I think, I can see what I was doing wrong towards the end of the challenge in the cash games. You end up trying too hard to win a big pot, and make up for early losses. At $.50/1 nl, you can get away with ABC poker all day long. You raise preflop with your good hands, limp with the speculative type. You c-bet like mad, and gobble up the orphan pots. But when you get played back at, you get the hell out of there unless you have the goods. The .50/1 nl players typically do not have the ballz or skill to check raise bluff, or reraise bluff. There are a few out there, but in general the play is very straight forward. When you are running good and up, it is easy to laydown your AA to a 269 rainbow flop when you’re c-bet gets check-raised. Just give it up and look for a better opportunity. You can’t make that an automatic laydown at the higher levels, but you will not get into too much trouble at this level.

When things are not going well, you tend to make the call instead, and get stacked by a flopped set. Also, when a session is not going well for me, I usually should quit. I tend to overplay my big pocket pairs to make up for a bad session, which can make things worse much faster. I do best, when I am letting the money flow naturally to me, and am not trying too hard to force the action. When I am running badly, I try to hard to force the money my way.

Challenge suggestions?

If I could do it again, I would have made the challenge shorter. 10-20 days would have been better. Towards the end, I just wanted it to end, so I could play more for fun. Longer challenges are ok for MTTs or S&Gs, but if you are just grinding cash games 10-20 days is fine. Bill Ivey, has done a couple of 200 day challenges that did not work out. 200 days is way too long. Also make sure that your goal is reasonable. I picked $1200, because I figured $1000 would be fairly easy, and $3,000 was my best 30 period before.

What now?

I need to run the ladder challenge next, but my game is still a little off. I am going to take a couple of weeks to mix things up, and get the cash game back on track first.

Day 30

DNP (Player's Decision)

Challenge is now over

Challenge Total


Challenge Failed

Day 29

I did not play online on day 29. I did play in the Orange Poker League home tourney. I have blogged about a couple of these events. Basically you play a series of 5 tournaments, once 1/2 the field is eliminated, you start earning points. One point for each place higher that you finish, and one point just for playing. They total up the points for the five events (after you drop your lowest event), and the top 10 points play a championship game. 10% of the buy-in and 20% of the rebuys are skimmed and forwarded to the final event. Over $1,100 is already in the final prize pool. I had a horrible run of cards in the first two events, but managed to earn a few points, then missed event three while in Hawaii. I was sitting in 18th place going into event 4. There would be 38 people this time, so up to 20 points were availiable. The players are pretty bad, but the structrure is pretty crap-shooty.

The host of event 4 lives in what had to be a 5-10 million dollar house in Villa Park. I would take some time to describe it, but it would take way too long. I knew I would need to be aggressive, but had to be concerned about the number of calling stations out there. On the second hand, I pick up JJ, and raise to 150 (blinds 25/50 - 1500 starting chips). I immediatly thought I did not raise enough when I got 5 callers. J high flop, and I start betting small. Two callers. Turn pairs the board giving me a boat. I bet a little more, one caller. River blank, and I bet $500, and last guy folds. I am up to 2500 and feeling like I have some room to play. I stick in the 2000-3000 range for much of the rebuy period. I pick up JJ and after an UTG limper, a shorty in MP pushes in for 3x the blinds. I push-in looking to get heads up with shorty, but UTG insta-calls with AA. Not sure if this guy knew what he was doing with the AA UTG limp, but it worked, and I was stacked. I rebuy, and pick up 99 on the next hand. I need chips and I need them now, so I push-in, and get called by KT and I win the coin flip. The rebuy period ends.

After the rebuy, I pick up AA. and raise 3.5x. Two callers. Flop is all low diamonds, and I don't have one. I push, and get called by QT no diamonds (lol), by the chip leader. A blank on the turn and he is drawing dead. I continue to play pretty well, picking up a pot or two on a bluff or preflop raise. It gets down to the final table with the top 5 paying, and $700+ for first. I have 5900 in chips which puts me about 7th. Tenth place gets eliminated. With the blinds at 600/1200 and about to go to 800/1600, I pick up TT. UTG min raises to 2400. UTG appears to be a pretty solid player. My M is just over 2 when the blinds go up, so the decision is obvious and I push in. It folds to the raiser who openly puts me on JJ or TT and says he has to call. He has AK, flops a K and IGHN. If I win that coinflip I will cash for sure, but not to happen. I did pick up a valuable 12 pts to go with the 10 pts I already had. I am sitting 4 pts out of the top 1o, and will probably need a cash in the next event to make the final.

Orange Poker League
Buy-in -50
Rebuy -40
Total -90

Challenge total (online only)


Day 28

I did not play much, but a I ran three $10 9 player S&Gs and got a 2nd and third. I also used a token to plat the FT 8k, and went out 218/588. Smokkee argues that burning a token should not count as a loss since it has no cash value. Ok, I will buy it.

S&Gs +12.00
MTT -Token
Day 28 total +12.00

Challenge Total +612.60

Friday, September 15, 2006

Paulson Home Game Chips

I just ordered the 1000pc chip set above. They are real Paulson clay chips, just like they use in most casinos. I am freaking nuts because they are way-way expensive, but you have to pay for the best. I got it with 300 - $1, 250 - $5, 200 - $25, 150 - $100, 50 - $500, and 50 - $1000 chips. I should be able to handle tournaments with up to 30 people, and even run some WSOP type structure tournaments. Not sure what to do with my 1300pc set I currently have. Prolly will sell it on ebay or something.

Day 27

FullTiltPoker Game #1000330893: Table Anasazi - $0.50/$1 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:03:38 ET - 2006/09/14
Seat 1: kcast555 ($27.10)
Seat 2: Blinders ($111.95)
Seat 3: lari1 ($92)
Seat 4: Wibez ($123.30)
Seat 5: mpaperstax ($150.85)
Seat 6: Supes15 ($32.20)
Seat 7: ndo777 ($47.50), is sitting out
Seat 8: RabbitzRule ($34.60)
Seat 9: ethanolcorn ($29.25)
Wibez posts the small blind of $0.50
mpaperstax posts the big blind of $1
The button is in seat #3

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Blinders [8h 7h]

Supes15 folds
Supes15 is sitting out
RabbitzRule folds
ethanolcorn raises to $2
Supes15 stands up
kcast555 calls $2

Late position, medium high suited connector, min-raise. I have to call here.

Blinders calls $2
lari1 folds
Wibez folds
mpaperstax calls $1

*** FLOP *** [Ks Th 6c]

Gutshot plus runner runner flush potential. I count this as about 6 well hidden outs.

mpaperstax bets $1
ethanolcorn raises to $3
kcast555 calls $3

I was going to call the $1 for sure, but the raise almost scared me out. The overcall, started to make it right again. Assuming mpaperstax calls, its $3 for a $20 pot. 6 outs is plenty.

Blinders calls $3
mpaperstax calls $2

*** TURN *** [Ks Th 6c] [9c]

There's my gutshot.

mpaperstax checks
ethanolcorn checks
kcast555 bets $22.10, and is all in
ndo777 has returned

I think I will just call. I don't want to scare off the big stack behind me.

Blinders calls $22.10
mpaperstax calls $22.10
ethanolcorn folds

*** RIVER *** [Ks Th 6c 9c] [4d]

Harmless river, no flush, no paired board.

mpaperstax has 15 seconds left to act
mpaperstax bets $84

Intresting bet. No way he bets that much and has my hand beat. Only the nuts beats me here. I will get greedy and push for my last $0.85.

Blinders raises to $84.85, and is all in

alnoing1 sits down
mpaperstax calls $0.85

*** SHOW DOWN ***

Blinders shows [8h 7h] (a straight, Ten high)

So what did he have????







mpaperstax shows [Qh Jc] (a straight, King high)

alnoing1 adds $35.45
mpaperstax wins the side pot ($169.70) with a straight, King high
kcast555 mucks
mpaperstax wins the main pot ($83.80) with a straight, King high

*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $256.50 Main pot $86.80. Side pot $169.70. Rake $3
Board: [Ks Th 6c 9c 4d]
Seat 1: kcast555 mucked [Kd Tc] - two pair, Kings and Tens
Seat 2: Blinders showed [8h 7h] and lost with a straight, Ten high
Seat 3: lari1 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: Wibez (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 5: mpaperstax (big blind) showed [Qh Jc] and won ($253.50) with a straight, King high
Seat 6: Supes15 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: ndo777 is sitting out
Seat 8: RabbitzRule didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: ethanolcorn folded on the Turn

Sorry for the bad beat story. I am pretty much over the challenge right now. Prolly will play a few S&Gs or something, but no more cash games for a while.

FullTilt 249h -171.20

WorldPx 45h +7.85

WPx rake refund +2.30

Day 27 Total-161.05

Challenge Total +600.60

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Day 26

Just played a short session online, and would have won a decent amount, but my AA got cracked by KK when a K turned. I played the OCPT home game last night, and rallied back from the short stack on the bubble to get the win. I had the chip leader on my left the whole night which was tough, but I played well late and accumulated a ton of chips. A few key late hands are below.

4 handed, bubble just burst. I raise from the button with KTo, and get reraised all-in by the chip leader. I have to call based on my remaining stack. I am against 99, and flop a T. Later when heads up, I pick up TT and open to $250 (blinds 50/100). Drew calls. Flop comes 8 high, and after Drew checks, I grab a $500 stack of $25 chips, and say "Raise 500". I wanted this to look like a steal, but Drew folds. Ultimately this would set up the next hand. I pick up 95o and limp from the SB. Flop comes K99. I check and Drew checks. Turn is an A, and I grab another $500 stack of $25s and make the bet appearing to buy it. Drew goes all-in, and I insta-call for a huge double-up. Few hands later I open raise with AT, and flop AQJ. I bet, and Drew pushes, I call. Drew had a Q and did not improve. Suddenly, I have 90% of the chips, and end it a few hands later. It was a nice tournament for me. I was card dead until the last few hands before the rebuy was over. I built up a decent stack, right before the add-on. Then, I just hung on through the bubble, and rallied back hard late. It's a decent flow for a tournament, and how I usually win them. (rarely will I wire to wire a tourney).

FullTilt 132h -2.00
Day 26 Total -2.00

Challenge Total +761.65

H.B. Stop on the OCPT

Buy-in -10
Rebuys -30
Add-on -10
1st place +220

Live Tourney Total +170.00

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Day 25

Well I did it. I won during both sessions on day 25. Blogging about your problems helps. I also decided I needed to chase some sort of bonus, so I played some at World Poker Exchange for the full rake refund. I am going to need to have some big days soon to get to $1,200. Tonight is the OCPT home game, so I probably will not get many hands in online.

FullTilt 163h +23.15
Party 317h +51.40
WorldPX 85h -8.85
WorldPX Rakeback +5.35
Day 25 Total +71.55

Challenge Total +763.65

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Day 24

I can't seem to put back to back winning sessions together right now.

FullTilt 423h -52.65
Day 24 Total -52.65

Challenge Total +692.10

Monday, September 11, 2006

Day 23

I tried to turn things around today, and things are going to have to turn around soon, or there is no way I make this challenge. I had a pretty good session early. Then in a later session I got into some troble early when, I open raised with KQo one club, and the flop came Q high all clubs. I hate to get myself into too much trouble with a flop in all one suit, but this is one of those situations that is hard to avoid. I have top pair good kicker, and a draw to the second nut flush. As long as this guy did not flop the flush I am probably good (heads up on flop). The guy had $30 behind, so when he reraised my flop bet, I went ahead and put him in. He had the nut flush, and a K on the turn brought me some outs, but I blanked the river. The day before, I got into the same type of situation when my KK one diamond, flopped an all diamond J high flop. This one the money did not go in until the river (and after the flush hit), but I was also against the flopped nut flush.

The very next hand after the KQo disaster, I pick up KK. There is an open raise to 4x, and I reraise big to make it look like I am tilting after the flush hand. Initial raiser pushes, and I call. He has AA. One of the guys at the table says "Blinders, that was a couple of coolers in a row". I said "Think so?". Anyway, that put me down $100 on the table in two hands, and I quit that table. I was doing well on the other tables, and eventually made up for the losses. If I could have somehow avoided those two hands, or won with the KK, I would have had a real nice day. The day ended up profitable, so I will take it.

FullTilt 339h +76.25
Party 26h -4.50
Day 23 Total +71.75

Challenge Total +744.75

Day 22

I kind of forced myself to get some hands in in the afternoon, even though I did not feel like playing. It was a bad idea. I did not play extreemly bad, just was one of those horrible sessions where nothing was going quite right. 100+ hands into my FullTilt session, I had won 1 hand, and that was preflop. Eventually I got tired of it, quit and called it a day avoiding a late night session.

FullTilt 239h -49.85
Party 8h -21.00
Day 22 Total -70.85

Challenge Total +673.00

Day 21

DNP (Player's Decision)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Day 20 and Mansion Sportsbet Results

I ran some more single table S&Gs today. Five $10 buy-ins with 2 second place finishes, and two $6 turbos with a third place. Overall it was a slight loss. I ended up not playing anymore so I could watch the big game, and then skipped a late night session. I am going to need a big weekend at the cash games to get the challenge back on track.

Sit and Gos -3.20
Day 20 Total -3.20

Challenge Total +743.85

For the Mansion sportsbet offer, I listed my bets in an earlier post. I basically overhedged Miami, because I thought they had the best chance of covering. After the first half was over, I was not liking the Miami side as much and wanted to see if I could even things out a bit. I placed a halftime bet on Pittsburgh at Bodog for a pick (even) for the last $34.50 I had in the account. This was not a great way to undue the over hedge, because there were results that would make this bet lose without the original Pitt bet coming in. Later in the second half with Pitt on the long drive that was helped by penalties and down by 3, I placed a live bet $100 contract at WSEX on Pitt for $58 (Pitt -1.5). When they fumbled at the goal line this looked like a horrible decision, but it eventually worked out. If the game was to be Pitt by exactly one point, I was going to push my big hedge, and win the Pitt bet for a $1,000 profit. Late in the game, this was still on the table which was pretty cool. Ultimately Pitt covered the spread, and Mansion paid my bet. I immediatly cashed it out to neteller. Big props to everyone who had the ballz to let it ride on Pittsburgh, and are $1,000 richer today. The way the game went either team could have won so it was like flipping a coin for $1000. Even though I did not win the $600+ I was looking for with a Miami win, Pitt covering worked out pretty good. First, Mansion paid immediatly, so I did not have to stress for 3 days to see if they would refund the bet. Second, I bottomed out my account with the hedge, so I will not have to make more sportsbets there to clear the instant bonus. I will take it!

Mansion Sportsbet Offer Results

Mansion Pitt bet +1,000
Bodog halftime bet +34.50
WSEX $100 Pitt contract +42.00
Pinnacle hedge on Miami -600

Overall Results +$476.50

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Day 19

I ran 6 $10 single table S&Gs early in the day to get ready for the Newport Poker Open to be held the night of day 19. The play was horrible in those things compared to my normal cash game competition. I jammed the turn with monster hands three times, and got called each time only to get sucked out on by a 2, 3, and 4 outer on the river each time. In the other 3 I got a first, second, and third for a decent overall profit. My profit would have been real nice if one of the monsters held up. I may try running them 6 at a time, and see what hourly rate I could make. It might be higher than my cash game rate.

I had a goal of winning the player of the year in the Newport Poker Open. I may need to rethink goals of that type. When smokkee was first out, I needed a top 3 finish to take the title (12 people started). Smokkee, had a bounty on my head, and I used it to my advantage by jamming over the top of a preflop raise with KK, and getting called by a bounty hunter with KQo. The double up put me north of 4k with 8 players left. I figured I could fold into at least third if I played it real safe. I had David on my left the entire tourney, and that was a huge disadvantage for me. He knew exactly what I was up to, and constantly punished me for my strategy of limping to third. A key hand that was very strange was when it folded to me on the button and I had KQ. blinds were 100/200, and the BB was short with only another 150 behind after the blind. I raised to 500 looking to get heads up with the shorty, but David called as well. The flop came JTx giving me 2 overs and the outside straight draw. I am a huge favorite here to just about anything, but I needed the third place finish, so I checked behind on the flop. If I was playing to win, I would have C-bet that flop for sure, and jammed if required. The turn brought a blank, and David overbet the pot. I call and a miss on the river would have crippled my stack, so I had to let it go. Turns out David had 97o (9 high), and bet me off the pot with little chance to win against the all-in player, and barely any side pot. River was a K, and David's 9 high somehow held up. I don't know how he makes this play except to specifically keep me from winning the pot, and give it to the shorty. Strange? Anyway, I played my big hands and somehow stayed near 4k most of the way. I laid down AQ to a min raise short handed, and released A9 on a 977 flop after a 3/4 pot bet on the flop. Normally, I would not make these kinds of plays, and there was no monetary value for the season title, so I am doing all of this for some stupid goal that I made. When we got to 4-handed, I still had 4k, and the shorty was below 1k, so it appeared my screwed up strategy might work. It would not as the shorty rallied back, my stack dwindled, and I ended up bubbling out. This made me sick. I played for third and got 4th. If I play for first, there is a good chance I win, and I would have got at least third. Pathetic!

My progress towards my 30 day goal appears to have stalled all of a sudden. No more MTTs for me until the challenge is over. Also, I may run a bunch of single table S&Gs to shake things up a bit. My cash game appears to have gone south, but it is mostly some tough beats/situations lately. A big cash game day would really help my confidence right now.

Sit & Goes +19.30
FullTilt 104h +18.15
Party 92h -39.90
Newport Open -22.00
Day 19 Total -24.45

Challenge Total +747.05

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Gi De Up

It's about time I write about blogger day in Del Mar. Joe Speaker was kind enough to set up this event, and it would be impossible for me to pass it up. I had to pull some strings with the wifey to get permission, but I lobbied long and hard (if you know what I mean). When Bill Rini suggested a TJ trip afterwards, it sounded great, but there was no way I could pull that off. In fact, if I were to even ask, the Del Mar trip would surely be nixed. I was not about to let that happen. The plan was to hook up with Joe, at 15 minutes before the first post at a bar on the 4th level of the stretch run section. I don't own a cell phone, and I don't think they allow pay phones at the track, so it was very important that I arrive on time. I left my house about an hour and 20 minutes before the first post. With no traffic I would get there in about 50 minutes.

Unfortunately, the traffic was the worst I had ever seen heading to San Diego on a weekend, and the trip took close to 2 1/2 hours. I have never been to the track at Del Mar, so I was uncertain where to park. I ended up parking about as far away as possible from where the stretch run section is. I happened to bring a couple of Blue Moon beers with me for this eventuality, and slammed them both in short order to prepare for the hike to the track. After hiking for about 5 furlongs (don't really no how far a furlong is), I get to the edge of the track, and a sign that says the stretch run section is another two freaking furlongs. This was starting to suck, but at the same time it was not. There were an obscene number of ridiculously hot fillies rolling into the track. I am talking California 8s and 9s, which would be solid 10s in any other state. At least half of the women fell into this uberhot category which is an unbelievable ratio for anywhere, let alone the horse races. I noticed there was a Jimmy Eat World concert afterwards. Was all the hotness here for that, or is this just a normal thing for Del Mar. I don't remember hot chicks being a reason to go to the track from my days at Santa Anita and Hollywood Park, but it's got to be a major reason to go the extra mile(s) to Del Mar.

As I got closer to the stretch run section, I noticed that the section before it was sold out. Did I get here too late? Luckily the stretch run section still had tickets, and I headed up to the 4th level. I looked around for a bar, but there were just concession stands selling beer and snacks. I went to them all. No Joe Speaker. I did a few laps through the 4th level seats looking to spot Joe or any other major internet celebrities. No luck. No pay phones either as expected. This was great, a 2 1/2 hour trip to Del Mar, and I might be spending the afternoon alone. At least I was in the company of smoking hot San Diegans. It was not all bad.

I found the shortest beer line and got in it. Five minutes later, I was one away from the front, when I saw what appeared to be Huge Junk standing erect in the isle (did I say that out loud?). I was almost positive it was Huge Junk. He appeared to be looking down the isle for someone (me?). I didn't want to miss the chance to find these guys, but I was parched. The beer would have to come first. I got my beer, turned to look and he was gone. I headed in the direction where he was, and saw Joe and Junk heading down to the third level. I caught up with them. It turns out I was the first to arrive. We got to our seats on the third level, and I started trying to handicap the next race. Bobby, had a lock for the fifth, and I found a runner that I liked as well.

This is when the routine started.

1) Handicap the next race
2) Downstairs to place the bet
3) Downstairs further to the Blue Moon stand for a round of beers
4) Hang out at ground level and admire the uberhotness of the talent cruising around
5) Back up to our seats just in time for the race
6) Rinse and Repeat

I hit a $5 show on the 5th race, and got a small piece of the 6th to stay close to even. I am clearly an amateur at handicapping. I am great at picking the horse who would be leading at the last turn, but not the horses that would blow by my leader down the stretch run. I had a Win/Place/Show bet on a 25-1 shot that led for 85% of the race only to tire and finish out of the money. Bill Rini and Yosoyveneno showed up around the 7th race. Yosoyveneno hit her first race hard, hitting the trifecta, and various other bets to clear $600 plus. She just bet the three California horses in the race. Genius. I whiffed on the 8th and 9th races. In one of them after some late scratches I had three of the five runners boxed up. My three finished 3/4/5 for no money. The saving grace was the last race. Joe and Yosoyveneno had solid picks, and I found one myself. I placed $2 W/P/S bets on all three and exacta boxed them as well. When they finished 1/2/3, I won all the money on the board, and the exacta putting me up about $20 for the day. Not bad.

The TJ plans were canceled, and the J.E.W. concert was out of the question (I have to admit I like them though). Joe and Bobby were heading to Pechanga for some Blackjack. I could not pass up the chance to play with Bobby Blackjack at his game of choice, so I took the detour through Pechanga back to the OC. More to come on Pechanga so stay tuned.

Day 18

I had a pretty good early session on Day 18 and gave it all back in a late session. I am suddenly finding myself paying off flushes and that has to stop. Tonight is the Newport Poker Open on PokerStars. Smokkee is ahead of me in the season standings $342 to $340. Since this is the last event of the season, I will need to finish ahead of Smokkee, and cash to take the title. Smokkee was kind enough to put a $10 bounty on me for tonights event. He must be worried. I have pretty much been only playing cash games lately. Today, I am going to run a bunch of Sit & Goes to get the tournament rust off, and be ready for the big event tonight. One of my stated goals for 2006 was to take the Newport Open Title. Tonight's the night to seal the deal.

FullTilt 293h -32.50
Party 223h +28.45
Day 18 Total -4.05

Challenge Total +769.50

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mansion Bet and Hedge Placed

It was a good thing that I waited until this week to place the bet. With Big Ben out, the line moved from Pitt -4.5 to a pick over the weekend. Today I put the $1,100 on Pittsburg at Mansion (line was pick). I went to Pinnacle for the hedge based on Scurvy's advice. I really do not like Pitt to win this game, so I decided to over hedge it. This actually has quite a few advantages. I was able to get Miami +1 (-104). You really can't beat that line or price. The other thing that was cool is Pinnacle gives an instant deposit bonus, which makes hedging the bet +EV compared to just letting it roll on Pitt. I deposited 600 which with the insta bonus gave me $660. The Pinnacle betting interface is a little strange in that you put in how much you want to win, not what you want to bet. I ended up laying $655.20 to win $630, after depositing only $600. Overhedging it buys you some insurance in case Mansion decided not to refund your $1,100 if the Pitt bet loses. If you assume that Mansion will pay the Pitt bet if it wins (You have to assume this, unless they shut down the site this Friday), my results will be as follows.

Pitt Wins +$400
Miami Wins, Mansion refunds Pitt bet +$630
Miami loses by exactly 1 point +$1,000
Miami wins, and Mansion does not refund Pitt bet -$470

If you assume mansion will refund losing Pitt bets, and that the game will be close giving Pitt about a 1 in 10 shot of winning by exactly 1 point, the bets I have made have an expectation value of $563.50, which is much better then letting it ride on Pitt (EV +500).

Anyway, it should be an exciting opening night for the NFL season. I might do some live betting at WSEX to further hedge Miami, but that will be a game-time decision.

Day 17

Going into the day, I thought I had a decent chance of closing the challenge out. It looked like I would have some time to play, and the tables had been real fishy over the labor day weekend. One huge day would do it. So what happened? I made a bad call, went on tilt and started spewing chips. I suck. This is how it happened.

I limp from the BB into a 5 way pot with J9o. Flop comes J9x with two hearts. I bet $3 and get raised up to $8. It is not to likely that there is a set out there considering I have two of the flop cards. I am thinking AJ, KJ or something along those lines. I call. Turn brings a heart completing the possible flush. Wow, did not want to see that. I check, just to see what happens. Other guy bets $10. My check looks weak so this guy might be representing the flush. The reraise on the flop made me think that he had a made hand and not a flush draw. I call looking to see what happens on the river. River is a blank. I check, and the other guy bets $40 into a $45ish pot. Bluff sirens were going off in my head. Why bet so much if you have the flush? I figured there was a pretty good chance my 2-pair was still ahead, so I call. He had the nut flush. I think I really screwed this one up. I need to reraise the turn to represent the flush. A min raise to $20 would have done it, and I could have released the hand to a rereraise saving me $30. Bottom line is I misplayed the hand. The other guy was good, and played it real tricky, and I started tilting which is usually pretty rare for me.

I little while later, I got QQ in the SB at the same table and had about 60 behind. A couple of limpers then the cut-off raised to 4x. I min raised to 7x. I like to min raise with hands like QQ and JJ preflop to see if I am up against AA or KK early in the hand, and this was my goal. He reraises me back to $13 total. I tank. That was not what I wanted to see. I am not realy getting the rule of 10 here, so I can't draw to a set. Its fold or push. I'm tilting so I go with the push option (partially because I did not have a full stack which would have made folding or calling easier). He flips up the KK which I pretty much knew he had. I end up flopping a Q, but he turns a K and the best hand wins. I realize that I am way tilted and end the session.

I don't play the rest of the day, but put in a late session to try to get some back. I go pretty card dead, and drop some more. As I am rotating out to end the session, I pick up AQ UTG and min raise to $2 for some reason. 5 callers. I will need to hit the flop big, and I do. Flop AQx with two spades. I decide to make a weak lead, and see if someone comes over the top. I bet $4 into an $11 pot, and a shorty pushes in for about $18 more. This is enough to put me up for the late session. This was on Party, and you don't get to see the cards. Turns out he had Ah 5h, and ended up hitting his runner runner flush to win. Damn. Not my day.

FullTilt 79h -110.20
Party 163h -81.70
Day 17 Total -191.90

Challenge Total +773.55

Monday, September 04, 2006

Day 16

Well, I made the effort and got in about 850 hands in on Day 16. The sites seem extra fishy on three day weekends, and I had a pretty good day.

FullTilt 655h +74.95
Party 187h +67.40
Day 16 Total +142.35

Challenge Total +965.45

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Day 15

I did some backbreaking work around the house, that kept me from getting too many hands in. I was planning on making up for it by playing a lot at night, but I ended up playing in a 6 handed home tourney instead. We ended up chopping when we were down to 3 players and I made $20. However, I am only including online winnings in my 30 day to $1,200 challenge.

FullTilt 69h +22.00
Party 18h -5.10
Day 15 Total +16.90

Challenge Total +823.10

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Day 14

I played mainly at FullTilt for some reason today. Neither Tilt nor Party has any big incentives going right now. I ran into MiamiDon at a FullTilt cash game, and we were running the table. Well, actually I stacked a guy who wanted to get all-in preflop with 88 against my AA, and Miami was constantly beating down the fishes, and thats how we ended up 1/2 in chips. I sat with my big stack and could not get much else going.

FullTilt 305h +57.60
Party 24h +4.05
Day 14 Total +61.65

Challenge Total +806.20

Friday, September 01, 2006

Day 13

I played just enough to clear the $100 reload bonus on Party Poker. It was a pretty wild session where I won a few big pots, which made up for quite a few tough situations that I got into. The biggest trouble I seem to get into at Party and other sites, is when people play super weak with a decent holding. On one hand I had TT and bet it the whole way against a safe looking low board. KK called me down and won. On a very similar hand, I had KQ hit a Q high flop, and bet it the whole way. Again KK shows up out of no where. Now that the bonus has cleared, I am not sure If I will go back to FullTilt or not. I need to check out what incentives the two sites are offering for September.

PartyPoker 325h +8.00
PP 100/100 bonus +100.00
Day 13 Total +108.00

Challenge Total +744.60