Archive for the ‘Poker’ Category

Back to Basics

Okay, I admit it. I had a terrible week last week playing poker online. It was a huge rollercoaster, with big wins and bigger losses, and ultimately, I was down a third of my bankroll. Oops?

I thought about what I was doing, and I think I understand now where the money was going. It was going into games I’m not actually good at. I’m pretty good at Limit Omaha 8. I like to think I don’t suck at No-Limit Hold’em. Meanwhile, I absolutely suck at 5 Card Draw and Stud 8, and I’m barely break even at Pot-Limit Omaha 8 and regular old 7 Card Stud. Yet I was playing all those games.

I don’t play for the money. I play because it’s a fun game. It happens to be a fun game that gives me money on occasion, and that happens to add. However, I refuse to spend any more money on my pastime, so it really behooves me to try not to leak money out of my bankroll.

Every time I buy in to a $20 Stud or Pot-Limit Omaha tournament, I’m giving away my money. The Limit Omaha 8 tourneys? Those aren’t so bad. I’ve moneyed in two out of four. I haven’t won even my buy-in back at any other tournament I’ve entered recently (except for my Turbo Short-Handed Sit’n’Gos – those are still awesome).

So, I’m back to basics. I’m not allowing myself to step outside of Limit Omaha 8 and No-Limit Hold’em until I get my bankroll back up to where it was two weeks ago. As such, I’ve been playing a lot of $10 No-Limit lately (for the uninformed: that means you buy into the table for $10, and in this case the blinds are $.05 and $.10).

I’ve been having some decent luck at these tables, and only once have I felt like I was being outclassed (and I managed to back away from that table before I lost all $10). My luck even goes so far as to let me flop top trips in the hand I’d like to talk about. Top trips are awesome. The adrenaline rush from seeing them is just fabulous. It’s like the last few clicks at the top of the Superman Ride of Steel.

There were five people at my table (I mean mine – I actually started it because I like 5-handed play [can we say action junkie?] and there were no such tables available – they name them after you when you create a table!) when I was dealt two tens on the button. After being dealt a bunch of crap for a while, they looked better than aces! So, of course, when the first two players folded, I raised it up. My standard raise that day was $.40. The small blind folded, and the big blind re-raised me, making it $1.10 to go.

Now, tens aren’t the greatest hand in the world. They’re vulnerable to face cards, and more or less dead to bigger pairs. So I thought about it, using up nearly my entire time. This re-raising player had been in a lot of hands, and seemed to me to be a little tilty; he seemed a little aggravated by my pre-flop raising. (I don’t give free flops, but I’ll sure as heck take ’em!) I knew I had a reasonably good hand, and I figured I’d back away if the flop came with any cards higher than ten, so I called.

My heart rate soared when the flop came 10-7-4 rainbow. I couldn’t ask for a more perfect flop for my pretty little tens. Since I figured my opponent for a big ace or better, I was pretty sure he’d be happy to bet this pot to the end for me. He bet about half of the pot, and I called, after giving some time and hoping he thought I was considering folding.

The turn came another piece of useless junk… actually, now that I think about it, it must have been a nine, and he bet half the pot again. I decided I would like to announce the goodness of my hand, and raised him. I did this because he might have thought I was bluffing. This wasn’t completely unreasonable, if he had thought all my pre-flop raising was a load of bullshit (which it kind of was, but the table was folding to me, so why would I stop?).

He called. I’m really not sure why he did, but I think I was ecstatic. The river was a queen. This is where I think my reasoning went sour. I guess I had decided that he didn’t have queens (why? I don’t know, but I’m glad I was right!). He checked, and I decided I’d be betting pot.

Then I looked at the pot, and realized I didn’t have that much money left. When the hand started, my opponent and I were the only ones at the table with more than the buy-in. Actually, we both had around $20. So, with the pot at $15-ish, and me at $13-ish, I went all in.

I am no convinced that was a mistake. He thought about it for as long as the timer would let him, folded, and typed “Fuck you and your runner-runner” in the chat window. (I will never understand the policy that lets people swear at the tables but not in the public chat.) What did he think I had? K-J? Ugh, even I wouldn’t be that stupid (and I’m pretty stupid). I responded “If that’s what you want to believe,” which is what I always say when people try to tell me what they think I have. He said, “Whatever,” and was gone two hands later.

Anyway, I don’t think going all in was the right answer. If I was convinced he didn’t have queens, I should have gotten him to give me just a little more of his money. Having him fold on the river just wasn’t worthwhile. Had I bet just a few dollars, he might have called. Of course, he might have gone over the top on me. Would I have believed he had queens then? I don’t know. Maybe I was trying to protect myself from having to make a decision, but that’s not what I think I was doing.

I think I made a decision not knowing all of the available information, and when I learned the information (that neither of us had enough for me to consider betting the pot at this point), I didn’t act appropriately. Bad Diane! The right options were to either bet small enough for him to call (probably $3, as it would have left him with $10, the buy-in, making it a psychologically easier call) or to just check it through if I was afraid of queens (and since I wasn’t afraid of queens, that really wasn’t an option).

In any case, I did win quite a big pot, and continued to do well at that table for another half hour or so before I decided to stop playing and watch the Olympics. Yay Olympics!

February 23rd, 2006 • 9:38 am • dinane • Posted in Poker2 Comments »

42 Days ‘Til Spring Training!

… and only 74 until opening day!

Take me out to the ballgame!
Take me out to the crowd!
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjack!
I don’t care if I never get back,
‘Cause it’s root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame,
For it’s, “One! Two! Three strikes you’re out!”
At the old ballgame!

I am so done with football. I don’t even want to talk about it. Seriously. Leave me alone. My only consolation is that Indy lost too.

Did you watch 24 last night? You should have. I won’t tell you anything. Just that you should have watched it.

I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with television. Probably because it’s addictive and it rots the brain. Nothing wrong with a good brain-rotting every now and again. I don’t even like some of the shows I watch. 24 makes me anxious, nervous, and pukey! I hate it, but I’m in love with it anyway.

Other awesome shows that I watch even though I hate them include Battlestar Galactica and The Office. Battlestar has the same effect on me as 24 – it makes me nervous and anxious. And occasionally pukey, but it doesn’t cause me quite as much stomach distress. The Office makes me nervous because it’s a sit-com, but it’s a different kind of nervous. I hate sit-coms by there very nature.

Yet I watch all of these shows anyway. They’re too good. Damn television and it’s seductive ways!

When you have two TiVos and a DVR cable box, you know you and your boyfriend (especially your boyfriend!) are addicted. Yeah, that’s right, we can simultaneously tape four things at once. That’s not really what we do, but we could if we wanted to!

At breakfast this morning, one of my coworkers was wining about not having good audio with his new HDTV. We were giving him all kinds of suggestions, and he got nervous about the idea of adding another box to his setup. He counted up his three devices, and I snapped, “Oh, wow, three? Wow. I’ve got nine.”

Another coworker pointed out that was because my boyfriend is a “gadgetron.” I’m pretty sure that was the word he used too. He’s a strange man. Anyway, it is true. Mike likes the gadgets. I’m currently trying to hold him off from buying an even bigger and more ridiculous TV. We live in a smallish apartment. We don’t need a bigger TV. Seriously.

I played additional poker this weekend. After not winning that Omaha 8 tournament, I decided I could afford to step up a limit and try out the $1/$2 table. It was something I’d been contemplating anyway. But more like, “I wonder how big I’ll want my bankroll before I’ll feel safe jumping up there,” rather than, “Let’s do it now!” But with the doubled bankroll from this weekend, I felt pretty safe trying it out. It went well.

On average, the players aren’t really better at the higher level. The only real difference to me is that I can sit at 5-max tables, rather than starting a new full table and hoping it doesn’t get filled up too quickly. I get really bored at full tables and end up donking off money calling pre-flop bets with junk.

An embarrassing moment happened after a few hours of play. I totally misread my hand and the board. In a stellar moment of intellect, equaling that of a fine gentleman fish from the previous day’s tourney, I thought I had a full house. What I really had was three of a kind. Or two pair. I did have several redraws (what I actually had was 3 of a kind, with multiple redraws to a full house, due to the fact that my other two cards each had a partner on the board). Meanwhile, I’m raising and re-raising the guy who actually has the nuts (in this case, a straight). I am such a donkey!

You can’t have a full house if there’s no pair on the board. You can’t have a full house if there’s no pair on the board. You can’t have a full house if there’s no pair on the board.

I gave myself four big bets to calm the fuck down, saying I’d leave if I lost $8 or more before regaining control. I was quite proud of myself when I only donked off three retarded limps before I got back into my game. But by that point, my concentration was shot, so I closed out of the game up a ridiculously unsustainable amount.

I haven’t got much else to say. I hope you all had a nice weekend… I think I did. It would have been better if a certain sporting event hadn’t been so nauseatingly terrible…

…Take me out to the ballgame…

January 16th, 2006 • 1:26 pm • dinane • Posted in Poker, Sports, Television4 Comments »

Well, I Didn’t Win

[Editor’s Note: All names used below were shortened to protect the innocent… and the guilty…]

Last night, I finally cracked $200 in my Full Contact Poker bankroll. It was awesome. I was being kind of dumb about it – refusing to stop playing until I got that last $2.50. I actually went down by nearly $9 before I went on a rally to get up to $212. I was pretty darn happy with that when I was done. But it really was stupid to play with a goal. I’d say I’ll never do it again… but that’d probably be a lie.

This morning was filled with waffles and Star Trek TNG. Both of those things make me quite happy.

I was still wearing my PJs when I decided that I’d sign on to play some poker. I couldn’t get anyone to join me at a shorthanded Omaha 8 table, but while I waited, I started poking around the tournaments. There, I found an O8 Limit tournament for $20 + 2. I picked up a pillow and hugged it.

Here I was, just having doubled my initial bankroll on this site (not including bonus money – I keep that separate), and I was thinking about paying entry into a tournament that my bankroll couldn’t really afford. I hemmed and hawed, and finally signed up when I noticed that there was a $500 minimum on the prize pool. At the time, it was quite an overlay, as only 14 people had registered. So, I made it 15. I was nervous, but I didn’t chicken out.

My first two hands in the tournament were great. I picked up 600 chips to add to the 1500 I started with in only those two hands. I quickly realized that this tournament wouldn’t be all that different from playing full rings of O8. There were plenty of people calling down with over-pairs and raising with hands that smell worse than moldy cheese. There was even a guy confused as to why he had lost a hand, because he thought he could use three of his hole cards.

It took a while for people to start dropping. Limit tournaments will do that to you. We started out at 51 players, meaning that 10 places would be paid (though 9th and 10th would hardly be worthwhile). At one point early, I got up to first place, but that was short-lived. I was hovering around 12th or so when I got an important phone call. Yes, some things are more important than poker.

As the chatty guy on the other end of the phone babbled on, I sat out of the tournament getting blinded away. I kept peering in and seeing my chips disappearing across the table. When I finally convinced the chatty guy to send me some information in email instead, I had dropped to around 35th place out of about 45 or so.

I was a little disappointed. I decided that there were really only two options for playing so short stacked. Double up or go home. So I just raised and re-raised until I had doubled up twice, and I was back in the game. I was pretty lucky to get such good scooping hands right after I came back. It would not be the first time I got lucky.

The game progressed, we were down to twenty, and I was sent to a new table. This table is where I made my two biggest mistakes. I was in a hand with a short stack, and he was raising away. I didn’t really think about the fact that he was a short stack, and out of fear for the flush I didn’t have, I just called his last raise on the river. I won the hand with my three of a kind, which is awesome, but I left him with literally 6 chips because I was two dumb to realize that he was trying to go all in. I failed to knock out a short stack. As punishment to me, he managed to double, double, quintuple, and triple up back into contention. Woops!

My second mistake happened when I was bored after some endless folding. I decided to call pre-flop with nothing more than an A-2 feature. This isn’t always a terrible idea, but it definitely is when you end up heads up on the flop. The flop came all low cards (but no ace nor two), so I just started my calling station behavior. I had nothing resembling a high, and there was no one adding to the pot but the bettor and me. At showdown, he had a pair or two (it didn’t matter to me), and also had the A-2. Quartered. And not because of anything he did wrong. Woops!

Zac, the guy who took three-quarters of that pot, commented in the chat box that he hoped that was what I had. He quickly followed that with, “Calling with the low is dangerous.” I answered, laughing, that I knew that, and the whole time I was doing it I was calling myself a donkey. We both laughed about it, and chatted for the rest of the tournament. He was the kind of guy who liked to talk about peoples’ play, and I like watching it put other people on tilt.

After watching the slow death of the remaining short stacks (and winning a huge pot off of Zac on a 2-outer… but I think he forgave me), we were at the final table! My heart was racing, and there was a convenient break just after the first hand. I chatted a bit with the other people at the table; everyone seemed nice. Except Checkers. He developed an attitude problem with Zac because he talked about the hands.

Checkers asked Zac why he insisted on commenting on every hand that they both played in. He was pretty pissy about it. I almost commented, but didn’t because it was mean, that Zac commented on every hand he played on, and Checkers played every hand. Whatever. The rest of the table thought it was pretty funny.

I think my best play happened when there were 6 and 5 players remaining. I developed into a thief. I was in third, the player immediately to my left, CJ, was in second, and to his left were the two short stacks. CJ was kind of a wimp. He was obviously trying to fold into higher positions. He would occasionally call to see a flop, but would cave to the slightest pressure after that. I stole my way into second during that period.

When we were down to three, it was Checkers, me, and Zac (in that order). I made a play on Zac to take him down. I almost felt bad about it. But really, I like money.

The heads up play with Checkers went on for quite a while. We swapped the lead many times. But I made at least two significant donkey calls, and got unlucky at a couple inopportune times. I was a little upset that I couldn’t take down our nemesis Checkers. I didn’t win.

But I did come in second. For a payday of $224!

I doubled up my bankroll twice in as many days.


January 14th, 2006 • 7:36 pm • dinane • Posted in Poker4 Comments »

They’re Just Giving it Away!

I read Daniel Negreanu’s blog. So sue me. I think he’s interesting. He’s a professional poker player, and he’s pretty good at it. Anyway, I read his blog, and due to the ease of persuading me to do stuff, he got me (and several other people – like 3500 or something) to sign up for a “charter membership” to his website. I didn’t know what the hell that meant. I thought maybe I’d get entered in a contest to win a trip to Vegas or something. He did that once just before I started reading the site.

That’s not what it meant.

Negreanu sold his domain name to a company that turned the site from just forums and a blog into forums, a blog, and live poker. That’s right – yet another online poker site. But my “charter membership” at Full Contact Poker gave me a 100% match bonus on my first deposit! How could I turn down free money?

(Note – non-charter members get a 50% deposit match, which is still pretty good, from what I’ve seen.)

My first day playing on the site, I played for two hours and won $30. Please recall that the highest stakes I play are $.50/$1. That’s insane. The second day, I played for another two hours and won another $15. Crazy!

Oh, right, I forgot to mention. The site actually supports Mac users, like Poker Room. Actually, a lot like Poker Room, seeing as FCP is actually just a skin of that same network. And you thought skins died with Empire. Not that I’d know what it was like to play on Empire… But FCP is blue, which I hear was a benefit to Empire…

Anyway, the real excitement isn’t that they were giving money away on this network, it was on Friday. I signed on while Mike took a nap, and decided I wanted to play some Stud8. I suck at Stud8. But I’d won so much earlier in the week that I thought I could afford to practice. As soon as I started a table (no one was yet playing Stud8), KldPoker joined my table. I read it wrong the first several times I looked at it, and started wondering if it could really be Daniel. It made me nervous. It made me play stupid. Then I realized that it was actually spelled kLd, not kId. I stopped being stupid.

But I did start reading the lobby chat, where KLD was getting harassed for using such a similar name to the spokesman for the site. Then I realized that the real KidPoker was actually involved in the chat. He told everyone what table he was playing at, and we all started rail-birding. It was so cool to “watch” a professional poker player play at a $5000 buy-in NLHE table. That’s a lot of money. And so awesome.

Of course, it distracted me so much that I donked away the rest of my buy-in at the Stud8 table. I realized that was what was happening too late, and closed the window after going all-in with a pathetic hand and losing. I kept chatting in the lobby and watching Negreanu play, though. The person formerly known as KLD asked me why I left the table. I told him the truth. Oh, “formerly known as”? Yeah, that’s because FCP let’s you change your alias whenever you want to (so long as you aren’t currently at a table when you do it). That is a feature I’m pretty sure no other site has. It’s awesome, especially since only the FCP part of the network can do that. Poker Room members have to keep their names forever.

Back in the lobby, after everyone on Negreanu’s table busted or ran away, people started begging him to do a SNG. What do you know, he did it! He set up a $10+1 30-person SNG with 5-handed tables, and medium-speed blinds (12 minute levels). That’s right. You can set up your own SNGs and even scheduled tournaments, with your own rules and everything! Hint to any WPBT people who may read this page – you don’t even have to talk to or beg a person to do that.

By the way – no, they aren’t paying me to say this stuff. I’m actually this excited. Maybe they should pay me. I like money.

So, I joined that SNG. It was more expensive than any other tournament I ever play. It was full of people who chat in the FCP forums about poker all the time. It couldn’t have possibly been more -EV for me. But I was kind of making friends with these chatters, and I might even get to play against a pro and costs that don’t make me cry.

I lasted quite a while, I think, considering that I was probably in the bottom third of ability at the tournament. Actually, for a good part of the beginning of the tournament, I was in second to last place – and Negreanu was in last! He eventually vaulted ahead, just before I pulled out a huge suck out. Well, not technically. It was a bad beat, but when the money went in I was only a 4% dog or so. I had KQ-suited and he had a pair of 8s. He had me covered, but not by much. But then he flopped an eight.

Mike had just woken up and I told him about the tournament I was about to bust out of. Then I got running cards to make my flush. I wasn’t paying enough attention, and was in fact confused when the money came my way across the virtual felt. I apologized saying, “I already resigned to losing!” To which he responded, “I already celebrated!” The whole table laughed, but he was out soon after. I made it to 12th, which isn’t bad, again considering how bad I am at tournament play.

I had a lot of fun playing poker! And considering I have no delusions of actually being able to go pro (due to my complete lack of patience for things like reading books), what more can I ask for?

December 19th, 2005 • 9:21 am • dinane • Posted in PokerComments Off on They’re Just Giving it Away!

Merry Christmas, Assholes

That title probably comes across wrong. Seriously, I do wish you a Merry Christmas. And I know it is not in the Christmas spirit to call someone an asshole. But I am finding it difficult to express my jealousy in any other way. Almost all of my favorite bloggers are on their way to Vegas for the World Poker Blogger Tour Winter Classic II. This, coupled with Nickerblog’s hiatus, leaves me with so very little to read!

As such, I’ve decided to get back into webcomics. I used to have a serious addiction to them, keeping up with 19 on a very regular basis with 6 on reserve that didn’t update as often. That’s a lot of comics. But being that I am a very easily distractible person, my obsessions turned to poker during the WSOP and I haven’t really looked back. Time that had previously been spent catching up on the archives of webcomics and pretending to try to learn how to draw was re-devoted to reading the backlogs of poker blogs, and I started playing poker online for real money (real pennies, but whatever). Yes, that’s right people, I’m obsessed with obsessions.

I really don’t know how long it is going to take me to catch up on six months of webcomic publication. I mean… some of these people update every day!

Now, don’t worry your little heads; I am sure I’ll keep up with my addiction to poker. I hope to have enough time to read everything in the morning, and if not, there’s always that down time that comes up while I’m compiling.

Actually, speaking of poker, I had a pretty good run of it this past weekend. I played three separate times for an hour or two each, almost entirely at Omaha 8. The best poker feeling: scooping a 25 big blind pot with the high and low nuts and two people raising and calling all the way to showdown. The worst poker feeling: realizing that you are in fact the sucker at the table. The stupidest poker feeling: being determined to get your money back from the shark who took your stack. An acceptable comeback feeling: placing second in a 5-handed SNG after the shark incident. A redemption feeling: doing the same shark thing so some fish smaller than you after returning to Omaha 8.

Back to the title of the entry, let’s talk Christmas. Last night, the Christmas tree was finally finished. We bought the living thing (yay real tree!) from Lowe’s on Sunday, and started with the lights, garland, star, and decorations that required no hooks. I lost the hooks I had bought in advance, so we had to go get new ones on Monday. We hung up the rest of the decorations then.

The tree skirt we got from Target on Saturday sucked. It had no hole cut out for the trunk of the tree, let alone the tree stand (and we got the biggest tree stand ever to be found). So on Tuesday, I went to JoAnn’s and bought six yards of red fleece, six yards of white ribbon, and twelve yards of magic iron-on stuff. When I got home, I cut everything to size and washed the fleece because it was very static-clingy and covered in various bits of other fabrics from the store. Last night, I finally assembled my beautiful tree skirt, using the magic iron-on stuff. It truly is magical! I’m so glad they had such a thing for idiots like me who cannot sew. Maybe, if you’re lucky, I’ll put up a picture of the tree.

Other awesome Christmas things happened at the church Christmas fair on Saturday. I suppose I’ll wait and write a complete entry about that. But do know that it went very well and was a lot of fun.

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow, which makes me both excited and sad. It’s things like snow that make me really wish I could go back to elementary school. Everything was so much simpler and Mom always had hot cocoa ready when we came in from the cold.

Mmm… Hot cocoa. Now I want some!

But, instead, I will have my left over tortellini for lunch, with some water, and maybe a slice of bread if it doesn’t look too stale.

December 8th, 2005 • 1:30 pm • dinane • Posted in Blogosphere, Christmas, PokerComments Off on Merry Christmas, Assholes

Just a Short Thing Today

I’ve been listening to Phil Gordon’s WSOP podcasts. Yes, I know the WSOP was over like six months ago. So what. I’m occasionally out of touch with the internet. Forgive me.

Anyway, I was listening to the June 22 broadcast, and he was interviewing Richard Brodie:

Phil Gordon: “Do you think your training as a computer scientist helps you or hurts you in professional poker”

Richard “Quiet Lion” Brodie: “Well, first of all, I wasn’t trained as a computer scientist. I’m a college drop out. I am a self-taught computer programmer and an amateur scientist, maybe. You know, the math helps… but I think what really helps is the focus on what works – the pragmatism that is necessary to write a computer program. Because you can have all the highfalutin theories you want, but if you’re wrong, your program won’t run. And the same with poker – there’s a lot of people with different theories about how to play the game, and if they’re wrong, then you won’t win. Well, you might win, but you shouldn’t win.

— Transcribed from Phil Gordon’s WSOP podcast for June 22, 2005

I like that. I like that a lot. I may write in on a sticky and post it on my monitor. I think I’ll do that right now. In red ink. Yeah. That’s the way to go.

December 7th, 2005 • 12:32 pm • dinane • Posted in Poker, Technology2 Comments »

The Dead of Night

Editor’s Disclaimer: Diane burned her right pointer finger on the toaster at work yesterday. It is therefore wrapped in some fancy gauze-like material that makes it very difficult for the normally adept typist to type. She is doing her best, and has spell checked the entry, but asks that you not be too upset or disturbed if a completely bizarre misspelling or wrong word is found in this here post. Thank you for your patience. Moving on…

After the atrocious Patriots showing on Monday night, I knew I couldn’t just go to bed. I was nervous for Mike and Kate to make it home safe, and I was perhaps a bit too depressed from the distressing loss. Stupid Colts… No, really, it was because I don’t particularly like being home alone, the silence is deafening without knowing someone else is around. So, I left the TV playing the sounds of the local news on in the background and brought out my laptop for some fabulous online poker action.

I had complained to Poker Room a couple weeks ago because their servers were running super slow while I was trying to play a cheap multi-table tournament. They credited me with a ticket to another multi-table tournament, which was good for only a week. I was appeased, and even wrote a thank you email note to the tech support people. Karma is important in poker.

I noticed that the ticket was good for a MTT or a SNG. That was very kind of them. I don’t really play that many MTTs, due to my lack of patience. I don’t even remember what made me think that playing a MTT last week was a good idea. But I do have a soft spot for 5-handed turbo SNGs.

I signed up for one of those, and bubbled out on a stupid move on my part. I think I had been playing pretty well. I avoided all-ins, I bought unwanted pots, I was doing great. Then, when we were down to three, the chip leader had a massive lead over me (5-1) and I had a substantial lead over the shortest stack (3-1). But I didn’t really think about the second half of that sentence, I only considered the first half.

I was UTG and the chip leader was to my left. I got a good but not great hand (but I honestly can’t remember what exactly at this point), looked at the impending blinds (I had a bit more than three BB left and I decided to push. The monster stack called, and then the shortest stack called. Bad move on my part and a bad move on the shortest stack’s part. I should have for the blinds to take out the short stack (it would have only taken the one orbit). After my mistake, he should have waited to see if I got knocked out. My mistake was punished. His mistake was rewarded. I lost both ways. I moved on.

I decided that I wanted to play something different, something easier, something more like Omaha 8-or-Better. I really love this game, but I had a really bad run a week or so ago. (I was up 3x my table buy-in due to one idiot donator, and when he left, I didn’t, and I leaked nearly all of that and more back out to a new comer who was probably better than me). Since I wasn’t in the mood to try the hard stuff just yet, I went over to Pacific Poker, where they let you play O8 for nickels and dimes rather than half-dollars and dollars. I like the cheap.

I was down early, but there were so many O8 idiots at the table that I couldn’t leave. I rebought, and managed to run up a nice little profit. I was up 10 BB! In nickel-dime, that’s a dollar. But I was excited by my progress, and pissed at the Pacific interface (which is disgusting) so I went back to Poker Room for the more expensive low-stakes variety. I did well there too! Very well, in fact – I got the mortal nuts of O8: a straight flush A to 5. It’s mortal because it’s theoretically possible that you may have to split the pot with some idiot who also has the nut low, and theoretically possible that in perfect circumstances someone else might have a higher straight flush. In this case, the first didn’t happen and the second wasn’t possible, so I took in a huge pot. I was up 3 BB!

I decided that I wanted to change it up again. (I have a wicked short attention span sometimes.) So, I headed back to Pacific to fight with their interface to look for Stud 8-or-Better. No one was playing at limits I felt comfortable with, so I decided to go with regular old Stud. I still don’t know how to play this game for real. I have vague ideas of what good starting hands are, and I know to keep track of cards that kill my draws, but I have a hard time with all of the complexity. I’m learning! This table saw full houses take the pot four times in a row. One of them took a huge pot from me because I had trip jacks on fifth street, and his full was completely concealed – now that I think about it, it was rivered. I figured him for two pair, and that’s what he had until the river. There’s an example of how bad I am at this game… I left that table up about five cents (A.K.A. even) when I heard clanging on the back porch.

The clanging made me very nervous, so I didn’t get up to look, even though I knew it was probably Mike just putting the grill away. Moments later, Mike came in through the front door, and the night was actually allowed to be over. At 2:30 AM. I usually go to bed at 11:00 PM. Sometimes earlier.

I have yet to recover.

I am a zombie.


November 9th, 2005 • 12:01 pm • dinane • Posted in PokerComments Off on The Dead of Night

Fun With Strangers

I got back on the poker bandwagon this week. Poker Room has updated their software, and things are organized in a much saner format now. I like it. This organization brought to light what may or may not be a new type of sit ‘n’ go: heads-up.

I think pretty highly of my ability to crush the $5 Turbo SNGs. If I can get to the final two with more than a couple big blinds, I have a pretty good chance of winning the thing. I did a foolish thing a while ago and tried the $10 SNGs. I got lucky on the first one I played, and thought I was good enough to play them. I then sunk too much money in to trying to repeat. I dropped back to $5. I have more to learn.

Anyway, seeing as I think so highly of my heads-up play during the turbos, I figured I’d try the heads-up tournaments themselves! I really liked the structure (very deep stacks, blinds go up at a reasonable speed), so I played some more. My first day of playing these little buggers (at $5 plus $.50 juice), I won 4 out of 5. Sweet! The next day, I played a few more and won 2 out of 3. I thought I was sensing a trend.

Last night, I won 1 out of 4.


My record at $5 heads-up SNGs is now at 7 and 5. Math tells me that, factoring in the losses to the juice, I’m still up $4. Math is awesome. But Math does not make me feel better after losing three of these buggers yesterday.

So I’ve been going over what I did and what happened. I realized something. It wasn’t luck that kicked me out. I mean, it ultimately was, like the hands that technically knocked me out were luck lost on coin-flips. But it was the stupid folds and stupid calls that put me into the all-in-or-fold mentality. Calls! Who calls in heads-up play? Losers, that’s who. Passive players can’t win heads-up.

So why was I being so passive?

Well, I think I’ve figured out what it’s like to be on tilt.

I generally have a good handle on my temper. I definitely have a temper, but in my “poker career” (HAHA!) I’ve managed to keep myself from letting it lose over a game. I don’t let anger over a bad beat get to me. It’s just a game. There is some luck involved. I don’t let asshole’s calling me names get to me. It’s just a game. And it’s actually kind of funny to see them seethe. In the real world… sometimes, my temper flares out at inopportune moments. But generally, it is relating to things that I think are far more important that a silly game I play for fun (with the benefit of occasionally winning some money).

I’ve identified before, in large multi-table tournaments, a kind of boredom tilt. It’s the kind of tilt that whispers in my brain, “K-5 is a good hand, at least it’s suited. Come on, you haven’t played a hand in an hour! Seriously! You’re second chip lead at this table. You can speculate.” And then when the flop comes King high, that same voice says, “You haven’t played in so long, they’ll think you’ve got a monster if you bet.” Usually, it’s after someone calls me down with K-Q, a perfectly reasonable hand to be playing, that I wake up and realize that I’ve tilted away half of my stack. Oops!

I don’t play many multi-table tournaments anymore. A lack of patience is -EV.

Yesterday’s tilt was not boredom tilt. Playing heads-up can’t possibly be boring. You have to play 90% of the hands you’re dealt or the other guy will just raise you to death. I’m pretty sure I can pin down my tilt to one incident. I was playing an opponent who had some actual talent (most of the people playing $5 heads-up are suckers… probably including me). I’d relive the hand, but that’s not really what matters. All that matters is I let my opponent buy the pot from me.

From that point on, I was a lost cause. I was folding everywhere, and just calling when I was pretty sure I had something worthwhile. Why was I scared? I honestly couldn’t tell you. But I was put off my game by a player who may or may not have been better than me. He probably deserved to win that battle. But the next two people I played… they were awful. Pure “call if I got nothin’, all-in if I have the nuts” types. But I let them bully the passive me around.

When I came to, I decided to walk away from the heads-up challenges for a while. I went on over to play some low-limit Omaha Hi/Lo. There were three full tables, so I put my name on all three waiting lists. Then I opened up a new table. My new table got going within a couple minutes, so I got off the waiting lists. I prefer to play short-handed. Let me list my favorite types of players to see at an Omaha Hi/Lo table:

  • Texas Hold’em players that think KKT9 is a good Omaha Hi/Lo hand.
  • People who think they’re good at Omaha Hi/Lo that only raise preflop if they have an A2 in their hand.
  • People who call through to showdown with nothing but a non-nut low.

We had all three specimins at the table yesterday, along with one other player who had a clue. It was an interesting and fun table. We saw a Royal (not mine) and a 6-high straight flush (mine for a tasty scoop!). We saw the high chopped on a full house (neither one of them was excited for that). And I saw my buy-in double.

Ultimately, yesterday was a good poker day.

October 26th, 2005 • 9:55 am • dinane • Posted in PokerComments Off on Fun With Strangers
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