Monday, June 2, 2008

What a difference a year makes!

I see it's been nearly a year since I posted here. No I have not quit poker despite the way it may have sounded in some of these entries. LOL it's actually a bit embarrassing to go back and read some of what I wrote so I stopped.

I've grown a lot as a poker player in the past year. I seldom get particularly upset at bad beats even when it was a stupid bad beat. It helps some that I seldom play APL any longer I suppose.

I'm mostly living in Hernando, MS now and play regularly at the casinos in Tunica. I only get to Orlando about 2 weeks in 6 or 8 and generally only play APL on Saturday and Sundays.

I'm making steady money in my little 4/8 limit hold'em games. I'll write more about that later. I'll also write about the 7-card stud tournaments that I've been playing (but not winning yet) at the Grand (now Harrah's).

This entry was to toot my horn for winning one of PokerStars WSOP round 1 freerolls and a seat into the weekly final. The prize for THAT one is a seat in the WSOP and 2500 cash if I make it into the top 3.

The tournament started with 5000 players and was a turbo format. I normally hate turbo format tournaments but being as it was all there was and it was free I did it. I played a VERY different game than my normal game, much looser and more open. I got lucky in spots but there was also a bit of good solid play also I think.

Surely you can't get into the top 50 of a 5000 player tournament PURELY on luck. I was actually about 10th when we got down to the final 50 so I didn't just squeak in, I got in very solidly. I'm pretty proud of it even if the competition was probably not exactly world class.

Now will come the weekly final, there will probably be 600-1000 players all vying for 3 available seats. And these are the players who already did well in their freerolls. If my "it can't be all luck" theory holds then I've got my work cut out for me. The good news is that THIS tournament is more my style. 5000 starting chips and blinds of 10/20 with 15 minute levels. I'll have some time to really PLAY.

It's good to finally be back to writing here. I need to do it more as a tool to grow my game I think and just to record things for later years when I want to look back.

More later....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Measure of Revenge

I went back for the second tournament last night. I did much better, placing 7th in the end. I played well but then I was playing well before. I've been playing well, it's just not been helping a lot.

This time I was careful to try to play smaller pots, at least with people I knew I could not put on any sort of hand. I even took a large chunk of chips from my brilliant adversary from the early tournament. I had AK offsuit in the big blind and he raised under the gun (yes I ended up with him on my left AGAIN). It was just the two of us and I hit my ace on the flop. I made a modest bet and he called (who is surprised??? anyone???). The turn brought my king. I made the same modest bet. I figured he was going to call no matter what so just in case he sucked a straight or a flush out by the river I might as well keep it cheap. Maybe that is not the right thinkng. I'm not sure yet. Anyway a third flush card fell on the river and I checked. He bet, the same 500 chip bet I'd been making and he'd been calling. Then he asked if I was going to check raise him. It was tempting except that he could have had anything at that point and my two pair was nowhere near the nuts. In the end I won and he was left crippled. I was left happy.

He didn't last much longer. Alas I was not the one to take him out.

Oh and in a bit of injustice he went on to win the first tournament after busting me. I didn't see it but was told by a couple of people that he was incredibly lucky and playing real trash. (I knew that part).

Seems that a blind squirrel does indeed find a nut every now and again huh?

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Why APL sucks

As you can maybe guess I just went out of an APL tournament early and it was because of a totally idiotic first on an opponent's part and then second maybe on my part. You be the judge.

It's early in the tournament. Blinds are 50/100. I have 3450 chips (starting chips are 3650). I pick up pocket Kings under the gun. I raise to 300. The absolutely brilliant player to my immediate left calls quickly. The big blind calls as well.

The flop comes down Jc 8s 4h. The pot has 950 chips in it. I lead out 1000 chips. I get an immediate call from the absolutely brilliant player to my left. The big blind is a wimp and folds.

The turn brings the 8c. I go all in for my remaining chips, 2150. I figure the absolutely brilliant player to my left either has J8, a straight draw or some other pair. I'm steaming already....

And then this absolutely brilliant player turns over A8 offsuit. He called a 300 chip preflop raise with ace rag. Then he called a huge pot sized bet on the flop with middle pair and no other draw.

See what I mean? You must be a fucking genius to make this kind of play. Either than or a clueless idiot and surely there are none of those at APL.

Wait...there is! I thought I could actualy push a worse hand out of the pot with correct poker strategy! What a dumb ass! Don't I know people are there to have fun? Nobody is there to actually learn to play good poker!

Wait...I I have to come to the conclusion that I am the dumb ass for playing there. What can you possibly learn from this hand? Of course what you learn is that if you make stupid plays then you sometimes get lucky and really piss a dumb ass off.

Will I go back? Well yes I will. I like most of the people there and well I'm a dumb ass and everybody knows that dumb asses keep doing dumb ass things over and over again.

Tune in next time for another entry in the saga of the worst poker on the planet....

Friday, April 20, 2007

Looking back on the past year

I've not posted a meaningful entry here in quite a while I see. A lot has changed since then. Looking back over the last several entries I see that what I'd heard of prolonged slumps can and do happen. That one lasted a long long time but it was a slump it would appear.

I'm just about to leave on a cruise around the Western Carribean. That is not all that noteable I suppose. We do that sort of thing with increasing regularity since Lee is older and now that we've got an empty nest we will probably do it even more. What is noteable is that poker paid for it. My playing paid for it.

Actually I suppose my good luck paid for it. I was playing the $1/$2 game in Tampa at the Hard Rock. We were in town for concerts at the Plant City Strawberry Festival. I'd just sat down at the table and three hands later in the big blind I'm dealt the KQ of spades. As usual in those games most of the table had limped by the time it got to me. I was still settling in so I just checked. (If I'd been more accustomed to the table I'd have definately raised). The flop came A and T of spades and a low red card. I had the nut flush draw a gut shot straight draw and a gut shot ROYAL flush draw. I saw no reason not to bet and had it been raised I probably would have three bet to build a pot. There were several callers but no raise. The turn was a red ten. I checked, hoping but not expecting a free card. Surely the inevitable ace would bet. It checked around. Go figure. The river card that I got to see for free was the J of spades completing my royal. I can't lose, why not bet? I got one caller and when I flipped over the royal the table went nuts. It seems that the Hard Rock has a progressive jackpot for spade royals. I'd hit it for $4,855!

So on the basis of that profit I'm about to go on a cruise. It's a 'cheap' one, the cheapest I could manage for a week on a ship I like. It used about 25% of that jackpot, the rest, what taxes and tips won't suck up will sit padding my bankroll.

Shortly after that hit I took a trip to Biloxi and Tunica for eleven days. I did not only very well but fantastically well. I was ahead around $1200 at poker for the trip although I did give some of it back at video poker (my one vice but one I can easily give up). Over the time I played I was ahead around 3 big bets per hour. My sessions were not long, few over 4 hours and many around 3. That could have something to do with it and if that is what it takes for me to win then I'll play shorter sessions.

Was I losing my concentration in longer sessions? I don't think so but maybe I am since the results seem to show that. If I was realy just doing hit and runs with lucky short sessions then I would not have won on 19 out of 22 sessions I do not think. that is pushing luck a little far. I WAS hitting cards, make no mistake. I was not getting sucked out on excessively. That was a big factor and I realize that is was also skill though in that I was able to get away from many hands that would have lost even more than they already had. I folded ONE winner that I should not have...a lesson learned that I will NOT repeat.

Nine days after returning from this cruise I once again head to Biloxi and Tunica. Two days in Biloxi and nine days in Tunica. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. I don't expect 3 big bets per hour. That was exceptional. I do expect to have a winning trip. We shall see.

This year, since January, I've played a lot of APL. It's just free poker but it's local and it's fun and I believe it's decent practice. I think it may have even helped my cash games even the limit ones.

I had a goal to just see how high I could get in the region. Before my last Tunica trip I was as high as 25th. Right now, playing less and having been out of town for half of March, I'm 44th. I can probably stay in the top 50 doing what I'm doing, playing around 7 tournaments a week. Many of the players above me are playing 14-16 a week. I'm not willing to do that although I was as high as 10-12 per week for a while. It was a bit much and I'm enjoying life pretty well at the pace I'm playing so that is the pace I'll continue.

I've been working on trying to not just make final tables but set myself up to WIN. I think I'm betting better. I did win another one and have another second or two. Everybody is so short stacked by the final 4 or 5 players that it seems more to require luck than skill. Maybe that is an excuse. I don't think so...but maybe.

It will be interesting to see where the roller coaster that is Poker takes me next. I'll be back eventually to let you know.

Friday, September 22, 2006


I know nobody is reading this any longer and almost nobody who could have answered this question ever DID. Good thing I write this for me. Someday I may look back on this and know the answer, but I doubt it.

The question that has me puzzled is this. I am playing a lot of low buy in NL tournaments and cash games lately. Over and over I see people make mini-raises, raising the minimum. What do they hope to accomplish?

Do they think doubling the big blind will scare anybody out? Do they just want people to defer to the raiser, even if the raise was nothing?

I realize there are certain circumstances when it's handy to do. I'll do it with a good hand I want to get action on if my raises have been folding the table over and over. I'll do it with a hyper aggressive player behind me who will raise with a wide range of hands. If he raises me then I can slam in a big re-raise.

Mostly it seems like people just say "gee I have not raised a pot in 5 minutes, I don't have much so lets raise the minimum." You'd think they were afraid if they didn't use the raise button every so often it would wither and die on the.

Oh well this is, I suspect, one of life's little mysteries and probably due in large part to the fact that most of the people at these low buy in tables (myself included no doubt) are really not very good.

I'd love to hear thoughts on this though.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ok so MAYBE I lied

I obviously have not quit poker. I went into this trip to Tunica in a VERY bad mood and with no optimism. The start of the trip seemed to bear that out but then things picked up. I actually feel like I'm playing better poker than ever. I'm not saying I don't have a lot of improving to do but I can, at least, beat the $4/$8 games here fairly consistently. I've pulled some $500 out of them this week. That's hardly earth shattering money but on the other hand it beats the hell out of minimum wage and besides most of the time it was fun.

I have very likely, for all intents and purposes, quit online poker. I will dabble in it from time to time but for the most part when I'm home I'll spend most of my time doing other things unless I can get to one of the live poker rooms around. My tight, unimaginative, game works fairly well there.

I have not quit posting in this journal obviously but will probably not bother to post much since as near as I can tell the only people who read it are Connie and Robin and I suspect Robin does so to be nice since she knows nothing about poker. I do appreciate it by the way, both of you (and anybody else who struggled through my mood swings here without commenting).

So it appears that I lied about quitting...what? You're surprised that a poker player would actually LIE??? :)

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

The End

This, unless something major happens very soon, will be the last entry in this journal. It's time to face the fact that I'm just not a good poker player and I lack what it takes to become one. It's not the first thing I've failed at and won't be the last. Shortly I will begin cashing out my online accounts except for possibly a very small amount on Poker Stars to use to play some of the tiny little $1 45 seat tournaments. This coming trip to Tunica will probably be mostly in the nature of a goodbye to poker trip, if I even make it. I'm thinking of just staying home and working on the house on Wickersham. That was making me happy even though the work was hard and I'm not as happy with the results as I could be. I am a lot better at that then I am at poker anyway. To anybody that did read this journal thank you for any support you gave me. If you were lurking just to see how I was doing or whatever you know know the end of the story. I admit it. I have failed...again.

I will probably keep this journal just to remind me not to get my hopes up ever again. I'll never be really good at anything. I'll never have much in the way of friends. I'll be a little old man digging around in his yard, all alone.