Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bubble Boy

Smiling here. What else can I do? I just went out of yet ANOTHER tournament on the bubble. For the uninitiated that means the last position before the money starts. I mean it's good that I'm getting so high up in the field. This one was another of the 45 players sit and go's and for like the 4th time in the past week I made the final table only to finish out of the money. Maybe my aggression is working against me at that point although it's what has gotten me there usualy. Take tonight. I was just not getting cards and was allowed to limp into a pot where it seemed to me nobody hit the flop so I bet at it. Not enough because I got one caller. Still I just didn't think he had much of it. I did have a tiny piece so when the turn brought an obvious blank I bet a bit bigger and sure enough he gave up. I did that, or something similar several times. I figure if I can't get good cards to play I'll just play the ones I have like they WERE good. Got to be careful of course and I did have to dump a couple of hands when it was obvious that my opponent had hit something but in general it worked great. I'm happy with my tournament play lately and my cash game play as well. Looks like Vegas will be fun next week!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Biloxi and beyond

The trip to Biloxi went well. The drive itself was good and being there was great. I do love it there. Poker went well too which helped of course.

I had a couple of great sessions in the 1-4-8-8 game and no really bad ones. My hourly earn rate was not what I'd like but I learned a lot about my game and I think it was improving the whole time.

The tournaments didn't go so well. I simply played very poorly. I know I know better but they just 'feel' so different from the online ones I'm used to. The blind structure is radically different with very little time to be patient. I know I need to get used to that though so I'll keep trying. I did have fun anyway, even though I didn't have a very good showing.

I've done very well online since getting back home which kind of validates what I think I learned in Biloxi. I need to go to Daytona or Melbourne soon. That $2 straight game is weird though but its worth a shot. I also want to get to either Tampa or Jax but those pretty much require overnight stays. Still that could happen before Vegas on the first of July.

I'm looking forward to that trip. I'm not sure what to expect. Mostly i'm going with the idea of just having a ball.

That's about it for now. I'm sure I'll have more to say soon...

Thursday, June 9, 2005


Finally I won one of those 5 table 45 person sit and go's on Poker Stars. I played two tonight. In the first one I finished 8th, on the bubble and one out of the money. I felt like I played well in both though, especially in the one that I won of course. I'm having a lot of fun in these. I'm wondering if I'm playing better, if the structure is suited to my game or if the competition is just soft, they are very low buy in tournaments after all. So far I've played six of these and made the final table (nine players) in four of them.

If Tropical Storm Arlene does not keep me out of the Biloxi/Gulfport area starting on Sunday then i'll play the Monday and Thursday NL rebuy tournaments in Gulport. I don't know that I'll make the final table but I hope to play well. I'm also looking forward to the 1/4/8/8 game and maybe even the 6/12 that Biloxi spreads sometimes. Hopefully Arlene will move quickly and be gone from that area by Sunday Afternoon when I should be there.

Then July 1 is our trip to Vegas. I'm starting to really look forward to that as well now that I'm regaining a bit of confidence in my game. I miss having somebody to sweat me when I play online like I did for a while. It helped settle me down I think and really THINK about what I was doing since I was sort of teaching (scary thought) as I played.

I know I've got a LONG way to go but I feel now like I'm making progress.


Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Fun, but maybe not very nice

I was reading Card Player magazine a while ago in the reading room, you know, the one with the porceline seat. There was an article by Phil Hellmuth about raising in the dark. The gist of what he said was that he will sometimes raise in the dark (without looking at his cards) to the cap if possible preflop. Then he will bet out every round. If somebody bets first or raises then and only then does he look. I've read Phil's book Play Poker Like the Pros and his strategy didn't work well for me. I had trouble being that aggressive I guess. But I figured what the heck I'll give this raising in the dark thing a shot.

First I did it on the Wilson simulator and was pleasantly surprised to see that it works fairly well. It was a short test so it may well be luck. After all it it worked in the long run I would think you'd see it more.

Next I got on Paradise, a site I seldom play anymore, and tried it on a $0.02/$0.04 table. I think the players there must hate me although nobody said anything. I think one guy had figured out what I was doing and played along. It's harder there cuz you can't NOT look at your cards easily but I stuck a piece of a post-it over the spot on the screen my cards would come up and that did the trick.

I only played about half an hour but it turned out surprisingly well. I bought in for $2 and cashed out with $2.79 down from a high of $3.13. I did get lucky and win one huge hand. By this time I'm sure they were all thinking I was full of s*** and I got lucky enough to pick up AK and then hit the nut straight (and the nuts) on the turn. Because nobody put me on an actual hand they kept raising and capped both the turn and river.

I have my doubts how well it would work at higher limits, or whether I'd have the guts to even try it. I think I worry too much about the other player's perception of me which is really stupid since this is NOT a popularity contest. Besides if they don't like the way I am playing they can find another table. Actually doing this some might be good for me on the sites I play most because I know I have an ultra-tight reputation, at least if anybody is paying attention. Lately I've been playing tight as ever and worse semi-passive. Who knows maybe this raising in the dark thing of Phil's will help me loosen up slightly and get my aggression back.

I'm sure I'll do it again but I have to admit I wouldn't want to play against somebody who's doing it very often. On the other hand playing this way gave me some very interesting insights into my game and the game of others. It also should, I hope, teach me now to play against somebody who is doing this or maniacs in general.

Whether or not this was a good idea it was fun as hell so I'm sure I'll be doing it again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Not exactly the big time but fun...

I found a very fun tournament on Poker Stars this afternoon. Seems they have just started having 45 seat (5 table) sit and go tournaments with a buy in of $1 + $0.20.
They pay to 7 places and first place is $14. Not a bad payout for a $1.20 investment. Great practice for small tournaments I'd think also.

I did very well in my first one. I was actually leading through most of the middle stages. I started sliding back as we neared the final table and hit the final 9 fairly short stacked. Still I held on and got 5th. That paid $5, also not bad for a $1.20 investment considering the fun I had.

There is still lots of room for improvement in my game. I'm pretty sure I was being outplayed a fair amount but then most of the people I thought were outplaying me went out before I did so maybe not. Over all it was not only fun but very encouraging. I will definately do more of them. It only took an hour and a half, probably 2 hours or less to the very end. That's not bad either.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

I still don't have much confidence in my abilities but I recognize that it's not really about poker but life in general. I've been playing very low limit games online and doing ok. I've also been to Daytona a few times and have done acceptably. I don't feel like in either of those venues I'm being outplayed much at any rate. That is not saying a whole lot I realize but it's something. Nice to know I'm as good as somebody if not better.

I played a tiny little $1 sit and go today and finished second. Overall I feel I played acceptably. I even made a few good plays I think. I also kept the bad plays to a minimum. I got heads up with about an 8 to 1 chip advantage though and managed to end up finishing second. Still I think I played ok.

I've got a trip to the Gulfport-Biloxi area of Mississippi coming up June 12-17. I hope to play a couple of NL tournaments and a lot of their 1-4-8-8 cash game. Mostly I want to go have fun and relax, walk on the beach, play some video poker as well, eat at a buffet or two (and still try to stay within  my WW points).

July 1-7 Connie and I are going to Vegas. I'm no longer sure at all about trying to get into a satellite. I'll see how I do in Gulfport I guess. I know we'll have fun in Vegas though. I could spend a whole week just walking up and down the strip exploring the hotels and casinos. We'll have a car and I plan to visit some of the off strip locals casinos where they have good video poker. I do hope to play some low limit hold'em while I'm there too of course but doubt I'll get over $2-$4 unless I somehow magically acquire some confidence between now and then.