Friday, June 30, 2006

Copied from

Grand Final Time!
The final chance event is still running as I type, congratulations to the 10 bloggers that earned themselves an entry to the Grand Final and shared the $500 prizemoney.


I'm just making sure that all of the Grand Finalists have their coupon now, and then it will be game on tomorrow to see which blogger will be representing at the World Series in Vegas later this month.The Blogger Poker Tour Grand Final has also been included in the Championship Schedule. So not only will the winner be crowned the BPT winner, but you will also be given a Champion's accolade. Every year the BPT season 1 Grand Final will be included in the championship schedule.Good Luck Everyone, may the best blogger win!

YES !!!

One of my goals the past few months was to make it to the Grand Final. I will be one of 44 bloggers to compete for a chance to play in the Big Show in Las Vegas. Heck - even a top ten finish would earn at least an iPod Nano.

I finished eighth in today's qualifying tournament. The top ten finishers were awarded a trip to the final.

Everything just seemed to go well today. I got decent cards at the right time and decided to up my level of agressiveness. Unfortunately, toward the end I was seated to the immediate right of the big chip leader. I had to tighten up big time since he was hitting every single hand and making steep raises.

I went out in eighth when I decided to go all in with pocket 7's. My stack was dwindling and I didn't want to go into total desperation mode. I got called by two bloggers who had overcards. One hit a King to send me out.

The past couple nights I have been playing two and three tournaments at the same time - on different sites. Quite a challenge. I was concentrating on the tourney and screwed up the OPT tourney at If only there was a way to Tivo tournaments.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Yes, it is hard to admit that we're getting older -- for those of us whose 20's are a distant memory. Last night, however, I had reality slap me right in the face ... and a few other places.

I play in two softball leagues - one Monday night and a double-header league on Wednesdays. The first game last night was great. My fielding was razor sharp and I was stinging the ball at bat. I guess a few weeks vacation paid great benefits. The second game was quite different.

In my second at bat in game two, I tried to hit a shot over the second baseman's head into right field. My aim was low and I instead hit a hard grounder. The ball hit the second baseman and went flying into the air. I was halfway down the first base line when I thought that I'd better kick my speed into overdrive. Big mistake.

I tripped and went flying into the first baseman at full speed. Landed in the dirt and was covered with dirt and had in inside my mouth and eyes. The first baseman was a big guy - 24 years old, 6 foot something, and athletically built. Having this mass of old, unfirm former softball hero blast into even a young, muscular guy caused some pain. But not nearly the pain I felt, I'm sure.

I got my bell rung and played for another inning, but recognized that I was dizzier than usual. Got a big strawberry on my left knee and have nothing but pain on my left ribcage, lower and upper. Not to mention feeling like the biggest dork in the world. Whatever happened to the days of my youth when I played in five softball leagues, could run forever, never missed a ball, and knocked the crap out of the ball at bat more often than not?

I once told my wife that I was obsessed with poker since it was a way to rekindle all those competetive juices without endangering this old body. Looks like poker is a better, safer game for me!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Hey Mike - can you come over here for a minute?

More fun stuff:

At Harrah's: I am in the big blind in a tourney and have 8-4os. No raises, so I stay in. The flop gives me a gutshot draw and there are no raises, so I once again stay. The turn makes my straight. I decide to have some fun and say "Hmmm ... do I have a four? I don't remember. Let me recheck my cards ..." I then place a bet to see if anyone would call. Unfortunately, no one did, but it was fun messing with everyone.

At Luxor: This guy who appeared to be pretty drunk told another guy at the table (a good player) "I wanted to get some of your big stack of chips." The second guys responds with "You'd have to work hard to do it." Well ... seeing the challenge ... I was dealt pocket Aces and decided to slow play. Well, this player with the big chip stack keeps matching my raises. He calls my final raise on the river and I have only a few chippies left. The board is a rainbow of low cards. The guy with the stack smiles at me and turns over his pocket Kings. I wait a second, then turn over my pocket Aces. *Ding - we have a winner! Yep - I worked hard. Yep - I got them.

At Luxor: I see this guy calling raises foolishly, so I tuck this little bit of info in my head. He had been drinking too much also - another good tidbit. I don't remember all the particulars of this hand, but after the turn I have the nut straight with Queen-something. No flush or full house draws are on the board. Now ... If the board reads 10-J-K-A and someone places a big bet, what would you put him on? He calls. The river is inconsequential. I figure that we are going to split the pot, but I raise anyway. He calls. We turn over cards and he does not have a Queen. What was he thinking???

At the Luxor: Flop shows K-J-rag. I have a Jack with a good kicker. Same guy raises, and I put him on K-something. His raise is minimal, so I stick around. The turn is a Jack. He raises, so I reraise a hefty bet. Hmmm ... what could I have?? He is running out of money, but decides to call. The river is another Jack. He checks. I put him all in for the rest of his chips. He calls and acts surprised to see that I have the final Jack. The quads win me an extra $20 from the Lux, a little icing on the cake.

I love the Luxor!

Final note: Slap me around if I ever attempt to play $2-4 limit again. As with many online poker rooms, the live play at 2-4 limit was just a bingo game of Hold 'Em - No Fold 'Em poker. I did play a little $3-6 at Stardust against some regulars there, and actually finished ahead. Picked up a few good tips in case I decide to try limit poker again.

Viva Las Vegas !!


Online Poker Tour (OPT) players shaggytrav, lightning36, and Zypher22 get ready to rule the Las Vegas poker world

Ah ... there is nothing quite like going to Las Vegas to play a little live poker. I got back from a four night stay in Sin City. Spent quite a bit of time playing poker with OPT buddy shaggytrav and got to meet another OPT player, Zypher22, which made for a great trip.

Some good stuff: I kicked butt on the $1/2 NL tables at Bally's and Luxor. Won good money every session I played at these places. It was so easy to pick out the fish and the sharks and play accordingly. I saw one guy buy in for $200, hit two pair in his first or second hand, then go all in with it with a straight possibility on the board. You guessed it - someone had the straight and took the two bills before the guy could even sit down. Welcome to Las Vegas poker!

It was fun meeting and playing with some of my fellow OPT buds. I saw shaggytrav carve two guys like a Thanksgiving turkey. We made quite a pair: me - Joe Nice Guy who lulled the unknowing into a sense of false security, and shaggytrav - the guy who looked like a poker punk, wearing sunglasses and needling players when he saw fit.

Some disappointing stuff: Just didn't get the job done in tournaments.

Sahara: Got caught trying to steal blinds and a bet with A-Q suited. Ran into pocket rockets. 'nuff said.

Harrah's: Got wounded and put out by donks. One guy reraises my pocket Kings with A-5 (but they were soooted) and hits an Ace on the turn. Another guy who is clueless gets lucky and hits a set on the flop, crushing my pocket Kings again.

Caesars Palace: I get down to 20th or 21st place even though I get no cards whatsoever. As I have read in so many places, this is an excellent tournament. If I got the cards that I got at Harrah's, there is no doubt that I would have been in the money at the final table.

Stardust: I make the final table but am short stacked. The chip leader is to my right and in the small blind and forces me to go all in or fold. With few chips and an A-3 suited, I call. He turns over pocket 10's. I catch a 3 on the flop, but no Aces or another 3. I go out in 9th place. Tourney paid four places.

Stuff I couldn't believe: Saw a woman call two all ins for $280 with Q-10 unsuited. She hit a one-outer on the river. Saw this same woman catch another Queen on the river in another hand to beat a full house with a higher full house.

Saw one woman hits quads twice when all in within two hours, yet was down in chips.

Saw shaggytrav go all in at a Caesars tournament and have 19 outs after the flop. Couldn't catch one and lost to pocket threes.

What I learned: I get better as I invest more time in poker. If I play the kind of game that I am comfortable with, I am a solid player. I made very few mistakes over many, many hours of poker. I had fun trying to read the other players and had fun playing with their minds every so often.

Fun stuff: At Bally's: I had pocket 7's and two other players both reraised. I fold my hand and tell the guy across from me that I folded a pair. He said, "Why? There are cards in the deck." When I was heads up with this guy several hands later, I remembered his philosophy and went all in with a good hand. Yep - he called, and chased after those cards. Doubled up.

At Bally's: I had a chance to sneak in a last hour of play on my final day. We're geting a new table of $1/2 NL together, and this one guy says, "It's my last day here. I want to see chips flying." I wait. I get A-K suited and smooth call. The flop gives me flush, straight, and straight flush possibilities. I quicky compute at least 17 outs, and call the raise on the flop. Turn doesn't help. He raises, and I call. Final card makes my flush. I check, and he bets. Now -- how much to bet to take the maximum from him? I triple his bet. He knows he is beat, but I bet just the right amount to keep him in. Yes - his chips were flying - straight to me.

At Caesars: Went to play in a tournament with shaggytrav. A television tournament was being hosted at Caesars, and a big money game was going on. We see Sean Sheikhan at the table and immediately hear g** d*** and f***. Yep - Mr. Personality. Saw Mike Matusow, Eskimo Clark, and other pros.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Las Vegas, here I come ...

The day is finally here. Can't wait to get to the tables and play.

Played in my local live game Friday night. Chopped the pot with another player at the end of the game. I had not seen my wife in a week and she just got home from San Diego, so I just wanted to get home. Thank goodness the other player kept getting calls on his cellphone from his girlfriend. Helped make him agreeable to a chop once we were almost dead even.

Nice thing - the chop paid for my airport parking, low-cost airfare, and hotel for my Las Vegas trip. Nothing like a free trip.

I will be meeting two or three of my fellow Online Poker Tour buds in Las Vegas, so that should make the trip that better.

Of course, I'll post some good stuff about the trip here and try to post some tips on playing Las Vegas based on my new observations. The report of my last trip to Vegas can be seen by going to the appropriate link on the right-hand side of the page.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Three tournaments, three different stories

1) Sunday $10 Special at Titan

Got unbelievable cards at the beginning - AA, KK, JJ - you name them, I got them. Went out to a big chip lead, then saw my stack erode when the cards stopped coming after the first break. Couldn't hold onto enough and became the bubble boy - out in fourth place with the top three cashing.

2) Online Players Tournament (OPT) $10 buy in at PokerHost

Got NO cards the first hour and was down to an "all in or nothing" stack. With virtually no chips, I get 7-2os in the Big Blind! The flop comes 2-A-K. The only other person in the hand is in as bad a shape as I am. So, what the heck - I go all in with a pair of deuces and represent a pair of Aces or Kings. My opponent decides to back off, and I stay alive.

After the first break, the cards change and I am looking at the final table. A couple of the deeper stacks go at it, and suddenly the last three left at the table are myself, the guy I beat with my mighty 7-2os (FifthStreetBully - a good player and a good guy), and the chip leader, who had a tremendous stack. Fifth saw his opportunity to take a stand and went all in. And then there were two.

Second time in about a week that I made the final two in an OPT buy in. Second time the chip leader had a huge advantage over me. Unfortunately, the second time I had to settle for second place. Yes, once again, the bling eluded me.

3) Absolute $5 NL Freezeout Tournament

About the third hand, I am dealt 9-9. The bet is raised to 60 and I call. Two players. Flop is A-9-rag. I check, my opponent checks. Turn is a 5. I bet about 250. My opponent raises. I put him on a pair of Aces with a good kicker or two pair. I go all in and am called. What does my opponent have? Pocket rockets! Great way to end a long day of poker. It sure beats working, though.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Well, looks like the bunnies may have to do without me. Lost out on my second chance to go to the Playboy Mansion in a short field at C D Poker. Played okay, but was pretty card dead at the end. Lost out on a suckout play, but that's poker. I might have one more chance next week. Sometimes things just don't go the way you would like.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

I know this is difficult to read. It is the screenshot from my attempt to get to the Playboy Mansion to play poker. The tournament was sponsored by the Online Poker Tour and was on Dream Poker. There were 168 entrants, and only one would win the all expenses paid trip to California.

I must admit, I got a few breaks to get this far. Twice I had a set and went all in, only to find that I was up against a straight. Both times a card paired on the river, making my full house.

Hand that did me in: I was the small stack of the final four. When I was dealt a suited Big Slick, I went all in. I was called by the chip leader, who had A-7. As luck would have it, he hit a gutshot straight and sent me packing. He eventually won the trip.

I have two more chances. Tomorrow, if everyone who qualified registers, ten of us will be fighting for the trip on CD Poker. I may get a final shot in a week right before I leave for Las Vegas.