Thursday, September 28, 2006

First K9 Poker Tour Victory

I had quite a challenging evening starting at 8:00 pm: playing in the Shark Poker Tour event at Absolute, playing in the Online Poker Tour event at Cake, playing in the K9 Poker Tour event at Golden Riviera, and watching CSI and Shark on CBS. My multi-tasking capabilities seem to diminish once I get beyond, say, two things at once, so I knew I needed every bit of concentration I could muster.


Shark: Finished 11th out of 53, which was two places out of the money
Cake: Finished 10th out of 629, for a small cash
K9: Finished 1st out of 68

The Shark finish was disappointing. I was doing quite well but got distracted with the other tournaments, the television shows, and my kids. No excuses - just a loss of concentration that cost me a few key hands.

How I finished so high at Cake, God only knows. I barely paid attention to this tourney and was close to going out so many times. However, the quickly increasing blinds at Cake make you go all in when in danger, and I hit some big hands. Went out when I pushed pocket 4's. I probably wouldn't have done it if I had noticed that a player with a huge stack had yet to bet. He called me with 8-4 os, and of course, the flop was 8-8-rag. Such is poker.

The K9 tourney was fantastic. It was almost like I hand picked the cards I got most of the game. I got pocket rockets several times, and they were never cracked. I did piss off one player when I bet instead of checking down on an all in, but I caught top pair, great kicker and wanted those chips. When he gave me some crap, I responded with "f_ _ _ y _ _. Looks like Golden Riviera doesn't filter nasty language!

The final two were myself and murrythecat, one of my buds from the Online Poker Tour. murry is an excellent player, so I knew I had a difficult task in front of me. I had a good chip lead, but he hammered away and took the lead. The momentum really shifted, and I didn't want this one to slip away. Fortunately, my little run of cold cards ended, and I was able to nail down the victory, my first at K9.

Looks like I will go to sleep with a smile on my face tonight.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Perils of the Freeroll

Got an invitation to the Moneymaker Millions round 1 freeroll. Over 7,800 entrants, with the top 50 getting an invite to the next round. Take a look...

All that time for nothing. Moral victory to make it that far, I guess.

Home poker game is set for Friday night. Ready to start my career as a Hold Em dealer at a charity tournament Saturday evening. Could be interesting.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

F#$@ F#$@ F#$@

Sometimes poker really sucks. Today:

1) I go out of the Final Table at the CardsChat Sunday Special at Titan when I get rivered. I can not believe how many times I have lost at Titan on the river. Never on the flop or turn, but always the river.

2) Final Table, Online Poker Tour. I am one of the low stacks and have to watch out for the blinds. I get A-10 os and go all in. As I guess, everyone folds except for Gary812, who is the chip leader. Gary calls - with A-5 os. Of course, a 5 comes on the flop and I am out.

I am sooo glad I have a wireless mouse. After the river came and I was out, the wireless mouse went flying. It took me a few minutes to find the batteries and the parts, but the mouse went back together just fine.

3) Shark tourney at Titan. I have two pair and did not pick up that an opponent caught a set on the flop. Goodbye, Shark tourney. What a donk play on my part.

Hey -- at least i didn't get rivered at Titan that time.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Blogger Poker Tour - Season 2, Event 1 -

Saturday was the first Blogger Poker Tour freeroll of the new season. I must say, I was surprised at some of the donkish play I saw. One blogger, who shall remain nameless, was a calling station with all kinds of junk hands. It was amazing how many times he hit, either crippling or knocking out good players.

As for me ... I was doing well initially, then slipped toward the second half of the group and was struggling for chips. I was in a blind and was heads up for the flop. The flop was three clubs, 10 high. I had K-10 in my hand, and checked. My opponent bet, as I hoped, and I sensed that he didn't like the club-heavy flop, so I went all in. He had me covered and called with 5-5. I don't believe that either of us had clubs, so all I had to do was not see a 5 come on the turn or river and I would double up. The bad news: the river was a 5, knocking me out in 50th place (out of 75). Dang two outer. It really sucks when you successfully trap and then get beat like that.

I was not expecting to be heading to the rail so soon. I was playing solid poker, but that doesn't matter when the poker gods are not with you.

Hollywoodland and George Reeves

Superman was always my main man. One of my mom's favorite pictures of me was from when I was about seven years old. I had on a white t-shirt with the Superman logo drawn on the front, and I had a blanket safety pinned to the back of the shirt, making my cape. I endlessly watched The Adventures of Superman and loved the cheesiness of the old show. I thought that George Reeves was fantastic. I mean, who else could put on a pair of glasses and not have investigative reporters realize that he was a superhero?

While in grad school, I took a day to peruse old newspapers to read about George Reeves's suicide. I had a copy of Superman: Serial to Cereal, and generally knew more about the old Superman series than most people.

Over time, I kept up with the questions about alternate versions of his death -- how he may have been murdered by one of three people. This was the basis of the movie Hollywoodland.

We'll most likely never know how Reeves really died, but Hollywoodland does an excellent job of presenting the three theories in an entertaining movie. Great acting performances by Ben Affleck as our charming hero, George, and Adrien Brody as Louis Simo, the low-rent private investigator hired by George Reeves's mother. There are plenty of familiar faces from old and new shows - Hill Street Blues, Seinfeld, Beverly Hills 90210, and Prison Break. You could really believe that you were back in the late 1950's.

I left the theatre feeling very depressed, mostly because I was reminded that Reeves despised this body of work that was so influential to me when I was growing up. How sad that this man was so tortured by something that brought such joy to others.

I never had much interest in the old Kirk Allen serials or the Christopher Reeve movies. In my mind, there was only one Superman: George Reeves. A picture of him hangs in my office. The Man of Steel watches over me every day.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Taco Bell Just Can't Get It Right

With the hectic work schedules my wife and I have, we sometimes have to grab a quick family dinner at the local fast food restaurants. There is never a problem with four of the five orders. The fifth, however, is always wrong.

I have a daughter who abhors cheese. Her usual order: Nachos with no cheese, no sour cream, no beans. Now, I have tried to order her nachos by saying "Nachos with meat, green onions, and tomatoes only." However, the brain surgeons at Taco Bell can't quite figure that out since the order goes in the register as Nachos - cheese, - beans, -sour cream.

Even when I order it in "Taco Bell Lingo," they still get the order wrong. They get it right once every five or six trips. Very frustrating.

On the other hand, who orders nachos without cheese? C'mon, girl of mine, get with it!

While in poker news ...

I am just too impatient to play in many of these online tournaments. I seem to be doing pretty well in the Noble freezeouts, but I am getting bored playing in my poker groups -- Online Poker Tour, K9 Poker Tour,, CheckRayz, and the Shark Poker Tour. I prefer the buy-in freezeout events these groups sponsor, but am having trouble taking the rebuys and freerolls seriously.

Perhaps I need to cut down on my playing time and concentrate on just a few events that really interest me. Otherwise, I am quickly becoming the posterboy for poor playing of NL poker.

Tomorrow: First event on the Blogger Poker Tour. I am looking forward to this event on Bloggers tend to be excellent poker players. I was fortunate to take 4th place in last season's BPT finals. First place -- and an entry into the WSOP Main Event -- was unfortunately just out of reach. This year, the sky's the limit.

Monday, September 18, 2006

How is this for a nasty 36 hours at the tables?

1) Was progressing quite well in a Noble buy-in tournament when my A-A pre-flop all in got called by Q-7 os. The guy with Q-7 was hitting all kinds of junk hands and was one one the chip leaders. He caught a Q on the flop and a 7 on the turn. Unbelievable.

2) Placed on the bubble in a CardsChat tournament. No money.

3) Was the first one out in a K9 tournament. I was tired and not thinking right and was lured by a bounty. K9 player Desser had originally raised pre-flop and I called. When the flop was rag-rag-rag, I went all in with Q-Q. Only two hands would put her ahead of me -- A-A or K-K. She had K-K. Should have known.

4) Ring game at Noble. Raised with A-A pre-flop. Got one caller who stayed with me. Flop was all rags, and I got burned when he hit a set of 3's on the flop.

5) Ring game at Noble. I raise with A-K. Get one caller. Flop is A-rag-rag. I raise and the other guy goes all in. I put him on A-Q or A-J and call. He has 7-7 ... and procedes to catch his lucky 7 on the turn. Why would he go all in with only a pocket pair of 7's? I raised pre-flop and an Ace came on the flop. Dang two-outers.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

This Freakin' Game ...

I am playing in a $3000 Guaranteed Freezeout tournament at Noble. Less than 70 left, top 50 will be paid. I get A-A in late position. Two callers plus the blinds. One of the callers is the chips leader who is bragging about how K-10 has paid off for him several times in the tournament.

I think that the chips leader and only him will call, so I go all in. I am correct -- fold, fold, fold, and he calls ... with Q-7 offsuit! He hits a Queen on the flop, and the river is a 7. No help for me as I go out in 67th place.

My play in this tournament was excellent. The chips leader did just as I hoped and planned, and I still lost. What a game, this online No Limit Hold Em Poker ...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Noble Dirty Dozen Jackpot -- Close, but No Cigar

One of several SNG promotions by Noble Poker is the Dirty Dozen Jackpot bonus. Win four Dirty Dozen tournaments in a row and you get a $2,000 bonus. The Dirty Dozen is a cheap SNG -- only $2.40 to play, with 12 players.

I don't have to continue, do I? I win number one ... then number two ... then number three ... and then crash and burn in number four when my A-Q gets busted by A-K, leaving me to grumble about my sixth place finish.

It was bound to happen -- a card-dead tournament after several good ones, and one joker at my table who kept going all in. At least I didn't suffer a bad beat, but I sure wish I at least been in the ballgame at this one. Guess I'll just have to be satisfied with those massive $12 rewards for winning the first three.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not a bad showing at Noble, considering there were almost 200 people in the tournament. Got a couple of lucky breaks and looked good heading into the final table. With six players left (4th out of 6), I got 8-8 and went all in. Got called by the shortest stack (9-9) and one other (J-J). No one improved their hand, so two of us went out, and I got fifth place since I started the hand with more chips. I made pretty good decisions throughout. No complaints from me.

I had virtually nothing at Noble but got a free entry into the Dirty Dozen SNG. I won it, got a few more chippies, and decided to play this $10 freezeout. Thanks, Noble!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mike, Jack, lightning36, and Gerry "basking in success" after a great day at the country club. Look out, Tiger - here we come!

Oh my gawd - I played golf?

Yes -- it's true. Although I grew up playing all kinds of sports, golf was something I just didn't play. Of course, I did some of the usual stuff -- chipping balls in the back yard, playing Putt Putt Golf -- but not the real thing.

My total real life golf experience consisted of three holes while a senior in high school, and three holes 20 years ago. As you might guess, neither of these experiences were very good, prompting me to call it a day before the dreaded fourth hole.

However, today was a charity golf tournament, and Mike and Gerry, two of my buds, needed a fourth player for their group. The tournament was best ball, so the only pressure I had was that my tee shot on at least one of the holes would need to be used. Surely I could hit one decent shot out of 18 holes, right?

We started out on the dreaded 4th hole, so I was in unfamiliar territory already. I only had a chance to hit one bucket of balls a few days before, so my expectations were low. The first few holes, I unfortunately met my expectations. The Vitamin B12 pill I took at the start didn't seem to give me the magic boost that was promised by Jack, the other member of my group.

Things seemed to change, however, once the beverage cart paid its first visit. I don't know if it was just getting a few shots in or having the beer hit my system, but I began playing much better. I actually jacked a few shots, and hit a great tee shot on a short par 3 hole, just missing the green by about eight feet.

It seemed like the more I drank, the better I got. Mind you, I rarely drink, but today the mild inebriation did the trick. This guy who had only played a total of six holes in his life actually played all 18. Surprisingly, it was really fun. It was thrilling to hit a good shot, and I began to understand why so many enjoy playing this game. I actually might want to try again on a Par 3 course -- with the right players, of course.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Las Vegas Trip Report - Part II

I spent over 40 hours playing $1/$2 NL ring games this trip, mostly at Bally's. When not at Bally's, I was at ...


Only played about an hour at the Lux this trip. I was having such great success at Bally's that it took me two days before I ventured up the strip. Unfortunately, while the temperature in Bally's tended to be cool, the temperature in the Luxor Poker Room was unbelievably hot. I was dying in there, and decided that I needed to get out. I was dealt pocket 9's and raised. The guy to my right put me all in (only about $60 at the time). Since I was ready to leave, I called. He had A-J. Nothing on the flop, nothing on the turn, then ... an Ace on the river.

Although I only played an hour at the Luxor, I still think highly of their management. It was just not for me this trip.

MGM Grand

I had only played at MGM once before (at a $2/$4 Limit table), so I was looking forward to trying the NL tables I had read so much about.

I felt very uncomfortable at my table. A few locals, a couple people who didn't talk, and a strange vibe were what I found. I was dealt pocket Cowboys and raised. One guy called me, saying "I shouldn't play this, but I got my favorite hand." Unfortunately, I had no idea what his favorite hand was, but apparently others at the table did. Turned out that he had Q-J spades and stayed in the hand since the flop produced high cards and a spade. I hit my set and bet up, but he stayed with me. I bet up after the turn, and he stayed with me. He hit a runner runner flush on the river and took half my stack. Funny thing - after that suckout, he never looked at me as long as I was at the table. Nice suckout, Clyde.

I ended up losing one other hand on the river to a flush. I was still pissed about losing with my Kings and failed to see the flush draw on the river. That told me that it was time to leave and go back to Bally's.


What a great place this was. Good, friendly vibe and a mixture of decent players, guys who thought they were, and ATM's. The management seemed to do a great job in keeping the electronic list moving, and the dealers were pretty friendly and did not make a tremendous amount of errors.

Sometimes things have a way of working out. On one hand, a dealer flipped over one of my cards - a Queen. I don't have to tell you what my other hole card was. The flop: yep - a third Queen comes. However, the board was dangerous. As it turns out, I would have put one woman all in. With a big flush draw, she would have called, and I'd have lost some big money when she hit her flush on the river. Funny game we play, huh?

My Worst Ever Bad Beat

I was in my final hours of my trip, almost ready to head to the airport. Just enough time for one last session at Bally's.

I got terrible cards and only played a few hands in two hours ($1/$2 NL). Then ... I get pocket 8's and raise $15. I get a couple of callers.

Flop: Q-7-8. I raise $25 and am called by one player. I put him on A-Q or K-Q. He has only been at the table for a few minutes, but appears to be a decent player. He is going nowhere. I am feeling good.

Turn: Q. He he- The guy has a pair of Queens with a good kicker and thinks that he has the best hand. I am deciding how much to raise and settle on $100. Unfortunately, I do too much thinking and didn't announce my $100 raise. I divided my chips into two stacks of fifty and put the first one in. I immediately move the second one in and am told that my bet has to stay at $50 since I didn't verbally declare the $100. Fair enough - it looked like a string bet.

River: Q! Arrggghhhh. I check, and of course, my opponent bets $100. I am almost positive he has the fourth Q, so I lay my hand down. One guy at the table says, "You must not play online poker. An online player would never lay that hand down." I respond, "I do play online poker. In online, you can't read all that you can at a real table. I am almost positive that he has the fourth Q, probably with an A." The winning player turns over his cards: A-Q. Runner runner quads.

That loss made for a swing of about $350 in my bankroll. But it could have been worse, right? I tip the dealer a few bucks for strictly enforcing the rules and saving me fifty bucks. How many times does the losing player tip the dealer?
Las Vegas Trip Report - Part I

Got back early Thursday morning from Las Vegas. Five days and four nights of great poker action makes me ready to book my next trip today! Ah ... but what about this trip? I'll start with the best.

Caesars Palace Noon Tournament

A tournament that is called by many the “best in Las Vegas” is the Caesars Palace noon tournament. Why is this tournament so highly regarded?

Entry fee for the tourney is only $80, which gets you 1,500 chips. You are allowed one re-buy at $50 for 3,000 chips. The re-buy can be purchased at any time through the first two forty-minute rounds. Rounds are 40 minutes long, and the blinds start out slow --$50 and $25, then $100 and $50. The slowly increasing blinds make for some excellent tournament play. No worries of having to go all in with the first decent hand.

Having recently cashed in some Shark, OPT, and CheckRayz events, I was feeling confident heading into my trip to Las Vegas. I decided to play in the Caesars nooner on Tuesday, September 5. What a tournament it was.

Some people buy the re-buy right at the start. I decided to wait this time, leaving myself an option to go all in in the opening rounds but still be in the tourney if I lost the hand.

My table had only one maniac who kept raising almost every hand. The rest of the table consisted of a mix of weak and seasoned players. I felt like I would be able to do okay with my group.

Early on, a flop gave me a nut flush draw. Hoping for the chance to double up early, I chased the flush but got no help on the turn or river. Getting little else pre-flop, I contributed blinds and saw my stack go down too low to chase anyone out of a hand, so I re-bought earlier than I planned. At the first break, I had lost my entire starting 1,500 and had to depend on the 3,000 chips from the re-buy.

After losing more chips with promising hands but no help on the flops, I found myself the lowest stack at my table. I decided to turn extremely aggressive and take my chances. No limping in for anyone if I had a hand.

Key hand: My first chance came when I got pocket 6's in early position. I went all in waited for a call. One player who was new to the table and appeared cocky decided to call with J-10 hearts. No one else called, and the guy got no help on the flop, turn, or river. I doubled up and put the guy on tilt. I grabbed the rest of his chips several hands later when I had a high pocket pair and he went all in with junk.

I then had a torrid streak of cards come my way. I knocked out one short stack when his J-J all in ran into my Cowboys. I had many other good hands and worked myself into a decent position.

It took a long time for the field to get down to 20, but soon we were there. Most at my table had relatively small stacks compared to the leaders at the other table. We thought that most of us wouldn't make it. The final table paid nine.

Key hand: I was staying in virtually no hands and got A-Q spades. I raised and got re-raised. I went all in and left the other player a tough choice. He had pocket nines, but was unwilling to call me since I had been playing so few hands and we were close to the bubble. If he called, one of us was out or down to almost nothing.

Key hand: I was in the big blind and had K-rag. Four people were in the hand. The flop was K-rag-rag. The small blind checked to me, and I checked, figuring that the small stack in late position might try to buy the pot. There is a check after me, and the small stack went all in. I called. He had A-rag and was in big trouble. The turn: A! I got no help on the river and was afraid that I would be a bubble boy.

The poker gods, however, are sometimes merciful. I got pocket 10's and went all in. I got no callers this close to the final table and built my stack back up. A few hands later, I again got pocket 10's and got no callers to my all in. I was alive!

The other table had some huge hands, and several folks from that table went to the rail. My table ended up having five of the final nine. We took a short break before the final table began. I called my wife to generate some good karma. I also told her that I hoped I wouldn’t speak to her again for some time – meaning that I was going to go deeper than my current 8th of 9 standing.

First out at the final table was a guy who made a terrific call early in the game. I am not sure what he was trying to do, but I guess that he was trying to buy the blinds by going all in with a dangerous flop -- flush and straight possibilities, all high cards. Unfortunately, one of the chip leaders had the near nuts and called, sending the guy to the rail in 9th place.

A hand for the ages: I was in the big blind and was dealt A-10 diamonds. The chip leader made a huge raise and was called by the shortest stack, who was now all in. There was not much difference between 7th and 8th place money and I only had a few more rounds of blinds, so I decided to go all in and pray for some diamonds. The other players turned over their cards. The chip leader had A-8 clubs, and the short stack had A-K red/black. The flop came with all black cards, and I figured that I was out or would have virtually nothing left. But wait - two of the flop cards were a Queen and a Jack. The turn: a King! I slammed my fist on the table edging and yelled "straight!" The river was of no consequence, so I knocked out one player and almost tripled up!

We got down to five players, and two had short stacks. I was hoping that they both would go out so that I could talk about a chop with the other two big stacks. One short stack, however, repeatedly got good hands and caught cards. He built up his stack, and soon there were four of us left. I proposed a chop, and the other players agreed to look at a proportional payout based on chip count, which I knew would be a good deal for me.

While the proposed payouts were figured out, the dealer started us back up. A few hands later, I got a monster with A-J and hit an Ace on the flop. The Caesars manager then came back with the chip count. However, I couldn't persuade all the others to go with the new chip count. One guy said "old chip count or we play it out." Why we even played while the count was being taken made no sense to me, but since the original chip count guaranteed me just short of 2nd place money, I agreed. The blinds were very large, and the luck of the cards was now too much of a factor.

End result: A cash of $1,365. Not bad for an afternoon of poker.

Funny note: One player complimented me on my excellent play while short stacked. My reply: "I am used to playing short stacked!"

So ... if this player can score in Las Vegas, you can too. Good luck at the tables!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Time for Las Vegas

Okay - enough of this online poker stuff. Time for the real deal tomorrow - Las Vegas.

I decided to check which way my poker karma was blowing today. Went to and played a little NL ring action. I saw that the flops seemed to be producing many Aces, so when I was dealt A-4 os, I decided to limp in. The flop: 4-4-4! The bet comes to me, and of course, I check. Several more people check, and one person in late position throws out a big bet. Hmmm ... should I fold? I waited a long time before calling, and I guess that my ruse worked. He had no idea that I had the other four.

One other player joined us in seeing the turn. We both check, and the late position guy puts out a bigger raise. I of course take a long time to decide to call, and the other player folds. The river is a King, and I get worried that a raise may chase my opponent out. I decide against a value bet and go all in. He calls. Very nice double up.

A few hands later, I am dealt pocket rockets, which have caused me many problems lately. I put out a big raise and get one caller. The flop is K-rag-rag. I raise and get re-raised. Am I up against a set of Kings? Two pair? A pair of Kings with a good kicker?

Since I had doubled up a few hands before, I decided to go all in. I get called, and guess what? The caller had the Big Slick. He gets no help on the turn or the river.

Result: A short session at and my plane trip is now paid for! Sure seems like a good sign to me.

I will not have a computer with me on my trip, so I will look forward to writing my next entry in about a week, hopefully with lots of good Las Vegas poker stories to tell.

My goals:

1) Cash in a Caesars Palace noon tourney
2) Cash in a Sahara tourney
3) Burn up the NL tables at Bally's and Luxor, try the NL tables at MGM Grand, and come home with a profit somewhere in four figures. And no, I am NOT counting the numbers AFTER the decimal point.