Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I want to see YOU at The Mookie - Lightning Strikes on Wednesday

I've had one week to bask in the glow of a Mookie victory. Now it is time to defend my title against some of the craftiest poker-playing bloggers this side of Bill Frist's left nut.

The time: Wednesday, November 1 at 9:00 pm CST

The place: Full Tilt Poker

At stake: About $200 first place prize money, a few other paid places, and bragging rights

If you are an avid blogger, please join in on this great tournament. For more information, go to http://mookie99.bigopokerroom.com/.

See ya at the table, ya donk.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Tournaments

Struggled in the Poker.com $50,000 Freeroll. I was playing a tight game to get past the donks, and had my Cowboys put all in after my big raise. I called, and lost to 9-9 when the donk lucked into a straight. I was then forced to go all in with A-J os and was called by A-Q os. Luckily, the flop brought both an Ace and a Jack and I doubled up just past the critical zone.

All in in the early stages of a tourney with 9-9 when there has already been a big raise? I guess over 1,700 freerollers in the tourney dictate that type of play, right? Sheesh.

The Outro ...

I am in the big blind with K-rag and low on chips. Three people in for the flop of K-rag-rag with two clubs on the board. I decided to push all in. I get called by a guy with Q-J clubs, hoping to catch his flush. The turn: Jack. The river: Jack. Nothing like getting shoved to the rail on runner runner three of a kind. The same lucky sob got pocket Jacks on the next hand and cleaned up. What a freaking game.

OPT $10 buy-in at Absolute

Had a great time at the OPT buy in, but alas a dearth of decent cards at the critical stage sent me to the rail in 11th place just short of the final table. Pocket queens were running rampant for everyone ... except me, it seemed. I got some good hands in the first 20 minutes, then not much afterwards.

Funny -- I seem to be on fire at the SNG's at Absolute, yet get nothing in in my private multi-table tourneys.

A player profile was done on me since I won the Mookie this past week. You can see it at http://mookie99.bigopokerroom.com/ .

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Poor decisions, poor decisions ...

Played in a Blogger Poker Tour event and an OPT buy-in event on Poker.com today. Was also playing in a $2000 freeroll. I seemed to be doing okay as long as The Day the Earth Stood Still remained on tv. When it ended, I seemed to fall apart all at once. I made poor decisions in both important tourneys and went out much quicker than I wanted. Seemed like my level of concentration just left me. I really wished that the OPT tourney had started an hour or two later. As it was, instead of perhaps concentrating on one, I made some poor reads and calls in both.

Looks like I have no tourneys scheduled for tonight. A night off will do me some good. Tomorrow: OPT buy in event at Absolute, Poker.com $50,000 freeroll, and ... da Bears take on San Francisco.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Big Win Tonight - The Mookie

Got to play in my second Mookie tournament tonight and played some excellent poker. Very early in the match I called an all in of 6-6 with my Cowboys. They held up and I doubled up and was the chip leader pretty much right from the start.

With this initial cushion of chips, I was able to be patient and selectively decide when I would get involved in a hand. The cards I got tonight were interesting: either total crap or premium hands. I did not waste a lot of chips staying in hands, hoping to hit a set. It was either fold or raise.

I believe that I made some good decisions in NOT calling a few times when I wanted to. I decided to be as patient as I could and then strike. The blinds were not rapidly rising, so this strategy paid off.

I got that lucky break you need to win a tourney when, with only three players left and having a smallish stack, I am all in with K-10 of clubs. But oops -- TexasKaty has Q-Q. I catch a King on the flop to not only stay alive, but to pull slightly ahead of TexasKaty for the lead.

A few minutes later, I call Joanne1111's all in (pocket 9's) with my Big Slick. I complete the straight on the turn and have a 60K to 29K lead over TexasKaty going into heads up play. I think that I am going to get her when I get Cowboys and decide to (I never learn) slow play them. The flop brings a Queen and a Jack, and I am hoping she has either one and goes all in. She checks the flop (as do I) and the turn, so I decide to raise. She doesn't bite.

Final hand -- I flop a straight and call her all in. Her two pair are good, but not good enough.

So ... winning The Mookie in my second attempt is pretty thrilling. I can't wait to give it a go next week. Nothing like playing against great competition to stir the old competitive juices.

For a blow by blow report of the tournament, go to http://mookie99.bigopokerroom.com/ .

Friday, October 20, 2006

Putting things in perspective ...

I had NOT been looking forward to October 19 for some time. Granted -- it is my mom's birthday and certainly reason to celebrate and thank the Lord, but it also carried with it an unusually harsh penalty.

Have you ever been really (I mean really) screwed by your supervisor? I was 13 years and one job ago, and today I had to see the mofo and make nice since we were in a professional meeting. Unfortunately, this buttwipe sees me and immediately starts chatting me up. He then catches me at the end of the meeting, and again I have to spend time talking with him. Just what I needed - a reminder of how this guy made my life total crap and led me to be one of the initial users of Prilosec.

After the meeting, I was talking with one of my co-workers, Angela, and whining about how my life sucked way back when because of this guy. My life sucked? She then proceeded to tell me how her sister was murdered. Angela was in high school at the time, and her older sister had a stalker. Despite attempts to handle the guy through the police, her sister was vunerable and was hunted down and shot in the head.

I have actually been a pretty lucky guy most of my life -- no major traumas, good health, never lost a close friend or nuclear family member until my dad passed away two years ago -- and can in no way relate to something as horrible as a sibling being murdered.

It's always good to remember that poker is just a game and relatively insignificant over the course of our lives. A bad beat is simply a bad beat -- not the end of the world. And no matter how bad we think we have it and how much we whine about injustices in our lives, it doesn't take much searching to find someone who makes our difficulties seem like merely a bad beat in the poker game called life.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Mookie and a quick replacement K9 tourney

Wednesday night was a time for some new experiences. For some unknown reason, I had never played at Full Tilt Poker. However, after reading about The Mookie (a tourney with a bunch of bloggers), I decided to give it a go at Full Tilt.

Lots of folding through the first half hour as I get virtually no cards at all. Then, in the Big Blind, I get Cowboys. One player, Columbo, raises pre-flop, so I re-raise him. He goes all in and I call. Looks great: my K-K vs his 10-10. I am ready for my climb to the upper tier of the leaderboard when ... you guessed it, a ten came on the river, sending me to the rail in 54th place (out of 60). Nothing like hitting the rail on a rivered two-outer.

I wish I had lasted longer to get a feel for the level of play in the Mookie. Guess I'll have to wait a little to find out.

Wednesday's K9 tourney was supposed to be held at Amco Poker. We got everyone in, waited ... then found that the tourney was canceled. I don't know the whole story yet, but it sure doesn't leave me feeling all gooey about Amco.

ShaggyTrav, the main man at K9, showed what a star he is by quickly arranging a tourney at PharoahsPokerPalace.com. Imagine -- one tourney gets canceled, and another one is arranged and going within 45 minutes. Where else online will a poker site come through like that. Check out my link on the right side of the blog for the K9 Poker Tour.

Small field of only 20, with top three cashing. I double up early and have the lead early on. However, I go card dead for what seemed like forever and see my ranking go down ... down ... down ...

With shrewd playing and a little luck, I get back in the thick of things for the final table. I make it in the final three, but have only about half the stack of the other two. I am dealt A-rag and go all in, not expecting a call. ashian, the eventual winner, calls me with, I think, Q-J and catches a Queen to put me out in third. My poker bud murrythecat finished second.

Tried a little $1/$2 NL at Full Tilt. Was up and then even, and decided to try a big bluff. I had top pair (Kings) with a Queen kicker. I guessed that the other player in the hand had A-K, although he didn't bet like he had the Big Slick. A flush possibility was on the board, so I re-raised his bet with an all in, figuring that he would guess I hit the flush and fold. Unfortunately, he called, so goodbye money. Gotta admit, though, that I liked playing at Full Tilt. I just might reload and play my regular game and try to grind out a profit.

To end the evening on a good note, I did win my last tourney of the night, a midnight $5 buy in at Poker World. I have cashed all but one time in this small tourney. It has become part of my nightly routine.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Saw two movies this weekend -- one that sucked, one that was great

My kids are absolutely enamored with Japanese culture, anime, or almost anything Asian. As a result, I accompanied my son to see The Grudge 2 Friday night.

Talk about a waste of money. There was only one scene in the movie that I thought was creative and interesting. The rest was a borefest. Nothing scary at all. I'd rather see a gore fest like Friday the 13th than trash like this.

Saturday afternoon, however, was a different story. My wife and I saw The Departed. Talk about a fantastic movie. Leonardo DiCaprio gave an award-winning performance as a ... oh, I don't want to spoil the plot for you if you haven't seen it. Matt Damon was good, but we thought that Jack Nicholson didn't give his usual excellent performance. He was okay - just didn't steal every scene like he does in some movies.

If you haven't seen The Departed yet - do so now. No matter what you pay, it will be worth it. Check out the trailer at http://thedeparted.warnerbros.com/ .


Ups and downs this weekend. Worst was being the first one out at a Shark buy in tourney at Poker.com. Got a perfect cooler hand. Had 9-9 and the flop was J-9-rag. The pot was raised, I reraised, and then was put all in. Turns out that my opponent had J-J and hit the top set. My miracle one-outer didn't come on the turn or river.

Finished 4th in a PokerWorld K9 buy in tourney. Had A-K suited, and the chip leader went all in. I was hoping he had A-Q or A-J. I was willing to take my chances with a pair since my luck had been running well. He had J-J, and I got no help on the flop, turn, or river. Looking back, I wish that I had just folded, but I saw that as my opportunity to take to chip lead and then go on to victory. I was hoping to go heads up with murrythecat, who eventually won.

Thank goodness my ring games were good and made up for a lackluster weekend of tournaments.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

First Royal Flush !!

Finally ... after about 1,000,000 hands, I got my first Royal Flush! Caught the Jack on the river to complete the hand. Thanks, True Poker, for this fantastic moment.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Second K9 Victory

Tonight was another intensive Thursday night with three tourneys going on at the same time on three sites. The results:

K9: First place. Played solid poker and got a break or two along the way. Second victory on the Free Tour. If hadn't hit that wrong button in the Heads Up tourney last weekend I might have had my second victory in a week.

Shark: 30 out of 82. Held on to my pocket Jacks when I should have folded. Should have known better. Painful lesson.

OPT: 54 out of 639. Went out when my QQ pocket pair was all in vs JJ. A Jack came on the flop. Dang.

I have been playing ring games at Poker.com and Absolute with some success. Been doing okay in SNGs at Absolute ... as long as I don't play when I am tired.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blogger Poker Tour - Event # 2

This past Saturday, I played in the second event of the Blogger Poker Tour at Poker.com. Not much to report, as I donked out again at a fairly early stage. I think that this past weekend was the culmination of an acute case of online poker burnout. Too many tournaments in too little of a time span. Not playing my best poker. Making questionable decisions. Feeling physically and mentaly exhausted.

My goal is to decrease my playing time this week to get the stars aligned properly again. My ability to play well keeps increasing, but my recent play has not reflected it.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Deleting some of the old poker rooms ...

Well, since so many poker rooms are now closing their doors to US players, I spent this past week making many withdrawals. Then I cleaned up my desktop by deleting all those rooms that will not allow US players. I hope they don't ever decide they want us back, because I won't go back.

Some of my old favorites, like Poker.com and Absolute, did the exact opposite: they not only affirmed their commitment to US players, but they also offered special deposit bonuses. I deposited in both. I had not been playing much on Poker.com, but now I remember why I liked them so much. I am doing well in the $1/$2 NL ring games.

K9 Poker Tour news ...

After winning a freeroll on K9, I placed third in another freeroll. Tonight I played in a heads up tourney at Golden Riviera that was sponsored by K9. After a tough first match, I made it to the finals rather easily when I caught a straight on the flop and took out some poor guy that probably had trip Aces. In the finals, I went up against Shaggytrav, the founder of K9.

We were going back and forth when I hit top pair with a decent kicker. When Travis reraised me, I put him on an overpair and attempted to fold. I guess I shouldn't have been playing in a dark room, because believe it or not, I HIT THE WRONG BUTTON and went all in. Naturally, he called, and the match was over. Talk about stupid mistakes. I had hit the wrong button before when playing three tables, but never when playing only one. I believe this may have been the first time ever for a heads up between Travis and me, so I am really pissed at myself for making this stupid mistake. Travis is an excellent heads up player, and I really wanted to find out how I'd match up against him. Damn.

Monday, October 02, 2006

My Day as a Hold Em Dealer

Last Saturday was certainly an interesting day. I volunteered to work as a dealer for a Hold Em tournament that was part of a casino night that benefitted a local hospital's foundation. I couldn't wait to see how life was on the other side of the table.

First Step: Grab the free lunch at the country club where the tournament was being held. The sandwich buffett was no big deal, but hey, free is still free.

Second Step: Training with a poker pro from the entertainment outfit that rents out the casino tables and equipment. This two-hour training session (apparently mandidated by my state) got me used to doing things in a systematic way -- when to gather the chips, when to muck cards, the proper order in which everything should be done -- all the essentials. The training session was wild because because all the dealers were acting like complete donks and going all in virtually every hand. This resulted in great practice in making side pots and using the old noodle to figure out all the math.

Third step: Grab the free hors d' oeuvres and drinks provided before the tournament. Whoever selected the champagne should be rewarded. The food was mostly what you would expect for a charity event ... until we stumbled upon the jumbo shrimp. Yes, it was jumbo, and it was fantastic.

Fourth Step: The tourney. They were expecting around 60 entrants. They only got 24, so the dealers rotated in. I was nervous at first, but became more relaxed as I dealt a few hands. The level of concentration was great, however, since we had to keep aware of all the bets, raises, and folds. I only made one mistake, and it was no biggie. And, being a charity tournament, the atmosphere was relaxed.

The final table was dealt by the pro who did the training. It was right before the final table when the bomb was dropped. Since there were many less players than expected, the top prizes were decreased. Instead of fist prize being a $2000 prepaid Visa card, it was only ... $600. Instead of second place being a $900 prepaid Visa card, it was ... $600. Third was also decreased a little.

Now, I guess that since this was a charity event and most of the guys playing were probably loaded anyway, no one said anything. It just didn't seem right to cut the prizes like that at the final table. If I had been in, I would have been pissed.

Anyway, it was a fun night and gave me some experience dealing. I would certainly volunteer again, if asked.

Friday Night Home Game Results

We started out with two tables and combined when we got down to eight players. Had a long run of weak cards, so I kept folding, folding, folding ... and ended up outlasting everyone but three guys. Two of us were short stacked, and two had bigger ones. After about 4 1/2 hours of non-stop play, a chop was suggested and agreed upon by three of the four. One guy, Seth, said that he was greedy and wanted to play it out. He was the other short stack. Our tourney paid three places, so someone was going to be very unhappy.

It ended up that Seth and I were the final two. Seth had about a 70/30% chip lead on me, so when I was dealt Cowboys I decided to take a gamble and slow play. I wanted to bite into his stack big time, then finish him off.

Once again, no matter how unlikely it was, the slow play came back to haunt. He had Q-7 os and stayed in since I didn't raise. The flop? 7-7-rag. I will spare you the sad details.

Thanks to Josh, the host, who patiently listened to me flog myself for the next fifteen minutes. Time to finally learn my lesson about slow playing.

Second place gave me a nice profit, but I was disapointed that I wasn't able to come out with a victory. The worst part was, I did it to myself.