Friday, January 30, 2004

Eight multi-table tournaments in a row with no money finishes is frustrating, but I was on the bubble in about half of them, so I still think I'm on the right track.

I bought into tonight's $200+15. Stupid move maybe to buy in directly, but the $40-$45K that should go to first place is attractive.

If I win $45,000, I might even call in sick tomorrow.

  Thursday, January 29, 2004


After a couple of bubble finishes yesterday, I haven't finished in the top 100 all day today.

Now, I shouldn't be pissed ... variance and all that ... but it's damn frustrating to get no freakin' cards and go out in a tourney without ever winning a hand.

On the other hand, I've won about $100 playing $3/$6, so that's paid for my buyins, but damn, it's frustrating.

The next big tournament today is at 1AM. I may or may not be awake, but I really shouldn't play it, as if I do make the final table, I'll still be there when work starts.

Have I mentioned I hate that place?

Call me Bubble-Boy

That good shape I was in didn't last through AA, KK, and KK all getting cracked, and I finished 50th when the top 40 paid.

All of these bubble finishes are frustrating, but they seem to prove that I belong on the leaderboard. Except for the $150+12 ... I just plain played that one badly.

I've got today off, and there's a whole string of limit MTT's today ... hopefully I can cash a couple of them, and make up for yesterday's 0-fer.


Plenty of people have noticed my Vegas trip report (below). I like how Iggy noticed that Gil had won his tournament, but totally missed that I won mine the next day. Especially since I include it in the $5000 I won in a week ...

Maybe not.

I suppose I can't expect to cash all of them. I placed 46th in that tourney I was "virtually certain" to cash, when the top 40 paid. (Actually I didn't mind so much; I'd rather place on the bubble, than 200th.) Then I went out really early in the $150+12 "Super Wednesday" tournament, not even in the top half.

I am in good shape after KK and JJ held up, in a $50+5 cash tournament, but there are still about 50-60 people that have to go out before I get into the money. I'd like to cash at least $300 here to pay for my buyins into today's tourneys (plus, of course, a little bit for my time).

  Wednesday, January 28, 2004

This is getting scary.

After my $1600 second-place in a Party MTT last Tuesday, and my $2125 first-place at the Orleans on Sunday, and my $1101 fifth-place in another Party MTT on Monday, I cash (sort of) in another $30 MTT on Tuesday when PartyPoker breaks. They split the pot among the 87 players remaining at that point, which means my $30 got me $131 or so.

Now, I'm virtually certain to cash in another $30 buyin MTT; we're down to about 50 and the top 40 pay, and I'm above average. (I have been catching some pretty good cards.) Tonight's $150+12 is looking more and more attractive.

Maybe this is my new job: to play Party MTT's. If I can continue to cash a bunch of them, I don't need Lowes. I mean, geez, I've made $5000 in a week of playing cards.

  Tuesday, January 27, 2004

A Vegas virgin's First Time

As promised, my trip report for my first trip to Vegas:

This is long.

Those of you who have read my long rant below, about how much I hate my job, know that a small part of this trip was intended to find out how I stack against the competition, because I don't like my job, and grinding out a living at the poker tables seems like a lot less of a pain in the ass.

After Gil and I spent three and a half days there, the answer is about what one could expect: I don't know.

General Impressions

One watches movies and TV shows set in Las Vegas and the biggest impression one has is: Neon. But, while there is a lot of neon, I never thought it was overwhelming, not moreso than any other tourist attraction. But given the neon and lights, it gives "Vegas in the Morning" a very hung-over look.

When I've read CardPlayer magazine while waiting for a table around here (casinos in Detroit, Chicago, and Manistee, Mich), I got the impression that all of the Vegas cardrooms are huge rooms with fifty tables or more. It turns out that they really aren't that much bigger than the rooms I'm familiar with, with a few exceptions, but they're generally run a lot better.

I would have thought that poker would be run pretty much the same way anywhere. But, apparently, midwestern poker bears a number of differences with poker in Las Vegas. This surprised me. Now, I am surprised that I was surprised, but there it is.

I didn't realize how rare it is to play with $2 chips. In all of the casinos we were in, they played $4/$8 with $1 chips (and they weren't always white). This made cold-calling or reraising on a later street in a kill pot a giant pain in the ass, as 24 or 36 chips had to be stacked out there. And then re-stacked when you rake the pot, because you sure as hell better rake the pot if you're making it 3 on a later street. Bring on the $2 chips!

I hadn't seen shuffling machines in the poker room, before. When you sit down, it's pretty obvious what they are, because a big metal plate with a door in it, in the middle of the table, can't have many other purposes. After each hand, the dealer presses a button, the door opens, he puts one deck in, and takes one (shuffled) deck out. The first deck is shuffled while the second deck is in play, and vice versa.

The dealers claimed the stats were that four more hands per dealer shift are dealt with the shufflers, than when the dealer shuffles, which means eight more hands an hour. If you figure an average rake of $2, that's $16 an hour that machine is netting the casino. The shufflers were said (again, by the dealers) to cost $18,000. If you do the math, the shufflers are paid for after (depending on how much the table is used) two to six months, and then that's an extra $40,000 or so a year out of the poker room. So the big question is: Why don't they all use the shufflers?

Another thing I found very strange was that in the $4/$8 games at all three places I played them, the blinds were $1 and $2, and the first preflop raise was to $6. At one place it was actually spread-limit, meaning one could bet from $1 to $4 on the first two betting rounds or from $1 to $8 on the last two. The normal rules on raising applied; you had to raise by at least the amount of the previous bet or raise.

I never really felt like I got a handle on this. My intuition was and still is that one should play more hands, cheaply at least, and hope to hit a flop, but I think on balance, loosening my starting requirements ended up costing me money just as it does in a game with a "normal" half-bet/full-bet blind structure. If I ever take my shot at it out there, this is something I have to figure out.

I liked that the rakes were figured down to the quarter-dollar, although it meant that one ended up with a pile of quarters after winning a few pots. Quarters ended up being the most common thing the dealers needed when they called for a fill.

Thursday Evening: My Kind of Town

We arrived at the McCarran Airport in Las Vegas at around 4:00 local time, giving us an opportunity to get to the hotel and have dinner. The accommodations that Gil arranged for us were at Circus Circus, which a couple of people here in Michigan had mentioned as a "dump." I have to disagree; the casino might be old but the rooms were decent, and we didn't spend any time in the room except to sleep anyway. They even have a poker room, but we didn't check it out except to watch one hand from the rail.

Anyway, we had dinner there (at their café--fair, nothing spectacular) we headed over to the Luxor. Gil had printed the Vegas tournament schedule from CardPlayer before we left, and it looked like there was a tournament scheduled there for an hour or so hence. Seats were completely filled in the tournament when we got there (they'll only seat 41), so we asked about a ring game. Apparently they didn't have enough dealers scheduled for that night, so there weren't any openings available, and they had long lists for their tables. I was then introduced to one of the Good Things About Vegas: You can always go somewhere else.

At Mandalay Bay they did have seats, and so we sat down at a $4/$8 holdem game, the largest they were dealing. (This surprised me: I expected to see black-chip games at every casino. Just see, of course; my bankroll isn't that big.) I don't recall Gil and I being on the same table, but we might have been. Actually, I don't recall much about this session, but my notes remind me that my big hand of the (four-hour) night was when I had a chance to reraise with AA on the button, and the two of us capping it. The board came all babies, which couldn't have helped any kind of hand he might have stood that many raises with, and so after a lot more betting and raising he showed KK. Surprisingly, for this type of story, the favorite won, and I ended the night having won $110.

Friday Morning: Let's Get Them Through Fast

Gil found that his tournament list showed a limit game at Mandalay Bay in the morning, so we headed over there to register and have breakfast, which was excellent, but we both thought $13 was a bit pricy for a breakfast buffet.

After breakfast, we settled into another $4/$8 holdem game. It was on the same table as the night before, and one of the people there had sat down before I'd left the night before. Mostly I didn't get cards, or didn't flop to them, and so I lost $55 in the hour or so before the tournament started.

Ahh, the tournament. Either the tournament structure here wasn't thought out well, or it was thought out very well and very cynically. Each player started with $300 in chips, but at the end of the first hour the blinds were up to $50/$100, which is the level I managed to cling on to. It wasn't enough, though, to get me down better than about 25th (of 40). I really didn't like this tournament structure, where a player can't win without hitting a lot of cards early and often. It turned out that player was Gil, for about a $250 score off his buyin, but I had lost my $30. This soured me on pretty much all of the tournaments on Gil's list; it seems like they are designed to give the players the tournaments they are asking for, but get the damn things over as quickly as possible and either get them onto ring games or accept the house cut of the pool and wave goodbye. PartyPoker's single-table tourneys have less luck involved, for a better payoff (relatively) against a smaller field.

To Boldly Go Where a Couple Hundred Thousand Have Gone Before

Being down to a mere $25 in profit for the trip, we decide to take a break from poker (I'm not sure whether Gil had a sour taste from that tourney or not, but he needed a break too) and go see the Star Trek exhibit/show/ride/whatever at the Hilton.

This opened a few years ago, and might be going stale, but I hadn't seen it, and I'm a fairly big fan of the show (although not the current show, so much; I've seen less than five episodes of it all the way through). Actually, it was reasonably impressive. $30 was too much for what was basically a ten-minute floor show and one of those virtual-reality motion-simulator thingies, but anything Paramount does usually has a high price tag. Actually, it was well-done; the Enterprise-D's bridge set looks a lot more sparse from above (basically Worf's station) than it does from the viewscreen area, where they usually had the cameras on the show. And the actors all took things quite seriously, which is, of course, what a true Trekker would demand.

I'm not quite sure it works to have actors in Klingon or Ferengi makeup pacing the halls of the exhibit; the suspension of disbelief becomes impossible once you step out into the retail area. But the alternative is to completely hit you over the head with the concept, with Klingons challenging you and Ferengi complaining about profit and so on, and that might not fly when the hotel advertises Quark's Bar along with all of the other restaurants in the casino.

I didn't spring the $20 for the picture of me in the captain's chair. Somehow I don't think the Captain of the Enterprise would be wearing a Detroit Tigers jersey.

In any case, I'm glad I saw this, but I don't think I'd make a special trip again for the show, unless (maybe) I somehow was going through it alone, where I could go ahead and suspend my damned disbelief come hell or high water.

Friday Evening: Bad Vibes and Bad Plays

Afterwards, we returned to the strip. We intended to play at the Bellagio, but their lists were longer than Santa's. So, following our new rule, we found ourselves in front of the Monte Carlo, which Gil (who's been to Vegas before) remembered having a poker room, so we went in. The room was nice but a bit crowded, the decor was nice, but we both felt some sort of weird vibe there and decided in short order that we wanted to play somewhere else, even though this was probably the softest game we saw all weekend. On the table for less than an hour, through a switch from $2/$4 to $4/$8 (all but one on the $2/$4 table were on the $4/$8 list, so we changed it), I leave up $18.

We then went back to the Luxor. We must have been there a good long time, but I don't remember much of it. My notes have two hands that I played very badly but won a lot of money. Both were club flushes, one with A4♣ and one with (can you believe it?) 25♣. I think I played the A4 badly all the way through, but it kept costing me more and more money to draw to my nut flush. I made it, and it was good, but I shouldn't have been in there that long anyway nohow. My guess (now) is that I intended to play for the $2 blind, but got raised, called, flopped the nut draw, and called way too many bets to get there on the river.

The 25♣ I remember more vividly, because I knew when I did it that it was stupid, but I tossed in $2 for the same reason I did with the A4♣. Stupidly, I called the $4 raise that occurred behind me, but I got the 119-to-1 occurrence of flopping a flush. That one I bet hard, because I didn't want to let anyone with even a single club do to me what I did to whoever had a great hand when I was drawing to my A4♣.

In any case, I end the session having won $106, although looking at my notes it seems as if this is despite my play rather than because of it.

Saturday Morning: Isn't Anybody in this Town a Local?

Saturday morning we (mostly I) want to test our mettle against some of the locals who have the opportunity to play every day, or every weekend at least. Gil and I have both heard that the Orleans is known for catering to the locals, so we have the cab driver bring us there.

This is the first room whose size impressed me. The main poker room has about 25 tables, and we passed an overflow area on the way to the main room with another eight or so. The biggest game when we got there (around 8AM local time) was $4/$8, so we sat down there, but they got $6/$12 and $10/$20 going in short order.

Soon enough we discover that at noon there's a limit holdem tournament, and the blind structure is posted on the wall. The buy-in is $50 with a $20 rebuy. This sounds interesting to both of us, and we stay on our $4/$8 games until 11:15 or so, when we get lunch and join the tournament.

It turns out that we have around 115 entrants on twelve tables, and the final table gets the money.

The blind structures are indeed better than at Mandalay Bay, especially as the $20 rebuy gets one twice the chips that the original $50 bought, and a $3 toke to the dealers bought another 75 chips. All told, those who rebought and toked (nearly everyone) ended up with T$975.

Still, there was a stretch where the blinds were escalating too fast relative to the average stack size. For the couple of levels before the second break, the average stack size is still about T$2400, but the bets are T$300/T$600 ... meaning that the average stack is four big bets. This is the point where I go out. I don't remember the hand, but essentially any hand one played had to be all-in. I did, and I lost, going out about 25th.

I then sweat Gil for a while, who's in much better chip position than I was. Actually, after I pee and go get a Guinness (the Orleans has Guinness!), I find that my table was broken almost as soon as I busted out, and they're down to two tables. "Well," I figure, "this is almost over, so it makes no sense to get into a ring game." I have this hopeless thought in my head for the next two hours of standing on the rail watching the action.

Gil is in good shape when there are eleven left, and possibly chip leader. When the tournament director holds up the action to ask the players if they should pay the bubble, Gil doesn't object. I thought he should have objected, because of the absurdity of it. Take money from the first-place player, to pay the eleventh-place player. What have you done? You've made the short stack happy, but you just move the bubble to the twelfth-place player. Why?

Anyway, it gets down to three, with Gil and, ummm, "Oldie" about equal and, hmm, "Slimy" at less than half of either of the others. Gil said later that he never did figure out Oldie, and I was briefly on Slimy's table ... very aggressive. There was a $5 bounty paid for knocking people out, and I'm sure he had a nice stack of red chips.

Slimy went all in at least ten or fifteen times, always either with the best of it or catching his card, and always lived to tell the tale, but the blinds would come around again and he'd have to go all-in on a hand. The blinds reached 3000/6000, I think, and they were playing with T$500 chips (I don't think the Orleans has higher-denomination tournament chips), so merely paying the big blind was more than half a stack.

All of a sudden, Oldie collapses. Slimy doubles up off of him, Gil takes a nice pot, and finally Slimy takes his last few chips. Now Gil is headsup with Slimy, and Gil has something like an 8-1 chip lead. Unsurprisingly, Slimy offered a deal for first and second. Unsurprisingly, Gil didn't take the deal. It only took about three hands for Gil to win it all for about $1800 and a "tournament winner" jacket that didn't fit.

Dinner was on him.

Saturday Evening: The Moo Man Group

We went to the Mirage for dinner, although I don't know why. Their poker room didn't look any different than anyone else's, although I didn't go in. Gil was in the mood for a steak, so we went into Kokomo's, their nice steakhouse. This is well-done, because it's a classy restaurant that doesn't make their blue-jeans patrons (who might have hit a jackpot or something, like, well, us) feel out of place. Of course, it's $50 for a steak. Gil orders prime rib, that turns out to be large enough to have its own gravity, and I order a veal chop, which is a more normal amount of food. Both are excellent.

During dinner, we decide a long night of poker isn't in the cards (ho ho, what a funny guy I am) for either of us, and we decide to see one of the shows. We call over to the Luxor to enquire about tickets to the Blue Man Group, which are available. We go get our tickets, and sit down for about an hour of poker before the show starts. I lose $78 mostly on two hands I play very badly, in both cases with second-best hands that were second-best all the way. (I blew off $1000 in a weekend that way, once. I'm still pissed about that, and it was a couple of months ago.)

While we're waiting for the show, my brain goes off on one of those wierd tangents when I realize that if the Blue Man Group were replaced by cows, they'd be the Moo Man Group. And I can't stop myself, it keeps going and going ...

  • If the BMG were replaced by all different animals (Zoo Man Group)
  • If one of them was sick (Two Man Group)
  • If they replaced all three (New Man Group)
  • If they were Hungarian chefs (Stew Man Group)
  • If one of them was a talking dog (Scooby Doo Man Group)
  • If they were playing a board game (Clue Man Group)
  • If they were ghosts (Boo Man Group)
  • If they had to relieve themselves (Poo Man Group)
  • If they had to relieve themselves in Britain (Loo Man Group)
  • If they lived in southwestern Michigan (Kalamazoo Man Group)
  • And on, and on, and on ... fortunately the show started.

    Very interesting. I want to say "excellent show," but that's what everybody always says, even if it wasn't. It was interesting. Some of it, I feel like I've seen before, because of those Pentium III and Pentium 4 commercials they did, but mostly it was interesting in a cool way. A lot of it seemed like they were looking for ways to do a live music video with strange musical instruments, but others were funny. The pretty blonde girl they picked from the audience (why always a pretty blonde girl, and not a big fat white guy?) for one part was so good she could have been a shill, but the blue men played off her well.

    Sunday Morning: Okay, What have you got?

    "But all I'm really thinking about is Vegas and the fucking Mirage."

    "The poker room at the Mirage, in Vegas, is the center of the poker universe. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth--the legends consider it their office. Every couple of days a new millionaire shows up, wanting to beat a world champion. Usually they go home with nothing but a story."

    Mike McDermott, "Rounders"

    This is no longer true, of course, because the Big Name Players that aren't on the tournament circuit normally play at Bellagio. But we were at the Mirage for one reason: We wanted to test ourselves at a "middle-limit" game against decent competition. So Gil and I each bought a rack of red and headed for the "high-limit" section of the room.

    This is really cool. Okay, yeah, we're playing $10/$20, and not $20/$40 or higher, but we're in the raised section of the room ("the hill"), above the pæons playing piddly little $3/$6 and $6/$12. We have our own cocktail server. We have phones conveniently placed around the table in case we have to take care of other business. The table is real felt. If a dealer needed a floorman or a chip runner, he was right there. It's easy to see why the second "Rounders" quote was true, as this is easily the best-run and nicest room we played in the whole weekend.

    Many of the players we were up against were very good. I'd put them on a par with the better players in Manistee, which I've said is among the toughest $4/$8 games you'll find. Many of the players clearly had very high opinions of themselves or of their play, like the guy who made sure to let us know about the time he was playing with Cloutier and Ivey and someone else at his table in a tournament, and he had his aces cracked (in a stupid way, and he admitted it was stupid, but it didn't stop the name-dropping).

    I was the youngest player at the table most of the time. Gil is more than twenty years older than me, and he was often the second youngest. These were all retirees, many of them regulars. This game is beatable, because none of the players I saw are the type to work to improve their games.

    Oh, how'd I do? I lost $101. I consider that a moral victory, though, since I held my own. I was never more than $250 up or down. I now know whether I can be competitive at $10/$20. The answer, in Las Vegas, is yes.

    (Unless I just had a good day ... Hmm ...)

    Sunday Evening: Oh, how I wish that there were more than 24 hours in the day

    Gil and I pick up in time to get to the Orleans in time to have some dinner and buy into their 7:00 tournament. The Irish pub there had marginal food at best, but they had Guinness and Beamish on tap, and that was a good thing. While we were eating and telling each other our bad beat stories, the bartender came up and asked, "Hey, were you playing at the Luxor last night?" Apparently he was on my table, and I never recognized him behind the bar. Once he said something, I remembered, but I wasn't on the table long enough to get a handle on his play.

    We then head for the poker room and buy into ring games, $4/$8 again. Very soft game, this one was, with people firing at the pot and raising with nothing but runner-runner draws, and announcing they were doing it. I didn't catch much of it, and only won $14.

    Then the tournament started. I didn't do very much in the beginning, and reached the tight spot of the T$300/T$600 stakes with a slightly less than average stack. But then I started catching.

    Without ever really winning a huge put, I ran my stack up to T$6000 or T$8000, which was about three times the average at the time. But I got stuck there. I never really won a lot or lost a lot all the way to the point where I worried about whether or not I'd make it into the money.

    I'd been planning on announcing when there were 20 left that I was against paying the bubble. For whatever reason (probably I had a lot of chips and it would be impolitic), I didn't. As it happened, it was a moot question, because 12th and 11th went out at almost exactly the same time, and we never got to vote on whether or not to pay the bubble.

    So I made the final table, and the money. But, as one of my opponents pointed out, my "nuts were in a vise," as I was one of the shortest stacks. Even so, somehow I never managed to go all-in, until the pivotal hand.

    I had 99 in mid position with about 6 left on the table. With only one player and the blinds behind me, I don't care whether I get called or not, because I probably have the best hand. The big blind calls me. When the flop comes 944, giving me the boat, I can hardly contain my glee -- and then I'm bet into!

    The stakes at this point are T$2000/T$4000, so I do my best acting job about not liking my call, and push in four chips. He said later he had me on AK or AQ, which I attribute to my acting. The call itself is displaying great weakness on my part anyway, whether my acting was good or not. When the turn is a 5, the big blind bets out again, and I immediately raise.

    Now my opponent has to put me on A5, because that's the only thing I might have raised with (weak raise, but we were short-handed) where that 5 helped me. So he asks for a chip count, and it turns out that I'm one short of calling a big bet. So we're all in for 23 chips, T$11,500 apiece, plus the preflop and flop action, and he turns over ... A9! The 9 hit him, and when he put me on AK or AQ he was playing for the best hand, when he was actually drawing dead.

    So now I'm in second chip position, my recent opponent is in that nut-vise, as is the player on my right. In fact, the chip leader and I together probably had well over 75% of the chips, so we clearly were going to take first and second. I took a hand or two, he took a hand or two, we each put out a couple of players (once I did it with JJJJ), and we were headsup.

    Those of you who read my glee at the money finish I had last week in a PartyPoker cash tournament might remember that I wasn't happy with my headsup play. I also didn't want to play headsup against this player, since the entire tournament he was very good at reading hands. He was mumbling about a split, I offered, he stared at the payout board for a while. He didn't seem to make a decision, but he had the dealer deal the next hand. When I took his blind (with a very good headsup hand, QT or something), he said, "fuck it, let's chop."

    If you've never done this, it involves taking the prize money for first and second and splitting it. In this case, first paid about $2600, and second paid about $1600. So we split the difference and each won $2,125. (Of course, we'd each already lost the $113 we'd put up for the tournament.) We counted the chips; of the T$111,000 in play, I had $52,500, or barely under half. It would have taken forever to play that out.

    I look at the chop this way. My headsup play might be weak, and this player is strong, so between the two let's say I have a 1-in-3 chance of winning. To play it out, then, would mean that I was betting $500 for a 1-in-3 shot at $1000. I don't have to ask a poker player whether I should make that bet.


    First, don't let me near a keyboard, lest I type again ...

    Second, doing the math gets me a total net win of $2033. I don't count dealer tokes, or tips for the servers, in my winnings, since I usually do that in chips and I can't cash them out.

    Third: If you subtract my tournament play, I'm net down in ring games for the weekend, mostly due to my own mistakes. And I'm not sure how to rate my tournament play: it's a net win, but is it part of the same bankroll?

    The fact that Gil won the tournament the day before leads me to not want to dismiss the possibility that I really am good enough to usually make the final table. But to be long-term winner in that structure (and size) tournament, one would probably have to have a top-five placement in them once a week or so just to cover the buyins. Even with fields in the 80-120 size, that seems unreasonable to expect. And, of course, if one player wins them all the time, people wouldn't play as many ...

    The wierd thing is that as I type this, I'm down to the last 20 in a cash tournament on PartyPoker, in good chip position to make the final table, for a profit of at least $130 and as much as $4500. So I'm completely mystified as to whether I'm good enough.


    I ended up finishing fifth for a gain of $1101 and a net of $1046. I can add it to the stake, and I'm that much closer to having the stake I said I'd need to give Vegas a shot ...

      Wednesday, January 21, 2004

    Apparently Blogger ate my tournament results last night, so:

    I was chip leader for a good while at the final table, after making some unlikely hands, but didn't seem to be very good at stealing blinds with that lead. I normally only like to do that (steal blinds) with hands that I don't mind so much if I get called, and I didn't get enough chances.

    I put a number of people out at the final table, and ended up heads-up with JeffsDad holding nearly a 2-1 chip lead. Then I really fell apart.

    I'm really not happy with my heads-up play last night, at all. I'd like to be able to blame the cards, but usually heads-up I'm able to represent hands even when I don't actually have them. Always when I've been headsup before, I've been in a single-table tourney, or at a ring game that's gone seriously short-handed. So the stakes weren't that high; the difference between a three-buyin payout and a five-buyin payout isn't that big a deal, at least in the $30 and under STT's I play; and headsup in a ring game the other guy's entire stack isn't more than, say, $100 -- and if he starts losing it heavily, he'll leave. But last night, the payouts for first and second were $2600 and $1600 ... and I didn't want to forfeit that $1000.

    In short: I think I was playing scared. Not aggressive enough. Hopefully I make more final tables, so I can try different strategies, but whatever I did last night didn't work.

    But the $1611 payout was pretty nice. I was in a really weird mood today at work, for a lot of reasons: My $1611 was two weeks pay, or more than that, since my pay has tax withholding out of it.


    Iggy sends his well-wishes in that tourney, since Blogger (actually I think it was my wacky Internet Explorer) ate my post of the results. He also sends his reminder that he's added this blog to his list of links: Thanks, Iggy!

    If I don't post any more tonight, you won't see posts for a while: I leave for Vegas in the morning. Vegas trip report when I return!

    Took second, for a prize of $1,611. Not bad for a $33 entry fee, and too bad I won't be able to withdraw that in time for the trip to Vegas.

    Headsup I think the winner (Jeffsdad) might have been a bit better than me, but the main reason he won (I feel) is the lack of good cards on my part, which overcame the chip lead I had going in. Effectively the final hand I had AA down, and after the turn bet it all the way, but he had made 777 and won. I never saw it coming. That cost me $1000, but it's hard to be bitter about it, for some reason.

    Off to bed for the couple of hours sleep I'll get before work tomorrow. Then off to Vegas!

    At the fourth break, we're down to 9 at the final table, and I'm the fucking chip leader!

    I was down to T$7000 with blinds of $1000/$2000, and went all-in with KQo, which looked grim ... until the river spiked me a 9 to make the K-high straight, and I beat KK and AA in the process.

    Then I called down "IronBluffalo," who pushed with nothing ... that could beat my ATs, anyway. Up to about T$50,000 now.

    Then, my huge hand, I raised with A9h, and got called ... and flopped 995. I paused just long enough to represent the 5, and bet ... and got raised. I reraised. The turn brought me the case 9, and I was still being bet into! T$90,000 later, he turns over 77, figuring 99977 beats 99955, and I am sitting on T$115,000.

    I've taken a bit of a beating since then, but I'm still chip leader at T$95,000 with 7 left. We're at level 17, with blinds of T$2000 and T$4000, and still going ...

    At the third break, I'm up to T$23,647 with 25 left, in the money, with an average stack of T$14,916 ... Mistakes are costly, but I've put a couple of bad beats on people with some of them. I beat trips when I sucked out a straight, and just now my J8 suited (in the small blind) made a boat which killed the other fellow's straight.

    I've been behind a few times, and seemed to be at 1900 chips forever, including when the average was more than double that, but I've picked up a lot in the last hour.

    More to come. ...

    Apparently my blog has been noticed by the poker-blogging community, thanks to Royal Poker and Iggy. Since those guys are likely to bring me new readers, I feel I must exposit on the subject of what the katzenjammer this blog is about, anyway. In between plays in the two multi-table tourneys I'm playing right now (a $9+$1 qualifier for tomorrow's $150+$12 limit event, and a $30+$3 cash tourney), so this might read a little disjointedly.

    [In the cash game, I've got about T$2280 with 450 left and an average stack of T$1450. In the qualifier, I've got T$830 with an average stack of T$2200 and 54 left. Top 40 are in the money in the cash game, top 8 in the qualifier.]

    Essentially, I was motivated to relaunch this blog with a poker theme by the excellent poker blogging that is already being done out there, which Iggy is so good as to provide daily links to the best of. But, also, I don't always have anyone to brag to about my wins, or seek sympathy about my losses, so I created this blog. And while I usually do have someone whom I can discuss strategy with, it turns out writing it down focuses one's thoughts on the topic nicely. (That had a lot to do with my rant about work, and how much I want to turn pro, below.)

    I might also toss in a few posts on other topics; I'm a computer gamer (when I'm not playing poker) and often have thoughts on topics therein, and once in a while I have thoughts about the world at large. It's my hope that this can become a repository for all of that.

    [Ho! I just went out 45th in the qualifier, with the top 8 paying, when my JJJ was beat by AAA. We both flopped sets, but there was a four-flush on the board. Neither of us had the flush. Ach well, as they say, if you don't lose a lot of money with sets, you aren't playing them right. Up to 3030 in the cash game, 220 left, average stack 1625.]

    Those who bothered to read my rants the other day saw me go down around $100 between the $2/$4 tables and a $30 MTT. I made it back last night, nearly, at the $1/$2 6-rings, which I'd sworn off for some reason. I can't remember why, but I might have been on a long run of bad cards, and the blinds go around fast enough in those 6-rings that a long run of bad cards eats through bankroll quickly.

    I've been learning poker over the past year, relying a good deal on the experience I've gained by playing at PartyPoker, as well as in the few bricks-and-mortar cardrooms within a couple of hour drive from here. My math might be off a bit, but I figure that lifetime, I'm down about $500 in the bricks-and-mortar casinos (mostly thanks to one bad weekend before which I was even), and about $800 on PartyPoker (mostly thanks to playing in so many multi-table tourneys and not placing).

    I did have one good run on Party, where I ran $200 up to $1200 playing the $5/$10 6-rings, but then it started dwindling down due, I'm now convinced, to hubris. It was a while ago, but I think I became convinced that I "finally had this game down," and could thus start pushing edges that were in fact nonexistent.

    I heard about a home game last night, where $200 buys in and they mostly play Omaha Hi-Lo. I wish I knew the game better; what I read says that it's a game where one can get healthy in a hurry if one plays smart.

    There's a Vegas trip report coming; I leave Thursday and return Tuesday. I don't expect to blog at all whilst away, but the only touristy thing I want to see is the Star Trek thingy at the Hilton, and will probably otherwise play only poker.

    Those who bothered to read my whole long rant below realize I expect to learn too much from this trip, but I really don't like my job.

    [Took some tough beats in the cash game and am down to 1900; 120 left and average stack 2900.]

    More later.

      Monday, January 19, 2004

    Thanks to Dave for this link to I'm just asking, which amuses my political mind.

    It's not official yet that I've seen, but it looks like the Detroit Tigers are going to sign Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez to a four-year contract. You heard it here first, folks: We're going to be regretting this signing in years three and four, when he's too injured to play anything but DH, and too slow to be of much use in the cavernous Comerica Park. I wish I had this foresight about the Dean Palmer and Juan Gonzalez signings ...


    One of the things I noticed about my entries from the original launch of this site (which I looked, it's still up at Geocities, along with some Nomic stuff at http://www.geocities.com/dmarsh3000/nomic.html) is that there were a lot more serious posts. Most of mine here have been fairly boring recitations about how the day's poker has gone.

    For the record, I lost about $50 playing $2/$4, and didn't place in a single-table tourney, so I'm down $60 for the day. In a glorious attempt to add insult to injury, I entered a $30 Limit MTT, which starts momentarily.

    The serious part of the post is this: I hate my job.

    I have to be honest. The job may not objectively suck. The money is good. It's probably all me. But the combination of things that suck from my point of view, which is admittedly the point of view of pretty much nobody else in the entire universe, is enough to make the job as a whole suck.

    For those who don't know, I am an "Appliance Sales Specialist" at Lowes in Grandville, Michigan. One would, naturally, then assume that my job is to sell appliances. I assure you that this is true only nominally.

    For starters, at our store the "Appliance" department includes ready-to-assemble furniture, ceiling tiles, blenders and such that as non-"white goods" are not usually part of an appliance store or appliance department, and a basket of goodies referred to as "storage" consisting of closet shelving, plastic tubs of various sorts, and miscellaneous knick-knackery such as shelf paper. And though it's rare that I truly "sell" anything in these areas, they consume a large part of each day, and two or three days a week, most of my day.

    Second, there is no division of labor within the "appliance" department. At most stores where appliances are a department within the store, the salesmen are supposed to spend their time, selling, and other people take care of getting the appliances delivered, or getting them to the customer's car, or getting them onto the shelves when a shipment of appliances arrives at the store. At our store, even though there are two people with a great deal of experience in selling appliances, those people are frequently cleaning up another aisle or dropping a washer for another customer ... or assembling closet hardware. So sales, and commissions, are going to the people that nominally are supposed to be doing that stuff. (When I hired on, I was told there were some number of salesmen ... I forget, 3 or 4 ... and two "loaders." They fired one of them about two weeks after I hired on. The other, a part-timer, works as hard as I've ever seen anyone work, doesn't enjoy sales, and is my idea of what the others should be, but he's part-time. There is nobody else who interprets his job as that of a "loader," although I am told there are such at other Lowes.)

    Third, there are too many managers with a say in what I do with my day. I count eight managers above me who can arbitrarily decide that today is the day we make sure all of the fizbin grommets are alphebetized by color. There have even been times when one manager has been upset that his project hasn't been completed, because we've been pulled off of that project by another manager. Few of the managers understand that there are "normal" things we must do each day, and that there thus isn't the time, many days, to do all of their projects, even when some (or, let's be generous, many) of them are worthwhile and should be done. A division of labor would be helpful here, so that individual people are responsible for individual areas and, especially, are NOT responsible for other areas. But as it is, the result is that each day it seems like I'm ping-ponged between managers' whims, that customers and sales are secondary or tertiary to managers' projects, and, especially, that I have no idea what is expected from me on any particular day.

    Fourth in objective importance, but higher on my personal list, is that the day starts too damn early at Lowes. Too often, at least once or twice a week, I am required to be at Lowes at 5:30, 6, or 7 in the morning, when the store is nominally open but there are no customers who want appliances and won't be for hours. On many of these days, a truck of supplies arrives from Lowes' distribution center, and since there is so much included under the rubric of "appliances" (see point one), all day until usually dinnertime is consumed with putting these supplies away on the shelves. By then, managers have usually complained that their projects haven't been done yet. But all of this, even though it's worth complaining about in its own right, misses my point: It makes absolutely no fucking sense to have your salesmen at the store when there is nobody there to sell to. I had to be at work at 6AM yesterday. I didn't see appliance customers until after 9. Why would they pay someone the big bucks (I have an idea what others are making, it's less) to come in and not sell anything? I can only conclude that Lowes, or at least management at store 1121, doesn't care whether they sell things or whether they spend their employee hours wisely.

    Part and parcel of this last is the question of how they expect their employees to live anything like a normal life when some days they have to be at work at six in the morning (or earlier), and other days they leave work at eleven at night (or later)? For anyone who has trouble sleeping (see the next paragraph), this schedule makes impossible any efforts to relieve those troubles. It might also be unhealthy: I recall reading of a study of navy personnel, who (aboard ship) work five hours on/ten hours off, or some equally bizarre schedule. They were found to suffer more accidents and more diseases than their comrades performing (comparably dangerous) jobs on shore, where their shifts ("watches") conform more to what we're used to, and more importantly, to what their circadian rhythms tell them they should be doing.

    This last is particularly salient for me. I appear to have no circadian rhythms. I read of another study, where they found a gene in rats which controlled their circadian rhythms. (Hopefully everyone knows what I mean here, people's "body clocks," their day-night cycle particularly.) If the rat had two normal copies of the gene, it would sleep and wake on a normal 24-hour cycle. If it had one normal copy and one defective copy, it would still sleep and wake on a cycle, but it would be significantly longer than 24 hours. (My memory is that it was 25 hours, but it might have been longer.) If both of the rat's circadian genes were defective, the rat would sleep and wake on no cycle at all, and particularly would be awake for very long periods, and sleep for very long periods, with no discernible pattern. Most of the genes that have been studied in rats turn out to have analogues in humans.

    I appear to have two defective copies of this gene.

    Apparently I haven't been on time for work in over two months. I got a talking-to about it today. I don't blame them; from their point of view all of their arguments are sound.

    But dammit, I'm tired when I have to get up in the morning. I'm even tired when I don't rely on the alarm to get me up (as on my days off). Morning does not agree with me, whatever time of the day my morning occurs in. It's usually commented on when people see me get to work in the morning (again, whatever time the clock actually says). I don't see how Lowes can accomodate me on this, but it's the biggest reason I'm usually late--the other being sheer dread at the prospect of facing another day at Lowes.

    So, Lowes sucks, now what?

    I leave for a vacation in a couple of days. If I haven't said it before on this site, Gil and I are going to Las Vegas for a few days. Of my eight bosses, the one who I can talk the most freely with (because he can't hire or fire) pretty much doesn't expect me back from vacation; he believes I'll stay in Vegas to become a professional poker player.

    I've given this a lot of thought. Truly, I'm not good enough, or at least I'm not experienced enough, and I know this. If I break my goals down, they are reasonable (winning one big bet an hour, in a cash business, at $6/$12 or $8/$16 stakes, would provide a living at the level I'm at now, if I manage 40 hours a week). But a bankroll suffers variance; not every day does a poker player come home winner. It's a generally accepted idea that to weather this variance a player needs a bankroll of 300 times the big bet. In the case of $8/$16, that's $4800. That's bankroll, not living expenses, not food money, but "working capital" in the same sense that other businesses use working capital--it's the money they use to operate the business.

    I don't have $4800. I also don't have the cash to move to Vegas (or Los Angeles) in order to play cards full-time. (Actually, that I might be able to manage if I didn't also need money to play cards.) But I really hate Lowes, and I don't want to come back from vacation.

    If I'm doomed to return to Lowes after next weekend, it would seem that I have a couple of ways of amassing a bankroll.

    One is to stay at Lowes and scrimp and save until I have about $10,000 in the bank. That's not terribly likely until at least the end of the year, unless one of my other options comes through for me.

    Another is to ratchet up my "local" play to higher limits. Greektown in Detroit regularly seats $10/$20 (and $20/$40) tables, despite being a horrid pit of a room (that I hear is being expanded). If I can successfully grind in $10/$20, I can amass $10,000 in, let's see, 500 hours ... which is a full year of weekends.

    A third is to successfully build my online stake to the point I can cash out $10K or more. The most immediate way to accomplish that would be to win one of their multi-table tournaments, or to place in one of their expensive MTTs (preferably entering by winning a satellite, like last time). [By the by, I'm in reasonably good shape in my multi-table tournament; after an hour and a half, we're down to 159 people, with the top 50 in the money; my stack is just a bit below average thanks to 10-10 losing to JJ when neither of us helped.]

    This last sounds as if it has the most chance to happen sooner rather than later, but if I am able to make this happen, it will certainly have to be a combination of the three that allows me to take a stake with me when I move.

    There are other problems: It is likely, even probably, and actually almost certain that, at some point, I'll bust out, go down to the felt, whatever euphemism one wants to use, but in the end they all amount to running out of money. And then what?

    I have an uncle who died owing $30,000 in credit card debt because he was, apparently, addicted to slot machines. (I'll reserve judgment on whether "addicted" is the appropriate term; it's another topic.) My parents' original reaction to hearing that I was playing poker for real money was that it sounded like I was heading down the same path. My response was that, since I didn't have credit, if I lost all my money that would effectively be that.

    But that presumes an income to replace the money that is lost, that everything would be all right and I wouldn't starve because there would still be money coming in. If I were to play poker for a living there would not be. And then what? To this, I have no answer.

    What about poker no longer being fun? Well, at least the work is easier than Lowes. I can handle tossing cards or chips around a table a lot better than hauling my fat carcass up and down a ladder fifty times a day.

    Two other fringe benefits: With a few exceptions, the income one makes from cards is completely under the radar of the Department of Evil (which you might know as Internal Revenue). Also, and it's a biggie, one can set one's own hours, fully and completely, because (in Vegas anyway) there's always a game.

    So, you're not going to do it?

    It sounds like, not yet. I really, really want to do it now because I hate Lowes. But the bankroll thing is a big stumbling block.

    [I placed 101st in the tournament. Top 50 places paid.]

    I sort of expected that writing this long thingy would sort things out for me. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't; I have been known to be impulsive before. I still say that if I do well in Vegas next weekend it will be really hard to go back to work.

    Hey, can I have $10,000?

      Saturday, January 17, 2004

    Testing, Testing ...

    Although this is mostly a test of the neato-keen graphic I stole off some bible-thumper's site, I do have poker news to report, although not very interesting stuff.

    After two wins with QQ at last night's $200 tourney, it is no longer my least-profitable hand, and now is firmly ensconced among my more profitable hands.

    I played some $1/$2 after the Detroit Tigers whomped the Colorado Rockies 19-4, and did great at one table, poorly at another, and ended up $21 ahead. Today, after a shitty day at work (ye gods, I hate that place), I won a $10 single-table, but ended up middle-of-the-pack in a $30 MTT. Net profit thus far today: $6. But the night is young.

    Down in Flames!

    Well, now I can spend my time qualifying for NEXT week's Friday tournament. Oh, wait, I can't, I'll be in Vegas when it runs. Farn, I'll just have to suffer.

    For the record, I finished 338th out of 873 entrants, and a top prize just short of $40,000. The top 70 places paid, so I wasn't very close.

    I don't really fault my play, because the hands I did the worst with were the sets that got busted. I did have a hand or two where I "knew" that my opponent had a particular (winning) hand, but I called it down anyway. I have to lose the habit of calling it down just to prove I was right.

    Now I'm semi-stuck: I don't know what I want to do. Winning $10 or $20 playing $1/$2 just doesn't appeal to me at the moment. Maybe I'll play a game or two in my High Heat Baseball season; I haven't played that game in months.

      Friday, January 16, 2004

    Well, at the first break, I'm down to 785 chips with 763 players left in. I had it up to nearly 2000 by catching some cards early, but then hit two sets that got cracked, one by a bigger set and one when his QQ made a boat. Don't think I'm playing my best.

    I found out I'm due in at 6AM tomorrow ... that makes no fucking sense, bringing in your salesmen when there's nobody to sell to, but Lowes is fucked up. God, I hate that fucking place. I'm going to be a walking zombie, and perhaps get no sleep at all, since I seriously slept in this "morning." Goddam fucking place, I hate it. Suicide would be preferable to a lifetime working there.

    COLD cards!

    Didn't accomplish much last night. 146th out of 450ish in a $30+3, despite the cards running about average, or maybe a tad under. I just bounced up and down too much.

    And I'm on a bad streak in sit-and-gos. I'm in my fourth of today, and so far I have a fifth, seventh, and fifth to show for my $33. If I take first in this one (at this writing I have 1000 chips for third place with nobody out and blinds 25/50), I still won't be even.

    On the other hand, I've got the big $200+15 tonight. It's the reason I didn't go up to the casino today, because I wanted to be sure to catch that tourney. I could use the $40-50,000 that gets awarded to first place for many things.

    I'll keep you posted, gentle reader.

      Thursday, January 15, 2004

    Oh, I almost forgot: That $30+3 I mentioned below? I finished 42d. Unfortunately, the top 40 paid. Call me bubble-boy ...

    Lousy cards last night. Lousy, lousy cards.

    I bought into a $50+5 limit tourney. No cards at all; I think my best hand was KJo, and I didn't flop to it. Oh, maybe I had an AKo, too, but I didn't flop to that either. I was one of the first 100 people out.

    So, OK, bad cards, shit happens. I bought into a $10+1 single-table tournament, still no cards, finished fifth. Shortly after that started, the table opened where I used my freeroll for one of the $25 PartyPoker Million satellites, and finished about fifth again. Maybe fourth. In any case, not in the money.

    I'm signed up for a $30+3 at 1AM; hopefully it goes better, because I don't want to keep that particular streak going.

    I've missed getting some tournament summaries into PokerTracker. Stupid reason: I bust out of a tournament, and I really want to know what the other guy had who busted me, but the window asking "do you want a tournament summary" is blocking his hand, and I click "no" really fast so I can see what he had. I'll have to start clicking "yes" really fast, of course, but in the meantime my PokerTracker database, although it includes all my tournament hands, doesn't include all of the tournaments themselves. I wonder if I can reconstruct the tournaments from the hand histories, and manually put them in? Bah, a lot of work for little gain.

    Dylan just signed on; maybe he's up for a little $1/$2 before my big tournament starts.

      Tuesday, January 13, 2004

    Sometimes you feel like a nut

    I bought in last night, on a whim, to a $100+9 limit tournament. Stupid whim, as there was only $250 or so in my PartyPoker account, but I did it. Now that I've played it, I'm pissed at myself about it.

    Not that I lost. Not that I lost early. But there were so many freaking maniacs on the table ... one guy three-bet the flop when I limped, and ended up winning the hand with two pair when he showed ... 2 5 offsuit! It's not that this happened, because I know three-betting with a hand like that is so stupid that it makes the other players a lot of money in the long run, even if the three-better hits his hand occasionally. I'm annoyed that the game was so loose-aggressive, and that I wasn't getting the cards to take advantage of it. I'm not sure I can take advantage of it; I run against it so seldom. The players I see are tight-aggressive, tight-passive, and occasionally loose-passive.

    The conventional wisdom is only play superpremium hands. What happens when you don't get any? In a tournament? Do you accept losing the tournament because you didn't get superpremium hands? I have to assume that those loose-aggressive players didn't win either, without some supreme luck, but they take out so MANY with them ...

    On a positive note, I finished a few hours ago a PartyPoker multitable tournament, $9+$1, limit, with the top 5 places paying a seat in this Friday's big $200+15 tournament. As faithful readers (both of them) know, I already have a seat in said tournament, so I just got the $215. I'm geeked about this, quite happy, although truth be told I'd be happier if I got Third out of 1234 instead of Third out of 123.

    I'd hope that this bodes well for my Friday tournament, that I got two seats, but I immediately followed the first super-satellite with another for the same main event. In fact, for some time I was playing the second tournament whilst still at the final table in the earlier one. My 76th (out of 242, IIRC) isn't totally unrespectable but I'd like to have done better.

    So although when I started this entry I was pissed about that $100 tourney, now, I'm not so much. I'm even considering a $30+3 at 1AM; it's a little over an hour away, but I'm fading a bit, long day, so maybe I won't be awake then. I probably shouldn't be.

      Monday, January 12, 2004


    I received when I returned from work (ye gods, how I hate that place), finally, the Email with my registration code for PokerTracker. Since I played a mere 800 hands yesterday, there was a LOT to import. The 1500 ring-game hands I've now got into it are beginning to show patterns: particularly, my worst hands, as a group, seem to be Ace-middle. My WORST hands are:

    But then, five of the next seven worst hands for me are A3s, A5o, A6s, A7s, A8s. Looking at the detail, it seems I'm taking too many flops with these. Not all of them are blind hands, and really I'm not playing a lot of them through, I'm just tossing in a bet or two and then folding. Bleeding off chips. So: Play fewer A-middle and A-little.

    I had another thought about hands like KJs. Actually, I might be imitating others' thought here, but I did come up with this on my own. I don't think I'm taking position into account as much as I need to be with hands like these, particularly late in a tournament, when playing a hand at all puts a significant portion, perhaps more than half, of your stack at risk. Very late in a tournament, even an average stack is essentially all-in if he's going to play a hand to the river.

    Which brings me to my thought: I've generally raised with hands like KJs (KQs, QJs, and generally KQo, KJo, QJo) even in early position. Then, if I didn't catch, I'd bet anyway, representing a big pair. The problem is that if my opponent does catch, he won't go away to my initial bets on succeeding rounds, unless the flop looks very scary indeed (when I can't bet anyway). So it's probably wise to merely be limpin in with those hands, calling a potential raise, and letting the other guy have the lead. Bluffing, or maintaining your strong profile, then becomes less important, and you can repop when you make your hand, and take any free cards offered you without showing weakness.

    However, this doesn't apply if you are late enough to be able to buy the button. Then, if you don't catch, you're likely to get a free card or two thru people checking to you, if you raise preflop.

    My net answer: raise less in early position with big cards other than AKs and maybe AKo preflop.


    Played another satellite to the Friday Special, this a super $9+1, one in 24 got seats to the Friday Special $200+15. I checked: if you already had a seat, they'd just pay you the $215. There were 250ish players; the top 11 got seats. I went out REALLY early through play of hands like I described fitfully above, in the first 20 or 30 out. Gil, though, made it to 22d despite less than perfect play. I consider that to be "on the bubble" even though only the top 14 actually got anything, and congratulated him.


    Dylan "DylanBaker" Baker, he of the well-chosen nickname, whom I played Civilization II with online before that became a really old and ancient and decrepit game, rejoined PartyPoker last night, and sat a $1/$2 6-ring with me. PokerTracker reports that he was down $6.75 in the 111 hands I played against him, and that I netted $4 from him. The best hand he showed was, surprisingly, 43s, which he played from the cutoff and only the blinds were in. Hey, I was one of the blinds! He took $4 from me! The bastard ... I'll get him. I'll, umm, order a pizza to his house. He lives in Washington somewhere ... they should be able to find him. (You see, in this country, sending food to somebody is considered a very funny trick.)


    One of these days I'll post about how much I hate Lowes. I actually sat on my bed for twenty minutes this morning trying to decide if I wanted to go to work or just quit. Damn, I don't like not being good enough to turn pro.

      Sunday, January 11, 2004

    --The day continues.

    I have the day off today, so I can relaunch web pages, and do laundry, and play poker. Usually, say four days out of five, on my off days I go play poker in a bricks-and-mortar cardroom. Today I didn't, although my roommate/landlord/Gil has been gone all day, so perhaps he went without me. Perhaps he even tried to wake me up and I said no, but I don't remember that. So, online poker today.

    After sitting for a couple of hours playing $1/$2 and ending up down $15 (I wonder if I'm being too weak-tight?), the 3PM $30 limit tournament started. Without ever really doing much, I went up and down, topping out at T$4195 before busting out 61st out of 450ish. Not that bad, but the top 50 paid. I made an ill-advised all-in reraise when everyone folded to the button, he raised, and I with A5d reraised all-in. The BB folded, and neither of us helped, so the AJo he showed held up.

    People weren't dropping that quickly at that point, so I don't know if I could have made the money, but I probably shouldn't have raised all-in even if his hand DID look like a steal. I can't be too hard on myself that hand, though; by rights I should have been out of the tournament long before. I'd been all-in several times and pulled through, once through making two pair on the river.

    So, I added a "Comments" link to my entries here, thanks to Haloscan, and started up a $10 single-table limit tournament. I'll consider playing the 9PM limit tournament, the Friday Special qualifier, mostly because it's $10. I already have a seat in that tourney ($200+15, limit; top prize routinely $40-50K), so if I place in the qualifying tourney I get the $200+15.

    No cards yet in the STT, but this way I get to test out my changes to the "Comments" thingy.


    After seeing so many other nice poker-related Weblogs out there, I relaunch this site with some old material and a new emphasis.

    Since the earlier posts, I have discovered poker. Truly, of course, I knew about it, and enjoyed playing, even for the quarter-half-dollar stakes that usually obtained when, rarely, there was a game.

    No, the poker (rhymes with joker) I've been playing has been of higher stakes than I had been used to, both online (mostly on PartyPoker, at least for money) at stakes from $0.50/$1 to $10/$20 (briefly) and in bricks-and-mortar cardrooms (Little River Casino in Manistee, Mich, mostly, but also at Greektown Casino in Detroit and Harrah's in East Chicago) at $4/$8 and $5/$10 stakes.

    Overall I'm down, which is to be expected when I'm learning the game. I've put $1000 into PartyPoker over the last eight or nine months, and have about $150 in my account there now, so I figure I've paid $850 in "tuition" to the players that have beat me. In B&M cardrooms I'd be up except for one disastrous weekend where I just never went home despite repeatedly showing down second-best hands, going from roughly even to down $800-1000 (in my mind, it's $1000, but I include my room, meals, etc in that). Since then, I've clawed back about $500 of that, so I'm down $500 lifetime playing poker in B&M cardrooms. If I include all I've ever spent on slots or other casino games in my life it's probably about $750 down. (I'm fairly disciplined in not playing other games while I'm at the casino--I'll play $20 worth of blackjack from time to time despite not knowing "basic strategy," other than that it seems to be based upon assuming that the dealer's down card is a 10. I'll also still toss $5 or $10 into a slot, usually losing it but I've cashed out $50 and $200 wins.)

    I intend this blog to be a sort of running tally of how I've done at various forms of poker, what I've learned, and any other thing that strikes my fancy. I forgot entirely about what I'd written about Democrats and witches, below, and found it an interesting (and amusing) quote, and I hope I continue to post things like that.

    I don't know how much I'll quote from other blogs. At the moment I hope I quote from things that I find interesting, whatever they be, even if they are on other blogs. I rely on them to pick out the gems from the poker fora, because my sojourns into those fora usually finds a mountain of crap with the occasional gem, and I only have so much time on my hands.

    Other things occur to me to post at the moment, but I'll save them for another time.