Friday, March 31, 2006

Vegas, Baby

So I went ahead and booked the Vegas trip in June, as Yahoo was running some sort of travel special the last few days that kicked out pretty decent deals. I also did the girlie thing and backed out of my original plans to go solo, so now ScurvyWife is coming along. We'll be rocking it at the Venetian from June 28-July 2. I've never stayed there so I'm jazzed about that, plus the new poker room looks pretty kick ass.

Part of me had looked forward to going alone, playing an a few WSOP events, doing the full bore degenerate thing, but the more I thought about the less appealing that seemed. Well, appealing isn't the right word, as it's definitely appealing, but it seemed kind of karmically bankrupt, as ScurvyWife loves Vegas and was only going to skip this trip so that I could concentrate on playing. Which makes sense, but ultimately seemed kind of unfair, especially given the cash I'd drop on entries into events. Plus, you know, I like having her around and all that mushy junk.

So yeah. Sand in my vagina. Can't go to Vegas without my wifey. Whatever.

Degenerate challenge had a bit of a setback yesterday, bleeding back $250 or so. I'd regale you with some painful beats but you've heard the story. The only downside to playing at the B2B sites is that the maniac factor is amped up at times, playing some of those crazy aggressive Scandi types. Getting all of your money in with by far the best of it isn't something to complain about, but there's going to be those nights where all you have to show for it is an icepack clutched to your junk.

This is a bit of a tangent, but I'm going to make a real effort in the future of commenting more on assorted blogs. I'm one of those people that sits at work, bored out of my skull, with hundreds and hundreds of blogs in Bloglines, checking and desperately praying every fifteen minutes that someone has posted something new. If you have a blog, odds are I read it, constantly. But I almost never comment, anywhere. Which is dumb, lazy, and ungrateful behavior. I still remember the thrill of getting my first comments here, and definitely appreciate and value a lot of the comments and advice I've gotten. So yeah. More commenting.

We had our Fantasy Baseball draft last night for the league the Puncher of Donkeys set up, and I feel decent enough about my team. Tried the infield first strategy this time around, as in the past I'd always end up with some random guys at 2B and SS, batting a collective .216 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs. I'm likely doomed to the middle of the pack as I don't have a lot of upside with most of my players but we shall see.

Not much else shaking in my little world. Planning on banging out many hands this weekend, plus hopefully knock out a lot of freelance work.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Charting the Downward Spiral of a Once Cool Company by its Nomenclature

Some of the names for printers and conference rooms that were assigned back in the days of yore, before the acquistion by HyperMegaGlobalCorp: Olde English, Colt 45, Big Mouth, Homer, Flanders, and Wiggum.

Recently christened/re-christened conference rooms, named after the acquisition by HyperMegaGlobalCorp: Unity, Innovation, and Synergy.

So Far So Goot

Had a nice little run at the Soko tables yesterday, doubling up on the very first hand at one of my tables. I was dealt (10d) 10s and it folded to guy showing (hole card) 7s, who put in a pot-sized raise. (The As was exposed and folded.)

It folds around to me and I'm last to act. Re-raising pretty much screams "I have a pair of tens" and I'm not too scared of many cards, assuming he's got a pair of 7s. If he's getting slightly jiggy with (K-Js) 7s or (8s) 7s or (6s) 7s, well cool, he can get jiggy all day with that.

On third street I'm holding (10d) 10s 8h and villain has (hole card) 7s 2d. He's first to act and bets pot again. I min-raise and he obliges and comes over the top, I push, he calls, and I take it down when I hit two pair on fifth street. My 10s would have won it, though, as he has the Ad in the hole, for Ad 7s 2d on third street when we got it all in.

I'm obviously still very much in learning mode, but I have to think that's a pretty poor play, with the As already out and mucked. Yeah, he's aggressively reresenting a pair of 7s and has the A overcard and odds are I don't have a pair, but the absolute best he can hope for on third street is that I have (9) 10s 8h but even then I have around at least a dozen outs, as the four straight beats him plus any pair, assuming he doesn't hit his two outer to pair his A.

Added a silly little tote board over to the right in the sidebar, as far as the current status of this endeavor. Bankroll is currently sitting at $1,803 and I'm about halfway through clearing a 600 euro bonus at a B2B site, scheduled to be paid out in just under a month. It's going to be a little weird grinding through all these B2B sites as they almost all pay out the bonus 30-60 days from the date you signup (assuming you play the required hands to clear it), not from the date you clear the bonus, etc. I'm going to have to be a little more aware of my bankroll management, as far as not hitting dead spots with my money tied up on sites or waiting for cashouts or bonuses to be credited.

I also may have to back off my strict no-HE stance, too. The Hunter of Donkeys is very wise, as he pointed out the difficulty of clearing bonuses when playing Stud variants, due to the fact that you can't crank up 6-8 tables and just grind away on autopilot since paying attention is, umm, a good idea. The pace is also much slower so you get many fewer hands in per hour. Plus it's difficult to find games sometimes, whereas you can always plenty of HE games running.

So I'll probably give myself a little leeway as far as playing NLHE if need be. The goal is to have fun and learn new games (and, you know, make money) and that's what I plan on doing most of the time. If I get in a bind, though, and need to quickly bang out a bonus before it expires, I don't think it's cheating too much to resort to NLHE to do it. I can definitely use more experience there anyway, as 95% of my poker play has been at LHE.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


So poor lil' ZeeJustin finally crawleth out from underneath his cheater rock and speaketh...

Here are some choice nuggets:

"I recently got caught by PartyPoker and PokerStars using multiple accounts in tournaments. There were six different PartyPoker accounts that I used. For big tournaments, I would often use these accounts to enter a single tournament with four entries. (I used all six once or twice, but generally used four) I did this by exploiting a bug which let you open multiple PartyPoker clients on your computer simply by clicking on the icon rapidly. On PokerStars, I had a single extra account which was mostly used by people other than me, but occasionally I did use it to double enter large PokerStars tournaments."

Okay, you cheated. Got it. You weren't content to simply enter a tournament but you wanted to increase your likelihood of winning to 6x, 4x, or 2x. And don't try to muddy the water by saying it was a "bug" that allowed all this. That "bug" didn't suddenly create multiple accounts for you, or login with them, or register for a tournament with them.

"At that time, I unfortunately did not realize that what I was doing was unethical. For starters, many of the poker players that I have learned from were using the same practice. This obviously doesn’t make it ok, but I wasn’t questioning it at the time. Until recently; this wasn’t a well hidden fact. People seemed to accept it as ok and talked about it in the open."

And did this people live on Planet Bizarro, where the illogical is suddenly logical? Dude, you knew that was cheating. Give me a fucking break. Other people were doing it, so you did it. Because everyone was doing it, you assumed it was okay. That's some bang-up reasoning there, chief. And that's the best excuse you can summon, after all this time? Back to cheater school for you.

"Also, the idea was NOT to collude or chip dump with myself in any way. I only multi accounted in tournaments with thousands of players where it would be very unlikely for me to ever end up at the same table as myself. If the goal was collusion, I would have multi-entered smaller tournaments like sit’n’gos. This is something that I have never done."

Hopefully even you are smart enough to realize that dumping chips to yourself via multiple accounts isn't a good idea, so I'll give you this one. But you realize, yes, that it's sort of like a kidnapper saying "I just mean to kidnap them and ransom them off for millions, I didn't mean to steal their wallet in their back pocket as well, so PLEASE don't consider me a thief, just a kidnapper."

The idea wasn't to collude or chip dump. Gotcha. It was to cheat and give yourself a better chance of winning than those not cheating, by entering multiple times. Gotcha.

"I don’t think Party handled the situation as well as they could have. The money taken from me was won legitimately, almost entirely from sit’n’gos. None of the other accounts I used had any big tournament scores; in fact, they lost money overall in the few tournaments that they entered. Party has a zero tolerance policy which in my opinion is unfair. If I had only double entered a single $10 tournament, by the same policy, that would be grounds for them to confiscate $100,000 from me which seems unreasonable. The punishment was arbitrary, and no investigation was done to determine a reasonable adjustment. I feel like the amount of my punishment has been determined by what was in my account, rather than by what a thorough investigation would have determined."

Wow, that's beautiful. Your cheating didn't pay off, so you shouldn't be punished. Wow.

"In the past month, I have come to many realizations. Once the shit hit the fan with Josh, I did some thinking and determined that it was indeed wrong to enter tournaments on multiple accounts. I have not done it since the JJProdigy incident, and I will never do it again."

Hahahahahahaha. So when someone got busted for cheating in a similar fashion, you started doing some serious thinking, and realized that what you did might be wrong?

"I have many friends that have multi-accounted tournaments in the past. To my knowledge, they have all stopped, but I want to encourage them to talk to me if they still do it. I will explain to them exactly why it is wrong on both an ethical and practical level."

Umm, I think you're already a pretty good example of why people might not want to play multiple accounts in the same tournament, hoss. If they haven't gotten the message by now I'm not sure waiting to chat with them when they get off the short bus is going to do much good.

"It also leads to many gray areas in terms of ethics that should not exist at all. How many accounts is it ok to play with? Is two any better than fifty? What number of players in the tournament makes it ok? It’s obviously wrong in a 10 player tournament, but what about 100, 1,000 or 10,000? There is no one number at which you can draw a line and say, with 673 players or more it’s ok. Also, if you do happen to wind up at the same table as yourself, what is proper protocol? Should you try to play normal? Should you sit one account out? What if there are 5 people at your table each with two accounts making up ten players? Is there any way that game can be on the level?"


To be fair, I'm picking out the stuff that's easily mocked, and he did make the effort to post on his site and apologize. He got caught cheating, lost a chunk of money, and is exposed as an idiot for every hack like myself to openly mock. I don't doubt he's a fairly decent guy and that he feels like crap because he got caught.

I also don't doubt, for a second, that he knew exactly what he was doing the entire time, and knew at least some of the risks involved. He obviously wasn't prepared to have all six acounts closed and emptied of funds, or there wouldn't have been around $100K lying around in them. In the grand scheme of things, yeah, he wasn't even securing that huge an edge by running 4-6 accounts in the same big tournaments.

But it was/is an edge, which is the whole reason that he and other players do it. That's the part that cracks me up. He keeps pointing out that he'd NEVER sully the sanctity of poker by chip dumping or colluding between accounts, but manages to ignore the simple fact that the only reason a person creates multiple accounts and runs them in the same tourney is to get an unfair edge. That's it. There's no other reason. None.

Soko, Baby, Soko

Many thanks to everyone for the supportive comments on my epic tome yesterday. And for, you know, just reading the damn long thing. If Blogger ever institutes a fee per word for my bloviating here I'm screwed. Damn screwed.

So after getting assorted chores done I sat down last night at the pokering machine, with ScurvyWife esconced in the living room watching American Idol, and a few hours of prime poker time available to me. The question, then, was what the heck to play, to kick off this little non-HE challenge? Omaha? Razz? 7 Card Stud?

Ha, that'd be far too easy and predictable. We're kicking off the challenge with some Soko, baby. And no, Al, I'm not misspelling that.

My plan at the beginning was to hit up lots of B2B sites, grinding out bonuses, as those are springing up everywhere these days. They all currently offer a €25 refer-a-friend bonus on top of whatever signup bonus you get, too, which is nothing to sneeze at. I made pretty nice coin playing at Martinspoker with the crazy Euros before, plus the peak hours on the B2B network are usually in the afternoon here in the US, which fits pretty well with my normal playing schedule. The network has decent traffic and spreads Omaha, 7 Card Stud, Stud/8, Triple Draw (hardly any games there, though), plus Soko.

To be honest, I had no idea what the hell Soko was. I'd seen it on their games tabs on the poker client before, giggled at the resemblence to the nectar of Al, and pretty much immediately forgot about it. Last night was the first time I'd actually played, and, wonder of wonders, it's pretty damn interesting.

Soko is basically just 5 Card Stud, but with a twist. Everything else is exactly the same (you're initially dealt one card down and one card up, betting round, then each player is dealt three more cards face up, with a betting round after each) but four flushes and four straights count, and are ranked above a pair. So you have your normal hand ranking down to two pair, then comes a four flush, then a four straight, then a pair, and then high card.

That seems a fairly insignificant change but it actually makes it pretty interesting. One drawback (as far as creating action) of 5 Card Stud is that four of your cards are showing, with only one card hidden, so it's not exactly an action game, as you can often tell exactly where you are in a hand, without a shadow of a doubt, as opposed to 7 Card Stud where the three hidden cards can disguise all sorts of hands.

The four flush/four straight wrinkle, though, adds some intrigue. If you're playing normal 5 Card Stud and have (random hole card) Jc Jd Qs 4h and your opponent has (random hole card) 3d 5c 10d 4d, you have the mortal nuts. Doesn't matter what your opponent's hole card is. You win with your pair of jacks. Your opponent is never going to call a bet from you nor attempt a bluff, as the entire world can see that you win, without ever flipping up the hole cards.

If you have the same hands at Soko, however, you're potentially in a world of hurt, as your opponent could have either a four flush or a four straight, both of which beat your pair of jacks. Even if they have neither, they have a great hand to bluff with, especially if you bet first with your exposed pair of jacks. If you bet your jacks and your opponent comes over the top with a big raise, with your pair of jacks in plain sight for everyone to see, it's pretty impossible for you to call with less than two pair. And odds are you don't have two pair. So you fold. Unless you think he's bluffing. Cue intrigue.

It's played as a pot limit game, with an ante and a bring-in from the highest card after the first two cards are dealt. There aren't an absolute ton of Soko tables running but there seem to be a decent amount of games running at peak hours.

Too early for any real strategy musings, as I've only played for a few hours. I finished up about 60 euros, though, and cleared a decent chunk of hands towards the bonus I was working on. I'm in the process of clearing a space in the sidebar, to keep a running tally of the non-HE challenge stuff. Which definitely needs a snazzier name, too.

Does anyone know of any decent strategy books on 5 Card Stud? Does such a beast exist? Any chapters on it in existing 7 Card Stud books? I did some general searches online but am coming up bone dry so far.

While I was playing Soko, baby, Soko I had my second computer grinding out the WR for the 32Red casino signup bonus, which is 100% up to $100/£100. I went the pounds route, as this one is a decent cashable bonus with autoplay that I hadn't hit yet. If you do it, be sure to do the "Casino Games" welcome bonus and not the slots one, unless you love the slots. The Casino Games one has a higher WR (30x) but it allows plenty of good games like baccarat, roulette, craps, video poker, and some blackjack games. I end up clearing it at autoplay Spanish Blackjack, which is allowed and has a low HA.

I finished the WR at about £300, which I was more than happy with. 32Red is also currently a pretty nice ongoing monthly bonus match of £50, but they watch your play pretty closely, and stop offering it to you if you just clear the minimum WR and then withdraw, etc. So I thought I'd play a little video poker and not just play the minimum WR on the welcome bonus, as a bit of cover play. Goal was to play until I hit £400 or dropped down to £250. Hit a nice little run right off the bat and stayed between £300-£350 for quite awhile, until I hit a boat towards the end and something else decent to push me to £400. Cashed out, called it a night.

So yeah, nice start to my little adventure, getting up nearly $600 right off the bat. And yeah, I know, it's quasi-cheating to include silly casino bonuses in the results, as they have nothing to do with poker. I agree. But it's a little hard to separate the two, as the last time I did the turn-small-sum-of-money-into-much-bigger-sum-of-money challenge the casino bonuses were definitely crucial in allowing me to step up in limits on the poker side much faster than I normally would have been able to. I guess it's more a nomenclature thing than anything, as what I'm really doing is a broader sort of Practical Challenge for Online Grifters and Gambling Degenerates to Turn $1,000 into $30,000 in a Year sort of thing, instead of doing it solely by playing non-HE poker.

I've also already done most of the good casino bonuses so far, too, so those really aren't likely to be a huge driver in the overall results. They should be good for a steady $200-$400/month but big scores like the one above are going to be rare.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Name is ScurvyDog and I'm a Poker Hobbyist

As has happened many times, Otis posts a seemingly simple reflection on poker and I spiral down into an endless draft of a post of epic length that I end up finally trashing, re-writing, trashing, re-writing, and so forth.

Here's the short version. I'm a poker hobbyist. I just am. And I always will be. I'd like to entertain notions of grinding my way up to the biggest games, where I make many grandusands every day, almost as an afterthought, but it ain't gonna happen.

I don't have what it takes. I don't have the gamble in me necessary to make it happen. The losses affect me too much, make me too cautious. When I run bad and dump $10K in a month all I see is what that would be in 30 years, invested wisely, compounding interest. If you offer me a 90% chance of making $1,000 or a 10% chance of making $20,000 I will always take the $1,000. Every damn time.

Being married and having a mortgage isn't what's holding me back. I'm what's holding me back. Me. It's pointless to play the oh-if-I-were-20-and-single-and-had-no-obligations-and-could-move-to-Vegas-and-really-roll-the-damn-bones-and-see-what-I-can-make-from-poke game. I'm not. What's holding me back aren't a laundry list of expectations and obligations. I'm holding myself back. I cringe from the uncertainty and likely always will.

Going broke holds absolutely no romanticism for me, despite the fact that nearly every pro has gone broke at some point. The idea of going broke makes me throw up in my mouth a little. And that's not even considering the potential effect it might have on my marriage.

Just because I have the bankroll to play 30/60 doesn't mean I should be playing 30/60. Forcing myself down the rabbit hole of escalating limits isn't making me happy, despite all the logical reasons to do so. I've been holding myself accountable to some sort of strange form of swinging dickism for awhile now, defining myself poker-wise by the limits I play, with the general notion being the bigger, the better.

The honest truth is that if I drop $5K over a weekend I feel like a failure. Like I'm failing myself, my wife, and even the damn rat. The fact that I logically know that it's variance, that I'm likely to get it back on Monday doesn't help. I still feel like a failure, each and every time it happens. It doesn't matter that it's a small percentage of my overall bankroll, a mere drop in the bucket. I beat myself up just the same and I'm not able to contain it all, letting it affect my general mood and interactions with people as well.

At the same time, winning $5K in a weekend doesn't make me feel like a success. It doesn't make me happy. It only makes me less nervous as I have more padding to cushion a downswing, if and when it happens. A feeling of less nervousness does not equate to happiness or enjoyment. Not at all.

It's a nice problem to have (and I'm not complaining) but part of my recent malaise and general unsettledness is that my bankroll grew to the point where the normal variance and everyday losses were uncomfortable, when compared to my day job salary. I was playing 30/60 at times, doing the poker hobby thing, because I had the bankroll to play 30/60. Normal variance over a weekend (in both directions) of play at 30/60 would dwarf what I might take home in 3-6 months at the day job. I'd regularly win and lose more in a single long session than I'd make all month.

That puts the self-confessed hobbyist with small cojones and an aversion to risk in an odd spot. You want to play and you want to make money, but even when you view losses in relation to your bankroll, with a knowing nod and wink at lady variance, it still hurts more than it should, when you get kicked in the junk, as it's pretty eash and natural to view the losses in relation to what your primary occupation is. You can always drop back to lower limits but it's pretty hard, once you get used to the action at higher limits. It's also much less interesting and enjoyable, aside from the money involved, as you're treading old ground and not stretching your poker brain at all.

The tipping point was last week when I was in the office, late at night, watching the tail end of a NCAA tournament game after ScurvyWife had gone to bed. To kill time, I fired up some 10/20 6 max on Stars. I just wanted to play some poker, more than anything. Pretty simple motivation. I immediately get sucked out on twice, get a few second best hands, and am stuck $400 or so within 15 or 20 minutes. I battle back, pick up a few big hands, and am about $50 in the hole when I just stop.

It wasn't fun. I wasn't having any fun. All I wanted was to just play a little poker, and my default action was to play 10/20 6 max. A game I know that regularly swings all over the place, that I could easily drop $500 in while watching the basketball game finish up. It'd been a good day in general (completely aside from poker, as I hadn't played at all until I sat down) then, I'd gotten lots of work done, and the last thing I wanted was to muck that up by losing hundreds of dollars playing poker, and injecting a sour note into the day.

Yet there I sat, absent-mindedly playing 10/20. For no reason other than because I could, because I have the bankroll for it. Because I felt like I should at least be playing 10/20, as anything else would be pointless. Ignoring the fact that I was completely and utterly not having fun or enjoying it, at all, and had no desire to win or lose hundreds of dollars.

I ended up closing the table and picking a random micro-limit Stud/8 table. I bought in for $10 and had more fun over the next half hour than I have in months playing poker. Aside from the pleasure of actually thinking and being forced to engage with the game, a large part of it, too, was the generally amusing table chat.

It was fun. I enjoyed playing and had absolutely no expectations for myself. It was interesting and fun. I had fun playing poker.

I'm a poker hobbyist. This thing is supposed to be fun. It shouldn't ever define me or exert undue influence on my life or my general mood. If it's not fun, then I need to make it fun. If I can't make it fun, I need to find a new hobby.

I like playing poker. So let's try to find a way to make it fun again.

Part of the fun for me in poker is making money. I like to play, true, but I'd be lying if I claimed that winning money isn't a large part of the enjoyment. So while micro-limit Stud/8 is fun for a session, I've got to have a little more than that at stake to keep playing and to stay interested.

If I look back over the last year and a half, the most fun I had was building up a bankroll again after wedding expenses wiped it out, back in October 2004. I basically had $100 to work with and no easy way to immediately reload if I went bust-o. Within a year I'd worked it up to $30,000 or so. Petty boasting, but it's true. Granted, that number includes hitting many nice scores at casino bonuses, many of which are now long gone, as well as poker play, but that was the most fun I've had, and the most engaged I've been, as far as focusing on taking a fixed sum and building it up, moving up in limits when I could, taking shots, etc. Doing whatever it takes, whether it's grinding out hands for a bonus or taking a shot at a bigger limit, palms sweating, praying it goes well to save me from more weeks of grinding.

But I can't see myself doing the grind through LHE again, starting with a small stake and hitting up the poker bonus trail, moving up in limits, etc. Been there, done that. I like the challenge of taking a small take and running it up but it'd bore me to tears to play .50/1 LHE again. I just wouldn't take it seriously, having done it once.

So here's the game plan. I'm giving myself $1,000 and I'm only allowed to play non HE games. Both poker and casino bonuses are allowed and get included in results, as far as ways of building the roll. If I go bust with the $1,000, I'm done for the year. No, really. If nothing is at stake I won't take this seriously.

I'll give myself a year and see what happens, tracking the results along the way. I'm shooting for $30,000, one year from now. Not only is that a decent chunk of change but I'll also be a much better player at non-HE games. To get there, I'll have to take some shots. That's both allowed and necessary, to get to $30K in a year.

I'm still allowed to play the occasional HE game, especially as far as taking a few shots at WSOP satellites in the next few months. I'm also still definitely playing in one of the $1,500 WSOP LHE events. I'm not going to be a nazi aboutsuch things, as long as I adhere to the general notion of trying to build a roll largely from non-HE games.

All of which is kind of silly and arbitrary, and I'm the first to admit that. But I'm sort of liking the idea of the challenge, especially forcing myself to play more 7 Card Stud and Omaha and engaging the poker brain, thinking deeply about things again. And I like the idea of scaling back the limits I'm playing, trying to get this poker hobby back into its rightful place, as far as doing it to make some extra cash but not sweating the losses, whatsoever, when things don't break my way.

It's supposed to be fun, right? Not a grind or obsessive behavior that I keep engaging in, long after the point of enjoyment. Right?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Betfred Signup Poker Bonus

Just a quick public service announcement about the current juicy 100% up to $250 signup bonus for Betfred Poker. They're apparently about to change this one to make it more difficult to clear, so if you've been putting it on the back-burner, it might behoove you to go ahead and deposit and start on it. According to customer service, as long as you deposit while the old, juicy terms are in effect, you'll keep those terms, even if they change the bonus in the future.

The Betfred bonus is 10x, so you'll need 2500 raked hands to get the full $250 bonus. Aye, that's a bunch of hands, but they're on the iPoker network, which shares the same players as Titan, Noble, and other sites chock full of incredibly soft games. So if you're killing the tables at Titan and have already cleared their signup bonus, hop over to Betfred and continue to kill the games, but with a better bonus.

You have as much time as you like to clear the bonus, which is released at the end of the raked hands required. You have to contact support to see how many raked hands you have, and then contact support again to get the bonus awarded when you get your hands in. Slightly annoying, but they actually have really responsive support, and they process cashouts in an hour or two. Traffic can be kind of sparse at times, too, so be forewarned. It's basically just like Titan and Noble, if you've played there.

Here's their raked hand definition:

"Please note: Only raked hands played at blinds of $0.25/$0.50 and above for pot limit / no limit, or stakes of $0.50/$1 or above for fixed limit will count towards your wagering requirements. A raked hand is where you are dealt cards in a real money cash game and the pot reaches a sufficient amount to be raked (see our rake structure here). You do not necessarily have to put any money in the pot for the hand to contribute towards your raked hand count. Tournament hands are not raked so only cash game play counts towards wagering requirements."

George Mason Madness

Okay, everyone who had George Mason going to the Final Four, raise your hand. *crickets chirping* *crickets chirping*

I mean, seriously, that's quite the run. Knocking off Michigan State, North Carolina, and UConn isn't exactly backing your way in due to fortuitious upsets and overrated teams being seeded too highly in your portion of the bracket. As much as I wanted them to beat UConn I kept fearing the worst, fully expecting that last 3 by UConn to go in. But nay, it didn't, somehow. Awesome. Equally awesome is the fact that they have a legitimate shot at winning the whole damn thing. How crazy is that.

Continuing my recent trend of zigging instead of zagging, I post about poker having the tendency to wipe out time for home improvement projects, then immediately launch into a home improvement project this weekend. We're about to buy ScurvyWife a kiln and needed a roof attached to the side of the house designated as kiln/welding area. Luckily the privacy fence on that side is located so that I was able to block up the existing 4x4 fence posts until they were roughly level, and ran 2x6s across the top. The elevated side of the roof attached directly to the house, with 2x6 joists and polycarbonate, for the actual roofing material. Drafted some friendly slave labor and bam, we knocked it out yesterday, with a functional, covered area about 16 feet long. It won't win any awards from the Amish Better Roof Building Bureau but hey, it's a roof, it works.

Have some actual poker babbling but that'll have to wait until a bit later until I bang out a wee bit of work and attend a few neverending meetings.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Yo, Busyness

Assorted deadlines converging leave monkeys with little time to babble in their online diaries, much less to actually play poker. I did manage to place 4th in a 180 person SnG earlier on Stars today, and just took 1st-2nd-2nd-3rd in my last four $60 SnGs, so I guess I can't complain.

Them SnGs is swingy. Not that that's news to anyone, not even myself, but there you go. I managed an 0-12 stretch earlier in the week, which isn't much fun, and actually hard to pull off, as I imagine I'd have monied in at least one of those if I'd just closed my eyes and mashed the all-in button every fourth hand. But nay, I managed to savvy my way to a 12 game losing streak, utilizing all my mad poker skillz.

It's funny how certain beats get to you more than others. My "favorite" bad beat of late is holding something like A10 versus A7 and, of course, the 7 comes on the flop, and every ten in the deck is conspiculously absent, at the donkey show in Tijuana. It's kind of dumb as I don't mind it at all if they have K7 instead, but something about the "dominated" nature of the first one drives me nutso, even though the card that goes with the 7 is pretty meaningless.

CC's been posting some good stuff about relationships and poker, detailing all of the degenerate stuff lots of us would rather hide in the closet. By and large, I'm very, very luck when it comes to managing poker and married life, mainly due to us being pretty much on the same page.

Probably the biggest issue has been the most obvious one, as far as the sheer time that poker sucks up. I didn't do a good job at the beginning as far as explaining the nature of poker, and that it should be viewed more as a part-time job instead of straight-up degenerate gambling or playing Civ4 for three days straight. ScurvyWife just saw me spending many hours in front of the computer, seemingly occupied and having fun, but spend an increasing amount of time doing it.

If I had to pick one single thing that helped address that, it was coming up with a game plan that involved regular deposits from my poker winnings into our savings and brokerage account. ScurvyWife has no real desire to know how much I'm up or down in a given month, so it wasn't a matter of accounting for my play, down to the penny, and somehow justifying the time spent. She just wanted to see money going into savings or stocks. Once that started happening on a regular basis she was more than happy to see all the pokering as something more than just silly addictive personality traits.

While a small part of me rebelled against that (mainly because it made me feel like I was playing under-bankrolled at times, as any reloading would have to come out of savings), I have to admit it's been a very good thing. As much as I'd like to pretend that I'd get more utility out of the money if it remained in my bankroll, it's just not true. At least not when you roll a chunk of the money into oil and gold stocks at opportune times in the last few years.

All that said, yeah, I'd be lying if I claimed poker doesn't add some stress to our lives. It's a small, petty thing, but it drives me absolutely nuts sometimes when I'm playing in a big online tournament, make it very clear that I'll be busy for a chunk of the day, do everything to prepare for that to make sure ScurvyWife is good to go, only to end up having to have a conversation in the middle of the tournament about how crappy last week's OC episode was, because she's completely bored and apparently has to discuss that, right then and there, even though I'm hiding in the office with the door barricaded.

I'm also guilty of letting things slide, especially on the weekend, as far as assorted chores and what-not. I get all the basic stuff done but larger tasks like renovating the kitchen and guest bathroom just have no chance at all of seeing the light of day, when I'm playing lots of poker. It's not been an issue, relationship-wise, but it bugs me, on a personal level.

All in all, though, I think we've done a pretty good job of incorporating and tolerating the poker monster in our lives. We'd probably be happier as a whole if poker disappeared entirely, but the same could be said for things that ScurvyWife is into that bore me to tears. Such is life, I suppose.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

One for Us Sad Sack Losers

Hey, we may not be rubbing elbows with silicone at the Grotto but at least we can take comfort in the fact that we play blackjack better than Daniel Negreanu:

"I really didn't feel like going home yet, so I decided to let off some steam by going into the pit. I can't remember the last time I played blackjack. Even when I did it for fun, I never bet more that $100 a hand.

I just "felt like it" so I walked over there with $20,000. I started out by betting two hands, $1000 on each. That soon became $2000 on two hands, which became $2000 on three hands, then four hands, until I had the hole board covered, betting a total of $12,000 a deal on six hands.

I was up as much as $120,000. That's when I decided to push a little more, betting $3000 a hand on six spots. I lost a couple in a row, and ended up quitting after winning $80,000.

Don't worry people,. I have no illusions that I know what I'm doing! In fact, I made so many rookie mistakes it was unreal! I kept doubling down with 10 against a face card. I split 6-6 against a face card, lol. I wasn't hitting 12 against a 2. I mean you name it, and I broke every "rule." Hey, what do they know :-)"

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dude, Online Poker is Going to Be So Illegal Soon (Not)

If you've been living under a rock or busy playing 182 tables simultaneously, Congress is once again rumbling about stamping out the horror and travesty that is online gambling. The latest attempt is a piece of legislation that would essentially make it illegal for online gambling operators to accept financial transactions in the form of credit cards, checks, wire transfers, and electronic funds transfers (EFTs) from US players.

One interesting thing to note is that the current bill up for debate specifically excludes certain types of gaming, most notably horse racing and fantasy sports. That's fine and dandy, and you can continue to pump money into those endeavors as much as you like. Just not poker or sports betting or online casinos.

Another interesting aspect of the bill to note is that it's not currently tilting at the windmill of whether or not it's illegal to place a wager over the Internet, or to play poker for real money. It's very strongly implied, and the ultimate intent is to prevent such horrible acts from occuring, but the bill itself only addresses the specific mechanism of funding online gaming accounts, not utilizing them.

In some ways, that's smart, as it avoids some logistical pitfalls. If you want to enact legislation that declares online gambling (except for horse racing and fantasy sports, of course) illegal, you're basically reduced to relying on ISPs for enforcement and regulation. That has had pretty mixed results in other areas, for the obvious reason that ISPs have absolutely no desire to be cracking down on their paying customers, aside from the fact that actual enforcement is impractical/impossible, depending on the savvy of the end user.

That said, you're still looking at a logistical nightmare, as far as potentially enforcing the proposed legislation. And there's really no detail at all, as far as who would ultimately be responsible for enforcement, which will likely doom the bill in the end.

Is the US banking system on the hook (and services such as Firepay and Neteller) to ensure that no checks or wire transfers or ETFs from US citizens go out to online gaming sites? Are foreign-based online gaming operators on the hook to ensure that no funds from US citizens flow in? What about funds from a US citizen, residing in the US, but one who controls a Panamanian banking account, where the funds originate from?

Pulling back a bit, what about existing funds in an account, prior to enacting the legislation? What about transfers between player accounts? Do you really think that online operators will cooperate, 100%, or do you think they'll do their best to skirt the legislation in order to keep their single largest demographic flinging chips and contributing rake?

In the end, it's hard to see this thing passing, due to so many details being lacking. And, honestly, I'm not sure if even its supporters expect it to pass, despite all their chest thumping. Part of the implied rationale in the proposed bill is something along the lines of "Hey, we probably can't really stop people from playing poker online, but we can at least make a good faith effort, and then wash our hands of it, claiming that we at least tried."

It's disappointing, aye, and pretty damn hypocritical, as far as giving wagering on horse racing the thumbs up (and completely ignoring the larger, much more pervasive evils of lotteries), but hey, what else do you expect from the US these days? We're inching closer and closer to an outright ban on abortions, have successfully de-stabilized the Middle East, and continue to plunge deeper and deeper into unprecedented levels of debt.

Why in the world would we do something logical like taxing and regulating online gaming, not only bringing in billions in revenues but also adding stability and security to an industry that millions and millions of US citizens take part in, and will continue to take part in, regardless of attempts to criminalize it? Just like drinking and smoking, except, umm, not as "legal".

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Still churning through many, many SnGs. Pretty solidly in the black results-wise but the hourly earn so far is leaving a little to be desired. I'm still just playing sets of 4 at one time, but I may bump that up to 8 and see if I can swing that. My initial concern was that I'd be giving up too much read-wise from playing that many at a time, but there have honestly been pretty few situations of late where a read has influenced by previous opponent play in that SnG, one way or another.

In my babbling about my poor play I forgot to congratulate Gracie on winning the whole damn thing, and Mark for his 2nd place finish. Hopefully we'll send lots more folks to WSOP events and someone or other will eventually end up with some jingly-jangly bling-bling of the bracelet variety on their wrist at some point.

One nice thing about having your NCAA brackets demolished early is that you can root for upsets with complete abandon. Which is what I was reduced to, oh, by last Saturday or so. Go Bradley! Go George Mason! Go Anyone Other Than Duke!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kings are the New Jacks

Ended up going out in the middle of the pack in the WPBT tournament, when my kings ran into Drizz's rockets. Don't really mind going broke there, in theory, and it was pretty inevitable with no ace on the flop, but it was still one of those hands that I have to shake my head at myself for later.

We both had average stacks just after the second break, around 5,000 or so, and Drizz limped in front of me, and I raised to 800. Folds back around, and Drizz does the dwell-for-a-bit-then-limp-reraise-to-make-it-1800-more-oh-my-sweet-jebus-I-have-aces-please-please-please-reraise-me. And of course I do, shoving all-in, and he does, and that's pretty much all she wrote.

The sad thing is that I knew, as I was doing it, that I was playing the hand poorly. Drizz is a smart poker monkey and plays those silly four card games where you fold for 162,182 hands, waiting for the mortal nuts before lumping your money in, so there's no way in hell he's going to call my all-in with JJ or 1010, prolly not even QQ (not to mention that, umm, the last thing I want to do is drive those hands out). He's not going to play AK like that. Basically I'm praying he has the unlikely KK as well and not AA.

Granted, I'm not good enough to fold to his re-raise, but simply calling and seeing a flop is a pretty attractive option there with KK. I'm still likely going to go broke there when an A doesn't come, but I still have enough chips to get away from the hand when the board is super scary and/or riddled with aces and not be completely crippled.

But nay, I lump it all in pre-flop, even with every warning light available blinking very red. Poor.

The fun continued, too, as we had some big thunderstorms move through around one in the morning, which resulted in another epic battle of Scurvydog versus the back patio flood waters. Our back yard slopes so that excess rain water collects on the back patio and, while there are French drains installed, they weren't dug deeply enough when originally put in. So when we get massive, torrential rain (especially when it's been raining for a few days previously), they just throw up their hands and water creeps dangerously close to the sill of out French doors that open onto the patio.

(It appears I have the French to blame for all of these troubles, now that I think about it. Stupid frogs.)

It's flooded the living room once, leading to replacing the carpet, and last night was nearly a repeat, except I was slightly more prepared this time and able to at least hold the rising tide of water at bay with a wet/dry vac. Not exactly how I wanted to spend the hours between 1 and 3 in the morning, but it's better than a ruined carpet.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Stupid Cards

So yesterday I woke up at dawn, prepped the sled dogs for the arduous trek down south to Adam's for the Austin WPBT event, laid in some caribou rations, and was off.

I wish I had exciting poker tales, but nay, pretty boring day, as far as my own play. I basically folded my way to 10th or 11th, seeing nothing bigger than JJ all day. I picked up some chips early when I make a lemur call with K10h pre-flop and flopped trip 10s, but couldn't get much going otherwise. I let myself get too short towards the end, not wanting to look stupid attempting to steal with any of the premium 52o, 63o, 42o hands I was getting dealt, but that's doubly stupid, in the end, as I knew I had to make a move plus I'd likely built up quite a tight image due to my arm about to fall off from turbo-mucking for a few hours. Yet nay, no moves were made, and I end up lumping it all in with AJo and can't beat Adam's set of 7s.

I'm still largely amused by my almost complete and utter lack of live game experience, despite playing a ginormous amount of poker online. I don't play much differently early but I do get too tight later on, unwilling to look like a dumbass making moves that I know need to be made, that get made in a heartbeat online.

I also managed to pretty seriously fuck up a hand I was dealing, possibly saving Eva some chips. There were three players in, smallish pot, and a flop of something like A A Q (not sure if it was a Q or not, but something similar). The blinds check and I thought I saw UTG check, the SB turns to me, expectantly looking for the turn card, and I burn and turn another A, just as UTG says "All-in".

Doh. There was discussion about how to fix my fuck-up, then some folds based on the all-in, then UTG flashed the case A. Eva was rightfully perturbed before he flashed the A, making me wonder if she had a Q.

But it was still a good time, all in all, and I talked to Scott and Mourn a bit before re-hitching up the sled dogs and mushing it back home.

Capped off the evening by rooting silently for Speaker in the Stars WSOP satellite, which didn't end well, but not due to any fault of his. Stupid poker.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Thank You, Boston College

Made it through the first day with my brackets largely intact, although BC nearly kneecapped me. I didn't jump on the suddenly sexy pick of UCLA to go deep but I did hop on the BC bandwagon, putting them through pretty far in all my brackets. Found it amusing that they also managed to somehow cover the 8 point spread, despite it taking 2OT to do it.

Syracuse semi-screwed me, but that's what I get for picking a choke-prone team that wasn't very good to begin with to win 2-3 games in the tourney. Upset picks did okay, with U. of Wisc/Milwaukee and Alabama coming through but no love from Utah State. I really need to get over my irrational blanket dislike of all Pac-10 teams, as it usually doesn't serve me well this time of year.

Today's the real test, as far as my crazy-ass picks. Come on Oral Roberts, you've got Jebus on your side, let's see you smite some tigers. It'd also be nice of Northern Iowa to come through and prove just how overrated Georgetown is this year, too.

ScurvyRat is cracking my ass up lately. Rats are funny little creatures. At times, he's the most microbrained of microbrain creatures, unable to deal with the simplest of tasks like carrying more than one of his food pellets at a time. You give him one pellet, he sticks it in his mouth, runs to his cage, and all is well. Give him two pellets and the whole thing explodes, as he refuses to leave one behind to come back and get later but he also can't cram more than one in his mouth, so he sits there, endlessly rearranging them, trying to make it work, but never getting anywhere or, you know, actually eating the food.

At other times, though, he picks up things in no time flat. We've been letting him roam a little more of late when we let him out for exercise, as the house is pretty rat-proof now and he's never shown any interest in chewing on electrical cords or escaping to deep, dark nether regions of the house. As part of the morning routine I usually give him carrot, and in the past I'd get him from his cage, scratch him, and give him his carrot. The last week or so I've just been letting him out while I get the carrot, and he runs around a little, I get the carrot, go to his cage, and then wait for him to finally realize that hey, that dude by my cage has food.

This morning, though, he beat me to the refrigerator, sat there patiently waiting, and as soon as I opened it to get his carrot, he takes off hauling ass back to his cage. By the time I get back there he's sitting there, patiently waiting, looking at me like "Dude, gimme my damn carrot."

The Coinflip Gods continue to bend me over but I actually managed to book a decent profit last night/this morning. Still having fun but methinks that a lot of long-term success at these can be boiled down to mechanical persistence and a certain level of skill/knowledge, as far as playing many of them simultaneously and not getting involved with speculative hands early or anything that might be construed as "creative" play.

It feels good to successfully re-steal and make assorted moves but I imagine in the end your long-term profitability basically boils down to learning to successfully manipulate the sizes of your bet at certain junctures, relative to the sizes of the stacks of other players, to achieve the outcome you desire a certain percentage of the time.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Madness, Baby, Madness

Why I didn't develop a sudden, unexplained illness today is beyond me, what with the NCAA tournament kicking off. My supervisor at work has been on short term disability for over a month now because she fell and bruised her butt (but she's been well enough to attend two different weddings during that time, includng one in California, just not well enough to, you know, come in and sit in our horribly uncomfortable chairs at work), so the bar is pretty low, as far as manufacturing reasons to get paid to stay home and watch basketball. Yet here I am. Sucker.

This tournament should be an interesting one, as there really isn't any team(s) head and shoulders above the rest. We could very easily have a Final Four without a single #1 seed making it, or all four #1 seeds could run the table. I ended up hedging my bets in assorted brackets, but I guess I'd have to pick UConn to win it all, if someone twisted my arm hard enough.

The Coinflip Gods are still hating on me in the SnGs, and I've basically been spinning my wheels the last few days, donating a bit of money. I feel like I'm playing better, though, despite the lack of much in the way of results to show for it. If nothing else, I'm banking lots of FPPs. Currently on pace to hit Platinum before the end of the month, and I might make a concentrated effort next month to see how feasible it would be to make a run at 93,000 FPPs for the buy-in to a $1,500 WSOP event they offer in the PlatinumStars store. It's kind of nice as I've never spent any of my FPPs at Stars, so I already have 20,000 or so in the bank. I might end up taking 3-4 days off work and just blast through a ginormous number of SnGs, if need be.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My Kingdom for a Coinflip

Hit one of those frustrating SnG patches last night where I couldn't, for the life of me, win a coin flip when I really needed it. I'm bubbling a little too often for comfort in these of late, which I guess is a bit of a glass half full/empty situation. I end up pressing pretty hard when it's four/five handed and people get conservative, so I usually end up bubbling or finishing 1st or 2nd. Which is great when you're winning your coinflips but less fun when you're on the outside, looking in.

I probably need to be a little more conservative when it's four handed, I have a decent stack, and there's an obvious shortie, especially when I have mid pairs like 66-99. I've been pushing with hands like that and/or coming over the top of min-raises with them, but that's typically a spot where I either pick up the blinds (nice but not crucial) or if called I'm at best a coinflip against two overcards, and often dominated.

I also need to be better about soliciting action from big hands when it gets down to four or five handed. Limping and min-raising makes the wee baby Jebus cry but there's less downside when it's not a full field, and I imagine the value of a double up is much greater in that spot when you're near the bubble.

Still having fun, though, which is nice.

ScurvyWife and I are now the proud owners of a nice Miller MIG welder, which we picked up on the cheap at an auction. Which will likely please the neighbors to no end, as they already think I'm crazy as it is when I'm out annealing copper with a propane torch in the driveway. I think the first welding project should be a FrankenRobot with huge, gripping hands that comes lumbering out, intoning" "Must. Crush. Mouth-Breathing. Neighbors. Who. Stand. And. Stare. At. The. Slightest. Unusual. Thing."

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

My God I've Become a Boring Poker Bastard

(Let's just pretend that I was previously a non-boring poker bastard, which is an arguable point.)

Still very much in the throes of poker rut, as far as blogging. And we're talking the bad sort of rut. Not the Girls Gone Wild sort of rutting.

I'm enjoying the SnG experiment, so poker and I are currently getting along, as far as playing. Blogging about poker, though, is apparently regressing to bad beat stories and much whining, with little added practical value.

I've got three quasi-strategy draft posts just sitting in Blogger, that I can't pull the trigger on. Two on shorthanded play, before I aborted that mission, and one on heads-up play in the blinds. They're not bad. I should publish them. But I probably won't.

Confidence is a weird thing. It's very easy to opine about all sorts of things, when running well, yet nearly impossible (for me at least) to do so when not running so well. Even if it's perfectly valid advice it seems backward to post about how I'd play a certain hand or situation in a ring game, when I've at least temporarily sworn off ring games, due to frustration and/or running poorly and playing badly.

Which doesn't leave a whole lot of use to transmit here, other than tales from HyperMegaGlobalCorp, pictures of rats, and my adventures with banging on copper and pouring bronze.

On the bright side, it's likely fairly temporary. I can't see myself giving up poker nor can I see myself playing 182,182 SnGs/day on a regular basis, as far as getting my poker fix. I'll eventually make my way back to the limit HE ring games, and will eventually have something marginally useful to say, concerning the games.

So, you know, sorry. I realize it's dumb to apologize for content (or lack thereof) on your own damn blog, but there you go.

Until then, I'll at least try to be a bit more amusing with my non-poker drivel. We'll see how that goes.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I Am Definitely not the WPBT Player of the Year

Pretty meh performance in the WPBT tournament last night, going out 40th or so. Didn't help that I was mired in an 0-12 SnG stretch, either. Turned things around nicely this morning, though, so I'm not quite to the point of threatening to break up with SnGs. Yet.

Many thanks to BSN and Wes for the comments regarding pushing when HU in a SnG and at a sizable chip disadvantage. (And Wes just put up an additional interesting post on his blog with some additional numbers and what-not.)

Pretty excited about the whole March Madness craziness, as this is always one of my favorite sports times of the year. Not sure what crack the selection committee was on, though, as there were some definite head scratchers. How Tennessee gets a #2 seed, I do not know, nor how you justify giving Air Force or George Mason a bid before teams like Cincinati and Missouri State.

Not a whole heck of a lot else going on. Finished up my bronze piece for class last week, and, if I do say so myself, it looks pretty damn good. Beat around on some copper this weekend, too, so I feel pretty good about getting in my requisite artsy and/or fartsy time.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

If I Had Many, Many Grandusands

About to sit down with 5,600+ other monkeys in the Stars $1 Million Guaranteed, which is fairly insane.

It's always fun to ponder what you'd do with (insert ginormous amount of money), if it suddenly appeared in your pocket. During my most recent poker break-up, I did stop to think at one point what I'd do, poker-wise, if money suddenly were no issue at all.

I honestly don't think I'd play much online. I'd play all the WSOP events in Vegas each year and possibly 5-6 other big tournaments, preferably ones in attractive locales (i.e. not Tunica).

It'd be fun to "occasionally" sit in some of the big cash games in vegas, with an emphasis on "occasionally", like once or twice a year.

I'd probably play some of the bigger online tournaments, likely the bigger weekend ones. In general, though, much less poker would be played.

Man, I didn't intend this to be a live blog but much craziness so far in the Stars tournament. I don't like to get involved in hands early but so far I've been all over the place in the first ten minutes, as high as 4,500 and down to 1,000 at one point. Drug a nice pot with QQ early but gave it back when AK flopped an ace but couldn't fold out Mr. Runner Runner Straight. Was looking gloomy until I flopped a set with 44 and rivered a boat for a nice chunk of chips. Now I'm back to smack dab even with 2,500 chips.

Update: Just about average stack at 3,600 at the first break. One hour into this thing and nearly 2,000 monkeys are already out. I realize a lot of people satellite into these things and other people have money to light on fire but I'm always baffled that so many people can blow through a 2,500 starting stack with a relatively slow structure in an hour.

Update #2: Wow. I guess if I have to go out, I might as well do it in style.

Nearing the second break and I had about 5,000, below average but not horribly so. AQd in the BB, idiot button raises to 1,500, SB calls, I call, willing to see a flop.

Flop is something like Qc 8d 10d. SB checks, I bet out 1,000, button insta-pushes (I have button covered by about 1,000), SB comes over the top (and has me covered), and I call. I guess I could hypothetically get away from this hand at this point but I'm just not that good and was pretty sure I was ahead of the idiot button and that SB wasn't all that strong and more interested in isolating the resident table lemur.

Button flips over the mighty K10o, no diamonds. SB flips over the mighty KQo. I'm feeling pretty good until the Kd comes on the turn, at which point I start swearing, until I realize that I just turned the nut flush. That moment of happiness, though, is brief, as the case K comes on the river, giving them both bigger boats.

Thank you, poker gods. That was pretty swell of you.


Hand 1: 65.3612 % 64.97% 00.39% { AdQd }
Hand 2: 19.2019 % 18.70% 00.50% { KcTh }
Hand 3: 15.4369 % 14.69% 00.74% { KsQh }


Hand 1: 87.3754 % 86.93% 00.44% { AdQd }
Hand 2: 08.1949 % 07.20% 01.00% { KcTh }
Hand 3: 04.4297 % 02.99% 01.44% { KsQh }


Hand 1: 90.4762 % 90.48% 00.00% { AdQd }
Hand 2: 04.7619 % 04.76% 00.00% { KcTh }
Hand 3: 04.7619 % 04.76% 00.00% { KsQh }


Hand 1: 00.0000 % 00.00% 00.00% { AdQd }
Hand 2: 00.0000 % 00.00% 00.00% { KcTh }
Hand 3: 100.0000 % 100.00% 00.00% { KsQh }


Two blogger tournaments of note that people should, umm, note:

First event in the WPBT-POY Race set up by Biggestron:

What: Pot Limit Omaha
Where: PokerStars (Private Tourney 20742121)
When: Sunday, March 12th at 9:30 PM EST (or 6:30 PM PST)
Cost: $20+2
Password: wpbt72
Restrictions: Bloggers only!

And then the WSOP satellite that Iggy set up, next Sunday:

What: WPBT WSOP NL Satellite Tournament
When: March 19th - Sunday
Time: 9pm EST
Where: Paradise Poker
How Much: $30
Password: email iggy at allimcbeal_69 -
Restrictions: Bloggers only!


I kind of like life on the happy side of variance. Somehow I doubt I'll continue to run at +300% ROI in the $55 Turbo SnGs but it's nice while it lasts.

I also qualified for the $1 Million Guaranteed yesterday in a $10 rebuy satellite. Doubled up on the first hand before I remembered to rebuy, didn't take the add on as I was 3rd in chips at the break, tripled up not long after the break and basically just folded my way to a seat from there. So let's cross the fingers and hope my luckbox streak continues for awhile, at least through today.

I'm liking the SnG regimen so far as it seems more conducive towards balancing poker and, you know, life. There's really no difference between running a set of 4 turbo SnGs and playing a shortish ring game session, as far as time invested, but for whatever reason its easier for me to play a set of SnGs, go be productive, come back, play another set, rinse, lather, and repeat. It's also easier to just let the results go, when they're done, instead of getting stuck and grinding, trying to get even, and suddenly getting sucked into a 2-3 hour largely fruitless, frustrating limit session.

But yeah, fully aware of the fact that everything is happy and shiny while running goot. Let's see what tune I sing when I run poorly over 50 or so SnGs, instead of running well.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

On the Subject of My Less Than Iron Will

I suck. I'm playing poker again. My constitution is paper-thin, rain-soaked, flimsy as a French whore's negligee, reeking of absinthe and Galousies.

On the bright side, I immediately went on a heater, playing $55 and $25 turbo SnGs at PokerStars. Immediate impressions include:

1) Man, you can rack up FPPs in a hurry playing sets of fours of these suckers.
2) Man, it's actually nice to take a break from LHE.
3) Man, these things are going to be high variance.

It's interesting as it's been quite awhile since I regularly played lots of SnGs, so it's a little encouraging to think that compare and contrast and realize that I've gotten a shit-ton better at this game of poker since then. The biggest difference is playing pretty fearlessly when it's 4 or 5 handed and everyone goes into turtle mode, hoping to ease into the money before getting jiggy.

I realize this is the first rule of SnG Strategy 101, and it's not that I didn't know that before when I wasn't playing quite so fearlessly, but it's nice to see myself immediately shift into rape and pillage gear, when people start turtling up.

Running well also makes things much happier and shinier, too. I'm racking up a few more 2nds than I like, but yeah, half-full, half-empty.

I've also been a little surprised by the general attitude and strategy immediately after it gets heads-up, and someone is outchipped like 3-1. It seems like a majority of people just push, with anything, immediately, trying to gain ground.

And sure, I fully realize that with big blinds in the neighborhood of 600-800 and a stack of 3,000-4,000, you don't have much wriggle room, at all. But you can see a few hands, yes, and not just push immediately with 83o? I know you're likely going to need to get lucky and double, and double again, but there seems to be little practical difference of doubling a stack of 3,000 as opposed to 2,400 (since you need another double after that), and a world of practical difference of folding 83o when you sit at 3,000 and need a double, willing to take your chances with whatever you get dealt the next hand, sitting at 2,400.

(And yeah, I know, part of it is to steal blinds from the SB, and not that you want to get called with your 83o. And yeah, I understand some of it is the general "Ahh, fuck it, I've got 2nd locked up, I'm way behind, I'm in shove or fold mode, let's just shove.)

Any of you folks with more experience in these have any thoughts on that subject, as far as how you play a short stack in heads-up situations? I guess my question is that I see lots of people pushing in spots when it appears to me they could have waited a few hands, which makes me wonder if I'm underestimating the urgency in those spots when heads-up but outchipped 3-1 or more. How low do you let yourself get, relative to the blinds, when you feel like you have to shove, regardless of the cards?

The big exciting reorg at work turned out to be less than exciting, for myself at least. I'm going to be doing exactly what I'm doing now, working for the same boss, sitting in the same monkey cubicle. Which is good, I guess. And bad.

"Maybe if I sit perfectly still that huge, drunken clay squirrel won't brain me with his giant mug of beer.

Friday, March 10, 2006

You Can't Spell Re-Org without Rage (Or Ergo, or Gore, or Ego)

Still poker-free, going on two days now. Still feels kind of nice.

So HyperMegaGlobalCorp has decided that my department needs, nay, must reorganize, in order to truly leverage oour insight and winning culture and to ramp revenues to new, dizzying heights.

We basically do this every year, in order to muddy the water enough so that you can't really compare our results to the previous year, thus making it impossible to gauge success (or lack thereof) in attaining various goals.

In the past, there was at least a token effort at including us in the process, as far as pretending that our input was considered, as far as what job in the new organization we'd like to be considered for. Not so much this time. They announced the reorg late yesterday, and later today we get to find out what position we play on the new team.

Needless to say, I'm not exactly on the edge of my seat. Either I'll be doing exactly the same thing or they'll make an extraordinary effort, with middle finger extended, and place me in a much crappier position, completely ignoring experience, job performance, etc.

Which would probably be a good thing, really, as far as supplying a much needed kick in the arse.

Odds are prolly 50/50, as far as which way things will swing. The funny thing is that I honestly don't know what I hope happens. Which I guess isn't that bad, as far as neither outcome being disappointing. But the flip side is that neither outcome will be happiness inducing, either.

Mmm, stasis...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Chillin' out, Maxin', Relaxin', All Cool And...

I have to admit, it's kinda nice to have the poker monkey off my back, as far as the obligation to get in hands. Yeah, I know, I put the damn simian there myself, so it's pretty dumb to remark that "Hey, it's nice to not feel like I'm somehow burning money by not sneaking in hands after work, after dinner, right before bed, etc." But it is nice. So there.

I spent a decent amount of time the last few nights just observing random mid/high limit games, which was interesting. John D'Agostino and some guy were bashing it out heads-up a few nights ago at 100/200 LHE at Full Tilt, which was fun to watch. Encouraging, too, in a way, as I didn't feel I was too far off in my own reads and reactions, watching them bash at one another. Granted, it's a lot easier to call bullshit on a bluff turn raise when you don't actually have to, umm, put $400 into the pot, so there is that.

Last bronze casting class is tonight, which kind of sucks, especially since it's the last class ever at the school, which is closing. A bit of a silver lining there, as we may pick up a MIG welder and other assorted stuff on the cheap, since they're auctioning off everything. Once we get the workshop area up and rolling at home, I may fiddle around with some aluminum casting, as you can actually cobble together a coffee can mini-foundry without too much expense or opportunity to blow yourself up.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wokka Wokka

(Can you tell that someone just saw the original Muppet Movie again recently, for the first time in twentysomeodd years?)

Despite all my wokka wokkaing, I do have a plan. Sort of.

I'm still going to take a few weeks off from the online poker. Just to do it, more than anything. I don't expect it to produce any grand epiphany or realization. I pretty much know why I'm not having fun of late playing poker and why I'm playing poorly. Mainly I'm taking time off to see if there's any residual spark, at the end of that time, as far as wanting to sit back down, enjoying sitting back down, and all that jazz.

I'm probably not going to play as high as I have been when I start playing again, as far as ring games, and I'll probably play more SnGs. Maybe all SnGs. Yeah, I know, they're higher variance and just as potentially frustrating in their own way, but I've always liked playing them. They're also fairly easy to schedule and, more importantly, I feel no sense of entitlement and/or expectations, sitting down to play. I have much to learn when it comes to SnG play.

As far as pokery stuff that doesn't involve actually playing, I'm going to start regularly posting interesting hands I've found or played here, hopefully on a daily basis. I always get a lot out of those discussions and the blog format is perfect for that. Yeah, it's kind of a pain finding unique hands to illustrate certain concepts, but Jebus knows I have plenty of time on my hands, sitting at the day job.

It'll also get me back into the groove of posting useful content here, instead of just babbling about my results and frustrations. I've been slipping in that regard of late and there's not much excuse for it.

Other than that, it's probably time to re-read all the damn poker books I have sitting around, gathering dust. Another habit that I've gotten out of lately that can't be good.

Still on for playing Event #4 at the WSOP this year, staying June 28th-July 2, and need to motivate and go ahead and book a room/flight. Based on a quick check with Expedia yesterday, I'm halfway tempted to stay at the Sahara, as I kind of like the old-school decrepitude and the price is definitely right. But I may "upgrade" to the Excalibur, because man, I'm crazy like that sometimes.

OMG, It's Like, You Know, So Dire

I was going to continue the series of dire, ominous entries this week, all pointing out the shortcomings of poker, when compared to other pursuits. But I think instead I'm just going to say, Ahh, fuck it.

My problem of late isn't with poker at all. It's with me. So it's sort of pointless to enumerate all the potential pitfalls and traps that lie within the pursuit of poker, as the real tiger pits and pungee sticks are right here, lurking within me.

More than anything, I've become impatient at the poker tables. Not so much in execution but in my general mindset. I'm not sitting down with the idea that it's a long, incremental journey, and that in the most absolute superfabulous best conditions I only have a 2-5% advantage over the players at the table, aware of the fact that one poorly played hand can wipe out hours of profit. I'm not sitting down, happy and eager to sling chips, learning from interesting hands, even when I lose.

I sit down and I want expect to make money. That's it. That's my sole motivation.

When I win money, I turn off the computer and don't think about poker until the next time when I sit down to play. When I lose money, I lie there, grinding my teeth, before I finally fall asleep.

I watch lemurs sit down with $800 at a $20/40 short table, literally play any two cards, for any number of bets, and have a stack of $15,000, just an hour later. While I know on numerous intellectual levels that they'd likely be better off playing roulette and that their success is an obvious short-term aberration, more and more I find myself begging the universe to just once, one solitary time, have a session like that.

What's that, Internal Voice? You're saying that I'll never have a session like that, because it takes idiotically capping with any two cards pre-flop, repeatedly, to build a stack that quickly? Shut the hell up. I wants lots of money and I wants it now. I deserve some crazy luck, too, as I've been grinding for forever, plus some.

Impatience, on both land and sea.

The fact that I'm busy, juggling all sorts o' projects (plus, you know, a life), only adds fuel to the impatient fire. I can carve out time for poker but it's at the expense of other things. This arrangement works fine when I win money but shows stress when I don't. The most visible sign of stress is that I push harder and play more, trying to recoup losses in order to swing the needle back into the "proper" position, so that everything is safely in happy stasis land.

The solution?

Be more patient.

(Wokka wokka. I'll be here all week. Wokka wokka. Tip your wait staff. Wokka wokka.)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Magical Power of Ellipses

"Man, yesterday was awesome. I got a ton of crap done, ran errands, paid bills, cleaned up around the house, played with the rat, and even ventured out to the grocery store..."

"Man, it feels good to get back to regularly going to the gym..."

"Man, this weekend was fun. ScurvyWife and I got lots of art stuff done, hung out, watched movies, and in general just relaxed..."

"Man, I got a ton of work done on assorted ventures..."

"Man, it felt good to just chill tonight, and sit outside on the deck, read a book, and hang out..."

"Man, it's cool to take random art classes and learn stuff, even if it isn't practical, and sucks up one night a week..."

"Man, it's fun to just regress to the days of yore and totally just geek out and stay up all night playing Civ IV..."

"Man, sore muscles aside, it feels damn good to bust my ass and all day and get tons of yardwork and other house-related chores done..."

"Man, it feels good to knock off some of the rust and write again, for no reason other than to just do it, and be creative..."

"Man, as much as I hate shopping for groceries, I enjoy cooking, and should do it more often..."

Lately it's bothering me a lot that all of the above recent thoughts I've had all have "...instead of spending hours sitting in front of a computer, playing poker" pretty strongly implied, after the ellipses.

It's especially bothersome as none of the above thoughts are really that extraordinary, when you get down to brass tacks. It's not like I'm feeling satisfied about curing cancer, working out the kinks of cold fusion, or working ceaselessly to feed the hungry children of the world. All of the above thoughts are perfectly mundane, everyday events that shouldn't be remarkable at all, in a well-rounded, fulfilling life.

Yet they are remarkable, in my current state. Increasingly so. And I don't like that fact very much. At all.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I am a Weak, Weak Man

So I had a moment of weakness last night and played some 20/40. 45 minutes later and $1,200 poorer, I completely cashed out of all my online poker accounts, as I obviously can't be trusted at the moment.

Poker is interesting. There's such a small, small gap between winning and losing, yet the key to winning is to consistently put yourself on the right side of that gap. Let even one tiny cog slip a bit and you're no longer playing winning poker. Let two tiny cogs slip a bit and you're playing losing poker. Let three cogs slip a bit, and, well...

I'm definitely into three cog territory at the moment. Hell, maybe even four or five cog.

More on this soon, likely tomorrow, when I'm bored out of my skull at work and have time to wax eloquent.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Hey, Wow, the Earth Did not Stop Rotating on its Axis

Day One of no poker went reasonably well. It helps when you're really busy, running around, and out of earshot of the siren's call of the computer.

It's amazing how much pleasure one can get from simply, umm, getting rid of junk and debris. Especially when said junk has been sitting there, mocking you, for years. One side of our house has been, pretty much from day one, the designated place to hide assorted unwanted items, especially bulky things that won't fit in the trash. It's a fairly narrow strip, about 10 feet wide, gets no sun at all, between the house and the fence line, so it's really not big enough (and not visible at all, from anywhere inside or outside the house) to do much with, other than keep the lawnmower there.

But all sorts of stuff has accumulated over the years, as far as old doors, pots, pavers, scrap wood, you name it. Despite intentions to clean it out, once and for all, it never quite happened. So it kept growing. And growing. The biggest non-motivating factor was probably three or four hundred pounds of old pavers and stones the previous owners had sunk throughout the yard, for no apparent reason, that I dug up when we moved in, and then stacked up, on the side of the house. I'd get motivated to clean out the side of the house, walk over there, see many, many, many pounds of stone staring me back in the face, and say Screw it, I'd rather play poker.

Yesterday was finally the day of reckoning, though. And I will fully admit that I wussed out, and called 1800GotJunk, and paid more than I should have for other grown men to come and haul off all our junk. It wasn't all that much more, though, than I would have paid to haul off four or five truckloads of trash to the dump, plus it was completely and utterly done in all of half an hour.

Which then meant I was finally able to lug the last of the limestone I bought last spring out of the way, so that our driveway is now nice and neat and doesn't have a half-full pallet of limestone blocks sitting in it. Today's plan is to rake out the side of the house, so that I can get much decomposed granite delivered, get that down, and voila, the side of the house will be transformed from heaps o' junk to a nice clean space to set up a kiln for ScurvyWife and a place to weld without setting many things afire.

I also worked on my project for the bronze class I'm taking, which ended up being the world's heaviest clock. Haven't done any patinas yet, so it's not really done, but I was pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Break Time

Hello, my name is ScurvyDog, and I'm playing bad poker, and need to take a wee little break.

I think I knew this, even when making grandusands last month taking shots at higher limits. This month hasn't been great, leaving me down a few grandusands already, but the fact that I'm playing badly is what bothers me the most, making bad calls and ridiuclous bluffs, knowing they want work as I click the button, doing it anyway.

I apologize, too, for much of the sarcastic bastardness in my last few posts about taxes. I act like an idiot all the time, in many ways, and the last thing I want is to discourage people from pointing that out, so I can stop acting like an idiot. The tax stuff was more a lack of original details on my part but I don't want to sound like a sarcastic asshole who knows everything there is to know in the world. Because I don't, and in many cases I need help in pointing out my idiotic ways.

Not sure how to resolve my biggest issue with poker of late, which is the diminishing satisfaction return. There's a decent amount of literature out there about the physical effects that winning and losing at gambling has on your brain, as far as gamblers eventually developing a tolerance to the happy juice the brain produces when winning.

So your highs gradually diminish over time, and accomplishments that once set you buzzing for weeks (like final tabling a big MTT) not only don't produce a buzz, but are actually a drag on your mood, as all you see is the money you "lost" by not winning the tournament.

I'm also getting lazy of late, and not pushing myself to learn anything, and simply mashing buttons, more than anything. When I lose, I still beat myself up, but when I win, I largely shrug. Not a good recipe for success.

So I'm going to take a break for a few weeks from the online poker. Nothing serious. Get back to reading and studying, and, you know, thinking again. Play with the rat. get much stuff done aroud the house. Actually, maybe, gasp, cook a meal or two.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Le Sigh

I apologize for not fully explicating my personal tax situation in the last post.

As Suze Orman and other financial gurus have taught us, the following statement, in a vacuum, is completely idiotic:

"Thumbs up to overpaying throughout the year, as it worked out to be inadvertent savings. The nice thing is that it was pretty much completely unexpected, as I thought we still might owe some. I suppose that's why I'm not an accountant, yo."

What I should have said is something along the following lines:

"Unfortunately, due to uncertainty as to whether or not my supplemental income from my business/poker/freelancing would push us into the next tax bracket, we overpaid our taxes and received a sizable refund this year. While we could definitely control and account for our traditional day job incomes on a quarterly basis, my supplemental income fluctuated wildy from month to month, and at times appeared on course to be enough to bump us up a tax bracket.

I haven't been able to sleep at all, kicking myself, as we just snuck in under the tax bracket wire and got a refund, and we could have made $173.25 in pure, risk-free profits by instead placing the overpaid funds in an ING Direct account each quarter. Instead the overpaid money did nothing for us throughout the year, merely sitting there, gathering dust, until it was returned to us.

Unfortunately we were maxing out our IRA/401(k) contributions for the year from day one, we have no short term debt, and are as fully exposed to equities as we want to be. It sucks, as that was one reason why we decided to overpay in Q1-Q3 on my supplemental income, since our only viable, risk-free alternative for the funds was to put it into savings and make 3.5% on it. While we discussed potentially investing the funds that were ultimately overpaid in the equity markets (instead of overpaying them to begin with), the decision was mutually made that we'd not do that, due to the risk involved.

I hate that when we weighed the opportunity to potentially make $100-$200 in risk-free profits by paying the minimum owed each quarter, we decided against it. My junk aches from the self-administered blows to it. We made an idiotic, weak, emotional decision. We decided to overpay early in the year on my supplemental income and leave free money on the table, because we didn't want to owe a sizable amount at the end of the year and see it come out of savings, if we did indeed bump up a bracket due to additional income that fluctuated greatly throughout the year.

It's also unfortunate that my accountant didn't insist that we simply pay the minimum each month, and, if we did indeed bump up a bracket and owe a sizable amount, simply withdraw that sum from savings, pocketing the accrued interest. I can't believe I went with the human accountant, who advised us of all this but left the decision up to my wife and myself. Next time around we're definitely going with the robot accountant.

It's also unfortunate that my wife and I are both human, and not robots ourselves. While a rational part of our brains may understand that we sacrificed $173.25 in additional income for the year, a small, child-like part of our brain gets really happy when we get an unexpected refund, when we just snuck under the next tax bracket. It's the same part of our brain that likes to have fun and go out and eat, when we could maximize our EV by preparing the same exact meal at home for $7 less. The same part that buys overpriced popcorn at the movie theater instead of sneaking in trail mix in hidden pockets sewn into our coats.

I'm ashamed of myself, in exactly the same way that I hate that I don't pull the trigger on the 0% APR credit card game. I could make $300-$350 a year, in pure, risk-free profit, all for doing nothing more than taking out $30,000 in credit card debt. I cannot believe that I would leave that money on the table, sacrificing EV like that.

But let's not get distracted from what's important. I failed myself, miserably. It doesn't matter that it's fun to get a refund check, that my wife and I will enjoy it more and spend it in much more enjoyable ways, than if we had saved it penny by penny throughout the year. Instead of taking a trip or a kiln or other frivolous things we should only see the ghostly spectre of the $173.25 that we lost, for no reason whatsoever.

All I know to do is to continue to deal mighty blows to my junk as a small, penitent geasture and give you my solemn vow that I will never, ever let you down again."

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I Never Thought Uncle Sam Would Rescue Me From a Losing Session

Yesterday was pretty ugly poker-wise. About -$1,400 ugly, nearly all at the 20/40 tables. Giveth and taketh away and all of that crappeth.

Nothing really spectacular occurred, just couldn't get anything going, plus one table was pretty lemurific, except I kept ending up on the wrong end of it, after isolating the lemur that loved to raise with hands like 34s. One of the somewhat decent players at the table also kept hitting on the turn/river, over and over and over, after I'd given him plenty of reason to suspect that his A high, 4 kicker wasn't going to be good enough. Until he spikes an A on the river.

In brighter news, sweet Jebus, ScurvyWife and I are getting back quite a hefty return this year. Thumbs up to overpaying throughout the year, as it worked out to be inadvertent savings. The nice thing is that it was pretty much completely unexpected, as I thought we still might owe some. I suppose that's why I'm not an accountant, yo.

Still keeping an eye on ScurvyRat but the tough little bastard seems to be completely normal and fine.

I really, really need to motivate on a poker-related business idea that's been percolating in my brain. Like, really. Even if it means playing less actual poker for a month or two. I enjoy the poker, obviously, but I'd likely be a wealthier monkey overall if I'd devoted more time to assorted endeavors the last few years instead of

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Jekyll and Hyde Poker Continues

Poker is weird.

Got in a goodly bit of poker last night, mostly breaking even at 15/30. I had $500 or left in my account on one of the prop sites and instead of doing the smart thing and just withdrawing it, I thought I'd play some 10/20, despite the fact that this meant playing 3 handed, something I'd sworn off for March.

I guess it was technically still February, so all of my vows are intact. Too bad my cash isn't, as I managed to blow through the $500 in about 20 minutes, second best hands raining down from the sky, busted draws littering the highway.

So then I hop on Prima to play a little more, this time 10/20 full ring. No love. Lose two big pots, each time to a one-outer on the river. To be fair, I sucked out originally in both hands to get ahead, but a one-outer is still a one-outer. Even when it's two one-outers.

What do I do? Quit for the night? Read a good book?

Nope. I played with Resurrection Rat until he wore me out and came back and sat at $10/$20 NL on Doyle's with $1,500, ready to take many grandusands of American dollars from EuroLemurTrash.

But wait, ScurvyDog, aren't you mainly a limit player? And aren't you chasing losses, again, jumping up to higher limits?

Yes. And, umm, yes.

(One nice thing about working in Cubelandia, bored out of my skull for hours every day, is that I have much time to ruminate. After posting about February results yesterday and what-not, I pondered that a bit, as far as struggling so much lately with 5/10 and 10/20, but doing well at higher limits. I also managed to connect a few dots as far as looking at my bankroll on various sites, and corresponding results.

This sounds a bit dumb, but I think a large part of my lackluster results of late in 5/10 and 10/20 is that I'm playing, for lack of a better word, bored. Obviously I care about my results, and I don't sit there, playing a few tables half-heartedly while watching American Idol and downloading April Summers clips on Kazaa.

But I'd be lying if I said I was as dialed-in as when I play 20/40 or higher. I'm just not. I've also typically been buying in a little short on sites where i've been grinding out 5/10 and 10/20 hands, buying in for $1,000 each time, reloading when I need to, but never pushing the balance up that high. Part of me is aware of that fact, even though it's should be a non-factor, since I have funds in Neteller to reload with whenever.

I still have more than a few grandusands at Doyle's, though, which is why most of my shots and higher limit play has been there. Not surprisingly, that's where 90% of my profits have come of late.

So I'm making much money on the site where I'm well bankrolled, sit down, and pay close attention, bringing my best possible game. I'm losing much money on sites where I buy-in short, play only because I'm propping or getting rakeback, and play at much lower limits, when my attention and concentration is not 100%.

Gee, I wonder where I should be playing in March?)

So not much happens after I sit at the $10/20 NL table, I steal a few blinds, limp and fold a few speculative hands, until I get AKo in MP, with about $1,500 behind. Folds to me, I raise to $60 and get one caller, the button, who has about $900 behind.

Flop is something like Ks 9s 4h. I bet $150 and button just calls. Hmm. Pot is about $450 at this point.

Turn is 8d. I consider betting enough to put him all in (and probably should have, as we're both basically committed anyway if I bet the pot and he calls) but instead I bet $500 and button just calls again.

River is the evil, evil Qs, putting Ks 9s 4h Qs on the board. I pre-emptively grab my junk, as I'm thinking his flush draw got there, as I can't conjure up many hands he might play this way that I'm ahead of, other than KJ or maybe JJ/1010, and those are a stretch. He's only got $300 or so left, though, so I go ahead and bet enough to put him all-in, as I'm committed to calling regardless.

Button insta-calls and rolls over K10o, and nearly a grandusand is shipped my way. Umm, okay...

Ten mintues or so later I raise to $75 preflop with 1010 and button calls with AKs, as well as a call from the SB with 33. Dreamy rainbow flop of A 10 3 leads to more grandusands being sent my way.

Donked around a bit more until ScurvyWife got home from art school and then shut it down for the night.

(Lest it sound like all these mini-shots of mine are always successful, that ain't true. At all. Two different times when I jumped up to 20/40 short in the past I donated my entire $800 buy-in, once in about 15 minutes. So, you know, bad things can also happen when taking shots, yo, and eventually will happen to me, again, as in the past.)