Monday, June 30, 2008

No Tournament Birthday Love

So yesterday was my birthday. Yay, me. Creeping ever closer to 35, which is halfway to 40. Jebus. How in the world did that happen?

Playing a $1,500 NL tournament at the Rio wasn't going to work schedule-wise, so I played the $540 deep stack tournament (sorry, Roman overlords, but I refuse to refer to it as a "megastack" tournament no matter what you say) yesterday at Caesar's instead. 50 minute levels and 15,000 starting stacks made for quite a bit of play. Which was good, because I needed every single bit of it to keep my head above water as long as I did.

I was pretty surprised at the quality of play, as I expected it to be similar to the Venetian deep stacks tourneys I played back in April (which had the inevitable dead money but all in all had pretty competent players) but no, not so much. We lost three or four players in the first few hours who called off all their chips with hands like K10 on a K high flop, 88 on a Q 10 4 flop, etc.

I managed to lose a good chunk of my stack in the second level (about 8K) when I flopped top set but couldn't chase out a guy with the nut flush draw, who got there on the river. For the next 8 hours or so, I was rocking a pretty short stack, usually between 5K and 15K, and teetering on the brink the whole damn time.

For most of that time the biggest hand I had to work with was 22, but I managed to steal and re-steal enough to stay on life support. Frustrating, though, as I needed a double up (or three) to have any breathing room and just couldn't get it, or even find a decent enough hand to make a stand with facing early action, as I was more than ready to lump it in with something like 89s, J10s to try to double or end my misery.

I did have sort of a funny hand at the 200/400 level, when I was sitting on about 7,200. It folded around to me in the CO and I had 6h8h, and the blinds were super-super tight older guys. I'd been folding for about an hour myself, so it was a pretty safe assumption that the blinds would get out of the way unless they had a really strong hand.

My only worry was the button, who was the stereotypical clueless poker fanboi, who didn't shut up from the moment he sat down and told some long-winded story about Phil Laak but kept insisting his nickname was "The Jackal", talked about his high level strategy plays such as running a "stop and start", and so on. He was kinda steaming after he got caught bluffing in a hand (after he was re-raised he tanked for a long time, but kept checking his watch while he was in the tank, and finally folded then told the table that the "punishment" for re-raising him was that he'd make you wait at least 3 minutes before he acted) and had been over-shoving a good bit.

My stack was kinda awkward-sized for shoving so I opened for 1,200, ready to turbo-muck if either of the super-tight old dudes woke up as I could still limp along with 6,000 and blinds of 200/400 and raising much more than 1,200 leaves me pretty committed. Button and SB folded but BB instantly perked up and shoved, and I dwelled a bit to look appropriately pained and mucked.

Standard enough, except Fanboi starts clapping and congratulating the old guy, saying something along the lines of "Man, great read. Soul read." And kept on chattering about it for five minutes or so, until I finally couldn't help myself and asked him why he thought it was a great read on the BB's part. Looking at me like I regularly ride the short bus, he says "Because he knew you were on air." Mmmkay, fair enough. Super read, sir. You indeed have your finger on the pulse of the table.

After about 8 hours of short stack misery, I finally doubled with JJ versus AK, then got donkfish lucky right before the dinner break, in the BB with A2s and it folded to the SB, who was short-stacked and had been talking for thirty minutes about doubling or going home so as not to have to prolong the misery through the dinner break. He shoves and while I have him covered, it's only by about 10K (and blinds are 1K/2K after the break). I hate calling with A2s there as I'm very likely to be ahead of his range in that spot but only marginally ahead at best. But fuck it, I called, and he actually had AKo, so I'm looking pretty stupid until a 2 flops and holds up.

Won another big pot after the break and finally, nearly 11 hours into play, I'm close to average stack again, with about 60K and average stack of 65K, with about 80 players left and top 45 spots paying. With blinds of 1,500/3,000 I'm in the BB and look down to find KK, which is the biggest hand I've had all day. Of course it folds around to the SB and I'm mentally muttering and swearing when he instantly says "All-in".

He's got about 80K in chips and has been fairly active but not too crazy, and seems to know what he's doing. I pause for a tiny bit trying to make sense of such a ridiculous overshove giving the blinds and our stacks, but hell, I think I need to stop playing poker if I ever fold kings there.

I call and he immediately says "Oh no," which pretty much rules out aces. He instead rolls over J9o, and I immediately get that sinking feeling of dread. J on the flop, 9 on the turn pretty much confirms sinking feeling of dread, and that's all she wrote.

Not really sure what to make of the end there, as it's one of those odd cases where none of it makes sense. He wasn't an idiot or short-stacked and blinds and antes weren't big enough to make such a move very worthwhile, as his normal raise of 3-4xBB would have done the trick if I had nothing. He decides to pull that move for the first time the one time I have a huge hand, on my birthday, after patiently scratching and clawing away all day to keep myself alive and finally picking up some chips (and poised to pick up a ton more), and it proceeds to work out perfectly for him.

So, err, thanks poker gods. I guess I could have gone on a mad coke and hookers binge if I'd gone on to cash big in the tournament, so maybe you really were looking out for me.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

World's Worst Angle Shooter Ever

I never thought I'd say this, but American Airlines actually managed to deliver me to Las Vegas yesterday without screwing up anything terribly. One connecting flight was 45 minutes late leaving the gate but that's pretty small potatoes based on my past experiences with the beast that is AA, so a grudging tip of the hat there.

Checking in at Mandalay Bay went off without a hitch, and I'm digging it so far. Other than being in BFE compared to my usually haunts (Caesar's/Venetian), it's pretty nice, and it's a welcome change to get out of the Bellagio, as backwards as that may sound. Much more eye candy to look at (well, that's not paid for eye candy) and it's nice to be able to grab a cheeseburger and fries in the sportsbook for less than $20, or a coffee and muffin for less than $15.

I got in too late to hit any of the noon tournaments yesterday so I ended up catching up on some PokerRoom work, then played some $1/2 NL at the Mandalay Bay poker room. After about five hours of play I finished down $20 or so, so yeah, not too eventful a session personally, as I won some smallish pots here and there but never really got involved in any big pots.

When I sat down, though, there was already all kinds of shit breaking loose, and it took bout ten seconds to realize why. Two to my right was a super drunk guy drinking Heinekens that was absolutely terrible but had apparently been running over the table, catching flushes, straights, you name it. He'd show his hand every single time, win or lose, would show every time he mucked at any point (even preflop), and exposed his hand two or three times when there was still live action at the table.

So on the down side, we were getting in about 4 hands an hour due to his shenanigans, but he was sitting on about $1,500 and doing everything he could to give it back. I sat down right as he was taking another big pot off the guy to my right, who was a muscley tatted up guy from Brooklyn who was decent but thought he was much better at poker than he really was (like that description doesn't apply to approximately ten million people). Tattoo Guy was pissed about losing the hand but also pissed that another player. Young Asian Kid, also came along for most of the action, as Tattoo Guy had wanted to isolate Drunk Guy.

Tattoo Guy keeps telling Young Asian Kid (who was pretty much the only player at the table who knew what the hell he was doing) "You stay out of my way, I stay out of yours. You take your turn, I'll take mine. We're after him. You understand what I mean? Hey, buddy, you know what I mean? You hear what I'm saying?" And Young Asian Kid keeps nodding at him and trying to shut him up, as he's indeed on that trolley. But Tattoo Guy keeps persisting, as he apparently won't stop asking until he gets a clear verbal declaration as such, until the dealer inevitably steps in and says "Guys, that sounds bad. Play however you want at the table but don't talk directly about stuff like that."

Tattoo Guy doesn't like this at all, especially coming from a female dealer, and he keeps insisting that he can say whatever he wants, as he's the customer, the dealer is there to deal, etc. Dealer calls the floor, the floor warns him, and about fifteen minutes later the inevitable explosion occurs.

Drunk Guy makes his usual open raise to $15 from MP, and Tattoo Guy bumps it up to $40. The BB cold calls (just sat down at the table and hadn't done much noteworthy but he semed kind of inexperiences just from his demeanor) and Drunk Guy calls.

Flop is As 7c 8s. BB checks, Drunk Guy checks, and Tattoo Guy bets out $100. BB check-raises all-in for about $150 more and Drunk Guy gleefully starts talking, saying "Oh man, I have to. I have to. I can't fold this hand." Then he momentarily forgets where he is and has to be reminded of the action so far. He's playing with mounds of dirty stacks and he finally just shoves a huge pile of red chips into the middle after the action is explained to him.

Tattoo Guy instantly says "Call", plain as day. He's sitting right beside me and isn't a quiet dude. So the dealer starts counting out Drunk Guy's dirty stack to see if it covers Tattoo Guy (who had about $300 behind after he led out for $100 on the flop). As she's doing that, Drunk Guy proudly tables Ks 2s and declares "Flush draw" . BB looks around slightly confused, as the dealer is still counting, then tables Ad 8c for top two pair. Tattoo Guy goes real quiet and then reluctantly turns over 10s 9s.

Drunk Guy's raise covered Tattoo Guy, so the dealer finishes counting it and tells Tattoo Guy that he needs to put at least one stack of chips across the betting line to signify that he called all-in. And he pauses for a beat, and you can just see the grimy wheels turning, and then he goes mock-ballistic and bellows "WHAT ARE YOU FUCKING TALKING ABOUT I NEVER SAID I CALLED!"

At first he tries to claim that he said "He called", that he was working the action through in his head and "accidentally said it out loud". (As in "Hmm, brain, what can they have? He check-raised, he called..."). The dealer is absolutely not buying it, but he adamantly swears she's a lying bitch. The floor is called, it's all explained, and half the table is vocally backing the dealer up, saying Tattoo Guy clearly said "Call". For whatever reason, Tattoo Guy singles me out, and says that I was sitting right next to him, what did I think he said?

Sigh. I said he definitely said "Call", not "He called?" or any variation of that. And he immediately responds, "Exactly. I said 'Call', with a question mark. 'Call?' I didn't know if he raised or called. I said 'Call?'" The very best part is that every time he said "Call?", he way overemphasized the rising inflection at the end, but unintentionally did it in a Scooby-Doo voice, which was pretty damn funny to hear, especially in rapid succession.

Floor rules it a call, Drunk Guy spikes a spade to scoop another big pot, and Tattoo Guy eventually gets a forced time-out as he won't stop bitching at the dealer after the hand is over. Drunk Guy unfortunately gets cut off at the bar and immediately racks up his +$2,000 in chips (boo), and no more fireworks for the rest of the night. Well, minus Tattoo Guy coming back from his time-out to buy back in, double up, and then donk off all his chips to Young Asian Kid when Tattoo Guy called a 5 bet shove preflop with just JJ and was of course up against AA, which held up to bust Tattoo Guy.

Moral of the story? Beware the $1/2 NL games at Mandalay Bay, as there are some pretty skilled angle shooters lying in wait for you, trying to take all of your mobneys.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

T-Minus 4 Days

Sweet jebus, time is passing quickly. I keep thinking in my head that while I'm flying out to Vegas on June 28th for the gig covering the 2008 WSOP for PokerRoom, that's still like a month off, so I have plenty of time to take care of assorted stuff before jetting off. Umm, yeah, not so much. Commence the mad scrambling to get tons of stuff done as I won't be back until July 16th.

Which is a long damn time. The wife is coming out July 1st-July 6th, so that'll be nice, but I'm already dreading being away from home that long. my birthday is June 29th, so it'll kind of suck to be away all by my lonesome for that. On the work side of things, I'm pretty excited, as it's much different than last year when I set sail and had absolutely no idea what to expect, and things are a lot more structured and planned out this year, much less intimidating, and all that good stuff.

Plus I'm looking forward to actually playing some poker, and with the sale (finally) of the last flip house I did, I actually have a bankroll to work with on this trip, as opposed to the last few trips where I was playing on a pretty short roll. I've flipped-flop a bit on whether to play some of the $1,500 donkaments or whether to instead hit more of the smaller Caesar's/Venetian deep stack events. I guess I'll just see what happens once I get out there. I'm going a bit early and should have a solid 3-4 days to splash around before the work portion of the trip kicks into high gear with the Main Event.

As far as the online pokers, I think I managed to burn myself out a bit. Results are still pretty decent, but I'm falling into the same pattern as last month, with very nice results for the first 20 days or so of the month and then a crash-and-burn day torpedoing things, followed by pressing too hard to get things rolling again, yada yada yada. I've been mixing in some $1/2 tables and some 6 max tables, trying to mitigate the monotonous grind of pretty ABC $100NL full ring play, but with mixed results so far. I'll probably shut down the online play soon
for the month, and with rakeback I'm liking at about a +$2,000 month. Which is nice, indeed, but I've been playing a ton, so the hourly rate is in the neighborhood of $15/hour. Which is kind of grindy, and points to me needing to work harder on my game, as I definitely should be showing a better profit than that.

I feel a bit wheel-spinny at the moment as the online bankroll is healthier than its been in many moons, and I could comfortably sit in $2/4 games. Until I can consistently beat the crap out of .50/$1 games, though, it seems pretty foolish to play any higher, especially given my propensity for blow-up days (and the resulting fallout) that I can't seem to completely work out of my monkey system.

It's nice to grind up the bankroll a bit, don't get me wrong, but in the end it all comes down to opportunity cost, as far as whether I could be making more money doing any number of other things, or, heaven forbid, doing something fun for the sole sake of having fun. Although the recent purchase of an Xbox360 and GTA4 and Guitar Hero have definitely helped out with that last quandry.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Find the Best PokerStars Marketing Code

If you're looking for the Best PokerStars Marketing Code, an obvious place to start would be The site offers exactly what it promises, which is a PokerStars Promo Code that gives new players the following:

* $50 bonus on your first deposit (100% match up to $50)

For Spanish speakers, check out Pokerstars Codigo.
Promo codes and marketing codes can be pretty helpful to new players as they learn the ropes, as the extra bonus money can definitely keep your head above water as you work on various aspects of your poker game.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lots and Lots of Poker

Congrats to all of the BBT winners below, courtesy of Al:

TuscaloosaJohn - Player of the Month for March - $2k WSoP Package
SirFWALGMan - Player of the Month for April - $2k WSoP Package
TuscaloosaJohn - Player of the Month for May - $2k WSoP Package
OMSitsPokerFool - Tournament of Champions - Main Event Seat Package
Loretta8 - Tournament of Champions - Main Event Seat Package
katiemother - Tournament of Champions - $2k WSoP Package
oossuuu754 - Tournament of Champions - $2k WSoP Package
lightning36 - BBT Freeroll - $2k WSoP Package

And a huge thanks to Al for not only being instrumental in putting all this together but keeping it lurching along, providing updated leaderboards, and all the other crippety crap that goes into such an endeavor.

Played a ton of poker of late, with nice steady gains on the cash side of things and some near misses on the tourney side. Made the final table of the BBT Freeroll but was short-stacked and shoved with pocket fours, only to run into aces. The uglier one was the weekly freeroll on Full Tilt for their Main Event Race promotion, which pays out $10,000 packages to the top 3 finishers. You can play your way in via the prelim freerolls or if you pick up 3,000 FTP points in a week you get a ticket that lets you enter the final directly. Not terrible odds, as the finals last week got about 450 entries, so it's not a complete crapshoot as far as trying to wade your way through a freeroll with 5000+ entries.

I hung around for the first few hours then went on a pretty big heater with about 100 people left and was top ten in chips. Lost a huge pot with AA vs. AKo (K K 4 flop, and a K on the river just to rub it in) that would have given me a big chip lead, then lost another huge pot with 1010 on a 10 J 5 flop, when someone with 87o decided that was a great spot to call off all their chips.

But I managed to double up with a pretty steamy shove with 55, then chipped back up and was average stack with 17 players left, and still very much in the thick of things. Until I decided that I could shove someone off a flop of Qc 8c 8h when they led out weakly into a decent pot, coming over the top with my pocket sixes. Not goot timing at all for a move like that when someone is holding pocket queens. Not goot at all.

Pretty bad and annoying, for all the obvious reasons. Just didn't need to do that, by any stretch of the imagination, especially when sitting in decent shape with a 1 in 6 shot at a Main Event seat.

Still plugging away at the $100NL grind, which continues to be pretty profitable if not insanely exciting. I'm still struggling a bit with stacking off with overpairs (which I guess anyone at any level can likely say with 100% accuracy) but have slowly been beating the lesson into my head that at the lower levels, more often than not people are representing exactly what they have.

Yeah, sure, I can talk myself into a shove with KK on a 10s 8s 5h flop when my continuation bet is met with a pot committing re-raise from an oppponent who just smooth called pre-flop, but more often than not villain has a set. Sure, he could be on a flush draw, sure he could have jacks or queens, sure, he could be an aggro push monkey and have AK, but more often than not he's got exactly what he's representing, which is a set.

Very elementary, I know, but it's part of the larger reason why I'm still grinding away at $100NL, which is trying to be more patient at the tables. Strip away everything else and the real reason that more people aren't winning players is simply the lack of patience more than the ability to calculate implied odds or reading hands. Grinding out a ton of hands is reinforcing that, as my losing sessions are almost always when I'm my own worst enemy, losing a few buy-ins early to coolers or draws that don't get there and then pressing too hard trying to get it back, pushing thin edges (or non-existent edges) trying to get unstuck. I haven't quite yet beaten all of that out of my system, thus the continued toiling at $100NL.

Other than poker, not a whole heck of a lot going on. We closed on the last flip house I bought on May 30th, but are waiting for the state of Texas to get off its ass as far as officially wrapping it up, as they keep delaying paying the title company the relocation money owed to the buyers of the house, whose old property was seized by the state to build a toll road. Very frustrating as the state keeps promising that the money will show up tomorrow at noon, tomorrow comes, no money, they swear it'll be there the next day, no money, yada yada yada. Not really concerned about the money showing up, sometime, as it's virtually guaranteed, but the delays are pretty damn annoying as I'm so ready to be completely done with that project and get my hands back on all the money invested in it plus the extra greedy monkey profits.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

You Picked the Wrong Time for That, Slick...

Pauly's latest post mentioning Eskimo Clark and Terrence Chan's Event #5 tale of asshatery at the tables jogged a few of my remaining brain cells as far as stuff I meant to blog about from my last trip out to Vegas for the WPT Championships but never got around to.

Those are obviously different tales with their own lessons, but both revolve around the ability of poker to bring out the absolute worst in people. Great game, love it tons, but man, hang around a tournament room or cash game tables for a few days and it's hard to not leave a slight bit saddened at the behavior of your fellow primates at the tables, whether it be from angles shot, general douchebaggery, or the general toll the gambling jones takes on many folks.

My last foray to Vegas was no exception, but it was sort of funny for once to see people immediately get back some of the negative mojo they were shooting out into the cosmos. I always like to believe that shiity behavior comes back to perpetrators in spades, and maybe it does in the long run, but you usually don't get to witness it quite so directly.

Karma is a Bitch: Exhibit A

Deep stack tournament at the Venetian, probably 5 or 6 hours in. Two younger WPT fanboi guys got moved to my table to the 7 and 8 seats (I was right next to them in the 9 seat), and I'm 95% sure they already knew one another, or else had played at the same table for awhile as they were talking as they came over and continued to quietly talk after they sat down.

It was a little annoying as they were discussing their takes on what people were holding as the hand was live, but they were doing it pretty quietly. Sitting next to them, I could hear them, as could the 6 seat, but I doubt anyone else at the table could actually hear what they were saying. Stuff like "There's no way he's got an A, he'd have raised pre-flop", "He's full of shit," etc. Kind of out of line but they were trying to impress one another with their mad hand reading skillz more than anything else.

So that went on for maybe 15 minutes or so before an older guy at the table finally piped up and complained, something along the lines of "You guys have been talking since you sat down, cut that shit out" and a couple of people at the other end of the table voiced their agreement. And of course the two culprits fall all over themselves reassuring him that they weren't even talking about poker or hands, they were talking about the NBA playoff game, yada yada yada, bullshit bullshit bullshit.

One of the fanbois, though, obviously didn't appreciate the old dude calling him out. It didn't help that the old dude was on a monster heater and had been hitting everything and building up a huge stack. The next hand was disgruntled fanboi's big blind, and the old guy raised it up from early position for what seemed like the 2 millionth time in the last few orbits. Disgruntled fanboi mutters "Watch me run a stop and go on his fucking ass" as the old guy is putting his raise out there.

Everyone folds, disgruntled fanboi calls, and the flop comes K K 8. Disgruntled fanboi insta-shoves, overbetting the pot by about 5x. The old guy sits there for a few seconds, bemused, and finally says "You picked the wrong time for that, slick. I call" and tabled KK for quads.

Karma is a Bitch: Exhibit B

We were close to a break at a $300 tournament at Caesar's and my table had just broken. Backing up a bit, we were five or six hours into the tournament and getting reasonably close to the money bubble, which was an hour or two away. I'd had a pretty big stack the whole way but just lose to monster pots with AA versus A7s and QQ versus 1010, so I was about average stack and a little bit pissed.

An hour or so earlier there'd been a big brouhaha at the table behind us. I have no idea what really went down, but a guy made a huge scene, yelling and screaming and berating the dealer. He claimed that because the dealer screwed up a dead blind situation, he'd paid a blind twice, that it happened when he was in the bathroom but he'd counted his chips and knew exactly what he had, and that he'd wrongly paid a blind twice.

Again, I have no idea what happened as it wasn't my table, and from the way the floor and dealer were reacting, I think he was actually probably right, as they were apologetic but basically telling him it wasn't fixable at that point, as he was away from the table when it went down and too much action had occured, as it was a few hands later when he returned and freaked out. Assuming he was right, yeah, he has a legitimate beef, but he was way over the top, and was absolutely unloading on the dealer, saying she should be fired for that, she was incompetent, she didn't deserve to be allowed to breathe, etc. He also wasn't desperately short-stacked nor were the blinds that huge, so whatever happened didn't substantially alter his chances. Plus he was the one who decided to take a stroll and blind off anyway.

So he finally shut up after about 15 more minutes of grousing and everything went smoothly after that for an hour or so. My table breaks, I get my new seat card, rack up my chips, and stand up and check my cell phone. I'd swapped 25% with a friend and he'd texted me a few times to see where I was at, as he'd busted early and taken off.

I'm reading his texts and all of a sudden someone is standing next to me, way too close, and they snatch the seat card out of my hand. I look up and it's Freakout Guy, who's now yelling at the dealer to call for the floor, and that I'm intentionally stalling to try to avoid playing my big blind. Then he walks my seat card about ten feet to the new table, smacks it down at my spot, and he swaggers back to his chair.

I was honestly more perplexed than anything, as literally ten seconds had elapsed from me racking up to checking my cell phone, and a few other people at my old table still hadn't even racked up yet. The dealer is just waiting, looking at me with a weary expression on her face, and I'm like "I'm just checking my phone" and she says "I know." So I sit down, pay my blind, and everyone else is shaking their heads and chuckling.

Freakout Dude is sitting three to my left and giving me the stink eye for the next few hands. The floor announces that its the last hand before a break, and Freakout Dude is in the BB. Folds around to me and I have 88. I briefly considered just folding and taking a stroll during the break, as I was a bit below average stack now and still a bit steamy from the two big pots I'd lost plus Freakout Dude's behavior.

But folding seemed way too weak so I bumped it up 4x BB, and it folded around to Freakout Dude, and of course he insta-shoved. To be honest, his shove really was too much for me to call, as it was more than half my stack to call and I'd only been at the table for a few hands and had no real idea what his range was. If I called and lost I'd be rocking a pretty short stack. It was really close, as far as calling, but not quite there.

In the end, though, the "Screw it, I call" line of thinking won out. And I have to admit that part of me was thinking, "Come on poker karma, I can't pretend that I entirely believe in your existence but, you know, one time." So I finally called and was fairly happy to see him turn over AJs. Not so happy when a J was the door card on the flop, but it came with a 9 and a 10, so I was open-ended and hit my straight on the turn when a 7 peeled off.

Which obviously didn't please Freakout Dude much, but he surprisingly packed his stuff up and left quickly without too many words. I guess it would have been a funnier story if I'd picked up a huge hand in the big blind to bust him when he ensured that I was there for a big blind, but I'll take any sort of poker karma that I can get.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Holdem Manager 1, PokerTracker3 0

It pains me to say it, but I finally had to give up on PokerTracker 3. Take what follows with a grain of salt, as many people love PT3 and have had no issues whatsoever, but I had serious problems with it from Day 1, and finally jumped ship to Holdem Manager when there seemed to be no real resolution on the horizon.

Just my two cents, but PT3 felt like it was released far too early, as the forums show many folks experiencing the same issues that I did, which were the HUD flat out not working and eating resources to the point that my entire system would essentially freeze up. You're going to have some minor bugs and tweaks with any major new release but that's a pretty fundamental issue, and it's one that impacted many people playing on a variety of systems on a variety of sites. When a beta/patch was finally released to address assorted issues, it actually created more problems for me than it solved, as the HUD was still not functioning correctly and the entire PT3 program started randomly crashing every 12-20 minutes.

I was a big fan of PT2 and loved the support and quick action on any issues that cropped up, but that definitely wasn't my experience with my PT3 issues. Two of my support tickets have been unanswered for weeks and they're still actively selling licenses for a product that is non-functional for some users. I'm completely guessing here, (and too lazy to do any investigative legwork) but it feels like someone bought the original product from the creator at some point in the recent past and is a bit over their heads in general, releasing it too early and unable to quickly address some of the major issues cropping up.

But, like I said, your mileage may very. Lots of folks are tickled with PT3 and it's working flawlessly for them. I unfortunately wasn't one of them. If you're on the fence, it might be better to wait a few months before moving over to PT3, as I imagine they'll get many of the kinks eventually worked out that some users are currently experiencing with the product as it now stands.

As far as Holdem Manager, I'm more than pleased so far. It's not as slick and finished looking as PT3 but I've had no performance issues at all, it's got tons of stats and filters, graphing functions, integrated HUD, all that good stuff. Not the prettiest or slickest software but so far it's fast and it flat out works, which is all I'm really looking for.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Downswongs, the WSOP, and Yard Sales, Oh My!

The wife and I are in the thick of Operation De-Clutter and Downsize and had a big yard sale this last Saturday. Aside from raking in nearly $300 for a bunch of useless crap, there was the added fun of being reminded just how bat-shit crazy many people are. I need to find a way to invisibly view such things, hiding in some sort of camouflaged, air-conditioned duck blind, so that I get to enjoy all the crazy but never have to, you know, actually speak to anyone.

Overweight lady reeking of displeasure with the world: How much do you want for this vacuum cleaner?

Me: Three dollars.

OLRoDwtW: Does it work?

Me: I have no clue. Probably not. It hasn't been used in years. That's why it's three dollars.

OLRoDwtW: Will you take two dollars for it?

Me: Sold.

(OLRoDwtW returns 20 minutes later, full of rage, dragging the vacuum cleaner behind her like an orphan waif who had just unleashed a foul load into their Huggies.)

OLRoDwtW: This doesn't work.

Me: Huh.

OLRoDwtW: I want my two dollars back.

(Hands her two dollars)

OLRoDwtW: I can't believe you'd sell someone a vacuum cleaner that doesn't work.

Me: ...

I also particularly enjoyed the people who'd eyeball stuff on the free table, consider it from all angles, and then ask how much I wanted for it. When told it was free they'd immediately drop it as if it was literally crawling with monkey pox, jumping away and giving me the stink eye for obviously trying to shoot some angle by unloading free crap on them.

Finished the month of May with a little over $3,200 in profit + rakeback from my adventure into $100NL full ring poker. Observant readers will notice that not only is that number well shy of my goal of $5K but a good bit below where I was at last report. Yes, indeedy...

I was just about to post on how I'd managed to avoid any major downswings or monkey tilt episodes for the month, when BOOM, downswong. I managed to drop about $1,300 over two days when very, very little went right. Like most kicks to the bankroll junk, it started with a string of coolers, draws that didn't get there, and similar somewhat unavoidable things, then got pushed into Wafflesian territory when the truly riduclous started piling on.

You'd think holding As 8s on a flop of Ks 4s 10s would be a good thing, especially when the idiot monkey at your table came over the top of your standard $5 continuation bet and shoved his entire $200 stack into the middle, holding just 3d 3h (really, I swear). And it normally would be a good thing, except when the turn is the 10d and the river the 10c to give him a boat.

Or flopping a set of 10s on a 10 8 4 rainbow flop, and leading out with your monster only to have a similar monkey shove his entire stack into the middle with J2o, only to catch a 9 on the turn and a Q on the river for a straight.

Don't get me wrong, though, I played like ass at that point and brought most of the losses on myself. Suddenly unable to lay down big overpairs to squeaky tight players that obviously have a huge hand, calling off entire stacks with just naked ace flush draws, and similar feats of donkery.

Which was pretty ironic timing, as I was about to post about how playing a much higher volume of hands was helping to reduce any tilt or stupid play on my part when I was running slightly bad. If you're only playing 3,000 or 4,000 hands a month, it's very possible that you can run epicly bad and lose every time you sit down to play, junk kicked repeatedly, through no fault of your own.

When you get in 50,000 hands a month, a lot of the variance gets smoothed out, and it's much easier to stay focused and avoid dumb plays, as even when you drop 3 or 4 buy-ins to start off a session it's just a drop in the bucket and you know you can grind it back as long as you get the hands in at the tables.

Easy to say, hard to accomplish, which I found out there at the tail end of the month. Pretty disappointing, all in all, but I did get my head back on straight and June is starting out well. If you'd have told me I'd take down around $3,200 for the month when I started the experiment I'd have been very happy with that, so I can't gripe too much. Chalk it up to a lesson learned and try to avoid it next time. (And yes, I already knew the lesson; the only "new" info is that I'm still unable at times to follow my own advice as far as not chasing losses, not playing pissed off, yada yada yada.)

The early WSOP reporting has definitely got me jonesing to be about their, as it sounds like Caesar's is running a pretty tight ship this year. I'm flying out June 28th to meet up with some of the PokerRoom staff before their players descend, so I should have a few days to gamble it up before getting to the grind of covering the Main Event for the PokerRoom blog.

Getting a press pass has been an absolute nightmare this year, as the firm Caesar's hired to handle the media application/approval process seem intent on making the process as painful and difficult as possible. I've bitched about this before but the attitude of nearly all the poker-powers-that-be to the media has to be one of the sickest ironies of the sports/entertainment world, as never have I seen any organization(s) consistently make it so hard for them to be given free, valuable publicity, time and time again.

Flying back on July 16th, so I imagine I'll be more than sick of Vegas by then, but for the moment I'm really looking forward to it. I'll likely be somewhat busier this year as PokerRoom is sending a ton more players this time, but they're also sending more bloggers to spread the workload around, so hopefully it'll be a wash. One cool part about my gig with them is that I do end up hanging out with players on all the trips throughout the year, and a lot of those players have managed to qualify for the WSOP, so it'll be cool to see them again at the Main Event.