Saturday, July 30, 2005

Saltillo Tile and Drawing Donkeys

Today's been an interesting day.

I managed to get our front walkway all spiffy looking with Saltillo tile today. Still need to grout it and cut a few pieces for the front edge, but it's basically done, and looks pretty decent. I haven't done any tile work since 1999, but, you know, it ain't exactly rocket science.

The interesting thing was the juxtaposition of now and then, doing basically the same grunt manual labor I did way back when, but under much different life circumstances. And things were decent enough back then (ignoring rampant drunkeness and minimum wage jobs and doomed relationships going nowhere), but sweet Jebus, I need to work harder at being aware and grateful of just how good things are right now, in nearly every single way.

It's also good to know that I still like actually installing tile, but still absolutely hate mixing mortar. Need to procure a helper monkey.

Pokerwise, it's been one of those welcome days where I can basically do no wrong. Had a nice cash in a Prima MTT earlier, solid sessions at 15/30, and a pretty crazy run at short-handed 5/10. Barring an implosion tomorrow (and I may do the cowardly thing and simply not play), July's shaping up to be a pretty decent poker month, despite all the travails and frustration.

Need to remember that poker and beer are always more enjoyable after a day of real, honest-to-Jebus physical labor.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Me Gamble Good Sometimes

I've gotten into the habit of making silly sucker parlay bets on baseball on Thursdays, largely to pass the time in the office since there are so many afternoon games. I keep up with baseball in a general sense, but by no means am I in any sort of position to be wagering on games.

To make matters worse, I bet on baseball in the same way I bet on horses. If I can find a reasonable combination that potentially pays off big, I'm all over that. And yes, obviously, I can stretch the definition of "reasonable" very, very widely.

So yesterday's silly $5 parlay was involved picking the following games, straight up, with my picks in bold:

Washington vs. Atlanta
Arizona vs. Chicago
Cincinnati vs. Los Angeles
Texas vs. Baltimore
Pitssburgh vs. Florida

Ba-bam. 5 for 5, baby.

Mr Lincoln, meet Mr. Franklin. He'll be taking your spot in my wallet today. Go emancipate some people or something.

I wonder what Bob Horner is doing these days? It's funny reading BSN and SpaceMan professing their love for the horrible Atlanta Braves of the 1980s, in that window after they suddenly got good and made the playoffs in 1982, but before they really got good in 1991. I loved those teams, watched every game on TBS I could, despite the fact that it was a good year if they won 70 games. While Dale Murphy was the obvious man, I always really liked Bob Horner for some reason, maybe his goofy hair. And, you know, he could hit a little, too. I'd like to imagine he went back to school and got a law degree or invested well but I imagine he's a general contractor these days, or owns a swimming pool cleaning company, or something similar.

This has been a very good poker week thus far, knock on wood. A good part of it is the variance pendulum swinging the other way, methinks, but I'm also playing a bit better, especially out of the blinds. That's one of those things I kept reading in assorted poker books, as far as blind play separating many winners from losers at mid stakes games and higher, but always glossed over, largely because no one spends a lot of time discussing blinds play, at least not in a detailed sense. Probably more on this in a future post.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Danny "Donkey" Nguyen

So last night I was fairly wiped out from water park fun yesterday, played a wee bit of poker, wasn't into it, and ended up watching the Travel Channel broadcast of the 2005 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars tournament, which I hadn't seen before.

Good lord.

Danny Nguyen, I'm sure you're a much better poker player than I'll ever be, but that was pitiful. I'm all for being aggressive but calling all-in bets with complete garbage hands isn't playing aggressively, it's playing like a donkey. Sure, be aggressive, play lots of hands, wield that big stack, but dude, let it go when someone plays back at you for all their chips. I'm sure that million bucks spends just the same, whether you needed runner runner seven to win it or not, but Jebus, that was some ugly poker.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the Blogger commenting system? Dude, go look at LiveJournal. See how that works? The whole comment thread, like you have, but the ability to respond via an email client, which also publishes the comments back on the blog? Rip that idea off and implement something similar. It's cumbersome as hell to reply to comments with another comment, forcing all parties to keep checking comments in old posts. Which means that lazy monkeys like myself tend to not reply to comments, which completely defeats the purpose of the whole interactive blog thang.

Catching up/responding to a few comment threads, in no particular order:

  • I'm still data mining the hell out of 15/30 and 30/60 Party games. I'm closing in on 300,000 hands at those levels, with the bulk being at 15/30. I used to be anti-data mining, by and large, but I'm pretty much a confirmed convert at this point. I think the usefulness increases exponentially as you move up in limits, for all the obvious reasons. Saving a BB (or extracting an extra BB) each hour at 2/4 isn't that enormous an edge, as far as saving $4, but suddenly it starts affecting your hourly earn pretty dramatically when it's $30.

    I'd guesstimate that I usually have at least minimal data on half the table when I sit down at a 15/30 table, generally with more than 1,000 hands for 1-3 players. The data itself is generally most useful in pretty narrow circumstances, as for most players it's reasonably generic, just gives broad tendencies, shouldn't be relied on solely for a decision, all that jazz.

    Where I find myself leaning on mined data the most is usually when defending blinds, especially in the BB when I call a raise and it's heads-up. If it's a tight player who likes to steal, I'll be much more likely to run a bluff check-raise on the flop (and lead the turn if he/she just calls), since the odds are great they'll just fold to the check-raise and abandon the steal. I'll also be more inclined to defend with complete crap in that scenario, knowing that I can eaither get lucky with the flop or try to run a bluff check-raise if the flop misses me. If it's a comfirmed LAG facing me in that situation, though, and the flop completely misses me, I'll just check-fold in that same situation, or simply fold to the raise pre-flop.

  • Glad to hear assorted folks are doing well with the casino bonuses. If you do your homework and maintain discipline, they're definitely +EV, and a nice way to quickly boost the poker bankroll. I know, you doubters think I'm crazy, I know, it seems ridiculous, but if you pick the right situations it's absolutely no different than sitting at a fishy poker table. You won't always win, and sometimes you'll get absolutely clobbered, but if you keep iinserting yourself in +EV situations you'll make money in the long run. It's just a matter of being careful and making sure it's a +EV situation.
  • Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Raise Your Hand

    Guess who's not at work today? *raises hand*

    Guess who's going to Schlitterbahn today with their wife? *raises hand*

    Guess who had their quarterly review yesterday, which was somehow, shockingly, surprisingly positive and good? *raises hand*

    Guess who hit a pat royal last night autoplaying a video poker bonus on a ten line machine (minimum bet size, but still)? *raises hand*

    Them's QUADS, Beeeetches


    In non-annoying, non-taunting news, I managed to book another nice session last night at the 15/30 salt mines. I'm still having a hard time getting my head around the fact that sessions can swing so quickly, literally on the turn of a card. I was stuck from the get-go, thanks to flopping a set that eventually went down in flames in a huge pot. I got dealt KK three times in the first twenty hands, went 0-3, and wasn't feeling all that jazzed about this whole poker thing.

    Fast-forward an hour, a few ridiculous hands later, and I log off +$400 the richer, all happy-happy, feeling that everything is right in the world. A few cards don't go my way, though, and I'm stuck a grand on the day. Interesting, this gambling thing.

    I'm currently working my way through Seven Card Stud for Advanced Players by the S&M boys, which is pretty interesting. Most of the enjoyment, though, is stemming from seeing just how badly I've been playing Stud in my few flings with it. Don't see myself becoming a Stud convert, for all sorts of reasons, but it's always useful to learn more about assorted variants.

    It'll be interesting to see if NL Hold Em continues to dominate the poker scene, as far as the most popular variant. Probably. Aside from amping up the whole competitive/confrontational side of poker, I'd hazard a guesstimate that it actually takes bad players longer to go bust at NL HE than any other variant, (except maybe limit HE, but only if they're smart enough to play within their bankroll). Seems a little counterintuitive, but in many cases it seems to take longer for bad play to be punished at NL, due to variance, lucky drawing donkeys, and what-not.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Jinxey McGee

    At the risk of incurring the wrath of Jinxey McGee, poker is rolling along well for the moment. Strung together some nice sessions at 15/30 and 5/10, minus the junk-kicking downswings that I've encountered recently.

    Did encounter an odd hand at PokerStars last night, playing 5/10 with some overaggressive monkeys. I limped with 55, three of us see a flop of 3 5 8, rainbow. Everyone takes turns raising, betting is capped.

    Turn is a J. Everyone takes turns raising, betting is capped.

    River is a 2. Everyone takes turns raising, betting is capped.

    Winner flips over 88, I had 55, other monkey had 33. Talk about your action flops.

    Be There or Be Square: Grand Casino, Coushatta LA, August 25-27

    All righty then. All systems go for a quick jaunt to Louisiana for some live poker fun at the end of August. I'm going to drive down in the afternoon on Thursday, August 25th and be there through Saturday, August 27 (I'll probably take off mid-afternoon Saturday to head back home.) Staying at the lovely Best Western just down the road in Kinder.

    No real game plan, other than to play tons and tons of poker, as the wife kindly allowed me to fly solo on this jaunt. I'll probably play in the noon tournament they're running on Saturday (details below), despite the slightly oddball structure. Any and all area bloggers welcome to show up and partake in pokery fun.

    Holla if you need more details/information.

    And here be the details for the Saturday tournament, straight from their website:

    Texas Hold ‘em Tournament with a Bounty*
    $500 Added**

    $30 Buy In Plus a $10 Entry Fee
    $30 Receives 1,000 in tournament chips
    One Rebuy at $60 receives 4,000 in tournament chips


    Blinds will increase every 20 minutes. NO LIMIT AT FINAL TABLE

    SCHEDULE OF PLAY – 20 Minute Rounds

    *For every player that you eliminate out of the tournament after the break, you will receive a bounty button that represents $10 in cash
    **$500 will be added with a 30 player minimum

    Prize Distribution:
    1st 50%
    2nd 25%
    3rd 15%
    4th 10%
    ***Monies collected from Dealer Special go toward dealer pool
    This tournament may be cancelled or altered at any time by management.

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    PokerAce Heads up Display (PA HUD)

    I gots to say, me like the new schedule of telecommuting Fridays and Mondays. I've even been good, as far as getting lots of work done and what-not and barely even taking advantage of the cozy situation.

    I was a good poker monkey and installed the new PokerTracker patch, which now supports PostgreSQL databases. Things were getting unwieldly with the size of my database and poor Access creaking and groaning, so it was definitely worth the hassle of switching things over. Although be forewarned, if you have a big database it'll take hours to get everything copied over to PostgreSQL.

    I also switched over from GameTime+ to PokerAce Heads up Display (PA HUD). I like the look and feel of GameTime+ better, but PA HUD is definitely the way to go, as it not only finds active tables on its own but, more importantly, it quickly reads the hand history and flashes the hole cards that opponents mucked on the river without showing, before the next hand is dealt. Sounds like a small thing but man, mucho helpful, especially for lazy monkeys like myself who didn't previously want to go through the work of retrieving tha info for each hand. PA HUD is free (for now) and easy as pie to install and get up and running.

    Didn't play too much poker this weekend, but absolutely murdered a couple of casino bonuses. Continues to embarrass me somewhat, as far as casino bonus riches dwarfing poker winnings, but what the hell, I'll take it.

    Bought ScurvyWife her early birthday/Christmas present this weekend, which was a VAIO laptop. Paid for solely by degenerate winnings, which felt pretty good, all in all. I generally likes to hoard the bullion but there's a good argument to be made for spreading the degenerate wealth from time to time.

    Sunday, July 24, 2005

    State of the Poker Union: July 1-July 24

    So I'm still wrestling with the format a bit, but, as promised, here be the actual, honest to Jebus poker results for my play this month. I ended up biting the bullet and including the full month of results, even the dark, unmentionable times that preceded my feeble threats to kick poker in the junk and stop playing for awhile.

    Total July Poker Results

    July 1st-July 15th: +$1,046
    July 16-July 24th: -$541

    Month to date for July: +$505

    Which looks all right, until you start peeking closer:

    Results for $15/30 for July: -$496
    Results for $5/10 and lower for July: +$526
    Results for MTTs and SnGs: +$475

    If you throw out the oddball MTT win, I'm basically break even for the month. Which is both good and bad, given the swings I've gone through at $15/30. I'm honestly a bit surprised that I'm not further in the hole, as it got pretty bad there, when the beats kept piling up last weekend.

    Here are the daily session results for $15/30 for the month of July:


    Which is basically just a whole bunch of numbers, more than anything. I guess my only reason in posting it is to give some idea of the daily swings I've been going through, and a rough approximation of what to expect. Overall, I'm sitting at about .3 BB/100 for my 15/30 career, so I'm a pretty average poker monkey, I suppose. The only other thing to note is that I haven't played that many hands this month, due to overwhelming busyness, so most of the above sessions are an hour at most, usually in the 30-45 minute range.

    So there you go, as far as my week/month in a nutshell. If you throw out last weekend, it was a good poker week. I think the decision to drop down and play some $5/10 and MTTs/SnGs was a good idea, as far as mixing things up a bit and not let how I fare in the 15/30 games be the sole indicator of success or failure. I've always had pretty good success in the $5/10 6 max games, and, honestly, maybe that's exactly where I should be playing. I'm not throwing in the higher limit towel, by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm also not going to be stubborn and continue playing in a game that I'm not able to currently beat on a consistent basis.

    Friday, July 22, 2005

    I'm a Stud

    PokerStars Tournament #10124449, Limit 7 Card Stud Hi/Lo
    Buy-In: $20.00/$2.00
    70 players
    Total Prize Pool: $1400.00
    Tournament started - 2005/07/22 - 09:30:00 (ET)

    Dear frogalog,

    You finished the tournament in 1st place.
    A $420.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account.


    The funny/sad thing about that (other than the fact the it came in 7 Card Stud/8, which isn't, umm, my best of games) is that it's the first MTT I've ever won. Handful of seconds, a few thirds, assorted final tables, but I'd never actually won a tournament until this morning.

    Too bad it was at 7:30 in the morning, with all of 70 players, but hey, begging monkeys can't be choosing monkeys.

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Harry Potter, Harry Schmotter

    Hmm. Liked the newest Harry Potter book, much better than the last one, but, umm, the crazy emotional dramatic ending? The one you're not suppoed to expect and be torn asunder emotionally by? Meh, not so much. Sort of, umm, expected, once you know that there's an emotional ending that supposed to tear one asunder.

    So the new plan is to start posting poker results on a weekly basis, likely on Sundays, which is when I block out time to review results and all that good stuff. I'm probably going to cheat a bit and start counting as of Sunday, though, so no results until a week after that. Yeah, I know, it's arbitrary but I'd rather start fresh, with a full week of results, instead of including past sessions when steam was pouring out of my ears. Yeah, I know, all results count, and I'll probably have steam pouring out of my ears in the future, too, but I'm using this whole turn over a new leaf thing to, umm, hopefully turn over a new leaf. So that's the plan.

    Did have a nice quick hit and run session yesterday. 44 in the big blind, five limpers then a raise from the SB, everyone calls and I flop a boat that holds up. Me like. Made some nice additional loot on a few video poker bonuses, including finally getting a royal flush while playing manually. Too bad it was at the minimum bet for the game but hey, I'll take it.

    Many thanks to Toby Toby for the blog pimpage, as well as other connections and hookups. You should all go click on every single article on her Poker site, until your fingers bleed, over and over and over.

    I got the official okay to start telecommuting two days a week, starting next Monday. Which means I'll be telecommuting Fridays and Mondays. The more observant of you likely see why this is making me a very pleased monkey right now.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Video Poker Bonuses and Slots, Oh My!

    Only played a wee bit of poker last night, and that was mainly on It's owned by SportingBet, so it shares players with all the other poker sites in that network, along with (I think) a few other sites. Pretty crappy Boss Media software, annoying in all sorts of ways, but it does have an interesting feature that allows you to play in multiple currencies, which, coupled with the fact that it gets casino traffic, seems to encourage a lot of crazy Turk action.

    No, I'm serious. I don't know what it is, maybe something in the water, but many Turkish poker players are absolutely clinically insane. I played at a 8/16 table last night with a guy who kept rebuying for 80, raising and capping every hand, every street, then immediately rebuying. I watched him rebuy 6 or 7 times, before he got on a bit of a roll and ran his stack up to 500 or so.

    Can't say I'd necessarily recommend playing on the site, as the software is highly annoying and they don't offer very good bonuses, but it's sort of like Pacific, as far as the potential monster fish phenomenon, and I play there every now and then when bored.

    I've been working on some BonusBug stuff the last few days, updating assorted things, (including finally updating the Big Honking List of Casino and Poker Bonuses) banging out new strategy guides. New additions include:

  • Strategy for Video Poker Bonuses

  • Strategy for Sticky Casino Bonuses

  • Strategy for Slots Only Bonuses

    I also need to get motivated and activate real estate scheming. Financially speaking, this has been a really good year for myself and ScurvyWife, and we're in the enviable position of having lots of extra money, even after investing and socking away money in IRAs and what-not. I've been rolling around the idea of buying a few lots of lands near Lake Travis and building a small house/cabin. The potential plan is to pay someome to do all the heavy lifting/building, as far as foundations work, framing, electrical, plumbing, etc., but to do the rest of the interior finishing work and landscaping myself, over time. I think I could probably finish it in a year, working a couple of weekends a month, as there'd be no looming deadlines for finishing things up and selling the property. We might not even sell it immediately, especially if I can keep the total cost down by doing lots of the mnkey work myself. But I keep dragging my feet, as far as finding a builder cool with a plan like that, finding a realtor that deals with lots in the area we're looking at, talking to lenders about a potential loan, and all that good stuff.

    Saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last weekend, which was pretty damn entertaining. Almost done with the newest Harry Potter book. Yeah, that's right. I'm a dork like that. Deal with it.
  • Tuesday, July 19, 2005


    So, umm, yeah. That poker "hiatus" lasted all of what, 20 hours?

    Sue me. I recover from weariness well.

    On a serious note, thanks for the supportive comments. Sometimes I feel bad about venting and spleening in blog fashion, as I don't think people should have to put up with me bitching and moaning, but, then again, it is my damn blog.

    I'm just not good at quitting or admitting defeat. I can't say I have an extraordinary, innate talent for anything in the world but I can get pretty damn good at things via sheer dint of dogged effort and stubbornness.

    I have thought about dropping back down from the 15/30 games. The thing is, though, that it's not so much the dollar amounts that are spleening me. The embarrassing thing (given all my moaning) is that I'm still slightly ahead at the 15/30 level. (And I've already admitted to small poker junk, so that's not just posturing.)

    The main thing that's spleening me, and why I was threatening to take a poker vacation, is that I've never worked this hard at poker before, never taken it this seriously, never studied or analyzed this much. Just when I think I'm making progress, seeing the results that I hope to achieve, I hit a vicious run where the very cards seem aligned against me, and everything that can go wrong does, and I get slapped back down with much vigor. And I chip back up, slowly and steadily, only to get beaten down again.

    I can look at it analytically and see that a big part of it is just variance. I'm not always playing optimally, especially in the midst of a bad run, but I'm not that far off. I'm just not.

    An extra wrinkle is that I've been pushing myself hard to maintain pretty aggressive play, more so than I ever have before. Read and study and analyze enough and there's no getting around the fact that hyper aggressive online play wins in the end, especially at mid and high stakes. But it also amps up the variance knob, too, which is the dark underbelly that no one really likes to discuss in forums and post about on blogs. While it's great to spout off about capping from the button with QJs and taking down a huge pot when some muppet keeps playing back at you to the river with an unimproved AK versus your flush, that's not the normal outcome. I'm not saying it's bad play, as it's a very smart play in the right conditions, it's just not the whole story. You're leaving out all the times you have to fold that QJs on the flop, and the times that the muppet actually has a hand, a bigger flush, and you end up looking like a hyper aggressive idiot that overplays hands without giving their opponents a sliver of credit. You're leaving out the chapters where hyper aggressive play leaves huge chunks in your bankroll, when you don't post a winning session for days and days and days. In the end, sure, your junk is huge and you make lots of money playing poker, but you're leaving out more than a few of the tragic chapters in between.

    But I digress.

    The main thing is that I need to get my monkey head around the variance issue, embrace it, coddle it, talk nice to it. I also need be smarter about when/what I play. I still knock out an occasional bonus at lower limits and I need to be more selective about when I play 15/30 and when I bang out some hands at 2/4. When I'm fresh and ready to do battle and have a few hours to do so, then fire up 15/30. When it's late and I'm tired or running like crap or in less than a stellar mood for whatever reason, bang out some hands at 2/4.

    I also need to have more fun, per this fine post from Otis the Wise. This is completely my fault, in nearly every way. I've put myself on this little poker island of my own creating, not taking advantage of any of the social benefits of the whole poker blogger phenomenon. And there are reasons, mainly limited time in general for poker amongst all other life obligations, so it doesn't all spring from misanthropic tendencies, but damn, I suck. I'm still embarrassed and filled with the shame that I managed to spend so little time hanging out with bloggers in Vegas. Again, reasons abounded, but still, my fault, when you get down to brass tacks. I'm way too prone to bemoan the fact that I feel like I really have no one to talk poker with, especially about jumping up to higher levels, when damn, fool, there's a whole wide world of people out there to talk to.

    I also may steal a page from the book of Grubby and start posting daily/weekly poker results, as soon as I can think of some non-annoying way to do that. It's one thing to bitch and moan about people only posting selective results from daily play at higher limits, but it's sort of a pot kettle black conundrum. It'll be useful to me, methinks, as far as focusing up my play a bit, knowing the results will be broadcast for the whole world to see, as well as useful (hopefully) to anyone contemplating playing at 15/30.

    I'm also going to set aside a day for posting two interesting hands, one which I think I played well and one which I think I butchered, with my thought process for both. Again, the whole pot kettle black thing. It's pointless to gripe about blogs and forums lacking good, real-world examples of both ends of the spectrum when I'm not even doing that myself. And yeah, sure, even what I think is "good" play can likely at times be laughable and worth of being poker with a stick. So laugh and poke away. Learn me.

    Monday, July 18, 2005


    I was all primed to type up a big honking post, lamenting all sorts of things, waxing and railing eloquently on any and all things poker related, the dizzying highs and lows, agonies and triumphs, trials and tribulations.

    You know what? Screw that.

    I'm weary of poker. It won this round. Kudos to you, poker.

    I'll be back. But this last week has been brutal, to the extent that I have very little desire to play the game known as poker. I should be happy that people call three bets cold pre-flop with 36o, then cap every street with only a gutshot straight draw, no pair, no flush, nothing, only to hit on the river and crack my flopped set of aces. I should be happy that I was dealt AA 14 times on Sunday, only to go 1-13 with them. (And the one hand I won was when I had AA in the BB and everyone folded around to me, which was the first time that happened in thirty minutes or so.)

    Instead I'm just very, very weary. I feel like I'm not only playing with my cards face up, but that someone is setting up the deck while I'm taking a leak, tweaking it to maximize the pain of the eventual outcome.

    I'm weary of reading blogs and forums that deal with mid/high limits, as the vast majority of people who post seemingly informative, helpful info are far too consumed with proving just how big their cocks are, instead of posting anything close to the results they're actually experiencing.

    I'm weary of trying to change things up, and playing some MTTs, getting knocked out 5 spots from the money after fighting and clawing and playing the best poker I can play, when someone seemingly coasting to the money suddenly wakes up and calls off 60% of their stack with 69o, from the button, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, only to river a straight to crack my KK.


    So yeah, some sort of break is in order. I have a ton of projects I need to get rolling, so there's always that to keep busy with. Still want to play more live poker, as that's always fun, even when the results are bad. Still going to keep reading and studying, and all that good stuff. Just not going to expose myself to the weary mines, at least for awhile.

    I also need to come to terms with the larger fact that I'm just not good enough, at this point in time, to consider poker as a viable source of reasonably substantial income. There it is. My cock is that small. I think it's more a lack of willpower than technical skill, but the end result is the same. The real point is that I can't incorporate poker winnings into any long term strategy, as far as employement goes. So I either have to get off my ass and devote more time and energy to business projects or I need to get off my ass and find another day job that's more satisying and fulfilling. Sinking time into poker is fun, by and large, but it's got nowhere near the +EV that other available pursuits have, at this point and time.

    On a brighter note, it seemed like we got a good turnout for the Charlie tourney on PokerStars last night. Many thanks to BG and Iggy for setting that up.

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Whee, Poker Hiatus

    Okay, you win.

    (More later when steam isn't coming out of my ears.)

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Cheese and Whine

    Sorry for the slight slip into waah-land yesterday. Many thanks for the supportive comments. There are much worse things that can befall someone than not making as much money as you think you should be, clicking mouse buttons in an air-conditioned home, drinking a cold beverage.

    I still think Ivey is the horse but damnit, Matusow doesn't appear to be going on. The only glimmer of hope is that he'll make it to the final table with a huge stack and completely crash and burn, reaching uncharted territory of whining, crying, and woe-is-me-ism. Which could b possible, but likely remote, as every monkey sitting down at the final table is guaranteed a cool million bucks at the worst, which can easily soothe lots of hurtsies and ouchies.

    I love all of the shit talking that goes on at Pauly's WSOP blog and other forums. Hey, guess what, doofus? You aren't there. You were lacking in all critical areas that might have possibly taken you to the WSOP main event: courage, skill, and/or luck. I mean, sure, it's your right to throw feces through the bars of the cage and criticize someone for calling an all-in re-raise from Raymer with only AJ, but guess what? YOU'RE NOT THERE. You're talking smack on a blog or forum. Yes, I know, (and I agree, as far as horrible plays going down), but still. Cut people some damn slack. They're at last there, giving themselves a shot.

    It got lost a bit in the general hubbub, but the whole unsolicited $700 million bid for WPT Enterprises by a group that Doyle was somehow involved with was a pretty odd thing. I wouldn't think Doyle would need the extra cash from what appears to be a blatant pump and dump play, but who knows. Makes one wonder exactly how much involvement he really had with the whole thing, or if it was just a probe bet on his part, as far as establishing interest and seeing where everyone stands.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Poison Ivey

    Have to be liking Phil Ivey right now at that big ol' poker tournament that's going on. Part of me has been rooting for Matusow to go down in spectacular bad beat fashion, just to see if he'd cry again, but he's doing well, and that'd definitely be an interesting story, as far as going from a jail cell to the top of the poker world within the span of a year. And there are still a few crazy unknown "Internet" players floating around in the mix, as well as Fossilman lurking with some chips. Good stuff.

    Yesterday was a pretty frustrating poker day. I can't seem to avoid days like yesterday, where I suddenly crater out and wipe out a week of steadily chipping and clawing my way upward. I got some good cards, made some good moves, made some good lay downs, and still got the snot kicked out of me, to the tune of -$700.

    Part of the frustration, I think, is what seems to inevitably happen when I read assorted poker books, get energized, and return to the tables, ready to bring it. Which, sadly, isn't always possible, due to the vaguaries of the cards. Pretty unfortunate timing, though, especially playing with a donk that kept bluff check-raising me, then hitting his two outer on the turn/river, over and over and over.

    I'm pretty good about staying Zen but I'm at a bit of a loss right now. I'm still barely in positive territory in 15/30 land, so I really have nothing to bitch and moan about. I'm still learning. I still enjoy playing and thinking about poker. But I think I need to reset my expectation gauge. Or something. I never expected to immediately start crushing 15/30, but I also didn't expect to spin my wheels to this extent. I still need to get more hands in, though, before I make any sort of judgment, as the sample size is way, way too small to make any conclusions.

    The larger problem, methinks, is that I really need to just slow down, as far as expectations about all sorts of things. This has been a really, really good year, at the poker tables, away from the poker tables, basically everywhere. I need to find a way to be happy and thankful with that, instead of trying to force things. Yes, indeed, I'd love to be pulling in beaucoup cash from the tables and beaucoup cash from my business dealings. But I have to get to 1/2 beaucoup first, before I can even think about achieving beaucoup goodness.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    Tournament for Charlie

    Info and tournament all courtesy of BG:

    What: WPBT "Charlie" Tournament

    When: 6PM EST Sunday July 17th

    Where: PokerStars

    How Much: $20 - every penny goes to charity

    What Do I Get When I Win: The comfort of knowing you're doing something good for someone else

    All proceeds to go to wherever Charlie Tuttle's family wants them. Come on out and play!

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    Blah Blah Babble Babble

    Really nothing of import to relate. Went to Dallas for most of the weekend, visited the in-laws, went to a wedding reception, captured a turtle, yada yada yada.

    I did manage to get through Harrington on Hold'em Vol. 1 and almost all the way through Ciaffone Middle Limit Holdem Poker. Pretty much have to parrot what I'd heard/read about the Harrington, as there's not a whole lot to glean from it if you've been around the MTT block already. Which would be fine, as it's always good to reaffirm certain things and ground yourself, etc, but that book is a little too dang expensive to leave me completely happy with the purchase. I think it's a great book if you're just getting started with NL tournament poker, but not so great if you've played a good bit already.

    Ciaffone Middle Limit Holdem Poker, though, is well worth a read, especially if you're thinking of moving up to $10/20 or higher (which is what he defines as middle limit). It seems more geared to brick and mortar play to some extent, as it gets a little weak-tight in places if you're playing in some of the hyper-aggressive online games, but it's still a good read, with lots of practical examples.

    Managed to squeeze in a tiny bit of poker last night, which was interesting only in relation to being fresh off much pokery reading, ready to buckle down and play my A game. I'd been looking at PokerTracker results, trying to plug assorted leaks, and came to the conclusion that I need to lay off the Ax suited hands when I don't have good position, be willing to drop the wee pairs I try to limp in with from early position but get raised on, and be able to lay down hands like AJs that I open-raise with, when re-raised and capped by other two tight, aggressive players. And of course I sit down and immediately get faced with all of those exact situations within 15 minutes. I only succumbed to temptation once (damn you, A9s), so I guess that's progress, but still sort of funny.

    That's about all I got. Need to dig out from under all sorts of day job and other piled up work, so it may be a light week, poker-wise. Such is life, I suppose.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    World Series of Waah

    Have to say that I definitely agree with the general blogger sentiment, that goes something roughly like "Waah, damnit, waah, what the hell am I doing here while the WSOP is going on? Waah..." Do I feel like I belong there? Umm, no, not really. Does that stop me from stomping around, red-faced, threatening to hold my breath, until I pass out and crack my head on a desk leg? Nope, doesn't stop me for a single second.

    While part of me wishes I'd thrown more money at some satellites, most of me is glad I didn't. I need to remove scared money from the equation, as far as larger buy-in tournaments, and I'm nowhere near the point of being able to do that subtractive math successfully yet.

    I'd be lying, though, if I said I didn't have plans for 2006. 'Cause I do. 'Cause I'm the sort of monkey that likes plans. Especially pokery plans. Mmm, pokery...

    It's a bit of a der moment, but a few things clicked last night, when I was working on assorted projects, playing a little poker, and refreshing Pauly's WSOP blog every ten minutes. I've worked pretty hard in the past to segregate poker from other things, as far as finances (separate bankroll, separate checking account) and in a general life sense as well. I don't have a lot of free time to play poker in, so I generally cram table time in when I can, then run off to accomplish some other assorted task. The whole married thing continues to go really well, so I seem to be handling that fine. My day job is a completely mindless, numbing pursuit devoid of any iota of future ambition or development, but it pays pretty well, considering what I actually am required to do. The business ventures I run in the side continue to do pretty freakishly well, considering the somewhat minimal time I have to devote to them. All in all, everything's in its own respective box and, by and large, playing nicely with one another when there's any overlap.

    And that's worked fine, to a large extent. But I think I'm reaching a point where I have to start looking at poker in a more serious light, especially as it relates to the business stuff, of all things. Too often I end up begrudging the time I spend playing poker, or, conversely, the time I spend working on assorted business projects, when I could be playing poker. Which is natural, but a little backwards, in the grand scheme of things. Profits from a successful business can pay for a buy-in to a tournament in exactly the same way poker profits can. If anything, due to the enormous variance involved in playing tournaments, it's almost preferable to not have to rely on your own poker play to fund you, at least not entirely. It's not very surprising that a majority of the people you see at final tables, even current pros, also own or have owned a successful business in the past.

    Which is a long-winded way of saying that business goals can be poker goals, too, and that scaling assorted poker mountains doesn't have to be limited to reading, studying, and playing poker successfully.

    Or, you know, der...

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Poker Dumb

    Feeling rather poker dumb right now. Not sure what that's all about. It's not related to results, as I've been on nice little upswing lately. I'm reading lots of assorted poker books, pondering lots of things. Not really burnt out or anything like that. I just can't think of anything insightful or useful, whatsover, to expound upon. Der. Poker dumb.

    Thinking about escaping for a little poker vacation on August 18-20 at the lovely Coushatta Casino Resort in Louisiana. I already got the go ahead from the wife to fly solo for a poker weekend, so I'm looking to cram in as much poker playing as possible. They've got a 16 table poker room and also run some decent tournaments on Friday nights/Saturday mornings.

    I'm a pretty piss-poor organizer, but it'd be cool if we could find a weekend that assorted bloggers in the general Texas/Louisiana vicinity could make it for. I could go pretty much any weekend in August, really, other than the weekend of August 6-7. Feel free to holler if there's any potential interest and we could take it from there.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Texas is Approximately the Temperature of the Sun

    It's more than a little odd that I just sat down, fired up the computer, and raked in a +$500 pot, while assorted dudes are simultaneously replacing the roof over my head, making less than $10/hr, working in 103 degree heat.

    Casino Download Bonuses

    For you degenerate blackjack monkeys out there, there's a group of casinos owned by SportingBet offering some pretty nice cashable blackjack bonuses right now, just for downloading their casino. Here's the list, followed by basic details:

    1) $50 free for downloading casino
    2) $50 free for downloading casino
    3) up to $30 free for downloading casino
    4) $50 free for downloading casino

    To get the bonus, download the casino at each site, create an account and deposit a minimum of $50. Then you have to wager a total of $10. Within 48-72 hours (and they usually take the full amount of time to give you the bonus, so don't freak out if it takes a day or two to show up), they'll automatically credit your account with the bonus. They don't notify you by email, the bonus is just inserted into your account.

    To withdraw the bonus, you have to wager 20xb (1000 WR for the $50 bonuses). What's nice is that the software is lightning fast if you increase the speed, so it's very easy to grind through the WR playing BJ with minimum sized bets.

    If you're going to do these you might hurry, as these bonuses appear to be a one-time sort of deal, as an incentive to get players to try out the downloadable casinos.

    If you play poker, all of the above sites also offer poker bonuses, so you can hit the casino side first for the bonus, then bang out some raked hands on the poker side to get the $20 bonuses they offer for playing 200-250 raked hands. Not the greatest poker bonuses, but free money is free money.

    Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    Where is My Mind?

    Let's just say that I'm having a bit of trouble focusing on my day job monkey work this morning. I'm sure I'm alone in this feeling, amongst all the peeps returning to work after a long, extended holiday weekend.

    Got lots of Webby stuff done this weekend on assorted projects. If any of you folks don't have an UltimateBet account yet, I'm running a contest this month over on BonusBug for people creating new UB accounts, giving away a poker chip set and Copag cards. Gotta be a new account, though, and you've gotta click through the links there to be in the running.

    I finally broke down and got a nice 11.5g chip set for myself last week. I'd grabbed a big stack of chips and had just been clinking them together neurotically while playing/working at the computer for a day or two, when my wife pointed out that not only was it cute, but that it was funny that I was playing with $1 chips, when I had a whole rack of $100 chips that would look much more impressive. Good point. So now I neurotically clink together a stack of $100 chips. Because I'm cool like that.

    While I'm getting a goodly bit out of Ciaffone Middle Limit Holdem Poker, there are a few points where I'm left scratching my head, thinking the advice is horribly tight. Especially in regards to blinds play, as far as the range of hands he reccommends to play. I still don't have a good feel for that aspect of play, but at 15/30 (or any limit where the small blind is 2/3 of the big blind) I have to think you should liberally call from the SB with just about anything, especially if there are a few limpers in front of you.

    The chapter on bluffing is pretty interesting, though, as far as particular situations in which to check-call flop bets in order to set up a check-raise bluff on the turn, regardless of what card actually comes. The main point isn't that bluffing is cool and fun but that if you sit there and play tight, aggressive poker, you're leaving money on the table if you don't take a few stabs here and there with complete bluffs when the opportunities are ripe. You're doing all the hard work, playing tight and disciplined, so it's a waste not to take advantage of some of the side benefits of respect that you'll get when you check-raise on a scary looking board.

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    My Country 'Tis of Thee, Sweet Gambling Blissery

    Got all kinds of crippety-crap done in the last four days, not the least of which was logging some good quality gambling time.

    Pretty damn profitable extended weekend, all the way around. It's a little embarrassing that most of it came from video poker, but hey, I'll take it. I was clearing a signup bonus at King Neptune's, auto-playing 50 play Aces and Faces video poker on max coins, when I hit two pat straight flushes within 30 seconds of one another. I also signed up in pounds, which, umm, works out to a goodly number of dollars.

    I've been on a nice, steady upswing the last week or so at the 15/30 tables. Nothing spectacular but I keep stringing together decent sessions, with no real implosions. I can't say I'm doing all that much differently, but I am trying to get the VPIP down a bit, and get the aggression up a bit. Also working on respecting the data I've accumulated a bit more, and not just chalk up aggression to mindless aggression, especially when it comes from obviously tight, aggressive players. I'm calling down with too many second best hands, when it should be obvious that the person representing strength, does, in fact, have strength.

    Got kicked in the junk hard at UltimateBet, though, playing PL Omaha. I need to cut that crap out, as while I enjoy playing Omaha, I really don't have any business playing it, at least not PL with a decent chunk o' money in front of me. For whatever reason, I always seem to get clobbered on UB. I get suckered in to play occasionally due to the mountain of bonus dollars I have stacked up there, but quickly get kicked in the junk and run away for a few months, only to have the process repeat itself later.

    I also bought a chain saw this weekend. Vroom vroom. Or, you know, whatever noise a chain saw males. The mimosa tree in our front yard suddenly decided to shed a big limb, and I'd been thinking about buying a chain saw anyway for general chainsawing.

    Which is just about all I know about that. Time to go enjoy the remaining weekendy goodness.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Thumbs up to 4 Day Weekends

    Thank you, old patriotic dudes, that fought some English peeps and decided throwing a party on the 4th of July was a righteous idea.

    (Technically I'm telecommuting today but Friday before a three day weekend + Quarter ending yesterday + All bosses out of the office = me not doing a damn thing.)

    Many thanks to Scott for hosting a home game for Austin bloggers (plus Big Slick Nuts, who was visiting) last night. I managed to only completely screw up dealing once, and I would have put the over/under at 3, so I guess that's good. That's about the only highlight, though, as dubious as a highlight it is, as I was completely card dead the whole damn night. I think 88 was the biggest hand I picked up the entire evening. April, and Broke Gambler chopped the SnG and I don't know who came out ahead after the cash game, as my $20 donation went pretty quickly, even with Broke Gambler doing his best to re-donate at the end. Good times, though. As I warned previously, I ain't much of a talker, even when enjoying myself (especially when I'm concentrating and trying not to do anything idiotic as far as dealing and all that jazz.)

    I gots to play me some more live poker. 'Tis embarrassing to play the limits I do online and have the live game savvy of a ten year old orangutan.

    Crunched the degenerate numbers for June, which ended up being a bit surprising. Ended up about +$800 as far as poker goes, which was all at 15/30. Add in around $400 for rackback and somehow or other I ended up clearing $1,200 or so. Which, funnily enough, is just about what I'd averaged in the past, hitting up tons of bonuses, grinding out tons of multi-tabled hands at low limits. I honestly didn't think I'd show much of a profit at all for the month, especially after the last prolonged junk kicking I endured. I guess I'm happy to survive with my sanity intact, more than anything, as I was up over +$4,000 at one point, but also stuck about $2,000 at another later point, so I guess I'm ahead of the game.

    That said, I think it may be time for a bit of a break. I really, really need to get some websites up and running for affiliate stuff, and I keep falling into this trap of playing poker in my free time, when I should be working on that stuff. I also want to study some more, get through Middle Limit Holdem Poker, and just generally absorb data and get my head straight, as far as what's most +EV to be spending my time on.

    How much ass does Doyle Brunson kick?

    A lot, that's how much.