Thursday, March 31, 2005

Online Poker Last Night - I'm Back, BABY!

And you wouldn't believe where I ended up -- the no limit tables.

Playing 0.05/0.10 NL - $10 max buy-in is an experience. I must admit I like the fact that it's not the standard a,b,c poker where every move is calculated 99% mathematically. That is not to say that I dislike limit poker in the least, but NL seems to fit me not too badly. When I play poker, I tend to constantly be trying to mix styles -- not that people at this level would appreciate it but it's what I do.

The NL games were mostly soft with a few tough spots. Came out a buy-in ahead at the end of the night I think. Played a few hands well to maximize my profits, and played a few hands ... well... i dont know if it was bad or just mediocre. Such as calling a 3.50 all-in on a K-J-3 rainbow flop when i was holding A-Ks. Of course my opponent had K-J, but I dont think it was a HORRIBLE call. I'm welcoming comments from me reader (thats you) right about now.

Meh, maybe i'll spend more time at the NL games from now on -- fun stuff.

It's ANCHOR MAN, NOT ANCHOR LADY

Toast here, reporting live from the WPBT final table.

And the news of the night is, Pumpkin1974, who dropped the hammer with balls of steel, going all in with the worst hand in poker. Funny, i didnt expect to see anyone do that at the WPBT event... *ahem* :)

And in true Toast form, i'll simply report the results. My favorite hammer dropper Pumpkin1974 has busted out in 2nd place to GameC.

You'll find all the results at WPBT HQ shortly.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

No Poker? Hell Yeah I Played Poker

So, the girlfriend wanted to play poker last night! Amazing luck as I was itching for some sweet, sweet card turning action. After we went to the local golfing club - of which I am obligated to spend $X monthly on food and beverages - for dinner, home we came, broke out the chips and cards and off we went.

Now, I am not the sort of person who is capable of NOT trying to win, but I was trying to go fairly easy on her as I want poker to be a positive experience and not like teaching yourself to swing a golf club for the first time.

Heads up, 2500 in chips each. Blinds a constant 50/100. We played three games, I won three games, but more importantly, we talked about many hands after they were played. I want a challenge to play against at home, not a tight passive player... so i'm trying to teach aggression, bluffing, reading people, all those things that my 6 months of hard play and 4 books have taught me. She's learning.

That isnt to say she's any good... because any winning player could beat her like a red-headed stepchild, but she WILL be good if she sticks with it.

Much like my love of helping people with their golf game, I have found that I love to analyze and teach what little I know of poker to others. I suppose I could have been a teacher if this whole geek-thing didnt pan out. Anyways, to the girlfriend, keep it up, you'll be kicking my ass shortly! :)

Monday, March 28, 2005

Poker Cancelled, Boredom Ensues

For the first time in a long while, our weekly home game has been cancelled. I must admit that I have been enjoying the home game a lot more than the anonymous internet poker. Laughs, goofs, and fun ensue weekly as my fellow golf clubbers and a few others get together to 'reallocate cash'. I'm really going to miss it this week, as I was just told that we're not confirmed to have enough players as one is in LA and one in Cuba.

I'd love to say i'll be hitting the online tables, because I havent in weeks (on purpose) but realistically i'll probably work on a new contract i picked up to make money the old fashioned way.

Ridicule me all you like, I miss the game, and I miss golf. Fortunately, I taught the girlfriend how to play heads up and she's not tooooo bad at it. Quick learner that one, I just hope she really starts to enjoy it so I can play more often.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

And then there were 6... at The Monday Night Game

Countdown to golf season here folks, and we had 6 at the poker game. Who knows why we had 6 instead of 11 like last week, but that's ok I enjoy a shorthanded game.

1/2 Limit:
I'm off to an early lead when my hiltons saw their reflections in the flop - quads - no action though.
Folded around when i raise UTG with JJ

Here's a folding hand -- learned my lesson from last week about letting go of TPTK - especially when its not top pair anymore.
I have AQs and raise preflop, 3 callers.
Flop is queen high, raggedy rainbows. I bet out, all call.
Turn is a K, I bet out, one call, then raise, call, and i fold. (YES I LET IT GO THIS TIME), the raise is called by the remaining field.
River is a nothing. I was behind everyone after the turn card came.

Yes, easy fold, stop snickering that I thought it was noteworthy.

I had to drop out of a few hands, and didn't win anything after, so ended up down 24 bucks (12BB).

On to the NL game:

5 handed as we had one jumper (it's a penthouse apartment)
The table was me ( and starting from my left ... ) SL-P, L-P, L-A (playing T-P tonight), and SL-A

I started out folding as usual...

I got into it when I called a minraise by SL-P with 9-7o, flopped TP, made a sizeable bet and he folded. Figured overcards, and I was right. That boosted the stack by a few hundred. I took him out two hands later with an unspectacular blinded-all-in.

Later, i got into it with L-P when i was BB with pocket 6's. With blinds at 200-400 he called (as usual) preflop, the SB called, I raised all-in. The L-P called and SB folded. His A-J vs my 6's. I know that I must win a coinflip at least to win this thing, so this was the guy and this was the time. He didnt hit anything, and I was doubled up to be chip leader.

I then busted the T-P, then the SL-A when he was blinded into oblivion. That brought the game down to myself and the L-P. I had him covered by a thousand or so at the beginning. This particular player is VERY aggressive when it gets to heads up for some reason. With the blinds at 300-600 he raised to 1200 3 out of the first 4 hands. On the fourth, I raised him and he folded (I had JJ) -- probably should have limped and let him raise into me. Then, he raised to 900 and was reminded 1200 was the min. Normally I would find that a bit suspicious, but with this player I figured it literally meant he didnt like his hand as much as the ones before. Looking down at K-9o, I tried to figure out what he had. In the 1200 raises previously I never saw a hand so I just didnt know. Obviously his small raise meant he didnt quite like it as much as before so it couldnt be an ace. I called all-in, he looked pained, then said "Ok Lets do it".

He held Q-4 and yelled "damn" when i showed K-9. I had an advantage but not a huge one. I hit a king on the flop and he never improved. Done deal.

End of the night, i was down 4 bucks after that win. I must say, those little $5 NL tourneys are a rush when you have something to fight with.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Bad Flop

Felicia, one of my favorite bloggers to read (TELLS IT LIKE IT IS!) is sick with a disease I know too much about. Go send some mojo. Now.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Same Ole Monday Night Game

Same game, no NL this time. Played 1/2 limit all night with between 6 and 10 players at all times. 4.5 hours of fun.

I started out with dead hands, figuring my week off of cards might swing my bad run around. I realize that cards arent truly with or against me, but sometimes the run of cards makes it seem that way. In truth, everything is almost entirely random, and I know that, but it still doesnt hurt to hope for something good.

Picked up JJ in MP, raised, couple of callers. Flop came with an ace, I bet out, no raise. One one left with me to the turn, made it 3 hearts on the board. I bet, he raised, i called. Fifth street was a heart as well. I looked down at my hand to check for a heart, yep the Jack. 2nd nuts, i bet, he called. I suppose that's a suckout on my part... wee.

Very next hand, i picked up AA in EP. Pre-flop raised, 5 callers. Flop came down A-K-7 two diamonds. I bet, two dropouts, 3 to the turn. Turn was a blank. I bet, all called. River was an ACE. I bet, everyone folded. I showed my quad aces, and all were very impressed.

Later, the guy across the table was talking about his hatred of the Hiltons (QQ) and Hooks (Jacks). All night I have taken to looking at my cards one by one as they come in so i picked up a Q... then... another Q. Here come the Hiltons themselves. I raised, couple callers. I catch a queen on the flop... wow... ANOTHER set. My set held, nuff said.

And here comes the hand that makes me feel like an idiot. You knew it was coming.

I have A-K, i raise pre-flop 3 callers. Flop comes K-Q-2 rainbow. I bet my TPTK, called around. Turn comes another 2. Bet to my right, a gambler - I called thinking he might be trying to throw me off as I couldnt see these guys calling with a 2 pre-flop (they faced two and they arent THAT bad). Raise on my left. Raise? WHAT? Called by a calling station, gambler calls, and I'm now really confused as the board doesnt indicate a set, no flush or straight. Only options out there for one of these guys is two pair or set, both cream me, but I call because I'm an idiot. River is a heart, making three to a flush. Bet from my right, I call, raise from my left, calling station calls, gambler calls, I call because i'm an idiot.

Gambler had a flush. Yep, he bet runners and called PFR, flop bet, and 2 raises with 5-9 hearts.
Left-guy had two pair, middle two pair.
Calling Station had two pair, low two pair.
I had TPTK, and was behind to 3 players.

I pissed away 3 BB when I knew i was most defiantely beaten like a red headed stepchild, and had at best 8 outs (Ace or King MIGHT have made the best hand -- in the end of course it wouldnt). The thing is, I knew it at the turn raise. The bet i would have felt OK in calling or even raising, but the 2nd point raise... that should have done me in. I got pissed off at myself huge after that. Didnt change my play at all, but I hardly wanted to be sitting at the table after that.

In the end, I earned 26.50 for 4.5 hours work. Not exactly a living wage, but hey, i'm playing 1-2 limit.

I miss the casino (havent been there in a few weeks), and I miss golf a LOT. But, at least the cards turned around for once.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Poker, Poker, Food, Poker, Golf

Well, I can't believe it, but my self-induced rest-stop on the poker wagon is actually helping my focus for all things, not just poker. I seem to be sharp right now, really sharp. Perhaps it's due to my brilliant combination of beverages last night for an early birthday dinner (it's on Sunday if you care).

In honour of Grubby, here's the food and drink for the night:
Diet coke, before i knew where the good beers were because I dont drink shit.
(All From Tall Cans)
Tetley's - fine english ale - smooth smooth smooth
Old Speckled Hen - this stuff kicks it up a notch far better than Emeril
Guinness - Yes, drink of Iggy... it was damn good
2 glasses 2002 Cave Spring Riesling with dinner (apple jelly glazed pork roast, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, cheesed veggies)
2 shots B&B (look it up - nice sipping drink) in the hot tub
Tetley's again
Guinness again Carbomb style with a shot of whiskey and baileys dropped in via shot glass

No expected poker this weekend, as it is my birthday and I must do birthday things like dinners and such, and thus have no time for the really good stuff. I WANT TO GO TO THE CASINO BUT I DONT HAVE TIME DAMNIT! I'll be back at the table on Monday night with the usual Monday nighters who have recently become accustomed to stealing my money with bad cards, but i'll get them back... I've got f'in Sklansky and Ed Miller on my side... i'll get mine eventually...

Oh yes, i did tack a golf onto the title of this post for a reason. Looks like i'm going to go test my resolve again with another Golf Town visit today. Wee.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Best Hand

Tonight was the Monday Night Game at the usual spot with the usual people. We had a 7 way ring 1/2 game followed by 2 $5 buy-in NL tourneys among 5 of us remaining.

In the ring game, I was down early when a player who had watched some sort of video today on "aggression" took that a little too far and decided to raise 100% of hands preflop and all streets. Maniac is the word, yep. Anyways, early on before we put him on 'crazy', I held JJ and 3-bet his standard raise pre-flop. He capped and to the flop. All undercards, I bet he raised I called (had him on AA,QQ,KK,TT or something "strong" as a pocket pair). Turn was an undercard, I check called giving him credit for possibly a better pocket pair than me but I had to call him down since he was not a good player typically. River came a Q. He bet, I called. I said "OK, what HUGE pocket pair do you have over there?" "Oh me? Just a Q-To". Gah, rivered by a maniac. At that point I wished that all of his chips would soon leave him, and leave him they did. He actually bled off about 15BB on a hand holding a pair of 9's (one on board -- middle pair) against a made straight to the Q to the host of the game, and that made me smile.

After my early beats, I brought the limit game back to about even by the end, finally finishing down $4.50. Again, a loss at this soft game... bah.

On to the NL tourneys. As mentioned in previous posts, these are crapshoots. Blinds are 25/50 with 1500 in starting chips, and they raise every 10 mins to start, lowering by 1 min for each set. This makes the game last AT MOST an hour. In the first game, I was busted early in a hand i literally dont remember. Guess it didnt mean much to me.

Second game, I took a better seat at the table and FOR ONCE started to watch players faces when the flop came down. MY GOD, WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME? Not to say that I could read everyone perfectly... but after watching a good 10 hands or so of one particular player, I had him clocked. I could have played him without looking at my cards, and that's totally wild to my amateur poker mind. Too bad it didnt come down to he and I, though I did go all in on a flop with Q-10 overcards when i read him weak. He actually surprised me with bottom pair (he's quite a gambler personality by the way), but I drew a 10 to win that one.

A few hands down the line, I am dealt AA in the SB. Same player UTG goes all-in for T750 with K-2, player in the dealer position calls that. I push, and the dealer position calls my all-in (I had him covered) with A-J. Of course, none were happy to see the cards I held as it made me a considerable favorite. Hah! They say, get your money in with the best of it... and I certainly had that, but the K-2 flopped a K-high straight, the river made the bottom end so I split the huge side-pot with the button, and I lost a big part of my stack.

Aces DO get cracked, no big deal... of course, next hand i'm dealt JJ on the button. UTG calls T600 in blinds, I push. I'm called by the UTG with K-J. King is the first card out on the flop and thats that. The VERY next hand I am dealt 22 UTG and push again, figuring at least if I lose 3 pockets in a row i've got a story to tell on my golf and poker blog. One caller with K-T. Flop comes a King followed shortly by a 2 and I bust him out.

Three hands later, i'm dealt 44 in SB and push (at this point i was pissed). Dealer called with 88 and I didnt improve. I think this sort of move is considered tilt, but honestly pocket pairs getting busted by those flops is rough. So what, its only $5... true!!! But I played that game and got my money in the pot when I had the best of it... and life gave me lemons. The 44 push at the end was due to my getting blinded out by the crap-shoot system previously mentioned by the way... though I figured a coin flip at worst. Final hand I held A-3o after doubling up with A-10s when he called with K-7o. He called with K-2 and spiked his King to win. I didnt have a large advantage there, but I liked my ace and it was the best hand going into things. That would have put me as leader, but instead i'm typing this out.

Meh, its 2:30am, I lost $15 bucks playing poker -- big deal -- and I'm only pissed off because playing things the right way resulted in my loss. The maniac, then the cracking of pairs... it hurts... I guess it just wasnt my time to start winning money from these guys again.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

New Weapon In My Arsenal

I'm switching gears to golf here folks as i've definately got the itch these days. The golf itch, you pervert.

Off to GolfTown with the girlfriend I went, with a twinkle in my eye and a golf on the brain. First, i started with the putters as usual, figuring out that yes, I do indeed love the Bettinardi baby ben putter, but no i dont love it as much as I love $300 + tax. To eBAY for that little toy eventually!

Off into the land of hybrids we go. Normally, my golf swing produces a mid height flight, but I have pretty fair control over height of the ball with all of my clubs, and my Tommy Armour 845s 2i was no exception. I dont have a problem getting the ball off the ground with low loft clubs, nuff said. However, I would be a complete idiot if I did not admit that a hybrid is easier to hit, less prone to ... ummm... mishits. Mishits being my way of saying pull hook. They tend to hit it high, soft, and far. So that sounds good to me. Testing this little badboy in the simulator at GolfTown clocked my distance at around 225. That's good enough to reach most long par-3's out there, and still long enough to whack down sub-400 par-4's when a tight drive is necessary. Sounds good.



Honestly, when i hit the ball THAT far with it, i was a bit concerned with my distance gap. Still am infact, but I suppose its better to have a distance gap at the low end of the set than the top one.

Last year my distances with my old clubs (Tommy 845s) were as follows (just a portion dont get too bored yet):

4i - 190-195 yds
3i - 195-205 yds - depending on strike
2i - 200-215 yds - depending on strike

But we must keep in mind now that my new set of blades may change my numbers a bit on that high end. Still, if this hybrid can produce results between 215 and 225, i've got a nice range of holes covered. Not to mention I think it will be an asset around the greens chipping from odd grass lies but i'll have to wait to test that theory.

I'll go through the whole set pre-season on here, just to let you know what the 'non-pros' are using.

In the meantime i'm off for a car appointment today followed by some house cleaning and dinner at the girlfriends house. No poker it looks like, though i might head to Seneca tomorrow afternoon for some B&M action.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Cards Dislike Me

The last few sessions i've had have been down. It really is difficult to continue coming back to the game when the game keeps hurting you. Fortunately, i'm comfortable with the stakes, and I feel as if i'm playing well. It just seems as if the suckouts and busted hands are to be expected.

I really enjoy telling a REALLY bad beat story, but these arent really bad... I'll catch the ass end of a straight, my top 2 pair get busted by a rivered flush, just typical cards against me. The A8-AJ hand at the casino this weekend was the worst lately, and it wasnt a huge deal to me. I didnt even get pissed off, i just grinned, stood up from the table, and chocked it up to bad luck. I think all of this is training me to accept bad situations well, which is something i'm good at due to golf, but this is very different.

In golf, when you make a bad play, it's all on you. Sometimes you'll hit a flagstick at the hole and it will bounce out... thats a good shot that didnt get the best possible result, and that's ok. If you hit a shank or flub a chip, its your fault, nobody elses. You should have realized the lie, the wetness of the fairway, the way the grass was growing against your swingpath... all of those things. In golf, you make most of your own luck and must accept when it doesnt work out, get over it when the putt drops and move on immediately.

At poker, each hand is a hole at the golf course, but there is a lot more luck involved... so i'm working on accepting my fate with a grin, then moving onto the next tee.