Saturday, July 30, 2005

Funny conversation from a $0.50/$1 game today...

I have an icon of a rabbit with a pancake on its head at stars, yes that's right.

phoenix38: what's that on the rabbit's head toast?
phoenix38: a pancake?
toast: yes
phoenix38: lol

Hows that for amusing?

OFFICIAL NEWS: MY GOLF GAME IS SHIT

Yes, that's right, i suck. In the first round of the club championship today, I carded a mighty fine 83. Thats my worst round in a long time. Along with 2 double bogeys came a triple... that's hard to fight back against. Wasn't sharp with irons at all, made a few good putts, 2 3-putts - ugh.

It's depressing to realize that poker has officially killed my golf game, actually not poker but more the heat wave that kept me away from my normal practice schedule this year. Conditions today were perfect, light breeze, decent greens, and I still was shit.

Bah, i need to sleep for a few hours then play some cards I think. NoSkillz shot a more decent 78 though i hear he could have been a lot better. Good for him, good to see at least one of us might make the cut.

Bah, wheres a straight razor when you need to slit your wrists...

---POKER---
Getting a bit of teeth kicked in lately at NL though i'm making $$ still. I took $25 to $90+ on a single table last night before the idiots stole it away. Some fucking idiot pushed with 75s on a flush draw on the flop after my big TPTK raise, and of course he hit it. Oh well I was a 2:1 favorite what else can i ask for from this game? Im getting FAR better at putting people on hands lately -- feels like my overall understanding of the game is coming up one step. I'm starting to GET IT in a lot of situations where I had read about the right play, but never understood why it was right and couldnt quite vocalize that on 2+2 to get a straight answer. Things like playing middle cards against a raise against the right opponents and such rather than playing KT,KJ,KQ,QJ,AT,AJ i'm starting to appreciate. Post-flop game is progressing. NoSkillz finally caught a whiff of LAG play when i kept telling him my hands when he was out of a hand and he seemed to enjoy the whole betting with nothing idea -- that's dangerous. I'm trying to attempt all different styles and plays at the NL25 game before truly moving up.

Hopefully i'll shoot a reasonable score tomorrow and get close to the cut bubble. I dont really care if I play monday given my score, but it'd be nice to need a day off rather than just taking a day off for no reason.

Toast Out

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bonus Whoring Stars At 0.5/1 and 1/2

Back to limit for a bit, as the piddly NL tables I play do not count as well towards FPP's needed to burn off my bonus. Have been playing 0.5/1 and 1/2 full ring for the past three days and am up around $190 outside of the bonus. Hmm. That's not bad at all.

Admittedly, i'm actually catching a few cards, though I am suckout out quite a bit. I'm also working on saving bets, like yesterday where at 1/2 I laid down top two pair when a flush draw river hit against 2 opponents. Normally I'll call that stuff, but to me it was an obvious situations where I can save a BB. Normally I dont but this was just too obvious a draw -- idiots. Anyways, I'm getting better at reading hands and checking where the traps are. Best part is, it's influencing the bottom line.

The 1/2 leap is new for me. I'm used to killing 0.5/1 but definately have the roll to play 1/2 or even 2/4 but i'm wary of the fact that a lot of quite good players roam these waters. We'll see how it develops.

Golf this weekend is the Club Championship... hopefully I wont shoot a pathetic score, and i'll be pretty darn happy if I can make the cut for Monday. Winning is way out of line against this field, it's very strong and my game isnt that good, but you never know. I'll give myself 8:1 against making the cut, and 100:1 against winning the thing. That's a long shot folks.

Toast.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

[Golf] Moving on up in the Langley Cup

The Langley cup is the match play championship at my home course for the low handicap golfers. My first match was tough against a guy who I was giving a few strokes to, and I expected the 2nd match to be tougher still, as it was to be played against Charlie, a regular in our Sunday morning group and the sort of guy who can shoot your lights out.

I won the first 2 holes, we tied #3, I won #4, he won #5, tie #6, and I win #8-#12 to win the match 7&6. He had a rough day.

Moving on to meet another damn good player... it doesnt get easier. It's now the semi-finals though.

My golf game was OK yesterday, nothing special.

Poker has been good. I won a monster pot at $50NL, had a good night last night at $25NL with NoSkillz, and generally things are looking up after I had a few down sessions.

The dedicated poker `roll is up as high as it's ever been, just have to stick with it and eventually i'll play for real money. :)

Toast out.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

No Limit... TO THE LIMIT!!!

I thought that would be a nice cheeseball title.

Anyways, i'm sticking with NL still. Playing $25NL online and i'm recently stuck $234 at the casino 1/2 NL game overall. Bah. Online is going pretty well. Took my first poke at $50NL and was immediately struck with the difference in the game with aggression levels. I had a guy re-raise my raise twice in a row (very agg. player so far). I re-re-raised with A9s and he called with all his chips with KJ. Hmm. Well, i guess that's one way to play the game. That was certainly a loose play for me, but I felt I was being beaten upon and was glad to take his money with the best of it.

I think i'm going to have to grow some bigger balls to be able to throw money around with more abandon which is necessary. I'm already an aggressive player, but when I get to the point where I can push with rags based on my read, i've taken my game up a level.

NoSkillz continues to learn the game as well, and is progressing in his reads and chip-action. I think i'll move up before he does, but I dont expect he'll take long to follow.

Already read Ace on The River by Barry Greenstein -- VERY excellent book if you're looking to become a poker pro. There is some hand-advice but the majority of the book relates to the psychology and culture of the game. I've put Harrington on Hold'em before HoH2 -- the way it should be done. I really enjoy the thinking behind some of the 'moves' he's advocating, but I dont think some of it's applicable to the SSNL games yet. When I move up to $100NL I expect to be able to use the trickier stuff.

Toast out.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I think i'm not doing so hot at 1/2 NL so far...

Went back to the cardroom to kill a few hours after work... yeah, not addicted, noooo. Anyhoo, I didnt play any hands exceptionally badly, but I feel like i'm not getting the NL full ring strategy quite yet. I'm not playing the pushy game that my 6-max normally is primarily because I'm not normally the first one in the pot and opening with a raise doesnt clean house enough. That, coupled with the fact that any single hand will cost a buy-in if bet reasonably hard.

Lets have an example:

I have 100, villain has 100.

Couple limpers, I open for $10, villain calls. Lets say its a $27 pot.
Flop is x-x-x (who cares). I bet half the pot ($15), villain calls. Pot is $57.
Turn is x (again, who cares). I bet half the pot ($30) or a bit more if I need to protect my hand ($50).

Guess what, that's me all-in. And those arent even big bets. Thus, i'm going to have to rethink the strategy at this game, since the buy-in is relatively small compared to the blinds. TAG is OK so far, i did lose against drawing hands, but regardless it's a totally different game than my online one due to the betting.

Down $36 and starting to wonder if a Looser Style would make or cost me more money :)

-----------------

Recommended Books for the Beginner:

There's limit poker, and no-limit. I play both now, but I started with limit and I recommend it for a beginner so as not to lose too much cash and get discouraged right away.

Limit Poker:
Getting Started In Hold-Em (Ed Miller)
or
Winning Low Limit Hold'em (Lee Jones)

Those will give you at least a beginning look at pot odds, outs, pre-flop hands, etc.

I wont delve any deeper than that, but my poker library is getting stupid big. I'm way behind on reading too. Bah. My two new ones from amazon shipped this morning (yay). Stay away from Super System and the like to start, they're not bad for theory but you've got to understand WHY doyle et al. can do make the non-linear plays they make.

Toast out! I'm tired.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Back To Ye Olde Casino - NL This Time

It's f-in hot here. I mean HOT. I think we were one of the hottest places on the planet this week (seriously) and the Toast man does not have a/c at home. Makes me want to go out and buy a/c actually, but i'm too ignorant to actually follow through on that (cheap is the word actually -- lets be honest).

So, since I had nothin to do -- as the golf course in 100+ degree humidity is a no-no for my sanity -- I decided to go for the free air conditioning and fun times of Casino Niagara. Went for a quick bite to eat after work here in Niagara Falls at our local Zehrs (Fried Chicken and Potato Wedges are tasty), got some cash, and headed to the cardroom.

Upon arriving I was disappointed to see that they only had 3 games going, a 1/2 NL, 2/4 and 3/6. Of course, since i'm doing fairly well at NL online now (note that I dont say i'm good, just doing well) I put my name on for that and 3/6. About 30 minutes later they cracked open a NL game and we're off to the races.

I'm trying to loosen up, especially at NL. Typical starting hands for TAG limit poker work, but adding in a few if I can see a cheap flop have HUGE implied odds at NL so they're working their way into my game. We had a local pro at the table, a bunch of home-game fishies, and a sunglasses.

Fairly early into the day i've picked up a tight rep, as I havent played a hand in a while. I pick up Js7s in MP and limp hoping to see a cheap flop, and I do. Flop is 8x 9s 10s. Hmm, thats a pretty good flop dont you think? I bet out $15, called at two spots. Turn is a blankeroo. I bet out $20, called at two spots. River is a blankity blank, I bet out the rest of my chips ($50 or so), two calls. Nobody raised so I figure i'm chopping, and I am. Pro in the corner says he put me on a huge flopped hand and said he folded a J. Hmm.

I treaded water for a bit, then played a hand where I was actually drawing dead with AK on a JT7 flop. Guy flopped a set, turned a boat, and was making bets small enough that I didnt put him on anything strong and at the same time had outs to call to my gutshot and overcards. I figured him for a jack. NOPE. Hate drawing dead, but my table-pro had AQ and was doing the same. I mucked without showing and topped up my cards with a small rebuy of $40. Dang.

Got into a hand with 99 on a 9TJ flop. I bet out $15, one call, guy raises to $30, I put him all-in for another $20 and we're heads up. I'm praying he didnt flop a straight, and i was right, top two pair. Q on the turn but we took all the draws out of play with the flop bets.

I had my stack up to $205-$210 with a bit of grinding, then played the big hand o' the night. I'm on the button with two red beautiful kings. 6 limpers, that won't do. I raise to $15 and have two callers. Flop is 2-3-6 two spades. Guy in EP bets out $10, call to my right, I raise to $50. Guy in EP mutters about me not having a high pair and folds. Guy to my right calls. Turn is a blank. Guy to my right pushes, I insta-call. River is a K.... of spades. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can properly protect your hand at NL, they're full of shit. Fish flips over Q7 spades. Going to put this on 2+2 to see if there is anything else I could have done... that hurt the stack.

Lost another hand with 88 where I bet the turn hard, but should have raised the T-6-6 flop. I suppose that's just not thinking straight after that huge hand -- a form of tilt I suppose. Lost $42 there.

And, i'm spent. Took a $98 loss on the books and went home. :)

Monday, July 11, 2005

NL25 continues and Tournament Golf

My NL25 game is continuing to improve. I'm starting to tighten up slightly and it has been paying, but I've lost a lot of all-ins lately so that has kept my growth from being "HUGE". Otherwise, the growth has been "good" and the bankroll is pretty much allowing me to move up, though I think its still too early so i'll stick it out here for a short bit.

I've found a new attribute to my No Limit game, which I did not have at the Degree poker tournament. That is, I'm absolutely willing to risk every chip I have, and am actually looking for places to push in rather than looking for ways not to. In limit, getting your stack ground down by play after play of losing hands is hard on the mind, but No Limit... its to be expected that you're going to go bust every once in a while. Hopefully not more often than you take other people's stacks though :) My hand reading ability is slowly progressing, and i'm focusing on one table in NL (6-max) not the typical 4-tables of limit. Less hands absolutely, but forcing myself to watch the actual players rather than rely solely on pokertracker data is the way to go. The styles i have come across are so different, but almost every player can be pegged as having a style and not being able to change gears. I guess that's what I get for playing the lowest limit of NL there is at Party.

-------------------------------

Golf Report:

The handicap is, sadly, dropping again. I'm a pretty solid 4 right now. Fortunately, that means NoSkillz still has to give me 2 strokes - sucker.

Saturday morning got pooched for tee times -- it happens. Sunday I got called up to the big leagues to play on the Niagara Cup team. I teamed up with young whipper snapper Ben to play team best ball matches at Hunters Pointe here in Niagara. Our front nine started off OK. I was hitting the ball well, but had a few bad luck bounces on the first few holes. Ben made up for any trouble I got into and played pretty well. We werent making any putts but neither was the other team. Came back from 1-down to tie the front nine for 1/2 a point. Ben hit some rediculously good low iron shots.

The back nine started off well for us, as we took hole #10 and I took hole #14 ( I think ) a short 130 yard cross wind par 4. Stuck probably my only really good wedge shot today to a foot. Would have been a nice hole-in-one but what can you do. 2-up with 4 to go, Ben hit his tee ball to the right fence (in fescue), somehow knocked that away (he's left handed so it was an ugly straight-upright swing to hit the ball) into more fescue, then out into the fairway. The competition hit one to the edge of the water on the 2nd, and the other was in a poor position right. My tee-shot was right down the centre so the decision of whether to play in from 240 yards or lay up was made. With Ben's ball out of it and the competition in rough shape, I had to lay up and play safe as a ball in the water would have certainly gave over the hole. My wedge into the green was to a pretty solid 12 feet, as were the other team's balls. First player on the other team drains a nice double breaking putt for birdie so it's on me, and I just missed it. Oh well. The next hole I hit it in the left fescue and missed the green right, but Ben was in perfect position in the fairway. Unfortunately, he had second thoughts about half-way through his downswing and pushed his shot out right by me. We pitched on but could not make it down in par and lost this hole to have the match even with 2 to play.

17 is a long par 3 (225 yards playing downwind today). Ben stroked a 5-iron to land 4 inches from the cup but it bounced another 40 feet past. My 4-iron was in the same spot in a bowl in the back left of the green. My lag putt cozied down the hill to a few inches, and Ben's birdie attempt JUST missed. We halved the hole and took it to 18.

The 18th hole was playing short. Tee was up, water all down the left side and a creek running across the fairway at 260 yards. The other team laid up with irons off the tee, as did I. Ben's decision was to lay up as well instead of driving it over (he's got lots of power on the driver). Ben was first to play into the green across the water, and unfortunately his 4-iron from 220 was a few yards short (downwind) and was wet. Doh! My decision was whether to hit 2-hybrid or a 3-iron. I felt the 2-hybrid was way too much club and had a reasonable chance of snapping if it came off the toe. I said I would miss right if I miss with the 3... so I hit the 3. Unfortuantely, it missed right into a bunker by the green. The other team made it safely over the water short, and one long. My bunker shot came out with a bit too much sand so did not have the steam to get to the green (I hate splash shots from that distance). My chip following was to 2 feet uphill. Pretty good. The other team's chips were not that good, but unfortuantely for us, one of them made the putt and we were toast. Nice putt.

So, we blew a 2-up lead with 4 to go. Damn! Oh well, dinner was great! They've really made some huge improvements in staff, atmosphere and food. We lost 0.5 to 2.5.

NoSkillz won his match (2 points to 1 point) and our club ended up slightly down 5.5 to 6.5 in points. Could be worse.

I doubt i'll be playing the next matches in august, as I'm a petty alternate (2nd alternate even) and not on the team but I wish them luck.

Toast out.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

NL Cash Is Swingy

Have been sitting the $25NL 6-max at party lately, and through my failure to be found at my normal $0.5/$1 tables, NoSkillz tracked me down and after watching me push a table around for a while sat down.

Thing is, I've always treated NL differently than Limit, because in my mind they're not even the same game. It's like Omaha vs. Stud, neither of which I know how to play properly, but not even the same animal though in the end poker is poker of course. At limit, I typically just play T-A and it works. Nobody pays attention at the micro limits, and the fact that i'm playing 17% of hands raising 10% doesnt click in that hey, he's a f*ckin nut peddler most of the time.

I've found NL to have more players paying attention, though, I can't say they are much better than limit. It's been pretty rare for me to meet someone who changes styles at NL though, I either find the typical TAG tighty or the loose passive. I haven't found many loose aggressive as at NL, that means all their chips all the time. I'm sure there are some out there, and i'll have to buddy list them when I find it, but for the most part people still respect their money enough not to push every hand.

I have adopted a totally new style of play recently, which might have helped greatly at the Degree tourney i previously went on and on about. I still hope I dont look like an idiot on TSN and ESPN when it aires. Anyhoo, I'm playing far more hands, raising lots of hands I wouldnt even play at limit, and doing a lot of post-flop dancing with the opponents. Even to myself i'm not predictable, and it's working so far.

That is not to say that my style of play has not brought about some swings... it certainly has. I can easily be down 2 buy-ins, up 2 buy-ins, down up down up. Took a major suckout yesterday where my KQ ran into an idiot who pushed JJ on a K-x-x flop. I correctly put him on something other than AK,AA,KK but he turned a J to steal my money... meh... that's poker. I find that i'm happy when i get my money in the best of it, even if i did lose a 2-buy-in pot there.

Later, I flopped quads against NoSkillz. Unfortunately for him, he had Aces and I made it appear I had unconnected overcards with my bets. He went broke there, and I dont blame him one bit. To give me credit for a hand, hell, even I can't give me credit for a hand. He did the right thing.

Anyways, the NL battle rages on. My party account balance is growing, so that's good. I might start doing some tournaments shortly as I think I can play that game.

The poker library is on the grow again. Honestly, I havent even had time to read the books I have before I order new ones. I'm currently picking at HoH 2 EndGame but I only went through TOP once so far, I've gone through most of King Yao's limit book, and I currently have HoH 1 and BarryG's new book on order.

Speaking of BarryG, i'm starting to really like what he's all about with poker and his actions away from the table. Pretty neet guy, and I really like that he posts at 2+2 like the rest of us poker geeks.

Now that i've really picked up a love of NL - damn you degree poker tournament for giving me the pleasure of busting people left and right, i'm tempted to try some other poker variants. Hmm... well, perhaps I should stick to hold-em for a bit.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Addicted! Low Content.

Well, it's official. NoSkillz thinks i'm addicted to poker. Actually, I am addicted to poker so that's not really news. Damn game is addictive what can I say.

I havent played a lot of my addiction this weekend, as I've spent many hours chasing a white ball around a big green place -- that's golf folks. Played OK this weekend, nothing great. Made a few nice putts today for skin money though so this weekend was just barely profitable.

Spliffy hit the shot of the year so far today. 260, downhill into the wind on a Par 5 he hits his second shot with a 3-hybrid (Taylormade Rescue TP - Fujikura shaft to be exact) and crushes it to within 1.5 feet of the pin. Thankfully he also made the putt for the eagle. That shot was just sick. Outside of that, nothing spectacular at the golf course this weekend. My handicap is sadly down to a 4 again though so that should make things just slightly tougher for my upcoming match play tournament match with Charlie.

Anyhoo, I expect to spend much of the afternoon cleaning this pig stye i call home -- damn the summer makes me lazy for this stuff.

Oh, and my cat is currently sitting on a blanket underneath my desk, and is snoring. Just thought you would like to know.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Heatwave + Toast = Blah

Wow, all this bloody heat is really tiring me out. I'm damn psyched that party has 6-max tables now though.

Conversation from Golf this morning:

NoSkillz: wow, you're ahead of me
Me: get used to it

Ahahahha... well... what can I say we're competitive in all things.

Didnt play golf during the week this week. I sort of feel like a schmuck for not getting out there, but i'm seriously hurting from this heat. Playing with the idea of a new sideline business however... so that's keeping me fairly busy.