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Up is up: July 2005

Bankroll: $280

It's getting harder to accurately recount what happened in previous months. In July, things really picked up and I started really throwing my bankroll around trying to pick up as many bonuses as I could. I'll break everything down by bonus, tournaments and ring games. I'll also throw in any other little tidbits of information that I find or feel like sharing.

First, let me list off the sites that I played at in July - new sites are bolded:
TigerGaming, Hollywood Poker, Party Poker, The Gaming Club, Pacific Poker, Royal Vegas Poker, Noble Poker, PokerRoom and Absolute Poker. I signed up with Absolute Poker because of good word of mouth. A lot of regulars who play there really like it...now I think they feel that way because they get to crush players like me who just walk in and have no idea how to play. I'll elaborate a bit later...

Let me start by talking about my ring game play. I still didn't have PokerTracker at this point, so I can't really give you any specific hands. What I will give you is my overall gains or loss for each of the sites I played at along with the bonuses I earned. I'll tell ya, if it wasn't for the bonuses, I seriously question the amount of money someone can earn at the small stakes tables. The play at 25c/50c tables is difficult due to the number of suckouts that occur and it only gets worse as you move up. Nothing worse than facing four opponents, two of which are TAGs (tight-aggressive players - very scary) and the other two being calling stations (unbluffable players who will make you show down every hand without even giving you a whiff of what they're holding). Enough ranting, here are the numbers:

Absolute Poker: Well, I had high hopes. I deposited $200 from my fattening Neteller account and was all set to make some mad cash. I was playing the 50c/1.00 tables - although at Absolute, the tables are all 9-handed. Maybe this threw me off, who knows? I do know that in the five sessions that I played at Absolute, I lost three of them. In fact, I had one of my worst days on July 13 when I lost $21 in just two hours. In retrospect, that's not too bad - I was getting crap cards. I was also getting impatient and trying to bluff at almost every flop I saw. I made up some of my losses a week later when I had a great session: +$30. I think that was probably my best single ring game session to date. All the cards were hitting, I had some weak loose players at the table, it was all good. All in all, I lost about $10 overall, but I made $30 in bonus, so +$20! Hooray for me - it's great being a losing player and still winning in the end! I'd also played enough hands to get me my WPT Season 1 DVD Set from PokerSourceOnline. Sweet! More free stuff (well, free except the $20 I owed customs for the item)...still, $20 for 8 DVDs is not too bad.

Noble Poker: After playing at Party Poker, most tables at other sites seem pretty tight. The 50c/1.00 tables at Noble Poker seemed really tight. This was the first site where I'd seen everyone fold to the big blind without any bets or raises occurring. When you're trying to clear bonuses, tight tables = death. Still, by playing a tight game (I was not an aggressive player at this point - that didn't occur until later in the month), I managed to net a gain of +$43. No bonuses earned in July at Noble (my hopes of getting PokerTracker for free from PokerSource Online were going down the tubes - I needed 1250 crowns = 2500 raked hands at 50c/1.00). But I was actually a winning player, so I was pretty happy.

I did have one really bad night though. It was July 13...I'd just finished losing $21 at Absolute so I thought I'd give Noble Poker a try. I should have known it was gonna be a bad night - a huge thunderstorm was tearing through Ottawa that night. And any story that starts with "It was a dark and stormy night..." is not gonna end well. I was at a friend's place (I've decided to refer to him by his screenname - MrVercetti...he's a smart cookie and I'll refer to him quite a bit). He'd just seen me lose at Absolute and I wanted to redeem myself (which I now know to never do when he's around since he's my bad luck charm), so I sat down at a table ready to start making some serious coin. My first hand, I'm in the CO position (cut-off position = to the immediate right of the button). I'd posted my blind and picked up pocket queens. Two limpers to me and I raise - I think the BB and the limpers all called. Flop comes down all rags. Two checks, middle limper bets, I raise, all fold except the bettor who re-raises and I cap it at four bets. Turn comes down with an A and I think we both checked (weak play on my part). Rag card comes on the river. MP checks at this point, I bet thinking that I'm ahead and he calls. When the cards get turned over, I realize that I was totally cold-decked: my pair of queens loses to the MP's pocket kings.

That hand put me down $4 and I proceeded to lose another $16 over the next hour or so. So July 13th was definitely a bad day. I actually stopped playing for a few days and read Ed Miller's Small Stakes Holdem - you'll see it referred to as SSH on other sites. This is the book that changed my game forever and I recommend it to all players who have hit the "wall" in their early poker careers. But anyway, back to the recap...

Pacific Poker: Nothing unusual to report. I was still trying to clear the $17 bonus given to me in June...so I decided it'd be best if I lost $15 at the tables. Any bad beats or memorable stories? Nope - I just sucked, plain and simple. But I did end up clearing my $17 bonus...my money was promptly pulled from the site and won't go back until I get luckier...

PokerRoom: PokerRoom is on the same network as Hollywood Poker, but I thought I'd give it a try. I'd signed up for a book deal through VegasPokerPro, but to this day I still have not cleared the hand requirements (because I stopped playing there for the time being...). I ended up losing about $9 over a few sessions. That's not too bad. I played a lot of SNGs there, but I'll talk about those next month. One thing about PokerRoom: it's got a great look and feel. It's really slick and I'm looking forward to someday migrating back there for some ring games - but I want the bankroll to maybe play some higher limit games. We'll see though - I can't get a rakeback deal for them since I've already got an account and I'm afraid of playing any high limit poker without a rakeback deal in place.

Royal Vegas Poker: I thought I'd give a no-limit ring game a try. I sat down with $10 and was down -$1.67 after 35 minutes. Not too bad...

The Gaming Club: I was still trying to clear the raked hands necessary to get my books from PokerSource Online. The way that The Gaming Club does there raked hands forces only allows players to earn a certain amount of raked hands at 25c/50c, then at 50c/1.00, and then unlimited raked hands at higher limits. Last month, I'd cleared my raked hands at 50c/1.00 but needed 250 more raked hands at 25c/50c. Over 4 sessions, I was down -$32: that's a loss of 64 BB! I attribute that loss to stupid play on everyone's part - mainly mine though. By losing the $32, I managed to rake in another $20 bonus from The Gaming Club and I earned my books in the mail (Super System/Super System II).

So, if you're keeping track, here's a summary of money earned and bonus money won:
Ring Games: -$23.25
Bonuses: $50 (I won't count the $17 from Pacific Poker since it was already in my account)
Total: +$26.75

Ring game wise, it was not a great month. But I did have a pretty good showing playing some tournaments. The best tournament result I had was at The Gaming Club's $5K rookie freeroll. This freeroll tournament was open to any new players at the site. The tournament was held at 6 PM on July 7th. There were only 314 players entered and the top 50 spots paid. I was pretty excited - I mean, I only had to beat out 254 people in order to earn $12.50. I was actually only aiming to squeak into the money.

Well, the first hour of the tournament were pretty boring. I was getting no cards and just kept folding. My wife brought me a beer (and a second and a third...and a fourth...). MrVercetti stopped by when there were still 120 people left (about an hour in). I was ranked in about 100th spot, so I had some work to do if I wanted to make the money. But then, a miracle happened...

I'm not sure what the actual term is for what happened, but I call it "table skating". Basically, as people were knocked out of the tournament, I kept getting bounced from table to table. And at each new table, I was placed in a position that guaranteed that I would not have to pay the blinds for a full rotation at the table. This happened about 6 or 7 times in an hour. I actually made it into the money without playing a single hand. But things got better...

I was now really short stacked, but had made it into the top 40 and guaranteed myself $17.50. One guy sitting two spots to my right was getting really frisky with me, so I did when I started pushing all-in to retaliate, he kept calling me. This guy was one of the chip leaders at the time, but I managed to triple up through him three times to knock him out the tournament. What he didn't realize was that, except for my first all-in UTG (under the gun = first player to act pre-flop), each of my all-in moves represented quality cards. I didn't need to slow play any of my quality starting hands since I knew that this guy would call. I remember my first all-in, I double up with a QTo or J9...something like that. My second all in was with AK (he called with two undercards and lost). My third and final all-in that knocked him out was a pocket pair - jacks I think.

Anyway, after knocking that guy out, I managed to squeeze down to 17th place. The payout? $100! That still remains my biggest single prize payout. That still seems like a lot to me! I was really happy with that result - especially since I didn't even earn it. Free money is awesome! The funniest thing happened the next day when The Gaming Club sent me an e-mail congratulating me for placing in the money. The e-mail said something about people trembling in fear at the name of Klopzi. I guess it's always scary to play against a guy who can win money without playing a single hand! :)

Anyway, after winning the $100, I played in a couple $2 + 0.20 20 person multi-table SNGs at Royal Vegas Poker and managed to win the second one I played for a payout of $16.

Over the month of July, I also won three $1 + 0.15 10 person SNGs at TigerGaming. Each payed $10 for the win.

All in all, I won $146 playing in tournaments and SNGs in July, but paid $25 entering those tournaments. So, I was up $119 from my tournament play! Not too bad for a ring game player (who cares if $100 of it came from one tournament...).

So, my grand totals from July:

Ring Games: -$26.75
Bonuses: $50
Tourneys: $119
Total: $142.25

I just checked to see how many hours I spent playing in July - 51 hours. So, I was earning just under $3/hour. I was just over the halfway point of making a minimum wage salary...still, how many minimum wage workers can drink 4 beers during their shifts? Suckers!

So my bankroll was now up to $422. Would August be any good to me? Would reality come crashing back with a vengeance? Would my bankroll be depleted? Would I try to make money at limit poker or just accept the fact that I sucked and stick with tournament play? Keep reading to find out...

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