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Don't feed the animals...

Well, if you take a look at my side-nav/side-bar/side-menu, you'll see that I've officially cancelled the $5 NL TigerGaming Challenge. I have a few good reasons for this:


  1. TigerGaming does not support PokerTracker and I'd like to track my NL play.

  2. I've had a bad string of luck, only made worse by the barrage of bold all-in bets by the fish.

  3. I get rakeback at Eurobet.

  4. Eurobet offers $10 NL tables with blinds at 5c/10c.


In case you haven't figured it out, I've basically transferred the $100 NL challenge over to Eurobet. Since I had about $47 more to win at Tiger before completing the challenge, I've simply started a $50 NL Eurobet Challenge. I'm hoping that the rakeback, PokerTracker and the larger starting stack size will make the Eurobet game more +EV for me. We'll see...

Other than that, I'd like to say that I had an exciting night at the tables - but I can't.

I played $5 NL at Tiger for almost two hours and ended up down about $4. Here's the typical play that cost me $$: I raise PF with a good starting hand, I get three cold calls and then the last guy pushes all in for his $2 or $3. I fold. I like AJs but not enough to call an all-in. Am I playing too tight? I just don't have that "gamble" in me right now.

This happened about 5 or 6 times - then I picked up KK! Sweet! I raise to 5xBB pre-flop and get 2 callers (where's the f*cking all-in this time pricks?!). Flop comes J J 9, both opponents check to me. The pot is big and both opponents are short-stacked so I bet the pot. Only one guy calls with his last 40 cents and shows J9o for the flopped full house. Oh well, at least I only lost 90 cents on that hand.

I also picked up AA and raised it to 4xBB pre-flop and got one caller who pushed all in for 45 cents! I called the extra 5 cents and he showed K9o. I won the hand...but 45 cents did not make up for the $$ lost earlier.

Still, I was only down half a buy-in and I don't think I played horribly. There is, however, one thing that concerns me about my NL play (ring and SNG). It has to do with playing in pots where someone's raised before me (or comes over the top at me).

Lately, I've been folding almost everytime someone raises before I come in to the pot. If I'm in middle position and someone raises to 3xBB from early position, I'm folding anything less than AA-TT and AK. I think I'm playing too tight.

I think the main reason for this is because I have run into situations where I've been dominated quite a bit lately. I may be tilting slightly and I'm too afraid to take a chance.

I'll need to develop a starting hands requirement much like the one I use in the fixed limit games. I trust my post-flop game against the NL ring game opposition at these levels - I'm just too afraid to put it to the test. I guess time will tell and we'll see how my game develops while clearing the Eurobet challenge. I think PokerTracker will help me identify places where I'm losing money.

One last thing, played a $5 SNG at Eurobet last night as well. Ended up in 5th place after only playing 5 of the hands dealt to me. I won all the hands that I played but the last. I was short-stacked and pushed with A2 and got called by AT (another dominated hand - I hate Ax). I really got hurt by the fact that the short-stacks kept doubling up. They'd push, some donkey would call with nothing and double them up. Then the donkey would push, someone else would call them with nothing, and so on.

While these bastards kept moving their chips around, I kept getting more and more short-stacked. It didn't help that 23o seemed to be my predetermined hand of choice for the evening.

Still, I've got 23 more SNGs to play in my 100 SNG Challenge and I'll put my faith in the "long run" to pull me through and get me the win. I'm currently sitting at an ITM of about 40% but an ROI of just over 1%.

Hi, my name's Klopzi and I'm an SNG donkey! I like to sit at tables and fold to the slightest resistance from my opponents. I only play AA and KK but I'll gladly push all-in with a 75 s00ted when I'm short-stacked and on the bubble. I respect no one and fear everyone. My mantra is "Fold,fold,fold", which I repeat to myself as I try to squeak into the money instead of actually playing. I need help...

For the next little while, I'll be playing almost exclusively at Eurobet or Interpoker. If you happen to frequent any of the sites, feel free to look me up and say hello. And for the love of God, please don't sit down at the table with me. I don't think I could stand the competition...

Man, I'm really liking poker again...it's such a nice feeling...

By the way, you may have noticed that I put less affiliate links in this post. I assure you, I'm not going soft and I'm no less greedy: I was just feeling lazy today. I'll hit everyone up for sign-ups tomorrow.

Ok, gotta go. Have a good one...

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I just noticed that I'm about 8 hits away from 1000 hits for this site. Tell your friends and family to visit - I'd like to hit the 1K mark by midnight tonight. I need the validation...

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Hit the 1000 hits...cool. Thanks for stopping by everyone. Guess the next milestone is 10,000 hits. What do you think? Two years? Or three?

Keep reading "Don't feed the animals..."

Stages of a Poker Blogger: Stage 7 Revisited

I am most definitely in Stage 7 at this point. I can tell because all that was old is new again and all that is new is quickly being absorbed and reworked by that part of my brain focusing on poker 24/7.

I was worried that the next stage (which I'll refer to as Stage 8 for now since I have no clue what it will really be) would turn out to be the plateau stage. In fact, I think Stage 7 is itself a form of plateau.

I've started re-reading some of the books I own (I don't feel like pimping anything right now, so no links...). I'm finding more meaning behind the words. I'm seeing the texts in the light of new experience and it is enlightening to say the least.

How we can read the same chapters and pull different meanings after only a short few months is strange. In addition to Miller's SSH and some Sklansky, I've found myself enjoying Matt Maroon's book. His concepts, while more abstract, are more thought provoking and practical (practical abstract concepts?). He presents numerous situations to address the different ways of viewing and tackling situations that arise at the tables.

His concepts also seem to apply greatly to the online poker world. I'm not saying that Matt's book cannot teach you how to play B&M poker - I'm just saying that his focus on using math and betting patterns to determine a course of action seem more important to me than whether or not the guy to my right scratches his nose thusly.

So it seems that Stage 7 is a time for re-learning old tricks, learning new strategies and concepts, and trying to assimilate it all into one big poker package. The rewards of this form of assimilation also represent the dangers of this stage of development. Gathering yourself and defining yourself as a single entity can cause problems if there are pieces missing or, even worse, pieces that are just plain broken.

As a poker player, you cannot help but land upon a plateau during this stage. You're game is in flux. You've lost your poker identity and, as such, can feel a little lost at times. When it all clicks, you feel unstoppable. You're running the tables and people are throwing you their chips.

But as with any new theory, you can't seem to apply your new self to every situation and table out there. Your poker brain will tweak itself at times and do a complete overhaul at other times. This leads to bankroll fluctuations and, if you're not careful, the possibility of ruin. This is, of course, my opinion as a proponent and devout follower of strict bankroll management. I find that the infamous "I blew my bankroll" posts always seem to follow a player trying to come out of Stage 7 too early and tackling harder games without having completed his/her learning and introspection fully.

These peaks and valleys in your game and the mindless flailing at the tables coupled with a burning desire to improve yourself also present themselves on your blog.

You'll find yourself giving advice, retracting that advice, further expanding upon some ideas, and coming up with novel new ideas that just don't work. Your readers are in for a bumpy ride of highs and lows, of "I got it!" moments, of "I thought I had it!" moments, and even the dreaded "I hate this f*cking game!" moment.

However, unlike previous stages littered with bad play, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Not the light, but a pretty good light nonetheless.

You see, by this time, your game has actually improved. Unbeknownst to you at the time, the plateau was tilted slightly upwards. All the while, it seemed as if you were pumping your crazy legs and getting nowhere but even. In fact, you've been reaching upwards and outwards.

This stage is finished when you've successfully taken that next step. It's when your readers notice a change in your writing and in your play.

You seem somehow better than the average player out there. Not great, but pretty good.

You seem somehow better than the average poker blogger out there. Not "I'm bringing my laptop so I can read Klopzi's posts while I'm on vacation" great, but "Let's see what Klopzi's up to now" good.

One last thing about this stage - I have a feeling it's one that lasts a long time. I only say this because as you move up in limits at the table, you need to learn so much to improve. Now, maybe I'm wrong and once it clicks, it clicks. The Law School Dropout moved very quickly from $2/$4 to $50/$100. Many of the bloggers out there seem to do it.

My guess is that you're stuck here until you're well into the middle stakes type games.

As a reader of many blogs, you can definitely sense when a reader has finally moved on. There is no more talk of bad beats, no more hand histories (other than the occasional "I just won my first $XXX sized pot"), and very little advice relating to the playing of the game.

There is more talk of the abstract. There is more talk of theory. There is more talk of "I read this article by Cloutier in CardPlayer where he...".

Good Lord, this post was long! I apologize - I'm in flux and I will be for a while. I just hope you'll put up with my silly theories, good plays, bad plays, and mediocre poker advice.

I guess we'll know when I've left this stage. I have a funny feeling that it'll take me about a year or two. My writing will probably improve at a much faster pace than my poker game, but that's not saying much. I just hope that everyone will put up with me as my blog moves from zen-like discussions to bad beat stories to bathroom humour.

Until I've finally left Stage 7 behind me, I can only say one last thing: don't forget to check out my affiliates.

I blame Stage 7 for my shamelessness...

Keep reading "Stages of a Poker Blogger: Stage 7 Revisited"

If only this title were wittier...

Afternoon ramble time! Will there be any nuggets of wisdom here? As much as there ever is, I guess. So read on if you feel like pissing away a few minutes of your life this afternoon.

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First off, I'm not sure if I gave a shout out to Falstaff over at PokerStage yet. He's been around a bit longer than me and he's got a huge Full Tilt Poker affiliate banner on his blog, which you know is one of my favourite things.

Falstaff actually did a write-up of Klopzi's Mediocre Poker (oops...self-pimp...gotta control that or I may go blind...) and claims:

Some folks might not like the massive number of affiliate deals he pimps...

I'll make a deal, I will remove an affiliate link each time someone signs up to a poker room through my link.

Actually, better make that ten people...

Actually, screw it! If I like a site, it gets pimped - poker room, blog, or otherwise. I like the affiliate links - they make my blog look classy, don't they? Anyway, they add a much needed splash of colour and online poker rooms are cool - period.

I will make one promise though - I'll try to inject some non-pimp content into my writings every now and then. Do we have a deal? Cool!!

Seriously - PokerStage - what are you waiting for? Tell Falstaff I say hi.

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In case anyone cares, you can find this site by simply typing in "Mediocre Poker" in any of the major search engines. What does this say about me as a poker player? Nothing good...

Keep reading "If only this title were wittier..."

My birthday was last weekend?!

I guess the Poker Gods didn't get the memo. My birthday was last weekend! And in playing last weekend, I quickly realized that the Poker Gods had completely abandoned me in my time of celebration. Luckily, they felt guilty enough and paid me a visit this weekend, bringing me tidings of joy and some long-sought-after winnings.

It all started on Friday night. MrVercetti and Marlborough (aka John from previous posts - I'm told that he wanted a cooler name...) came over for some poker and beer.

Before they arrived, I'd been pissing around with setting up some affiliate stuff on the site. Don't worry, I won't be adding any more affiliates any time soon - unless PokerStars gets back to me. And just for you, Huma, you'll find no less than five affiliate links in this post. I can't buck the trend now...

As MrV and Marl showed up, I was just about to shut down the laptop and start drinking in earnest. As I was preparing to shut down Outlook, I noticed an e-mail from Royal Vegas Poker. I hadn't played there for quite a while (originally signed up last summer due to a "$10 instant cash with no deposit" deal) but I checked out the e-mail anyway.

For future reference, I love getting poker site spam! There are so many deals all the time, it's great! The only thing better is getting real life junk mail from the poker rooms. Again, lots of deals and cool things (like mousepads and DVDs).

Long story long, Lou Krieger tells me that it's been a while since I've played at Royal Vegas Poker and that they miss me. So, they're personally offering me (and millions more I'd think) a special deal: make any deposit up to $100, play 100 raked hands, and they'll give me a 20% deposit bonus. 100 raked hands! After playing at Interpoker (they offer a stackable, mostly-non-expiring monthly reload bonus of 100% up to $90 although it's a little tough to clear at micro-limits), this deal seemed too good to be true!

So I launched Royal Vegas Poker on the laptop, made a $100 deposit, then shut down for the night. The bonus would have to wait until Saturday...

Anyway, I had a couple more beers as my wife and the gang watched Spies Like Us (hilarious) and The Office (hilarious-er). Then, it was time for poker.

Since Marl had not been playing any poker as of late, I suggested that we could play HORSE (or our own bastardizing of HORSE - more like DONKEY). Since we were only three-handed, we decided to play two rounds of each game before moving on to the next. And we also decided to replace the Stud 8 or better with Omaha Hi/Lo.

We decided to set the limits at 2c/4c (no high-rollers here). That way, we could play crazy without worrying about losing money. It's funny...I'd never play 2c/4c online but in real life with real cash, I'm far more comfortable playing where the stakes are non-existant.

Now, I'm not sure how close were to playing Razz properly. And I'm damned sure that we messed up the Stud ganes. But it was still lots of fun. I made my money playing Hold'em and the Omahas and MrV made a killing on the Razz. By the end of the night, I was up 25 cents and MrV was up $1.25; unfortunately, Marl lost his entire $1.50 buy-in. At least everyone seemed to have fun.

As for the rest of the weekend, I'll spare everyone the details.

I cleared the 100 raked hands at Royal Vegas Poker in about 2 hours. I made just over $3 playing and with the extra $20 bonus, that made for a profitable couple of hours. I haven't added the bonus to my bankroll on my sidebar since it won't show up in my Royal Vegas account until February 1st.

For the rest of the weekend, I played at Interpoker. I had to play another 99 raked hands to finish off my October deposit bonus and I was hell bent on getting that done.

It took me about 6 hours to do it. You see, at Interpoker, any hand above $5 is considered a raked hand. However, unless the rake reaches $1, the hand counts as 1/4 of a raked hand towards clearing bonuses. So, at the 0.50/1 tables, you're looking at about 20 raked hands per dollar of bonus. While this seems steep, the generally fishy weekend play at Interpoker and the generous reload bonuses keep this site at the top of my play list.

So, after 6 hours at Interpoker, I found myself up another $120. I actually made $30 from my play alone, which is about $30 more than I thought I would. I got some good cards, made some good plays, and everything seemed to come together. I'm hoping that this is a sign that my limit game is back on track. Only time will tell I guess...

What's next for me? I still have 24 SNGs to play in order to finish off my 100 SNGs in 100 days challenge. This challenge has been a real money sink for me lately. My SNG play could not be worse and this is showing in my bankroll. Actually, maybe I'm being too results-oriented. My play has not been all that bad - maybe I'm letting my bankroll dictate my play. I'm going to buckle down and beat this challenge into submission over the next little while.

I've also got my $100 NL TigerGaming challenge. I was up as high as 76% complete but donked off $20 last week to put me back in the mid-50s for my completion percentage. To beat this bastard, I'm going to have to go back to fundamentals. Sure, I've been a bit unlucky. But I have to learn to fold top pair and the occasional overpair when some fishy player pushes all-in. Still, my BB/100 at these $5 NL games is sky high, so a little variance and bad luck is to be expected.

Anyway, I'm going to come up with some new and exciting (for me, boring for you) challenges. These include clearing a pending $25 bonus at Interpoker by playing $1/$2 limit poker. I've got to make the jump and now's the time to do it. If I lose 300 BBs, then I'll drop back to the 0.50/1 games. But I have to try and move up before I stagnate in the micro-limits. I'm a smart (enough) guy: I know the math, I have PokerTracker/PokerAce, and I know the plays. I just need to put it together and do it.

I will also try the $25 NL tables at Interpoker in preparation for the $25 NL tables at PartyPoker.

The future is bright, ladies and gentlemen. There's no better feeling than having a winning couple of days and regardless of what happens next, it's gonna be a great ride. I know that anyone reading this has felt (or will feel) this way many times throughout his/her poker career and it's what keeps us coming back.

Have a great day everyone! More posts to come later today, if I have time, or tomorrow.

Keep reading "My birthday was last weekend?!"

Now that one hurt...

"Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies. Rivers and seas boiling."
"Forty years of darkness. Earthquakes, volcanoes..."
"The dead rising from the grave."
"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria."

That one quote from Ghostbusters describing the coming Apocalypse describes the way I felt last night while "playing" the game we love to hate...

It seems that there are two things wrong with the way I played poker last night. First, I refused to lay down my hands in the face of a huge re-raise or all-in bet. And secondly, I am getting far too unlucky.

The evening started off quite well. I sat down at Interpoker and played some 0.50/1 limit poker. After running over my first table and staying somewhat afloat at a couple other tables, I managed to eek out a $6 profit in just under an hour.

I would have won more had I not missed a bunch of flops with my AK hands. Also, having my pocket aces and pocket kings cracked stung a little too.

I won't complain though - a win is a win and I'm closer to clearing my Interpoker bonus.

The real fireworks started at the TigerGaming $5 NL tables later in the evening. I was up $4 after the first hour - not too bad considering the quality of the hands I was picking up pre-flop.

Then, it all fell apart...

I pick up rockets on the button. 5 limpers to me, I raise to 4xBB pre-flop and everyone folds. Crap...I guess my table image was too tight.

Five hands later, I pick up rockets again! Sweet! I raise to 5xBB and get one caller. Flop comes down 7 7 5. My opponent bets the pot. At this point, I wasn't even thinking clearly about what he was holding. I couldn't imagine him calling a 5xBB pre-flop raise with any hand containing a 7 or a 5 - although I never considered pocket 7s or pocket 5s. I was thinking that he had a high Ax hand or possibly a pocket pair in the range of 88 - JJ.

So I re-raise my opponent the pot and he calls. The turn comes down with a blank. He checks, I check. At this point, I'm thinking he definitely has a medium pocket pair or an AK/AQ/AJ.

When the river comes down with a K, my opponent pushes all-in.

At this point, my wife, who was now back from the candle party (it's actually a party where they buy candles and not code for something else...go figure), looks at me and reminds me that I can't push the rest of my stack in with only an overpair. She reminds me of the cardinal rule of NL poker: don't go broke with top pair (in my case, overpair).

However, my gut is telling me that he has an AK so I call. My opponent shows a K7o and takes the pot with his full house. Ouch...I misplayed this hand terribly. I am a donkey! I don't mind my re-raise on the flop - there are only 14 hands that beat me and all but three of them are even remotely likely. In the end, I guess four of the possible bad holdings were likely and I paid the price for putting so much bloody stock in my mighty aces!

At this point, I'm only down $2 for the session. I should've shut her down considering my bad play. Ahh...but the tiltin' feelin' was a-callin' me down the path to ruin. That all-too-familiar path littered with the scattered remains of the fish and donkeys who'd come before me.

Ten minutes later, I pick up rockets again! For those counting, the fourth such occurrence of the evening if we include the one at Interpoker. Although I seemed quite happy on the outside, I was feeling that ball of tilty-fear in my stomach: I was only wondering how my aces would get cracked this time.

I raised it up to 50 cents pre-flop yet again and, as is usually the case when I raise with a premium hand, I got one caller. When the flop came K K T and my opponent pushed all-in for his last $1.25, I was being laid 2 to 1 odds on my call.

If my opponent held KK, TT, or AK pre-flop, I thought he would've pushed when I raised the pot to 1/3 of his remaining stack. Since the odds of hitting trips is only 7.5:1 (and since my other opponent flopped trips the last time I had aces), I figured my opponent most likely held a hand like AT, QT, or JT.

I called and my opponent showed KT for the flopped full-house. Oh Poker Gods - what have I done to offend thee? Is it the bad advice I give other players? Is it the constant bitching about my play and my luck? Is it that I wasn't wearing my somewhat-lucky Interpoker baseball cap?

Anyway, by that point in time I was down about $7. I was picking up a lot of good pre-flop raising hands and missing a lot of flops. It's hard to call a pot-sized bet when all you hold is two overcards...

I lost another chunk when my KQs ran into an AK. The table's chip-leader had failed to raise with his AK pre-flop; instead, he allowed me to do it with my KQs when 6 limpers entered the pot. I bet 2/3 of the pot on the flop with a backdoor straight and backdoor flush draw and the chip leader called. When a K hit on the turn, I bet the pot when the chip-leader checked to me and he called. We both checked the river and I took the hit.

Some more money was lost when my QQ when I ran into another player's KQ. He raised $2 pre-flop and I called. When the flop came A high, I thought I was probably screwed and both me and my opponent checked to the showdown. He won the hand after a K fell on the river - I had position on him and I guess he was hoping I'd put out a bet at the end. Should I have pushed on the flop? I was pretty sure he had the ace...

The only good hand that I played during my tilt phase were some pocket tens. It was min-raised pre-flop and I just called from the big blind. There were four of us seeing the flop: when it came down 8 6 2, I was pretty damned happy! I imagined myself raking a large pot.

I bet out 2/3 of the pot trying to find out how I was sitting compared to everyone else. Well, the first opponent re-raised to $1. The second opponent re-raised to $1.50 and my third opponent called.

At this point, I thought back to previous hands. What was I supposed to do if a big raise came back to me and I only held one pair? Oh yeah...fold...crap!!

I thought long and hard. I had an overpair! But with a raise and re-raise coming back to me, I couldn't believe that I was ahead in the hand. I reluctantly folded.

When the showdown finally came, the original raiser had an A8 for top pair (on the flop), the re-raiser held KK and the other caller had QQ. My goodness, I'm glad I got out of there.

Anyway, that was my night. I now find myself down further for the month. All is not lost though: last night's lessons were costly, but I'm hoping against hope that they will stick with me this time.

I made some bad calls, for sure. However, I can't play scared thinking that my heads-up opponents have hit trips on a paired board. I also can't always be afraid that my opponent has me dominated in the hand, either through a shared card or an overpair.

I will stick with it and I will prevail. My $90 bonus will be cleared this weekend and that will put me up for the month and hopefully give me the confidence to keep playing my game.

Anyway, that's it for now. Feel free to slam my craptastic play - I can take it. I'll just have to take it out on my opponents at the tables...

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I've been reading SirFWALGMan's blog recently...that guy is a crazy bastard! We couldn't have more different playing styles, attitudes about poker, gambling and especially bankroll management.

That being said, Sir's blog is a good read. I think it's the "train wreck" thing coming into play. However, his brutal honesty with regards to his poker play and his life in general keeps the pace of his blog going. You can't help but check back to see whether he's hit it big or lost his entire bankroll.

To give you an idea of the type of player SirFWALGMan is/was (don't know how much has changed in since June 2005 - that's where I am in his archives), here's an excerpt:
Well I hate to say this but you all deserve the truth from me: I blew my bankroll again! You know the old story. I started on a small downturn to around 2200 and decided to really screw-up. The old tendencies came back and before I knew it I was out. Well, not totally. I think I have 50 bucks to rebuild with. I did take out some money before the crash too. Not nearly enough though.

So, if you're looking for sound bankroll management talk and a slow and steady climb to the top of the poker world, stick around here.

But if you're looking for the exciting ups and downs of a degenerate gambler (Sir's own words, not mine), go check out Sir's blog.

Crazy f*cker...

Keep reading "Now that one hurt..."

Breaking even for the win

It seems that PokerDominator counts a day played without losing any money as a winning day. I guess it's the whole glass half-empty, half-full thing. With that in mind, I guess I had winning night at Interpoker.

I played for just over an hour last night at Interpoker's $0.50/$1 FL tables but managed to make a small comeback to break even. As is usually the case, I found myself down about 14 BBs within the first 30 minutes of play. Although I was stealing pots and blinds when I could, I missed enough flops in raised pots to really cost me.

There were two hands that made me some money and, surprisingly enough, these hands were not any of the big 5 (AA,KK,QQ,JJ,AK).

The first hand to net me a tidy little profit of +10BBs was good old presto (55). I pick this up in the CO. I limp after 3 other limp into the pot and the button raises it up. We go to the flop with five of us in the pot.

Flop comes 5 7 7. Bingo! We all check to the button who bets and I decide to simply call. A raise here wouldn't have knocked anyone out, netting me an extra $1.50 (two people folded to button's bet), however I had my eyes on a bigger prize.

When the turn comes with a king, the table really opens up. The guy to my right bets, I call and the button raises. It gets back to me and I make it 3 bets - it doesn't get capped but we head to the river.

When the river comes down with a second K, I'm thinking I'm f*cked. The heavy betting on the turn worried me, so I just checked it down. Is this too wimpy? If I bet, anyone without the king is going to fold and anyone with the king is going to raise it up.

Anyway, my 5s full of Ks held up and I took down a good sized pot. Had it not been for that second king, I would have made an extra $3 and been up for the night. I'm guessing that both of my opponents had a 7 since there were no flush or straight possibilities on the table.

Moving along, the second hand that allowed me to break even was the mighty A2o. When everyone folded to the blinds, I raised it up from the SB and the BB called - heads up to the flop. Flop comes A 2 x. I rammed and jammed my way to the river and took down the $8 pot.

In playing for the hour, I earned myself another 4% completion towards the $90 Interpoker bonus. Sweet!

I don't have anything witty or funny to add at this point. Maybe this afternoon, who knows?

All I can say is that I'm definitely playing tonight. My wife is heading out to a "candle" party so I'll have a lot of time to kill at the tables. Although my good luck charm will be away, I'll have to do my best to stay afloat. I'm hoping to clear another 5%-10% of the Interpoker bonus and possibly squeeze in some NL play at TigerGaming.

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I brought yogourt with me to work today for breakfast but forgot to bring a spoon. How's that for a metaphor on life?

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I went downstairs at lunch and bought some soup for lunch. The soup came with a spoon. Soup and yogourt have been eaten. Both left something to be desired - wish I could have had a bacon cheeseburger instead...

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Work is kicking my ass today. Sorry, no real afternoon posts. You can, however, read some of the fine blogs I've listed to the right of the page. Seriously, don't be a prick about it - just give them a chance.

Keep reading "Breaking even for the win"

The afternoon ramble...

I'll tell ya - just when I find myself wondering why I even bother to play poker, much less write about it, I just need to sit back and read the exploits of the other crazy bastards doing the same thing.

Any time I hear about some big win, I can't wait to sit back down at the tables.

Every time I hear about a new bonus being offered (courtesy of the fine work done over at BonusWhores - I think any time you type the word "whore", you're in for more hits - I'll quickly check out the when and how and figure out whether it's do-able.

And every time someone visits my site, subscribes to my feed (there are now 2 other subscribers out there besides myself - thanks Al and MrVercetti), or comments on one of my posts, I can't wait play.

So thanks everyone for forcing me to gamble away my hard earn winnings - I'll see you in the soup line.

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Chris over at The Making of a PokerPro e-mailed me asking for a link. His site is still very new and he seems to be new to the poker blogging thing in general, but I'll give him a shout-out. Another new blogger, another guy with the balls to play higher stakes than me. Until I grow a set, check him out and support his growth as a poker blogger (cuz there's not enough of us already out there...).

--

PokerStars has yet to get back to me about their affiliate program, although this could be due to a spam filtering issue. We'll see...

In other pimpin' news, I got my Paradise Poker affiliate code. Too many affiliates? Never! If I get even one person to sign up, I'll be happy. Plus, I think it's cool having all the blinking pixels on my site. Everyone loves busy, blinking, mismatched sites, right?

Also, Titan Poker got back to me about my affiliate code. I need to make sure I've got my link set up properly...

If anything, Klopzi's Mediocre Poker will be known as a site where the money talks...and no one listens. It's gonna be sweet...

--

Being similar to other poker bloggers out there, I like to do a quick search everyday to see if anyone has foolishly linked to this site. Well, today I found a new blog called Freeroll 2 Bankroll written by doubleuwhy.

Actually, he seems to have a bunch of blogs if you look at his profile, but I have a feeling many are simply "concept" sites that were mistakenly published. Considering that I accidentally trashed my entire blog in the space of 10 minutes and had to scramble for 30 minutes to get it up and running before the weekend started, I can understand where he's coming from.

This guy's catch is that he's trying to build a bankroll without depositing any real money - like yours truly. Will he be able to pull off the Klopzi? Or will he end up in the gutter, no better or worse than he was when he started? My money's on pulling it off since it takes a lot of patience and time to build up some scratch by playing in freerolls and living off the occasional scraps thrown to you by various sites.

There you go doubleuwhy - an freeroll pimping...good luck!


Keep reading "The afternoon ramble..."

Finally I break even...

That's right - I broke even last night after a few days of losing. My trick: I stayed away from my laptop. I'm hoping that the night off will have given my game the focus it needs. I guess we'll find out tonight.

My wife and I were actually out shopping for a good portion of the evening. We went to Wal-Mart to pick up some specific items, then my impulse shopping kicked in and we bought a lot more.

Then, I popped over to an EB Games in the same strip mall while my wife started doing some grocery shopping. After searching the shelves for about 10 minutes, I had to resign myself to the fact that EB Games did not have any good used games in stock.

I dejectedly made my way back to the grocery store. When I met up with my wife, the groceries were just about finished and we were going to head home for dinner. My wife suggested that we swing by another EB Games on the way home to see if they had any of the games that I wanted.

Fifteen minutes later, I'm at EB Games #2 while my wife picks up our dinner at the Quizzno's Subs next door. I get to Quizzno's just as my wife is paying for our subs, once again dragging my feet and complaining about the suckiness that is EB Games' previously played selection.

I'm ready to head home at this point and have dinner when my wife suggests that we make one final stop at Microplay to check for used games. So we stop in and I make my way to the back of the store. And lo and behold, they have a used copy of Psychonauts. Sweet! So I trade in my copies of RE4 and Jak II and I'm on my way home with a new game...

The rest of the evening was pretty relaxing. My wife and I had dinner and watched 24 and CSI:Miami. Afterwards, I played videogames until my eyes started bleeding.

And, for those of you interested, Psychonauts is pretty good so far. Much more gripping than Jak II was, in any case.

This evening's activities will assuredly contain some poker playing. I'm going to see if there are any limit games running at Interpoker (I want to clear that damned bonus); if not, it's Tiger NL time!

I'll post more this afternoon, I'm sure. And it will be purely poker-related...I think.

Ok, back to work for me.

Keep reading "Finally I break even..."

Finally, someone understands me...

*** WARNING: This post will be one of those run-on posts where there's some good stuff and some bad stuff all rolled up into one. There will be some pokah! talk as well as some videogame talk...so spend your reading time as you see fit.***

So, I was checking bloglines and found a new post by hdouble where he describes the different player personalities sorted by their bankroll management styles. Seeing as how I'm all about the bankroll, I thought I'd check the list and see where I fit in.

Surprisingly enough, hdouble describes me to a tee with the following personality:

6. The overly bankrolled player
DESCRIPTION: Solid player, but playing at a level where his win rate is significantly less than his hourly wage. Much like the high roller, financial losses have absolutely no effect on this player. This player takes the game seriously, and believes that he should "work his way up" through the limits before playing at a level where losses might cause minor financial pain.
PLAYING STYLE: Since this player takes poker seriously, losses will often have a strong emotional affect on the player. If this type of player goes on tilt, they are likely to try to run over the table like the high roller.

That's it! That's me! How many times have I said that I wanted to work my way up? How many times have I wondered why I'd bother playing poker for such a puny amount of money? Well, I do it because I take my poker seriously. And when I tilt, I tilt hard.

Go check out hdouble's post for the other bankroll types out there - it's a good read.

--

Oh Jebus! It's time for some more keyword fun!

poker ace hud aggression factor determining
For those of you looking how to correlate a player's real life aggression with their PokerTracker numbers, here's a quick overview:
  • 0 - 1: Generally passive players - if they bet or raise, look out! These players are the easiest to play against although they will often suck out on you. I also find that players with an aggression factor this low are very hard to push off a pot.
  • 1 - 2.5: Pretty aggressive - they will raise when they should and they may try to bully you occasionally. Many players fall within this range.
  • 2.5 - 4.0: These are the typical numbers for a smart, aggressive player. These players will do their best to ruin your odds when drawing and they will make you pay dearly if you decide to showdown a second best hand. You do not want to play with many of these types at your table.
  • 4.0+: These players are the maniacs. They are always raising and betting on every street. To counter these types of players, let them take the lead in the hand and re-raise them on the later streets if you find yourself with a good hand. Be careful to not undervalue their hand but be aware that they will make you gamble a little on every hand you play against them. These players will sometimes fold if they face pure unadulterated aggression in return - they may be aggressive but are not always stupid.
Be sure to cross-check the aggression numbers with the VP$IP numbers for a given player: TAGs may come across as maniacs when they are simply picking up good cards and playing their hands well.

pokerace hud registration key
Not a problem - buy one here. Or were you looking for a registration code of questionable legality...filthy criminals...

shin megami tensei: nocturne demons
It's good to know that I'm not the only one playing PS2 games involving sexually-ambiguous demons and weird little red guys sporting giant striped strap-on dildos (I shit you not...). I'm not sure what these people are looking for exactly...yes, the game has demons in it. Check out GameFAQs or GameSpot for more info.

winning texas hold'em matt maroon book review
So far, so good...

bikiniwax before and after
I definitely did not see this one coming...AOL's search engine is totally p0wned by Google...

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***NERD ALERT***

So, my mother-in-law got me a $25 EB Games gift card for my birthday and it's burning a hole in my pocket. After work tonight, it's off to the store to buy some new games.

While I'm there, I'll be trading in a couple games. I finished Resident Evil 4, including the mini-game Separate Ways starring Ada Wong. I found the game to be pretty good - story was pretty solid, voice acting was ok, script was shit, and some of the moments in the game were horrifying. Actually, it was all about the jump scares and I scare easily. I almost had a heart attack the other night when I was staring through a sniper scope and some bad guy jumped up in front of me. It was almost exactly like the scene at the start of Episode IV where a Tusken Raider attacks Luke...

So, RE4 is getting traded in. I'm also getting rid of Jak II. It's hard, it's annoying, and I'm not into it. The first Jak and Daxter game was funny, cheery, light and loads of fun. This new Jak, the darker, grittier version, just doesn't do it for me. Much like POP: Warrior Within, I think they overdid it with the "darkness".

I really don't like the GTA-like, free-to-explore world they've got going in the game. I loved GTA III, I really loved Vice City...but I didn't buy Jak II to play GTA. And that's why it's going tonight - well, that and the difficulty and the crappy story-line. That's my opinion anyway - I know GameSpot gave Jak II 9.1/10 so what do I know?

Anyway, here's a list of games that I'd like to get if I see them used:
  1. Psychonauts: By the same guy who did Lucasarts' Grim Fandango! Supposed to be funny and weird, all at the same time!
  2. Metal Gear Solid 3: Cinematic, nice to look at, snake eating, and vomiting all rolled up in one. It doesn't get any better than that...
  3. Silent Hill 3 or SH4: Either one of these would be ok. I've always wanted to play a game that would damage me psychologically and these would do the trick. I tend to pass out if I see someone horribly injured or disfigured, so if I don't write tomorrow just know that I'm passed out in front of my couch in a puddle of my own saliva/vomit/beer/ravioli.
  4. Sly Cooper 3: This may be a pipe dream. It's funny how much I love Sly Cooper (not in that kind of way...although he does have opposable thumbs...). The first game in the series was great, the second game was, for lack of a better word, fan-f*cking-tastic! And I hear the third game in the series is just slap-tastic as the first two games!

In addition to any new games I pick up this evening, I also picked up a new game this weekend. It's called Shadow of the Colussus and it's pretty amazing. The premise is that your some girly-man trying to save some girl. I don't' know why the main character looks like a woman. I don't know what's wrong with the girl laying on some altar. All I know is that some booming Japanese-ish voice tells the main character to go out and kill some giant baddies.

And when I say "giant", I mean it. Imagine riding up to a mountain on a horse only to discover that it is not a mountain in front you. The mountain is, in fact, a rather large baddie intent on crushing you.

Although each of these boss battles (there are only boss battles in the game) has its own little quirks and nuances, the general gist of the fights is the same. You find a way to climb onto these behemoths and hang on for dear life looking for a good place to plant your sword.

When you find a sweet spot, you keep hacking away as the blood erupts in huge geysers. Eventually, tons-o-fun will fall down and you get sent back to the dead/sick/sleeping girl and the booming Japanes-y voice.

You'll have to trust me - this game plays a lot cooler than I make it sound.

More rambling to come, I'm sure...

--

Another blogger out there has won the Klopzi Free-Pimping award. And the winner is: Nick over at All In.

Rather than constantly bitching about losing (like me) and bragging about big wins (not like me), Nick tries to add a little strategy to the mix and discusses various issues that all newer players face.

So check out Nick's site - it's worth the visit.

Keep reading "Finally, someone understands me..."

Good birthday weekend, bad poker weekend...

The title of this post sums it up. I had a great long weekend spending time with my wife, friends, and family. I had so much to eat that it's almost disgusting (gaining 5 lbs. in four days can't be good for me) and I had a little to drink on Friday night. But you're not here to hear about how much ice cream cake I can eat in one sitting or how I ate my own weight in bacon on Saturday (my wife is the greatest!). What you want is to hear about how I crashed and burned at the tables; if that is the case, you're gonna like this post.

It all started on Friday night as I jumped on the exercise bike in preparation for all the eating that was to take place that evening. I thought it'd be a good idea to fire up Interpoker for some 0.50/1.00 action.

Long story short - I made the mistake of playing at a table with a maniac. Every hand was raised pre-flop and he would bet or raise at almost every opportunity. When I picked up AA on my second hand at the table, I thought I was golden.

I re-raised the maniac, got cold-called by the button, maniac caps it, and both myself and the button call. Three way pot. Flop comes T 8 4. Perfect! Maniac checks, I bet and the button raises?! When the maniac re-raises making it two bets to me, I should have folded. Instead, I call and the button calls.

Turn is a 4. Maniac bets, I raise trying to isolate, but the button won't play along. He raises it and the maniac caps it. Now, you're probably thinking, "Klopzi, for the love of fuck, please tell me you dropped those aces like the Sens dropped the Leafs this weekend!" (sorry, big Sens fan and I hate the Leafs).

Well, not only did I not drop my aces, but I capped that mofo and both the button and the maniac call.

River is a blank. Maniac checks, I bet (seemingly forgetting the old adage of "Don't bet if a worse hand will fold but a better hand will call or raise), and both players call. I'm just lucky they didn't raise...

Well, the maniac won with his J4s, giving him trip 4s. The button was holding a T8o and had hit two pair on the flop. So basically, I was playing from behind the whole time. Pathetic...that hand cost me far more than it should have.

By the time my hour of cycling was up, I was only down 11 BBs by virtue of some solid play and some lucky cards. After the aces debacle, I had been down 25 BBs.

Later on Friday evening, full of Lone Star and booze, I sat down to play some $5 NL at TigerGaming hoping to make back the $11 I'd lost earlier. Although I didn't lose any money, I was only up $2 after an hour of play. I did, however, lose money on Saturday when my pocket kings ran into rockets for the 4th or 5th time in two weeks. Can I get the odds on that?

I also played 5 SNGs this weekend with horrific results. I placed third once and came in 6th or 7th in the other four. My piss-poor results were due to some weak-tight play on my part, coupled with some bad luck. I can't describe it any other way. In all the SNGs, my opponents were folding to my good hands and re-raising my bad hands. And there is nothing worse than sitting in level 5 and getting blinded away as you catch strings of 63o and 82s.

So, as you can see in my sidenav, I'm now down for the month both in terms of my poker goals and my weight loss goal. Sweet!

I think I'm going to take the night off from poker for the next couple days. By Thursday, we'll see where my confidence is at. I'm hoping that my game picks up again - I hate playing when I'm afraid to lose.

That's not to say that I won't be posting though. I'm sure I'll come up with something poker-ish to write about. Maybe later I'll describe some of my recent PS2 accomplishments. Don't worry - I'll make sure that I title the post in such a way that people looking to read my gay poker blog content aren't mistakenly forced to read my gay videogame blog content.

Keep reading "Good birthday weekend, bad poker weekend..."

Stages of a Poker Blogger (Part 2)

I have a ways to go before I'm able to complete my "Stages of a Poker Blogger" series. Honestly, I'm writing this based solely on my experiences so far and from what I've read on some other blogs. However, I believe I've entered Stage 7 and it's gonna be a fun one...

Stage 7: What's happening?
Stage 6 was a rough one. I remember the feeling that I had regarding poker and I didn't like it. I wanted to get good at poker, I wanted to play poker: I just couldn't get myself excited about it.

Then, over the Christmas holidays, I started to feel it. Kinda like "feeling the force", just not as gay (actually, this is a poker blog which makes it all the more gay). I was playing SNGs and it all seemed pretty easy. I didn't need great cards to win - I just needed to play my game and the money would come.

This stage that I'm in right now has shown a marked improvement in my play and in my ability to analyze my play on and off the tables. I've found myself thinking critically about plays and coming up with conclusions as to what I should and should not have done. Perhaps my analysis is not always spot on, but that will come in later stages. What is important is that I like to play poker again.

This stage also seems to come with a renewed interest in learning. In my case, it's reading more blogs and reading books. It's watching poker on TV and trying to pick up anything I can that will help my game. In fact, this interest has rubbed off on my wife who can now watch a WSOP circuit event and matter-of-factly state that so and so is obviously bluffing and then go on to list the tells through use of my PVR's pause and rewind functionality.

As part of the learning process, I think bloggers in this stage also feel like giving back to the community by providing advice on their blogs. Myself, I seem to provide a good mix of obvious advice coupled with some really bad advice. The good advice gets more people playing and the bad advice lets me win more often. I'm kidding of course - I do believe that my bad advice is good advice at the time. That's why my bankroll doesn't really go up all that quickly.

Even though much of my advice is probably wrong when viewed by those in the know, I think it does help newer players grasp certain key elements of the game by presenting them in a manner more suitable to the stakes and the games they're playing. At this point, my blog is mainly here for my own introspection into my game and to illicit a willingness to play and learn in others...Actually, my blog is mainly here to promote the affiliated sites that I've listed all over the place and to get people to give me Amazon.ca click-throughs but I'm hoping you won't hold that against me.

Although my game has improved as of late, I know that the stage following this one will be marked by a huge leap in my abilities at the table. Either that or the dreaded plateau stage. A plateau stage is much like a hiatus stage - it's just a matter of how much time is spent playing poker. A poker blogger on hiatus plays little poker and avoids writing anything in the blog until all the tilty feelings go away. A plateau involves lots of poker that goes nowhere coupled with infrequent blog entries all saying the same thing: "I don't know what's wrong lately? I just can't seem to..."

In either case, marked improvement or plateau, I'm not in a hurry.

For those out there reading this, I just hope that by reading what I have to write, you'll start to feel the pull that poker holds over many of those who play. It's more than just chips and cards, more than the Guiness and SoCo consumed while playing, it's more than the money won or lost.

It's about patience required to sit at a table for hours and do absolutely nothing...then write about it.

It's about learning all that you can then taking that misinterpreted information and writing about it.

It's about the drive to be better than everyone else and not just the donkeys at the nickel and dime NL ring games. If you do well, you write about it. If you're the donkey, you lie about it.

It's about the heart required to play the game when everything's on the line and your only options are to fold or push it all in one last time - followed by the desire to write about it regardless of how it all turned out.

Lastly, it's about the love of the game and trying to share that with your readers and with those you're robbing blind at the tables. If you don't love the game, I guarantee that you'll end up a loser at the tables and you'll lose your readership. And we all know that without readership, you'll never get anyone to sign up with the many wonderful affiliates advertised all throughout your site!

And so, I will continue to grow as a player and as a poker blogger (and as an affiliate pimp). I'd say that I can't wait to start playing in the bigger games, but that's not true. My career thus far has exemplified a certain amount of patience coupled with a certain fear or unwillingness to push myself as far as I could go. At least I can write about it; it brings some comfort knowing that no matter what, there will always be a select group of people who've wasted a portion of their lives reading my gay blog.

Keep reading "Stages of a Poker Blogger (Part 2)"

Another year older and still making mistakes...

For those of you who may not know, tomorrow is my birthday. What does that mean? 3 days and 3 nights of pure unadulterated fun and food. The old diet is gonna have to take a back seat this weekend.

Last night started off with some tourtiere (meat pie for those you not living in Canada), shrimp dip and a chocolate mint truffle brownie ice cream cake (as good as it sounds) courtesy of my mom. That and a few glasses of sparkling wine.

Tonight, my wife and I are heading out to the Lone Star Cafe with most of the people I know for some food and booze. What did I always eat when I went to the Lone Star growing up? The Southern Fried Combo: basically, a deep-fried steak and a deep-fried chicken breast, fries and a couple side orders, all smothered in white Texas gravy. Unfortunately, they don't sell it anymore...stupid bastards! At least I'll get lots of beer and I'm sure I'll find some suitably deep-fried or otherwise unhealthy meat to go along with my drinks.

Tomorrow, quiet day at home with my wife. I'll probably play some poker, video games and watch some movies. Sunday - lunch with the in-laws. Monday, I'm taking the day off for more relaxing with my wife and poker (I know - surprising!).

So, it's gonna be a great long weekend! But before getting to the festivities, I'll have to face my demons from the SNG I played last night at PokerStars.

My wife and I got home around 10pm. I watched the last of the Sens vs. Mighty Ducks game on TV (Sens lost in a shoot-out) then fired up the laptop for some p-o-k-e-r. I only had $10 left at PokerStars; still, enough to cover the $5.50 needed for an SNG. By the way, I like to type "an SNG" as opposed to "a SNG" - it sounds better in my mind even though is it most likely grammatically incorrect. I know, I know - wtf?! Back to my story...

I'd like to say I made it ITM. But alas, it was not meant to be. And all because of a player called Slotted. He was a very aggressive player, raising most pots to 3xBB from the get-go. I decided that I'd have to wait for my moment then strike.

In level 2, I pick up AKs. When Slotted comes in for a 3xBB raise, I re-raise to about 7xBB. Slotted calls and the flop comes down 9 4 2. Slotted checks and I bet T300 into the T445 pot. Slotted calls. We both check the turn when a Q falls. The river brings a T and slotted bets T150 into the T1000 pot. I can't fold for such a little bet and call: I lose to Slotted's T8o. My mistake - I should have bet the turn. However, I just started reading T.J. Cloutier's book and he says that if you pot the flop and get called, you're done with the pot. Unfortunately, I misused his advice since I called the bet on the river. T.J. would've popped it on the turn, I think...

By level 3, I'm down to T850 and not going anywhere fast. My blinds are getting stolen but I'm too card dead to even try to defend. I finally push with T750 left and the blinds at 50/100. Three callers and I'm suddenly not feeling too good about my QJs. The flop comes Q T x, turn is a J and the river is an 8. I'm hoping that no one left has a 9; luckily, no one does and I've tripled up (one of the callers only had T130).

A few hands later, AQs on the button. When I raise to 3xBB from the button, the BB calls. Flop come Q x x rainbow. BB bets T300 into the T650 pot and I smooth call - I'm looking to trap. Turn is a rag so I put out a quarter pot bet when checked to me. I get the desired effect when the BB re-raises another T250 or so. I push and he calls. My top pair holds up and I've doubled up and taken the chip lead.

By the next level, we only had 5 players left. Then it all went bad. Slotted raises it from the SB to T400 and I call with my pocket nines. Flop comes 8 6 2 with two diamonds. Slotted bets T150 (he bet out on every flop in every hand he played) and I raise to T600 and he calls. Turn is another diamond and Slotted checks - I check too. River is a blank and Slotted bets T300 into the T2000 pot and I call thinking that I'm probably ahead. Nope, Slotted hit the nut flush on the turn with his A3s. Crap!

So now, I'm down to T2400 and in third place. A few orbits later, I pick up an 89s in the BB and call the min raise pre-flop from Slotted. Flop comes 9 4 2. I have top pair and a backdoor flush draw. Slotted bets out again - I raise to T500 with my top pair, confident that I'm ahead. Slotted raises to T1500.

Hmmm...at this point, I have two options: push or fold. I made the wrong decision and pushed. When Slotted insta-called, I knew I was down for the count. He shows pocket fours for his set and I'm out in 5th.

From first place to fifth in the space of two poorly played hands. Yuck! Yet again, I fail to learn the lesson of: Don't go broke with top pair! Maybe after I've learned this lesson another ten times, I'll finally get it.

Anyway, I was tilting a little bit due to my bad play. My wife tried to explain to me that I'd overplayed my top pair but I refused to listen. Instead, I sat down at one of PokerStars 6-person $10 NL ring games. I built my remaining $4.50 up to $6.95 before calling it quits for the night. I do have to say that I was pretty pleased with PokerStars' NL ring games. Nice soft play and lots of players who'll call you thinking you're on a bluff (much like I did in the SNG).

All this to say - I will be playing poker this weekend at the sites I have listed to the right. I'd put their names here, but I've done enough pimping already (actually, my Eurobet affiliate code is finally set up so feel free to check them out!).

Well, this post sucked ass...I apologize. I'm not thinking too clearly - just counting the minutes till it's time to leave! I going to try to play tonight at TigerGaming's $5 NL tables or PokerStars $10 NL tables. If I do, it'll be a bit later in the evening and I'll be drunk. I'll be the designated ATM at the tables...

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be at Interpoker's 0.50/1.00 tables or still at Tiger's $5 tables trying to finish off my $100 Tiger Challenge.

Actually, if I do happen to finish off the $100 challenge, I may start the $500 Interpoker NL Challenge. This new challenge will involve me trying to win 20 buy-ins at the $25 NL tables (blinds are 0.25/0.50 I believe).

Shit! I am so damned excited...Ok, gotta calm down...who knew getting old could be this much fun?

Ok, end of post...sorry about the pimpage that inexplicably popped up at the end of the post...feel free to comment...still got the afternoon to kill...

Keep reading "Another year older and still making mistakes..."

Stupid, stupid, stupid...

Another night at the NL ring game tables, another slight addition to my bankroll. Although I was up by the time I went to bed, the night was truly marred by a spectacularly bad play on my part.

I decided to sit down at the $10 NL tables at Pacific Poker (another affiliate...I am shameless...) with the last of my bonus money. This money was just sitting there and I was unable to withdraw it due to wagering requirements.

It only took me 50 minutes to lose it all and I still can't believe that I make the same mistakes over and over again. Here's the scoop:

I'd been card dead for the last 20 minutes and I'm down to $7.40. Suddenly I've picked up JJ and I'm dreaming of all the money I'm gonna make. Three limpers to me in late middle position (MP3); I make it 50 cents to go. I can feel all the high rollers out there smirking...

Guy on the button re-raises to $1 and all fold to me and I call. Flop comes down 6 6 9. With $2.35 in the pot, I bet $3. Why did I bet so high? Was I trying to commit all my chips to this one pot? Why not bet $1 or $2 and see what happens? Well, the button comes back at me for all my chips.

Hmmm...I've got an overpair and I'm being put all in. What could he have re-raised me with pre-flop? A big pair? Likely but I was hoping that I wasn't getting cold-decked yet again with a big pair. Big drawing hand (AK, AQ, etc.)? Very possible. A hand with a 6 in it? Pretty unlikely, although I've had my share of bad luck when making this assumption. A hand with a 9 in it? Possible.

Here are the things that I missed that led me to making a bad call:

  1. I had a tight table image, having not played a single hand for the past 20 minutes - chances are the button had the goods.
  2. There were already 3 limpers in the pot, so the chances of the button thinking that I was on a steal were nil.
  3. By over-betting the pot, it made it look like I may be trying to buy the pot while also making it easy for the button to put me to the test for all my chips.
  4. When a player re-raises the pre-flop raiser all in, he's usually got something good.

Obviously I made the wrong move and called off all my chips. The button turned over cowboys and I was dead to two outs which never came...

I have lost many times to this exact play. I've got to learn how to play big pairs I guess. Either that or stop pushing all in with only a pair! Phil Gordon would be rolling in his grave were he not alive and winning more money on a single hand than I have in my bankroll.

Anyway, the hits continued at TigerGaming...I pick up TT and raise it to 5xBB and get two callers. Flop comes AKT. I've got both players well covered at this point and push - both call. One guy shows KK and the other AJs. Set over set?! Saw that happen to Ted Forrest the other day on High Stakes Poker on GSN. Luckily for me, I only lost an extra $1.50 when I won the side pot with Mr. AJs when he missed his flush.

Other than that, I got beat by rivered flushes four out of the six times that I put someone all-in when they were on a draw. However, I did play pretty solid and started throwing my weight around with my big stack (I was up to $23 at one table where the max buy-in is $5).

All in all, up around $2 on the night. That puts me at about 10 BB/100 for my play all evening - not great but I'll take it. It's just a shame that the BB in this case is only 10 cents...

Well, going to my mom's place for dinner tonight with my wife so I may not get to play this evening. If I do, it'll be an SNG at Party or at PokerStars (surprisingly, still no affiliate code...) Going out with friends tomorrow night (freaky - the lights just went out here at the office...) but I may play some drunken poker when I get home.

Ok the lights keep going on and off so I'd better wrap it up...

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Another new blogger: check out Huma at Humanaut's Boring Poker Blog. Yet another new online player making a better go at it than me. Still, any new players out there brave enough to hit the NL ring games have more of a fighting spirit than I and they deserve to do well.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that, in my haste, I've set up my affiliate links wrong. That would be something to worry about if people were visiting this site in droves. I guess it's something I'll get to fix on my birthday as I sit around in boxer shorts and eat cake...

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Just read something funny - I've been there before:
Ex-employee: I just got let go.
Employee: Really? What did they say?
Ex-employee: "Bye."

- Overheard in the office

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Go check out Overheard in the Office - they have some funny sh*t! I guess the site's comprised of numerous conversations overheard at various workplaces. I'll put one more here that I found particularly funny, but after that, you're on your own.
4PM Order Supplies
Co-worker #1: Can I borrow a colored pen?
Co-worker #2: Here's a red one, but I may need it later for drawing fire.

525 7th Avenue
New York, NY

Good to see that the people of NY are working so hard...

Keep reading "Stupid, stupid, stupid..."

Those who can't - advertise!

I didn't play last night...Instead, my wife and I sat down and watched back to back to back episodes of 24. Believe it or not, it's nice to step away from the tables and relax for a bit. I'm generally one of those people that needs to be doing two or three things at once, which makes nights like last night a rarity and a pleasure.

I think I'll revert to Stage 1 for a bit here and give a few shout-outs.

First, I've picked up a couple more affiliates: Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker.

If you haven't played at Full Tilt, you're missing out. The site is clean, the sign-up bonus is great, and, most importantly, many of your favourite bloggers play there regularly. I have not played there yet, but I will when the fear of losing my roll to Al or Pauly in a good game of PLO dissipates. I have heard that the ring games can be tough, but what's the point of playing poker unless you're ready to learn and improve your skills against better opponents?

And PartyPoker...Intertops was gobbled up by Party and they are now one and the same. I can't say anything about PartyPoker that hasn't already been said elsewhere. Loose games, easy money, and lots of tournaments.

And while you're at it, don't forget about Interpoker and TigerGaming. There is lots of money to be made at both these places - I'm living proof.

Little overboard there, eh? Let me pass the focus back to my fellow bloggers out there desperate for hits:


  • The Randomness of Hoff is a good read. Follow iamhoff in his quest to beat the $10 SNGs at PokerStars while avoiding tilt from the dreaded 97 offsuit...

  • Alan over at The Silent 4 is in the process of building his bankroll much like me. However, he's got a little more experience under his belt than I do and has Alan's Rules to show for it. Go check it out...

  • Dr. Pauly just posted some simple rules for playing PLO (pot limit Omaha). I think I'll give them a try this weekend.

  • Matt just got back from the Bahamas and is now crushing the $40/$80 games at Paradise Poker.

  • Kent is in the process of taking his money out of Casino.net and is looking to broaden his empire. Where will he go next? I have no idea...

  • And don't forget Al, Felicia and the other bloggers out there.


So, are you wishing you could get the last 5 minutes of your life back? Me too...

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Man - work is kicking my ass today...

On a positive note, though, Falstaff's informed me that the low-limit ring games at Full Tilt are not as rough as I've been led to believe. So maybe I'll get a chance to work on a good 100% deposit bonus in the near future!

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One more pimp for the day: check out drewspop over at Hometown Poker. He's new to the blogger scene and giving it his all.

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I almost forgot, I'm picking up my books from the post office tonight! Sweet!

I've got lots of reading to do and lots of winning to do too. I'm about $120 off pace to hit my $5K bankroll goal by New Year's Eve 2006. So, I'll finish reading these books and hope that they transform me into the greatest player ever.

I am hoping to start playing at a level where I can start clearing these damned bonuses quickly. Seriously, it should not take me 40 hours to clear a $90 bonus. I only worry that when the time comes that where I clear $100 bonuses in a few hours, I'll be playing at such a high level that the bonus will be inconsequential.

What I'm trying to say is that I want free money...all the time... I don't have anything that I want to buy right now...

...well except for a house...

...and a lamborghini...

...that name always cracks me up - sounds like some sort of f*cked up pasta...

...I drive a Hyundai Accent...no wonder I blog...

Keep reading "Those who can't - advertise!"

Best. Month. Ever.

Thanks to you, my loyal readers, this site is experiencing it's best month ever. I've now had more hits in the first 17 days of the month than I had back in November. I hope everyone's getting something out of this. And if you're not, click on my affiliate links and buy some books from Amazon.ca. Seriously, I can't rely on my poker play to make me money. I've only made $26 so far this month and that's a good month!

Ok, so I get it, you don't want to buy in to the whole "free money for Klopzi" thing I've got going here. Well, as your punishment, it's time again for some keyword searches fun. And by fun, I mean not so fun - but I've got a few minutes and I don't feel like starting another work-related task today.

Here are some of the newest ways that people have found their way here over the past week (Phil Hellmuth blowup videos are still #1 though...):

  1. its yugioh time bitches
    It certainly is...

  2. "PokerAce Hud" "registration code"
    Need a registration code? No problem: take $25 and spend it here.

  3. what the difference between pokerace and gametime
    Quality and usefulness - my vote is for PokerAce. Find it here.

  4. law school dropout's poker blog
    This is a google blog search that was performed and I list it here for one simple reason. My site comes up as the 2nd result in this search. Who's first? Ironically enough, it isn't the Law School Dropout! Click here if you'd like to read a real poker blog.

  5. what's the probabilities of a cold deck holdem
    Hmmm...I typically put the probability of a cold deck occurring running proportional to the quality of my hand. If I've got cowboys, somebody's gotta have aces. I'm holding Jacks, they're holding Queens. I'm holding AQ, they're holding AK.

    If you must have a specific answer, I'd say about 5%. If you want a realistic answer, the chances are a hell of a lot higher than you'd think or want. I am, of course, exaggerating somewhat and I don't really feel like doing the math: however, at a full table, the chances are well within the realm of possibility.

    Always remember that misfortune, as well as glory, are always only a single hand away. Play the good cards, play them hard, and don't worry about being cold decked.

So - who's up for some poker? Me too! I'm outta here!

Keep reading "Best. Month. Ever."

A little something for everyone

I wish I could say that I had a great night of playing last night. I wish I could say that I had a horrible night last night and lost half my bankroll. In fact, anything's more interesting than the reality of the three and a half hours that I spent hunched over my laptop.

For a change of venue, I went over to MrVercetti's to watch the Sens game (they beat Minnesota 6-1) on his 50" plasma TV. Just last week, MrVercetti had kindly wired up (I use this term very loosely) his living room for Internet, which meant one thing for me. Poker...

The game started and I fired up TigerGaming for some $5 NL play. The next two and a half hours were spent either being card dead or getting nothing for my quality hands.

For example, I pick up AA in the SB. At a table with flop percentages in the low to mid 70s, I was pretty damn happy. I pictured re-raising then getting all my money in pre-flop and coming away rich! Instead, everyone folds to me. Not being one to limp with rockets, I decide to min raise another 10 cents. Getting 3 to 1 odds, the big blind decides to fold...dirty bugger...

Twenty minutes later, I pick up 99 on the button and raise it to 4xBB. Only one guy stays in the pot. Flop comes 9 Q Q - sweet! The only problem is that my opponent is taking a long time to think. A little too long. I turn to John, who had also come over to watch the Sens game on the big screen, and tell him that my opponent will probably just fold rather than simply check. Five seconds later, my opponent does just that. Seriously, not only is folding for no reason a bad play, it's just annoying. I guess the guy was too afraid of catching something on the turn or the river that might have forced him to invest some money into the pot. I don't think he had any idea how far behind he was, although I blame his play on inexperience/crappiness as opposed to a killer intuition.

Other than those two hands, I picked up a number of AJ, AQ and a few AK hands. I missed the flop on half of them and did alright with the others.

The big mistake of the night came when I picked up A9s in the SB. Eight people in the pot. Flop comes 9 4 2. I bet out half the pot, the chip leader to my right calls, the guy to his right pushes all in for his last 0.90. Everyone folds to me and I call for another 10 cents as does the chip leader. Turn is a blank and I check. The chip leader bets $2 into the $4 something pot. At this point, I have only top pair with a measly 5 outs to improve. The correct play at this point is to fold. So I push with my last $3.50 and patting myself on the back for a brilliant play.

In reality, I knew I was behind and I don't know why I pushed. It's that gambler's spirit, it's the hoping against hope that your opponent is bluffing. When the chip leader shows pocket twos for the flopped set, I can only blame myself. I lose my buy-in and leave the table in shame. I broke my one cardinal rule of poker: Never call an all-in bet when all you can beat is a bluff. This could be someone else's saying, although I think that the concept is so straight-forward that it probably goes unspoken within the poker community.

Even though I lost one buy-in, I was doing well at another table and ended up 32 cents for the night. I know, don't spend it all in one place. At least I learned (for a third time) the value of not calling a large bet or pushing all-in with only top pair. Let's hope it sticks this time.

Afterwards, I played a $5 SNG at Intertops at promptly dropped out in 6th spot. Ooof, not a good night. Not a bad night either, but not as good as I'd hoped. I think the Sens sucked up all my luck by creaming the Wild.

That's all for now. Not that interesting a read - I apologize. I may post something later today discussing my current NL ring game strategy. It probably only works at the micro limit tables and I'm positive that it doesn't maximize winnings, but it should help some of the newer players make some easy money.

Keep reading "A little something for everyone"

The stages of a poker blogger (Part I)

I'm sure other people have already documented the growth of a poker blogger, both in his/her writing and in his/her poker game. I may have even read this somewhere else and am now in the process of plagiarizing someone else's hard work. Then again, I'm sure I'll introduce enough mistakes and falsehoods to make this my "own".

I've only been blogging (my wife's right - the word blog is more gay than the act of blogging itself) for a few months or so. Does this make me an expert on the phases that each blogger goes through? Nope. But I can give my opinion about the stages that I've encountered so far - and that, my friends, is what blogging is all about. Inaccurate statements of complete unimportance, bad advice meant to garner more money from even-weaker opponents, self-important dialogues, misplaced diatribes and masturbatory dreams of making it "big" - ain't blogs grand?

I've read many blogs, including my own, from start to finish and have come up with the following observations. Agree, disagree, call me a prick, whatever - but I'm guessing that if you've come this far, you're gonna keep reading.

Stage 1: I'm cool...please like me!
This is the stage where a poker blogger will outline their poker careers so far. Most bloggers at this point have had very little success in the world of poker, winning a few bucks here and there but still nowhere near playing poker professionally. This is the stage where the blogger doesn't have a voice of his/her/it's own. Most entries will seem eerily similar to the style of other bloggers out there.

Many will fall back on pimping other sites, using the word "pimping" to sound cool, and discussing various drinking stories in order to get a link from Al. I've seen it a million times (or at least, like, five times) and I'm sure this trend will continue.

Stage 2: Take a look at these!
Now that the site contains anywhere from 1 to 6000 links to various poker blogs, the writer/poker player must come up with some content. What do people want to read about? Heated discussions on why AKs sucks? No. Discussions of various poker rooms and their pros/cons? No. Poker theory and book reviews? No.

Every new blogger knows what people want: hand histories. Of course, how simple. Just play for a few hours everyday then post the hand histories containing all the exciting moments that make up poker. Of course people want to see the hand where you caught quads! And that hand where the guy hit his 3 outer on the river? That's quality shit right there.

I'd make some comment about bad beat stories here; however, I like bad beat stories. And, for the most part, new poker bloggers have yet to see any juicy bad beats at this point in their poker "careers".

Most experts define a bad beat as any time runner-runner is caught to overtake a previously winning hand. My definition is similar, but to be considered a real bad beat, two further criteria must exist:

  1. The bad beat should really cost the poker player a chunk of money that he or she really needed or it should cost the player some really good prize money. That will be sure to put the player on uber-tilt. And of course, uber-tilt is that delightful little phase of self-doubt where a player is to afraid to play AK strongly pre-flop for fear of chasing with a drawing hand.
  2. A good bad beat should induce the gag reflex and stand a good chance of creating an unfortunate case of vomiting. This happened to my brother once when he took his grocery money for the month and put it all on red. When the wheel came up black, his dinner came up on the drive home.


Stage 3: I need some good stories to tell!
Now that the blog is up and running and getting two or three hits a day from loved ones and friends, it's now time to start taking silly chances in order to come up with some good stories. Here, the blogger is more concerned about entertaining his or her non-existent readers than he or she is about bankroll size and winning.

This stage usually involves playing well above one's bankroll in the hopes of hitting it big or losing it all. In my case, I took my shot at the $1/$2 limit games at Interpoker. I said I'd keep at it until I lost $150...which I did...quickly...felt like vomiting...didn't...

For others with bigger cojones, this is the stage of $200 SNGs, $100 NL ring games, and WPT satellite tournaments. What these players fail to see is that they have become the calling stations or the fishy players that other bloggers refer to mockingly in their own posts.

These high-stakes stories usually end the same way - with the inevitable "Oops! I tried..." blog entry.

Stage 4: I need to make money!
By this point in time, the blog is generating a steady stream of 5 to 10 hits a day. Believe it or not, a lot of people love to a good train wreck. However, the poker blogger should not fooled: most visitors have ended up at the site by accident and others through a googled "problem gambling" search result.

It is at this point in time where the author sees the need for affiliate codes and other forms of click-through promotion. And so the previously uninteresting and illegible site now becomes an uninteresting and illegible site that loads extremely slowly. And for all the seizure-inducing blinking from all the affiliate links, one click-through is garnered for a total profit of 2 cents.

Stage 5: I need to get better!
Ahhh...here's the stage where some real studying and working on one's game promises better poker profit and better blog entries. I mean, at 2 cents per click-through, the blog will need at least 1000 click-throughs a day in order to cover the gambling losses.

This stage is accompanied by the common refrain of "I need to get back to the basics", re-reading Ed Miller, or finishing Harrington on Hold'em for real this time.

And so books are read, PokerTracker is purchased, hand histories are analyzed. Suddenly, the blogger gets it!

Stage 6: I need a break!
With further study comes the realization that many players out there don't know what they're doing. The blogger doesn't know why they keep winning - they're just getting lucky, picking up big hands and hitting the river constantly. However, upon further analysis, it will later be found that many hands were misplayed (i.e. slow-played), value bets were missed, an overabundance of crying calls were made, and opponents were not respected enough to be credited with even the most marginal iota of intelligence.

However, it is not the constant small losses that force the dreaded "hiatus": it is the vomit-inducing bad beat. It is the loss of a substantial portion of the blogger's bankroll on one hand. It is going all in for $100 with AA and getting called by pocket 5s and losing it all on the river. It is the runner-runner flush draw where the opponent holds only a 32s (which is, by the way, the hand which loses the most money online according to something I read a while ago).

I have just come back from my own hiatus. For me, my moment of horror came when my AK lost to another player's A4. I mean, it happens, right? However, at the time, I went into uber-tilt. I could not play properly online or otherwise. I couldn't stand the thought of poker. I didn't want to play it and I could not see why I liked the stupid game in the first place. Why? I finally realized that luck does play a role in poker and, unfortunately for me, short term can still be pretty f*cking long.

My hiatus was a short, albeit extremely bumpy, road to get back on track. As I continue to explore my own relationship with poker and blogging (the Liberace of all Internet endeavours), I will continue documenting my growth. If I do hit it "big", it's going to be a good ride. Although there is a pretty good chance of me thrashing about in the hiatus zone for a while depending on how often those stupid f*ckers out there keep hitting their sets on the river. Presto my ass! I'll show you presto, you little prick...

For all you new bloggers out there, take pride in the fact that there are many out there as sick, as boring, as crazy, as poor, as ecstatic, and as miserable as you. Savour the bad beats! We've all been there (most far longer than me but few more completely).

When things are going bad, learn.

When things are going well, be humble.

When things are going nowhere, take a break.

And if the cards just stop falling right, get as many affiliate links as you can and pimp other bloggers like a crazy mofo!

Keep reading "The stages of a poker blogger (Part I)"