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Read this: CC's Quest of a Closet Poker Player

Lately, I've heard much ado about a certain blogger named CC and his Relationships and Poker Series...

In case you missed it, these are interesting reads for anyone out there attempting to balance the crippling addiction of poker with a healthy, loving relationship:

I read through some of CC's posts. Being big on bankroll management, I have to say that his earlier posts scare me. Sitting down to play $15/$30 with a bankroll of less than $9000 seems a little crazy to me. Sitting down to play $15/$30 with a bankroll of $500 is f*cking insane! Still, everything's well written and reads quite nicely.

CC also gets a big plus for the nice, clean look of his site. Very nice, in my opinion.

So go check out CC - you won't be sorry.

Keep reading "Read this: CC's Quest of a Closet Poker Player"

Month in Review: March 2006

I don't know what happened this month. Was it the SNGs? Was it the NL ring games? Was it the books I purchased? Perhaps I was spurred on by the recent successes of my fellow poker bloggers? For whatever reason, this past month has become my best month to date as an amateur poker player.

Last night, I sat down to close out my month. I knew that I'd be unable to play this evening, so I wanted to finish my month off with a bang or a whimper - as long as I didn't lose a bundle, I'd be happy.

I fired up Interpoker and sat down at a couple $25 NL tables, hoping against hope that the tables were as good as I remembered them. Oh my goodness! I quickly found myself sitting with 9 other opponents where no less than five of them at each table had VP$IP numbers in excess of 50%!

I only played for an hour but found myself up about $10. I made a few good plays, a couple bad plays, and generally stayed afloat. It's strange...the last time I played at Interpoker, my NL game was barely out of the wrapper. Everything was new and I had a number of tough decisions to make at every turn. Last night, it was different...

For the most part (two or three donk-tastic plays come to mind), I knew when to raise, when to fold, when to make plays, and when to sit tight. I got respect when I wanted it and insolence when required. I played a flopped set of fives a little cautiously when I pushed on the turn to force one of my two opponents to fold (I'll give one free card but not two).

I left the tables at Interpoker feeling good. One hour's work, $10 richer. It was 9:30 by this time and I figured that I might as well play the $30 SNG waiting for me at PokerStars. I'd had a good month and it was as good a time as any to drop $30 in my quest for 200 FPPs.

I played pretty tight for the first little while. Two players were out by the start of level 3, thus ending the push-fest that had taken place in the early-goings of the SNG. I didn't think that "push-happy" players existed at the $30 level but I guess I wasn't taking into account the number of people willing to throw money around at the tables regardless of inherent ability, skill level, bankroll, or experience.

As the blinds climbed to 50/100, I found myself sitting with T1300 in chips. That's when I picked up my first pair of rockets. I doubled up through the chip leader when he pushed all in with AK and got insta-called by me.

Although I was the chip leader for a little while, I doubled up the short-stack at the table when I decided to put him to the test with my own AK. He'd raised to T500 UTG and showed 99 when he quickly called my all-in bet.

At that point, I found myself at the bottom of the totem pole yet again. And then, I picked up my AA again. In recent hands, I'd found that my standard raises were getting too much respect and forcing everyone to fold. I decided to make a raise that said "Please don't call me - I need these blinds to stay alive". The chip leader obliged me by calling my raise.

When the board came K 8 3, the chip leader checked and I overbet the pot. The chip leader interpreted my bet as a steal and pushed, showing K4o when I called. And just like that, I was back in the running.

After a little selectively aggressive play, I found myself heads-up with Mr. Pocket Nines. I was telling my wife that he was the chip leader because of me, and she told me that he was the chip leader because he took out 3 of the last 5 players.

Unfortunately, Pocket Nines held a 4:1 chip lead over me. I was happy with the money I'd made so far and decided to play a very aggressive heads-up game.

I doubled up the first hand with a KTs, cutting my opponent's lead to 2:1. I continued making large raises pre-flop and started getting a bead on my opponent. The groundwork was being laid for a trap that would spring and get me all the chips.

I took me five minutes to grab the chip lead.

It took me two more minutes to lose it.

Five more minutes and the lead was mine again.

Three more minutes, then...

Blinds $100/$200 with $25 ante. I've been bullying my opponent and I know he's sick of it. He knows that if he limps into the pot, it'll get re-raised. I know he knows this because I've done it five hands in a row.

He raises to T1200. I decide to put him all in with my AdTc and he calls, showing QhTh. You're probably thinking that he hit his flush - why else put the suits?

I'll have to remember this hand the next time I complain about my opponent's hitting their three outers against me when I have them dominated. The flop came down and Pocket Nines didn't hit a Q. The turn was a blank. The river...blank.

With a simple "gg", I sat alone at the table. I was never happier to see that little yellow/gold box pop up in the middle of the table. Congratulations indeed!

There's a saying about March that goes:

"In like a lamb, out like a lion."

I'm no lion but I think the saying still applies in this case.

What follows are my stats for the month. Take a look if you're interested or skip the rest of this post if you're not.

I will be playing at Interpoker tomorrow and I'll also be playing the $10K freeroll at Noble Poker on Sunday.

Have a great weekend everyone! Enjoy your families, enjoy the weather, and enjoy the poker!

General Stats

  • Days played: 24

  • Winning days: 15

  • Win rate: $8.80/hr

  • Win rate (w/ overlays): $9.80/hr (River Belle bonus not included)

Bankroll Stats
Feb. 2006 values in parentheses

  • Winnings: $512 ($40.95)

  • SNG: $331.20 ($32.50)

  • Ring: $180.80 ($82.08)

  • Bankroll: $1909.83 ($1340.66)

SNG Stats

  • $5 SNG: $0, 6 played, ITM: 33%, ROI: 0%, (1 1st, 1 2nd)

  • $6 SNG: $42.20, 4 played, ITM: 100%, ROI: 151% (1 1st, 2 2nd, 1 3rd)

  • $10 SNG: $39.00, 3 played, ITM: 67%, ROI: 118% (1 1st, 1 2nd)

  • $20 SNG: $100, 2 played, ITM: 100%, ROI: 227% (1 1st, 1 2nd)

  • $30 SNG: $150, 2 played, ITM: 100%, ROI: 227% (1 1st, 1 2nd)

  • Overall: $331.20, 17 played, ITM: 67%, ROI: 162%, (5 1st, 6 2nd, 1 3rd)

NL Ring Game Stats

  • Total Hands: 4269

  • Won: $180.80

  • BB/100: 9.86

  • Hours Played: 38h 49m

  • $$/hr: 4.66

Hand Stats

  • Best hand: 99 ($80.25)

  • Worst hand: AKs (-$31.70)

  • Best BB/hand: 55 (8.95 BB/hand)

  • Worst BB/hand: AKs (-6.39/hand)

  • Most often: 86o (55 times)

  • Least oftent: K6s (6 times)

  • Rockets: 15 times, $41.87

  • Cowboys: 18 times, $11.75

  • Hiltons: 11 times, $4.21

  • Fish Hooks: 13 times, -$4.40

Keep reading "Month in Review: March 2006"

More Things To Read

Quick post...again. I've added four more blogs to my steadily growing blogroll. In no particular order (actually, alphabetical order), they are:

Big Slick Nuts
One of those bloggers out there making the mad cash. In his own words:

I am a lousy poker player, a derivative-hack-of-a-blogger, and an ex-poker-affiliate whore. There are much better blogs to spend your time reading, but if you insist on staying...

Guiness and Poker
Iggy's (aka The BlogFather) blog...if you don't know who Iggy is, you're new to the game. I'll admit that I've shirked my duty in reading Iggy's writings. That changes today...

StoxPoker.com is collection of blogs of various successful online poker players. Although I haven't really read all that much from their site just yet, I've noticed a large number of links to all things poker. Throw in the professional look and feel to the site and it's definitely worth your time.

Twenty-One Outs Twice
Chris is another well-known poker player and blogger. He'll typically win more in a day than I've got in my bankroll, so you can't go wrong reading his stuff. It's always fun reading about people playing in tournaments where the buy-in is more than you can possibly make in a solid week's worth of playing...

Ok, that's it for now. Lots to do, lots of reading to do when I get the chance...

Keep reading "More Things To Read"

Google Analytics

Just got my Google Analytics account up and running. Lots of stats, lots of pretty pictures...and it's free! Although I've only been using it for about 10 minutes, I highly recommend using it if you get the chance...

Keep reading "Google Analytics"

Going home...

It feels like I've been a long time gone from Interpoker. Although it's fun to dance and weave from poker room to poker room, clearing bonuses and taking names, it's nice knowing that I'll soon return to my "old" haunting grounds.

I feels as if I've been grinding away at the River Belle deposit bonus for a long, long time. However, checking my stats, I see that it's only been a total of 29 hours. Still, at my average rate of 1.5 hours of poker a day, that's still a smidge over 19 days.

Was it worth it? For sure. Not only were the $20 NL tables filled with some nice loose players, but the bonus will definitely be welcomed by my n00b bankroll. For those who care, here are some stats for you:

  • Hours played: 29h 5m

  • Earnings: $122.35

  • Avg. $/hr: $4.21/hr

  • Bonus overlay: $4.30/hr

  • Total $/hr: $8.51/hr

$8.51 per hour! I've finally cleared minimum wage playing poker for the first time ever! Sweet!

At this point, I still haven't added the bonus to my bankroll since it hasn't been released yet. I'm anxious to see if River Belle Poker is any faster than Royal Vegas Poker when it comes to releasing bonuses. I have every confidence that this will be a quick process but only time will tell.

As it stands now, I have another $40 or so to earn at the $25 NL tables before I can make the jump to the $50 tables. I'm going to focus on playing at InterPoker, with EuroBet and AceFlush serving as backups in off-peak hours. I would like to play teh $25 NL tables at Party Poker but I'm waiting for a reload bonus before I take that leap of faith.

Party Poker's always been kind to me, but I'm aware that the number of fish playing there attract the sharks as well. And I'm not too proud to admit that the sharks at any limit of play will totally eat me alive. I am, as always, scared money and easily taken advantage of.

I will also try another $30 SNG at PokerStars, possibly tonight or this Saturday at the latest. If I can replicate Nick's success at these SNGs, I'll be happy. That's right - another new blogger smacking the living crap out of the rest of the poker playing world. Nick's ROI and ITM percentages are through the roof. Am I jealous? Yes I am.

I'm also going to consolidate my money a little. I'm pulling out of Doyle's Room for now and River Belle once my bonus clears.

I'll top up my account at Interpoker in order to take advantage of the $100 March reload bonus and, in a couple days, top it up again for the $100 April reload bonus.

Both of my EuroBet and AceFlush account balances are sitting at decent amounts for the limits I play. And Party will get an influx of my hard earned cash if they can offer some form of bonus in the next little while.

Man, I love the feeling of freedom and invincibility that comes with clearing a bonus. I look forward to the crippling bad beats and horrendous play on my part that are, no doubt, waiting in the wings as I write this.

And with that, I return to work. Not because I want to but out of necessity. It seems that the office is falling apart at the seams and I'm one of few who can help.

Have a great day/night/whatever! See you at the tables!

PS: Another crappy post, I know. No time to provide any real insight. Go check out Huma's 6-max NL starting hand requirements - he's got the goods...

Keep reading "Going home..."

How's your game running?

I'm not superstitious so I don't mind bringing this up. Lately, things seem to have been running pretty well. The NL game's been a little rocky for the past few days, but all told it's been a good month at the tables. I'm not the only one, but I'll get to that...

Prior to the first of this month, I'd made very little money actually playing poker. Sure, I have a bankroll that I've slowly built up from scratch. But a large portion of my winnings have come from bonuses. I'm not too proud to admit it.

In fact, one of the reasons that online poker appeals to me is the fact that I can be a winning player without actually being a winning player.

As of this morning, I've made more money playing NL ring games in the past couple months than I have in any other form of poker. Coming from the land of fixed micro-limit poker and $5 SNGs, this boggles my mind.

In recent weeks, I've started to "feel" the game a little more. When I'm in the groove, the game seems easy. When I'm off-centre, the game just seems boring instead of impossible. By no means do I feel that I've got it figured out - far from it. But I seem to making more easy decisions at the table and I like it. There's nothing better than folding in a hand knowing that you've made right move. Actually, there's nothing better than having two players push all-in on the river when you're holding the nuts, but you catch my drift...

I played a short session last night and ended up about a buy-in at River Belle's $20 NL tables. That win puts me about $50 away from making the jump to the $50 NL tables. Whether or not I do well at the higher limits, I can't complain.

When I started playing the $5 NL tables at Tiger Gaming back in January, I didn't think that I'd move up so quickly. I envisioned playing the $10 tables at Eurobet well into March and starting at the $25 NL tables in time for Easter. I figured that I'd need to reach the $50 NL tables by August in order to make my $5000 bankroll goal.

As it stands now, I'm figuring to hit the $50 NL tables by Easter at the latest. However, if variance decides to come back and kick me in the ass again (as it did last weekend), my timetable may be shifted about.

In some ways, I wish that I'd started playing the NL game much sooner. However, I think my time at the fixed limit tables taught me the value of patience (a lesson I continue to learn every day at the tables). In fixed limit poker, you push your small edges in order to squeeze out as many bets as you can. You win or lose similar amounts from hand to hand, regardless of whether you hold an absolute monster or simply TPTK.

And it is for this reason that I thought that the NL tables presented a far scarier challenge: your entire stack is at risk in every hand. However, that's not really the case. Sure, I have to be willing to back my hands up with the full power of my chip stack; but, I get to decide when to push.

In fixed limit poker, you can easily spend the equivalent of a buy-in at the $25 tables in a couple hands. And for me, that isn't a possibility - it's a fact. I'm so tilty when it comes to the $1/$2 FL tables that I am afraid to sit back down and give it another shot. My Back in Black remains unfinished and unwanted, sitting at an unholy -21% completion. Limit poker used to be my bread and butter, but it's quickly become a stale end-piece covered in Cheez Whiz.

Anyway, I'll have a full analysis of my numbers this month on either Friday or next Monday. Let's just say that I'm happy for the time being and I hope that things continue along the same general path as they have been for the past few weeks.

In other news, I'm not the only blogger having some success.

Drewspop took 2nd place in last nights WWdN tournament to the tune of $136. Seeing as how his blog's only been around since December, it absolutely boggles my mind that he's gotten that good that quickly! I knew he was a smart player when he signed up for Interpoker through my affiliate link. Little did I know that he'd turn into a MTT power-house!

And then there's Humanaut, or Huma for short. The Thunder From Down Under signed up for Interpoker with the understanding that the games were good and that he'd get a free pimping for his site. Not only has he almost finished clearing his first $100 bonus - he's also tripled his original deposit playing Interpoker's crazy 6-max NL tables!

Now, I know there are other bloggers out there making thousands of dollars a day playing twelve 6-max tables at a time or by successfully playing and winning 20 SNGs at a time. However, in my mind, they've already made it and are leading the way for those of us just starting out.

What I really like to see are the newer players out there starting to find their niche in the poker world. Be it NL ring games, SNGs, the 0.50/1.00 tables at Titan Poker, or whatever - it's great to see!

In fact, if you've been playing poker for less than a year, drop me a line on your greatest accomplishment so far. I've been playing poker for about 10 months now and have had my share of happy endings. E-mail me or leave a comment and I'll be sure to post your story and a link to your site (if you have one).

In short, let modesty and humility take a back seat for now - it's time for a little guilt free bragging. Heck, I think that's the reasoning (subconscious or not) behind all poker blogs anyway.

I look forward to the feelings of inadequacy I'll feel reading about everyone's accomplishments. But for now, it's time to work...

Keep reading "How's your game running?"

Three Announcements

Actually, more like passing thoughts and a little pimp or two. Internet's been down at work for most of the work day, so I'll post this crap quickly before we lose it again.

Firstly, I received some snail mail yesterday from Noble Poker. It seems that they've invited me (and thousands of others) to play in a $10K freeroll this Sunday. I signed up for the second such freeroll being played out on Sunday, April 2nd.

Each freeroll has a max of 1000 entries, so I give myself a solid 1% chance of making any money. If only I had mad MTT skillz like Sir or doubleuwhy...

I've also checked to make sure that this is indeed a $10K freeroll and not some dinky "qualifier" (hint, hint Party...) - so there's actual money at stake. Sweet...

Anyway, we'll see how it goes.


Secondly, I've added Wes's site, Dumbasses Trump All, to my blogroll.

I honestly forget how I stumbled across his site (through another blogger - don't remember who though). However, I decided to link him up right away when he mentioned that he plays 9 6-max NL tables at a time.

Damn...it takes me one month to clear a bonus it'd take Wes a few hours to clear. I'll keep checking out his blog and see if I can learn anything.


Thirdly, I've also linked up to PokerNerd's site - Missives from a Degenerate Underachiever.

I've always felt that SNGs and tournaments are a weak part of my overall game. PokerNerd specializes in the SNGs and would serve as a good role model for my SNG game.

PokerNerd's working towards obtaining SuperNova status on PokerStars. I don't know what that gets you exactly, but I know it's good. I'd have a lot of difficulty reaching Silver status, so I'm pretty sure SuperNova well out of my grasp. I think it takes 100,000 FPPs (or is it VPPs?)...damn...

Still, this one post sums up my interest in his site:


That's a lot of SNG's to play in one night. I'm not sure I ever want to do that again. Need to average 66 a night for the rest of March.

Kill me.

Jebus! I don't know how the f*ck you can average 66 SNGs a night. I play two and I'm wiped...

Keep reading "Three Announcements"

Stop the Ride!

Stop the ride!

I've yelled these words a few times in my life. Not because I didn't like the "ride", but because it all got a little dizzying. The first such occurence was at the Super Ex in Ottawa. I was riding the Yo-Yo...

The Yo-Yo was one of those "swing" rides. You sit in a swing, the base tilts and turns, and fun is had by all. There were, however, a few things dreadfully wrong:

  1. The ride was going way too fast.

  2. The ride was lasting way too long.

  3. The carnie running the ride had a mic and kept singing the following over and over and over:

    Don't look at it...
    Ride it!
    Ride it, ride it, ride it!
    It's the Yo-Yo!

It took all of 5 minutes before the vomit started flying from the mouths of various children on the ride. I was fine myself but found myself mortified by the thought of accidentally getting hit with a fresh batch of corn chowder from the kid next to me. And so, on each revolution of the Yo-Yo, I would yell "Stop the ride!" as I flew by the oblivious, American-Idol-Wannabe carnie.

Years later, I also found myself yelling "Stop the ride!" yet again, this time on a Tilt-a-Whirl while on vacation in Prince Edward Island.

My dad, my brother and I had managed to scrape together about 6 hours worth of free-ride coupons for the Tilt-a-Whirl at the local fair. We finally made it to the deserted fairgrounds on a cold, blustery afternoon, free ride tickets clenched in hand.

We handed over all our tickets to the carnie and he told us that he'd keep the ride going until we wanted off. All three of us piled into one of the carts, its red paint faded after years of neglect. With a low rumble and a high pitched metal-on-metal screech, the mighty Tilt-a-Whirl started up.

Up and down, round and round - our cart continued to spin its way along the ride's rusty rails. After the first five minutes, we were bored so my dad asked the carnie to speed it up. Another five minutes passed, another request to speed it up. As the world outside started to blur, we caught occasional glances of the carnie contentedly smoking a cigarette, all the while watching us and waiting for the inevitable.

And then, fifteen minutes in, it happened. My brother said he was going to throw up. "Stop the ride!"

All three of us, father and two sons, felt sick the rest of the day. Still, what a ride!

All this to say that poker is the Yo-Yo. Poker is the Tilt-a-Whirl. Poker is every ride at every park. Fun in small bouts, boring in longer stretches, awesome at the best of times, and retchingly awful at worst of times. Last night, I took another spin at River Belle's $20 NL tables, looking to clear another solid chunk of the $125 bonus promised to me.

Low rumble...I'm up $5 after making a few blind steals and hitting TPTK.

High-pitched screech...Up another $5 when I represent a flush on the river.

Tilt...All in pre-flop with my cowboys only to find myself facing AA yet again (9th time in the past two months...and counting...). I lose my entire $25 stack at the table and find myself down $15 overall.

Yee-haw!...Three limpers, I also limp in CO with 55. Maniac on the button min-raises and five of us see the flop. 8 5 8! I slow-play and check-call to the river. Queen of diamonds hits on the river completing any and all flush draws. I turn to my wife and say "Here we go!". Just like clockwork, BB pushes all-in, UTG pushes all-in, and I push as well, knowing full well that I've just won the biggest pot of my life. Up $35.

Stop the ride...Hit trips on a flop of J 9 9 with my 97s - I got to see a free flop from the BB. UTG bets $1, MP calls $1, button calls $1, I make it $3 more to go - MP and button call. Turn is a blank and I bet $10, trying to get MP to call all-in with his last $6 while also forcing the button to fold. MP pushes, button calls. River is another blank. I check...my spidey sense is tingling. Button also checks and turns over 98o and takes the pot with his trip nines, higher kicker.

I actually continued playing at this point, confident that I was still playing solid poker. I found myself changing up my game a little, stealing the blinds by making occasional raises with some marginal holdings in order to guarantee some action when I finally did pick up a hand.

Unfortunately, my big hands did not hold up when they came. My cowboys got cracked both times that I played them to the tune of $30 lost. My queens got bitch slapped, my jacks got kicked squaw in the nuts, and my rockets failed to show up.

All told, I still managed to end my day up about $18 with another 160 raked hands cleared. Another 125 raked hands or so and the deposit bonus is mine!

As is usually the case, I'll jump back on that ride again tonight.

Sure...there'll be ups, downs, spins, carnies singing...

I may get dizzy, I may feel like throwing up...

But it's the best ride in town and I've got a fistful of free-ride coupons.

Keep reading "Stop the Ride!"

Wastin' Time

I'm leaving work shortly and I'm having trouble getting my head in the game. That means it's time for some search engine fun. So let's find out how some unfortunate readers have stumbled upon my little spot on the Internet...

pokerroom doom switch
Ah yes...the fabled Doom Switch. Does it exist? Good players say no, bad players say yes. I'd say that it does indeed exist, although it takes some work getting it switched on for your account. If you'd like your doom switch activated, do any or all of the following:

  1. Limp pre-flop with AA and KK. Online poker rooms hate it when you do that and will punish you accordingly by letting other players hit their flushes, straights, and dinky two pairs. Sure, you could've won the hand had you raised, but we're trying to flip the doom switch here.

  2. Play any Ax hand from any position. Are they s00ted? Who cares! This is poker and it's all about luck. Are you pissed that your A3o lost to another player's AJ? Don't worry, it's just the doom switch!

  3. Call all in pre-flop with your 77 when the UTG player limp re-raises all-in with his rockets. Geez, he's got aces? Doom switch!

  4. Play any two s00ted cards from any position, but don't forget to raise pre-flop with your suited connectors. And make sure you raise large enough to get the pot heads-up. Suited connectors do much better in heads-up pots than they do in large multiway pots that give correct odds for drawing hands. Did you hit top pair with your 7h5h? Push all-in! Did you get called by your opponents A7? Doom switch!

  5. Lastly, always make sure to min-raise whenever you get the chance. The doom switch will usually get turned on when you give others odds to draw out on you. It's unfair but that's the way online poker rooms like it...
[If you believe agree with any of this, you shouldn't should be playing online poker as much as possible!]

PokerAce HUD registration code
Click here and buy one. It's only $25 you cheap bastards! This software has made me over $1000 and counting. Dear Lord! Sometimes you gotta spend money to make money, get it?

matt maroon
Matt Maroon is one of the better online players around, in my opinion. He makes "mad" cash, likes good food, makes fun of bad players, and he wrote a great book that I recommend whole-heartedly. He also linked to me on his site without a word from me so that buys him a bunch of points in my book too!

$5 sngs itm %
Are you trying to determine if your in-the-money percentage is good or bad at your given SNG buy-in level? If your ITM % is 30% or more, you're doing fine. However, make sure that you're ROI is solid as well.

For example, you could have an ITM % of 30% by placing in third place 3 out of 10 times. However, your ROI in this case would be -45%.

My sugestion: aim for an ITM of 30% and an ROI of 15% or more. If you find your numbers well above these levels, move up to the next buy-in level. If you find yourself well below these numbers, take a step down to a lower SNG buy-in level and work on your game. It'll come together eventually - just give it time.

"don't feed the animals" sign
I love it when people find themselves at my site searching for non-poker-related material. Here's the post that brought you here in this case.

Sorry for misleading you...why not sign up for one of my affiliates and drown your sorrows in some good old fashioned online poker?

uber tilt
This is otherwise known as "Saturday Afternoons" at my place...

2.5k affiliate freeroll party poker
Ahh yes...the $2.5K Affiliate Freeroll. Unfortunately, it wasn't until after I'd signed up for this tournament that I discovered that Party Poker had left out one very important word - Qualifier.

This MTT was ok, except for the lack of prize pool information and quality opposition. Ok, I'm still bitter at getting rivered by a two-outer...

pokerstars sng
Do you mean PokerStars SNG? Click on my affiliate link and start playing - they're fun!

affiliate "river belle" rakeback
I don't know of any current River Belle Poker rakeback deals. Rake The Rake (referral code RTR03302) used to have a rakeback deal for them, but not anymore. So why not sign up using my affiliate link? Ask some of my satisfied customers: my links come with some extra luck packed right in.

And, for a limited time only, I'll throw in a free ad for your site if you sign up with any of my wonderful affiliates!


Ok, enough Google search fun...back to work!

Keep reading "Wastin' Time"

Running Cold

The weekend started off so well...Birthday bash for my friend Marlborough. Had a nice meal, had a few drinks, played some PS2, and I even let Marlborough play a SNG for me at Absolute Poker.

Even after many drinks, Marl managed to pull off a win despite limping on the button with AA and checking the absolute nuts twice on the river! He claims that his unorthodox style works. I claim that the 12 beers he'd had somehow made the check and bet buttons look the same.

Anyway, had it not been for the SNG win on Friday, my bankroll would be in a much sorrier state after this past weekend. I managed to get about 8 hours of $20 NL played this weekend at River Belle Poker. In that time, I earned just over 200 raked hands towards my bonus. Unfortunately, I also managed to drop a little over a buy-in.

It seems that all the good luck that I've been having lately came to a crashing halt this weekend. Unfortunately, it also happened at the worst possible time.

All weekend long, each of my tables had one or two maniacs. These guys and gals would raise to 12x BB pre-flop every hand and push on the flop more often than not. Against these types of players, you really need to catch a hand and run with it. I was not catching hands...

Ironically, the few times that I did pick up big pairs pre-flop, everyone would fold to my 3x or 4x BB raise. If they did call, they had a higher pocket pair. I ran into cowboys twice this weekend: once with my Hiltons and once with my Jacks. Both hands, the flop, turn and river came all low cards giving me reason to believe that I was well ahead. If not for my spidey-sense, I could've really gone broke!

All in all, my time spent at River Belle was more frustrating than fun. The silver lining in this case is the fact that during my loss of $26.20 at the NL tables, I managed to earn $31 in bonus. I'm only 255 raked hands away from receiving my full $125 bonus and I can't wait. This bonus seems to be taking forever to clear.

Other than my NL play, I also played in a free affiliates MTT at Party Poker. However, I had a few problems with the tournament set-up.

First off, it ended up being a $2.5K Qualifier freeroll. WTF?! Since when does a prize pool of $2.5K deserve a qualifier? Most poker players out there wipe their asses with $2.5K.

Secondly, once the MTT was underway, there was no prize pool information listed. I called the support line and they were unable to give me any tournament information. They told me to call them once I'd busted out of the tournament and they'd be able to tell me how much I'd won. I'll tell you, it's very hard to play your "A" game when you have no idea what you're playing for.

My third issue was with the donkey who called my all-in bet with the flop showing J J T. I had AA, he had 88, and the river gave him the boat. That, my friends, is why I hate MTTs. I spent almost two hours dodging land mines and punishing others for their weak play. And then, in an instant, BOOM! I'm gone! I finished in 56/194. Not a bad showing for my first MTT in the last three or four months.

Although I was a little pissed at having wasted two hours, I couldn't feel all that bad. As far as I know, I was nowhere near the bubble. And even if I was, I have no idea how much money was at stake.

Now, some positives for the weekend!

  1. My game has been pretty good despite the dismal bankroll returns.

  2. Iamhoff won a 18-person $25 + $2 Turbo SNG! Congrats!

  3. Humanaut tripled his bankroll at InterPoker over the weekend! See, good things happen when you sign up using my affiliate code...it also helps when you're a good player, though.

  4. Drewspop's son made a good showing at the little league tryout on Saturday and should be ranked highly in this Thursday's draft!

As you can see, it's all good.

Well, I've got to go. I'm leaving work early yet again for a doctor's appointment. Seems that my body is breaking down and I need to see about getting it fixed. Let's hope I just need a tune-up and not an overhaul.

Have a great week everyone! See you at the tables.

Keep reading "Running Cold"

Weekend plans and other nonsense

I took the night off from poker last night. Although my play has not been complete sh*t lately, I thought it best to nip any bad feelings in the bud and stay away from the tables. No point playing if your heart's not in it - that's a good way to eat through the old bankroll. But after last night, I'm rested and ready to play.

First off, my wife and I went out shopping right after work last night. I traded in Shadow of the Colussus for Destroy All Humans. The new game seems alright, but I suspect there is very little replay value and the game may get tedious over time. Still, the main character Crypto, a four-foot tall alien, sounds like Jack Nicholson. So it's got that going for it...

So, what's going on this weekend?

First, tonight is Marlborough's birthday, so we're going out. Unfortunately, it looks like I've been stuck with the short end of the stick and will be the designated driver. It should be fun though - going out for dinner and drinks.

Although there won't be any poker tonight at the party, I'm sure I'll get an hour in while on my exercise bike after work. The one thing I hate about clearing deposit bonuses is that sense of urgency you feel until the damned thing is finished. Oh River Belle, why do you need 7x raked hands when 5x raked hands would've been so much easier...? Anyway, I'll play squeaky tight tonight and just try to pick up some big hands.

Tomorrow, lots of poker will be played. I'll spend the afternoon playing the $20 NL tables at River Belle and I've got the affiliates freeroll at Party Poker tomorrow night. It's a $2,500 freeroll and, as of this morning, only 77 people were registered. I'm sure that number will be up to 5,000 by tomorrow night.

I will also see about playing a $30 SNG at PokerStars this weekend, if I get the chance. However, my priority right now is the River Belle deposit bonus.

As you can see, not much to say today. It's kind of hard to write a poker blog when you're not playing poker.

With that, I hope everyone has a great weekend at the tables and otherwise. I'll be back on Monday with stories of my glorious victories or of my crushing defeats - I'm hoping for the former myself. And if you're the type who can't wait, I always update my numbers in the sidebar on a daily basis. I'll admit it - I'm a numbers whore and I love to see my bankroll and completion percentages go up and down.

Ok, I'm outta here...

Keep reading "Weekend plans and other nonsense"

Party Poker SNGs and other bad calls

First off, sorry for the lack of posts yesterday. I was out of the office and busy with life in general. That being said, I did manage to play a little poker on both Tuesday night and Wednesday night. I wish I could say that I had great results or even interesting results...but I'd be lying.

On Tuesday, my wife and I decided to invite my mom over for dinner. Although it's nice to visit with family from time to time, these visits leave little time for poker. Mind you, that can be a good thing.

Tuesday afternoon, I'd received an e-mail from Party Gaming telling me that I'd been invited to play in an affiliates freeroll tournament on Saturday. Sweet! All I had to do was give them my account name at Party Poker. And that's where I had a problem...

See, I haven't been playing at Party Poker; instead, I've been playing at Intertops (a Party skin). After a little running around and a phone call or two to India, I managed to get my account at Intertops suspended and my account at Party Poker re-activated.

I was interested in seeing Party's new software and SNG structure, so I deposited $50 (the minimum deposit...ouch). After my mom left our place at around 10 PM, I loaded up Party and sat down to play a $10 + $1 SNG.

Although it was nice to start with chip stacks of $2000, I did have a couple problems with the "new" SNG structure.

First, what's the point of starting with bigger stacks when the blinds start twice as high as at any other site? Blinds start at 20/40, leaving you with a starting M of 30. At PokerStars, you start with $1500 with the blinds at 10/20 (M=50). At TigerGaming, you start with $1000 with the blinds at 10/15 (M=40). As you can, the starting stacks are deceptively small for the Party Poker SNGs.

By itself, this wouldn't be too bad. However, the blinds at Party increase at an alarming rate. The blinds increase quickly from a "time" point of view and they increase quickly from a "size" point of view. After 50 minutes, the blinds are at 300/600. Are you kidding?!

Even if you double up in the early stages of the SNG, the blinds are still going to eat you alive. Out of the six players at the table when the blinds hit 300/600, no one had an M greater than 4. Yikes!

I could have won the SNG if not for a few things:

  1. The player to my left liked to call every raise or all-in.

  2. The player to my left liked to win every all-in hand no matter what the odds.

  3. I was finally all-in against him with my KQ vs. his A7 and he won again, even though I was the underdog that time.

I did make one horrific play during the SNG and it cost me the win. I raised on the button with A8s with only 5 left in the game. BB raised me all-in and I folded. What the hell was I thinking? With the blinds that high and with so much of my stack at risk, why fold here? I don't know either.

That being said, Party's new software is pretty sweet - pretty being the operative word here. The layout is good, there are some good filters that you can use to sort through the tables, and the presentation is top notch.

I may play some NL cash games there at some point to see how the competition fares against other sites. It would be nice to have a site to fall back in case my usual haunting grounds can't scrounge up enough players. The only thing I'm not sure about is the blind levels and buy-ins at the Party tables. If I'm correct, I think that the $25 NL buy-in tables have blinds set at 50c/1. With starting stacks of only 25 BBs, I'd be better off playing the $100 NL tables at other sites. Still, if the players are really fishy at Party, it might be worth it. Anyone out there have any comments about this?

If you like, feel free to sign up at Party through my affiliate link. I opted for the $25 first-time deposit bonus offer instead of the 20% up to $100 bonus offer. I felt it necessary to give new players a chance to get a $25 deposit bonus with very little up-front capital.

In other news, I played the $20 NL tables at River Belle yesterday. After a few hours, I was down about $8. Not awful, but I played terribly. I got slow-played by a TAG on a paired board. I had TT and the flop came down J J 8. He had AJ and didn't make a move until the river. Still, I misplayed the hand terribly and I deserved to lose.

All in all, though, my game is still running ok. I've still got a whopping 475 raked hands left to clear at River Belle before earning my $125 deposit bonus. Unfortunately, I only have 15 days left to do it. I'm hoping to put a good dent in that number this Saturday.

In none poker-related news, I finished Sly Cooper 3: Honor Among Thieves last night. Something about thieving raccoons makes my tilting poker feelings go away...The game was great if you like that sort of thing. If you own a PS2, I highly recommend it. I'm thinking about popping out to pick up another PS2 game this evening - I'll need something to distract me from poker while my brain works out the few kinks that have shown up in my game.

That's it for today. I've got lots of work to do!

In the meantime, don't forget to check out the other fine blogs listed to the right. They're all very good and worth your time. Just tell 'em Klopzi sent ya...

Keep reading "Party Poker SNGs and other bad calls"

My game's broken?!

Something's wrong...or I guess I should say something's right. I can't explain what's been happening...but it's been happening. Since starting at Tiger Gaming in May 2005, my game has always been mediocre. Actually, let me clarify - my results have always been mediocre whereas my game has been all over the place.

If you've been following along with my recent posts, you've probably noticed a few things:

  1. My posts have been pure sh*t. I apologize - I blog from work and work has been a real bitch lately.

  2. I have not been playing huge amounts of poker. Generally, I've played 3 to 5 nights a weeks during the month of March instead of 5 to 7 nights a week.

  3. My results have been somewhat un-mediocre as of late.

I guess my game has just been clicking lately. It's a great feeling! Don't get me wrong - I'm not bragging about my game or my results. In fact, I think the only time one should be justified in bragging is with a big tournament win or after a huge night at the tables. All I'm saying is that poker is feeling good right now.

They say that you cannot judge how well or how poorly you're playing based on your results alone. I find this to be especially true when I'm losing and I guess it's valid when I'm winning as well.

I'll admit that a lot of my success has come from picking up the right hand at the right time. However, poker isn't just about winning big pots. It's about staying afloat long enough to hit those big pots.

I find that the NL cash games really suit my style of play. In fact, I'll share my winning strategy with anyone who wants to read it. Here it is:

  1. Only play good cards.

  2. Folding is good.

  3. Don't bluff!

  4. Don't call because you think he's bluffing...because he's not.

  5. Every action taken by the other players means something: if you know the why, you'll start to figure out what they're holding and how to stack them.

  6. Every action you take should mean something and have a purpose. Split-second decisions and hunches are your worst enemy.

Enough with the strategic drivel - let's look at yesterday's results. In short, I had another above-average day. In fact, I've only had one day where my bankroll showed better results and that was back in July of last year.

After leaving work early to get some x-rays done, I sat down to play the $20 NL tables at River Belle. I have to say that the tables are more plentiful at 4 PM EST than they are at 9 PM EST. And there seems to be a lot of players willing to gamble it up a little.

I only played 55 minutes but managed to find myself up two buy-ins.

I was up one buy-in when the big stack at one table, a through and through maniac, decided to push on the turn with a K9o with the board showing 3 8 7 6 rainbow. I called holding 99 and took the pot.

I won another buy-in when I raised on the button with AQs. Flop came down Q 9 7. Two opponents check to me, I bet $2 into the $3 pot. CO raises my bet to $4 and I decide to call to see what the turn brings.

The turn is an ace and both the CO and I get our stacks all-in. The CO showed a 97o and my top two-pair beat his bottom two-pair.

For all those newer players out there, this is exactly why you should not play hands like 97o unless you really know what you're doing. It's a garbage hand and you're only asking for trouble. If you get unbelievably lucky, you may hit the flop hard and take down the pot. Usually you'll miss the flop and simply throw your hand away.

But if you get unlucky, as my opponent did above, you will get stacked. Bottom two-pair is one of those hands where you'll find yourself way ahead or way behind - don't go broke with it!

I did play another couple hours at River Belle later last night but found myself down 45 cents. As I mentioned earlier, being able to stay afloat for extended periods of time at NL cash games is a good skill to have. If you're patient enough to sit back and break even with the mediocre hands, you will still make money by letting your big pairs do the talking. That's what I do and it seems to be working.

I also played the dreaded $30 SNG at PokerStars. I'd been putting it off for fear of losing and being downgraded back to the $20 SNGs.

Things looked bad in the beginning when I overplayed a drawing hand and found myself down to T1000 and in last place. These players were super-tight in the beginning. Most pots were contested heads-up and no one was making any moves.

I finally managed to double up when I picked up QQ in the big blind. Everyone folded to the SB who limped and I raised it to T150 (blinds 25/50). Flop came down 5 3 3. The SB bet the pot almost immediately. I assumed that he held a 5 in this spot since I believed he would have checked to me had he held a 3.

I'd been raising a lot pre-flop and following up with c-bets (continuation bets) on most flops. The SB knew that I'd come out betting if he checked to me but still decided to bet. I decided that I was ahead and I was willing to back up my convictions with my stack. I made it another T500 to go and the SB pushed all-in: I was pot-committed and called.

Well, the SB did not have a 5. He had pocket sixes and I doubled up when he did not hit his two-outer.

During the next blind level, I managed to flop the nut straight with my AK. I bet the flop then feigned weakness on the later streets. When my opponent pushed all-in on the river, I quickly called. My opponent had picked up the Q-high straight on the turn, just not the nut straight.

I was now in the chip lead at the table and took my time knocking out various opponents. When I found myself heads up, I had the chip lead. Unfortunately, my opponent rivered a gut-shot straight on me which gave him a 2:1 chip lead. I went out in second five minutes later when I decided to semi-bluff all-in with my flush draw and my opponent insta-called showing the flopped nut-straight.

I can't complain - heads up play is always a crap shoot. I was happy with my play and I took home the second place prize of $81. I'm looking forward to my next $30 SNG. The play's a little tighter than it is at the $5 level but I can handle it as long as I keep hitting big hands!

Anyway, this post is getting a little long so I'll end it here. I will be playing again tonight, desperately clawing my way towards finishing my River Belle deposit bonus. I've cleared about 370 raked hands in the past 12 days. I have 18 days left to clear the remaining 505 raked hands required. It's gonna be tough but I should be able to squeeze them all in under the wire.

I hope everyone out there has a great day at the tables and otherwise. I've got some work to do...

Keep reading "My game's broken?!"

Still a winning weekend

Unfortunately, another weekend of less poker than usual. I managed to play a live 5-person SNG on Friday night at the St. Patrick's Day party that my wife and I hosted for our friends. And I also managed to play a few hours at the $20 NL tables at River Belle Poker on Saturday. Other than that, no poker was played...

Still, I earned myself another two buy-ins at the $20 tables. I'm now all that much closer to clearing my $250 NL Challenge. I'm trying to take it slowly since I don't feel that I'll be ready for the $50 NL tables any time soon.

Don't get me wrong - I'll play the $50 NL tables. However, my expectations will not be that high. I'm just enjoying the little streak that I've been on and no matter what happens, I can't complain. It's been a good month so far.

As for the live game, I quickly noticed something right from the get-go. Although I'd had 8 beers by the time we started the SNG, I found myself much better at reading other people's hands.

I even got lucky a few times and managed to guess the specific hands being played by my friends. However, guessing that someone's holding A9 or QJ based solely on pre-flop betting is just a matter of luck. Still, it was a fun little party trick.

More importantly, I found myself able to judge the relative strength of my hand across a number of situations. This really allowed me to play the role of aggressor in most hands and I managed to hold on for second place.

Last hand, I was short-stacked and pushed all-in with a gut-shot straight draw and flush draw and lost to top-pair, no kicker. Them's the breaks, but Marlborough played a good game and deserved to win.

I'm keeping it short today - I was in late this morning due to a doctor's appointment and I'm off early this afternoon for some x-rays. It's great how the body starts to break down as you get older...

Tonight's plans: $30 SNG at PokerStars and $20 NL at River Belle.

I've been putting off the SNG for a while but it's time to bite the bullet and see if I can make the money.

As for the River Belle deposit bonus, I've cleared about one-third of the required raked hands and still have quite a bit of work ahead of me. Hopefully I'll manage to clear another solid chunk tonight.

Ok, that's it for now. Too tired to write and I've got some work to do.

See you at the tables.

Keep reading "Still a winning weekend"

Kick to the Brunsons Ends Hot Streak

I have a few simple rules that I do my best to follow when it comes to playing poker. I'm not sure if these rules save me money, but I know that I've lost money each time any or all of them have been broken.

These are the conditions that must be met prior to me firing up the laptop and playing any poker:

  1. Nothing stressful or untowards has happened over the course of the day.

  2. I'm not overly tired.

  3. If it's a weeknight, play should never start any later than 9 pm. I can play for 10 hours if I want, but I should start early in the evening.

  4. Unless it's a weekend afternoon, SNGs shall not be played until I have spent at least 30 minutes sitting in a ring game.

Last night, I broke all the rules! After a long, long day at work, my wife and I went to the bank to inquire about mortgages. By the time I got a chance to fire up the laptop, it was 10 o'clock and I was tired.

It'd been a couple nights since I'd last played though, so I really wanted to play. I thought I'd just sit in for a quick SNG at Doyle's Room.

As is usually the case when I break my rules, my head just wasn't in the game. I'll admit that I was card dead the entire SNG. I mean really card dead. I think I picked up J6 (suited or not, it's crap) every third hand. Q3o became my new best friend.

My best hand was a 99 that I picked up in level 5 or 6 when my M was a measly 3. I pushed and everyone folded. Even though I'd pushed on the previous hand as well, everyone decided to give me respect.

I finally donked out when I pushed UTG with a 86s and got called by two players. The chip leader managed to hit trip queens and I was out. The thing I find hilarious is that I can push with a 99 and get no callers. Then, when I push again ten minutes later with an 86s, every wants a piece of Klopzi.

One last thing: the chip leader slow-rolled me on that hand. After the flop, the chip leader typed in "good luk clop" before betting and making this a heads-up contest. First, I hate it when people say something to the effect of "You're F*cked!" before betting or calling or whatever. Secondly, why the hell did he call me "clop"? Was his/her "K" key broken? Stupid...

So that's my big write up for today. I wish I could say something a little more exciting but the last couple days have been a busy son-of-a-bitch!

I do have some fun plans for the weekend.

Tonight: St. Patty's Day party at my place. Booze and possibly poker if I can convince enough people to play. Unfortunately, MrV is the only friend I have who stills plays poker so the chances of an impromptu SNG are pretty slim.

Tomorrow: I'm hoping to put in a good chunk of time at the River Belle $20 NL tables. I have about 700 raked hands to earn in less than two weeks. I figure it'll take me 14 hours to finish that puppy off.

And with that, let me wish everyone a happy St. Patrick's Day! Enjoy the green beer, enjoy the poker, and enjoy the weekend!

Keep reading "Kick to the Brunsons Ends Hot Streak"

Thank you DuggleBogey!

Work is insanely busy today. Things breaking, people crying, all manner of sh*t coming down from every which way.

However, there is a silver lining: the new banner for my site made by DuggleBogey.

So DuggleBogey - thanks very much for the banner. It's awesome! It's nice to have something that differentiates my site from others out there.

Ok, can't write anymore - I've got a meeting. So not much to write about today...just look at the new banner and go visit DuggleBogey over at Go Be Rude.

Keep reading "Thank you DuggleBogey!"

Riding the Wave

I can't explain it so I won't even try. As you probably know by now (if you've been following my recent posts), I've been riding a little SNG hot streak. This hot streak culminated in me playing my first ever $20 SNG at PokerStars on Sunday and placing 2nd. Well, it seems that the hot streak didn't end there...

When I first sat down to play some poker last night, I hit up River Belle first for some $20 NL action. After about an hour, I'd cleared another 46 raked hands and found myself down a measly 46 cents.

That result isn't too bad considering one lucky fish sucked out on me two hands in a row. I know I should love players who'll call big turn bets with only overcards, but it still hurts when they hit and you miss your big draw while picking up a costly second-best hand.

Still, I'm always happy if I manage to clear more in bonus money than I lose during the course of playing.

I then gathered my courage for another go at the $20 SNGs at PokerStars, hoping to place in the money for a second time or, at the very least, to play as if I belonged in the middle-echelons of SNG poker society.

As usual, I played zero hands in level 1. It's not that I like constantly folding and watching other prey on the weaker players: I just don't like to gamble. There, I said it!

Then, strangely enough, I picked up a pretty solid starting hand three hands into level 2. The Dr. Pauly Special - QQ!

Sitting in the CO, I raised it up to T100 and only the UTG limper called. Perfect! I decided to c-bet if checked to and fold if things got too heavy. Pocket queens are a great hand because they win quite a bit unimproved and they're easy to get away frmo post-flop if things go south. I like easy decisions and folding QQ when an ace flops doesn't cost me any sleep at night.

Anyway, the flop came down Js 9s Qc. Ok, not too bad. Villain checked and I bet T175 into the T235 pot. And then disaster - Villain check-raised to T400.

Ok, what could he have been holding? Axs? Possibly. QQ or JJ? Probably not since he limped pre-flop. AA or KK? I didn't think so - he probably would have raised pre-flop. Although there was a slight chance that he had KT for the nut straight, I was leaning more towards a draw given the coordinated board, however I wasn't discounting pocket nines.

Well, unless he had the KT, I was a huge favourite over all hands except for the coin flip situation presented if he happened to hold an open-ended straight and flush draw.

After evaluating my choices, I decided to push right away and end the hand. If he called, he'd most likely be making a mistake.

As expected, the Villain called the all-in. And luckily, he didn't turn over a KT. Instead, he heald JcTs making me the 2.5:1 favourite. The Villain failed to improve and I doubled up early.

My SNG style very rarely sees me sitting with the chip lead early on. After last night, I'd have to say that I like it.

I started pushing all the other stacks around when I could. I chose my battles carefully and managed to get a whole lot of respect. It usually got folded around to me whenever I found myself in the big blind. It seemed that no one wanted to play with the raise-happy big stack.

I tempered my aggressive play with some wise folds. If I thought there was a good chance that I was behind, I simply folded and waited for a better spot to apply pressure. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I found myself holding a monster against an opponent's ill-timed push.

With only 6 players left, I found myself sitting with about 60% of all the chips.

When we made it to the top three, I had 75% of all the chips. Although the short stack doubled up through me on three separate occasions with some lucky river cards (A6 vs. T2 - he hit trip 2s, AT vs. A3 - he hit river straight, AJ vs. 77 - he hit A on river), I finally found myself heads up holding a 2:1 chip lead.

I played my usual heads-up game and then, holding only a T2000 chip lead after some failed attempts at the pot, I found myself in the BB with a J6s. Villain min-raised and I called.

The flop came down 2 3 5. I checked and the Villain bet about half the pot. I called given the implied odds if I hit. I didn't put him on a pair at this point either since he had a pretty tight raising schedule. I gave myself 10 outs at this point.

The turn was a 4 and I had my straight. I checked again and Villain checked.

River was a second 5.

At this point, I was thinking that there was a good chance that my opponent held the wheel straight or an overpair. There was also the possibility of holding trip 5s with an A5.

I'd taken many stabs at the pot on the river when the Villain showed weakness, so I decided to play the part of "bluffer". I put out a half-pot bet hoping to induce an all-in on the Villain's part.

The Villain quickly re-raised me the size the pot. At this point, I knew that he had the wheel straight. He probably suspected that I did as well given that I folded many times to his pre-flop raises in the BB (I don't play 32o heads-up).

I pushed all-in hoping that he'd think we were playing for the split pot. He reluctantly called, somehow feeling that he'd been beat.

When he saw the bad news, he congratulated me on a well-played game and I returned the compliment.

And just like that, I'd won my first $20 SNG ever! That win is the second largest of my poker career.

For the win, I earned 10 FPPs towards my current SNGs and FPPs challenge. And I also took the $90 first prize. I'm pretty happy with those results.

So it looks like I'll be paying the $30 SNGs a visit. I'm not sure how good or bad the play will be. I hope that my streak continues but I'm happy either way. I'm playing pretty well and catching cards - if that continues, I should be fine. If anything, I can say that it's been a real adventure!

Let me just say one thing to all those bloggers out there running into cold streaks and really having problems with their games:

  • Read everything you can.

  • Rest up and take time away from the tables.

  • Trust in your game.

  • You can't win every session - learn to see past the dollars and look at how well or how poorly you played.

  • Poker is a marathon - there is no point trying to rush it. Just relax and enjoy the game.

  • Do your best to ignore variance's occasional bitch-slaps and roshambos.

That's all the advice I can give. Basically, it boils down to "What goes around comes around." If you keep sucking out on the river, you'll lose all your money. If you get sucked out on, you'll eventually win all the money. Plain and simple.

Ok, lots o' work to do today. Have a good one and enjoy the poker.

Keep reading "Riding the Wave"

25,000 Reasons Why Poker Source Online Rocks!

Bloggers Championship I am registered to play in the
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Win your share of $25,000 and a set
of Nevada Jacks poker chips.
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'Nuff said...

Keep reading "25,000 Reasons Why Poker Source Online Rocks!"

New Challenge: SNGs and FPPs

Having just completed the PokerStars SNG Challenge, I thought it'd be high time to start another challenge. I think it's best to keep a few going at a time: a fixed-limit challenge, a no-limit challenge, and a SNG challenge.

I find that these challenges help elevate my overall game while keeping my bankroll growing at a steady rate - that is, except for the $1/$2 fixed-limit games which are my own personal kryptonite.

This new challenge is nothing all that exciting. Basically, I can't withdraw any money from PokerStars until I've finished clearing my current bonus. The $40 bonus will be cleared once I've earned 200 FPPs (FPP = Frequent Player Points, I think). At 5 FPPs for every dollar paid in tournament fees, this one shouldn't take too long.

I'll start at the $20 SNGs since that's where I left off from my previous challenge. I'll move up to the next buy-in limit if I win a SNG and move down a buy-in limit if I fail to place in the money. I earn 10 FPPs per $20 SNG that I play, so the longer I can stay up around that limit, the better.

As it stands, I'm starting this challenge having already reached the 10% completion mark. Let's hope that my bankroll's looking good once I've played another 20 - 30 SNGs.


And now, a quick update on my play last night.

I played $20 NL at River Belle last night and managed to scrape together a win.

At first, things did not look good. I was card dead for a good portion of my first hour at the tables. And then a pivotal hand: I picked up AQo in early position.

I'll admit that it was a little impulsive of me to limp with that hand UTG (I'm a nut peddler so I take no chances with sh*tty hands pre-flop...usually). All fold to the button, a through and through maniac (VP$IP = 40%, PFR = 30%, Aggression = 3.0), who raises it to $1. Knowing that I've probably got the best of it, I call.

Flop comes Q high and I bet $1.75 into the $2.30 pot. Maniac makes it $3 more to go and I call. When the turn comes with another blank, I check to the maniac and let him bet $4 into the pot. After I re-raise to $10 and the maniac pushes, we're all in.

Now...I'm aware that I've said time and time again that going broke with TPTK is a bad move. I'm also aware that I consistently ignore this piece of advice time and time again.

However, I had two things going for me:

  1. The pot was heads-up.
  2. The player was a maniac who played any two cards and played them hard to the river all the time.

When the maniac showed me his rockets, I could only watch helplessly as my buy-in slid across the table into his evil little pocket.

I quickly left the table, hoping against hope to stave off the "tilt" that I felt building. Of all the times for the maniac to pick up a hand, why then? Running into a cold deck is one of the worst feelings ever; I just had to remind myself that I did nothing wrong in the hand.

I finally managed to re-grab a seat at the maniac's table 10 minutes later. My first attempt to sit put me to the maniac's immediate right - screw that! I'm not letting some prick push me off hands after I've dumped some money into the pot. After another little wait, I finally got a seat that put me in good position with both the maniac and a TAG to my right.

While I was playing musical chairs at the maniac's table, I managed to take down a big pot at my other table. I played a suited ace from early position, hoping to catch a flush draw or some other monster hand. The table was extremely passive pre-flop and I knew that I'd probably get a cheap flop.

The flop gave me the nut flush draw and I came out betting. I did this for two reasons (another list?!):
  1. I didn't want to have to fold to a small bet from the other players in the pot - by betting, I gave myself odds to continue with the hand.
  2. My bet would disguise my hand if I did hit the flush and really improved the implied odds I was getting if I needed to call a bet on the turn.

Unfortunately, the fishy player in the SB check-raised my bet. We went to the turn heads up.

When the next card off the deck was the 3 of diamonds, I was golden! I checked and the SB bet $5 bet into the pot. I decided to put him to the test and re-raised another $10. This player never bet or raised, so I was sure he had a good hand - most likely a set or two pair. As expected, the SB called leaving himself with a measly stack of $2.50.

Unfornately, the river paired the board and I was worried. My opponent checked. The correct move here was to put my opponent all-in since he was pot-committed and would call with any reasonable hand. Unfortunately, due to my previous run-in with the maniac's AA, I was tilting on the side of caution and checked the river as well for the showdown.

My opponent showed trip jacks - he'd been playing his second pair like the nuts and had walked into a hand on the river. Strange that he'd bet so big with nothing but checked his hand when he finally hit something. Maybe he was going for the check raise...?

At that point, I was sitting at just north of even for the night. One buy-in lost to maniac and one gained from fishy. And then, I got my revenge on the maniac...

I picked up 44 UTG and limped. As was usually the case, the maniac raised to $1 from the CO. I think one of the blinds called and I called given good implied odds - the maniac had around $20 left and I knew he'd play for his whole stack even if I hit the flop hard.

Three of us saw the flop come down 4 3 3. Bingo! SB checked and I checked my monster as well. I don't like checking to the pre-flop raiser but this hand is far too strong to play hard.

The maniac bet $1 into the $3 pot and I smooth called. The turn was a blank and I came out with a good sized bet. At that point, I was trying to replicate the line I took earlier when the maniac busted me.

However, rather than go for the check-raise, I decided to jump straight to the part where I check-raised his bet. If I was right, the maniac would consciously or sub-consciously recognize the pattern and push.

Right on cue, the maniac pushed his entire $18 stack into the $6 pot. I made the call and he showed a 32o for flopped trips and no kicker. The case 3 did not hit on the river and I'd won back my buy-in from one of the crazier maniac's I've ever played against.

I stopped playing shortly thereafter and moved over to Absolute to play another $6 + $1 SNG. I managed to take 3rd place by playing tight and making moves at the right times.

I was pretty card dead for most of the SNG. I picked up cowboys once when the blinds were uber-high, although I got no action when I min-raised UTG with them. The SNG ended rather abruptly with the blinds at 300/600. I pushed on the button with my KTs (M=2 at that point), the SB pushed all in as well (ouch!), and the massive chip leader in the BB called both of us (double ouch!).

The SB showed a KJs and the BB showed JJ. Although I hit my ten on the flop, the chip leader managed to take us both down with his jacks.

Still - I can't complain. During the month of March, my SNG numbers have been surreal:

  • SNGs Played: 11

  • SNGs Won: 2

  • Total earnings: $109.70

  • ITM %: 73%

  • ROI %: 119%

I feel like I've really been braggin over the past two posts, but that's not my intention. I report the good results and the bad results. Although I know it's more interesting to read about the ultimate "fall from grace", the occasional "feel good" story isn't too bad.

That's all for today, time to work. I'll be at the tables again this evening trying to keep on, working at my game one dollar at a time.


Geez, that post seemed more like a real post than my usual thinly veiled attempts to push my affiliates. Let's just say that this post has been brought to you by the fine folks at PokerStars, InterPoker, River Belle Poker, and...I don't know...Eurobet!

Keep reading "New Challenge: SNGs and FPPs"

Challenge Completed: PokerStars SNG Challenge

Over the course of the weekend, I played about eight and a half hours of poker. In that little time, I managed to bump up my bankroll by about $92. Sweet! And against all odds, I also managed to finish off my PokerStars SNG Challenge with authority.

It all started on Friday night. Following up on a suggestion from drewspop, I decided to check out the PokerStars reload bonus being offered: 20% up to $120. I had some extra money in Neteller so I thought I'd deposit $200.

The great thing about this bonus is that it covers the entry fee for every SNG played while clearing the bonus. Also, the bonus never expires which means I can clear it at my own pace. The bad news is that I can't withdraw from PokerStars until I've cleared the bonus (stupid fine print...).

To clear the bonus, you need to earn 5 FPPs per $1 of bonus. You earn FPPs at a rate of 5 FPPs per $1 paid in tournament fees. So basically, all my SNGs played for the next little while will be freebies. Seriously, if you're not playing at PokerStars, you should be! And since they don't offer rakeback in any way, shape or form, why not use my affiliate link to sign up? Not only will you get to play at a great site, but my link comes with some extra luck built right in, redeemable as necessary!

Ok, back to my weekend play...

I popped over to MrV's place at about 7 PM on Friday night and started playing the $25 NL tables at Interpoker. After about an hour and a half, I was stuck $10. Basically, I lost that money in the first 10 minutes of playing when I mislabelled a player as a maniac when he was really a calling station. Trust me, bluffing or semi-bluffing with AK is not a good idea against a calling station.

After that fiasco, I decided to fire up PokerStars and play the $10 SNG that I was "required" to play, in accordance with the rules of my PokerStars SNG Challenge.

Although things looked a little rough for a while, I managed to pick up 2nd place! I was pretty happy about my play. I started heads-up down 5 to 1 to the chip leader and managed to take the lead after 10 minutes of play. Unfortunately, I tried to win it all by calling my opponent's all in with my own AJ: he showed 99 and I failed to improve. I was out the next hand when my A6 lost to his KT.

I finished up $6 after my play on Friday night and I'd now come in 1st once and 2nd twice in three consecutive SNGs! If you know me and my luck, you realize how impressive this really was! [And it's true, I blame bad luck for all my losses...so?]

On Saturday, I started out at River Belle Poker to play the $20 NL tables. I found out that I was, in fact, eligible for the $125 deposit bonus so I had 875 raked hands to clear. I find that I clear about 25 raked hands per hour per table. This means that I can clear the bonus in about 17 hours if I multi-table and the bonus gives me a $7/hr overlay. Not too shabby...

Well, Saturday afternoon ended up being not so good. I was down $2.45 in just under two hours of play. No great hands, no awful hands - just a lot of mediocre play, a couple missed draws, and a cracked pair of aces.

After spending some time watching Die Hard and eating pizza with my wife, I fired up the tables at River Belle yet again in an effort to make back some of the money I lost. It took an hour to put myself up $12 on the day.

I felt that I was playing solid poker so I decided to play another $10 SNG at PokerStars. I was just hoping to place ITM again - it's amazing how much more you win by playing for higher stakes. Pretty obvious, I know, but it's still pretty damned exciting for a small time player like me.

After the first 40 minutes of play, I found myself in 5th out of 6 remaining players. I'd overplayed some hands in the beginning and found myself struggling to stay afloat (oh J8s...why did you tempt me so?). I was really embarrassed by my poor, poor play in level 1 of the SNG and vowed to really buckle down. Unfortunately, the cards were not in agreement and did all they could to force me to fold every hand.

I tried to use my tight table image to pick up some blinds, but the other players weren't falling for it. Still, I managed to claw myself into a near tie for 3rd place with 4 of us remaining. I had about T1800 in chips, another player had about T1750, chip leader had about T6000 and the last player had about T4000. The big stacks were sitting back and letting the small stacks duke it out.

And then the Poker Gods, in their infinite wisdom, decided that enough was enough. I'm dealt rockets on the button. The other short stack is UTG and pushes and I insta-call. He shows AK and is quickly knocked out.

At this point, my opponents only know me as a tight player waiting for the nuts. However, I was just happy to have made the money so I started pushing my weight around. I made short work of my two opponents and took 1st! My biggest ever SNG win - $45! Sweet!

Not only did this win put me a measly $2 away from completing the PokerStars SNG Challenge: this win also meant that I'd get to play a $20 SNG!

I decided to hold off on the $20 SNG and instead played a $6 + $1 at Absolute Poker. I managed to take 2nd when everyone else at the table got fed up with a maniac who pushed every hand. He busted everyone until we were heads up. I doubled up right away when he pushed with a K6 and I called with an A9. But then, I picked up 62o, 42o, 63o, and 74o all in a row and was really hurting. I finally pushed with J8 and maniac called with K2. No one improved and I took 2nd place.

I'd now placed in the money in each of my last 5 SNGs, taking two 1st place finishes and three 2nd place finishes.

Yesterday afternoon, I sat down to play my first-ever $20 SNG at PokerStars. My wife was out shopping and I was ready to play the role of scared money.

The first thing I noticed was that the $20 SNG was listed as a middle stakes game and not a low stakes game. The second thing I noticed was that players were a little more aggressive - almost all pots were raised pre-flop.

I played my usual tight game but found myself in trouble as the blinds continued to climb. By the time the blinds hit 75/150, there were still 7 players remaining and I was sitting in 6th place.

With my M at about 4, I decided to defend my blind by pushing when the LAG to my immediate right tried to steal my big blind for the 5th consecutive time. He called showing K6o against my 98s. I hit a pair on the flop and filled out to a straight on the river.

I doubled up again when I pushed with 77 on the button with only 4 players remaining. The chip leader had raised UTG and I came over the top with my last T1400 (blinds at 100/200). He called and my pocket pair held up when the chip leader missed the flop, turn and river. I'd actually closed my eyes, afraid to look - I'd hit my set on the turn.

Still, the play continued to be really tight. I kept stealing the blinds to stay alive, pushing with a variety of cards. When I tried a steal/double up by pushing with KTs UTG, I got called by the button and by the chip leader in the SB.

Oh well, I'd made a good run - I thought I was definitely gone. The button held an A6o and the chip leader held a K7o. WTF? I know I'd been pushing and stealing a lot, but damn, it takes balls to put a chunk of your stack at stake with hands like those. Especially the button who only had me covered by about 600 hundred chips.

When a 6 hit the flop, I was ready to click the Leave Table button. I had 6 outs to stay in it...and luckily, a king hit on the river and I tripled up.

A few hands later, the player on the button was out and I was in the money! I was guaranteed a prize of $36 and if I played my cards right, I could make a lot more.

I continued to play aggressively and found myself heads up when the chip leader knocked out the short stack. After stealing some blinds, I found myself a 2:1 dog to the chip leader.

I limped with an 8d5d on the button and BB checks. Flop comes down 7d 6 3d. I bet out for about 3/4 of the pot and the chip leader raises. I channel Doyle and push all-in with my monster drawing hand. The chip leader called showing a 64o.

Even though I was a 3:2 favourite in the hand, I missed all my draws and took 2nd place. Still, 2nd place paid $54! Sweet!

And just like that, the PokerStars SNG Challenge was complete! I now find myself riding a streak of 2 wins and 4 second place finishes in my last six SNGs. Not too bad for a mediocre player such as myself.

I don't have any new challenges in mind right now. I will most likely continue playing SNGs at PokerStars. If I win a SNG, I'll move up to the next buy-in level. If I place out of the money, I'll move back down one buy-in level. Should be interesting. I can't imagine what it would be like to find myself playing a $200 SNG or something crazy like that.

Still, I don't pretend that the results I've had recently are sustainable. However, that doesn't mean that I won't enjoy this hot streak while it lasts.

I also try and finish up the deposit bonus at River Belle Poker. Once the bonus is cleared, I'll head home to Interpoker and continue clearing the never-ending bonuses there.

I may even try to play some 1/2 limit poker again even though the prospect still scares me given the constant beatings I've taken at the game. Kent's had some recent success at the 1/2 tables although I think he's probably a far better limit player than I. Still, it gives me hope whenever I find someone succeeding where I've failed.

That's it for this post. I'll admit the writing was crap and there was far too many affiliate links strewn all over the place. I blame the combination of excitement over my good weekend, the amount of craziness here at work, and my never-ending greed.

I hope everyone has a great day at the tables and otherwise. And don't forget to sign-up with PokerStars if you want some great tournament and SNG action. If I can win there, so can you!

Keep reading "Challenge Completed: PokerStars SNG Challenge"

The Hunt for a Deposit Bonus

I got home last night, spent some time on the exercise bike, had dinner with my wife, watched an episode of 24, did the dishes, and then accompanied my wife to our storage locker to put some stuff away. By 8:30, I was all set to play some poker and fired up the laptop.

I always check my e-mail before doing anything. I immediately noticed a comment from Huma letting me know that Rake The Rake (referral code RTR03302) had a deal with AceFlush Poker for 35% rakeback.

So I pissed around for a half-hour before I realized that AceFlush Poker is actually RakeBack Poker and I've already got an account with them. After uninstalling my software and re-installing, it was 9 o'clock and I still hadn't played any poker.

Then I got to thinking about the show Poker Night Live. It's a Canadian show on CGTV (our very own gambling channel) that airs every day at 11 PM. This show follows online SNG and cash game play at certain poker rooms. One of these rooms is River Belle Poker.

I couldn't find a single rakeback deal for River Belle Poker, so I visited Bonus Whores to figure out if there were any good deposit bonuses available. Even though I get rakeback at AceFlush, I wasn't about to overlook easy money.

Anyway, River Belle Poker had a good deal: 50% deposit bonus up to $100 with an extra $25 thrown in if you make your deposit with Neteller, Firepay, or any other Internet wallet.

While playing the $25 NL tables at Interpoker, I got signed up to play at River Belle Poker. At this point, I found out that I already had an account there. I'm hoping this doesn't affect the state of my deposit bonus - the "small print" for clearing bonuses at the site suggest that I may not have been eligible for the bonus since I opened my account more than 30 days ago. Time will tell, I guess.

By the end of the night, I'd played about 40 minutes at Interpoker's $25 NL tables and one hour at River Belle's $20 NL table (which I'll count as part of my $250 NL challenge). Unfortunately, I ended up down about $8 on the night due to two bad hands on my part.

In one hand, I raised PF with an AKs and got two callers. A non-scary flop came down and I check-raised a guy. He ended up all-in on the flop (he was short-stacked) and showed me the flopped full house. Bad read on my part.

I was down about $6.75 after that hand. No biggie. I made it all back in the next 20 minutes by stealing pot after pot. I noted a couple differences in play at the Prima tables vs. the Cryptologic tables.

  1. Prima players loved to bluff on the river. They'd bet with nothing, they'd bet with bottom pair, they'd bet at it with any two cards.

  2. Prima players like to min-raise pre-flop but will usually fold to every other raise. If you make a raise to 4xBB or more, any cold-callers could be holding real monsters!

Knowing that the players at the table like to bluff the river really hurt me on another hand. I dropped about $15 when I misplayed a baby flush and let a pre-flop raiser catch his boat on the river. Yep, I got destroyed by two full houses last night. Although I did flop quad 2's earlier in the evening, so I can't complain.

I'll have to make sure to get back into my groove before it costs me too much money. I just played a little too loosely on a couple hands last night. I was card dead for most of my time at River Belle and I overplayed my good hands when I got them. That's not too hard a leak to fix - I'll see how it goes tonight.

That's it for today. Lots of work to do. I will be playing tonight at PokerStars and Interpoker. I may also hit River Belle once I get confirmation that my deposit bonus has been successfully registered: I'm not playing anywhere without an overlay.

Have a great weekend everyone! Good luck at the tables!

Keep reading "The Hunt for a Deposit Bonus"