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Month in Review: May 2006

As the book closes on yet another month of poker, I find myself coming out on the losing end of the deal. And yet, despite posting loss after loss, I still find my bankroll growing at a pretty good rate.

Let's take a look at the numbers for May:

  • Ring Game Winnings: $46.99
    Honestly, this is a great result for me. I feel much better about my $1/$2 LHE game and the results have showed.

  • SNG Winnings: -47.00
    Yep...this was not a good month for SNGs. I played 10 $10 + $1 SNGs and finished ITM 30% of the time. Unfortunately, I made nowhere enough in winnings to cover the seven other times that I crashed and burned.

  • MTT Winnings: -39.76
    Ah yes, MTTs...I played eleven of those suckers. I finished in the money once and donked out in every other one. I know my sample size isn't large enough to qualify my results in any way, but that doesn't change the fact that I hate tournaments and I'm not playing them until I've mastered ring game play. I will make an exception for the PokerStars blogger freeroll however.

  • Blackjack Winnings: $245.00
    That's right...the bulk of my income this month has come from blackjack. No skill involved here and no real luck either. Making money playing blackjack is as simple as moving money to an online casino, clicking your mouse for few hours, then moving the money back out. It's mindless fun! Will blackjack become my gateway to other -EV casino games? Nope...the only risk I'm willing to take in the online casinos is of the "zero-risk" variety.

  • Bonuses and Rakeback: $390.70
    That's right! Life as a bonus whore can be a grind at times, but it does pay off in the end. If you count the fact that my blackjack income was also in the form of multiple bonuses, it's pretty easy to see that I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the many overlays that I get from site to site. One day, I hope to derive most of my poker income by playing winning poker. Until then, I'll have to settle for the slow but steady income of a bonus and casino whore.

And so, my bankroll sits at $2833.09. I played roughly 60 hours this month, all told. In that time, I managed to clear a whopping $595.93! This puts my "hourly rate" at about $9.93/hr! Yay! I broke the minimum wage threshold!

I seem to be on pace to reach my goal of a $5000 bankroll by the end of the year. I'm hoping that I manage to pick up the pace a little bit by winning a few more coin-flips at the tables and maybe stacking my opponents a few times here and there at the NLHE tables.

That being said, here's what I plan on doing in the month of June:

  • Clear another two or three blackjack bonuses.
    I really do believe that this is pretty easy money. I sat down at Planetluck Casino last night and made $219 in just over two hours by playing break-even blackjack. You can't really beat those kinds of results. And let me just say for the record that customer support at the Party Poker Casino sites (Planetluck and Starluck) was actually pretty damned fabulous (does that word make me sound a little gay?)!

  • Play $1/$2 LHE at William Hill Poker.
    The only LHE I'll be playing next month will be at William Hill Poker. I'm going to play long enough to clear the £25 bonus. I may play a few extra hands since I don't want it to seem like I'm taking advantage of their super bonus scheme. However, I'll most likely not three table any extra play on my part.

  • Play lots of $50 NLHE!
    This is where I'll be putting most of my focus next month. I've got to get my NLHE game going again. I'd like to be playing the $100 NLHE games by the end of the year. If I'm going to make that a reality, I need to work hard on my game. Plain and simple.

On the non-poker front, I'll be playing a little more PS2 next month as well. I've got Kingdom Hearts II to play and GTA: Liberty City Stories is being released for PS2 as well.

Anyway, it's been a great month. I won't be playing tonight - I need the time away from the laptop.

Actually, my wife and I are meeting with our potential real estate agent tonight. We're hoping to get a house by the end of the year! Big investment but I'm willing to take the gamble here. Why? Because apartments suck, that's why...

The rest of my evening will be spent with my wife. I may throw in a little PS2 for good measure as well.

That's it for me!

Have a good one!


I managed to slip in a little bit of blackjack before May officially ended. I got lucky and managed to increase my blackjack winnings and bankroll by $33. Now if only some of this luck would carry over to the poker tables...

Keep reading "Month in Review: May 2006"

Hill. William Hill.

Oh William Hill! You are most definitely "da man" when it comes to providing the best bonus overlay for us low-limit grinders!

£5 per table hour! Play for an hour at a 1/2 LHE or 0.50/1 NLHE table (any currency) and you make £5.

Play two tables for 30 minutes - £5! Play three tables for 20 minutes - £5! Play four tables...you catch my drift? Do people still use that expression or does it just make me seem really old?

All I can say is that this is outrageously good for someone like me. In one hour $1/$2 LHE at William Hill Poker yesterday, I managed to clear £15 worth of bonus. All I had to do was 3-table using my squeaky tight game.

By the end of the hour, I was up $20 in winnings and the additional $28 (which is roughly £15) in bonus. That makes me very happy! In fact, it makes me so happy that I actually like playing poker again!

I know - I'm a slave to the bankroll. I'm addicted to winning and I hate losing. But each contributes to making me the best player that I can be.

When I'm winning, my confidence is high, I make smart plays, and I play with a good amount of aggression. Basically, I feel like I can't lose. When I win, I tend to do so in streaks that can last anywhere from 2 - 10 days. I also tend to play longer sessions when I'm running hot since I realize that these good sessions are required to pad my bankroll for the tough times.

On the flipside, I tend to leave the tables when I'm losing. I look for other ways to vent my frustration. Typically, this is where video games and, more recently, blackjack come in.

Video games are a great distraction. Feel sick about the never-ending string of bad beats that have been coming your way? Play some Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (best game ever btw) for a couple days.

Are you raging because a table maniac keeps getting lucky and trash talking everyone before finally cracking your aces with his T3o? Take a few laps around the track in Gran Turismo 4.

And if that doesn't help, find another game to play. I've started playing blackjack, which serves as a great mindless time-filler. Not only is it mindless: it also helps pad my bankroll.

If you read my post yesterday, you'll know that I made $38 dollars after playing 6 hours of blackjack. Statistics say that I performed worse than average (I think I should have made closer to $70), but that's okay. I'm only using the game as a way to get through my self-induced poker apathy tilt.

Yesterday, I managed to clear my Starluck Casino blackjack bonus. If you recall, I deposited $100 on Sunday and got a 100% match deposit bonus.

It took me about 4 hours to clear the wagering requirements for the bonus. Once again, however, my luck seems to be underperforming. Given the house edge of about 0.7% at Starluck Casino and about $1650 wagered, I'd expect to lose about $11.55 in the long run.

Unfortunately, the "long run" doesn't truly exist. I lost $35.50 of my $100 bonus, leaving me with $64.50 in profit. Still, $15/hr ain't too bad!

My next casino hit will take place at Planetluck Casino - they also offer a 100% match deposit bonus up to $100. I'm hoping that I actually run hot this time and manage to come in over the original $100 bonus. And then I'll take a magical journey atop my stupid flying pig and together we'll fly away to Narnia...blackjack is so -EV...

Anyway, that's it for today. I'm planning on playing another hour or so at William Hill Poker tonight in order to pick up the last £10 available to me in bonus.

As for Planetluck Casino, I may hold off until later this week to give that bonus a shot.

If I get the chance, I may hit the $50 NL tables at either Full Tilt or Interpoker (or maybe even Doyle's Room). I've read and re-read Mastering No-Limit Hold'em in preparation for my triumphant return to the NL cash games. I'm really hoping it works out for me.

On my way out the door, let me just throw out some random shout-outs:

  • Go check out doubleuwhy as he shows you how casino whoring should really work!

  • Do yourself a favour and go check out Iakaris over at Flight of Iakaris: he's Canadian, like me, only much smarter, infinitely wittier, and far more interesting.

  • Sir has had some good posts regarding NL cash games! It seems Fluxer has been performing an admirable job as mentor...

  • Hoyazo won the Party Poker $40K guaranteed last week and has a post detailing the entire thing!

  • hdouble just wrote a great post about the statistical tendencies of the more successful and less successful middle/high stakes players at Party Poker. Very interesting stuff...also reinforces my belief that tight is right...

  • Alan continues to play and analyze the micro-limit NLHE games at PokerStars.

  • Otis and G-Rob have both been making some really good posts lately, despite the recent loss of a good friend.

  • Huma is MIA although he still appears to be playing. Maybe blogger's been banned down under? Maybe some extra traffic will get him up and writing again.

  • The Law School Dropout continues to post sheer quality.

  • Drewspop's decided to give cash games another shot...

  • Matt seems to be catching some bad cards lately, but his posts are always a great read!

Sorry if I missed anyone (and I know I did). If you want me to add you to this list, just leave me a comment along with a reason why you feel you should be pimped (or I can just make something up...).

Have a good one everyone! Good luck at the tables!

Keep reading "Hill. William Hill."

Who needs poker?


Double down..you've got to be kidding me!

Stand...fuck off!

That, my fantabulous readers, is an excerpt from my time at the blackjack tables. It's nice to finally play a game even more frustrating than poker...

Seeing as how my weekend was so damned busy, I had very little time to play poker. Although I did manage to squeeze in a couple hundred hands yesterday at Full Tilt's $1/$2 tables (another 5 BBs gone), most of my time was spent away from the tables.

I did manage to finish off my deposit bonus at the William Hill Casino. I got an $80 bonus on my $80 deposit. I played for 6 hours and walked away with $38 of my bonus still intact.

I managed to clear over $6/hr playing blackjack which is a heck of lot better than my current rate of return at the poker tables. Yes, I realize that this is short-sighted thinking - just let me bask in the glory for a little bit, ok?

I do realize that blackjack is a -EV game. What other game can you play an optimal betting strategy and still lose...a lot.

If the house edge in blackjack is 0.5% (+/- various percentages based on game specific rules), my number's show that I really took it in the bankroll.

I wagered a total of $1653 over the course of six hours. With the house edge locked in at 0.5%, I'd expect to lose about $8.25 over the course of the hands that I played.

Well, I lost $42. I understand that there is a lot of variance in blackjack, etc., etc. But I have another theory: maybe I am just unlucky! My wife has said it many times and maybe she's right.

Still, my results are probably not that bad. I'm sure Scurvydog could provide statistical proof the my results are actually fairly normal (I'm probably within a standard deviation or two of expected results). Still, it hurts to go from a being up $35 to down $42 in the space of 400 hands of blackjack.

In one stretch of crap, the dealer managed to pick up blackjack four hands in a row, and then had the gall to pick up an additional 6 hands hitting to 21. Yuck! That little stretch cost me $13. I hate doubling down with an 11 and getting dealt a 2. Then the dealer turns over his down card and shows a 4 to go with his 6 and hits the ace for 21! Dirty bastard!

But I'm sure most of you out there are thinking the same thing as I am: that's what you get for playing blackjack. I guess I'm a -EV bitch...

So I cleared the William Hill blackjack bonus yesterday afternoon and then dropped the $10 at Full Tilt last night (I did clear another $10 worth of bonus however). Given the choice between playing more poker or playing blackjack, I chose the dark side and looked for another casino to hit up for a bonus.

I settled on StarLuck Casino to take advantage of the 100% up to $100 deposit bonus. With a wagering requirement of only $1600, it's a pretty good deal.

After a couple hours of play, I've cleared about $950 of my requirement! Sweet! Another hour and a half and I should be done. I'm hoping to walk away with at least $50 of my bonus still intact but that's completely out of my hands at this point. Here's hoping I get lucky.

Anyway, my plans on the poker-front for this week involve hitting the $50 NL tables pretty hard. I want to get my NL game back (not that I ever really had it) and make some money.

I will, however, leave some time for blackjack and PS2 as well. I'm trying to prevent myself from suffering any further bouts of poker burnout; well, at least for the next few weeks or so.

I hope my American readers are enjoying their day off today (lucky bastards!). If you happen to be sitting around with nothing to do today, why not take a minute and answer these questions for me?

Doubleas, Wes and Lumpy all answered them, so why can't you?

Trust me, there are no wrong answers here. I just want to hear from everyone I can, donkeys and pros alike. When it's all said and done, I'll make some mega-post comparing my answers to those received and we'll see where I stand in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, that's it for today. Have a good one!

Keep reading "Who needs poker?"

Are you greedy?

I've been skimming over Scurvydog's archives over at Sound of a Suckout. Let me just say this flat-out: if you are at all interested in bonus whoring or making little chunks of money with minimal risk, you've got to go check it out!

I'm really big into bonus whoring and making free money. In fact, I've been known to put off an hour or two of overtime in order to make a "free" $5 playing poker.

Why is that?

Growing up, my interest in getting "something for nothing" started when I was two years old...

My mother and I were at the local Becker's (aka Mac's Milk aka a corner store), just picking up some odds and ends. As my mother went to pay, I noticed the freezer in front of the cash filled with popsicles and other frozen goodies.

Without saying a word, my mom handed me a banana-flavoured popsicle. At the same time, I noticed the cashier hand my mom some change.

Hmmm...what was this?

We returned home and I was already mulling over a plan in my head. A few hours later, while out to play with friends, I announced that I had to go pick up a popsicle from the store.

I dutifully left the complex of townhouses where we lived at the time and headed up the sidewalk of the closest busy street (it was busy in my memory anyway). The Becker's store was just up the hill from our place and around the corner.

When I finally made it to the store, I marched right up to the freezer and cracked it open. Shoving my arm in, I managed to get my tiny fingers around a chocolate-flavoured popsicle and pulled it out. I pulled off the wrapper and started eating it as the cashier stared at me wide-eyed.

Finally, after what seemed like a few minutes, the cashier told me, "That will be ten cents please.".

I pulled the half-eaten popsicle out of my mouth, gave the cashier a who-are-you-kidding look and said, "No - you're supposed to give me money."

And thus ended my first lesson in trying to get something for nothing. I did end up getting the popsicle for free since my mother was back at home and didn't know where I was. The cashier just gave me a quick lesson in commerce ("You're mommy paid me and I was giving her change...do you know what change is?") then sent me along my way.

My mother later found me sliding down a snowbank situated precariously close to the increasing rush-hour traffic.

I was scolded for having left the townhouse complex, but she was happy that I was safe. I learned a few lessons that day:

  1. I was lucky that I managed to avoid get seriously hurt or kidnapped.

  2. Low flying airplanes + playground slide = scary as hell for two year olds.

  3. You can get free stuff if you act totally clueless - I believe old people do this quite a bit. In fact, I've seen my grandmother do this on a number of occasions for her benefit and mine.

Early success tends to reinforce certain behaviours and ways of thinking. I am no different than anyone else in this regard. As such, this fascination with free things continued on throughout my life.

I remember the first time I joined the Columbia House Music Club and got 13 tapes for 1 cent! My dad refused to believe that I'd payed just a penny for the tapes. Sure, I had to buy 7 more tapes at full price after that, but I knew that going in! All I cared about was that when I opened up the brown cardboard box, it was filled with lots of music that I got for free (1 cent plus $1.86 for shipping and handling)!

In university, I found loop-holes surrounding school work that let me get great marks for a fraction of the effort of the other students. That's not to say that I cheated: cheating is wrong, plain and simple! I always, always play by the rules.

To give you an example: many of my classes had weekly assignments that accounted for 20% of your mark, a midterm worth 20% and a final worth 60%. However, in some classes, the mark you received on the final could replace the marks for your assignments and/or midterms. It was in these classes that I used the system to my advantage. I disregarded all work that could be replaced by a good score on my final exam.

Sure, this method of schooling put a lot of pressure on me come exam time. However, this also allowed me to hold down 30+ hr/week jobs and still attend school full time. When exam time came, I'd go into the exam with a 70% average and walk out with a 90% average. By the way, I don't recommend this for most people out there for a few reasons:

  1. I seem to have a somewhat-selective memory when it comes to remembering my schooling. I am probably understating the amount of work I did do at times - it wasn't all beer and roses.

  2. I seem to have a somewhat-photographic memory when it comes to studying for exams. I would be able to cram an entire textbook's worth of knowledge into my head the day before the exam and spit it out, word for word, once I sat in the exam hall.

  3. Going to school is more than just marks, awards, and distinctions. There are times when I wish that I'd been more actively involved with my education instead of focusing on easy marks and making money.

There were many more opportunities such as these throughout my lifetime. And now, fittingly enough, we come to the world of bonus whoring.

The whole idea surrounding bonus whoring appeals to me on every level. It levels the playing field for anyone willing to sit down at a poker table or at an online casino.

For poker, the bonuses give me the confidence to play my game regardless of the results. When I play, I do my best to make +EV plays. In the long run, I should come out ahead.

Like it or not, however, the short run is what we see when sitting at the table. It can be hard to continue playing your game when you've had your aces cracked three times in the last hour. It's hard to not loosen up when you see the table maniac build his stack up from $10 to $200 in two hours of play at a single $1/$2 LHE table.

And that's where bonuses come in. They help me break even in the short term. They help me overcome the swings in my bankroll as I continue to grind away at a game. These bonuses give me the safety net I need as I continue to learn and grow as a poker player.

If we turn to casino games, bonuses become even more important. If you're playing blackjack, you know that you've decided to play a game that is -EV. The odds are against you and, given time, the casino will take all your money.

Any betting strategies that you use can only minimize the amount of money you're guaranteed to lose in the long run. In a B&M casino, you can attempt to count cards to help erase the house edge. But it's hard to do correctly and even harder to do without getting caught. It's even harder to do if the casino is feeding you free drinks!

If you play blackjack online, there is no card counting (and no booze). All you can do is hope to get lucky in the short run and leave with your profits. Over time, though, you will lose your entire bankroll at the blackjack tables.

And this is where bonuses come in yet again to save the day! With a good deposit bonus, all you need is the discipline to play the optimal blackjack strategy and the time to grind away at the tables. Over the long run, the casino bonuses help players minimize and sometimes overcome the house's edge in the game of blackjack!

The ultimate question, then, is: why do poker rooms and online casinos offer bonuses? Simply put: they want your money.

They want you playing at their tables.

They want to rake your pots in poker.

They want to grind away your bankroll by enticing you to play -EV casino games.

They want you to lose patience and start increasing your bet sizes in order to win more money or in order to make up for losses earlier in the evening.

Online casinos make money: I know it, you know it, and they know it. However, by giving us poker tables to play at, bonuses to smooth out the variance, and many other incentives to keep us going, they've shown that they are willing to give a little as necessary.

If you're looking for a lot of information regarding bonuses of all kinds, do yourself a favour and go check out BonusBug.com. It's a forum that, as far as I can tell, is run by Scurvydog.

Finally, if you get anything out of this post, know that there is a lot of free money out there. Well, free unless you believe that time is money: in that case, I guess it's almost-free money!

Obviously, these bonuses are more valuable to those of us with smaller bankrolls or with minimal time to grind it out at the tables. Granted, it's far more profitable to play $10/$20 at Party Poker than it is to play ten hours of blackjack while trying to clear a $50 bonus.

One day, I hope to be clearing 2 BB/100 playing $30/$60 LHE. But for now, I'm like that little kid reaching into the freezer for a popsicle: it may not be much...but it's free and it'd really hit the spot right about now.

Keep reading "Are you greedy?"

Weddings and casino games

It's Friday! It was a short work week for all us Canadians thanks to Victoria Day last Monday. But it's going to be a long weekend for me, I'm afraid.

It all starts after work tonight. Both my wife and I are in the wedding party for a couple friends of ours. Tonight is the rehearsal dinner, although the word "rehearsal" is a little misleading since I've been told that we are only eating dinner. I guess we still use the word rehearsal to ensure that everyone knows the true purpose behind the get-together.

I was a little worried that I'd have to take it easy on the food this evening due to the chance that my tuxedo wouldn't fit quite right. Historically, this has always been an issue with me. In the past, I have lost as much as 30 pounds between the tuxedo fitting and the date of the wedding.

While that was impressive, my ability to gain 10 pounds in the week before another wedding was astounding. Although I managed to get all the pieces onto my body, the vest and the jacket were so tight that I had to spend the evening sucking in my gut. It wasn't pretty...

Anyway, back to present day...I picked up my tuxedo a couple days ago and it fit! Luckily for me, the salesperson doing the measuring heeded my warning that I would, in fact, pack on a few before the wedding and took some generous measurements for certain key areas (eg. gut).

I just spoke with the groom a second ago and we've decided on Denny's for breakfast. I should be able to pack down a bucket of meat and still fit in my tux! It's all good...

Tomorrow will be a busy day. It all starts at 8 am when I drop my wife off at the hair salon. Then it's off to the aforementioned breakfast for me. Then an hour or two of shipping flowers to the reception hall.

The hammer will be dropped at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon, which puts the point of no return at about 2:15. They're a good couple and I have zero worries. I just hope they'll take the time to enjoy the day because it only happens once.

On Sunday, my wife and I are hoping to relax: no church, no shopping, no nothing. As my brother-in-law puts it, it'll be an SFA day (Sweet Fuck All). As much as I'm looking forward to tomorrow's wedding, I'll be quite happy when Sunday rolls around.

In the downtime this weekend, I plan on doing a few things:

  1. Play some more blackjack at the William Hill Casino.

  2. Play some $1/$2 at Full Tilt and/or Interpoker and/or Goal Poker.

  3. Play some $50 NL at Full Tilt and/or Interpoker.

First, let's talk about the blackjack.

I got home last night, had a nice relaxing dinner with my wife, and watched Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. After watching TV for a bit, I did the dishes while my wife pulled out the ironing board to do a little lot of ironing.

It's true...my wife does my ironing for me. However, we each do our part around the house and she knows that I appreciate everything she does. And my wife knows that I feel guilty anytime she spends hours doing crap work, so she's got that going for her too!

Anyway...as my wife ironed my shirts, I downloaded the William Hill Casino software. For an $80 deposit, I got an $80 bonus added to my account immediately. Sweet!

In order to withdraw the $80, however, I had to wager a total of $2000. Honestly, I wasn't sure how long this would take.

My plan was to put something on TV and just start playing. I figured that if I could play break-even blackjack (house edge is only 0.05% +/- 1%-3% depending on modifications and exceptions to the rules) and managed to play 200 hands/hour, I'd be pretty happy with the results.

Over the course of two hours, I managed to come out ahead by $15.50! I also managed to clear about $550 of my wagering requirements. So, all in all, I'm pretty happy with my first foray into casino whoring.

Unlike poker, blackjack is a purely mindless passtime. Make the appropriate bet, make the play that maximizes your EV, and pray for good cards. No analyzing opponents, no Poker Tracker, and no suckouts! It was a nice relaxing two hours! I also have to say that it's rather refreshing to be able to book a win based purely on luck as opposed to skill of any kind. My wife asked me two or three times how I was doing and I could honestly answer "It doesn't matter!" each time.

I will say that poker has helped me in this regard. Win a hand, lose a hand, who cares? In the end, I should come out ahead because of the bonus. Will I manage to walk away with the full $80 bonus? Unlikely but I'm totally okay with that! It's all about the long run and stringing together as many bonuses as I can.

My account at William Hill is sitting at $175.50 right now. Once I've finished the bonus, I'll most likely tackle the reload bonus for May (if I can finish up this first bonus in time).

At that point, I would like to give the poker at William Hill a shot. I like the idea of making £5 per table hour. I love getting good overlays to my poker play and getting £5 per table hour is too good to pass up.

For all my readers out there thinking that I'm slowly becoming a degenerate gambler, no need to worry! I haven't given up on poker. I will spend time at Full Tilt this weekend playing the $1/$2 tables. Having played very little poker this week, I honestly feel that my poker batteries have recharged and I'm ready to step back into the ring.

I'd also like to take another crack at the $50 NL tables at Interpoker. I'm just looking over my stats for $50 NL right now.

First off, I've only played 23 hours of $50 NL for a loss of -$78.22. I guess that's not too bad. If I were to take away the two hands where I got stacked as the overwhelming favourite on the turn, I'd be up over $100. And, as many 2+2ers are fond of saying, my sample size is insufficient. I don't think that I've played much more than 1400 hands so far.

I think I've been avoiding the NL games lately because I've been afraid of losing. String enough bad river cards together and you tend to get a little gun-shy. I had my first-ever losing month last month (although bonuses put me well up overall). Maybe it is time for me to step back into the ring, in earnest, and try and recoup my losses.

Well, this post was a long, rambling piece of shit! But it's Friday and what's done is done.

For my U.S. readers, have a great Memorial Day weekend! Enjoy the BBQs, enjoy your families, enjoy the drinks, and enjoy the poker (sorry CC)!

For everyone else, enjoy your measly two days off! I'll see you on Monday!

Keep reading "Weddings and casino games"

National Heads Up Poker Championship: The Game

Sitting on the bus with nothing to do? Do you have a cell phone? If so, the following may interest you...


Texas Hold’em Style Poker Game Pits Players Against a Series of Expert Players in the Ultimate Showdown

BEDMINSTER, NJ and NEW YORK – Verizon Wireless, Abandon Mobile and NBC Sports announced today that NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker mobile game will be available exclusively to Verizon Wireless Get it Now® customers through May 31, 2006. The mobile game, NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker, will be promoted on-screen during the 2006 Championship from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas that is scheduled to air nationwide on NBC Sports April 16, 23 and 30 and on May 7 and 14. All television coverage begins at noon EDT; the two-hour championship telecast will take place at 1:00 p.m. EDT on May 21.
Based on the popular card game Texas Hold’em, NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker brings all the excitement of the National Heads-Up Poker Championship to Verizon Wireless Get It Now customers. With NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker mobile game, there’s no need to put on a poker face as players go one-on-one against the world’s best in a single elimination competition in tournament mode, or play one game with an opponent of their choosing. In Texas Hold’em mode, players can also challenge all of the opponents at one table for a game in Texas Hold’em format.

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship features the world’s best players in single elimination competition for $1.5 million in prize money. Competitors include defending champion Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Howard Lederer, Ted Forrest, and Chris “Jesus” Ferguson among virtually all of professional poker’s big name players.

The high-quality graphics and animation provide spectacular gameplay on a variety of Verizon Wireless Get It Now-enabled handsets, and the simple interface and competitive AI reflect all kinds of different poker playing styles. Verizon Wireless Get It Now customers can find NBC Sports Heads-Up Poker in the What’s New shopping aisle of the Get It Now virtual store on more than 30 handsets for $2.99 monthly access or $7.49 for unlimited use purchase. Download charges for Get It Now applications vary and airtime charges apply when browsing, downloading and using certain applications. Customers need a Get It Now-enabled phone and Verizon Wireless digital service to access the Get It Now virtual store.
For more information about Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.

# # #

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation’s most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.

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Keep reading "National Heads Up Poker Championship: The Game"

Get the funk out!

Since I've been in a little poker-funk as of late, I thought I'd try something a little different tonight. I'm going to take the plunge and give casino-whoring a little try.

I first read about the feasability of making money by playing blackjack thanks to Huma and his forum, Ozbluff.

Looking for more information, I stumbled upon Brick's mention of blackjack and casino-whoring.

From there, I was just one link from Scurvydog and his excellent casino bonus guide.
According to Scurvydog, it's possible to come out ahead by playing blackjack and clearing bonuses.

The "trick", so to speak, seems to be discipline. In order to make the most of your bonuses, you must be willing to bet the minimum and keep at it while using an optimal betting strategy (no card counting online, I'm afraid). Scurvydog also explains the risks vs. rewards of upping your bet sizes and explains variance and standard deviation as they apply to blackjack.

Admittedly, my last shot at blackjack failed miserably. What's different this time? Well, first off, I'll only bet the minimum. No more bet sizes proportional to the number of drinks I've had so far.

Secondly, I'll be using this handy blackjack chart. Honestly, I have no idea how to play blackjack. This guide should help me minimize the house edge as much as possible and really give me a chance of clearing the casino bonus without losing any money.

So, we'll see how everything works out. I'm going to start at William Hill, I think. I'll also play some $1/$2 at Will Hill as well (they pay ٣ per table hour up to 㿅, if memory serves me correct).

If things go well, look for some online casino affiliate sign-ups soon. Since Google AdSense won't touch me because they consider my site to be "gambling-related", I might as well stop fighting it and just give in already.

Let me just quickly pimp out two blogs before I quit for the day.

First off, go check out Scurvydog over at Sound of a Suckout. If this casino-whoring thing works out, you'll be hearing a heck of a lot more about him.

Also, go check out Brick over at Brick's House. His site was the one that pointed me towards Scurvydog's wisdom (or folly). I'll have to admit that Brick is one funny guy. He also plays poker, so he's got that going for him too.

That's it! Wish me luck cuz I'm gonna need it!

Keep reading "Get the funk out!"

Somebody set me straight!

Ok, this post is going to need a little help from my readers. If I figure correctly, I've got about 12 subscribers to my feed (according to BlogLines anyway) and few people who visit me directly, so I'm hoping to get a few responses .

I have some questions that I'd like answered: partly due to curiosity, partly to keep me sane as I continue to grind it out at the low limits.

First, for those out there playing LHE at or above 3/6 OR for those playing NLHE at or above 1/2:

  1. How long have you been playing poker (both online and otherwise)?

  2. How long did you spend at the lower-limit or micro-limit tables?

  3. What were your win-rates (BB/100 or BB/hr or $/hr) at the lower limits?

  4. What prompted you to move up to the next limit?

  5. At what limit did you find the greatest jump in skill level of your opponents?

  6. What motivated you to keep grinding it out at the lower limits before you were able to make the jump to the bigger games?

  7. For those playing NLHE, how often do you get stacked vs. stacking others? Do you prefer playing big pots or do you try to string together a lot of small pots?

  8. What is the one book that stands out as having most helped your game?

  9. At which limit did you find the best for clearing site bonuses (if you were a bona fide bonus whore)?

  10. At which limit did you find yourself making a fairly decent hourly return?

  11. Which site (or two sites) do you prefer for your game of choice?

  12. How important do rakeback, reload bonuses, loyalty bonuses or other criteria factor in to your choice of site and game?

  13. When do you find are the best times (EST) to play?

  14. How many tables do you play at once? How many did you play when starting out?

  15. How is your "office" environment set-up? Do you think this helps or detracts from your overall game?

Any answers I could get would be much appreciated. I'm also aware that many of these questions have already been answered here and there throughout the numerous blogs that I wade through on a daily basis. However, it'd be nice to get all the answers in one place.

And since I don't want to exclude anyone else out there, feel free to answer the previous questions for your game of choice (SNGs, MTTs, Razz, Omaha, etc.). I'm trying to figure out where I fit in, experience-wise, with the other successful bloggers out there.

I'd like to know if I'm where I should in my development as a poker player. I've known of poker (real poker) for about 18 months and I've been playing just shy of 15 months.

Anyway, that's it for me unless someone writes something interesting and I feel the need to respond or something.

Oh, one last thing - go check out Hoyazo's blog (Hammer Player's Poker Blog). I hear he's pretty hot sh*t (my words, not his) on the tournament circuit. I haven't had a chance to get through his whole blog yet, but I keep seeing his name pop at final tables (much like good ole Drewspop who made the final table last night at The Mookie and Waffles who came in 2nd - do I know how to pick 'em or what?).

Have a good one!

PS: My affiliates are very nice and are wondering why you haven't called lately: why not stop by and let them know Klopzi sent you?

Keep reading "Somebody set me straight!"

I'm getting Stacked!

Since I haven't played much poker since the weekend (ie. none), I thought I'd fill everyone in on the mysterious appearance of the Stacked banners on my site.

Even though I have been nothing but disappointed in every poker video game that's come out in the past year (World Poker Tour 2K6, for example), I've been holding out hope for Stacked with Daniel Negreanu.

Unlike the other games out there, Stacked makes use of Poki, the poker AI developed at the University of Alberta over the past ten years.

And so, I was eagerly awaiting the release of Stacked last fall when it was due to be released. Unfortunately, as with many video games out there, Stacked's release date was pushed back to May 30th.

Luckily for me, I've been contacted by the publisher and asked to give the game a try in exchange for creating a little buzz surrounding the game (I'd create a big buzz if I could). As you know, there's nothing I love better than advertising for my fine affiliates and any/all poker products out there.

So I'm eagerly awaiting my copy of the game in the mail. I'm hoping that the game and AI are good enough that they can be considered a viable training option for real poker players.

The things I'll be looking for in the game are:

  1. Is the AI realistic? Will the AI successfully adapt its game to match the different personality types that one would meet at the tables?

  2. Will the game pacing be adjustable? Will the blind timing match the timing in real life tournaments? I'm looking for 25-30 hands/simulated hour.

  3. Will the graphics and sound be good? This is less important to me than the first two points; however, if the graphics and/or sound are horrible, I'd be less inclined to spend the time playing the game that I otherwise would.

  4. Will Daniel Negreanu's instruction be helpful? Will the game be able to teach me some solid lessons that can translate into money at the tables (not that the developer's or the publisher are promoting real-life gambling in any way)?

  5. Will the game create a sufficient reward system to fully engage my interest in playing the game for an extended period of time? I guess you could call this the "replay-ability" factor for the game. Since poker is, in essence, a repetitive activity, there should be something driving me to play. In real life, that drive is money. In the game, what will it be?

Anyway, I'm excited to give the game a shot. I've been waiting to try it out since the game was announced early last year and I'm happy that I'll soon get that chance.

In fact, I thought I'd have that chance today. There was a note in my mailbox yesterday telling me that I had a package waiting for me in our building manager's office. However, it wasn't my copy of Stacked; instead, my wife just told me that I received my free t-shirt from Absolute Poker.

It's a black t-shirt (extra-large, because, who am I kidding?) with the following written in red letters:
I've got the NUTS!
Ignoring the double-entendre, let's hope that the shirt lives up to its hype (not that I'm superstitious of anything). And I'm hoping the shirt is referring to having the nuts on the river and not on the turn - that always has a way of back-firing.

Okey-dokey, that's it for now. Unfortunately, I'll probably be too tired to play tonight, but that'll be a judgement call once I finally manage to stop moving.

I honestly don't mind taking a little breather from online poker. I fear that the onset of apathy-tilt is just around the corner: somewhat sooner than expected but not altogether a surprise given my poor performance at the low-stakes (micro-limit) tables.

Have a good one everyone! If anything, just enjoy the game...

Keep reading "I'm getting Stacked!"

MTTs suck!

Well, I'm back from another long weekend having dropped a few bucks here and there all in the name of "fun" at the tables. All I can say is - "MTTs suck!".

Matt Maroon may have played more MTTs than I before giving up on them entirely. However, I'm not willing to ride out the cold streak that I've been on as of late. And so, it is with little regret, that I'm cancelling my 50 MTT Challenge.

Of the 15 MTTs that I played, I made the money once, bubbled out three times, and donked out 11 times. Sure - I could keep playing the stupid things and dropping money like an idiot, but my results so far leave me little hope and very little to build on.

Couple my poor results with my below-average expected hourly win rate and I'm best just cutting my losses. I'd post a list of all the bad beats that knocked me out of the various MTTs that I played, but there's no point. I can sum it up as follows:

  • If I was all in and had my opponent dominated, he'd hit the flop and I'd find myself reverse-dominated.

  • If I hit my nut flush, my opponent would hit his full house on the river.

  • If I flopped two-pair and forced my opponent all-in, he'd call and hit his draw on the turn.

  • If I flopped top set, my opponent would hit his overset on the turn.

Anyway, it just gets uglier and uglier. And although I realize that this is just part of the MTT "game", I don't have the patience or desire to improve. My cash game has enough problems as it is and I'd do much better if I just focused on that aspect of my play.

Other than that, I had a great weekend. I played some poker at Interpoker and Full Tilt, saw the movie "Over The Hedge" (great movie!) with my wife and the family, and picked up the game "Kingdom Hearts 2" for PS2 (Final Fantasy + Disney = Cool!).

You may have also noticed that I replaced my old site banner with a new one. Let me know what you think...

Ok, that's it for today. I may not post for the next couple days: my wife and I are going to be very busy and I'll have very little time to play poker. However, I've been known to post regardless of having anything interesting to say...

Have a good one...

Keep reading "MTTs suck!"

20 minutes to go...

Late day post...been busy, what can I say? I just thought I'd jot down a few things before I leave for the weekend.


First off, I played a bit of $50 NL at Interpoker last night and got stacked very earyly on. This isn't a bad beat story, but it sucks nonetheless.

Three limpers to me on the button. I make it $3.50 to go with my AKo and get called by the SB, BB, and all three limpers.

Flop comes down Qh Jd 6c. SB bets $0.50 and everyone calls. I'm just hoping to hit my miracle ten.

The turn is the T of hearts. Sweet! I've got the nuts. SB pushes all in for $17.40. Nice!!

BB calls! Awesome!!!!

I decide to push when everyone folds to me on the button and the BB calls off the extra $30 raise!

SB shows 98o for the idiot end of the straight. BB shows 8h4h for the flush draw.

Unfortunately, the river is a heart and I lose. I was a little pissed, but I managed to win back all the money I lost in the next 30 minutes so I won't complain.

Still, the pot was well over $150 and would have been my biggest pot ever! There's always next time.


Played a bit of LHE at Full Tilt last night as well. Yet again, I lost a big pot when my QQ ran into the table maniac's KK. I foolishly thought my overpair would be best in the heads-up pot...I was wrong.

For those keeping track, I have lost about 13 of my last 16 hands holding QQ to an opponent holding KK.

Someone call the witch doctor cuz there's some funky juju about...


Going over to Mr. V's tonight to drink beer and play poker. My wife will be there cheering me on as always while secretly wondering how I can pack so much beer away.

It's one of my special talents I guess...

Anyway, I'll be at PokerStars playing some SNGs and a few 180's as well. No cash games tonight unless I get in the mood for some drunken 6-max at the micro-limits!


I will most likely be designing a new banner for the site. Let me just say thank you again to DuggleBogey for the fine work he did on my current banner. He did it free of charge and asked nothing in return. And my dad always said nothing's free: guess he was wrong.

I feel it's time for me to put my own personal stamp on the site and I'm planning on starting with a new banner. I may change the layout and everything else at some point, but one step at a time.

I'm hoping it'll be cool (I've got an idea in mind), but if it ends up being "blogger-ghey", please let me know and I'll either come up with something better or tell you to f*ck off! Either way, it'll be an adventure.


Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be back on Tuesday to brag about my poker victories or lament my crippling losses. Either way, it's gonna be a good long weekend!

Keep reading "20 minutes to go..."

[Insert Title Here]

Hope everyone's having a good day. Just thought I'd give a quick update on my play last night, as well as go over my plans for the weekend.

Firstly though, hope everyone's had a chance to check out some of the answers posted to TripJax's questions yesterday. I seem to be in the minority when it comes to reasons for playing poker. A lot of people have answered that they do it for fun, for the competition, or for their love of math and psychology.

In all fairness, these are all considerations whenever I pull up a seat to the virtual felt. However, money will always be the predominant reason that I play poker. If I wasn't winning any money, I'd give up poker so quickly it'd make Brunson's head spin.

If I did care more about the competition and the love of the game, I'd probably play more tournaments. However, it always seems to boil down to hourly rate with me. I wish I loved the game as much as the other bloggers out there, but I don't.

What I do love about poker is that there is no other investment that provides as high a return on investment rate. When you read stories about professional poker players losing their money on bad investments, it is precisely due to this reason.

You tell a professional player that he can invest $200,000 and turn that into $220,000 within a year. Now approach the same player and offer a high risk investment that can double his money in six months. Which do you think the player would choose?

In my case, why should I bother putting $1000 into a savings account earning 5% a year when I can easily double or triple that money in the same amount of time?

Anyway, that's enough talk about the greed that drives my poker game. Let's move on to a matter of greater importance: I won't be able to play in the Poker Source Online Bloggers Freeroll this Saturday. One of my best friends is getting married in just over a week and we're having his bachelor party this weekend.

I was looking forward to playing with all the other bloggers out there, but that will have to wait for another time. My money's on Drewspop (he's been doing pretty f*ckin' awesome with these MTTs lately) or Waffles (I think he's due). No offense to anyone else out there: I suck at MTTs so my opinion means nothing anyway.

Anyway, my plans on the poker front for the weekend include some drunken 180's at PokerStars on Friday night, a little LHE at Interpoker, Goal Poker and Full Tilt on Saturday and Sunday. And since Monday is a holiday up here in Canada, I may squeeze in a little time at the tables then as well.

I've really been liking LHE lately and it's starting to show in my play. After picking up Jones' Winning Low-Limit Hold'em, I've gound my game turning around. I've toned down the aggression a little and it's paid off. A few more calls here and there and a few less raises have really saved me a bit of money.

Don't get me wrong - I'm still plenty aggressive. It's just a more controlled aggression.

Last night, I was desperately searching from site to site for some good $1/$2 LHE tables. Interpoker had nothing going except two tight-ish tables . Goal Poker had four tables also running a little cold. And then, I happened upon Full Tilt! Man, they had some loose games going last night and my patience paid off.

All told, I ended the night up $45 at the LHE tables after 200 hands or so. The bulk of my profit came from two hands: Aces full and Quad Jacks! Other than that, I just played (what I believe to be) good, solid poker!

I've realized that I definitely enjoy poker when I'm winning! When I'm losing, it's slightly better than watching paint dry...but not much.

Still, I haven't played many hands lately and I'm sure a downswing is just around the corner. Regardless, I'm closing in on the 50% completion mark for my Back in Black Challenge!

I do have one question for those of you out there who specialize in limit hold'em. How big a difference is there between the $2/$4 games and the $3/$6 games? Why do I ask?

I've noticed that many sites seem to spread a lot more $3/$6 games than $2/$4 games. Also, I've noticed the $3/$6 games to be much looser than even the $1/$2 games. Am I on crack here or does this actually hold true? I've got the bankroll to make the jump to $3/$6 straight from $1/$2, but I'd be interested in knowing whether I'd be way out of my league. Honestly, I'm having enough troubles at $1/$2 and I'd like to feel somewhat confident that I have the skills to play at $2/$4 or $3/$6.

Anyway, that's all for today! I hope that those of you playing poker for the fun of it enjoy your games today. And I hope that those of you just looking to get paid make enough to put a smiles on your faces!

As for me, I'll be jumping around from site to site looking for an easy spot to pull off a quick hit n' run before sitting back and relaxing with my wife.

Keep reading "[Insert Title Here]"

TripJax is TripKing!

This morning, TripJax was wondering what he'd write about on his blog. Unlike me, he likes to come up with an idea before sitting down and going at it. As you know, I tend to follow the "infinite monkeys" theory of blogging.

Anyway, TripJax posted a long list of questions and asked his readers to answer them. I've decided to answer all of them here. Out of fairness, however, please be sure to stop by Poker in Arrears and check out how TripJax and other bloggers have responded to the questions.

Here are the answers you've all been waiting for:

1. What is the biggest mistake people make at a NL table?
Falling in love with their hand. Well, that and not always playing against me.

2. What is the biggest mistake people make at a Limit table?
Folding when the pot size dictates a call. Also, bluff-raising on the river...awful, awful move at the low-limit tables cuz you're gonna get called every time.

3. Why do you play poker?
For the money, as pathetic as that sounds.

4. If you weren't playing poker, what would you be doing?
Playing more PS2 or X-box and watching more movies.

5. What is your favorite poker book and why?
Can't decide...toss up between Miller's Small Stakes Hold'em and Lee Jones' Winning Low Limit Hold'em. Maroon's Winning Texas Hold'em is up there too. Oh, and anything by Harrington too...

I know a lot of people tend to say Super System. I think Super System or Super System 2 are ok, but I don't play at a level where they actually help me.

And Sklansky's books are way too advanced for me (and a little too boring). But hey, I bought them too!

"You can never have too many poker books" is my motto. Well, that and "Sign-up with my affiliates!".

6. Who is your favorite poker player and why?
Barry Greenstein...seems so calm and collected all the time. Also, his value went way up when he handled having his Aces cracked by Farha's Cowboys with little more than sniffle.

But before Barry, I'd have to say Gus Hansen. He's the guy that got me interested in poker in the first place.

7. Which poker player do you dislike the most and why?
Sean Sheikhan. He's a dick! Anyone who slow-rolls other players and who trash talks doesn't deserve my respect. What he does deserve is to go broke - maybe a little time grinding his way back up the ladder could teach him about humility and good sportsmanship.

8. Do your coworkers know about your blog?
One does - good old Mr. V.

9. What is the most you have won in a cash game or MTT (both live and online)?
Let's see...My biggest MTT win was in a $5K Freeroll put on by The Gaming Club. I managed to "table-skate" my way to a $100 payout.

My biggest cash game win came in a $20 NL game at RiverBelle. I flopped the full house and made a bundle when two of my opponents pushed on the river - I pulled in about $45 in that hand.

10. What is the most you have lost in a cash game or in one day total (both live and online)?
I lost $91.40 on Saturday April 15 after having a rough morning at Party Poker's $1/$2 tables, followed by a gross session at Full Tilt's $50 NL tables.

Still, I ended up clearing a $75 bonus that same day, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been...

11. Who was your first poker blog read?
The Law School Dropout. Excellent player, excellent blogger...his $40K Challenge was outrageous!

12. What satisfies you more, your aces holding up for a big pot or a bluff working for a big pot?
Aces holding up...I don't bluff.

13. Why do you blog?
To make money, as pathetic as that sounds. That and I like bragging about my awesome $5 wins here and there...

14. Do you read blogs from an RSS reader like bloglines or do you visit each blog?
A little from column A, a little from column B.

15. Would you rather play poker for a living than do what you currently do for a living?
Only if I could guarantee my income. I'm not what you'd call a "risk-taker". I've got way too much responbility to be able to give up my job and focus on solely on poker.

16. Do you wear a tin foil hat on occasion?
Only before Labor Day, and only if it matches my belt and shoes.

17. If you had to pin it down to one specific trait, what does a great poker player have (or do) that separates them from an average player?

18. Is Drizz the coolest person on the planet for naming his baby Vegas?
Coolest blogger, anyway.

19. What is your primary poker goal and are you close to accomplishing it?
My goal is to make money. I've got a long way to go, that's for sure. For now, I'm happy taking baby steps. As long as I keep improving and making money, I'll keep playing.

20. What is your primary online site and why?
Interpoker. Loose games, weak players, lots of promotions and freerolls, and the biggest overlay to my hourly rate out of any other site out there.

21. What site do you dislike and why?
I think each site has its own flavour and I'm not a picky eater. Honestly, I'll play anywhere as long as the tables are loose and the bonuses are plentiful.

Keep reading "TripJax is TripKing!"

Some good, some bad...

Ok...so here I am posting again right after I finished saying that I'd be slowing down. You can blame my workplace ineptitude for giving me the time to make a quick post. You can also blame both drewspop and littleacornman for insisting that my blog is readable enough to warrant another crappy post. My guess is that they're secretly trying to keep the dead money in the game...

Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, I'm going to be focusing on my limit game for the next little while (ie. 7 months). I believe LHE suits my style more than NLHE games.

I will admit that I may be wrong in this matter, but it will come out in the wash. I checked my LHE stats after playing last night. I was disturbed to find out that I've made only $5 profit in LHE games since last November.

Of course, I've always prided myself in the fact that I tend to make most of my money from bonuses and shameful promotion. Still, if I can continue to push my way through $1/$2 LHE, my profits will start to reflect, what I feel, is my growing ability in LHE and poker.

For those of you in the mood for a good laugh, here's a chart of my play at LHE:

As you can see, I'm certainly on my way back up from the brink of the abyss. Seriously, that chart is seriously messed up. I'm either really bad or really unlucky - any guesses as to which?

For reference, compare that chart to my NLHE results:

I've definitely had a good run at NLHE over the past four months but lately, it hasn't been that great.

For example, when I got home from work last night, I hopped on my excercise bike and decided to play some $50 NL at Interpoker. That's right - I have the wonderful ability to peddle my ass off and gamble at the same time. There were a few tables going and all had loose, passive players throwing their money around.

I sat down and managed to stay even for about 15 minutes. It's at that time that I found myself in the CO with 88. Four limpers to me and I limped right along with the crowd.

Seven of us saw a flop of [5d Kh As]. Ok, no problem. I missed my set so I was prepared to check/fold and be done with it. However, everyone checked to me and I checked as well: bluffing at a table full of calling stations and weak players is not the right time to take stabs at the pot.

Turn was the [8s]. Bingo! I'd just hit my set. Now, there wass a flush draw on the board and a possible straight draw as well. When UTG bet $1 and got two callers, I decided that the pot was big enough for me to make a substantial raise.

I made a pot-sized bet, hoping that I'd take the pot down but strongly suspecting that I'd get called by one of the players chasing a flush draw.

The blinds folded to the UTG player who pushed all-in. Everyone folded to me. At this point in time, I put the UTG player on two pair or a flush draw. I discounted AA and KK since there was no raising pre-flop and no bet on the flop.

This left me thinking that UTG had hit a junkie two-pair, an Ax two-pair, a set of 8's, a set of 5's, or a strong draw.

It took me all of five seconds to call the all-in after reviewing my opponent's play and his possible holdings.

When we flipped our cards, UTG showed rockets and I was drawing dead to the case 8.

F*ck me! This set over set bullsh*t is getting old pretty fuck*ng fast! If I honestly believed that people had the chance to be inherently unlucky, I'd give the game up now.

Lucky for me (and for all my opponents holding monster hands at the right time), I don't believe that bad luck can persist for any amount of time (nor can good luck).

I guess I'll get him next time when he makes the same move with two pair or a strong draw...

I stayed at the $50 NL table for another 25 minutes or so and managed to win a few pots here and there. I managed to walk away from the table with one-third of my buy-in still intact.

After having a lovely dinner with my wife and watching a recorded episode of Monday night's The Apprentice (I can't believe the guys pulled out the win), I loaded up Interpoker to check out the $1/$2 LHE games.

What do you know? Interpoker had 4 tables running and two of 'em were looking pretty loosy-goosy.

After playing a little over an hour at two tables, I found myself up $2.50! I had one really good table where I kept picking up big cards and one table where everyone else kept picking up big cards. I still managed to work off 10% of my March $100 reload bonus in that hour so I can't complain.

I then moved over to my latest poker room of choice, Goal Poker. It's funny - a few short months ago, the Absolute Poker Network was a rock garden. Boy, how things have changed.

I managed to quickly grab a seat at two tables. One had a table VP$IP of 35%, which is not too shabby in my opinion. However, the other table had a VP$IP of 60%! Sweet!

I only played about 20 minutes and pulled in about $16. At that point, I was tired and wanted to watch some more TV with my wife. We had episodes of King of Queens and Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares PVR'd and I wanted to watch them before bedtime.

All in all, it was a pretty good night. I'm disappointed with the results at the $50 NL table at Interpoker, but I'm happy with my play and that's what counts (not really, but I'll keep telling myself that until I believe it).

And I'm especially happy with managing another winning session at $1/$2. I've been trying to beat the game for so long...I hope that this is a sign of good things to come. My hope is to someday reach the playing levels of Mr. Maroon or the Law School Dropout; until then, I'll have to content myself with the small stakes stuff.

Ok, so that's my boring post for today.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Some good, some bad..."

The Grind

Things seem to have gotten pretty boring around here lately. I'd have to blame a few things:

  • My lack of adventurous spirit

  • My strict bankroll management style

  • My lack of mad skillz

  • My lack of anything insightful, relevant or witty to discuss

Still, you're here so I might as well write something.

Every morning and afternoon, I do the rounds and read each and every blog in my blogroll. I read about the big wins, the awful losses, the horrendous bad beats, and the brilliant (or at the very least "somewhat-shiny") thoughts on poker strategy.

Everywhere, I read about others moving up in limits and playing bigger and bigger games. Bloggers seem to really be pushing themselves at poker and they are, for the most part, succeeding.

And then I check out my "game". Still playing $1/$2 LHE. Still playing $50 NLH. Still booking small wins or small losses (or big losses in the case of NLH).

My bankroll definitely gives me the option to play the bigger games. However, the rules that I follow in regards to bankroll management, game management, and my overall discipline prevent me from taking shots where I know I shouldn't.

I'm slowly but surely climbing my way out of the $1/$2 LHE hole that I dug for myself over the past six months. Yet, in order to move up to $2/$4 LHE, I'll need to win an additional 300 BBs at $1/$2 before I'll consider myself ready.

I'd originally wanted to be playing $3/$6 by the end of the year. Is this a real possibility or just a pipe dream? Short answer: pipe dream. Long answer - read on...

Let's say that I manage to pull in 2 BB/100 at $1/$2 LHE. This is a big assumption for me. My current win rate is about 0.23 BB/100 although it's only this high because I lost most of my PokerTracker records last month. If we factored in my previous losses, I'd be sitting at about -3 BB/100.

I have another 420 BBs to win at $1/$2 before I can make the jump to $2/$4.

I can easily two-table $1/$2 for a total of about 100 hands/hour.

[By the way, if anyone knows a good setup that would allow me to plug a 21" LCD monitor into my laptop, please let me know - I'd like to start 3 or 4 tabling these games at some point].

(420 BB) / (2 BB/hr) = 210 hours!

In the past 7 months, I've only logged an average of 35 hours per month playing ring games. However, I've decided to focus on my LHE game for the time being, so let's say that I manage to put in a solid 45 hours per month.

(210 hrs) / (45 hrs/month) = 4.67 months = 140 days!

So the best case scenario finds me moving up to $2/$4 by the beginning of October. However, my wife and I are also planning on moving into a house by September 1st...so let's add another month to my previous estimate.

That puts me at the $2/$4 LHE tables sometime in November 2006.

Over this period of time, I'll only make $420 - and that's if I manage to maintain the magical 2 BB/100. I'm really hoping that I get better at the game and bump this number up to about 3 or 4 BB/100, but I'll leave that optimistic BS to others.

Anyway, I figure that my overlay at $1/$2 is about $3.5 per table hour if I count bonuses and rakeback.

(210 hrs) * (3.50 $/hr) * (2 tables) = $1470!

Not too shabby, I guess. However, if I could somehow manage an extra table or two, I'd be much happier.

Assuming that all goes according to plan, I'll be very close to hitting my $5000 bankroll goal by the end of the year. I may not make it, but I'll be a lot closer than I thought I'd be when I set the goal back in January.

Unfortunately, I don't know how interesting this blog will be over the course of the next seven months. I may find a few interesting things to say here and there, but I don't know.

Limit hold'em has a way of sucking the excitement out of poker (i.e. wins are smaller, losses are smaller). I find that grinding it out at the $1/$2 tables is just that: a grind. Poker becomes less about bluffing and big pots and more about pushing small edges and playing sound poker.

Maybe I'm just suffering from blog-funk...?

Geez, this post sucked. Sorry about that but as I said earlier, poker's just been a grind lately. That may sound like a bad thing, but I've really started to enjoy the fast-paced mindlessness of LHE again. There's something comforting about firing up a couple tables of $1/$2 and sitting back to watch a movie at the same time.

Anyway, stick with me if you like - I'm sure I'll say something half-way decent at some point in the future. However, I'll most likely make fewer posts for the next little while as I continue to grind my way to the $2/$4 tables.

Before I go, I wanted to point out a new site that I'll be making one of my regulars on the LHE circuit: Goal Poker. They share the same network as Absolute Poker and, as such, offer an insane number of reload bonuses.

When I signed up, they gave me a 200% deposit bonus up to $200. I'm clearing the bonus at a rate of about $5/hr which is good enough for me.

Why the new site? I've been looking for a new LHE site to help tide me over when Interpoker did not have any good games running.

I really wish that Interpoker had a larger North American following. At 10 pm last night, there were only 2500 players online and only 1500 players actually playing! It's a shame because when the tables are going, Interpoker has the juiciest tables out there.

That's it for today. If you need to find me, look for me at the $1/$2 tables at Interpoker and Goal Poker. I'll be the guy folding every hand while I wait for the nuts.

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

Keep reading "The Grind"

Friday afternoon BS

Almost time to go home, so it's time for me to waste everyone's precious time.


First off, I'm adding another blog to my list of must-reads: Hammer Player's Poker Blog.

I'm doing this in honour of my latest challenge. You see, Hoyazo is an MTT specialist. He loves playing them and he seems to do quite well at them as well.

This is, of course, completely mind-boggling to me. I'm going to keep reading and see if I can steal some of his secrets and use them for my own profit.


I also finished reading Fluxer's blog - Wired Pairs.

I don't know what to say...I thought Waffles was/is a crazy f*cker at the tables, but Fluxer is even crazier (although he'd say the opposite and call me a fish...which I am so he may be right).

I'm not convinced that he's a winning player and he has no concept of bankroll management. His bankroll fluctuates between $9K and $17.50. He plays the $2K NL games but will just as readily sink to the lowly $25 NL games in order to build his bankroll back up while he waits for another influx of money from his tax refund or wherever (he doesn't work and I haven't figured out where he gets his money...).

He berates the other players at the table, defends his views to other bloggers when he makes donk-tastic plays (or brilliant plays depending on your point of view), brags about his parents' 50-inch TV, complains about how poorly his mother does his laundry, and is basically living the life we all wish we could have lived when we were 20 years old.

That being said, Fluxer's definitely got the biggest brass balls I've ever seen (figuratively) in a relatively new poker player. I guess that comes with having no need for money except to buy the occasional computer upgrade or "decaf Venti skim extra hot with whip Mocha".

I'm not sure if I'm cheering for him to win big (because it's nice to see someone succeed where I fail) or for him to lose it all (because it's nice to see someone fail on a much grander scale than I).

All I know is that he's embraced his style of play and used it to its best advantage. He's absolutely fearless at the tables and I wouldn't want to play against him until I was properly bankrolled.

In fact, much of the lessons he's learned have come from watching the high-limit tables on various poker sites. Fluxer claims that doing so is invaluable to building your game (not quite as succintly) and I believe him given his ability to crush the $2K NL games when the deck doesn't run cold.

I'd recommend reading Fluxer's blog from the beginning to get a good feel for his character and playing style. It's a quick read and well worth the time. If anything, it'll let you know about the newer breed of poker players coming down the pipe.

I have no doubt that this guy will make it to a final table somewhere, simply by his sheer force of will, his crazy gambling spirit, and his inexplicably bottomless bankroll.


Ok, seriously - I'm done for the day.

Have a great weekend! It's quitting time!

Keep reading "Friday afternoon BS"

Sens Win, I Lose...

In a strange twist of fate, the Ottawa Senators managed to pull off a win in Buffalo last night! Unexpected but extremely sweet! Sure, they may be down 3-1 in the series but I think they can come back! The question is: can I say the same about my poker game?

I played for a couple of hours last night: 30 minutes of $1/$2 at Interpoker and two MTTs at PokerStars. Both ended up offering me very little in the way of financial reward.

At Interpoker, I can't say that I played well or poorly. I missed some draws, split a couple pots, and basically dribbled away my money.

I have a funny feeling that my Back in Black Challenge is going to drag on for a couple years at this rate. Oh well, I'm only 35 raked hands away from clearing a $100 bonus so I should be able to ride out the streak of mediocrity that's been plaguing my game as of late.

As for the MTTs, I decided to fire up two PokerStars $4 + $0.40 180-person SNGs, thereby heeding doubleuwhy's advice of not mixing MTTs and ring games. Did it work for me?

In the two tournaments played, I finished 52/180 and 32/180. Both tournaments followed the same path that all my MTTs seem to follow:

  1. Double up or triple up before the first break.

  2. After the break, go card dead and fold constantly as everyone starts pushing on every hand.

  3. Pray that I make it to the second break as my M approaches 5.

  4. Blinds go up - I make a move with a blackjack hand or a pocket pair.

  5. I lose.

In the first tournament, I picked up JJ on the button with my M sitting at about 6. UTG raised to 3xBB and I pushed when everyone folded to me. SB pushed all-in (mother fuck!) and UTG called. My only big hand of the tournament and I ran into the SB's rockets (AA) and UTG's Big Slick (AK). Just like that, I was out.

The next tournament, the blinds had climbed to 300/600 with an ante. I found myself in UTG+1 with an AJs. UTG raised yet again (he seemed to like it) and AJs was the best hand I'd seen since the first break.

At the break, I had T5000; however, I'd gone card dead since. The raising blinds had given everyone the motivation to start pushing like mad and I found myself getting blinded away without the opportunity to put up much of a fight.

Back to the hand...I pushed with my AJs and all folded to the UTG player. In previous hands, he'd shown some crazy good hands: K9, Q6, J2, etc.

In my case, however, he was holding a measly QQ. Strangely enough, the flop missed me. Although the jack on the river was nice, it wasn't enough to save me.

According to doubleuwhy's most recent post, here is an average breakdown of 1.6 million tournament money finishes:
7.1% Final Table
6.2% non-final table but in the money
9.2% on the bubble (within 10% of money)
66.9% not in the money
10.5% out early (first 10% of players eliminated)

Going by these criteria, I've had one non-final table but in the money finish, one on the bubble finish and one not in the money finish. I'll have to see where I stand after 47 more MTTs...

So, it's almost the weekend! Here are my plans for those who care:

  1. Watch the Sens game tomorrow night!

  2. Attend goddaughter's birthday BBQ tomorrow afternoon. She's a real cutie!

  3. Play enough $1/$2 at Interpoker to clear my $100 bonus.

  4. Play some $50 NL at Interpoker and Full Tilt (I have a good feeling...).

  5. Play a couple MTTs at PokerStars.

  6. Take my mom out for lunch on Mother's Day.

  7. Bring dinner over to my mother-in-law's on Mother's Day.

  8. Attend oldest nephew's birthday party on Sunday evening. He's a great up-and-coming hockey player and he's a Colorado Avalanche fan. I'm sure I'll get to tease him a little about the Avs going out in four straight against the Ducks!

It's going to be a busy weekend but it's gonna be a good one!

One last thing...

Just checked out my site stats and have yet to generate any hits based on the keyword crap I dumped into my posts.

I did get a hit for sens sucked c@ck (I wouldn't disagree entirely with that statement), hot wife (she sure is), and competitions to win sly 3 on ps2 for less than 10 pound (there are competitions for this type of thing?).

Also, the following poker-bloggers get free pimpage for having sent some traffic my way (sorted by the amount of traffic sent my way):
Thanks guys! May you all have the best of luck at the tables! And may you all sign-up with at least one of my fine affiliates!

Lastly (I know...post is dragging...it's Friday, cut me some slack), I'm adding another blog to my list of must reads: Kajagugu Poker! KajaPoker's been around since last September and I feel like a prick for not adding him to my blogroll sooner.

Ok, enough for today! Have a great weekend everyone! Go Sens Go!!

Keep reading "Sens Win, I Lose..."

New Challenge: 50 MTT Challenge

I've been noticing that more and more bloggers out there are playing multi-table tournaments (MTTs) and placing in-the-money with frightening consistency. And so, being the stupid prick that I am, I've decided to follow suit and start throwing my money away in the MTT arena.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'd know that I think MTTs are a total crapshoot. To win a SNG, you need to play extremely well and get lucky at least once; alternatively, you can play the role of luckbox and find yourself winning in the blink of an eye.

Even though I believe that luck is what you make it, I can honestly say that luck has never been one of my greatest weapons at the tables. I tend to lose races when it's really important to win the hand. I tend to find myself reverse dominated when my opponent catches his three-outer on the flop or the turn.

Not only am I not lucky but I have very little patience when it comes to investing a lot of time in something only to find myself with nothing at the end. Why the f*ck should I play a tournament for an hour or two and then bubble out when I'm forced to push all-in with a 76s? It's a sickening feeling to find yourself on the bubble and UTG with an M of 3.

I honestly believe that to win an MTT, you need to play solid patient poker and you need to get lucky quite a bit to make any substantial amount of money. When I use the term lucky, I'm referring to hitting flops and catching some good cards. I think that if you manage to double up when you push pre-flop with your AJ and manage to beat your opponent's AK, you deserve to lose on your next hand.

Regardless of these points and of my own limited tournament experience, I've decided to throw my hat into the ring. Here are the terms of the 50 MTT Challenge:

I will play fifty 180 player SNGs (buy-in $4 + $0.40) at PokerStars over the next month or two. At the end of my run, I will consider this challenge successful if I manage to maintain a return on investment (ROI) of 30% and an in-the-money (ITM) rate of 30%.

For the mathematically impaired, this means that I'll need to make at least $66 of profit and I'll need to make the money at least 15 times.

It sounds a little silly investing time and effort into a venture that promises such a sh*tty litte return in terms of actual dollars. However, having only played ten or so tournaments up till now, I owe myself the opportunity to explore this aspect of poker, no matter how unlikely I believe in my overall ability to profit in the tournament scene.

I believe Chris Ferguson once stated that professional poker tournament players can expect to average an ROI of 200% over the long run. I guess it's time to see if I'm at least 7% as good as Chris: I'm guessing no.

In order to combat the boredom and terrible hourly win rate inherent with a $4 buy-in MTT, I'll be multi-tasking these MTTs as the rule and not as the exception.

I'll either play two (or more) of these MTTs at a time or I'll play one MTT in conjunction with a FL or NL ring game. I'm hoping that the extra distraction will keep me from donking off my chips in the MTT as a result of FPS.

This challenge is already underway, having played my first 180-person SNG played last night. I managed to make it to 18th place (and ITM) before I made an ill-advised push when I thought the chip-leader was on a draw. I was wrong and he had actually slow-played his two pair, aces and sevens.

Okay, boys and girls. That's it for now. If you're looking for me, I'll be playing exclusively at PokerStars, Interpoker and Full Tilt unless Bonus Whores informs me of any juicy reload bonuses elsewhere.

See you at the tables...

Mr. V. tells me that I'm setting my sites too low for this challenge. For some reason, he thinks I can do better than a 15% ROI and 15% ITM, so I'll bump those up to an ROI of 30% and an ITM of 30%.

Keep reading "New Challenge: 50 MTT Challenge"