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Month in Review: June 2006

June has been a strange month for me. Although I played far less poker than usual, I also managed to rake in far more money than I thought possible. Let's take a look at the numbers and we'll see where I stand.

Ring Game Winnings: $45.38
Not a great month on the poker front, but at least I found myself on the winning-end of things. Let's break down my numbers to see where I faltered and where I played well:


  • $10 NL (6-max): $6.55/hr ($91.09)

  • $20 NL (6-max): -$2.95/hr (-$43.70)

  • 0.50/1 FL (6-max): $11.90/hr ($31.74)

  • $1/$2 FL: -$6.45/hr (-$33.75)

What do these numbers suggest? Probably that I should play a little more poker. The sample sizes are so small that it's hard to see where things went well and where things went wrong. In many cases, the big wins are caused by picking up one or two lucky hands, and the reverse is true for the big losses.

However, it is nice to see that I crushed the short-handed $10 NL and 0.50/1 FL tables. I'm interested to see if my success at the short-handed fixed-limit games continues through July.

SNG Winnings: $3
How's that for a big number?! I played three SNGs, placing third in two contests and donking out of the third. ITM of 67% and an ROI of 9%: them's some winning numbers! I'll seriously have to find another way to work off my uber-bonus at PokerStars. As much as I'd like to play 150+ SNGs, I may have to give the ring games a try...

MTT Winnings: $0
I hate MTTs...no more of 'em until something changes. I don't know what that something is, but I'll let you know when it happens...

Blackack Winnings: $943.51
Good golly! Who knew that blackjack would soon become my best game? Scurvydog, that's who!

Blackjack has treated me well. With my patience and ability to grind it out for hour upon mindless hour, I've managed to build up quite the little gamb00ler's bankroll.

Lately though, I've started to feel the grind of blackjack. Sure, you end up winning once the bonuses are cleared. But the path to victory is paved with mind-numbing boredom and soul-sucking -EV play. I guarantee that one month of blackjack will make even the most apathetic of all poker players crave the action at the poker tables yet again.

Blackjack has done two great things for me:

  • It gave me more than enough money to purchase Guitar Hero and my Canon ZR500 camcorder, and it padded my bankroll.

  • It has really made me appreciate poker.

Thank you blackjack! Don't go far though, I'm not done with you yet...

Bonuses and Rakeback: $359.65
Do you get rakeback? If not, sign-up with a few of the lovely sites at RakeTheRake.com (tell them account RTR03302 sent you - this doesn't affect your "cut" in any way so it's a win-win situation).

Or, why not sign-up for AceFlush Poker? Send me an e-mail once you've signed up through my link to discuss rakeback.

All I'm saying is that bonuses and rakeback can make an average month at the tables into a good one. I only logged 37 tables hours this month playing poker, managing an overlay of $9.70 per table hour through various bonus and rakeback offers.

Still not convinced? Go check out Wes's site: he cleared $1K in rakeback in the month of June. That's a nice little cushion to have just in case things turn sour at the tables.

Bankroll Stats:

  • May 31, 2006: $2,833

  • June 30, 2006: $4,185

  • Total June 2006 Winnings: $1,352

  • Total June 2006 table hours: 78

  • Hourly Win Rate: $17.33/hr

For the second month in a row, I crushed the kiddies working at McDonald's! Actually, I averaged more per hour last month than I did at most of my jobs as a computer programmer.

Goals for July 2006
July is going to be a little different than most months in my recent past. My wife and I are taking possession of our new home on July 10th. From that point in time, things are going to be a little hectic. There are lots of things that need to get done before we can move out of our apartment and start living the life of honest-to-God suburbanites.

However, there will still be poker. And there will still be blackjack. Just not as much. That being said, here are my goals for the month:

  • Finish off the blackjack bonus at Victor Chandler Casino. I've cleared £1900 of my £5000 WR. [10.5 hours to complete]

  • Reload at InterCasino and clear the $100 monthly bonus at the blackjack tables. [2.5 hours to complete]

  • Reload at William Hill Casino and clear the $40 monthly bonus. [2 hours to complete]

  • Pick up the £25 bonus at Littlewoods Casino (awarded upon completing £625 WR). [1.5 hours to complete]

  • Pick up the £25 bonus at UKBetting (awarded upon completing £500 WR). [1 hour to complete]

  • Gamble away any extra winnings given to me by the various casinos (they actually put free money in your account for no reason - sweet!) [5 minutes]

  • Clear the £25 bonus at William Hill Poker by three-tabling the $1/$2 tables. [1.67 hours to complete]

  • Finish off my Party Poker raked hands requirement for the $30 bonus they deposited into my account this week. [2 hours]

  • Play as much 6-max fixed limit poker at the 0.50/1 tables as possible.

  • Play 6-max no-limit poker at AceFlush's $20 NL tables and InterPoker's $25 NL tables when I get pissed off with the SHFL games.

So, it's gonna be a busy month, but I think it's quite do-able.

That's all I have to say on the poker front. I'm going to post some of my site stats below, for those who are interested.

Hits and Visitors:

  • April 2006: 536 Visitors, 1241 hits (pretty good)

  • May 2006: 651 Visitors, 1588 hits (cool)

  • June 2006: 1,264 Visitors, 3,379 hits (WTF?!)

Jebus - my number's are starting to get respectable. I wish these numbers actually had an impact on the number of click-throughs and sign-ups I'm getting for my affiliate links and banners, but so far - no go!

Why are so many people stopping by? Let's take a look at my top referrers and my top keyword searches. Maybe the answers are there?

Top Referrers:

  • The Poker Chronicles (Matt Maroon) [445 referrals]:
    Matt sent a bunch of traffic my way when he awarded me the Maroonie Award for being the best poker blog (other than his) on the Internet (a.k.a. the one that links to him the most).

    That little award boosted my readership by quite a bit (for one day, anyway). It's a shame that my site went down shortly after being awarded the Maroonie. And it's a shame that I stopped playing poker around that time as well.

    Oh well, at least my readers, new and old alike, got introduced to the wonders of casino-whoring and blackjack. Don't worry though, poker is starting to find its way back into my life. Poker's just too damned good to give up.

    And if you want to really know what's what when it comes to poker, go check out The Poker Chronicles - it's worth it. Don't like reading blogs? Luckily, you can pick up a copy of Matt's wisdom in book format, Winning Texas Hold'em.

  • Floppy JT's Poker Blog (Floppy JT) [49 referrals]:
    When most people start up a blog, they have a funny habit of copying the blog roll from the site they first started reading. I don't think JT differed in that aspect - his blogroll is three times the length of my own (I don't copy others' blog rolls).

    However, what makes JT different in my mind is the fact that he sent me an e-mail as soon as I mentioned that I was going to give 6-max fixed-limit games a try.

    JT was quick to e-mail me with some advice from his own personal experiences and some links to relevant 2+2 discussion threads.

    To give you a little background on JT: he only started playing online in November 2005. In the space of 7 months, he's already built his bankroll up past the $2K mark. Am I jealous? Yes I am.

    If you recall, in my first 7 months of serious poker and bonus whoring, I think I managed to scrape together just over $1K (30% winnings, 70% bonus money).

    JT figures that his success has come from the games he plays (short-handed FL) and his successful bonus-whoring ventures.

    JT may be new on the scene, but he's displaying the three qualities I like in a poker player: discipline, drive, and greed!

  • Crushing the Game (Grinditout) [28 referrals]:
    Another young gun crushing the 6-max NL ring games. Grinditout's also offered me some very good advice when it comes to short-handed play. I won't reveal his secrets, but they really helped me crush the $10 NL games and I hope to extend the success to the $25 NL tables and beyond.

    Grinditout is currently beating the $100 NL 6-max games pretty soundly (9 BB/100, I believe). He admits that it's not sustainable, but it's a testament to his skills at the table nonetheless.

  • Freeroll 2 Bankroll (Doubleuwhy) [24 referrals]:
    Doubleuwhy's been around a little while now. Whereas I built up my bankroll with a free $5 given to me by TigerGaming, Doubleuwhy went with a slightly cheaper approach. He's built up his bankroll by winning one MTT freeroll after another.

    More recently though, Doubleuwhy's taken to playing blackjack as a way of padding his bankroll. Despite one small uber-tilt session of -EV online blackjack, Doubleuwhy's had a lot of success.


Top 5 Keyword Searches:

  • MTT
    Boy, talk about coming to the wrong place...

  • playvegasfromhome
    An online casino run by the fine folks who brought you TigerGaming. They had a sweet 100% up to $200 sign-up bonus (10x WR) back when I signed up with them; however, the bonus has changed, no doubt due to multiple cases of bonus abuse.

  • TigerGaming Cheat
    Why are people always looking to cheat? Trust me - playing against the average opponent at TigerGaming is akin to cheating. Some of those guys and gals can be pretty crappy at a game I like to call poker.

  • poker
    Not too original, but I'll take it...

  • biscuit314
    Sorry...what?

Ok, that's it! June 2006 has been officially reviewed. I'd go over the funniest 5 keyword searches, but I did that a couple weeks ago and nothing funnier has popped up.

Quick recap for the upcoming long weekend:

  • Relax with wife.

  • BBQ.

  • Drink.

  • Guitar Hero.

  • Poker.

  • Blackjack.

  • Sleep.

Have a great weekend everyone!

See you on Tuesday (or Wednesday for my U.S. readers)!

Keep reading "Month in Review: June 2006"

Bought a new toy!

I deleted an earlier post where I was asking for advice when it comes to purchasing a camcorder. I decided to do what I always do and that's to take a leap of faith and do it. And so, I've bought my first ever camcorder.

Earlier today, I mentioned that I'd be picking up a Sony DCR-DVD105 camcorder. The biggest selling point for this model was price and, what I thought to be, ease of use and a low "cost of use".

Anyway, I found out today that these so-called "DVD" camcorders don't use standard-sized DVDs. Nope - they use more expensive mini-DVDs. These mini-DVDs are like normal DVDs except:


  • They are at least 5x more expensive.

  • They only hold only 20 minutes of video.

Hmmm...so I could record my kid's 1st birthday party at a cost of about $30 worth of DVDs? And my family could sit down and watch the whole thing, as long as I'm willing to get up 5 times to change discs.

As they say up here in Canada: fuck that, eh?!

And so, I made a ranting post containing all my bitching and all my technological concerns and questions, imploring the most knowledgeable of my readers to help me find the "perfect" camcorder for me and my family.

And then, I started looking at miniDV camcorders: cheaper, better quality picture (than the low-end DVD camcorders), and cheap recordable media. Of course, there is an extra step required when it comes to getting the video off the miniDV cassettes and onto DVD. But shit, when I can get six miniDV cassettes for $40 CDN with each re-writeable cassette holding 1 hour of video, doing my own CD burning seems pretty reasonable.

I found a deal at BestBuy's online store: I got Canon ZR500 miniDV camcorder (low end but good for first time camcorder buyers), an accessory pack (leather case, extra battery, and other useless doo-dads that I no-doubt overpaid for), and a 6-pack of miniDV cassettes (take that, you overpriced, piece of crap DVD camcorders) all for the dirt-cheap price of $550 USD.

That price includes shipping, handling and tax (which is 15% for all us Canadians living in the fine province of Ontario).

All in all, I'm pretty happy. I'm anxious to see how well the camcorder works. And it'll be nice to have another cool toy bought and paid for by my bankroll.

Honestly, the $550 is a lot less than I was intending on spending. I'll be taking $650 out of poker circulation to cover the cost of the camcorder, my recent Guitar Hero purchase, and a pair of shoes for my wife.

I should be able to make that money back in no time (did I just jinx myself?) as long as I can force myself to grind away at the casinos (Victor Chandler, InterCasino, and William Hill Casino) this coming long weekend.

Now, if any of you out there have had good experiences with miniDV camcorders and, more specifically, the Canon ZR500 - please let me know.

If any of you have had awful experiences with miniDV camcorders and/or the Canon ZR500, shove it up your ass! I don't want anyone giving me buyer's remorse (that's what the house is for).

Ok, now that I've got that off my chest, enjoy the rest of your day.

I'm off to my mom's and a shoe store, followed (hopefully) by a little poker/blackjack/Guitar Hero.

See ya...

Keep reading "Bought a new toy!"

Superman is cool and so is poker

Well, I'll be the first to admit that I went into Superman Returns last night with some pretty high expectations. Did it live up to the hype?

No spoilers here, but I'll just give a list of some of my thoughts during the movie:


  • Branden Routh looks and acts a lot like Christpher Reeve - it's spooky at times.

  • Kate Bosworth does not seem to fit as Lois Lane. She's too young, too thin, too girly, and, as my wife pointed out, her eyes seem to be different colours.

  • Kevin Spacey plays Lex Luthor very well, although he comes across as a little more evil in this latest Superman movie.

  • Superman's eyes are a little too blue.

  • All the flight sequences are seamless - it actually looks like Superman is honest-to-God flying. Cool!

  • The movie feels targeted towards a more mature audience despite the PG (or PG-13 if you live in the States) rating.

  • The love story in the movie is a over-long at times. It does seem to all fit together in the end though.

  • The acting is, on the whole, quite good (excellent when compared to other comic-book-to-movie adaptations).

  • The story, while well thought out and well-written, is a little boring at times. However, I'm not a big fan of talking in movies unless it's funny and/or accompanied by random farting noises.

  • Superman's a strong mo-fo!

All in all, I'd give the movie a solid 7.5/10, subject to change based on the success of sequels and how well everything fits together.

Enough about Superman, let's get back to poker...

Actually, not much to say about last night's poker session.

I hit the 0.50/1 6-max tables at Party for a second straight night. And much like my first foray into the exciting world of 6-max limit play, everything ended on an up-note.

I decided to again play only one table at a time. It's something I like to do while getting my feet wet. Basically, it helps me identify what I think are important qualities to look for in my opponents. Once I've got my criteria down, I can start playing more and more tables. Generally, I do this for each different type of game and each different limit: so far, so good.

The first table was filled with a couple maniacs (80% VPIP, 50% PFR, 8.00 AF), a fish, a TAG, and one seat that kept getting re-filled by fresh meat as soon as its previous owner busted out.

Unfortunately, a couple bad reads and some greedy play on my part caused me to drop about $10 in about 25 minutes. At that point, the table broke up and I didn't feel like waiting for more players to show up.

I hit a second table: this one was filled with a few calling stations, one LAG, and one pretty fishy character. I managed to double my $25 buy-in in the space of thirty minutes or so and shut it down for the night.

All in all, another ok session. I'd like to try playing a longer session at some point, but I'll settle for these short hit and runs.

I also hit up Victor Chandler for another session of blackjack. 40 minutes played, £275 wagered, £3 lost. Man, blackjack is a grind. Don't believe me? Check out this post by Doubleuwhy's and read about the dangers of grinding out casino bonuses.

That's it for today. Tonight, my wife and I are heading over to my mom's place for dinner. I'll also be stopping by BestBuy to pick up my new digital camcorder: I think I'll be getting the Sony DCRDVD105. It's cheap but it's got enough features for me. And although there are these new-fangled hard-drive camcorders kicking around, I prefer the DVD camcorders due to ease of use.

Oh, and my wife and I will also be stopping at Globo to pick her up a pair of sandals.

Have a good one everybody! Now get out there and gamble!

Keep reading "Superman is cool and so is poker"

Folding faster than Superman on laundry day


I was trying to think of a title for this post that encapsulated both poker and Superman - Seinfeld to the rescue. That's right, Superman Returns hits theatres today. Codpiece jokes aside, it's shaping up to be great movie for fans of good old Kal-El. I also like the fact that Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2, The Usual Suspects) is at the helm of this one.

My wife's home sick right now, but we may go see the early show tonight if she's feeling halfway decent. She's not a big Superman fan, but she only just saw Superman and Superman II a few months ago and they're a little dated. I think she may change her tune once she sees a more recent incarnation of the Man of Steel (not to mention Brandon Routh and his Buns of Steel...or so I'm told).

Enough about Superman, back to my own personal kryptonite: poker.

Last night started off as many do. I got home and my wife and I had a nice little dinner (McCain's Thin Crust Greek Pizza). I also had some strange yet somehow wonderfully flavoured President's Choice chips (Japanese Tamari and Inidian Thai Curry).

We watched Hell's Kitchen (Gordon Ramsay is da man) as we ate. The show is a little trashier this year, but it's worth watching just to hear Ramsay yell out these few tidbits of wisdom:


"You fucking donkey!"

"No, no, no...fuck off!"

"Hey big boy...you're fucking useless, you know that?"

"Girls, girls, come here...fuck all of you, you got that? Fuck you!"

"I've had enough! Shut it down!"

Great show...

After dinner, I jumped on the exercise bike in a desperate attempt to work-off the extra chips I ate with dinner. While cycling, I loaded up Victor Chandler Casino and continued to work off my blackjack bonus.

After 50 minutes on the bike, cleared another £300 of my wagering requirements and was up £5. At one point, I was up £30, but then the dealer started really going to town. In the space of 3 hands, I lost £12 when the dealer hit 21 each time; unfortunately, I'd split and doubled-down in one hand, split another hand, and doubled-down on the last hand.

With blackjack and cycling finished, I showered up and came back ready to play a little poker.

Checking my e-mail, Party Poker told me that I had a $30 bonus waiting for me in my account. I decided to put off looking that sucker up since I wanted to play some 6-max limit poker and didn't feel like clearing bonuses.

I went to BonusWhores and looked for some good quality 6-max limit games at the 0.50/1 level. InterPoker had a game rating of C+ but an availability of 100%! Sweet! I was off to my home away from home - InterPoker.

When I loaded up the software and checked the lobby, imagine my dismay to find only two 6-max games being spread at 0.50/1. If only I was playing $5/$10 or higher...Oh well, back to BonusWhores...

Checking the Game Quality Grid again, I found that AceFlush Poker and Doyle's Room were given average C ratings with game availability listed as 100%.

Off to AceFlush (aka land of extraordinary rakeback - why not sign up today?) for some SHFL action! Launch the software, check the lobby: three tables?! WTF?!

Doyle's Room? Two tables running! As Tuff_Fish would say - "Son of a God-damned...!"

At that point, I found myself sitting 0-3 on the night. Reluctantly, I launched Party Poker and decided to figure out what I needed to do to get the $30 bonus.

Miracle of all miracles, once I claimed by bonus, Party Poker was kind enough to deposit the funds directly into my account. Although I wouldn't be able to withdraw until I'd hit 300 raked hands, the money was mine to play with immediately.

Excellent! I quickly found a SHFL table (out of the 50+ tables running) and started playing.

My very first hand started off with a little mistake on my part when I posted my blind in the UTG position. Still, it wasn't looking to be that bad a decision when I found myself with pocket tens.

I raised, button re-raised, BB called, I capped and both the button and BB called.

The flop came down 8h 6c 3h. I bet, button raised, BB called, I re-raised, button capped and both me and the BB called.

At this point, I put the BB on a flush draw. As for the button, I suspected that he had a pocket pair. I was hoping that he didn't have a set and I was also hoping that he wasn't holding AA - JJ. Then again, this was a short-handed game and I coudn't always go folding hands for fear of monsters.

When the turn showed a blank, I decided to bet out again. I didn't want to give any free cards to the button or, more importantly, the BB. When the button raised again, I was pretty sure that he had me beat; however, the pot was too big to fold at that point.

At that point, I told myself that I would fold on the river if a third heart fell or if the action got too hot and heavy.

The river was the two of hearts and I knew I was done with the hand. When the BB bet out, I knew he'd just hit the flush. I folded, but the button decided to raise and, eventually, cap the betting on the river.

The button showed AA (cold deck!) and the BB showed QhTh for the rivered flush.

Just like that, I'd lost $6. I rebought, thereby putting the last of my Party Poker bankroll ($24.55)into play.

Over the course of the next 30 minutes, I managed to build my $24.55 up to about $65. Everything Matt Maroon talked about in his book was working perfectly.

I got really lucky a few times when I hit some monsters. But for the most part, my opponents were calling down my bets and raises with ace-high and king-high hands. Absolutely mind-boggling!

Unfortunately, the table's dynamics changed when all the LAGs got replaced by calling stations. I failed to adjust in time and donated $30 back to the table.

In the last 30 minutes of my session, I managed to turn things around yet again by doing a little less bluffing and little more value betting. I finished my session with a stack of $46.

So, I ended up winning just over $16 in the space of 181 hands (and cleared 80 raked hands as well). I'm rather pleased with my foray into the exciting world of 6-max fixed-limit ring games.

One thing that I really like about the game is the fact that the aggression factor is just as high as the SHNL without the added stress of being stacked. I also found the opponents in the fixed limit games to be much worse than their no-limit counterparts.

As it stands, I'll keep rolling with the SHFL and see where it takes me. I'm sure a bad session or two will undoubtedly put me on tilt-induced poker hiatus, but that's just a part of my game that I've learned to live with.

I ended the night with a little Guitar Hero. For those who know the game, I've almost picked up 5 stars in each of the Medium difficulty songs. I've finished 9 songs on Hard difficulty (only 3 star performances, mind you). I've also finished both "I Love Rock n' Roll" and "I Wanna Be Sedated" on Expert level (with 4 stars each).

Plans for tonight: Superman Returns and/or SHFL poker at Party!

Tentative Long Weeekend Plans: Beer, Guitar Hero, InterCasino's reload bonus, and William Hill Casino's reload bonus and William Hill Poker's £25 poker bonus!

Have a great day everyone! I've got stuff to take care of before I fly out of here later today.

Up, up and away...

Keep reading "Folding faster than Superman on laundry day"

New Challenge: $300 SH Limit Challenge

New house coming in a week and a half, new baby on the way, and I'm busy as a sumbitch at work. Time for a new challenge!

This challenge is going to force me to work on my short-handed fixed limit game. There are a few very good reasons for doing this:


  1. It's always easy to find a SH limit game! No longer will I have to forego limit poker due to the lack of full ring games.

  2. Higher-stakes games always seem to be short-handed. Big money likes big action and short-handed poker gives it in spades.

  3. SHFL games give a much larger edge to better players and I would like to be one of those players.

I've put off giving short-handed limit poker a try because new players are always warned to steer clear of the 6-max games due to the greater bankroll swings and more aggressive play of the opponents. I think I've played just enough poker to at least warrant a shot at these games.

The challenge itself is simple: win 300 BB ($300) at the 0.50/1 SHFL games. I'll be playing at my usual sites. However, I'm going to start using the BonusWhores game quality grid to really choose my sites wisely. In fact, I'll start doing the same for my other challenges (full ring limit/NL poker and short-handed NL poker).

That's all there is for a post today. I'll be hitting the ground running with this challenge - I'm pretty excited. Let's hope I catch a hot deck and put together a good-sized win. I need a couple good days to wash away the taste of my recent crappy NL play.

Keep reading "New Challenge: $300 SH Limit Challenge"

Need sleep and poker

First off, let me quickly mention that I am running on no sleep. For some reason, I've had trouble sleeping the past couple nights. Last night, I think I managed two or three hours of intermittent sleep. All this to say - please forgive me if my post makes no sense.

Let's get to it...


--

Friday night: me, my wife, MrV and Marl. Lots of beer (again, not for my wife) and lots of Guitar Hero.

The Verdict: Guitar Hero was, in fact, enjoyed by all. So I'll have to give the game full marks for its fun and extremely addictive gameplay!

It's so addictive that I've begun to fear for my mad poker skillz and the continued growth of my bankroll.

And so, I'm going to try re-committing myself to poker...again. I'll be mentioning some changes to the challenges I'm trying to complete and announcing a new challenge in the next day or two.

That being said, probably no poker tonight. I'm tired and my wife and I have to go shopping with my mother-in-law.

--

I also managed to finish up my bonus at Golden Palace Casino. I ended up $107 after 8.5 hours of grinding away at the tables.

$12.59/hr = Klopzi moderately happy with results.

I wish I could've won more, but I'm just a greedy bugger and I need to accept the disgusting amounts of variance in blackjack.

Prior to becoming a Guitar Hero on Friday night, I managed to sign-up for the Victor Chandler Casino (another link brought to you by the mighty Scurvydog) sign-up bonus. I deposited £300 and I need to wager £5000 by the end of July in order to pick up a £250 bonus.

Scurvydog warned that this bonus is available to non--US players only. Yay Canada! If it makes my US readers happy, I'm not allowed to play at Bodog (casino or poker) because I'm Canadian; it all evens out, I guess.

Anyway, the Victor Chandler Casino bonus is clearing at about £300 wagered for every hour of play. It's one of those browser-only casinos, so it's slow as ass.

I've cleared about £1000 of my WR so far and I'm only down £38. At this rate, I should be able to walk away with at least £50 of my bonus intact. I'm setting my sights low on this one given my recent crap-luck at blackjack.

--

Other than blackjack and Guitar Hero, the remainder of my weekend was spent watching TV and movies with my wife (The Exorcism of Emily Rose scared the bejeezus out of me).

I also ate way more than I should have, drank way more than I should have, and did far too little physical activity.

I also managed to put off playing poker yet again...

Actually, I did play for about an hour yesterday at AceFlush Poker's $20 NL 6-max tables.

I decided to stick with single table play to give myself a chance to get my "game" back. Although I went up early in the session, two separate players doubled-through me.

Both times, I made horrible calls (I get shivers thinking about them even now...) on the river when I thought my opponent was bluffing and/or behind to my hand.

In the first hand, I picked up an OESD on the flop with my AJo (flop T 9 8). I bet out heavily on the flop and got one caller. When he checked the turn, I put him on a straight-draw as well.

I bet the turn heavily and again, my opponent called.

When the river came with a J, my opponent insta-shoved for his last $8 in to a $20 pot. In my mind, I put him on a busted straight-draw and figured the jack may have also hit his hand. Dumb, dumb, dumb!

Well, I stupidly called and mucked when he showed his mighty 78o for the rivered straight.

Fifteen minutes later, I'm in a hand playing T9s on the button. On the flop (Q 9 6), I hit second pair and also pick up backdoor straight and flush draws. When the BB made a small bet into the pot, I decided to take a chance and see the turn.

The turn gave me a flush draw and I called the BB's min-bet. At this point, I was thinking he had top pair or middle pair.

River brought the Queen of Spades. My opponent checked again, so I decided to bet 1/3 of the pot and hoped for a check-raise. I really thought the BB had just hit trips and was going to try and get paid off.

The BB did, in fact, check-raise me. At that point, I was pretty sure that I was ahead and decided to re-raise a more substantial amount. My intention was to get the BB to push all-in.

The BB did push and I insta-called! This was followed by the insta-muck when the BB showed me the nut flush. Son of a bitch! I suck!

And with that, I found myself down a buy-in for my session.

Don't you hate it when bad reads, poor play, and bad luck all form the perfect storm? At least I had the discipline to stop playing after that hand as the tilting feelings started to boil up inside me.

--

I will be adding yet another challenge to my growing list of ongoing (and none-near-completed) challenges.

I've also updated a couple of my challenges: the SH Primer Challenge and the $500 NL Challenge (now known as the $1K NL Challenge).

If you click on the links above, you'll see the changes made.

--

Ok, another post in the books.

As for the new challenge coming up, I'll let the cat out of the bag and say that it is a short-handed fixed-limit challenge. Might as well explore another avenue of poker play: this will continue until I find my groove.

Anyway, here's hoping that the tables treat us all well, blackjack and poker alike.

Keep reading "Need sleep and poker"

Afternoon BS

Phew...work is finally slowing down...heart-rate lowering...weekend approaching...must write boring prose until time to leave...keep reading if you're bored...

--

As promised, I finished reading Wes's site (Dumbasses Trump All).

It was a very quick read, thanks in part that he is far more "to the point" than me. I'm a little jealous that he managed to make over $10K in under one year at the tables. I'm struggling to hit $5K...damn, I suck. Actually, I'm really jealous...

Then again, Wes was smart enough to focus on the NL cash games. So while I was grinding away at the 0.50/1 tables at Party and InterPoker, Wes was raking in the mad cash at the NL tables and by catching a good hot streak at Full Tilt's $27 turbo SNGs.

Anyway, here are a few of my favourite posts:


  • PokerAce and 6-max No-limit Cash Games
    I'm totally going to use these ranges for my PokerAce setup at home. It'll help me get a better grasp on what's good and what's bad at the 6-max NL cash games.

  • Tale
    The story behind the man...

  • PokerStars Skin
    Don't like the way PokerStars looks? Use Wes's skin to pretty-fy it! Don't have a PokerStars account? Why not click on my affiliate links - you'll thank me, I'll thank you, it's a win-win situation!

  • Full Tilt Skin
    Don't like the way Full Tilt looks? Use Wes's skin to pretty-fy it! Don't have a Full Tilt account? Why not click on my affiliate links - you'll thank me, I'll thank you, it's a win-win situation!

--

Got a comment from Hoyazo a couple days ago. He asked me a couple questions:

Question 1
How many poker applications do you have currently on your system, to be chasing all these bonuses you list?

You can never have too many poker apps (and casino apps) on your computer. For me, bonus chasing > winning poker. I'm far too crappy a player to expect to win any significant amount of money at the tables...for now, anyway.

I currently have about 20 or 30 apps loaded right now, but I tend to swap them in and out as necessary.

Question 2
Why don't you play in the Hoy, WWdN or Mookie tournaments man? Do you? What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?

Plain truth: I stink at MTTs. I don't have the time to play them (they all have a nasty habit of lasting longer than an hour or two), they happen too late at night (I'll leave playing after 9 PM to the young kids out there), they're extremely -EV (I couldn't even win a 40-cent guaranteed tournament - I might as well just give my money to Hoyazo), and I go on super-duper-uber-hiatus-tilt when I get knocked out of MTTs.

Although an engraved invitation wouldn't hurt...

Hoyazo did make one small mention of his site:
You haven't been reading my archives, have you? The early posts are kinda funny when I read them now, and it was only six months ago.

His archives only go back to October 2005, so a nice short read as well. If I happen to find any piece of information that I think will help me win the Party $40K, I'll make sure to keep it to myself. I don't need any more competition than already exists.

Of course, I can't stop you from visiting Hoyazo's site for yourself. Why not give it a try?

--

Most offensive joke that I told as a child:

What do you call an Ethiopian woman with a yeast infection?
A quarter-pounder with cheese.

It seemed less offensive in the early 80's, somehow...

--

Number of hits in October 2005: 35

Number of hits so far this month: 2527!


Jebus - I'm almost a D-list blogger!

--

I've noticed recently that blackjack fever is starting to spread throughout poker blogdom.

I'll give props to Scurvydog (he's the man when it comes to chasing bonuses of all kinds online, and he's a good poker player to boot!) for starting the fire all those years ago, but I'd like to think that I helped in some way.

Why grind away at the $1/$2 tables for a 2 BB/100 profit when you could rake in $300 or more in a couple hours of "work"?

Here are some of the bloggers out there who've recently turned to the dark side: doubleuwhy (making more money than I am...bastard), Drewspop, Burnsy, and TripJax (well, he's considering it anyway...).

Ok, so it's not that widespread yet. But it's gonna happen...

--

After being gone for a while, Brick was back today with another post.

Why should you read his blog?

His latest post starts off with:
There were no orgies. There was no destruction. Also, I played limit. Other than that it was pretty much a no-limit orgy of destruction.

Is it just me, or Brick a funny mo-fo?

Keep reading "Afternoon BS"

TGIF

Man oh man, it's been a busy-ass week! Work is kicking my ass and that's saying something due to the quantity of said ass. Still, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. And if that thinking proves wrong, at least there will be beer this evening, so it's all good.

The weekend's almost here and it's gonna be a good one.

It all starts tonight: MrV and Marl are coming over for some beer, Guitar Hero and gambling (maybe). I'll finally confirm whether the game is any fun or not. Both MrV and Marl are PC/Xbox gamers, meaning that anything PS2 seems downright shitty to them. Let's see if a 3/4-size plastic guitar will change their tune (pun not intended but I'll take it).

The rest of the weekend will be spent relaxing with my wife. We've got no plans and that's a good thing. The batteries need to be charged for July 10th: once we take possession of our new home, things are going to be so busy!

On the poker/gambling front, I plan on finishing up the Golden Palace Casino bonus (300% up to $300, 8000 WR) tonight. I'm only $400 away from clearing the WR on the bonus.

Currently, I only have $100 left of the original $300 bonus applied to my account. Still, I'll still earn $15 for each hour that I spent clearing this thing, as long as I don't get unlucky...

Afterwards, I would like to find yet another casino bonus to tackle. I should be able to squeeze one more whoring opportunity before the start of July, at which point all my effort goes back into clearing all the recurring monthly casino bonuses at my various casinos of choice (InterCasino, William Hill Casino, Littlewoods Casino, UKBetting, etc.).

I've actually got a new plan when it comes to these recurring bonuses. First off, know that online casinos don't like giving money away; they prefer to give bonus money to the degenerate gamblers out there who will eventually lose it all at the games with the highest house advantage (slots, for example).

Now, I like gambling as much as the next guy but I'm not about to throw my money away. So how do I go about continuing to collect these bonuses without setting off the "bonus-abuser" flags at the online casinos?

For every bonus that I clear (ie. take home pay), I'll keep 90% of my winnings for myself. With the last 10%, I'll gamble it up at the various other -EV games about. Sure, I'm basically throwing away 10% of my winnings. But there are a few advantages to doing this:


  • It makes it appear that I like to gamble, which makes the casinos happy.

  • It can be fun to play the -EV games: I'd really like to try the Marvel slot machines at William Hill Casino!

  • I may catch a big score! How sweet would it be to hit some super big jackpot while freerolling with the casino's bonus money? Answer: very sweet!

I think I just heard a collective groan from all my poker-playing readers. Honestly, I don't think 10% of my casino winnings is too much to gamble away every month. Now, if I still get flagged as a bonus abuser after doing this, obviously the charity stops and I'll really play it by the book. But until then, let's gamble!

Other than playing the role of degenerate gambler, I'll also play some more poker this weekeend. When may game's on, I love it! When I'm losing, I'd rather do anything but play poker.

AceFlush will get some more of my business, but I'll start throwing InterPoker back into the mix. The 6-max tables at InterPoker are very fishy (just ask Huma) and I want my piece of the action.

From a gambling point of view, my weekend will be a success if I clear my Golden Palace Casino bonus, start a new casino bonus, and win at least $100 at the 6-max tables.

It's funny - whenever I mention dollar amounts that I'd like to win, I tend to think of players like Matt and Chris who bet more in one hand than I could possibly win over the course of a weekend.

All this being said, I'm not planning on going crazy at the tables this weekend. I do plan on spending quite a bit of time with my wife doing non-gambling and non-Guitar-Hero things.

I may come back and post something later today if I feel like it. If not, have a great weekend everyone!

Keep reading "TGIF"

Way too busy...

Sorry - I'm way too busy to post anything half-way decent today. I'll make up for it tomorrow when I recap some honest-to-goodness poker play and some blackjack play as well.

Until then, go make some money!

I'll be back tomorrow!

Keep reading "Way too busy..."

Daniel Negreanu's Stacked: A review

It's time to give my review of Daniel Negreanu's Stacked!

When reviewing the game, keep in mind that it is a poker game. As such, I've used other poker games and other value titles when scoring the game.

Graphics
I played the PC version of the game (I'm still hoping to try out the PS2 version) and the graphics were pretty damned good! My one complaint is that the game screen seemed to be stuck at 800x600 resolution and couldn't be maximized. Admittedly, this may be due to the fact that I was playing on a widescreen laptop.

Still, the graphics were very impressive for a poker game.
(9/10)

Sound
Once again, playing on a laptop has it disadvantages. One such disadvantage is the lack of quality sound. That being said, the game adequately recreated a poker tournament in my mind.

Sure, some of the comments by your opponents get repetitive, but maybe I'd just set my sights low based on my previous experiences with poker games.
(8/10)

Gameplay
It's very hard to judge the gameplay of a poker game when you're an online poker player. Honestly, I'm playing two or three tables of online poker at a time which causes me to instantly dislike a specific problem inherent to every poker game made: game speed.

Stacked does give players the opportunity to speed the game up. However, even on the fastest setting, I felt like I was waiting forever for my opponents to act. I never did bother trying to read tells off of my computer opponents: why would I? I'm an internet poker player - physical tells mean nothing to me. I just wanted to burn through the hands and knock off the tournaments quickly. I wasn't in the mood to watch a computer-generated opponent grimace while pondering a call.

Other than the frustration I faced with the game's overall speed, I will say the computer players actually played like real players. Some were real donkeys, some were real sharks.

I found myself able to steal the blinds over and over again. However, once Poki figured out what I was doing, my computer opponents started to play back at me.

I also found that Poki quickly figured out my playing style and flat out beat my ass silly! I probably should've bluffed more or something, but it seems that I'm as afraid to lose my play money as I am with losing my real money.

All in all, the gameplay is slow but deadly!

Note: I did not try the online aspects of Stacked. If I wanted to play against human players, I'd most likely play for real money.
(8/10) (AI gets a 10/10)

Controls
I had issues with the controls, but that's not to say that they were bad. Just different. I definitely felt that the game had been designed with a console in mind and not necessarily the PC.
(7/10)

Overall
For the internet poker players out there making money everyday, Stacked offers very limited thrills. It can be used as a good learning tool: the Poki engine will give you a run for your money.

However, I see Stacked as more of a casual poker player's best friend. I think that by playing Stacked on a daily basis and really focusing on poker, a casual poker player could quickly find himself/herself in a position to crush the competition online.

As an aside, Stacked crushes any other poker game currently on the market. An easy feat, but impressive nonetheless.

As an overall score, I would break it down into categories:
- For regular online poker players: 6/10
- For casual or B&M players: 8/10

I wish I had more to say about the game, but I don't. Bottom line: is it worth $20? Without hesitation, I say yes!

Keep reading "Daniel Negreanu's Stacked: A review"

Time to ramble

It's been a while since I've posted a bunch of random crap up here. Actually, it's been a couple hours, but it's my site and I'll do what I want.

Time to ramble...

--

Finished reading Scurvydog's archives over at Sound of a Suckout.

He makes me want to make money!

He's also insightful when it comes to poker and to making money in general.

If you like making money, you should go read his blog!

--

If you haven't stopped by Brick's House, you're doing yourself a disservice. He hasn't posted for a while...and his content is not always usually poker related...but there are many funny posts like this one!

Funny, funny stuff...

--

I have now finished reading all of Brick's archives as well...

--

Looks like we're not going to my Mom's tonight. My wife seems to be coming down with a cold. Although she's a real trooper when it comes to that kind of thing, I don't like the idea of my wife staying out late, all the while succumbing to disease.

I've made an executive decision to stay home and play poker play blackjack play Guitar Hero rest. Gotta stay healthy!

--

Since winning the Maroonie a couple weeks ago, my hits per day have gone from 350 to 125 to 70.

I don't know what to do...? I guess I should just write some more about blackjack and video games: that always gets the poker crowd riled up!

--

For those of you still not hitting up the casinos for money, I ask you: why?!

Here's a quick list of some bonuses available to you (all are cashable blackjack bonuses meaning that all can be cleared by playing blackjack and all bonus money withdrawn after meeting wagering requirements):

--

Ok. Next up on my "reading-the-whole-damned-thing" list are the following blogs:Wes's blog interests me because he's relatively new to the whole poker thing (like me) and having tons of success (unlike me).

Doubleas seems to be a real NL cash game expert. I'd like to be one too. Maybe I'll learn something and become a real NL cash game force online?

Finally, Chris F. is a professional poker player and I like hearing about gigantic pots and obscure (to me) games like Badugi.

Doubleas and Chris have both been blogging since 2004, so those are gonna take a while to get through. Wes's archives only go back to January 2006, so I'll have read all his posts in the next couple days, I'm sure.

--

Weird Searches O' the Month:

  1. daniel negreanu style loose
    Someone looking to play like Daniel Negreanu, eh? That's original. I love playing against new players who think they can emulate Negreanu's style of play and actually be successful.

    Do you want to play like Daniel Negreanu? Play and think about poker every waking moment for the next ten years. Piece of cake...

  2. hairy gay
    C'mon guys...damn...

  3. is it possible to cheat william hill poker
    No. Why are so many people looking for easier ways to make money playing poker? C'mon people, it's easy:

    1. Watch poker on TV.

    2. Lose money online.

    3. Buy and read poker books.

    4. Lose money online.

    5. Start a poker blog.

    6. Break even playing online.

    7. Win the Party $40K guaranteed and mock Klopzi for his inability to win any tournament with more than 10 entrants (I'm kidding - Hoy never mocked me...he's actually too rich now to care...)

  4. +girls+pissing+at+their+napkins.com
    WTF?! I think we have a winner for the most fucked up search ever.

    Seriously, this search request has crossed the line of simple fetish and landed into the land of weird dinner party games in Hell.

    I did once pee in my Dad's spaghetti when I was one year old. I did not, however, pee on his napkin.com.

    And I'm still wondering how that search hit my site. Bizarre...


--

Have a good night everyone! I'm off to pee on their napkins.com pick up my wife and head home for a little R & R!

Keep reading "Time to ramble"

Apologies and Guitar Riffs

[apology:start]
It seems that I was wrong yesterday when I said that there were 5 hockey fans in North Carolina. I now know of at least 10...
[/apology:end]

Last night, I picked up yet another mindless activity to thwart my attempts at poker world domination. I'm talking, of course, about Guitar Hero.

It all started innocently enough yesterday afternoon. I e-mailed my wife for the grocery list and also casually asked her how much she'd hate it if I picked up Guitar Hero.

Ten minutes later, I get the grocery list and a "I don't think you should but do what you want" e-mail.

Ten minutes later, my wife calls me and tells to just pick the damned thing up.

So after work, I make my way over to a mall near our place, pick up the groceries, then make my way to EB Games. As I'm standing in the store, I finally decide that I don't want the game and go home.

If this seems odd, know that I'm all about impulse purchases. If I stop to think about what I'm doing, I tend to err on the side of caution and leave the store without picking anything up. Before my wife, I had no one to stop me from going out and buying at will. Although my wife never stops me from buying everything I want, she does offer a voice of reason when it comes to buying mid- to large-ticket items.

Two hours later, after dinner had been eaten (who said eggs are for breakfast only?), I was peddling my ass off on the exercise bike while playing pontoon (0.17% house advantage my ass!) and blackjack at Golden Palace Casino. All of a sudden, I was re-struck by the desire to buy Guitar Hero.

Within 15 minutes, I was showered and out the door. I returned home 45 minutes later with the game in hand (actually in both hands because it comes in a large box) and a Caramilk McFlurry for my pregnant wife.

Is the game fun? Yes it is. I honestly couldn't tell you if I really like or dislike the silly little guitar that comes with the game. I think that if the guitar controller every breaks, I'd be just as happy playing the game with the standard PS2 controller.

I do have a slight problem with the whammy bar on the guitar controller. The problem is that is squeaks like a mousy bastard! Unlike some of the other people who play this game, I play it with my stereo set to a reasonable level. This, of course, means that the sounds of me pushing the fret buttons, strumming the strum button, or bending the whammy bar all have the capacity of drowning out the sounds from the game.

The only other issue I have with the game is the means in which you use your star power in the game. Basically, as you sit there playing through a song, you build up a rock meter. When it starts flashing, you can use the stored up power to score extra points while playing.

There are two ways to do this.

The first way is to hold the guitar controller upright in order to "unleash the power of rock" from your guitar. While this may look cool on stage in front of thousands of fans throwing beer and panties on stage, it's 10x-Poker-Blog-Liberace-Uber gay to do it when sitting on the couch beside your pregnant wife as she reads Memoirs of a Geisha.

The second way to "rock out" is to hit a small-ish button on the guitar.

Although I prefer pushing a button to raising my guitar to the heavens in tribute to the Gods of Rock, I keep missing the damned button and screwing up the song. And so, picture if you will, a thirty-one year old guy sitting on the couch in his underpants, guitar raised high in one hand and a light (5%) honey-brown lager held in the other.

Yes - the game is seriously fun!

What I'm basically getting at is that I am now the most ghey of all poker bloggers. Do I win a prize for that?

Anyway, on the poker front, let's just say that my gamb00l batteries are now recharged thanks to last night's jam session. I'll be hitting AceFlush and Interpoker for some 6-max NL action. I may be down a little at the $20 NL tables but I'm most definitely not "out". All their base are belong to me...

Scurvydog also found some more casino bonuses, so I've got so many ways to make money over the next month that I can't believe it. I'll be taking $100 out of Neteller to cover the Guitar Hero purchase (it only cost me $70 CDN after tax) and the purchase of a new pair of sandals for my wife. Sharing is caring, right?

I may not get the chance to play anything tonight as we may be going to Mom's place for dinner. If I do, I'd guess that I'd spend a little time rocking out, followed by multi-tabling some blackjack at Golden Palace and a $10 SNG (or two) at PokerStars.

Rock on...

Keep reading "Apologies and Guitar Riffs"

Guitar Heroes and Oil Slicks

Damn you Edmonton! Damn dirty chokers! Yay, the 'Canes won the Stanley Cup! I'm sure all 5 hockeys fans down in Carolina are pretty psyched right now. As for the 30 million Canadians who got kicked in the junk when the Oilers shimmy-shook their way to a loss last night, there's nothing we can do but wait for next year.

Yep, the game sucked.

Not only that, but I think the Oilers' terrible play affected my poker game too! I dropped about a buy-in in under an hour at AceFlush's $20 NL tables (6-max, of course).

It was just one of those nights when everyone had the cojones to play back at me.

If I raised pre-flop in position, I'd face the dreaded "all-in on the flop move" by the monkey in the SB.

If I re-raised pre-flop with AK when the table maniac raised it up for the tenth time in a row, the uber-tight donkey in the BB would push all in for $40.

If I checked on the flop, my opponents would bet.

If I bet on the flop, my opponents would push.

If my opponents flat-called my c-bet, they'd push on the turn or show me the nuts on the river. All tea-bagging jokes aside, I hate being shown the nuts!

Luckily though, like a good friend, blackjack was there to lift me up! Drop $18 at poker, win $30 at blackjack! Sweet!

I also played a $10 sit 'n go at PokerStars and finally made the money! Third place baby! I donked out when I pushed on a missed flop with my AK and my one opponent made a gutsy call with his pocket fours. I can't fault either one of us for our actions there, though I'm sure some of you would.

And to top it all off, I cashed in a reasonable amount of rakeback at AceFlush Poker (they let you redeem your rakeback whenever you like - sign up!) and InterPoker was kind enough to drop $10 into my account as well (free money!).

And so, with my recent success (meaning break even play with bonuses and blackjack to make up any lost ground), I'm strongly considering making an impulse purchase.

Last week, I went to pick up my wife at her friend's place. My wife's friend's boyfriend has the ultimate "guy" set-up in his basement: movie screen, big sound, x-box, PS2, and one busted-up arcade machine. A little too testosteron-y for my tastes (I'm not a balls-to-the-wall, hardcore-type guy myself) but nice enough to visit.

Anyway, JJ (not his real name, but it'll do) decides to show me the game Guitar Hero while I'm waiting for my wife to finish doing whatever it is girl's do when they get together.

Before I go any further, I should clarify:


  1. I don't like guitar players, for the most part. All throughout high school, these guys would sit around playing (quite poorly) Kumbaya and other assorted crap and they'd be the center of attention. Meanwhile, I got no respect for my crappy trumpet playing...

  2. Although I liked some "heavy metal" (do they still use that term), guitar solos were not one of my favourite things (Angus Young and Joe Satriani aside).

  3. I don't like the heavy-metal lifestyle, including the long hair, dirty biker chicks, and drugs/booze/corndogs...

  4. I have nothing against music but I'm not a big fan of "bands". I'm guessing that a large part of my dislike comes from the fact that I've been more or less locked into the path that I've followed my entire life and I just can't understand how certain people have managed to break away from the tedium of the everyday and do what they like.

  5. I've never, ever wanted to play guitar and nothing concerning guitars interests me in the slightest.

Ok, now that I've managed to insult a good portion of my readers, present and future alike, I'll reveal a strange irony: I really loved playing Guitar Hero.

I don't know what it is about it. The music was ok (I do like some Ozzy Osbourne), but the controller is uber-ghey and I looked ridiculous holding it.

For those who don't know, Guitar Hero plays like any other rhythm-type game out there (DDR, Amplitude, Frequency, Nintendo-Donkey-Kong-Bongo-Game, etc.) except for a few differences.

The biggest such difference is the controller itself - basically, it's a 3/4-size plastic guitar. You hit the fret notes and click the strum button in time with the on-screen game.

Sounds gay? It really is - but strangely addictive. I'd go out and get it now except for the fact that my wife thinks the game is more annoying and much more gay than any other thing on the entire planet. She also dislikes all things "metal" (she grew up in the country where Conway Twitty > AC/DC). [ed. note: my wife does not actually like Conway Twitty...I think...if she does, she's never mentioned it to me...]

And so, I believe this is the perfect forum to ask this question: is it worth the $70 USD it'd cost me (from my bankroll, of course) to pick this game up? Are there any "guitar heroes" out there who recommend the game? If possible, I'd like to hear from those of you who feel the same way about music as I do (ie. no hard-core rockers).

I know it's only $70. But I'm cheap. What can I say?

Ok, have a good one everyone! See you at the tables!

Oh...and rock on and such...

Keep reading "Guitar Heroes and Oil Slicks"

It's poker time!

Believe it or not, I actually played poker this weekend. In fact, I played lots of poker this weekend. And, as promised, all my time was spent at the 6-max tables at AceFlush Poker.

It all started on Friday night. The plan was for my wife and I to make our way over to MrVercetti's to hang out, drink (me = beer, wife = decaffeinated cola), watch TV, and eat junk food.

Well, before leaving for MrVercetti's, I decided to crack open my first drink of the evening and play some blackjack at Golden Palace Casino. Nothing exciting, except for the fact that I dropped $220 in just under one hour at the tables. It was pretty sick...especially when I lost 58 out of 60 hands at $3/hand.

When we finally made it to MrV's place, I was quite happy to stick with poker for the remainder of the evening. Within 5 minutes of arriving, my laptop was fired up, I had two $10 NL tables open at AceFlush Poker, and a beer in hand.

I'd made up a reasonable starting hand chart for my 6-max play and was pretty curious as to whether or not it would work for me. Honest truth - I'm not naturally aggressive. Not in life, not at the poker tables.

Luckily, I'm very good at forcing myself to blindly follow instructions printed on a piece of paper. For the first two hours of play, I played crazy aggressive (more so as I continued to drink) and managed to hold myself to being down just under two buy-ins.

About three hours in, I started to find my groove. I was nice and relaxed and found myself with pretty good feel at both my tables.

I don't usually post hand histories (probably because I don't study my play as much as I should), but I'll post some today just in case any of my readers want to comment on the hands.


Hand #1: 11:43 PM
- Donkey sitting in seat 1 with $13.90
- Hero sitting in seat 2 with $14.38
- Monkey sitting in seat 3 with $15.45
- PackMule sitting in seat 6 with $6.40 [Dealer]

Donkey posted the small blind - $0.05
Hero posted the big blind - $0.10
** Dealing card to Hero: 8 of Clubs, Jack of Clubs
Monkey called - $0.10
PackMule raised - $0.40
Donkey called - $0.40
Hero called - $0.40 (PackMule liked to raise and pot was big enough)
Monkey called - $0.40

** Dealing the flop: Jack of Hearts, Queen of Hearts, 8 of Diamonds
Donkey checked
Hero bet - $0.50 (Let's see if I can get someone to bite...)
Monkey raised - $1.00 (I've got one!)
PackMule folded
Donkey folded
Hero raised - $5.50
Monkey raised - $10.00
Hero went all-in - $8.58
Monkey called - $14.08 (Perfect!)

** Dealing the turn: 2 of Diamonds

** Dealing the river: 6 of Hearts
Hero shows: 8 of Clubs, Jack of Clubs
Monkey mucks:
Hero wins $29.46 from the main pot

At that point, I was up about $20 on the night. Marl (another friend over at MrV's for booze and big-screen plasma entertainment) stated that he was planning on leaving in the next half-hour or so: I, on the other hand, was heating up at the tables and wanted desperately to keep playing. Even though my wife is 5 months pregnant and was thoroughly exhausted, she was all for staying to allow my streak to play itself out.

As if on cue, I took a little hit about 20 minutes later:

Hand #2: 12:06 AM
- Donkey sitting in seat 1 with $9.40
- Juggy sitting in seat 2 with $0.00 [Sitting out]
- Jumpy sitting in seat 3 with $4.91
- Hero sitting in seat 4 with $14.72
- WTF sitting in seat 5 with $14.35 [Dealer]
- Maniac sitting in seat 6 with $3.70

Maniac posted the small blind - $0.05
Donkey posted the big blind - $0.10
** Dealing card to Hero: Queen of Diamonds, King of Spades
Jumpy called - $0.10
Hero raised - $0.50 (I'd really taken over as the table's aggressor)
WTF called - $0.50
Maniac called - $0.50
Donkey folded
Jumpy called - $0.50

** Dealing the flop: 5 of Spades, Queen of Clubs, 10 of Clubs
Maniac checked
Jumpy checked
Hero bet - $1.50 (let's try and win this now)
WTF called - $1.50 (Hmm..I put him on a draw given the board)
Maniac folded
Jumpy folded

** Dealing the turn: Jack of Diamonds
Hero bet - $3.00
WTF raised - $6.00 (Uh oh...)
Hero called - $6.00 (I've got an OESD to the nut straight, so I've got to call)

** Dealing the river: 2 of Diamonds
Hero checked
WTF bet - $2.30
Hero called - $2.30 (I'm not folding just in case he's got a busted flush draw)
WTF shows: 9 of Hearts, 8 of Clubs
Hero mucks: Queen of Diamonds, King of Spades
WTF wins $21.40 from the main pot

For the next 25 minutes or so, I couldn't get anything going. I continued to drink my beer and pick up a few pots here and there by playing the board and my opponents.

After a while, I really had to go to the washroom and passed the controls over to MrV. I took my time, took care of business, and then made my way back to kitchen to grab another beer.

I casually asked if MrV had put me in the poor house. Both he and my wife giggled and let me know that I had just hit quads on the river! I ran into the living room and managed to catch the last few seconds of the hand:

Hand #3: 12:30 AM

- Kooky sitting in seat 1 with $16.60
- Hustler sitting in seat 2 with $37.18 [Dealer]
- Moony sitting in seat 3 with $9.90
- Rollie sitting in seat 4 with $11.25
- Lobby sitting in seat 5 with $5.39
- Hero sitting in seat 6 with $10.80

Moony posted the small blind - $0.05
Rollie posted the big blind - $0.10
** Dealing card to Hero: 4 of Clubs, 4 of Hearts
Lobby folded
Hero called - $0.10
Kooky called - $0.10
Hustler called - $0.10
Moony called - $0.10
Rollie checked

** Dealing the flop: 9 of Spades, 4 of Spades, 7 of Clubs
Moony checked
Rollie bet - $0.70
Hero called - $0.70 (I normally raise here, but MrV chooses to slowplay)
Kooky called - $0.70
Hustler called - $0.70
Moony folded

** Dealing the turn: Jack of Diamonds
Rollie checked
Hero bet - $3.00 (No more slowplaying - time to kick it up a notch)
Kooky called - $3.00
Hustler called - $3.00
Rollie folded

** Dealing the river: 4 of Diamonds
Hero went all-in - $7.00 (Bingo! Pushy-pushy!)
Kooky went all-in - $12.80 (Nice!)
Hustler called - $12.80 (Nicer!)
Kooky mucks:
Hustler shows: Jack of Spades, 5 of Spades
Hero shows: 4 of Clubs, 4 of Hearts
Hustler wins $11.60 from side pot 1
Hero wins $33.00 from the main pot

Admittedly, that hand really made my night! I just wish I'd been there to see it myself.

I finished up my evening shortly thereafter, but I thought I'd throw in one more big hand before closing down for the night:

Hand #4: 12:57 AM
- Loffy sitting in seat 1 with $13.26
- Moony sitting in seat 3 with $45.02
- Borgy sitting in seat 4 with $11.88
- Chrissy sitting in seat 5 with $3.04
- Hero sitting in seat 6 with $40.72 [Dealer]

Loffy posted the small blind - $0.05
Moony posted the big blind - $0.10
** Dealing card to Hero: Ace of Hearts, King of Hearts
Borgy folded
Chrissy folded
Hero raised - $0.40
Loffy folded
Moony called - $0.40

** Dealing the flop: 8 of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, 4 of Hearts
Moony checked
Hero bet - $0.60 (Standard c-bet here.)
Moony called - $0.60

** Dealing the turn: 7 of Hearts
Moony bet - $5.00 (Hmm...ok)
Hero called - $5.00 (This is situation where I will slow play a little)

** Dealing the river: Ace of Clubs
Moony bet - $10.00
Hero went all-in - $34.72 (if Moony's got two pair or trip Aces...)
Moony called - $34.72 (...he'll go broke!)
Hero shows: Ace of Hearts, King of Hearts
Moony mucks:
Hero wins $81.19 from the main pot (Biggest pot ever!)

And just like that, I'd won the biggest pot of my life! That's a nice way to end an evening at the tables.

The rest of my weekend was spent at AceFlush's $20 NL tables. I felt that I was ready to take on some tougher opponents.

I'll post some more hand histories at the end of the post rather than putting them here. I'll just say that I played pretty well at times and pretty poorly at other times.

On Saturday, I actually forced myself to keep playing no matter how few opponents I had. At one point, I was playing heads up for about 10 minutes. I managed to take a few bucks off the guy before the table filled back up.

Although I'm currently down a few bucks at the $20 NL tables, I'm pretty happy with my play. I like the fact that the 6-max games let me play my opponents instead of having to focus so much on my own cards.

At a full ring game, my default action when I'm holding crap is to check. At the short-handed games, I find myself betting out more and more.

I also like the fact that having a big stack gives me the opportunity to really run over my competition. With implied odds, lots of chips, and a little luck, it's possible to go on long streaks of busting one player after another.

This also holds true for my opponents. I don't know how many times I found myself losing a chunk of my stack to an opponent's rivered straight. I also lost a few all-ins when my opponents hit their two or three outers on the turn or river. It's a little sick at times, but I realize that short-handed NL games can introduce quite a bit of variance to the bankroll.

All in all, I'd say my first weekend of 6-max NL was a success! I've really started to like poker again and I'm looking forward to improving my game and winning some big pots.

Tonight, I'll be hitting the tables at AceFlush yet again. I'll also be watching the Edmonton Oilers beat the snot out of the Carolina Hurricanes in the Stanley Cup Finals!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Have a good one!

--

For those of you with nothing better to do, here are some hand histories:

Hand #5: Saturday 9:44 PM ($20 NL)
- Peppy sitting in seat 1 with $4.90
- Hero sitting in seat 2 with $24.35
- Scrubby sitting in seat 3 with $29.20 [Dealer]
- Petey sitting in seat 4 with $39.04
- Locky sitting in seat 5 with $19.40
- FlashGordon sitting in seat 6 with $21.00

Petey posted the small blind - $0.10
Locky posted the big blind - $0.20
** Dealing card to Hero: 8 of Diamonds, 8 of Clubs
FlashGordon raised - $0.80
Peppy folded
Hero called - $0.80
Scrubby folded
Petey folded
Locky folded

** Dealing the flop: 8 of Spades, Jack of Spades, 2 of Hearts
FlashGordon bet - $1.20
Hero raised - $2.40 (I'm looking for a call - don't want a spade to hit on turn)
FlashGordon called - $2.40

** Dealing the turn: 3 of Spades
FlashGordon checked
Hero checked (Stupid spades...)

** Dealing the river: King of Clubs
FlashGordon bet - $4.00
Hero raised - $12.00 (Why did I raise here? Stupid...)
FlashGordon called - $12.00
Hero shows: 8 of Diamonds, 8 of Clubs
FlashGordon shows: Queen of Spades, 10 of Spades
FlashGordon wins $30.40 from the main pot

--

Hand #6: Saturday 10:15 PM ($20 NL)

- Zecky sitting in seat 1 with $15.75
- General_Lee09 sitting in seat 2 with $7.65
- Michelina sitting in seat 3 with $9.40 [Dealer]
- Hero sitting in seat 4 with $27.47
- Gallop sitting in seat 5 with $12.43

Hero posted the small blind - $0.10
Gallop posted the big blind - $0.20
** Dealing card to Hero: Queen of Clubs, Jack of Clubs
Zecky called - $0.20
General_Lee09 raised - $0.40
Michelina folded
Hero called - $0.40 (who folds to a min-raise pre-flop?)
Gallop called - $0.40
Zecky called - $0.40

** Dealing the flop: 6 of Spades, 9 of Hearts, Queen of Diamonds
Hero checked
Gallop checked
Zecky checked
General_Lee09 bet - $0.60
Hero raised - $3.00 (Looking to get heads-up)
Gallop called - $3.00
Zecky folded
General_Lee09 went all-in - $6.65 (Damn it!)
Hero called - $7.25 (Why call? I'm probably beat.)
Gallop called - $7.25

** Dealing the turn: 6 of Diamonds
Hero checked
Gallop went all-in - $4.98
Hero called - $4.98 (Ugly...)

** Dealing the river: King of Clubs
Gallop shows: 6 of Hearts, King of Hearts (I can't believe he called on the flop)
Hero mucks: Queen of Clubs, Jack of Clubs
General_Lee09 mucks: Queen of Spades, Jack of Spades
Gallop wins $23.05 from the main pot
Gallop wins $33.01 from side pot 1

--

Hand #7: Sunday 11:51 AM ($20 NL)

- Mammy sitting in seat 1 with $10.16
- Shelly sitting in seat 2 with $19.80
- Handy sitting in seat 3 with $14.70 [Dealer]
- Lando sitting in seat 4 with $11.86
- Lucky sitting in seat 5 with $4.26
- Hero sitting in seat 6 with $22.30

Lando posted the small blind - $0.10
Lucky posted the big blind - $0.20
** Dealing card to Hero: Jack of Diamonds, Ace of Spades
Hero raised - $0.80
Mammy called - $0.80
Shelly folded
Handy folded
Lando called - $0.80
Lucky called - $0.80

** Dealing the flop: Jack of Spades, 3 of Hearts, 9 of Diamonds
Lando checked
Lucky bet - $0.60
Hero raised - $3.00 (Try to get heads-up)
Mammy folded
Lando called - $3.00 (...never works...)
Lucky went all-in - $3.06
Hero called - $3.66 (Lucky's all-in means nothing in this case...)
Lando called - $3.66 (...but why does Lando keep calling?)

** Dealing the turn: 8 of Spades
Lando checked
Hero checked (I wasn't feeling frisky)

** Dealing the river: 6 of Hearts
Lando checked
Hero bet - $3.00 (I'm prety sure I'm ahead - value bet)
Lando called - $3.00
Hero shows: Jack of Diamonds, Ace of Spades
Lando mucks:
Hero wins $13.88 from the main pot
Hero wins $19.88 from side pot 1

--

Hand #8: Sunday 2:01 PM ($20 NL)

- Hooky sitting in seat 1 with $20.64 [Dealer]
- Blatty sitting in seat 2 with $1.08
- Hero sitting in seat 3 with $11.95
- Luckster sitting in seat 4 with $27.20
- Compy sitting in seat 5 with $24.15 [Sitting out]
- Roomy sitting in seat 6 with $33.77

Blatty posted the small blind - $0.10
Hero posted the big blind - $0.20
** Dealing card to Hero: Queen of Diamonds, 7 of Diamonds
Luckster folded
Roomy called - $0.20
Hooky folded
Blatty went all-in - $1.08
Hero called - $1.18 (Pretty loose call here...I was tilting a little)
Roomy called - $1.18

** Dealing the flop: 10 of Spades, Queen of Clubs, 5 of Hearts
Hero bet - $2.00 (Trying to take it down...)
Roomy called - $2.00 (...denied!)

** Dealing the turn: 2 of Clubs
Hero checked
Roomy bet - $3.60
Hero called - $3.60 (What was I thinking?)

** Dealing the river: 5 of Diamonds
Hero went all-in - $5.37 (Probably not the smartest move I've ever made...)
Roomy called - $5.37
Hero shows: Queen of Diamonds, 7 of Diamonds
Roomy shows: 10 of Clubs, 10 of Hearts (I deserved this!)
Blatty mucks: Queen of Hearts, Jack of Clubs
Roomy wins $3.32 from the main pot
Roomy wins $25.18 from side pot 1

--

Hand #9: Sunday 9:51 PM ($20 NL)

- Hero sitting in seat 1 with $20.25
- Muddy sitting in seat 3 with $36.20
- Azzy sitting in seat 4 with $23.80
- Clocky sitting in seat 5 with $28.43
- Fishy sitting in seat 6 with $12.67 [Dealer]

Hero posted the small blind - $0.10
Muddy posted the big blind - $0.20
** Dealing card to Hero: Ace of Clubs, Ace of Spades
Azzy folded
Clocky called - $0.20
Fishy raised - $0.80
Hero raised - $1.60 (I've been re-raising Fishy non-stop)
Muddy folded
Clocky folded
Fishy raised - $6.40 (I sense that he's getting frustrated...)
Hero went all-in - $18.75 (...so I'm sure he'll call my all-in...)
Fishy went all-in - $6.27 (...and I'm right!)

** Dealing the flop: 4 of Spades, Queen of Hearts, 3 of Diamonds
(Any card in the range K to T scares me...)

** Dealing the turn: 4 of Clubs

** Dealing the river: 7 of Spades
Fishy shows: Jack of Clubs, Jack of Diamonds
Hero shows: Ace of Clubs, Ace of Spades
Hero wins $25.44 from the main pot (Nice! Finally my aces win me a big pot.)

Feel free to comment...

Keep reading "It's poker time!"

Somebody Set Me Straight: Answers Part 1

Last month, I asked 15 questions of my readers. I wanted to know if my experiences with poker are similar to those of my readers, blogger or otherwise. Poker can be a real grind and I wanted to find out if the time I was putting in it was really worth it.

Can I expect to start making real money in a year's time? Or perhaps two years time? Or am I so pathetically behind the average player out there that I shouldn't realistically expect any substantial returns on my time without vast improvements to my game?

I'll be going over the whole Q&A thing in parts. It's Friday afternoon and I don't want anyone wasting any of the remaining few hours of the work week by reading a long-winded and boring post by yours truly.

The answers to my questions were all answered by Doubleas, Lumpy, and Wes. All three of these fine bloggers have progressed quite well at the tables and I greatly respect the answers they've given me. So I'll overlook the whole "statistically insignificant" sample size of 3 and assume that these answers hold true for most players out there:

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

The average answer seemed to be 2 years. I'm assuming that this means two years of serious poker playing. I think everyone out there has played a few penny-ante poker games here or there throughout his/her life, but I think we can discount any such occasions.

These answers give me hope. I've only really been playing for just over a year. My results haven't been anywhere near as good as those of any of the respondents but I've got another year to see where I'm at.

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

Again, very similar answers - 1 year seems to be about right. Doubleas claims "too long" at about 1.5 years but I think the proof is in the pudding.

I've been grinding away for about a year now and the itch to move up is becoming harder to ignore. I want to challenge myself, I want to feel the thrill of victory, I want to feel the anguish of defeat (not too much anguish though), and I want to win some money.

A while back, I set milestones for myself. The biggest milestone crossed to date is the "Win $100 in one day". The next two milestones that are more or less within reach are:

  • Win a $100 pot.
  • Win $500 in one day.
The only way I'll reach these milestones is by getting away from the micro-limit tables.

If I'm on track with this whole poker thing, I could expect that to happen soon if I continue to work at it.

What were your win-rates (BB/100 or BB/hr or $/hr) at the lower limits?
Wes and Lumpy both managed to maintain a 1-2 BB/100 average while grinding it out the micro-limits (with substantially higher results for NL games in Wes's case).

Doubleas reported his results as dollars per table hour. His win rate jumped quite drastically once he hit the 0.25/0.50 ($50) NL tables.

For reference, let's take a look at my table hour win rates for each of the limits I've played. I've left out my win rate for the 0.50/1 limit games since I lost my records when PokerDominator.com crashed back in November 2005

  • 1/2 FL: -$0.07/hr

  • $5 NL: $1.75/hr

  • $10 NL: $3.97/hr

  • $10 NL (6-max): -$1.67/hr

  • $20 NL: $4.21/hr

  • $25 NL: $2.97/hr

  • $50 NL: -$3.39/hr

Other than the $50 NL full-ring and $10 NL 6-max results, I think I'm doing ok. If I can get my results at the $50 NL tables to be anywhere near as good as Doubleas's results, I'll be sitting pretty. Realistically, NL ring games are still pretty new to me and I don't mind investing a little time now if it means that it'll pay off ten-fold down the road.

What prompted you to move up to the next limit?
The answers here were very similar. The decision to move up seemed to fall on three things: sufficient bankroll, sufficient skill, and the desire to make more money.

Well, I'm more than sufficiently bankrolled to move on up and I have the desire to increase said bankroll (I'm in the same camp as Scurvydog when it comes to building the bankroll). Skill-wise, I'd be lying if I said that I feel ready to move up. And with confidence playing such a huge part in anyone's poker game, I'll need at least another 3 - 6 months of consistent wins to declare myself ready.

At what limit did you find the greatest jump in skill level of your opponents?
Again, all three respondents gave similar answers.

In limit poker, the jump seems to occur somewhere between 0.50/1 and 2/4. Wes found difficulty in moving from 0.50/1 to 1/2. Lumpy finds that the 2/4 games play quite similarly to the 15/30 games. So it seems that if I am able to make it past the 1/2 games, I should be alright.

As for the NL games, Wes found the jump from the $50 NL games to the $100 NL games to be tough. A friend of mine has found the same thing. It's a little frightening to see someone jump from crushing the $50 NL games to getting knocked down over and over again at the $100 NL games.

I don't know how I'll handle the jump once I make it. Even if I make it the $100 NL games, there are far scarier games out there. Doubleas found that the jump from the $200 NL games to the $400 NL games was difficult - there's something to look forward to!

If I look back at my results of late, I can't help but think that I'm on the verge of breaking through to the bigger games. Much of my forward progress has been halted by poor play at the 1/2 limit games. If I can make it to the 2/4 games, maybe I'll be alright.

On the NL front, it looks like I have yet to encounter any real stumbling blocks. I feel ok with my play at the $50 NL tables; admittedly, my results do not warrant such enthusiasm.

However, if I keep plugging away, I can do so knowing that the time I'm spending at the 1/2 tables and the $50 NL tables will only better prepare me for the various challenges just down the road.

--

I'll leave it at that for today. I'll continue reviewing the answers to my questions next week some time.

Until then, let me leave you with some quick updates:
  • Going over to MrVercetti's tonight for beer, poker, blackjack, World Cup, and baseball. My loving and faithful wife will be along for the ride yet again (she's a sucker for punishment, I guess, but I'm not complaining!).

  • Played a little blackjack yesterday at Golden Palace Casino (300% up to $300 cashable deposit bonus for first-time players out there with a WR of only 20x - don't miss out!). Up $3 and I managed to clear about $1400 of my wagering requirements.

  • Hit the 6-max tables at AceFlush for about an hour last night. Up about one and a half buy-ins - sweet! The $20 SHNL tables are calling my name...


Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there! I'm looking forward to receiving my invitation for next year's party!

And for everyone else, have a great weekend!

Keep reading "Somebody Set Me Straight: Answers Part 1"