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Have a great weekend!

Work's been a real bitch today: no lunch break = no post. However, a few details for those of you who feel like reading on:

  • Mr. V. and Marl are coming over tonight to hang out with my wife and I. My plans include beer drinking, a little 7-card stud on Absolute Poker, followed by an MTT or three on some site somewhere.

  • I did pick up the Samsung 204B 21" LCD monitor last night, meaning that I can now four table at will. I like being able to play 4 tables at once, but it's gonna be a little harder for me to play well until I get used to it. Still, I'm up to the challenge!

  • Rest of the weekend will be spent doing a few chores around the house, relaxing with my wife, and playing lots of poker.

Before I go, has anyone signed up for Party Poker or Doyle's Room via my affiliate links yet? If not, feel free to help me out by clicking here or here.

Have a great weekend everyone! See you on Monday!

Keep reading "Have a great weekend!"

Tastes like burning...

Busy today, but I'm gonna post anyway because I know everyone loves my posts that offer nothing in the way of insight or interest.


Finished my $250 bonus at PokerRoom last night. Although I was well ahead in my $3/$6 (and $2/$4) play when I started my session, I decided to really donk it up last night.

I finished the night down about $125, partly due to bad luck and mostly to do with bad donk-tastic play. Here are some of the low-lights of the evening:

  1. I bet into one opponent on the river when a fourth flush card hit on the river - I had KK but no flush. My opponent raised and I paid him off for some bizarre reason. Brutal! (-2 BB)

  2. I three-bet my opponent on the river when I hit two pair with my AQ: he had AK and hit a better two pair. (-2 BB)

  3. I bet into four opponents on the turn with top-pair, weak kicker (K9o) from the BB on a draw-heavy board. I folded when a player in MP raised my bet and was cold-called by the button: MP showed a K9o at the showdown and took down the pot.(-1 BB)
Throw in a few more wasted bets here and there and a number of suckouts - I lost five hands at showdown when my opponents hit me with rivered flushes - and I was left with a crappy session.

As I sat there bemoaning the fact that I was down, my wife just turned to me and said, "Hey, don't forget that you're up over $100 tonight with your bonus!".

When I replied, "Yeah, but it should've been $250; I played like a real donkey...", she looked me straight in the eye and said, "Even the pros play like crap every now and then."

It's good to have a wife that accepts variance and tilt better than most poker players out there.


I made an executive decision today: I'm giving up on looking for that damned WUXGA laptop. They're still too expensive and I'm worried that 1920 x 1200 on a 17" widescreen monitor may be too tiny for me (sour grapes? maybe...).

I've decided to instead spend the $500 on a 20" LCD Monitor that supports the magical 1600 x 1200 resolution.

Hopefully, I'll start 4-tabling starting tonight...


And congrats to Doubleas for making it to Day 2 of the WPT Ultimate Bet Aruba Classic 2006!


Have a good one!

Keep reading "Tastes like burning..."

Reading Material

Given that I now take the bus to work and that my wife and I have no TV in our bedroom, I've taken to reading poker books much quicker than usual. On the plus side, this can only be good for my game. On the downside, books ain't exactly cheap: luckily, Amazon.ca keeps things as cheap as possible in that regard.

Lots of network problems today, so I thought I'd just put up the list of books that I've ordered recently. If anyone knows of any good books that I should be reading, drop me a line and I'll tack it onto my wish list at Amazon.ca for future purpose.

Anyway, here are the books I'm getting:

Books arriving tonight:
Books arriving in 4-6 weeks:

That's right - eight more books to throw on top of the three books I just received in the mail a couple weeks ago. I'm looking forward to all these books, but I'm pretty excited to finally check out Scott's book Pressure Poker. Maybe it'll get me back to playing NL cash games again; still, no guarantees or promises on that side of things.

When poker's going well, it feels pretty good, doesn't it? I'm really enjoying playing LHE right now at PokerRoom, thanks in large part to the frequent and large bonuses being offered. Granted, I've been dealt AA and KK a few more times than I should expect given the number of hands I've played, but I'll take it nonetheless.

I'll be finishing up my $250 SILVER bonus at PokerRoom tonight, at which point I'll be working towards the $500 GOLD bonus. I'm really hoping to get the new bonus finished up before the baby arrives because I don't know how much poker time I'll have right after the baby's born. I really want to see the baby now. I may be patient in poker but I'm not into this whole delayed gratification thing in real life.

Anyway, I'm putting a few questions out to my readers.

  1. Are there any other poker-related books that you feel I should be reading during my daily bus trips to and from the office?

  2. Do any of you know where I can get a cheap 17" WUXGA laptop? Not sure if you can tell or not, but I really want a new notebook computer...

  3. Do any of you use StatKing or any other desktop application to track your bankroll and session stats? PokerDominator.com was down last night and I'm worried about losing all my poker stats yet again.
Ok, that's it for me! Have a good one!

Keep reading "Reading Material"

Brought to you by PokerRoom!

Not much to say today, so I'll keep it short and let you get back to finding better ways to spend your time.

This post is dedicated to the fine folks over at PokerRoom. Over the course of September, they have offered three large reload bonuses that are really helping (or will help) me reach my $12K career earnings goal.

The first bonus came a few weeks ago: a $200 bonus with a 1400 poker points (PP) clearing requirement. The bonus took me about 7.5 hours to clear and earned me about $18/hr (I lost $65 of the $200 at the tables).

I'm currently clearing the SILVER deposit bonus offered a couple weeks ago and valued at $250. I've been working on it since last Tuesday and have another 2.5 hours left of 3-tabling before the $250 is mine. I've been playing more or less break-even poker up to this point, so it looks like I'll be walking away with a good chunk of that $250 in the next couple days.

And then, I'll start yet another reload bonus at PokerRoom: the 50% up to $500 GOLD bonus. For any of you out there wanting to give this bonus a shot, you have until October 2nd to make a deposit: just be sure to enter the bonus code GOLD in order for the bonus to show up on your account. At that point, it's a simple matter of collecting the 5000 PP required to clear the bonus (you'll have 60 days to do so).

If you don't have an account at PokerRoom, feel free to sign-up here. I think you should be able to stack your first-time deposit bonus and the GOLD reload bonus on your account One word of caution though: if you play stakes lower than $2/$4 LHE or $1/$2 NLHE, you will have difficulty in gathering enough PP to clear the bonuses in timely fashion.

But if you have the bankroll and have always wanted to test your mettle at the 2/4 or 3/6 games, now's the time to do it! PokerRoom's bonuses are a great way of buying yourself a little leeway if things go south at the tables.

Anyway, these good times and incredible bonuses are brought to you by the fine folks at PokerRoom.


I've also heard rumour that Party Poker is giving away some free money again. I say rumour because many people have not been offered anything. However, I'm checking my e-mail as soon as I get home.

If I do have any bonus money, I'm gonna take it straight to a mid-stakes SNG and try to quintuple up! Hoyazo's continued tournament successes are making me want to take a run at some tournaments. Given the time I'll be spending at PokerRoom though, I think an SNG will have to satisfy me for now.


Next month, I hope to sign up with Hollywood Poker (affiliate code coming soon) to take advantage of their 500% up to $500 first time deposit bonus. And if they run their ship as well as PokerRoom, it looks like I'll be spending a lot of time there.

Honestly - I'm really enjoying poker again now that I'm playing the 3/6 games. It's what I've been looking forward to all year and I hope that I can stick around at these limits for a while. If everything goes well for the next 4-6 months, I may even consider jumping up to the $5/$10 games. I will have to consult with CC prior to doing so: the 5/10 games are his stomping ground and he's got the scars to prove it. I only wish I could leave comments on his site, but he's been firewalled since making the move over to Pokerworks.

Before I make the jump in limits, there are a few things that will need to fall into place:

  1. I hit $12K in career earnings.

  2. I played at least 15000 hands of $3/$6 with a winrate of at least 1 BB/100.

  3. I bought and paid for a new notebook computer that has a 17" WUXGA screen, 1GB+ RAM, and a 100GB+ hard drive.

    [If anyone reading this post builds notebook computers and can give me a good deal (not forgetting that I live in Canada) in exchange for a little free advertising, give me a shout at klopzi@gmail.com. I wonder if any companies have thought of marketing a line of computers specific to the needs of the online poker community?]

That's it for me today. For those of you out there tearing up the tables, keep it up! And for the rest, don't give up - it'll turn around before you know it.

As for me, I've got a few tables reserved at PokerRoom...

Keep reading "Brought to you by PokerRoom!"


When I was growing up, I had things pretty good. Before high school, I never had to worry about money. Sure, I used to mow the lawn and shovel the driveway, earning $5 and $2 respectively for my efforts, but there was something else to it back then. One of the things I miss most is the financial freedom that came bundled with my youth. I'd even go further and say that I miss the times when money meant nothing to me. If you ask me why I want to (eventually) play in the biggest games there are, I'd have to say that financial freedom is one those intangibles that drives me.

I used to think that I wanted to be rich: go to school, get a good job, and make lots of money. Recently, I've come to discover that this is not entirely true. Not to brag, but the money I make from my job allows my wife and I to live comfortably.

On the flip side, our financial status is also quite precarious. As a consultant, my job could end at any time for any reason and there's not a thing I could do about it. And therein lies the rub. In order to reach financial freedom, work in and of itself is not a means to an end.

As a child, I didn't know the value of money. I didn't need to. Today, even making a half-decent wage, I'm forced to constantly re-evaluate what must be done in order to guarantee the financial security of my family. In effect, my job has not bought me financial freedom: it has made me a slave to my job. In fact, the longer I remain working as a consultant, the more my family will depend on my monthly paycheck and come to expect a certain standard of living.

Even more ironic is the fact that securing a rosy financial future for my family may come at the cost of a happy present day scenario. At some point in the next year and a half, I'm hoping to be offered a full-time position that comes with benefits and a pension. That means that no matter what happens, my family will be taken care of by the good folks I work for. The price of this security is in my wage itself: our lifestyle will go from "high-on-the-hog" to "rolling-in-the-muck" in a heartbeat.

If I were to become an employee once again, credit card debt will begin to pile up and mortgage payments will metamorphosize into terrifying beasts existing only to take huge chunks out of our dwindling bank account. As a family, we will get by...but just barely. The bills will be paid on time, food will be put on the table, and we'll kick back and live life as your average content, debt-riddled, middle class family.

Knowing this, can I really say that a top-notch university education and high-paying job are the path to financial freedom? Not at all. In the same way that employees will gather together each month and buy a slew of lottery tickets, I need an out. Not just any out though - I want out for good.

I want complete financial freedom. I want to forget the value of a dollar. I want all memories of a hard day's work purged from my memory. I want to be able to spend as much time with family as I want. I want to be able to sleep in any day I choose. I want to lose any ability to distinguish between weekday and weekend. I want to throw away all my work pants and, instead, live my life in boxer shorts, jogging pants, or ensconced in velvet eating a block of cheese. I want rush hour to become a mystery to me. I want to enjoy leaving the house again. I want to have the funds necessary to fix any possible problem that might come up, be it faulty wiring, bad plumbing, or the need for an overpriced Pizza Hut 5-topping pizza. I want to see the sunrise and not worry that I only have a couple hours before I'm at the office. I'd like to see a sunset and enjoy my evenings regardless of the day of the week. I want to buy things because I want them and not because I can afford them. I want to be free...

Life has dealt me the nut-flush draw and it's up to me to decide where to go from here.

Do I call a bet and continue drawing in the hopes that everything will work out?

Do I fold and choose a more secure, yet less satisfying, hand with which to see the hand through to the showdown?

Or do I raise in the hopes of getting to the showdown with as little effort as possible and scooping a monster pot?

I played about four hours of poker this weekend and managed to book a couple solid sessions. I don't play the lottery but I do play poker. I ultimately believe that my financial freedom is closely tied to my bankroll and my belief in poker as a means to an end.

I'm not ready to make any moves just yet but my opponents look like they're getting ready to call the clock on me.

Keep reading "Freedom"

The Office

Work is really killing me today, so I'll have to keep things uber-short.

First off, did anyone catch the season premiere of The Office last night? This has got to be the funniest show on TV since Seinfeld. I picked up Seasons 1 and 2 on DVD last weekend and it looks like the third season's gonna be a keeper too. Faggy? Hilarious!

Although my wife and I were out most of the evening shopping last night, I did get a chance to play some poker after a little TV and a little dinner.

Although I ended up losing a little money, I was more upset by the fact that I can pinpoint the three or four hands that cost me. For the most part, it all boiled down to some stupid fancy play.

Every author that I've read on the subject of limit hold'em is quite clear on one point: if you have the best hand, get as much money into the pot as possible. Last night, I ignored this advice and cost myself 2 BBs, maybe 3 BBs. In the third case, I was dealing with making a pretty thin value bet on the river: I was either way ahead or way behind in the hand and I chickened out at the thought of a potential check-raise.

I also threw away 2 BBs in one hand where I refused to give up on my top pair, mediocre kicker when my opponent raised my turn bet. Seriously, the board was not draw heavy and his raise on both the flop and the turn should have let me know that I was well behind in the hand. I ended up losing the hand when my JT failed to outrank his set of fives turned quads on the turn.

Why am I looking back at the missed bets and bad calls from my session last night? Just to prove a point about limit poker. Add up the bad calls and missed bets and you'll see that they add up to 4-5 BBs. I was down 4-5 BBs last night.

I need to constantly remind myself that in poker, the two buttons that make you the most money are the BET/RAISE button and the FOLD button: leave the calling to chumps like me, I guess.

My wife and I are entertaining dinner guests this evening at the house, so I expect to be playing some drunken poker a little later in the evening. What the former has to do with the latter, I'll don't know and really can't explain either.

Well, I see that I'm no longer making sense...and I really have to get going here, so let's wrap this up.

For those of you at Al's Bash at the Boathouse, enjoy the boozing and other degenerate activities: I'll shotgun a beer to commemorate this yearly event.

For those of you travelling to Aruba, enjoy the umbrella drinks and don't forget to take home the big prize: I could really use a new laptop, a 42" plasma TV, and zeroed credit card balances.

For those of you taking it easy at home, enjoy the time spent with your families and bask in the warm glow of your computer screens as you check-raise some laggy prick all-in with the stone cold nuts.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Keep reading "The Office"

Turkey Subs and Poker Stakes

After a long day at work, I got home last night in the mood to relax. As my wife busily painted kitchen cabinetry, I popped out to get us dinner. Having lived at our new house for three weeks, we have yet to cook ourselves dinner on a regular basis. Yesterday, we had an excuse of course, but I fear for my health given the sheer number of burgers, fries, pizza, and subs consumed over the past two months.

A quick trip out to Quizno's, McDonald's and Tim Horton's found me returning home with quite a lot of food. Is it normal to eat a footlong sub with fries, washed down with a dozen TimBits (or donut holes for those non-Canadians out there)? Probably not, but who said I was normal. I was incredibly full, however, and suffered with a stomach ache for the remainder of the evening. On a positive note, I ended up staying over-full until retiring to bed at midnight, thus preventing me from having any late-night snacks. Always look at the positive, right?

We finished dinner and my wife went straight back to the cabinetry. For a pregnant women nearing the end of term, she's really doing quite a bit of work. I guess exercise is good and she's happy that so much is getting finished at the house. As my wife trudged up the stairs to the kitchen, I guiltily asked her if I could help her out in any way. She instantly responded no and told me to spend some time playing video games and poker. Have I ever mentioned how much I love my wife?

First order of business was to pop a little bit of cash over to Doubleas for his upcoming UltimateBet tournament in Aruba. I figure that if I can't play tournaments myself with any degree of success, I might as well buy a piece of a proven contender. Given that I know very little about stocks, sports, or other forms of investment, buying pieces of tournament players seems as good an investment as any other. With the potential to score a rather ridiculous return on a small $125 downpayment, I'm pretty happy with my decision. So let's all wish Doubleas the best of luck in Aruba!

After wagering $125 on a fine cash game player and best-selling author, I was in the mood to wager a little more money. Off to Pinnacle Sports to throw away some of my uncleared bonus money on this coming Sunday's NFL games. Funny thing is that I know very little about the NFL. It's not that I have anything against football, but I'm more of a hockey guy. Anyway, I placed four wagers totalling $77 (my entire Pinnacle balance) on this weekend's games; although, refinements are in order once Mr. V's thrown in his two cents.

As my wife continued to slave away upstairs and I continued to play the role of bad husband, I played an hour of The Bard's Tale on my PS2. For those of you who follow games, it's very much like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance with a few jokes thrown in for good measure. Although I was hoping for a little more, having played the original Bard's Tale on a friend's Amiga back in the day, the game does present enough of a distraction to help me work through any tilt picked up at the poker tables.

I finally fired up PokerRoom and immediately set to playing a couple $3/$6 tables, as well as $2/$4 table for good measure. As I went through my usual routine of desperately trying to stay even, I noticed that PokerAce HUD was not displaying any player stats.

I then made the mistake of trying to debug my PokerAce issues while continuing to plug away at the tables. For a solid twenty minutes, I scoured the PokerAce forums for a solution to my problem while letting my opponents take advantage of me in my distracted state.

Let me post this warning to any of you out there using Poker Tracker and PokerAce while playing at any OnGame sites: it seems that PokerAce cannot read an OnGame database once Poker Tracker has performed a database reset. What this means is that you'll need to delete you OnGame database for your given skin (usually name Statistics.db or some such thing) and allow the poker site to recreate the database from scratch.

With all the frustration and frantic searching, I was pleased to discover that I finished my session in the black. After leaving the tables, shutting down PokerRoom's software, and deleting the wonky databases manually, I prepared myself for some more poker. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that all the tables that I'd been playing now had rather long waiting lists. I called up to my wife to see how things were going and she assured me that she'd soon be down when I offered to come up and give her a hand.

Rather than wait it out for some more LHE, I hit up Absolute Poker. Feeling a little adventurous, I decided to take my chances with a limit razz sit-n-go. Although I'd like to say that it was a $20 SNG or even a $5 SNG, I'd be lying: it was, in fact, a $0.60 SNG. Why choose such low stakes? During the first couple hands, I had to resort to looking up the rules to Razz and figure out what ranked as the best hand; luckily, none of my opponents were able to see or sense my fishiness.

After an hour of only playing what-I-believed-to-be-solid hands, I finished in second place. Skill? Not at all. I suspect that I was incredibly lucky against extremely weak opponents. For those who care, I ended up getting it all in with my stack sitting at $3500 and the blinds at 600/1200. I was sitting there with a (2-3)5 and my opponent showed a (x-x)9. In the end, I lost when I finished with (2-3)5-5-8-K-Q(8) and my opponent took it down with his T-high.

I found razz to be a little dull. At one point, with four of us still in the running, I couldn't figure out how the contest would ever be ended. With the blinds so high and the antes so small, it paid to sit and wait for the nuts. In fact, I knocked out three of my last five opponents simply by waiting for any hand containing three cards ranked 6 or lower. It'll be nice to have the mysteries of 7 card stud and razz unveiled and understood some day; however, I figure that I have countless table hours to experience and a number of books to read before this all comes to pass.

Up a few bucks for the night and with my wife finally by my side, I shut everything down and watched an episode of The Office with my beautiful and thoroughly exhausted wife.

That's it for me! See ya.

Keep reading "Turkey Subs and Poker Stakes"

Finding the way

Played a little poker last night...I wonder how many posts I've started that way. Probably too many...I just thought that I'd take a quick look at my year so far and see if I'm happy with where I stand.

When this year year started off, I was very much a micro-limit LHE player. The bulk of my coin had been earned the hard way: grinding out hour after hour at various poker rooms, desperately scrounging together raked hands in order to make a real profit from various bonus offers.

Although I'd made a few forays into the "high-stakes" $1/$2 tables, I'd been rebuffed on each attempt to raise my game. The Law School Dropout discusses how all poker players, pros and donkeys alike, all seem to hit walls as they climb the ranks of the poker world ladder.

For me, the $0.5/$1 tables came pretty easy. It's not hard to play your A-game when you're not playing with your own money (thanks to PokerSource Online's Instant Bankroll promotion) and when you know very little about poker. Have a good hand? Bet. Don't have a hand? Fold. Level 0 thinking, level 1 thinking: whatever you want to call it, it works. Sure, you're easy prey to the sharks out there, but how many real sharks play the micro-limits?

After buckling down and pulling in 300 BBs at the .5/1 games, I felt that I was ready for the $1/$2 LHE tables. I was so confident that I'd succeed, I was blind to my own transgressions, failures, and short-comings at the tables. Even though I didn't know it yet, even a tiny step up in limits can have a vast difference on how a game plays.

At InterPoker's 1/2 tables, I got crushed night after night, day after day. Unlike the .5/1 tables, many pots were raised pre-flop and I was unsure how to play. I ended up tightening up so much that I ended up only playing 5% of my hands. And of those hands, I played each one quite poorly.

If I hit a big hand, I'd try and get fancy, resulting in my opponents tendency to suck out on me or fold before I could do any real damage to them or their stacks. The longer this went on, the more frustrated I got. I was clearly on uber-tilt and ready to give up poker. I just couldn't figure it out...

Over the course of twenty sessions, I'd managed to give back every penny (and more) of the $300 I'd somehow scraped together at the 0.5/1 games. I was pissed.

I took a break from poker and contemplated my gambling future. Why try so hard when I can't make any real money? Maybe I'm just not cut out for poker. I'll never be any good at this stupid game. Each and every poker player goes through this. And I truly believe that poker bloggers are forced to confront and overcome this feelings on a much more frequent basis than your average player. Why? For some reason, we feel it necessary to discuss and analyze our poker shortcomings in a forum available for all to see. By revealing the truth behind our play and our time at the tables, it's much harder to hide the mistakes and flaws in our games and in ourselves.

I've been completely honest with my readers over the past year. I have never lied about the amount of money that I've won or lost. Admittedly, I've sometimes attributed my poor results to bad cards, but there's no hiding the truth. For the most part, a losing streak is caused by a poker player's failure to adapt his or her game to the ever-changing landscape of poker.

With very little else to do, I purchased a Playstation2 then set my sights on the entertaining world of sit-n-gos. After having a successful run at the $5 SNGs on PokerStars for much of December 2005, I was ready to give cash games another try in January of this year. Truth be told, my goal for this year was to simply find myself winning more often than not, especially in the dreaded $1/$2 limit hold'em games.

Until as recently as last month, I thought that being a winning poker player mattered less to me than making money as a poker player. I thought that a growing bankroll was the end-all and be-all of my poker career. However, after some reading, a little reading, and further time at the tables, I've come to realize that this may not be the case.

I want to be a great poker player. I want to feel that rush of adrenaline when I sit at a table, full of confidence and knowing that I'm going to come out ahead by the end of the night, week, or year. I want to develop that form of x-ray vision that any skilled player uses when sitting with weaker opponents. I want to know that no matter the results, I'm playing my "A" game and will undoubtedly win in the fabled long-run.

I'm still quite a ways from reaching my ultimate goal. The goals I'd set out for myself for ths year have all been accomplished and then some. The 1/2 tables are behind me for now, although I'm not so naive as to think that I may not be forced to return to my old stomping grounds with my tail between my legs. However, with all the bonuses available to those of us paying disgusting amounts of rake at the 3/6 (and higher) table limits, I may be able to stick around at these higher stakes for a little while yet.

By my count, I've got just over $5000 to earn before I'll consider stepping up to the lofty stakes of $5/$10 limit hold'em. Even then, I may forego such a jump in order to develop other aspects of my poker game. As I said earlier, if money is no longer the sole (or soul) driving force behind my poker career, I should really spend some time becoming a complete player.

As an aside, please know that I avoid using the word "hobby", and instead opt for the more suitable "career", when describing my relationship with poker. I feel that the word "hobby" belittles the amount of thought, skill, effort, and devotion that one must put into poker to succeed. Even the word "sport" does poker an injustice, in my opinion.

As hard as it was to overcome skim over the $1/$2 games , there are further walls that I need to climb over, tear down, or go through if I'm ever to challenge the best of the best. My character building challenges include:

  1. Tournament poker: Forever a thorn in my side, I'd like to lay waste to a field of competitors at least once in my lifetime. It'd be nice to play go deep in a tournament, to get lucky and play well enough to take home the top prize. Maybe next year, I'll devote a few hours every weekend to improving my tournament play. Maybe someday I'll improve enough to garner the respect and money of others willing to stake me in some of the bigger tournaments being played around the world. Until then, I'll wait and see how things turn out in Aruba for the high-stakes best-selling author and blogger, Doubleas.

  2. Omaha: The big pots, insane suckouts, and crazy action of Omaha are constant source of intrigue for me. Omaha comes across as hold'em on a three day bender. As soon as possible, I plan on reading up on the game then diving head-first into this gambler's paradise.

  3. 7 Card Stud: Unlike Hold'em and Omaha, 7 card stud seems to reek of skill. With more information at his disposal, a skilled player can really push his edge at this game. At least, that's how it looks to the casual observer such as myself. Others may view it as a game of suckouts and big draws, but I look at it as a real test of mathematics, poker savvy, and gambling skill. I really can't wait to give 7 card stud its due attention in all its variations: hi, hi/lo, and razz will all be sampled by my unskilled yet eager hands.
I'm sure this post has a message somewhere, but it's been lost in the shuffle. I guess what I'm trying to express is that poker is taking me down an unfamiliar path. Goals can be set and just as easily tossed away as the spirit and nature of money, competition, and gambling force me further off the beaten path that most nine-to-fivers tread upon daily.

Where this journey will ultimately lead me is a complete unknown to me. While I continue to make decisions at each fork in the road, the end is nowhere in sight. At times, this makes each tiny decision I make seem completely pointless: it is these times when I take a seat and contemplate giving up. And yet, every now and then I catch a glimpse of the true power of my seemingly irrelevant choices. I see all number of possible outcomes, all attainable if not yet within my grasp.

All I can do now is trust my instincts to guide me to where I need to be.

Check, call, raise, bet, fold...

Strange, I never knew that so much could be determined by so simple a set a choices...

Keep reading "Finding the way"

Walk the Line

Checking out BlogLines this morning, it seems that I'm not the only poker blogger shirking his/her duties. In my case, though, I blame my work and my personal life. I may not have anything to write about, but that's never stopped me before. Unfortunately, I'm still so incredibly busy as to reduce my writings here to disjointed ramblings, frantically typed up and published with no regard to readability or interest. Still, I'll do my best to walk that line between poker and personal life and get something down to help you kill a few minutes of your busy work days.

I was unable to write yesterday since I was out most of the day with my wife. We had an another ultrasound appointment yesterday and the baby's doing great. Currently, our baby weighs in at 4 lbs. 11 oz., which is just about right. Baby's moving, kicking, squirming and turning: more and more, it looks like he/she just wants to get out of there and start livin' life. I can't wait!


I received three books in the mail yesterday.

The first two books are for general interest reading; so far, I've enjoyed all such books. I'm just finishing up McManus's Positively Fifth Street. Although I very much enjoyed McManus's retelling of his time at the 2000 WSOP Main Event, I did find that some other parts throughout the book dragged a little (ie. anything unrelated to his time at the tables).

In his defense, I'm not a history buff whatsoever, meaning that I care very little for anything that happened before 1975. And while we're at it, let me throw in the fact that I care very little about anything happening anywhere in the world at any time unless it directly affects me. Look at the four Canadian soldiers who were killed yesterday while handing out candy to children in Afghanistan: "caring" got them killed. If the rest of the world cares so little for me and mine, why should I give a rat's ass about them? I care about my family and my friends and everyone else can suck it. And that includes those fuckers who chase gutshot draws that hit on the river.

Actually, I do care about the U.S. dollar: when the hell is it gonna go back up again? I withdrew $300 USD from my Neteller account yesterday and it was only worth $327 CDN: are you fucking serious? Whatever happened to the days when the Canadian dollar coin ("loonie") was worth one US quarter? Either Canada's doing something right or the U.S. is doing something wrong: I don't care what is, I just want it fixed.

Back to the books...

I'm going to read Big Deal next and then give Winning 7 Card Stud a shot. Although I don't anticipate playing much 7 card stud anytime soon, I would still like to know enough to hold my own at the tables. I did read the 7 card stud section in SS2, but Todd Brunson's lessons seemed incomprehensible to me. However, I plan on revisiting SS2 once I've got my new 7 card stud book read and fully understood.


I've also got three more books coming in the mail. Yep, I went on a little shopping spree as of late; hence, the $300 withdrawal from Neteller.

First off, I know that I said that I'd ordered Winning Concepts in Draw and Lowball a while ago. Truth is, I cancelled the order when I went on uber-tilt.

Unfortunately, this also means that I still need to pick up Pressure Poker at some point as well. Since I'm currently off the whole NL thing, I decided to wait a while until I feel the need to play with the big boys again. Oh, and there is still a 6 week shipping time for Pressure Poker when ordered via Amazon.ca, so the book may very well end up being a Christmas gift for me.

I'm getting the Omaha book because the game really does interest me. If I ever plan on playing at the highest limits available (and I do plan on it, regardless of my current skill level and results), I'll need to be able to play any number of different games. I think that everything that I read in regards to stud, Omaha, lowball, and draw poker will help me in that regard. And if my readings help me develop my hold'em game as well, all the better.

It's funny to look back at all the time I spent in school bitching about all the reading that was required. I enjoy poker and I really like reading about it. I pretty sure that I'm fast approaching the point where I've read more about poker than I have about computer science, mathematics, and database theory. I'm just glad that I'm making enough money playing poker to pay for all the reading material; otherwise, I'd really have a problem on my hands.


I finished up my first $200 bonus at PokerRoom on Friday night. All told, it took me 10 hours to clear the 1400 PP required to get my money.

Unfortunately, I was cursed with "Second Best Hand" disease on Friday and finished my two-hour session down 16 BBs. All in all, I ended up with a $135 profit for my 10 hours of poker. Not too bad, if you ask me. Honestly, there were a few hands that could have gone either way had it not been for horrid river cards. If I had won any of those contests, my losing night would have been a winning night and I wouldn't be complaining (not that I am, mind you).

Next up at PokerRoom is the $250 Silver Room reload bonus. Judging from the number of good 3/6 games running at PokerRoom, this next bonus shouldn't be too bad to clear.


PokerStars decided to give its players another reload bonus: 20% up to $120! I decided to give this puppy a shot for the full $120 when I noticed that there were 5 full 3/6 tables going on Friday night.

Unfortunately, what my keen eye failed to see was that each of these tables were playing tighter than InterPoker's $1/$2 tables on a Wednesday night. Luckily, the tables don't seem very aggressive so there's a little money to be made.

I did sit at PokerStars for about 1 table hour yesterday and cleared about 50 FPPs. 50 FPPs! It used to take me about an hour for each 5 - 10 FPPs earned when I was in the midst of my SNGs and FPPs challenge.

Anyway, I got a little lucky in my hour at the 3/6 tables and managed to win a little money. Not enough to make up for my meltdown at PokerRoom on Friday, but enough to make me a little happy.


I played a $6000 freeroll at PokerRoom on Saturday. 190 players entered with the top 120 spots paying.

In my first 5 hands, I picked up AA, AK and QQ; unfortunately, I got no action on any of these hands.

I was card dead for a while until I picked up KK and doubled up on another player's JJ all-in.

After that, I went card dead again but managed to hold on until 58th spot and picked up $25 for my efforts. I went out when MP raised and I pushed on the button with 88. MP called with KJs and spiked a Jack on the river to knock me out.

Still, I consider finishing in-the-money to be a win for me!


On the house fix-up front, I finally finished painting all the walls in the house (except for one bathroom which we're leaving for now).

However, now the hard part: after having plumbers visit last week, we're still not getting hot water in the kitchen. The plumbers suggested that we install a new kitchen faucet to correct the problem.

Although my wife and I picked up the new faucet at Home Depot, I have no idea to install it. In fact, it looks like I may need the plumbers to come back for the job since it will probably involve cutting certain pipes and soldering a bunch of crap together.


Thanks to everyone signing up with RakeTheRake and letting them know that I referred you (Account Number RTR03302).

Last week's sign-ups include OneTrueRock and element59.

They're earning rakeback - are you? Why not visit RakeTheRake and sign-up with them? You'll get money, they'll get money, I'll get money - it's a great deal for all of us!


That's it for now. Incredibly busy again this week, but I'll still find time to write.

My plan for the week is to play the 3/6 tables at PokerRoom and PokerStars. Here's hoping that I make enough to pay for the extra plumbing work needed this week...

Keep reading "Walk the Line"

Who do you love?

In a comment left for my last post, PokerBarney asked me why I would choose to play limit hold'em over no-limit hold'em. I thought I had a quick answer that I could give him; however, that wasn't the case. With a little time on my hands and the desire to write something halfway interesting, I might as well list off my personal pros and cons of both limit and no-limit hold'em.

Up until late January of this year, I had never considered playing no-limit cash games. The thought of putting a sizable chunk of change on a single hand of poker seemed suicidal. However, once I jumped in and started playing, the no-limit games treated me quite well. So well, in fact, that the bulk of my poker winnings in 2006 are due to no-limit hold'em cash games and sit-n-gos. But that's not the end of the story.

While NL games have paid me off in the short run, it's been fixed limit hold'em that has "paid the bills", so to speak. Although the FL cash games only account for 25% of my 2006 poker winnings, limit hold'em is ulimately responsible for well over 50% of my "career" earnings to date if you throw in bonuses, rakeback and other goodies.

Besides the limited success I've had in limit hold'em, why would I choose to play such a dull, grinding game instead of jumping back on the NL wagon and making a killing in the aquarium of small stakes NL hold'em cash games? Let's take a look at few points of comparison between limit and no-limit hold'em - and please remember that these are my personal feelings given the limits and the games that I'm accustomed to playing.

In my experience, rake had a negligible effect on my overall success at NL hold'em. For example, I had a night where I won 3 buy-ins over the course of a couple hours of play. My wins for that night were mostly due to three lucky hands where I managed to stack my opponents. For those three hands, I paid roughly $6 in rake. Coupled with the other $2 I paid in rake for the rest of my hands, I managed to walk away with $75 out of a potential $83 (had no rake been taken).

Compare that to a one hour session of fixed limit hold'em that I had at PokerRoom last night. In one hour of play, I played 150 hands of poker. Much like my good night at the $25 NL tables, I got lucky and pulled in about $75. However, I ended up paying $25 in rake: that's three times more than what I'd paid at the NL tables.

Overall, the cost of my victory at the $3/$6 tables was far more expensive than that at the NL tables. Fixed limit poker is a game of aggression and attrition: keep your game aggressive, push any edge you find, and take down your opponents one small piece at a time. Unfortunately, to squeeze your 2 BB/100 out of a game, you may end up winning 12 pots and losing 8. This win to loss ratio is what makes limit poker expensive in terms of rake: more wins mean more profit, but more wins also mean more rake.

Unlike NL hold'em, where it only takes one hand to show huge profit, limit poker is more about the long run. And in a poker room's business model of "pay to play", the long run can get expensive.

In defense of limit poker, the effects of rake diminish as the bet sizes get larger. $3/$6 limit hold'em is one of the worst games to play in terms of rake since it is pretty easy to hit the magic pot size that results in capped rake. If we look instead at $300/$600 limit poker, it's pretty easy to see that $3 rake out of any given pot is not going to hurt anyone in the short run.


Let's take a look at a typical bonus chaser's options at InterPoker. In order to walk away with a $100 bonus, you are required to play 500 raked hands. A raked hand is defined as any hand where rake is taken by the house at table stakes of 1/2.

At both limit and no-limit tables, you are risking your bankroll for a chance to win $100. At a $1/$2 table, for example, you're effectively giving yourself a 50 BB cushion. However, how much value does 50 BBs have at a no-limit table where your average opponents hold stacks in the 100 BB range? A $100 cushion means very little when you're faced with a $150 bet on the river.

I've always found that limit poker lends itself to clearing bonuses much better than no-limit poker. When average pot size becomes the main determinant in deciding whether or not a hand is considered "raked", it makes more sense to play a game with larger blinds.

While recently clearing my bonus at InterPoker, I did so at the $2/$4 FL tables. Playing three tables at a time, I found that I was clearing roughly 150 - 200 raked hands per hour. Although I could have assured myself a similar rate at the $2/$4 NL tables, I'm not sure if I would have felt quite as comfortable trying to clear a $100 bonus with $1200 (3 max buy-ins) on the line for every single hand over a three hour period.

Like it or lump it, if bonuses are your thing, then limit poker is the way to go.


What's more exciting: value betting your middle pair on the river for an extra 1 BB or pushing your whole stack in on the river hoping that your opponent calls and doubles you up?


Although NL can be exciting at times, I find that I prefer the constant action of limit poker.

First off, the average pots that I play in limit hold'em are far larger than those I'd play at a no-limit table.

Secondly, I can comfortably play three fixed limit tables at once, giving me a steady stream of playable hands.

Thirdly, pot odds, implied odds, and fixed bet sizes give me far more opportunity to chase draws or try to hit 3-outer with my overcards. In a no-limit ring game, your opponent can easily push you off the pot on the flop if he fears that you hold a draw; in limit hold'em though, no one's going anywhere!

The excitement of stacking an opponent in a no-limit ring game is like take a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart; the speed and constant action at the limit tables is more like taking constant sips from a bucket of Red Bull.


With the advent of Poker Tracker, the amount of focus necessary to beat a game of hold'em can be quite minimal. Given a little time and practice, any player can learn to multi-table any poker game at any limit.

Though this holds true for NL cash games (Wes proves this on a daily basis), feel, instinct, and experience play much larger roles. PokerTracker loses some of its effectiveness in predicting how an opponent will react to your bet or check when dealing with varying bet sizes.

For example, let's say PT tells you that your opponent folds to 80% of river bets. Well, that's all good, but what bet size are we talking about? What if your opponent likes to fold against min-bets but will call any all-in? What if the reverse is true? Trust too much in PokerTracker's naked stats and you could throw away an entire sessions hard work.

Don't get me wrong - I love Poker Tracker, but I find that it truly shines in allowing me to sit at multiple fixed limit tables without sacrificing too much "game" in the process.


Poker is poker, and no matter which variation you play, you should try to enjoy yourself. For me, my enjoyment comes from winning. When down on limit hold'em, I've tried no-limit hold'em or triple draw. In the future, I'm hoping to give both 7-card stud and Omaha their turns at winning my love. Until then, I'm gonna call this last point a draw.


At this point in my short poker career, I've decided to focus myself a little more on the limit hold'em side of things. Given that I've been reading The Law School Dropout and The Poker Chronicles for as long as I have, my game preference should not come as a surprise. Much like everything else in life, things change - who knows, I could find myself extolling the virtues of pot-limit Omaha on this very same blog 6 months from now.

In truth, there's no one form of poker that's better than any other. Some people may have a natural skill set that lends itself well to a certain variation of the game, but drive and desire have ways of setting new courses for us all.

For now, I'm all about grinding out the big bets, taking down bonuses, and hoping that rakeback will cover my ass when my game turns to shit.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Who do you love?"

Stemming the tides of mediocrity

I wasn't really planning on playing any poker last night. Against my better judgement, I fired up the laptop and hit PokerRoom. My plan was to play a few tables for about a half-hour: as exhausted as I was, I feared a long session could only hurt my bankroll

My session last night brings up a problem I have in limit poker. How strongly should I play TPTK or two pair?

Traditionally, I'll play these hand quite strongly on a slightly coordinated board and less so on heavily coordinated or uncoordinated boards. My reasoning is that on heavily coordinated board, my opponent could either bluff me off the pot or hold a very good hand. On an uncoordinated board, my opponent's strong play can be indicative of a set or two pair.

I try my best to follow these guidelines, but I slip from time to time. Last night, I got pwned twice.

In one hand, I found myself check-calling with my TPTK (AKs) on both the turn and river in a multi-way pot (actually, it checked through on the river) only to find that I'd lost to my opponent's flopped two pair - Ks and 7s.

In another hand, I found myself three-betting on the turn with my flopped two pair - As and 7s. However, when the button capped the turn, I had a strong suspicion that I was drawing to four outs. My suspicions were confirmed when I check-called the button on the river and he showed me his slowplayed flopped set of fours.

When I look back at my biggest wins and losses, my results ultimately show that I typically held the nuts for the best hands or an awful second best hand for the worst hands. Everything in between is a crazy goulash of well-played hands and embarrassing mistakes.

I guess that's just the nature of the beast in poker. Still, it's a little disconcerting to find that my win rate relies so heavily on favourable cards for me and unfavourable situations for my opponent.

I've played just shy of 1000 hands at 3/6 so far (I know, I know - that's not even close to a sample size). I know some successful internet pros play this many hands before breakfast. When I look at the hands I've been dealt, I can see that I'm running a little shy on the "big hand" front. AA through TT and AK, suited or otherwise, have not been around to visit very much. As a result, I find my win rate sitting at about 0.01 BB/100.

Granted, I expected as much when I first decided to move up to 3/6. This reasoning is why I've tried my best to secure rakeback deals at many sites and why I'm always trying to clear bonuses. At this point in time, I'm not a good enough player to produce wins without a little help from Lady Luck and a little help from Doc Overlay.

I figure that I'm up around $400 - $500 in wins and bonus money since I decided to move up to small stakes poker. Not a lot, but I haven't played all that much just yet.

However, with a new baby on the way, with numerous house expenses, and with my penchant for purchasing electronics and countless poker books, I'm hoping that I catch a good old hot streak or that I manage to become an honest-to-God winning poker player.

Until then, I'll just have to bemoan the fact that I continue to throw good money after bad when I find myself drawing slim on a harmless looking flop.

See you at tables...

Keep reading "Stemming the tides of mediocrity"

Back-Breaking Poker

I was good last night. My wife and I watched some TV, then went to bed early. I stayed up until around 12:30 reading One of a Kind : The Rise and Fall of Stuey ',The Kid', Ungar, The World's Greatest Poker Player (lent to me by Mr. V.). Afterwards, the lights were turned out and I fell fast asleep. However, a mere three hours later, I woke up with the worst lower back pain I've ever felt. No matter how much I tossed and turned, I couldn't get comfortable.

I finally gave up the fight at 6 in the morning and went downstairs to watch some TV before work. I may be tired and sore, but I thought I'd write today anyway, as is usually the case.

First off, my condolences to any U.S. readers who lost loved ones, lost faith, or lost their innocence five years ago today. I think that killing, especially innocents, is the ultimate insult to God and society as a whole. I think anyone who thinks that murder is a means to an end is wrong, plain and simple. I'd never kill another person and if I could get everyone else on this planet to feel the same way, the world would be a better place. Until then, I guess the fighting will continue until all the gay terrorists, with their gay ideals and stupid beliefs, are put to rest.

Seriously, to all the countries out there pissed off at the U.S., Canada, England, or whoever: just calm the fuck down. I understand that the U.S. and other countries pull into town with alterior motives. However, you have to admit that there's usually some fucked up shit going on there in the first place. So just stop it and calm the fuck down. Stop shooting innocent people in stadiums! Stop beating and raping women and children (this goes double to the soldiers and peace-keepers)! Stop strapping bombs to yourselves and blowing people up! And stop praying to God for revenge or justice or a fiery death to the infidels: God doesn't handle that shit!

There are so many better ways to spend your lives: hate breeds hate and evil begets evil. So stop it! I'd rant a little more wholeheartedly, but I don't want to piss off any of those crazy fuckers out there.

With that out of the way, let me spit out a quick recap of my weekend. Hopefully I'll get the chance to write something a little more filling later in the week, but I'm running on empty here.

Friday night, Mr. V and Marl came over to check out the new house. My wife and I showed them around, then we all retired to the basement for some good old fashioned TV watching and gambling.

While Mr. V. played a $25 NL table at TigerGaming (as well as some weird little geography game), I fired up three $2/$4 tables at InterPoker.

I played break even poker for about an hour and a half and cleared September's $100 reload bonus in the process. If you're not playing at InterPoker and getting in on these reload bonuses, what are you waiting for? Jebus - it's free money!

I also got an e-mail from Absolute Poker informing me that they'd placed $5 in my account. I played for 15 minutes at a $10 NL table and tripled up. I'm not sure what I'll do now - probably play a couple SNGs or something. I could try and let it ride at the SHNL tables, but I'm not too keen on losing all $15 on one hand just yet.

The last bit of gambling done on Friday was of the sports betting variety. I had $53 sitting in my Pinnacle Sports account: this money was the uncleared bonus money that I received when I deposited $537 in order to make the hedge bet on the Steelers vs. Dolphins game.

Knowing very little about baseball or football, I decided to split the money evenly amongst four bets:

  1. Bet on the Blue Jays to win or lose by less than 2.5 runs.

  2. Bet on Blue Jays pitcher to get 5 or more strikeouts.

  3. Bet on the Blue Jays vs. Angels game to have more than 9 runs total.

  4. Bet on the Angels pitcher to get less than 4 strikeouts.
Well, I won two of the bets (the strikeout ones) and lost the other two. The sportsbetting did make baseball more bearable to watch, but I still find it pretty boring. I can't wait for hockey season to start...

The rest of the weekend was both busy and relaxing. My wife and I were out all day on Saturday doing various things out of town with the mother-in-law. Not a bad day but quite long. When we arrived home at 10 PM Saturday night, our answering machine informed us that we were missing my wife's best friend's surprise birthday party.

We popped out to the party for a couple hours and finally made it home just after midnight. Long day...

Sunday was a day for relaxing, and relax we did. I played in a RakeTheRake (referral code RTR03302) $11,111 freeroll. It was a 6-max NL tournament and I unfortunately donked out in 236th spot (out of 253 entrants). I made a move on the turn with my overpair and gutshot draw and my opponent countered with his turned straight. Oh well.

After the tournament, my wife and I watched X-Files: Fight the Future. My wife really likes the X-Files; I'm busy searching for a good gift for her in that regards, but I won't say what it is in case she happens to read this.

Once the movie was done, I loaded up a few $3/$6 tables at PokerRoom and proceeded to drop $123 over 90 minutes of play. That's actually my biggest one day loss! Cool! Fearing potential tilt, I shut down the laptop for the day and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching TV with my wife.

I guess all the R & R did a number on my back, which both pains me and baffles me. I thought that taking a break from back-breaking labour was supposed to be good. I guess I'll be picking up some Robaxacet tonight (and some of those vegetable chips that I've been craving since last week).

I was supposed to finish painting the last four walls in the house tonight, but I think that'll have to wait until tomorrow. Tonight, I'll take it easy and watch some TV with my wife. I'll also play a little poker if I can keep my eyes open long enough. I'll see if I can win back some of the cash that I donated yesterday.

That's it for today. I know these posts are boring, but I'm trying. It's hard to come up with stuff to write when you're busy at work and tired as a mofo. I'll try to pull it together and put up some quality content at some point.

Until then - enjoy your poker, enjoy your family, and enjoy life!

Keep reading "Back-Breaking Poker"


Bus on FireSo, it looks like the Steelers won. And they covered the spread. I should be happy having won $462 as easily as I did, but I can't help but wonder what it would've been like to win the full $1000. I guess that's the price I pay for being a cautious investor: live by sword, die by the sword...

Once again, it's been an extremely busy day. I think that all the labour at the house each and every night, coupled with getting up earlier each morning, is starting to affect my mental state. I'm always tired now and the amount of work pouring through our office is a little daunting at times. What this means is that I've been working my ass off each and every day, only to realize that I've got very little time to grab a bite to eat and jot a few notes down.

I will say that the day started off with a real bang. After getting out to the bus stop (no more driving to work now that we've moved), I was forced to wait in the brisk morning air for 15 minutes before my bus arrived. The bus I take seems to follow some weird schedule: from the time I step out of my house, the bus always arrives 15 minutes later.

When the bus finally arrived, I hopped on and immediately noticed the strong smell of urine and/or other foulness. I wasn't too happy but I grabbed my seat and braced myself for the 25 minute trip downtown.

As the bus quickly filled up to capacity, I noticed the smell getting worse by the minute. I was a little concerned that I'd inadvertently picked a seat near the source of the smell and considered raising my feet off the floor to avoid the inevitable tide of nastiness that would slosh to the front of the bus at the first inopportune moment.

Ten minutes into the ride, the bus pulled into a major station farther in town. As we sat there, I continued reading Sklansky's Hold'em Poker for Advanced Players, waiting for the bus to start moving. After twenty seconds or so I looked up, a little irritated that we were still sitting at the stop. Some lady outside was yelling something to the bus driver: I just cursed under my breath and returned to my book.

It wasn't until the word "fire" was heard that things got pretty damned lively. People who'd been sitting quietly a matter of seconds before were now frantically pushing their way off the bus. I looked towards the back of the bus and finally noticed the solid cloud of acrid smoke hung in the air.

I carefully packed up my things and stepped off the bus calmly. Once my feet hit the ground, the driver quickly pulled away to park the bus in a more remote area. As the bus pulled away, everyone at the station got a good few of the smoke pouring out of the back of the bus: the bus had indeed lit itself on fire.

All this to say that I was a few minutes late to work this morning. But let's get back poker...

I ended up spending the bulk of my night eating dinner with my wife and my mom, painting the upstairs hallway with my wife, then stood there sweating and chugging coffee cake. Not quite as disturbing an image as me eating potato chip crumbs out of my hairy belly-button, but still not altogether pleasant. After polishing off the coffee cake, my mom left for the night and my wife and I retired to the basement.

Out came the laptop and I was playing a couple tables of $3/$6 at PokerRoom. I only played for a half-hour or so, but managed to clear another $13 worth of my $200 bonus. I'm estimating another 12 table hours before I clear this thing, which isn't all that bad considering some of the awful grinds I put up with early in my poker career.

Even though I took a couple river beats, I still finished up for the night. I wasn't up all that much, but I'll take it. The number of river beats you take in limit poker can seem ridiculous at times, given that the pots tend to swell to sizes that encourage opponents to draw to their gutshot straights and backdoor flushes. However, it's nice to take a bad beat and still have more than enough in chips to continue playing. If you ask me, the word "reload" should be a four letter word...

The worst hand of the night came when I raised with AKs on the button after the UTG+2 player limped into the pot. The flop came down K 8 4 rainbow and my opponent came out betting. I was pretty sure that I was ahead here so I popped it. When my raise was flat called, I was positive that I was ahead. The turn was another rag (possibly a 2) and my opponent check-called. The river paired the 4 on the board and my opponent checked yet again.

My automatic river bet was instantly check-raised by my opponent. Getting 9:1 odds on my call, I threw in another $6 and was shown the [7h 4h] by my opponent. Well played sir...

And that's what makes limit great! I can play a hand like that and not feel too bad about losing on the end. At the same time, my opponent is rewarded for his dubious play and will undoubtedly continue making donations at the tables. It's the Circle of Life, minus the lions and the Disney songs.

All in all, yesterday was one of my bigger gambling days ever: I cleared a bunch of bonus money, I won at the tables, and I won a rather large bet on an NFL game (thank you Mansion: you guys are the shizzit!). Considering that I only spent 37 minutes in front of the laptop, that puts my hourly rate well past that of doctors and lawyers! Now if I could only figure out a way to match Wes's hourly rate...

With another crappy post in the books, I'm going to put this week to rest. This weekend should be a great one though. Not only do I get to spend time at home with my very lovely, and unbelievably pregnant, wife: I'll also have time to play a goodly amount of poker. Weekend plans are as follows:

  • Tonight: Take a bus home - hopefully it will be a bus of the non-burning variety.

  • Tonight: Tidy the basement.

  • Tonight: Get Mr. V's new laptop to speak with my wireless network.

  • Tonight: Play poker.

  • Saturday morning: Drive my mother-in-law to ther mother's apartment. We'll be packing up and cleaning my wife's grandmother's apartment. It's not the ideal way to spend a Saturday, but that's what family's all about, right?

  • Saturday afternoon: Visit my wife's grandmother in hospital.

  • Saturday night: Pick up vegetable chips from the Bulk Barn then relax...

  • Sunday morning: Sleep in like a crazy mofo!

  • Sunday afternoon: Play the $11,111 freeroll at InterPoker (brought to you by the fine folks at RakeTheRake.com (referral code: RTR03302).

  • Sunday evening: Hit PokerRoom's $3/$6 tables like they're going out of style!
One last thing: if you're not playing at PokerRoom, I think now's the time to give it a shot! For some reason, they're giving away money like it's going out of style. I just plunked another $500 down to take advantage of another 50% up to $250 reload bonus. PokerRoom lets you stack those bonuses, so don't miss out! I also found out that I'm a SilverRoom member: still not sure what that means, but I'll take it!

Have a great weekend everyone! Hit the tables, win some money, then take that money and go sign up here: Hoyt Corkins (nice) and Nicky Hilton (wtf?1) have both signed on and play in the bounty tournaments.

Talk to you on Monday!

Keep reading "Backdraft"

Sweat, blood, paint, pixels...

Another busy day today: this is becoming a habit, I guess. Still, you can always count on me to put something down on these pages even if it just boils down to a bunch of numbers and worthless insight. Today, however, there will be no worthless insight; in fact, there will be no insight whatsoever. Instead, I'll just treat everyone to another quick recap of last night.


House update: When I got home last night, I finished painting the main floor hallway while my wife prepared a lasagna dinner for us. After dinner, my wife got a chance to relax - which she deserved after having painted and cleaned all day long - while a friend and I cut and nailed quarter-round to the baseboards in the family room.

Actually, my friend did all the work while I drank beer and ate cookies.

End result: the main floor of the house is looking pretty damned good!


House update #2: Got a plumber w/ apprentice to come into the house and look at all our plumbing problems. One hour's labour is all it took to fix everything. My wife and I needed to pay for a couple shutoff valves, an new spout in the master bathroom, and we'll have to purchase a new faucet for the kitchen sink.

I guess I was wrong when I thought the job would cost $600 - I like being wrong.


I got an e-mail from VIP Casino yesterday: they had $20 with my name on it! All I had to do was login, enter a bonus code, and start playing.

After having the $20 placed in my account, I was extremely surprised to find that the WR for the bonus was only $20! Five minutes of video poker later and I withdrew $24 from the casino.

I recommend giving VIP Casino a shot if you haven't done so already. They seem to be in the business of keeping their existing customers happy.


At about 10:30 last night, I hopped onto two $2/$4 tables at InterPoker. I played for 25 minutes while my wife was on the phone with her mother.

I played quite poorly at one table, dropping about $30. Luckily, I flopped the nut straight on the other table and got into a raising war with someone who I believe flopped a set. He got cold-decked and I won a big pot.

I finished my short session up $15.


All told, it was not a gambling-heavy night, but I ended up making enough money to keep me happy.

Today, I decided to celebrate by buying some more books from Amazon.ca. Rather than focus on strategy-related books, I decided to go with some easy-reading titles this time around:

Some nice light reading as I continue to grind away at the limit hold'em tables.


Tonight's gonna be another busy night on the house front, I'm afraid. However, after painting, shopping and a visit from my mother, I'm sure that my wife and I will get the chance to kick back for a bit. And, as long as I'm not too tired, I may fire up a couple tables at InterPoker or PokerRoom.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Sweat, blood, paint, pixels..."

Long time no see!

Well, it was a good long weekend for me. I ended up taking another day to stay home yesterday and it was pretty good. In fact, except for a few bouts of manual labour, the weekend on the whole was quite enjoyable. Things are a little busy for me here, so let's just get to the boring recap of my weekend and I'll try to come up with something better tomorrow.

On Friday night, I cleared the Will Hill Casino bonus in just over an hour by playing three $1 hands of blackjack at a time. I think I managed to win an additional $43 on top of the $40 bonus, so I was pretty happy with that result.

After the blackjack, I cracked open two $2/$4 tables, again at Will Hill, to start clearing the £50 monthly bonus. An hour and a half later, I found myself up about $20 at the tables and £30 richer!

The plan for Saturday was for my wife and I to do a whole lotta shoppping. However, we thought it best to start our day off with a nice leisurely breakfast in our new kitchen/family room.

After breakfast, I popped back on to Will Hill and picked up the last £20 of my bonus. I lost $28 in the process, but that's poker.

All in all, I found the $2/$4 games on the Crypt network to be a little looser than their $1/$2 counterparts. I will say that the number of $1/$2 fixed limit tables on the Crypto sites has increased dramatically. Whereas I used to struggle to find 2 or 3 tables going at 9 PM at night, there seems to be a steady number of players slinging their money around at all hours of the day or night.

InterPoker: thanks for fixing up your bonus clearing requirements! It works for me!

I also played quite a bit of $2/$4 at InterPoker on Saturday and Sunday evening. There were no $3/$6 tables to be found (too bad) and I had about 203 raked hands left to clear in order for me to pick up my $100 August reload bonus.

I don't know how many of you remember a challenge I completed a while back: the Interpoker OCT Bonus challenge.

In the "old days", it would have taken me about 10 hours of two- or three-tabling the $1/$2 tables to clear 203 raked hands. With InterPoker's redefinition of a raked hand and the increased stakes at the $2/$4 tables, it took me just over an hour of three-tabling to pick up the $100 bonus.

All in all, I've really enjoyed stepping up to the $2/$4 and $3/$6 tables. It's still too early to see if I can hack it at these limits, but I'm definitely gonna enjoy giving it a try.

Before I go, I wanted to mention that I started working off my $200 reload bonus at PokerRoom. Clearing any of the OnGame network bonuses is practically futile at any limits lower than $2/$4. The way the bonus clears is as follows: for every 10 cents taken as rake from a hand, you're awarded 0.07 poker points. For the most part, bonuses clear at rates of 7, 10, or 15 poker points for each $1 of bonus.

When playing $1/$2, I'd say about half of the hands are raked for about $0.50: PokerRoom (and other OnGame sites) are pretty good when it comes to taking rake. Generally, you're looking at 5% up to a maximum of one big blind ($3/$6 = max $3 rake).

Anyway, if I played 60 hands/table hour at $1/$2 and earned 0.35 poker points for each raked hand, I'd generally clear about 10.5 poker points per table hour. Given that my current reload bonus requires 1400 poker points to clear, you can imagine how some of these bonuses can be unreachable by many low limit players.

Yesterday, I played about 2 hours of $3/$6 at PokerRoom and cleared just over 300 poker points! Now that's more like it!

I'm not going to jinx anything by discussing results or anything (not that I'm suspicious or anything), but I will say that things are coming along nicely.

More to come tomorrow when I have more time.

See you at the tables!

Keep reading "Long time no see!"

Month In Review: August 2006

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Looking over my site stats and poker stats for the month of August, I've learned a few things:

  1. Bad beats, giving up poker, and unexpected jumps up to $3/$6 hold'em draw more readers than the usual crap that I post here.

  2. Playing poker when the stakes are meaningless while trying to grind out profit on auto-pilot can easily deplete a bankroll.

  3. Poker, after putting in a full day at the office and an additional 4 hours painting, is a futile endeavour that can only end in tilt, misery, and poker apathy.

My numbers in August were rather disappointing in some ways, but I'm happy that I managed to crawl out of the early hole that I dug for myself.

The month started off quite well with a big $420 score at AceClub Casino's blackjack tables. After that, though, it all went downhill. Let me apologize: it seems that my accounting got screwed up somewhere along the line so some of these numbers are a little off.


  • Ring Game Winnings: -$331

  • SNG Winnings: $92

  • Blackjack Winnings: $221

  • Bonuses and Rakeback: $79

  • Total Winnings: $61

Hourly Rates per game:

  • $20 SHNL: -$40 (-$25/hr)

  • $25 SHNL: -$175 (-$9/hr)

  • $50 NL : -$154 (-$48/hr)

  • Triple Draw: -$19(-$43/hr)

  • $1/$2 FL: -$6 (-1/hr)

  • $2/$4 FL: -$59 (-$29/hr)

  • $3/$6 FL: $122 ($29/hr)

  • SNGs: $92 ($19/hr) [2x 1st, 2x 2nd, 2x 3rd, 4x other]

  • Blackjack: $221 ($59/hr)

Bankroll Stats:

  • July 31 2006: $5264

  • August 31 2006: $5325

  • Career Winnings: $6325

Really impressive, don't ya think? I only played roughly 50 table hours last month, so I'm hoping that my numbers are artificially low due to the small sample size of hands played. Well, fewer hands coupled with a bunch of real donkey calls.

As for my site stats, I think I was roughly on par with July:

  • June 2006: 1264 Visitors, 3379 hits

  • July 2006: 830 Visitors, 2035 hits

  • August 2006: 758 Visitors, 1596 hits

Once again, Matt Maroon (The Poker Chronicles) is my number one referrer. Who knew that one mention of my site would have such a huge impact on my numbers? I only wish that I could offer Matt's readers something more in the way of "interesting reading" or "poker strategy": instead, they're stuck reading about my bitching at the fact that I lost a whole $3 on a meaningless hand of $25 buy-in SHNL poker.

Anyway, here is the list of my top referrers. Please go visit each of these sites two or three times, then come back and sign up for Doyle's Room:
The top four posts for the month of August were:

  • Sink or Swim Challenge
    This is the post where I'd clearly lost my mind and made the fateful decision to play at stakes that will make or break me.

  • Suck my balls, Mr. Garrison...
    When it all started going so wrong...

  • Is it worth it?
    It's funny how a little bad luck can make a poker player contemplate giving it all up...

  • Getting by...
    My response to the questions and comments left after I contemplated giving up the game (for a fourth time, I think, if my count is correct...).

Well, I'm hoping that September treats me a little better than August. As it stands, here are my poker-related plans for the month:

  • Hit up William Hill for the casino and poker bonuses. I'll probably play $2/$4 (or $1/$2) for clearing the poker bonus. I just haven't had any luck finding any good $3/$6 tables at the Cryptologic sites lately; although, I'm hoping InterPoker's new bonus scheme will help fix that problem. By the way, Doubleuwhy just wrote that the William Hill poker bonus has doubled this month for existing players. Sweet ass sweet!

  • Play as many $10 + $1 Turbo SNGs at Party between now and Sunday. I've still got the $30 worth of bonus money to burn before Party yanks it back out of my account.

  • Play as much $3/$6 at InterPoker and PokerRoom as I can. Lots of money to be made here, I think, as long as I can keep my game in check.

  • Collect my $462 this coming Thursday when the Steelers beat the Dolphins, or vice-versa. Either way, I'm a winner!

That's it for me! Long weekend and I think my wife and I are going to take it a little easier than we have been. Frankly, we're tired and we need a rest. And with my wife lugging around a 4 pound baby (and me lugging around my 30 pound gut), it's getting harder and harder to work ourselves to the bone on a daily basis.

Have a great weekend everyone! Enjoy your families, enjoy your poker (especially at Doyle's Room, where they offer loose NL cash games, daily freerolls, and bounty tournaments that offer up cash if you knock out Doyle, Todd, or Mike "The Mad Genius" Caro), and enjoy the time away from the office!

Keep reading "Month In Review: August 2006"