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Happy New Year!

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers at both Klopzi's Mediocre Poker and The Greedy Gamer a very Happy New Year.

2008 was a year filled with both highs and lows.

I lost a dear friend to cancer and she will be missed always. I know that she is looking down on her husband and kids, watching out for them wherever she can.

On a positive note, I had a great year with my family. My wife and I both lost weight and are getting healthier by the day. I've put on some Christmas pounds but that's cool too! Those Christmas cookies and boxes of chocolates won't eat themselves...nor will the snack mixes, crackers, or honey-roasted sesame-coated almonds. And the same holds true for the liters of cream liqueurs, eggnog, beer, and tourtiere all making their yearly visits to my kitchen and waistline...

My kids are doing terrific. Both are terribly loud and extremely mobile bundles of love, destruction and mayhem. I can't imagine life without my boys anymore.

On the poker front, I played less poker in 2008 than in previous years. However, 2008 was also my best year in terms of poker profit thanks to a couple hot streaks at both the $100 and $200 NLHE tables.

And finally, I really enjoyed my video games this past year. My Xbox 360 and I are on great terms and I look forward to exploring our relationship further in the New Year. I'm also quite pleased at the strides that my video game site, The Greedy Gamer, has taken in terms of traffic and visibility. However, I hope to see both Klopzi's Mediocre Poker and The Greedy Gamer continue to grow in the New Year.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve! Drink responsibly, eat recklessly, and enjoy yourselves! I'll be back in the New Year ready to tackle any hardships and challenges that 2009 may throw my way!

Keep reading "Happy New Year!"

Merry Christmas!

Over the next couple weeks, I'll be doing my best to relax, eat lots of food, play a ton of video games, and maybe throw in a little poker too! So I just wanted to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas!

Enjoy your holidays! Spend some quality time with your friends and families! And don't forget that cookies, turkey, and eggnog are actually good for you come Christmas time!

Merry Christmas!

Keep reading "Merry Christmas!"

Strike!

Up here in Ottawa, we're now into Day 3 of our public transit strike. We're also going through an unseasonal cold snap with temperatures hovering around the -10°C (14°F) mark with some brisk winds really cooling things off. Throw in slick streets, the near-constant trickle of snow from the heavens, and picketers blocking traffic and you have the recipe for a very tired "me".

Last week, my round trip to and from work took roughly an hour and a half. My bus ride was nice and relaxed, allowing me to watch poker videos on my Zune or read a quality poker book or two.

Fast forward to this week. My round-trip commute now takes four to five hours. It's a long, boring drive punctuated by slippery roads, short-fused tempers, and inflated parking prices. You want to talk about your bad beats...

As much as I'd like to "want to" play poker over the weekend, it's not going to happen. I'm exhausted from a grueling week at work. I'm enjoying Too Human far too much for a thirty-three year old father of two. And I would lose money if I tried to jump into a game in my current state of mind. I am hoping to play poker next week by having a poker party at my place. Current invitees include myself and lots of beer; I hear honey roasted peanuts and some of the Bulk Barn's best snack mixes may stop by to say hello too!

My plans for tonight include relaxing with my wife, drinking, and video games. There is nothing else planned over the next couple days. That's a good thing considering I need to brace myself for another week of brutal commuting. There's no end to the strike in sight right now and I doubt we'll see anything happen until after Christmas.

For the record, I'm siding with the City of Ottawa on this issue. Unions suck. I can see how they were useful back in the old days when employers were really sticking it to their coal miners and railroad workers but things are different nowadays. The OC Transpo bus drivers make substantial money, have good benefits, and flexible work schedules. What else do they need? According to the transit union (and not the bus operators themselves), bus operators need a 10% pay increase over three years, more sick days, and the ability to schedule their own shifts - even if doing so results in less buses on the road and substantial overtime hours being billed to taxpayers. Ridonkulous!

Have a great weekend! I need a drink...

Keep reading "Strike!"

The Perfect Storm

The snow started late Monday evening. Just a few flakes here and there until around midnight. Then the snow really started coming down. By Tuesday morning, my fair city of Ottawa was pleasantly dusted by roughly one foot of snow. Not too bad, right? A white Christmas was all but guaranteed.

The only problem? It kept snowing.

Over the course of Tuesday, we received another six inches of snow. Roads were slippery, sidewalks were treacherous, and public transportation was slow and frustrating.

At eight o'clock last night, the snow turned to freezing rain.

At eleven o'clock, freezing rain turned back into snow.

At midnight, all public transportation workers in Ottawa walked off their jobs as their union firmly declared to all who were listening: "Strike!". Their timing could not have been more perfect: damn those sneaky, weather-forecasting union bosses!

When I awoke at six o'clock this morning, I looked outside and was shocked to discover that Ottawa had received another foot of snow overnight. And the buses were not running. And the under-funded city snowplows had yet to make their first runs of the day.

Total distance from my house to my downtown office: 11.6 miles.

Total time spent in the car this morning: 2 hours and 2 minutes.

Talk about a long, boring, gross, and death-defying drive. You would not believe how many stupid people there were out on the roads this morning. Or maybe you would? In any case, it's days like today that make me lose all faith in humanity. If the general population can't figure out how to merge in traffic without bringing the morning commute to a grinding halt, how the f*ck are we supposed to cure cancer, AIDS, and everything else lining up to f*ck us?

And you know what else sucks? Losing at poker. As much as I try to work on my SNG game, I can't seem to get any kind of streak going. I've been reading Secrets of Sit 'n' Gos: Winning Strategies for Single-table Poker Tournaments but no positive results yet. Mind you, I'm not playing enough to give myself a real chance to win either.

I can't help it though: the world's far too Christmas-y right now to spend my time playing online poker. Video games are far more festive, aren't they? Especially video games that involve hitting robots masquerading as mythological creatures square in their mythological faces.

In any case, work is busy, traffic's gonna be a real bitch tonight, and I'm ready for bed.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "The Perfect Storm"

Too Human

Poker's a funny game. One minute, I love it to death and can't get enough of it. Yet a scant few losing sessions later and poker is relegated to the back burner while I busy my time elsewhere.

I think that I play a lot more poker when I'm worried about money and/or a little better rested. I'm not rich at the moment. As for being tired...

So how have I been spending my time? I finished Fallout 3 a couple weeks ago so what other game could be anywhere near as addictive as a post-nuclear RPG? Two words: Too Human.

There are a few games that really stand out from the pack when I think of games that absolutely loved playing: Fallout (1 and 2), Diablo II (though the original Diablo was good too), the Final Fantasy series, Grand Theft Auto 3, and GTA: Vice City. Too Human's gameplay of fighting hordes of creatures and collecting loot feels a lot like Diablo II. Talk about an addictive game; it's all I can think about besides my wife, kids, and work. It's been a long while since I've felt so strongly about a game.

It's a shame that Too Human was unfairly pronounced D.O.A. by many review sites. I think that those who were quick to dismiss Too Human missed the true point of the game. If you've got an Xbox 360 and if you liked Diablo II, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Too Human for yourself. It's cheap, it's great fun, and it's an easy way to kill 100 hours of your life if you so choose.

Check out the game's trailer and a solid review of the game below.

TRAILER


REVIEW

Keep reading "Too Human"

Review: Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time

I finished reading Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume 1 over the weekend. I'm not a big tournament player myself but I still enjoyed the book immensely.

I really liked the book's layout. Basically, the three contributing online poker pros - Jon "Pearljammer" Turner, Eric "Rizen" Lynch, and James "Apestyles" Van Fleet - each dissect about 50 hands each. These hands cover many common situations that one would expect to encounter in a tournament. For example, you find yourself in the SB with JJ against an UTG limper and a button raise: what do you do?. Or how about when you find yourself on the button with AK and the pot is raised and re-raised in front of you? There are many more scary situations addressed (and expertly handled) in the book.

I will say that I found Pearljammer's section to be the best. No offense to Rizen or Apestyles, but Pearljammer seemed a little more earnest in his attempts to instruct readers on his actual thought process in his hands. I'm not sure if this was because Pearljammer was more aware of the process he goes through while analyzing a hand or whether Rizen and Apestyles felt the need to hold back for fear of becoming too exploitable in their online games. I'd like to believe that the former reason is most likely given that Pearljammer relied a little less on "instinct" and "reads" and more on math and logic. Each of Pearljammer's hands seemed well played, well thought out, and expertly handled.

I also rather enjoyed Apestyles hand-by-hand account of his bubble play in a big online tournament. It's amazing to see just how well professional players are able to take control of a tournament when everyone else seems intent on just surviving past the bubble. Apestyles uses persistent and smart aggression to fleece most players at his table of their chips. Once the bubble burst, Apestyles finds himself sitting atop a huge number of chips and ready to make a good run to the final table.

The last section of the book has all three pros giving their advice on how to play some tournament hands submitted by Matt Hilger (an established poker pro and author in his own right). The great thing about this section is that all three pros give different answers for many of the hands presented. It goes to show you how poker is a situation-specific game with any number of ways to interpret the bits and pieces of incomplete information that come bubbling up to the surface. The fact that three top players can't agree on a specific course of action in a given situation is one of the things that makes poker great. Any strategy can win a poker tournament as long as proper thought is placed on each decision you make at the tables.

Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume 1 showed me that winning a poker tournament boils down to one simple concept: make the best play at the right time given current table conditions and your table image. With a lot of work and a good deal of luck, anyone can become a winning poker tournament player. Just keep making good decisions and that elusive first place in a Sunday Major is sure to follow...right?

Keep reading "Review: Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time"

More Games, Less Poker, and More Reading!

Once again, video games dominated my weekend's activities. A tough week at work and a weekend spent putting up Christmas decorations and lights left me unwilling to fire up any tables. I don't know about you but the Christmas season just doesn't scream "poker" to me. I'm going to continue working on my game over the coming weeks leading up to Christmas. And I'll probably play some STTs and some MTTs too. Maybe even some heads-up SNGs and cash games too.

To that end, I've bought myself some more books!

I recently visited good old Amazon.com and ordered myself a few books that I think will help me improve my results in SNGs and heads-up play.

Poker books are always hit or miss. But I do trust the opinion of Littleacornman when it comes to SNGs. He mentioned that he'd put in an order for Secrets of Sit 'n' Gos: Winning Strategies for Single-table Poker Tournaments so I followed suit and picked up a copy for myself. I'm currently a losing player when it comes to SNGs. Why am I fascinated with the one form of poker that I can't win? I don't know. Maybe it bugs me to think that there's something I can't do better than the average player. I plan on fixing that - even if it means playing unprofitable poker for a very long time. When I walk into a room of random poker-playing strangers, I like knowing that I can beat at least half of them at any form of poker. As soon as that's no longer the case, I go a little crazy I guess.




The Moshman book, Heads-Up No-Limit Hold 'em, is one that I ordered based on the strength of Moshman's other book, Sit 'n Go Strategy. I find his writing style to be casual and easy to follow despite the fact that he tends to make up silly words (e.g. "aggress" - wtf?!). I'm not sure how profitable HU SNGs are at the higher buy-ins but I'm sure that money can be made crushing the games with buy-ins around the $50 mark or less. But I'm talking out of my ass right now since I've played exactly three HU SNGs in my lifetime. And yes, I have a losing record in those as well.


Finally, I picked up one last heads up/short-handed poker book: Secrets of Short-Handed No Limit Hold'em: Winning strategies for short-handed and heads up play. I feel that playing well heads up is a real key to being a successful poker player. I guess I'll have a chance to test that theory in 2009. And, for what it's worth, the title of this last book is exceptionally long and that can't hurt.




My plans for this week are to:
  • Win a $22 + $2 STT.
  • Play (and win?) an 18 player or 27 player MTT.
  • Read, read, read.
  • Play lots of video games - 'tis the season, right?
I'll be back tomorrow or the day after to discuss some of the PokerGoals that I cleared in November.

Until then, have a good one!

Keep reading "More Games, Less Poker, and More Reading!"

Weekend!


After last night's session at Full Tilt, I realize that I'm still a little rusty in terms of my no-limit hold'em game. It's not that I played horribly or lost monster pots. But I know that I left quite a bit of money on the table and made a couple ultra-tight folds pre-flop. I think that all the reading about multi-table tournaments that I've been doing has me playing a little too tight. Still - it's better to play a little tight than too loose when jumping up in limits.

My plans for this weekend are pretty simple.

Tonight - drinks and video games. Fallout 3 is calling my name - as are the other 40 games in my video game library. I've seriously gone on a huge shopping spree in terms of games lately. Thanks to poker, a couple hundred dollars here and there out of my bankroll is nothing to concern myself about.

I'll probably play some STTs and MTTs over the weekend and put in a couple $200 NL sessions too. As much as I'd love to hammer the tables to death and walk away with tons of cash, I'm feeling a little worn down after the past few weeks of work. It's easy to play solid poker when you're mentally alert; playing while mentally exhausted is another matter entirely.

I still think my poker game is coming along nicely. I'll need to brush up on my no-limit game with some videos and books once I've finished off Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume I. The book is pretty good and I'm really looking forward to seeing if it can help me pull off some good results in some MTTs over the coming months.

I'll leave you with a hand from last night that saw me win a fairly large pot (my largest at Full Tilt, in fact) thanks to a solid read that I had on the Villain.

Full Tilt Poker
No Limit Holdem Ring game
Blinds: $1/$2
5 players
Converter

Stack sizes:
UTG: $144.40
CO: $240.95
Button: $207.10
SB: $148
Hero: $219.25

Pre-flop: (5 players) Hero is BB with T♣ T♠
UTG calls, CO raises to $9, 2 folds, Hero calls, UTG calls.

(UTG is donkey, CO is an uber-tight multi-tabler. Against only the CO, I'd raise TT here since there's no way I'm getting paid off if I hit a set and CO's steal range is pretty wide. But I don't mind calling with UTG already in the pot.)

Flop: 2♥ 4♦ 6♥ ($28, 3 players)
Hero checks, UTG bets $20, CO folds, Hero ??

(I actually had to think for a second here. I knew that I was ahead of the Villain's range but I was wondering if he'd call a shove on my part. My notes said that Villain played his made hands quite strongly. If Villain liked his hand enough to bet the flop, I was pretty sure that my shove would get called by a hand as weak as top pair or an unimproved pocket pair.)

Hero raises all-in $210.25, UTG calls all-in $115.4.

Uncalled bets: $74.85 returned to Hero.

Turn: Q♦ ($298.8, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: $298.8)


River: 2♣ ($298.8, 0 player + 2 all-in - Main pot: $298.8)


Results: (in white below)
Final pot: $298.8
UTG showed 6d 9s
Hero showed Tc Ts


Have a great weekend everyone!

Keep reading "Weekend!"

Happy Thanksgiving! (U.S. Edition)

To my readers in the U.S., have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Remember that turkey and potatoes are both quite low in fat so be sure to smother everything in gravy! And if you're able to move after dinner, you haven't eaten enough pie. I will celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving up here in Canada tonight with an energy drink, some quasi-healthy food, and some $200 NL.

I really, really don't have time to post much right now. Life is kicking my ass right now. But I did want to say that I've been playing poker. I'm still reading a lot more than I'm playing but it's a start. I've also made the move to the $200 NL tables. I'm about 6,000 hands in and everything's going just north of mediocre.

I'm only playing a couple tables at a time right now. I'm really trying to focus on making good decisions and not getting tricky. I think I've started to rely far too much on some of PokerTracker 3's new stats without having reasonable sample sizes. Maybe I should just go back to VPIP, PFR, and AF coupled with some solid note taking?

I'll see if I can squeeze in another 1,000 hands before November's up. I'm still playing Fallout 3 as well so time's at a premium.

Hopefully things will calm down in the weeks to come. I'd like to return to a regular posting schedule again. I have lots to talk about and some hands to discuss as well.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Happy Thanksgiving! (U.S. Edition)"

SNGs, Fallout 3, and Work

You ever had one of those months at work where the harder you struggle, the worse things get? I'm there right now. It sucks but that's the price you pay to be a contributing member of society. Trust me - I'd give it all up for poker here and now if I thought that I had any chance of making it. Mouths to feed and crippling mortgage payments are all that keep me in line at the moment.

Despite a wicked case of the "blahs", I still played a bit of poker over the weekend. I stayed away from the cash games and stuck with some one-table SNGs (STTs). And I only played Full Tilt's $11 + $1 turbos. Things went well and I took down a first place finish and a second place finish. Thanks Jebus for flopped quads and a ten of diamonds on the river!

The bulk of my weekend was spent with my wife, kids, and Fallout 3. Video games are just as addictive as poker, let me tell you. Yet despite spending a lot of time with my Xbox 360, I've been studying my ass off when it comes to poker.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through
Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume I and I'm really loving it! I really, really want to try my hand at an MTT soon! Maybe I could give The Mookie or some other blogger tournament a shot. I do have a few PokerGoals related to blogger tournaments. I'll see how I feel come Wednesday night.

I'm also going to see if I can play at least ten $22+$2 sit-n-gos at Full Tilt before the end of the month. That may not sound like a lot to most of you reading this but trust me: if you've had the pleasure of trying Fallout 3, you'll know just how hard it can be to put the game aside. To make matters even worse, I received a shipment of fifteen new Xbox 360 games in the mail today. Sleep? Who needs it? Am I right? And what's with airline food?

Anyway, I'm going to devote at least five hours to poker this week. I'm planning on sticking with Full Tilt's $22 turbos until I've got about fifty of those suckers under my belt. I'll move up a buy-in level if I can show a positive ROI. I'm also going to start working on winning some 18-player and 27-player turbos: I've got some MTT-related PokerGoals to "unlock".

I'd write more but I'm way too busy! Have a good one!

--

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Besides giving you a chunk of money just for playing poker, RakeTheRake also offers freeroll tournaments and other goodies. In fact, I won a freeroll tournament a while back and won $1K for a few hours "work". Sign up now: I guarantee that you'll be happy that you did.

Keep reading "SNGs, Fallout 3, and Work"

Stick a fork in me...

There's a good reason for my lack of posts this week. Work has been killing me and I've been very busy outside of work. I've planned on playing poker every night this week only to find my resolve greatly diminished once the opportunity presents itself. It's not that I'm not interested in poker: quite the opposite, in fact.

I've been reading tons of reference material to help me work on my sit-n-go game.

I'm also currently reviewing Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume I and I'm loving it! It's great being able to see how a professional tournament player thinks through a hand. I don't play many tournaments very often but I may just give more of them a shot in the near future.

The biggest deterrent to poker right now is my general level of exhaustion. I'm too tired to play at stakes that matter but unwilling to waste my time playing meaningless stakes. Why grind away at a $0.50/$1 FL table or a $50 NL game when I could be playing Fallout 3 or watching a movie with my wife? The latter two activities are so much more rewarding even though my poker game could benefit greatly from a little time at the tables.

There's a good chance that I may have to rely on poker as supplemental income in the next two or three years. That's assuming, of course, that U.S. politics don't ruin poker any more than they have since introduction of the UIGEA. However, I have faith that the good old U.S.A. will run Internet poker into the ground and totally screw me and my family over. I guess I could always try to work nights and grind away my days playing against some European donkeys.

I'm getting way ahead of myself. Let me just concentrate on the weekend. I need to relax and start thinking clearly again. Right now, I'm feeling a little too down on myself to evaluate how I'd like to spend the rest of my life.

What are my plans for the weekend? Likely a little poker though I'm not too sure about playing tonight given how tired I am right now. I'll see if I can find some good $200 NL tables or $2/$4 FL tables (not quite ready to give up on FL just yet, I guess). Failing that, some $22 + $2 turbos at Full Tilt. I'm also going to play some Fallout 3, have a few drinks, relax with my wife and kids, and put up some Christmas lights too.

Have a great weekend! Here's hoping next week is better...

Keep reading "Stick a fork in me..."

Brushing Up

I've been brushing up on my sit-n-go skills in over the past few days. I've been a little busy with work and with my Xbox 360 so I figure that SNGs (or STTs if you prefer) are probably my best bet poker-wise for now. After re-reading Moshman's Sit 'n Go Strategy, I'm amazed at how much information I failed to pick up on earlier readings. If I can incorporate even half of what Moshman discusses in his book, I should be able to soundly beat the low-to-mid buy-in games at Full Tilt.

I was originally going to focus on playing $2/$4 FL at Full Tilt. But after finishing up Limit Hold'em: Winning Short-Handed Strategies, I'm a little discouraged. The book itself is actually quite excellent: it showed me how little I knew about short-handed fixed limit hold'em and showed me how to improve my game through sound theory and great examples. So what's the problem?

The authors state that a win rate of 2 - 2.5 BB/100 is a solid win rate for an "excellent" player. I'd need to be soundly beating the $3/$6 games before even coming close to the win rates that I earn playing $100 NL. And from what I've heard, $3/$6 can be pretty tough. In fact, one of the book's authors claims to play $3/$6 from time to time when there are no good games at the higher limits. Frankly, the prospect of playing against either Terry Borer or Lawrence Mark frightens both me and my bankroll.

I'll continue to brush up on my fixed limit hold'em skills by re-reading Limit Hold'em: Winning Short-Handed Strategies. In the meantime, I'm going to work on beating the $22 + $2 Turbos at Full Tilt - a feat that I failed to accomplish last year. Some SNGs and some video games should help me re-focus and, more importantly, relax. I need a little downtime...

I may play a couple SNGs at Full Tilt tonight depending on how I'm feeling. If things go well, I may play a few more.

Have a good one.

Keep reading "Brushing Up"

One Solid Session

I had a pretty good weekend at the tables. I ended up spending a little more time with my Xbox 360 than I'd originally planned on Friday. It's not that poker went poorly on Friday evening; quite the contrary, in fact. I guess I didn't want to push my luck after pulling off a good session.

I played a short session of $2/$4 6-max FL, $1/$2 6-max FL, and a couple $12 STTS.

$2/$4 went well enough. My good hands held up, a draw came in, and I didn't get sucked out on too badly. My fixed limit game is in complete flux right now. If there's one thing that "Limit Hold'em: Winning Short-Handed Strategies" is teaching me is that I don't know how to play 6-max fixed limit hold'em. I'm a complete donkey at times and my lapses in judgement are showing up in my results. Hopefully I'll be able to plug up some leaks over the coming weeks and come out ahead at $2/$4 after 10,000 hands.

My session at $1/2 was pretty brutal. I ran JJ into AA and KK into a rivered gutshot draw. When will I learn that the opponents that I'm up against at the low stakes tables do not bluff raise the river after calling me down post-flop?

My STTs went pretty well. I went out in fifth in my first STT when AQ < KT. I'd generally avoid calling off 90% of my stack with KT were I in my opponent's shoes but I guess that's why I'm able to win at poker. Suckouts and loose calls are a part of the game.

I took down my second STT. Thankfully, my opponents all got gun-shy on the bubble. My opponents' lack of aggression allowed me to go from 3 BBs deep with four left to holding a 5:1 chiplead once we got heads-up. My opponent managed to hang on for three all-ins. I had him dominated each time but he managed to suck out on me all but once. In the end, my K9 beat out my heads-up opponent's K3 for first place!

I'm currently enjoying Fallout 3 a little too much and may not play quite as much poker this week. Of course, my plans seem to have very little bearing on how I actually choose to spend my time. I'm done with the $10 buy-in STTs for now. I'm quite anxious to start hitting the $20+ buy-in STTs. I may even move up to the $30s if things go well.

I'll fill everyone in on what I'm playing as thing unfold over the next few days. Oh, for what it's worth, my PokerScore is sitting at 55 PP after my weekend's play.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "One Solid Session"

Feeling the Burn

Today, I am a broken man. Work has been killing me. And poker has been very unkind to me over the past week. Thankfully, I have my wife, kids, and friends to help me realize that there is more to life than work and having my aces cracked...again.

Plans for this weekend are simple: family, relaxation, poker, and a few drinks to help me forget the pain of a long, hard week. I've been working on my fixed-limit 6-max game. I hope to see some improvement in my numbers soon; I'm down about 40 BB.

I'm also still trying to win my first $10+ buy-in STT. I came close last night but AA < 44 so whaddya gonna do? I'll just keep trying because I've got an itch to become a better player and bankroll to burn. Tonight, I'll be throwing a little more kindling - and maybe a little gasoline - on that fire.

Have a great weekend!

Keep reading "Feeling the Burn"

Testing My Patience

The poker that I've played since last Friday has been a test in patience and resolve. As much as I hate losing money, I'm still excited enough about poker to keep bashing my head against the wall. And that, my friends, is how I can best describe my four-day-weekend's worth of poker.

Friday night was filled with a bit of drunken fun. Five drinks and a shot of Amarula saw me having a good time playing some STTs and $1/$2 6-max FL at PokerStars. Although the limit poker ended up well, I am still having a hell of time beating those damned STTs. Each STT played out the same way:

  • Stick around until or 5 or 6 players remained.
  • Lose a race to find myself with 3-5 BBs left.
  • Shove all in and get called by a pocket pair or big ace.
It's getting pretty ridiculous. But I'll keep jamming away at these things until I've managed to clear every last damned PokerGoal that I have listed for STTs. I'm currently working towards clearing the "Win a NL STT (buy-in $10+)" PokerGoal: easier said than done, unfortunately. If all else fails, I'm well on my way to earning my "Lose 5 consecutive STTs when making it to heads-up play." PokerGoal thanks to my opponents' ability to have me dominated on many hands.

I've also started playing a lot of $2/$4 6-max FL. It's a very fast and very aggravating game. The sheer number of river suck-outs has been pretty demoralizing so far. In a game where ace high wins many pots, it's a little frustrating to have my opponents constantly show down rivered sets and flopped full houses. I'm looking forward to having my results better reflect my play; however, I still have a lot to learn before I can claim to be an average limit hold'em poker player. I'm hoping that Limit Hold'em: Winning Short-Handed Strategies is a good first step in getting my game up to par. I've been watching some 6-max FL videos but I'm missing some of the fundamentals from my game. I may also buy another month of PokerSavvy Plus to get my hands on some more 6-max LHE videos.

Finally, I played a very short session of $200 NL at Titan Poker. I got lucky and took down a $400 pot with KK. That little win unlocked a couple of PokerGoals and helped ease the sting of an otherwise fruitless weekend at the tables.

I'm going to play some poker and watch the WSOP Main Event final table with my wife tonight.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "Testing My Patience"

A Growing Library

Now that I'm back to enjoying poker again, I'm really hoping to work on many different facets of my game. Much of the work that I plan to do will come in the form of diversifying my skills. Rather than focus solely on NL hold'em, I really want to branch out and try my hand at a number of different games. Who knows? I might have the skills to become a world class 7-card stud player. Or maybe triple draw will be my game? Or maybe I'm destined to play the high-stakes PLO games on Full Tilt?

I decided to order some books from Amazon to help me improve my overall approach to poker and greater financial success. I've also got some books at home that deserve some of my time. I also have an upcoming book review for a MTT-specific book. The full list of books that I'll be reading in the next month or two can be found after the jump.

One of my major pushes in the next couple months will be in terms of my limit hold'em game. I used to love limit hold'em and I think that I'll really enjoy the 6-max games. I'm much better at handling swings in my bankroll than I used to be though I have quite a ways to go before I make variance my b*tch. In order to improve my hold'em game, I'll be reading the following books:

  • Hold'Em Poker for Advanced Players (HPFAP): This is the limit hold'em players' bible. Sklansky may be an unlikable freak but he knows his poker cold. I tried reading HPFAP way too early in my poker career. I was unable to understand or apply many of Sklansky's theories. I'm hoping that I'll be able to get more out of the book now.

  • Winning in Tough Hold 'em Games: Short-Handed and High-Stakes Concepts and Theory for Limit Hold 'em: StoxTrader knows high-stakes limit hold'em; I want to learn how to play high-stakes limit hold'em. Seems like a perfect fit, right? I'm sure much of StoxTrader's theory won't apply to the games I play but I'd still like to know what I should be thinking whenever I sit down at a FL game. I'm most interested in how the book handles short-handed and heads-up limit hold'em.

  • Limit Hold'em: Winning Short-Handed Strategies: Again - I'm really looking for as much information about short-handed limit hold'em as possible. I don't know much about this book's author but I should be able to sniff out any B.S. before it hurts my overall game. The reviews that I've read about Terry Borer's book have been positively glowing. Maybe this will be the book that triggers that certain something, turning me into a 6-max limit hold'em juggernaut?
Limit hold'em isn't all that I'm looking to play in the coming months. Another big focus of mine will be on Pot Limit Omaha (PLO). I'll be playing PLO for a couple reasons: there seems to be more bad PLO players than good and the higher-variance nature of PLO should help me improve my mental game. Big profits and a better attitude towards poker? Sounds good to me.
  • How Good is Your Pot-Limit Omaha?: This book's author, Stewart Reuben, is a PLO veteran. He plays a very aggressive style of poker and seems to know his stuff. Reviews for the book are mixed. Many say that some of the hand examples aren't representative of the lower-stake games and that some of the hand examples are not quite up to par. I'm mainly looking to read through hand examples, contrived or not, to help me see what sort of things I should be thinking about during a hand of PLO.

  • Pot-Limit Omaha Poker: Jeff Hwang seems to have written a solid book about PLO. Reviews are great and the material seems to be a well-balanced mix of everything I'd need to start seeing good results in PLO. I honestly feel that PLO is going to be the next big game - especially the short-handed games. Hopefully Jeff will be able to give me a good head-start on everyone else jumping on the PLO bandwagon.
Finally, I'll be spending some quality time with Winning Poker Tournaments One Hand at a Time Volume I. I really respect Rizen's MTT game. He's shown great results and a great attitude towards tournaments (and poker in general) over the past several years. If you've been a regular reader of mine, you'll know that I often wish that I could play more MTTs. I hate grinding out hours of poker without a payoff but I love the feeling of making the money, making the final table, and wining tournaments. I've only won one tournament to date. My hope is that this well-received book will help me get my MTT game up to speed. If I can learn enough to be able to take down a blogger tournament, I'll be happy. Of course, I'd also be quite happy to take down one of the Sunday majors too.

Have a great day everyone!

Keep reading "A Growing Library"

A Return to the Good Old Days

I just finished playing a few hours of poker. I had a pretty good night thanks to a solid fixed limit hold'em session at PokerStars' $1/$2 6-max tables.

When I started playing poker a few years back, fixed limit hold'em was the game of choice for most online grinders. Back in poker's great old days, it was possible to make a fairly good living off of bonuses, rakeback, and 2-3 BB/100.

Things are a little different nowadays. Bonuses are, quite frankly, shit. Anyone remember those big Party Poker bonuses that you could clear in an few hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon?

In any case, I made the move to no-limit hold'em last year along with the rest of the poker world. Fixed limit games were getting less popular. The fish wanted the "excitement" of no-limit hold'em (even though fixed limit hold'em is pretty fast-paced, exciting, and swingy as a bastard). The limit games got really tight as the sharks and ABC TAGs struggled to maintain positive win rates despite poor table conditions and terrible bonus clearing requirements.

Tonight I dipped my toe into the fixed limit hold'em waters at PokerStars for the first time in two years. Imagine my surprise to see that there were tons of full tables packed with sharks, fish, and everything in between.

It only took me a few seconds to find a table with two 70%+ VP$IP players seated. I took when the taking was good and moved to a new table when the fish found themselves felted. Lather, rinse, repeat and I ended up finishing off a solid hour or so of poker in the black.

Over the next few days, I'd like to continue to brush up on my limit hold'em skills. If at all possible, I'd like to try my hand at the $2/$4 6-max tables. Although there are a many situations that I'm unfamiliar with while playing fixed limit hold'em, I think that my game's good enough to give $2/$4 a solid shot.

I like the 6-max tables thanks to the looser hand requirements and the greater number of opportunities to isolate the fish. The games can be pretty swingy but I need to work on maintaining my A-game despite poor short-term results. I may end up focusing on fixed limit hold'em cash games and no-limit hold'em single table tournaments (a.k.a. sit-n-gos) for the month of November and see how things go.

Ok, it's late and I have to get to bed. Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be on vacation until next Wednesday but I may take the time to write a few late night posts should inspiration strike.

Keep reading "A Return to the Good Old Days"

The First Step

It took a little bit of work but I've finally finished off my preliminary (yet fairly comprehensive) list of PokerGoals. I still have a number of sections to add for various Cash Games such as PLO and 5-card draw but those will come in time. Looking over the goals that I've set for myself, I'm in for quite the challenge over the coming months and years.

I was looking for focus and purpose in my game and I think I've found it. Not only am I ready to tackle the challenge at hand but I'm excited by the prospect of pushing myself harder than ever before. I'm sure that both my game and my bankroll will improve vastly in the coming months and years. I also hope that this huge challenge that I've set for myself ends up being entertaining for my readers.

Every journey starts with a single step; I started my poker journey last night and picked up my very first PokerGoal.

It's fitting that everything kicks off at the once-mighty Party Poker. Party Poker helped make online poker what it is - or at least what it was when things were great. Party gave me $15 to do with as I pleased. At around 10:30 last night, I fired up two $6 STTs (I'll use this terminology from now on to describe any single-table sit-n-go). Micro stakes, I know, but please keep in mind that I hadn't played any poker in a month. I also lacked the funds at Party to play two $11 STTs.

In my first STT, I bubbled out in 4th when my TT ran into an opponent's 55. Presto came through for my opponent as he spiked his set on the flop.

The other STT went much better. I was able to pick up AA twice, DQB'd Queens with my AQ, and also hit top two with AK. There's nothing easier than taking down an STT when you're getting hit by the deck.

Heads-up lasted one hand: my AA versus my opponent's J5. I picked up $25 for my win. My wife, who'd been watching the whole affair rather intently, was quick to congratulate me on my win. I smiled and told her that her comment had just earned me my first 5 PokerPoints as I picked up my "Wife cheers you on after a MTT or STT win" PokerGoal.

Sure - my wife thinks I'm crazy. But I know that she loves me more than anyone else on the planet. And I couldn't think of a more fitting first step than the one I took last night.

Have a great day everyone! Please feel free to continue commenting on the whole PokerGoal nonsense that I've taken on with such gusto. Thanks to Kurokitty and Waffles for throwing in their two cents.

Keep reading "The First Step"

PokerGoals

Many players set goals for themselves when it comes to playing poker. I've set many goals for myself in the past: some were met, others cast aside. The true genius of goals is that they provide a means of focusing on your game. Meeting an arbitrary goal can do wonders for your game, your confidence, and your bankroll.

You'll find a list of PokerGoals® that I'm going to work towards clearing (or unlocking to borrow the Xbox 360's terminology) below. There are four categories of PokerGoals: Career/Bankroll, Cash Games, Single Table Tournaments, and Multi-Table Tournaments.

Each of these categories contain a number of different PokerGoals. Clearing a PokerGoal is worth a certain number of PokerPoints® that will be added to my overall PokerScore®. Each category of PokerGoals (except the Cash Games category) contains 1000 available PokerPoints that can be earned and added to my PokerScore. The Cash Games category will offer 250 general, non-game-specific PokerPoints as well as 250 PokerPoints for any one specific type of poker. For instance, 250 PokerPoints can be cleared via no-limit hold'em; 250 more for fixed limit hold'em; 250 PokerPoints for pot-limit Omaha; and so on.

My PokerScore is a completely arbitrary (and some would say meaningless) number that I'll track on this site's homepage. It will provide me with a quick glance at my overall progress as a well-rounded and successful poker player. If I can earn all possible PokerPoints, I would most definitely be ready to become a full-time professional poker player. That being said, many of the PokerGoals that I'll be creating will be extremely difficult to clear.

There are a few more things that I'd like to mention before we get to my actual PokerGoals:

  • The list of PokerGoals will change over time as I add PokerGoals to my list. Any such additions will always increase the total number of PokerPoints available by 250.
  • Completed PokerGoals will be date-stamped to provide a clear, chronological view of my successes as a poker player.
  • Unless otherwise stated, PokerGoals may be completed at any buy-in level, any game, or any table stakes.
  • This page will be linked to my hompage in the "Now Playing" section of the right-most column.
  • The following acronyms will be used throughout the PokerGoal list:
    • No-Limit Hold'em (NL)
    • Fixed Limit Hold'em (FL)
    • Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO)
    • Fixed Limit Omaha Hi-Lo (O8)
    • Fixed Limit 7-Card Stud Hi (7S)
    • Fixed Limit 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo (7S8)
    • Fixed Limit Razz (RAZZ)
    • Fixed Limit Triple Draw (TD)
    • Mixed games such as HORSE, HOE, HOSE, HO, and HA (MIXED)

PokerGoals Cleared: 14 / 202
PokerPoints Earned: 75 / 2000

CAREER & BANKROLL
PokerGoalPokerPointsDate Cleared
Win $100 in 1 day - do not count rakeback or bonuses (1 hour min.)511/25/08
Win $500 in 1 day - do not count rakeback or bonuses (1 hour min.)10
Win $1000 in 1 day - do not count rakeback or bonuses (1 hour min.)20
Win $5000 in 1 day - do not count rakeback or bonuses (1 hour min.)50
Win a $50 pot511/09/08
Win a $100 pot511/10/08
Win a $200 pot1011/10/08
Win a $500 pot20
Win a $1000 pot30
Earn $50 rakeback in 1 month5
Earn $100 rakeback in 1 month10
Earn $500 rakeback in 1 month15
Earn $1000 rakeback in 1 month25
Clear a bonus511/08/08
Make a purchase in the Full Tilt store5
Make a purchase in the PokerStars VIP store5
Increase bankroll by $500 in 1 month.512/01/08
Increase bankroll by $1000 in 1 month.10
Increase bankroll by $5000 in 1 month.20
Increase bankroll by $10000 in 1 month.50
Earn $10000 in 1 year (include bonuses, rakeback, and winnings)100
Earn $25000 in 1 year (include bonuses, rakeback, and winnings)150
Earn $50000 in 1 year (include bonuses, rakeback, and winnings)200
Earn $20/hr or more - do not count rakeback or bonuses (50 hours min.)10
Earn $50/hr or more - do not count rakeback or bonuses (50 hours min.)20
Earn $100/hr or more - do not count rakeback or bonuses (50 hours min.)35
Play poker on 5 consecutive days (5 hours min.)511/09/08
Play poker on 15 consecutive days (15 hours min.)10
Play poker on 30 consecutive days (30 hours min.)20
Have a winning month at the tables (10 hours min.)512/01/08
Have 3 consecutive winning months at the tables (30 hours min.)15
Have a winning month immediately following a losing month (10 hours min., must win back more than what was lost)10
Donate $500 from bankroll to charity of choice.10
Donate $1000 from bankroll to charity of choice.20
Donate $5000 from bankroll to charity of choice.50
Cancel plans to play poker in order to spend time with kids.511/08/08
Cancel plans to play poker in order to spend time with wife.511/20/08
Wife encourages you to play poker without any prompting or hinting.511/09/08
Wife cheers you on after a MTT or STT win.511/05/08
Wife consoles you after a devastating loss or poor session.5
Wife congratulates you after a solid cash game session.511/07/08
Random stranger asks you if you're going to play in the WSOP5
SINGLE TABLE TOURNAMENTS (STTs)
PokerGoalPointsDate Cleared
Play 10 or more STTs in one session5
Play 100 or more STTs in one calendar month10
Win 3 or more STTs in one session15
Accidentally register and play a FL STT when you meant to play a NL STT
0
Win an accidentally played FL STT.5
Win 3 STTs in a row15
Play a STT blind (i.e. without looking at cards)
5
Win a STT blind (i.e. without looking at cards)15
Win 5 consecutive STTs when making it to heads-up play.10
Lose 5 consecutive STTs when making it to heads-up play.5
Lose 10 consecutive STTs (fail to make the money)5
Win a STT by open-shoving every hand; fold or shove otherwise.5
Win a STT with a 100% VP$IP10
Earn $500 in STT winnings10
Earn $1000 in STT winnings20
Earn $5000 in STT winnings40
Earn $10000 in STT winnings70
Play a NL STT (buy-in $50+)5
Play a NL STT (buy-in $200+)10
Play a FL STT (buy-in $50+)5
Play a PLO (or O8) STT (buy-in $50+)10
Play a Razz STT (buy-in $50+)10
Play a MIXED STT (buy-in $50+)10
Play 7S (or 7S8) STT (buy-in $50+)10
Win a NL STT (buy-in $10+)55
Win a NL STT (buy-in $20+)5
Win a NL STT (buy-in $50+)5
Win a NL STT (buy-in $100+)10
Win a FL STT (buy-in $10+)5
Win a FL STT (buy-in $20+)5
Win a FL STT (buy-in $50+)5
Win a PLO/O8 STT (buy-in $10+)5
Win a PLO/O8 STT (buy-in $20+)5
Win a PLO/O8 STT (buy-in $50+)5
Win a PLO/O8 STT (buy-in $100+)10
Win a Razz STT (buy-in $10+)10
Win a Razz STT (buy-in $20+)10
Win a Razz STT (buy-in $50+)10
Win a 7S/7S8 STT (buy-in $10+)10
Win a 7S/7S8 STT (buy-in $20+)10
Win a 7S/7S8 STT (buy-in $50+)10
Win a MIXED STT (buy-in $10+)10
Win a MIXED STT (buy-in $20+)10
Win a MIXED STT (buy-in $50+)10
Play 100 NL STTs5
Play 50 FL STTs5
Play 50 PLO/O8 STTs5
Play 20 Razz STTs5
Play 20 7S/7S8 STTs5
Play 20 MIXED STTs5
Play 500 NL STTs15
Play 200 FL STTs15
Play 200 PLO/O8 STTs15
Play 100 Razz STTs15
Play 100 7S/7S8 STTs15
Play 100 MIXED STTs15
Win 20 NL STTs10
Win 50 NL STTs20
Win 100 NL STTs30
Win 20 FL STTs10
Win 50 FL STTs20
Win 20 PLO/O8 STTs10
Win 10 Razz STTs10
Win 10 7S/7S8 STTs10
Win 10 MIXED STTs10
Win 50 PLO/O8 STTs20
Win 30 Razz STTs20
Win 30 7S/7S8 STTs20
Win 30 MIXED STTs20
Maintain an ROI of 5% over 100 consecutive NL STTs.5
Maintain an ROI of 10% over 100 consecutive NL STTs.10
Maintain an ROI of 20% over 100 consecutive NL STTs.20
Maintain an ROI of 5% over 50 consecutive FL STTs.5
Maintain an ROI of 10% over 50 consecutive FL STTs.10
Maintain an ROI of 20% over 50 consecutive FL STTs.20
Maintain an ROI of 5% over 50 consecutive PLO/O8 STTs.5
Maintain an ROI of 10% over 50 consecutive PLO/O8 STTs.10
Maintain an ROI of 20% over 50 consecutive PLO/O8 STTs.20
Maintain an ROI of 5% over 30 consecutive Razz STTs.5
Maintain an ROI of 10% over 30 consecutive Razz STTs.10
Maintain an ROI of 15% over 30 consecutive Razz STTs.20
Maintain an ROI of 5% over 30 consecutive 7S/7S8 STTs.5
Maintain an ROI of 10% over 30 consecutive 7S/7S8 STTs.10
Maintain an ROI of 15% over 30 consecutive 7S/7S8 STTs.20
Maintain an ROI of 5% over 30 consecutive MIXED STTs.5
Maintain an ROI of 10% over 30 consecutive MIXED STTs.10
Maintain an ROI of 15% over 30 consecutive MIXED STTs.20
MULTI-TABLE TOURNAMENTS (MTTs)
Play 100 multi-table tournaments (50+ players)10
Play 500 multi-table tournaments (18+ players)20
Satellite into a $200+ buy-in tournament.10
Cash in three consecutive MTTs.10
Cash in 50 MTTs (18+ players)10
Cash in 100 MTTs (18+ players)20
Cash in 200 MTTs (18+ players)40
Earn $1000 or more playing MTTs10
Earn $10000 or more playing MTTs30
Earn $25000 or more playing MTTs100
Win a first place prize of $1000 or more.25
Win a first place prize of $5000 or more.50
Win a first place prize of $10000 or more.150
Make 10 final tables (50+ players)10
Make 20 final tables (50+ players)20
Make 50 final tables (50+ players)100
Make the final table in an MTT with a buy-in of $50 or more.20
Make the final table in an MTT with a buy-in of $200 or more.50
Win a freeroll tournament (100+ players)10
Win a PokerStars FPP tournament10
Win an MTT with a buy-in of $1 - $910
Win an MTT with a buy-in of $10 - $1920
Win an MTT with a buy-in of $20 - $2930
Win an MTT with a buy-in of $30 - $9940
Win an MTT with a buy-in of $100 or more150
Play a Blogger tournament.5
Make the final table in a blogger tournament.5
Win a blogger tournament.15
Get "hammered" out of a Blogger tournament by an opponent's seven-deuce offsuit5
Be the lone chipleader in an MTT for at least one full hand (500+ players)5
Make money by staking a player in an MTT5
Refuse a deal at the final table.5
CASH GAMES
GENERAL GOALS
Earn $1000 in cash game winnings - do not include rakeback or bonues5
Earn $5000 in cash game winnings - do not include rakeback or bonues10
Earn $10000 in cash game winnings - do not include rakeback or bonues20
Earn $25000 in cash game winnings - do not include rakeback or bonues40
Earn $50000 in cash game winnings - do not include rakeback or bonuses60
Win 5 consecutive cash game sessions5
Win 10 consecutive cash game sessions15
Lose 5 consecutive cash game sessions0
Lose 10 consecutive cash game sessions0
Average $20/hour playing non-holdem cash games (min. 30 hours)10
Average $50/hour playing non-holdem cash games (min. 30 hours)25
Average $50/hour playing NL and FL cash games (min. 30 hours)10
Average $100/hour playing NL and FL cash games (min. 30 hours)30
Put an opponent on tilt by hitting a one- or two-outer on the river; opponent must sit out out or stack off within two orbits of getting rivered.5
Get challenged to a heads-up game by an opponent.5
Accept an opponent's challenge to play heads-up and win10
NO-LIMIT HOLD'EM
Have 10 winning sessions at $200 NL5
Have 10 winning sessions at $400 NL5
Have 10 winning sessions at $600 NL5
Have 20 winning sessions at $1000 NL (or higher)30
Play 10K hands at $200 NL5
Play 10K hands at $400 NL5
Play 10K hands at $600 NL5
Play 30K hands at $1000 NL (or higher)20
Winning player at $200 NL over 10K hands10
Winning player at $400 NL over 10K hands20
Winning player at $600 NL over 10K hands40
Winning player at $1000 NL (or higher) over 30K hands100
LIMIT HOLD'EM
Have 10 winning sessions at $2/$4 FL5
Have 10 winning sessions at $3/$6 (or $4/$8) FL10
Have 10 winning sessions at $5/$10 FL10
Have 20 winning sessions at $10/$20 FL (or higher)30
Play 10K hands at $2/$4 FL5
Play 10K hands at $3/$6 (or $4/$8) FL5
Play 10K hands at $5/$10 FL10
Play 30K hands at $10/$20 FL (or higher)20
Winning player at $2/$4 FL over 10K hands10
Winning player at $3/$6 FL (or $4/$8) over 10K hands15
Winning player at $5/$10 FL over 10K hands30
Winning player at $10/$20 FL (or higher) over 30K hands100

NOTE: A cash game session is defined as a period of one hour or more spent playing at one or more tables. The hour-long session need not be contiguous nor must it be spent at one table (i.e two thirty minute sessions spent at two distinct tables would be considered a session).

Keep reading "PokerGoals"

A New Outlook...Again!

Thanks to yesterday's post, my mind has started drifting back towards poker again. It's funny how that always seems to happen. I started to think about poker at about 2:30 am this morning. Don't you hate it when you start examining your life at such a late (or early) hour?

It's not that I feel that I've wasted my life. My wife and kids are proof that I've done something with myself and that my life has meaning. But I can do a lot more for my family. Although I could simply work a whole lot more and make more money, that's not really the point. I want to make more money but also spend time with my family and enjoy my bit of free time in the process. How does one make money without sacrificing family time or free time? I can only think of three possibilities: lottery, investing, or poker. I'm too smart to play the lottery and I don't have enough capital to make any worthwhile investments. From where I'm sitting, it looks like poker is my only shot here.

The only problem facing me right now is deciding how I'd like to spend my poker time. And I've come up with a ingenious solution that should do the trick in keeping me motivated to play while also having tons of fun.

I'm going to treat poker like a video game; specifically, like an Xbox 360 game. I'm going to create a list of PokerGoals® that I need to unlock by playing poker. Each PokerGoal® will have be worth a number of PokerPoints®. All PokerPoints® earned will be represented by my overall PokerScore®. Much like my Xbox 360 GamerScore, my PokerScore® will represent, at a glance, my overall success as a well-rounded poker player.

I'm going to come up with a list of PokerGoals® that I'll work towards clearing. I will keep a few concepts in mind while coming up with a list of mini-goals:

  • Achievements will cover a variety of poker games including no-limit hold'em, limit hold'em, H.O.R.S.E., pot-limit Omaha, limit Omaha/8, five card draw, razz, triple draw, and 7-card stud.
  • Achievements will include career goals, in-game goals, and situation specific goals that may force me to deviate from accepted strategy just for the sake of fun or experimentation.
  • New achievements may be added to the existing list based on new ideas that I'd like to incorporate into my game and recommendations or suggestions from my readers, friends, or family.
I'll post my achievement list in the next few days. It may take me a little while to come up with some nifty and fun goals. In the meantime, I have a couple requests from my readers:
  1. I'll gladly welcome any e-mails regarding any free and downloadable poker videos that cover games other than NLHE and LHE cash games.
  2. If you have any PokerGoals® that you'd like to see me work towards, feel free let me know via e-mail or via comments below.
I hope that this new outlook on poker will help me better identify and what I like about poker. I really think it's a great game despite my recent lapse from the tables.

Have a good one!

Keep reading "A New Outlook...Again!"

I've been thinking...

I played a lot of Fallout 3 over the weeekend. I also enjoyed some quality time with my wife and kids.

It's a new week and I'm starting to look at what role I want poker to play in my life...again.

Seriously - how annoying is it that I maintain this cycle of poker boom, poker apathy, self-reflection, and poker hiatus? After having taken some time away from the game, here's my current thinking: I'm never going to be a big time poker player. Just won't happen. I can make more (and far easier) money working my day job. So I'm thinking that I need to approach poker as a hobby. My biggest problem, however, is that I can't play cash game poker for fun. It just won't happen.

Sure, at first, I'm all about just sitting back and enjoying the poker. Lose a buy-in, win back a couple buy-ins, and generally relax while making fun of the donkeys at my tables. But after a few weeks and a modicum of success at these games, I start to look at my hourly rate. My "fun" hobby has now turned into a second job. When things inevitably go poorly and I start to smell the sweet stink of variance, my game goes south and I start disliking poker.

At this point in time, I'm not sure what to do. I can try playing some sit-n-gos again. I find SNGs frustrating but I never view them as a means of making serious money (though some bloggers have proven me wrong on this point). Admittedly, I've looked at my ROI and started to wonder at which buy-in I'd have to play to maintain a good hourly return. But again, that's the kind of thinking that puts me on full-blown hiatus tilt.

Maybe I should just become a casual poker player? I'm not even sure what this means. Play the occasional SNG or MTT. Maybe I should try the occasional blogger tournament? Forget about the money and just play when I feel like it. If I win, so be it. If I lose, who cares?

I could cash out the bulk of my bankroll and take advantage of the favourable exchange rate. Buy myself and my family some nice, new things. Approach poker in a new light. I could use this site, my blog, to discuss more than just poker. Strangely enough, I find my readership tends to drop when I discuss poker and poker theory. Honestly, I can't see me putting out anything better than my SAGE post from a couple years back so maybe poker theory isn't something that I should focus on. And for the record, I'm aware of the irony that my most successful post deals with a form of poker that I can't seem to beat.

I've always strived to be open and honest about my experiences as a poker player. I've never lied about my results. I've tried to become more than a mediocre poker player but things haven't worked out. In the end, I don't have the drive to become the best at the game. Family, friends, video games, and a number of other distractions will always get in the way of me and true poker greatness. I hate being forced to settle with my game as it is but I'm not sure I have much say in the matter.

For those of you who stopped paying attention a few paragraphs ago, let me sum up what I'm trying to say here:

  • I like poker.
  • But I also like many other things much more than poker.
  • I wanted to be a great poker player but it ain't gonna happen.
  • I want to lessen my focus on results and try to enjoy poker regardless of the effect this will have on my bankroll or my future as a poker player. Easier said than done, though.
  • I want to broaden the focus of my site to include non-poker content without lessening my site's appeal to my readers and random Internet audience.
  • I'm sure everything will be back to normal and I'll be playing cash game poker like a madman regardless of what I've written today: it's all part of the cycle.
I guess we'll see what happens around here in the next little while. The next time I play poker, I'm going to play some SNGs. I'll play a little hold'em, some PLO, and maybe some other games. I'll cash out some of my bankroll and try to enjoy some of what life has to offer.

And that's all for now. Have a good one.

Keep reading "I've been thinking..."

Happy Hallowe'en!

Kids across the world are getting themselves ready for tonight. Dinners will be eaten quickly. Costumes will donned. Big pillowcases will be placed in little hands, sweaty with the anticipation of what is to come.

Tonight is Hallowe'en!

For the kids, tonight's all about eating lots of candy and getting stomach aches.

For the adults, snuggling up with a loved one to watch a scary movie or putting in some time with a scary video game is are both good plans.

As for me, I'm not sure what I'll be doing after the kids are safely tucked away in their beds. It's unfortunate that my little guys are both too young for trick-or-treating. And they don't really need candies or chocolates either. I'm not even sure if I bough enough chocolate for the kids who'll be showing up at our door. I blame the economy!

What are you going to be doing? If you're going to the movie theatre, there's that new Saw V movie. I don't have the stomach for it myself (which is, quite frankly, surprising).




But if you're looking for a really scary movie to watch at home, might I suggest The Shining?


I seem to recall the movie being much scarier than this movie trailer would suggest. I'm old and don't remember so good. Check it out with your kids and let me know!

Mind you, I'm not sure which is scarier: The Shining or ...



Have a safe and happy Hallowe'en everyone!



Just in case you didn't get the joke earlier, please don't watch The Shining with your kids. It will seriously f*ck them up for life. Here's an official trailer for that movie. FYI: that's blood in the trailer and not fruit punch. And trust me, the trailer does not do the movie justice: it is extremely scary and disturbing.


Keep reading "Happy Hallowe'en!"