Tuesday, January 03, 2006

2006 Kickoff

2005 was a moderately good year, with plenty of squandered opportunities. Here's to making the best of 2006!


Mucho thanks to Scurvy for his shoutout of this blog in his Review of Poker Blogs. I'm quite honored (actually honoured, as I'm Canadian) since Scurvy is quite simply one of the best poker bloggers on the net. He consistently puts out high quality, informative content, and I wish him success in his upcoming forays into the world of full-time poker playing.

It is really stretching it to call this a poker strategy blog, because it is simply a journal of my experiences. Occasionally, I'll encounter an interesting situation that I'll need to write out in its entirety to get closure on the subject. While I think these are the most helpful things for me to write about, they just don't happen that often. More often than not, when I go back and read my old postings I have a strong desire to just delete them.

Prior to this shoutout, I'd say that my personal highlight from writing this blog was receiving an unsolicted comment from ChrisF regarding a $20/$40 hand I played. Naturally his comment was pointing out what a donkey I am, but that's besides the point. This is Chris F'in Fargis.

Holiday play

Early on in the holiday week I took a rough case of the unmentionable deep in a $500 buy in event finishing just short of the bubble having started the last hand with a decent sized stack. This disturbed me much more than it should have. For those Top-Gun fans, "I'm hangin on too tight... I've lost the edge".

For most of the remaining week, I took a vacation from Poker stress, and played the easiest hold'em game on the net (from the combined difficulty/variance/hourly-rate POV): $100NL on Party. 8-tabling those games is less stressful than 2-tabling $10/$20 6-max. Another motivator for sticking to those games is for rake-minimization. I'm honestly, but stupidly, not getting the (other) unmentionable, and in the absence of any reasonable promotions, it seemed just as well to "take a break". (the only other thing I considered was taking advantage of the Stars double FPP points promo for the last week of December which essentially works out to $0.032/raked hand, however my rationale is that shortly after the Stars VIP kicks off, I will never be earning less than double FPPs ever again. Might as well save the play for VPP accumulation)

speaking of which...
Stars VIP

The Stars VIP program is semi-reasonable in lieu of the unmentionable, at least at moderately low limit - 9 seated tables. Assuming a significant number of hands played (and you accept things like a freeroll into a $200+$15 event at face value), the VIP program works out to roughly $0.016/raked hand at BronzeStar, $0.024/rh at SilverStar, $0.032/rh at GoldStar, $0.04/rh at PlatinumStar, and $0.056/rh at SuperNova. Converting these numbers into BB/100h at stakes such as $2/$4 and $3/$6 LHE works out to generous returns since the average-rake/rh at those levels is only slightly above $1. Coupled with 9-max games, this can provide barely break-even grinders a profitable, but unsatisfying existence.


Anyhow, New year's comes around, and I make a concerted effort to level up ASAP. Funny enough, I somehow decided to kick off the first hour playing $0.50/$1.00NL. After 4-tabling for an hour, I had a whopping 46 VPPs, so that was enough of that. I then fire up 7-tables of $3/$6 9-max (granted starting with 1 table, adding each additional table after 5 or more minutes, since I have been so spoiled by the ability on Party to datamine 16 billion hands before sitting down for the first time, and pretty much require having ~some~ hand history before multitabling.) My goal was to make Gold Star by the end of the second day and PlatinumStar by the time my wife returns home from her trip next week. Again, nice goals, but can I follow through?


I work my way up to about 1300VPPs (1500 needed to Silver, and 4k needed for Gold) when I decide it is time to take a break, head on down to the gym and get a nice New Year's workout. I didn't mention that the night before I had sneezed a couple of times, and that I had a ticklish nose when I woke up on New Years Day. Anyway, shortly after I got back from my workout, an impending case of the flu hit me square in the head.

I haven't had anything worse than a mild cold so far this decade, and this felt like my head was stuck in a vice. I was soon in no condition to be walking around, let alone trying to go out and drive around trying to find a pharmacy that was open on New Year's Day. For the next 18 hours, I tried on and off to sleep through an achy, sweaty miserable night. The next morning, when I was reasonably sure that the nearby Safeway would be open, I made the trip out and picked up whatever I could find that provided maximum relief for Sinus pain.

After doping up, I was actually able to get a few hours of real sleep, and then wake up in the mood to rack up some more VPPs. I worked my way up to about 2k points before realizing it was quite premature to call an end to my flu bug. However, during that session I had the pleasure of sitting at one table with Dr. Pauly. I believe we only faced off 2 hands - the first of which Dr. Pauly called my river bluff when we both missed our flush draw, and the other hand he paid me off all the way with top pair worse kicker. I'm content to have an even-Steven situation with a fellow blogger. I'm pretty sure he didn't know who I was anyway.

Grand Larceny of focus

One pretty disappointing thing about multitabling at Stars is the fact that whenever you are prompted for an action at a table, the Stars GUI client sets the focus to that table. This makes it EXTREMELY dangerous to use keyboard shortcuts a-la-autohotkey. It was actually roughly 45 minutes of multitabling before I realized this behavior. Initially I was just thinking that I was making a heck of a lot of misclicks.

This sets me back to using the mouse only to multitable at Stars. As I said earlier, my possible RSI condition is discouraging me from overusing the mouse, but from the days of Starcraft/Zerg, I've often been in the house of thought that "why click just once, when 3 or 4 times will get the job done with even more certainty?". I've been unlearning this behavior, but at any rate, this is discouraging from the point of view of attempting to get to SuperNova status without wrecking my hand.


It is not looking like I'm going to come anywhere near my original timeline for leveling up through the Stars VIP program. Based on some 2+2 threads, it sounds like some maniacs made it to PlatinumStar in the first 24 hours. At any rate, I've been running very good in all these low limit games for the last week or so, and this kind of positive reinforcement has been good for my psyche regardless of other progress.

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