Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Notes to self

MTT Rules to live by
1. When playing against a loose passive player
1a. value bet, value bet, value bet
1b. don't be concerned with overbetting as it really doesn't apply; be concerned about underbetting (in many cases betting the pot against said player could be considered an underbet)
2. If said loose passive player check raises you all in:
2a. think carefully with 2nd nuts
2b. think very carefully with 3rd nuts
2c. for each level of nuts beyond this, add another "very". If you've got a lot of "very"s in that line, send that hand into the muck. (Yes, 13th nuts is a lot of very's)
2d. if you have a borderline number of very's and are still thinking about calling, try to imagine that someone who you have mutual respect with has substantially staked you in this MTT. Consider if you can present a reasonable case for calling. (e.g. you have insufficient pot odds against Villain's range, but when folding your M is less than 1)
3. When raising to steal a tight player's blinds, raise no more than is necessary to make TP fold the majority of his/her hands.

Always look on the brighter side...

A good way to summarize my tournament yesterday was that I danced around for several hours and was only put to the test one time. I failed miserably.

While I was slouching around at home and feeling disgusted with myself, my wife asks me if I had fun. I felt a lot like a kid coming back from a loss in a little league game where the parent is telling the child that the most important thing is to have fun. However, I have to admit I really did have a great time. Albeit, it was a short run... less than 8 hours.

Here is a recap of my experience with Phil Ivey. (Note: I am not a poker star celebrity worshipper. I merely had the pleasure of getting involved in a number of hands with him. Originally when I saw my table draw with me sitting on his right, I expected to not get involved in any hands with him. The $5k bounty on his head definitely affected how I played with him)
- Phil showed up about 10 minutes late. He looked very sleepy and was a bit taken back when the dealer insisted on him showing his photo ID. He was seated in 5s; I was in 2s.
- He was only moderately aggressive perhaps getting involved in 15% of the pots in level 1, and 25% of the pots in level 2 (busting on the very last hand of level 2). He always opened for a raise if folded to him in CO+1 or later.
- I did not play a hand for the first 40 minutes; in the 2nd half of level 1 I raised preflop twice, once taking the blinds, and once being called by BB in 6s who folded to my continuation bet on a AKx flop.
- In the 2nd level I consciously became more frisky feeling comfortable with how the people at my table were playing.

Here are some hands that occured over a roughly 40 minute period. Most are not interesting, but I list them trying to set the context for how I may be perceived in the later hands. All of these hands occured in level 2 with 50/100 blinds (10k starting chips)
- I open raise 300 in CO+2 with 8s9s and take the blinds.
- Next hand, I open raise 300 in CO+1 with 66. Only Phil calls in the SB. Flop comes 762 with 2 diamonds; as Bill Rini would say, "Obviously I didn't have a diamond..." (7c6d2d). Phil check folds to my pot size bet.
- Phil opens UTG for 300, semi loose aggressive in 6s flat calls, folded to me in CO and I call with two black 7s, folded behind me. Flop comes something like 873 rainbow. It is checked to me. I consider checking behind. 6s I put on 2 big cards, but I am scared to give Phil a free card here since his opening range is very wide (although I would expect him to continuation bet with anything that connects with the flop or if he had an overpair). I bet 1/2 pot, both fold. This seems like a great opportunity to have slow played.
- I open raise 300 in CO+1 with ATo. Only Phil calls in the SB. Flop comes Kh7s5s. Phil checks, and as I had made a flop bet of some kind on ~every~ hand I had raised preflop so far (~5-6 by this point), I checked behind. Turn comes offsuit 8, I fold to Phil's 2/3 pot sized bet.
- Folded to a semi loose semi aggressive SB in the 1s who completes (He has a ~20k stack from successfully getting involved in a significant number of hands). I raise to 350 with AcJd. SB calls. Flop comes 2d5d4h, SB checks, for the 2nd consecutive time I elect to check behind on the flop. Turn comes 8d. SB bets 500, I raise to 2000, SB quickly calls. River comes 3c, SB check folds to my 3000 bet. (probably a zero value bet by me there....I think I was embarassed to show my hand and bet anyway.) SB tells me he had a PP...????
- I open raise 300 in CO+1 with TdTh, only Phil calls in SB (he has ~9k, I have ~14k). Flop comes 972 rainbow. Phil check raises my 1k bet to 4k. I think for about 20 seconds, but I just don't believe he check raises me here with a better hand. I decide the pot is big enough, so I reraise to 7k and he turbo mucks. (Isn't there a full tilt magazine ad with a hand like this? Something like You are dealt TT, Limp in or All in? Fun stuff living in a fantasy world...)
- Phil open raises 300 in MP, semi lag in MP+1 calls, folded to semi lag SB who calls, I call with Ad9c. Flop comes 973 rainbow. Blinds check, Phil bets 1200, MP+1 folds, SB calls. SB had flop check raised a few times so far, so I am confident I am ahead of him. Phil has less than 4k left so I check raise 4000 more. (is this getting too carried away?) Phil turbo mucks, SB thinks for more than 30 seconds before mucking saying he thinks he folded the best hand.
- Phil busts a couple of hands later making a move on the 10s.. I don't have the details as I had already run off to beat the rush to the restroom.


Since I have nothing to prepare for tomorrow (i.e. Day 3), I've had plenty of time to think about my bustout hand from last night. Initially I focused all my attention on my awful all in call, but after further reflection I realize that there was a second category of major mistake in this hand; namely betting errors.

I was open raising in the CO with a very loose but mostly passive opponent in the BB. He had shown the ability to make preflop calls like an 8.5x bb call in the UTG+1 position with Ax (no idea what x was as the hand did not reach showdown, and yes there was some unconventional betting at this table). All of my bets were either under or substantially under the size of the pot.

Had I not made the betting mistakes in the hand, I would not had the opportunity to be check raised all in on the turn. The majority of the time, I would be pushing all in on the turn, and if I was playing very conservatively, I would have checked behind on the turn and then been faced with some kind of bet on the river.

I almost certainly would have chosen the former, and the result would have been the same.

If I had chosen the latter, given the way the BB had been playing he would have bet all in on the river at least 50% of the time. Assuming that I had raised 5xbb preflop and made a slightly larger than pot size bet on the flop (rounding up to the nearest 1000), the all in bet on the river would be 117% of the pot. This fold would theoretically have been easier since my only reason for checking behind on the draw heavy board would be the assumption that my opponent had outdrawn me on the turn. It would still not be an easy fold, but I'm saying I would have been in the mindset to consider cutting my losses.

To summarize, had I made no reasonable mistakes in this hand, I would still likely have gone broke; I would just have felt unlucky and not stupid.

Monday, February 27, 2006


There is no other way to describe it.

I made a ridiculous donk call to a turn check raise all in with top pair top kicker on a draw heavy board from a relatively passive player getting less than 3 to 1. The player was very rarely aggressive, and the absolute worst possible hand that was not a (semi)bluff he could have is the same hand as me. I can fold and still have 63% of average chips. Instead I call with a 3 outer, and bust 105th/250.

The only rationale I could have for putting my opponent on a semibluff is that I had started to get frisky in the last 2 orbits. I had actually been taunting my opponents after check raising them trying to act like a cocky little bastard. However, he was not a sophisticated player, and there was no solid grounds for possibly thinking he was making a move. The majority of the time I am drawing dead. For some insane reason I was able to convince myself that my taunting had worked and he was just fed up with me and pushed with his massive stack.

Missed the Phil Ivey death blow

Things are going okay at the moment. I have slightly over average chips at the dinner break. My M is slightly below 16. Things are going to start getting a little strained in a couple of levels if I can't get some more chips. Basically I have had the same stack for the last 4 hours...

At my starting table, I had Phil Ivey 3 to my left. Things went very well against him, as I managed to acquire about 6500 of his chips. I missed the death blow as seat 10 finished him off a couple of hands later. Damn! That $5k bounty would have been nice.

Interesting I have had only one showdown so far... when the SB slow played his AA to my button open raise and he almost lost a big one when I relatively cheaply got to see the river with an OESD.

Okay, gotta get back...

Big day

Day 1 of the Bay 101 Shooting Stars kicks off in a couple of hours. In my only other foray into a big buy in event, I failed to last 7 hours. Here hoping to monotonically improving performance....

Sunday, February 26, 2006

A question of motivation

I know it is a ~really~ stupid way to operate, but the last few days I have been focusing more intently during my sessions simply because I am on a substantial multi-session win streak. Previous history should be irrelevant, but I feel more motivated not to make stupid mistakes. A disciplined mind should provide optimal decisions independent of results.

Okay, all I wanna do is go out and play some good poker...results don't matter, they don't matter.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Stay away you sick twisted freaks!

I took a look at the referring URLs to this blog from sitemeter.

With a blog entitled "donkey hunter", you can just imagine some of the google queries that end up here. One of these days I'm going to have to make a top ten list.

However, the donkey-related queries are not the ones that freak me out. The guy I worry about is the one who is searching for "poker bad beat stories". Can you really not get enough of these?

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The wheels have fallen off the wagon

The last 5 poker days have been a moderate disaster, and my bankroll-safety-control-mechanism demands analysis of how this occured. My peak to trough in that period was ~$4,000, and my net loss for that period was ~$3,500.

Loss breakdown:
1) 42% $50+5 Party SNGs - 92 SNGs, 23% ITM, -32% ROI
2) 40% live $20/$40, -37.9BB, in roughly 6.5 session hours
3) 17% WPT Super ($200 rebuy)
4) 2% Small stakes online hold'em

1) The 92 SNGs consisted of 4 sets of 20 and 3 mini sets of 4.
Significant problem areas:
- very poor heads up play - 9 2nds vs 3 1sts.
More analysis needs to be done to see if I am pushing too much headsup instead of making smaller preflop raises (in the 300/600 and 400/800 levels)
- very poor bubble play - bubble boy 25/92 times
More in depth analysis needs to be done concerning 2 areas: i) am open I pushing too much on the bubble with no hand?, ii) am I calling too much on the bubble with very probable best hand, but when pusher has me covered?
2) The live $20/$40 sessions were very good games. There were numerous large pots that I lost on the turn or river (yes I know, waah waah). Objectively, I think I made 4, maximum 5 BB of mistakes that I could identify. While ~1BB/hr of mistakes is nothing to be proud of (naturally this can't include the number of undetected mistakes), I'd happily play in this environment every day. It would not surprise me if my long-term rate for those game conditions was +3BB/hr.
3) WPT super was a live $200+25, $200 multi-rebuy, $200 add on event. This is basically a $600+$25 event, so the vig is rather reasonable. There were 2 very good players at my starting table, 2 donks, and 6 relatively reasonable players (11 seated). Do I have enough of an edge to invest the time to go and play in something like this? It did not feel like it on this occasion.
4) The negative results from the small stakes online hold'em session is merely in the noise. Most of the negative results came during "additional" multitabling of SSHE while running the $50+5 SNG sets. Perhaps, I should focus exclusively on SNGs when playing SNGs, though the sample size is fairly small. The benefit of getting in those additional SSHE table hours is the efficiency in picking up Party points for the VIP promo. Is this tradeoff worth it?

Preliminary Conclusion:
Substantial additional study and investigation needs to be done on my SNG game.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fun and exciting times in the land of Party

As everyone is probably aware, Party has released a major site upgrade today.

I am actually surprised how widespread and comprehensive the changes are. At the very least, they have UI changes, tournament structure changes (antes), new games and SNG levels (e.g. 6 max and NL jackpot, smaller stakes SNGs, timed and turbo SNGs), website changes, and Party store changes.

It is pretty surprising to see that Party would ambitiously simultaneously change so many things all at the same time. Not sure why they would choose to do them all simultaneously, but if they can pull it off then kudos, I guess. I hope the transition goes without too many headaches.

The timing of doing this on Thursday morning does make sense. All the hardcore grinders and pros can help to identify issues today, so that the platform will hopefully be stable for the weekend. I noticed this morning that their site status notice kept changing. The site will be up by 11am EST, then 12pm, then 1pm, then 2pm. The revenue loss that Party will take if they are not up during prime time hours is motivation enough for their deployment team. However, doing so many changes at the same time seems like a receipe for headaches. At the very least, their web servers are going to be taking ginormous load for the next few days.

I'm excited about going home tonight and checking out the new changes, assuming the site is up. Hopefully this affair doesn't turn out to be another one of those "what not to do" case studies....

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Don't be a such smartass...don't be such a donk

This is a butchered hand that I need to record as a reminder both not to be too cocky and to remember the importance of immediately recovering mentally from a setback before more damage is done.

(The dealers in this poker room miss plenty of things, so I tend to rely more on my own observations than strictly on the info from the dealer....)


Today I was sitting in a great loose passive live $20/$40 LHE game. It is the 4th table of a chained must move setup. I'm feeling great about my reads; I'm confident; I'm relaxed. Just prior to the hand of interest, I busted the player on my immediate left and 2 people were moved up to the 3rd table of the must move chain. A new player just posted between the button and the SB. I'm seated in seat #8 on the right of the dealer, the poster is on the dealer's immediate right, and the blinds are on the immediate left of the dealer. SB and BB have been playing very loose passive; poster is new to me.

hand #1
7 seated live $20/$40 LHE
- preflop: folded to hero on button (Hero thinks: These blinds are very loose, my min raising standard needs to be 2 suited broadways), Hero looks down and finds KhQh (hey, I got what I asked for! neat, I can win a decent pot with a hand like this), Hero raises, poster folds, SB calls, BB thinks for a couple seconds (hmmm, I see that BB has exactly 1 stack of chips (2.5BB) in his left hand next to his cards, I wonder if he is going to be one of those loose reraisers trying to get all in early...He's been playing very passively, but in this case I really wouldn't mind that much), BB calls (3 players to the flop, pot size: 7SB)
- flop: dealer exposes the flop, immediately SB bets, BB quickly calls, Hero looks to see the Kc3s4d flop ; (Hmmm, I've probably got SB outkicked, no idea what BB has but not a huge concern since he has only 1.5BB left), Hero raises, SB immediately calls (yup, K-rag) , BB immediately calls (still no idea). (3 players to the turn, pot size: 13SB)
- turn: Kc3s4d9c check, check, (easy bet, SB won't check raise me unless I am crushed, and I'm certain he will raise if I am behind), Hero bets, SB quickly calls, BB moves the last 8 chips in his left hand into the pot. (hmmm, okay, I think I like just about any broadway card now; a club won't be nice but it will have no impact on how I play against SB since BB is all in; geez neither SB nor the dealer bothered to call out the all in, but nothing gets past me!) (3 players to the river, pot size 9.5BB)
- river: Kc3s4d9cAh (great, I'm not going to miss my value bet here) SB checks, immediately Hero bets, SB immediately calls, BB announces raise (WTF is going on here!) and stacks up his assorted pile of $5 and $2 chips that were behind his right hand. (Crap crap crap Dave, nice assumption on the all in... okay, I can see SB ready to muck, I need to make the crying call here) BB doesn't have enough $5 chips to make the full raise, but does have enough $2 chips to complete the bet. He stacks them up and says it is a full bet. Hero calls, SB turbo mucks. BB tables his nut wheel. (final pot size 14.5BB)

I don't think BB was intentionally hiding his chips, he just happened to have a messy pile of chips out of my line of sight. I am just very upset with myself for losing my cool after making one mistake and then not considering all the information that was available to me before lighting $40 on fire.

Had I known BB still had chips behind, I would probably still reluctantly have made the value bet on the river (if both players had checked to me; not a given since BB might have bet if he thought I would check behind - I just bet before he had a chance to act and he took advantage), but I think I would be in a clear enough frame of mind to recognize that I'm beat here 100% of the time. To top off the clear signal from the betting pattern of the LP BB, there was the additional strong tell that BB made sure that he had the correct betting amount for a full raise. Despite the 13.5:1 odds, I think this is a correct fold. I'm not convinced I should follow the Chris Fargis mantra of never folding to a raise of a river value bet (at least in this type of game; In a tougher game I won't be faced with this decision since I'm checking behind close to 100% of the time like a little girl; on the very low chance that I did bet and was check raised by a tricky player there are plenty more reasons to make the crying call)


The initial error I made in this hand reminds me of another mistake I made very early in my live cash game hold'em career. Playing a lot of online spoils you from having to avoid making these kinds of misteps...

Monday, February 13, 2006

Time management and game selection

Putting in table hours at the correct time and place are crucial factors in maximizing your hourly rate. This is old news, but I'm amazed how often I choose to forget this simple fact.

The past week has been close to my best-ever non-MTT/satellite-related week. It was achieved in a very simple fashion by multitabling Party's $3/$6BBJ, $10/$20LHE, and $50+$5 SNGs during the peak weeknight hours and live $8/$16 and $20/$40 during the early morning weekend hours with players who had been up all night. I did run better than average for most of the sessions, but my gut feeling is that something like 75% of the net winnings came from ludicrous bets/calls/raises in those great games. I wish I had kept some kind of running statistics to keep track. 1-2 extra BBs every few orbits on every table adds up very quickly (so long as you can keep the anti-tilt armor on tight...) I read some complaints on the 2+2 forums that the 3/6BBJ tables have become a rock garden since the kickoff of the Party VIP Acceler8tor program. This just didn't match what I saw during the times I played, although I can certainly believe it for off peak times. I was generally able to keep at least 6 great tables open at any given time.

In the SNG category, I had initially been worried by pokernerd's comments that the Stars $55+5 Stars Turbos are considerably softer than the Party $50+$5. I've run about 100 of these things at Party, and so far I haven't found that to be the case, at least during those very busy prime time hours when those SNGs are kicking off at a crazy rate. (3 or more bustouts in the first level appeared very frequently; contrastingly overly tight players on the bubble; etc..)

My very last SNG session was started way too late (around 12:30am PST), and the contrast was like night and day. Quite a few of my tables had players from the Tournament Leader Board (TLB). Several of the SNGs were running to the 5th level with 9 or more players still alive. A preflop or flop jam in the first three levels much more frequently means AA/KK and set, respectively (compared to say 66/AJo and any-top-pair/any-draw during prime time). Too frequently, the result of these SNGs came down to the result of just one or two coin flips. Why put in the table time under these conditions? Perhaps it will make you a better player, but, at least in the short term, it is not what is best for the bankroll.

It wasn't applicable this week, but had I been available to play online during the late morning/early afternoon timeframe (Pacific time) I would be putting in table hours at sites that have a higher percentage of the player base consisting European players, such as the Cryptos.

During my live play, I made the mistake of moving from an extremely loose passive $8/$16 LHE to a slightly tighter, slightly more aggressive $20/$40 game. I enjoyed the poker aspects of the $20 game (winning a big 5 way pot on the turn with 2nd nut low has got to be one of the best feelings you can experience in a LHE game) and it still was a pretty good game, but the $8/$16 game almost certainly had a better hourly rate. The table banter environment at the $8/$16 game was also more enjoyable. Don't mess with a good thing unless you have very good reasons to do so.

Scheduling your poker time to play during peak times is good for your bankroll, and picking the right table to play at is just as important as knowing how to get away from a losing hand.


I sat out from MTTs this weekend, including that incredible 5500+ player field in the Sunday Stars $200+$15, as I had planned to take my wife out for an early Valentine's dinner last night.

Can you believe the size of that field? I just noticed the $11 double shootouts to the $200+$15. Are these new? Perhaps this contributed to the huge bump in the size of the field this week.

The only MTTs I did get in early in the week were for the Party Cabin fever freeroll. Did anyone follow this? Party made another ridiculous customer service debacle from this thing. The promotion was supposed to run from Sunday - Saturday, but by Thursday they had "run out of cabins". Friday's freeroll remained on with a cash substitute, though cheaply they gave the winners an uncompensated forced "downgrade" to $2300 cash. Saturday's freeroll was outright cancelled. Whining and complaining got some people modest compensation, but still. Just amazing.

The only real work I put into MTTs this week was to start re-reading Harrington on Hold'em part 2. Good stuff, good stuff. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I've got cabin fever...

Cabin fever

I've been really out of it for the last few days. I had a procedure at the hospital today, and since I basically had an unavoidable sick day, I was able to take a second shot at Party's Cabin fever promo and this time I won! (I busted in the 40s on Sunday on the hand immediately after my wife asked "When are we having dinner?" :P That A9o suddenly looked like an absolute monster, and I decided the chip leader was just being a bully....)

I was barely able to stay awake to play for the first few hours today. I hadn't eaten anything in over 36 hours, was not able to keep any food down, and was still recovering from anesthesia. I had to prop myself up on a couple of pillows and sleep between hands. (Again, my wife was not impressed with how well I've been taking care of myself, particularly as she has no interest in the game... Scurvy is the man.)

Now that I have a free cruise, I need to figure out if I can go. (The cart ALWAYS goes before the horse in my world). I'm in the VIP thing, so I guess the worst case is that I get the $500 VIP bonus. I guess it is really just a question of motivation. If I had won a PPM V package instead of just the cruise package, I'd have booked my plane ticket already. My wife almost certainly can't get the time off, so perhaps I could take one of my parents.

The fields in these Cabin Fever freerolls are reasonably soft. Less all-in donkeys than a typical Party MTT (though they are still around), but that is substantially compensated for by the overly tight grinders (who would have played 1000 rh and signed up for a freeroll, but don't seem to have much MTT, NL, and/or SNG experience) who you can steal from in the middle of the MTT (that you can identify from having data mined 10 tables from the start) A good 10-15% of the registered field doesn't show up for the event.
I'd recommend anyone that can meet these criteria to take a shot:
1) capable of putting in the 1000 raked hands in a day (multitabling small stakes NL games is a safe low variance way to get the hands in cheaply)
2) available to play in the freeroll on the following day at 7pm EST. Even starting at 8-8:30pm is quite reasonable because you won't be blinded down much. Party is using the 20 min levels for this event.
3) you have any reasonable likelihood of being able to make it to the cruise
4) even better if you are a Party VIP, because you will also get $500 cash
Party caps the entries at 300 per freeroll. Sunday's had something close to 190, and today's had less than 250. Even at 300, 5% of the entrants are getting a cabin. There are not many "cheap" supers that pay out such a large % of the field. For a non-VIP, a freeroll entry has a minimum overlay value of $125 ($2500x15/300), and for a VIP the min overlay is $150.

The freerolls are running daily up until this Saturday.


Thanks to rikkidee for the tip on how to adjust the formatting of the text in this blog. Canadians are such nice folk....

Deep Stack, Deep time investment

Still haven't put much effort into preparing for the Shooting Stars. The Stars Deep Stack events sound like a good idea. But boy do they take a long time to run. I can really appreciate Jodi's list of other accomplishments.

Party VIP Acceler-8-tor

Someone complained that I often discuss topics without providing any background info to the uninformed. So for those who don't already know: The Party VIP club is a program designed to reward high volume players with a variety of incentives for their play. It is labelled an "invitation-only" system. However, the only requirement for qualifying is to have an MGR (monthly gross revenue) in excess of $1k, and players can just email the vip department asking to be added if they have not already been "invited" and would qualify.

The latest program from the VIP department is a promotion that is actually starting to make some good sense for both sides, Party and the high volume pro or semi-pro (high volume donkeys, as described in Scurvy's post, are still not being properly taken care of). It is of reasonable length duration which really does benefit Party since they end up with a fairly decent idea of the play volume to expect over a moderate period of time (a pretty good idea for any publicly trading multi-billion dollar company)

Anyways, I am happy with the playing targets they issued me because it works out to somewhere close to $2k per month in bonuses with me spending only 50% of my nominal monthly playing time in Party ring games. I'm not being sarcastic with the word only. I had been worried it would be over 100%.

I have often complained about Party, but with my mouse-RSI problems, Party is really the only site that I can comfortably put in the hours. I still have the freedom to allocate the other 50% of my poker time in a wide variety of ways.

As a nice little bonus, Party gave me a $55 compensation because I emailed them after receiving the pop-up on Friday well prior to the start of the promotion. It is one of those rare occasions when Party delivers more than they promise. (of course, this occurs after they retardedly put up information before they should; another example: trialing their new Party Points store in the middle of the night on a live site... Yup, the laughable actions of a publicly traded billion dollar company)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Takin out the trash...

Didn't have a chance to post for the last few days, so here is a dump of some of my goings-on


Ya gotta play like your money don't mean nothin...

Funny little thing happened tonight, although granted the tale might come out as a thinly veiled bad-beat story. Plus I'm always long winded, so it takes some reading to get to the point.

The first of the month kicks off for me like it does every month - at 9pm on the last night of the previous month... (I live in the Pacific time zone).

9:01pm, so I decided to grind away some VIP points at Stars. I've been trying to pick up Turbo SNGs a-la-pokernerd. I've still got a lot to learn about SNGs, so what I settled on was 6-tabling a mix of $55+5s and $25+2s and 4-tabling $3/$6 LHE. (Probably not a good mix; ideally I would like to 8 table the $55+5s, but I am worried that I might not have a sufficient ROI. Since the VPPs are so low at the $25+2s, I add in the LHE tables for a slight points boost)

It is a bit of a madhouse at times. For example, sometimes when I click to register for a replacement SNG, the table will have already filled so I get a "Registration failed" popup instead of a "Registration successful" message. However, occasionally I will just click the okay button without even noticing the difference. Only after a couple of minutes when a new table does not pop up on my screen will I realize that I must have failed to register.

Nothing too interesting happens in the first couple hours, but I'm getting a little tired at that point from madly clicking away. I start my last SNG in the pipeline, and decide to play down from the 10 tables until I'm down to 4 (my LHE ring games) and then call it a night.

By the time I'm down to 6 tables, I've finally got some breathing room, and take a gander at the cashier. I'm stunned to see my balance looks several hundred dollars below what I expect it to be. My eyes start racing around at chips stacks of my cash games, and I can't understand what happened. I'm still occupied enough that I decided to wait until the end of the session before doing any further investigation.

I get down to the last SNG, and we're on the bubble. I'm 2nd in chips with the chip leader on my immediate right. He is only marginally active, so I get to steal steal steal an above average number of times considering I am only 2nd chip leader. The guy on my left finally busts. The former chip leader gets crippled when his JJ get cracked when the 2nd opponent make a very boneheaded preflop all in rereraise with A5o. Former chip leader had been playing so tight, I cannot see how Mr. A5o can even think he has as good as a coinflip when he had not at all been significantly tied to the pot (It was still only level 7 100/200/25). But whatever, standard bonehead $25+2 player, right? Anyway, A hits the board and the former chip leader is busted a couple of hands later.

Headsup ran about one and a half more levels (to the 300/600/50? stage) to the point where I had just under a 75/25 chip advantage, and the action quickly climaxed in 2 hands. I pushed with A7s; and he insta called with K3; pair of 3s beats A high. Next hand he pushes with JTo; I insta call w ATs; board comes JJxxx, and we're done. No big deal, $45 diff between 1st and 2nd, and I can finally dash off to the bathroom.

When I get back, I open up the cashier again, and to my surprise, my balance looks almost $1k higher than I expect. WTF? I close the SNG table and view the SNG Tournament lobby window, and if it is not already obvious enough, I had accidentally registered for a $525+$30 turbo sng.

Those two back to back hands didn't cost me $45, it was actually $945. Damn.

To be fair, although I have played in tournaments before with a larger buy-in, had I known the stakes I was playing at, I'm quite doubtful I would have been able to play aggressively enough to have finished ITM. I'm thankful for my ignorance (and inefficiency in early detection of the buyin error).


Shooting Stars

The Bay 101 WPT Shooting Stars main event kicks off on February 27th, and I will be starting in the first flight, Day 1 (I won my seat a few months back on a Dise satellite). The format of this event is rather unique compared to the typical $10k buyin event because the structure of the event includes additional ways to cash from the event other than making it past the money bubble.

50 of the players in the tournament (1 at each starting table) have a $5k bounty on their heads. Additionally, the chip leader at the end of the first day (for each of the 2 flights) will receive $10k. These payouts "only" consume ~6% of the total prizepool, and with me being such dead money for a $10k event, it is pretty nice to have these additional cashing opportunities. I would only dislike the structure if I thought I had any chance of making the TV table.

This will only be my 2nd big buy in event. (The first one being the UB Aruba event in 2004... a pretty darn long time ago...)

I'm not sure yet how I will allocate time to prepare for this event. Some time will inevitably go into playing some live small buy in tournaments, although the fast structure make these things a push fest after just a few levels. It can't hurt to spend more time in live play, since my ratio of live/online play has been inverted for the last couple of months.

On the other hand, I'm also thinking about running some of the Stars Deep Stack tournaments. The $5k chip stack, half hour levels should give a much better representation of the structure of a big buyin event.

Reviewing Harrington on Hold'em, particularly volume 2, seems prudent as well. Any other tips or suggestions are appreciated.


Martinspoker client

I put in an hour of time at Martinspoker the other day, and I can't say that I am a big fan of their client GUI. It seems like a receipe for a convulsive seisure. Despite the respectable per-€0.31-raked-hand bonus, I might not be able to go the distance.

About 6 months ago, I decided that I had enough of tired and exhausted eyes, and I replaced all monitors that I use on a daily basis, including the one at my day-job (at my own expense, but a worthwhile investment since I want my eyes to be well rested or at least not already burned out when starting any nightly sessions) with LCD monitors. The Martinspoker client GUI flickers between hands (the window clears grey and then repaints entirely), and with multible tables running I am distinctly reminded of trying to use a CRT monitor that is on its last legs. Perhaps this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is certainly not comfortable to endure.

Additionally, none of the client gui windows seem to be able to paint correctly when I move those windows onto my second monitor. The windows just are completely grey. Perhaps there is some setting or parameter I could adjust, however, this is the only application I have ever run on my system that did not display correctly on the 2nd monitor, so I'm not going to spend any time investigating. Besides, it is not like I'm going to be 8-tabling this bad-boy any time soon.

Driving in a straight line?

On a completely un-poker-related note, I've had a couple of hair raising driving experiences in the last week. I just have a ton of respect for my fellow drivers on the road.

On Wednesday night, I was driving on the freeway to pick up a takeout order that I had just called in. The restaurant is a very busy one, and I was quite sure my order would take a while to be completed. Hence, I drove at a leisurely pace (relative to my usual). I was going 65 in a 65, but more importantly, in my relaxed frame of mind, I made no effort to consider the spatial arrangement of cars around me nor anticipate the actions of other drivers.

I reached a point on the freeway where, due to a long term construction project, the h/w has an abnormal rightwards bend in the road. The bend in the road is not too substantial (maybe 5-6 degrees), although at night drivers who are either unfamiliar with that stretch of highway or !!!not paying attention!!! will be taken by surprise.

I was driving in the middle lane, and a soccer mom driving a large, clean, and shiny SUV was passing me on the right going roughly 80. She had at least two kids in the car, one of which was watching a DVD in the backseat. The point that she passed me was just at the bend in the road where she proceeded to continue in a straight line without turning. At 80, it took only a fraction of a second to completely have crossed over into my lane.

She was less than 1/2 of a car length ahead of me at the start of the bend, and even with me hitting the brakes, had I remained strictly in my lane, her SUV would have impacted the front 1/5th or 1/4 of my car. Given the impact inertia of her large vehicle I would certainly have been spun out on a 65 mile an hour free way with cars behind me.

I was VERY fortunate that both the car behind me and the nearest car in the left hand lane were both more than 3 car lengths back and ~paying attention~. I had slowed to close to less than 50 and halfway into the leftmost lane before it was safe enough to return to my lane and h/w speed. (I did see those relatively close headlights of cars in both the left and center lanes...)

Given that the SUV did cut me off in that location, and the number of cars on the freeway at the time, there was probably a 5-10% chance that a car would have been in the right place in either my lane or the leftmost lane to create an unavoidable SERIOUS accident.

Now, I just hate those odds. How many times a night do you get rivered by the small set or gutshot? I count myself very lucky and am scolding myself for not paying more attention to my surroundings.

The second incident happened yesterday at a traffic light intersection. I was sitting at a red light waiting to make a left hand turn off of a freeway exit ramp. There were two left turn lanes, and I was in the right hand one. The lane I was in was also permitted to proceed straight (onto a freeway on ramp). The left hand land was a must turn lane.

When the light turned green, I attempted to make my left turn through the intersection. The car in the left hand lane accelerated in an attempt to go straight through the intersection. The lady driving the Nissan Maxima hit the side of my car just behind the driver side door.

I don't know what the impact speed was, but it probably wasn't that high. The Maxima had already started slowing down (though didn't attempt to turn to avoid hitting me) when the driver noticed me in her path. Perhaps it was because the ground was wet, but my car just spun like a top across the intersection.

No injuries to anyone, but mucho inconvenience.