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Giving up things for Lent

Feb. 25th, 2009 | 04:41 pm

I'm not a good Catholic, let's get that out of the way. But we have two kids, and we do want to raise them with SOME form of religion, even if so then they can reject that religion later (educated rejection is fine). As such, I have no idea why I always try to give up something for Lent, which starts today. Clinging to childhood forced-upon-us habits, I suppose.

It's supposed to be something you enjoy, of course, in line with the Catholic dogma that everyone must suffer. So, for the next forty days I will be giving up:

1) Beer. This really, really sucks, because Miranda's birthday is on St. Pat's day, and she's turning 40, so I'm having a big surprise party for her. At a bar. This one might not stick.

2) Online poker. I play every night or every other night during the week while watching TV in the evenings. I should be able to make this one stick.

3) TV on weekends. I can't go cold-turkey, I would shoot myself. But I should be able to do weekends. Child videos while parenting don't count; they're pretty much torture anyway.

Anyone else giving anything up for Lent?

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1 rebuy. 1 add-on. $1 million?

Feb. 20th, 2009 | 01:26 am

Pokerstars has a new set of tourneys coming in April for which satellites started today. Long story short, I played in a $1 NLHE direct satellite on a whim ($1.11 with the juice), rebought immediately ($2.12 now), and added on at the first break ($3.13). There were 225 entrants, 875 rebuys, and 111 add-ons, which translated into 11 $109 entries into the Main Event on April 12th, which has a $1 Million guaranteed prize pool.

I finshed sixth. Now I get to wait 59 days and see if I can somehow parlay three bucks into a ridiculous payout. It sure is fun to dream... :)

PS- I just realized I can also simply unregister for the event and pocket $109 "W dollars" (for tourneys and stuff, not cash). But that wouldn't be nearly as much fun...

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here's what i've been doing in Chicago...

Feb. 1st, 2009 | 10:18 am


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Jan. 27th, 2009 | 08:13 pm

Joecathlon III: RAW! has ended - in honor of my sister who hates reading long entries, the report follows the cut. CUT!Collapse )

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The Juice Experience

Jul. 5th, 2006 | 10:42 am

Do tell!

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MSOP @ the Bike

Jun. 27th, 2006 | 08:17 am

The Mini-Series of Poker at the Bike began yesterday, a 1/10th version of the WSOP in Vegas that mirrors each event a day earlier than the real thing. Joe and I of course attended. Here was my report:

FIRST HAND: Shuffle up and deal! Twenty seconds in, I look down at AKh in MP. Nice start! Blinds are 5/15, started with 1,500 chips. UTG makes it 75 to go, I flat call to see a flop, SB tags along. Flop: [ Kh 4c 2d ]. SB leads out for 200, a pot-sized bet, UTG calls. With TPTK and position, I make it 700 to go. SB calls, UTG folds. We now have more than half our stacks committed to this pot. Turn: [ 6c ]. SB bets out for about 400, and I decide this is going to be a great start or a VERY short tournament, and push all in. He calls and flips over KTc. If I can dodge 12 outs on the river, I'll double up on the first hand. A sweet [ Ad ] later, and I'm the chip leader after three minutes. My M=164.

And that was it. I went straight downhill for the next four hours, never seeing a pp higher than TT, never picking up another major pot. The cards were completely dead to me.

I was playing fine; actually, playing really well. On one hand, I limped from LP with QJh, and was happy to see the flop come out [ Q J 9 ] rainbow. Woo hoo! It was checked around to me, and I made a 3x pot sized bet of about 100 chips. The SB raised it to 200, and I reraised him to 600, which he flat called. What can he have that he can check-mini raise with AND call a 3x reraise? I decided that his most likely holding was QT (TP, OESD), and he continued to represent that when he went all-in for about 700 more on the [ K ] turn. I thought about it more and more, and finally folded face up, saying "QT is good." To everyone's surprise, he flipped his winner face up, and I had read his hand perfectly. LOTS of table respect to me in the form of head nods and whispers for folding a strong hand that I knew was beaten, but that doesn't change the fact that I shipped him 700+ chips.

What else? I made a minor score when I had that TT, both black, and the flop came out [ 8s 9s Js ]. A short stack in EP moved on the pot, and I called in a heartbeat with my OESFD. He turned over AJh, for TPTK, but he was dead on the [ 5s ] turn. A small, insubstantial upward blip on the radar. After an hour, at the first break, I was back where I started with 1,500 chips.

After the break, more of the same. I don't even remember the hands, they were a blur of numbers, few letters. I survived another hour and a half and made it to the second break with 1,200 chips, but my M had nose-dived from 164 down to 2! Blinds/antes 100-200/25 after the break, and I was UTG. Knowing that this was the most pressure I could put on someone, I faked looking at my cards and thinking for a second, and then pushed all-in blind, hoping/happy to pick up the 500+ chips in the pot. Sadly, a MP short stack woke up with AKo and called, and my 92o was seriously outmatched. But hey, there's always the flop!

Doorcard: [ 2 ]!!!
Complete flop: [ 2 A A ] - Doh!
Turn: [ K ] - nice hand.

So ended the near straight-line experience between a suited AK on the first hand, and 92o on the final hand. Very appropos.

Joe's tourney ended in heartbreak, not the whimper I exited on. Down to about 2,400 after the second break, he made a couple steals to get up to ~2,700, looking for a place to push and double up. He decided Q8s would be his Alamo, and pushed, only to be called by the massive chiprack in Seat 3, who found pocket sevens in either the button or the SB. The flop: [ Jx Ts xs ] So let's count Joe's outs:

Nine spades for the flush.
Three non-spade nines for a straight.
Three Queens for a better pair.
Three eights for a better pair.
Running J-T to win with a higher kicker (maybe worth 1/2 an out; we'll say 1).

Nineteen outs.

Turn: brick.

Eighteen outs (no more runner-runner, but everything else still good).

River: brick.

Sick. He's still mumbling about it, I'm sure.

The we went to the cash game and got raped, by people hitting five-outers with one card to come, three-outers with one card to come, runner-runner flushes when one of us flopped a set, stuff like that. But God help it if Joe hits a fucking thirty-seven outer to stay alive in a tournament -- as you say, Joe; we're just not good enough.

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The unintended Vegas result

Jun. 21st, 2006 | 09:47 am

I know it's near-blasphemy in these parts, but an unexpected result of my wife's gift of a surprise trip to Vegas for me last weekend might just be that I never want to go back.

She hates Vegas -- actually, not true, she hates GAMBLING (gee, glad that never came up preflop) -- and for her to send me there is absolutely thoughtless and stunning. I still can't believe what an awesome gesture it was, and I love her for it. Yet, all I could think about the entire time was:

1) Damn, I miss my wife and daughter!
2) We can't really afford this right now.
3) There are a ton of other, more productive, things I could be doing right now.
4) I'm having fun, but really, I'd rather just be home.

Call me whipped, whatever you want, but short of a bachelor party (which demands a trip) or a WSOP event, I'm completely Vegas'd out. Been there, done that, couldn't afford the T-shirt on the way out of town. I can play poker at twenty places no more than 20 minutes from my house, or online. Other than doing something that MUST be done in Las Vegas (for traditional or logistical reasons, ie, the two listed above), I have to reason to go there.

And now, no desire. Damn, I feel old.


The king is dead; long live the king.

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In all my years of playing, I've never seen this before...

Jun. 20th, 2006 | 12:59 pm

Playing in a $30 rebuy tourney for a seat in the WSOP main event. Just before the rebuy period ends, so I figure If I lose this all-in, I'm not out. Watch THIS flop....

PokerStars Game #5311759047: Tournament #26495122
$30+$3 Hold'em No Limit - Level IV (50/100)
Table '26495122 11' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Stuie Unger (3585 in chips)
Seat 2: LADYBUGER (4730 in chips)
Seat 3: N!LE (3715 in chips)
Seat 4: DiehardSkins (1900 in chips)
Seat 5: balgamannan (5610 in chips)
Seat 6: Slushyboy2 (4085 in chips)
Seat 7: Pokerhands (2095 in chips)
Seat 8: RGC2005 (5915 in chips)
Seat 9: bl0wback (13225 in chips)
bl0wback: posts small blind 50
Stuie Unger: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to balgamannan [Qh Qc]
LADYBUGER: raises 300 to 400
N!LE: folds
DiehardSkins: raises 400 to 800
balgamannan: raises 4810 to 5610 and is all-in
Slushyboy2: folds
Pokerhands: calls 2095 and is all-in
RGC2005: folds
bl0wback: folds
Stuie Unger: folds
DiehardSkins: calls 1100 and is all-in

=== So, three players are all-in preflop, I have them both covered, so the rebuy won't come into play anyway. Here are our hands:

balgamannan: shows [Qh Qc]
Pokerhands: shows [8d 8h]
DiehardSkins: shows [Tc Th]

And here's something I've never seen before:

*** FLOP *** [Qd 8c Ts]

LOL...nothing weird...er...WEIRDER happened, and I won. Full update later if anythign interesting results, like, you know, a seat in the World Series or something.

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The Vegas Report

Jun. 19th, 2006 | 11:01 am


There were many revelations about my personality/character that came to light in Vegas this weekend, one of which is that I need to more fully embrace the concept of "nice hand." I created a LOT of stress for myself this weekend by losing my cool when situations happened repeatedly at the final tables or on the bubble of tourneys, and it's just not healthy (along with the smoke-filled confines of Vegas cardrooms, but I digress). My father died of a sudden heart attack three years ago before reaching his 60th birthday, and while I don't think I'm in danger of that just yet, additional stress at the table can be avoided, and let's face it, I don't want that to happen to me. So from now on (and I know how hard this will be for some to believe), no more getting upset at the monstrous beats. I'll still complain about them, because I need to vent somehow, but no more stress on my body or my mind -- I really want to work at just letting things go at the table. Eveyone gets lucky and unlucky; everyone. I'm running unluckily right now, but making smart decisions for the most part, so I need to seek out the positive. From now on, if someone sucks out on me when I'm a 9:1 favorite? "Nice hand." Runner-runner flush to beat my flopped straight? "Nice hand." That's my new poker goal.

So, on to the report. If the opening paragraph above wasn't enough of a lead-in, I didn't cash in any tournaments in Vegas. (I played in three, Matt played in four because he arrived in L.V. earlier than I did. He placed in the money in three out of the four tourneys he entered, winning one of them for a $2,800 score. Congrats, Matt!) I made one final table, and busted out of the other two when we were down to two tables. I had my share of luck, once spiking the infamous one-outer on someone, but I've come to realize that my luck usually comes really early in a tournament, when it means very little (for example, I could have rebought if that one-outer didn't hit). Other people's luck agaist me, by contrast, comes when their entire tournament is on the line, for all their chips, late in a tourney. There's ample evidence of this, and it makes a HUGE difference in my results. Here were the highlights:

Early on in a tourney (before rebuy period ended), 77 in cutoff, blinds 50/100. Folded to me, I make it 300 to go, SB only caller. Flop:[ K 7 2 ]. He checks, I don't want to scare him off with my monster hand, so I check behind him. Turn:[ 7 ]. Holy crap. He checks again, and I figured I needed to bet something here, otherwise I felt like it would look like I hit the seven (reverse psychology), so I bet 200, which he called. The river: [ ? ] (I couldn't improve, so I don't remember). He leads out with 600, and I gladly move all-in for only 450 more. He has to call, of course, and turns over pocket Kings. Wow. Flopped set over set, and I turned the one-outer on him. I actually felt bad, and apologized. His reply? "No problem. Nice hand." A much classier response than I would have had.

Later in same tourney, down to two tables. AsKs on button, blinds 150/300-25, folded to me, I make it 2,000 to go. SB moves all-in for about 2,850, a trivially easy call for me and I have him dominated, AsKs vs. A7o. I'm a 75% favorite. Seven on the flop. I reacted....poorly.

One orbit later, I have AsJs on the button, and again raise to about 1,800. Guy in MP who had limped goes all-in for about 3,800. Again, trivial call getting almost 3:1, and again, I'm in a dominating spot, AsJs vs. Ad7d. I'm a 75% favorite. Seven on the flop. I reacted poorly. Again.

I'm now one of the shorter stacks, and make a full-tilt all-in two hands later with As4s in LP. Get looked up by ATo. I'm a 75% underdog. 4 on the flop! I'm now an 85% favorite! Ten on the turn. I lost it, and had to leave for fear of uncontrollable violence.

So I went down the street to the Plaza to play in their tourney. I recommitted to playing well, and made it to the final table. I was in good shape in about third chip position out of six players left (paid three) when the following hand came up. The dealer accidentally flips a card face-up during the deal, the 7s, which will become the first burn card. I repeat: The seven of spades is now sitting face up on the deck, about to become the first burn card. UTG player, who is very aggressive and has about as many chips as I do, moves all-in. Folded to me, and I look down at ATo, a far-above average hand for this situation, IMO; the blinds are coming fast, and the levels are only 20 minutes long, so everyone is making moves with any naked Ace. I figure to be a dominating favorite, a crippled underdog, or racing. I figured the chances were very good that I was ahead or racing, so I called. He turned over K7o. With one of his cards sitting face-up on the deck, out of play, he made an all-in move with K7o. IF all his cards were alive, I'd be a 65% favorite preflop, so I have to assume that knowing one of them is gone, I must be about 70-75%. Flop: [ x-x-x ]. About an 80% favorite. Turn: [ x ]. About a 90% favorite. River: [ K ].

Shaking uncontrollably, I drift back to Binion's to watch Matt win the tourney I had been bounced from an hour and a half earlier. Two specfic hands from that tournament illustrate the kind of weekend he had, compared to mine:

Down to the final two tables, he was the chip leader at his table and had been pressuring the blinds mercilessly whenever he was on the button (as he should have, as chip leader), and they never played back. Blinds at 2,500/5,000, he made it 10K to go from the button with 34d. The SB, who was getting fed up with being a bitch, made it 15K to go, a ridiculously stupid mini-raise that HAD to be called, with Matt getting over 6:1 on the call. Once the flop came out, the guy immediately pushed all-in with KJo. Matt called just as quickly.

Flop: 3-4-4. It's a skill game!

Final hand: Matt is heads-up (obviously), and puts in a minimum raise. The other guy, who had been the chip leader the entire time heads-up but now was just about even in chips with him, comes flying over the top all-in, with what was later learned to be J-x offsuit, a naked bluff. Matt made a pretty easy call...

...with pocket Aces. Skill!

Back to the online world and trying to qualify for the WSOP. Wish me luck -- I obviously need more of it.

PS -- I never even entered the blogger freeroll tourney; my flight from LV was about 20 minutes late on the front end, and then I had to get a shuttle, get to my car, get through traffic...by the time I was anywhere near a computer it was already 3pm, or eight levels into the tourney. Since I had previously calculated that six levels would probably blind me off, I knew there was literally no hope of me having any chips left, so I didn't even bother turning the computer on. C'est la vie. VERY glad I cashed in the million-dollar tourney chips and made some money with them.

PPS -- Greg, I challenge you to a heads-up NLHE event to see which of us is unluckier. I think you have a head start with that "Dave's flopped set of Aces that didn't improve vs. Greg's flopped straight" hand. Not that I'm still bitter.

Nice hand.

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$215 in tournament credit = ....?

Jun. 16th, 2006 | 10:56 am

This is the end.....my only friend, the end....

The last of the $215 credit (damn, that went fast) went into a $55 + $5 three-table sng this morning. Play solid, tight poker, survive to the final table, and then:

PokerStars Game #5270627136: Tournament #26546452
$55+$5 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200)
Table '26546452 2' 9-max Seat #7 is the button
Seat 1: jackspleen (1273 in chips)
Seat 2: tulsa doc (4155 in chips)
Seat 3: NoogeNuts (3400 in chips)
Seat 4: Rafchu (5675 in chips)
Seat 5: arickman (2900 in chips)
Seat 6: jorge5555 (1850 in chips)
Seat 7: shadyjadey (4270 in chips)
Seat 8: balgamannan (2352 in chips)
Seat 9: immgs (1125 in chips)
balgamannan: posts small blind 100
immgs: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to balgamannan [4s 4d]
jackspleen: folds
tulsa doc: folds
NoogeNuts: folds
Rafchu: folds
arickman: folds
jorge5555: folds
shadyjadey: folds
balgamannan: raises 2152 to 2352 and is all-in
immgs: calls 925 and is all-in
*** FLOP *** [8c Qs 7s]
balgamannan said, "awesome"
*** TURN *** [8c Qs 7s] [Ad]
*** RIVER *** [8c Qs 7s Ad] [Kh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
balgamannan: shows [4s 4d] (a pair of Fours)
immgs: shows [Qd 8s] (two pair, Queens and Eights)
immgs collected 2250 from pot
balgamannan said, "good life-risking hand"

HOW do you put your tournament at risk with Q8o? There's still plenty of play left. Ugh. LESSON: I think a mid-size raise would have been better here instead of an all-in. Give him more to think about/be scared of.

So after that hand, I became the short stack. Yay. Fortunately, I picked up KhQh on the button on the next hand, it was folded around to me, and I pushed in and took the blinds, so...every little bit helps.

Three hands later, I get a monster, suited big slick. EP made it 2,000 to go, in LP I had a no-brainer call all-in, and then the BB went all-in behind me for about 150 more!! A no-brainer call from EP, and we were three-handed:

BB: KhKd
EP: AhQd
Me: AsKs

Flop: [9d 2s 3s] === nut draw, plus two Aces still in the deck, awesome! 11 outs twice...
Turn: [5c] === 11 outs once...
River: [9s] === SOLD! For 11 outs!

Now eight-handed, second in chips. Verra, verra happa.

Blinded down uneventfully for a while, until...hey, we're four-handed and in the money! Nice work, everyone.

First hand after the fifth player eliminated: A5o in the SB. Short stack at table UTG flat-calls the 800 BB, and instead of reading that for the strength it represented, I took it as him trying to see a flop cheaply, so I pushed. The blinds released, and he called instantly with AsTs. No five for me (or a board chop, which we almost had), and I was on the respirator. Chip counts:

Seat 1: jackspleen (9073 in chips)
Seat 2: tulsa doc (11921 in chips)
Seat 3: NoogeNuts (4800 in chips)
Seat 8: balgamannan (1206 in chips)

Yuck. Hey, you outlasted 14 players and made the money. Quit complaining.

(Button) J7o. Fold.
(UTG) 98o. Fold.
(BB) Qc2c. Folded to me! Free chips!

(SB) Qh8h. UTG makes it 2,400 to go, other guys fold. I have to make a stand, and a suited queen is going to be my Alamo. I call all-in, and UTG flips over JJ - ouch. The flop and turn come [5h Ts Tc][Ad], and I'm already packed and ready to go, happy with my play. HOLD ON! The River Rescue boat comes to drag me out of the water, spiking the three-outer Queen to keep me alive! Rucky, rucky!

(Button) QTo. Fold.
(UTG) KJo. Still a small stack (along with BB), so I push UTG with any two faces, the BB calls. A battle for fourth! I have him outchipped by about 800, but he has me beaten preflop with pocket sevens. I spike a Jack right out of the gate, though, and nothing weird happens. Guaranteed third! Essentially a three-way tie for first now:

Seat 1: jackspleen (9973 in chips)
Seat 2: tulsa doc (9015 in chips)
Seat 8: balgamannan (8012 in chips)

(SB) K6o. Push, pick up BB.
(Button) Q3o. Fold.
(BB) Js3s. Fold to preflop raising war, KK gets it all in against A9, flop comes with a K, and we're now heads-up!

Seat 2: tulsa doc (18988 in chips)
Seat 8: balgamannan (8012 in chips)

(BB) QQ. Folded to me. Grrr.....

(SBB) 8s3s. Limp in, he raises, I fold.

(BB) K6o. Folded to me. Free chips!

(SBB) As7s. Minimum raise preflop from 1,200 to 2,400, he calls. Flop: [Qs 5c Qh]. He checks, I push for 5,612, he folds.

(BB) Q7o. He raises 2,400 to 3,600. I call. Flop: [Qd 3s Jh]. I check, he bets 2,400, I check raise to 4,800. He folds.

(SBB) 9h5h. I limp for 600 more, he checks. Flop: [Qc 4h 8h]. We both check. Turn: [Th]. He bets for 2,400, and I pause for a long time before pushing all-in for 15K, hoping it will look like an over-the-top steal attempt with my made flush. He thinks for a while and calls, showing the [Kh 9d]. If I can avoid a heart, it's over.....and the river i-i-i-i-i-s-s-s-s:

[7h] Unreal.

(Actually, the river was the 4s, and I won the tourney and $399. But don't tell me for a minute you didn't believe that a heart hit the river. :) )

So the $215 in tourney chips is now $399 in real money. Feel very good about my tournament play these days, getting lucky at the right times. Hopefully that bodes well for LV!

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